From The Editor

The Hurricane Game

Five Games To Play In A Hurricane

Gameological is waiting out a storm, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop playing.

By John Teti • October 30, 2012

Gameological may be on a lighter publishing schedule for the next couple of days, because the site’s “nerve center,” as we never call it, is located in New York. At time of writing, a large hurricane will also presently be located in New York. And given that our electrical situation is already a bit patchy, I expect for site operations to be touch-and-go for a while.

Even as we hunker down and remain indoors, though, that doesn’t mean we have to stop playing. The TV people seem to believe this is the end of civilization as we know it, so what better time to retrace human history than with a series of non-electricity-requiring board games? Gameological has a whole day’s worth of board gaming activities planned for those of you in the path of the storm and those of you experiencing a sympathetic urge to stay inside and dick around all day.

Morning: The Settlers Of Catan
Settlers Of Catan

In the beginning, the wandering tribes of humanity settled down and gave birth to civilization. Using the light of daybreak to illuminate your Settlers Of Catan set, you can recreate this epochal shift on your dining-room table or storm-bunker floor. Founded on an assurance that your settlements of brick and lumber will stand the test of time—no Mother Nature here to wash your dreams away—Catan reflects the fundamental optimism of the first human settlers. Then again, with the “robber” character leaching resources from society, there’s a touch of foreboding here, too.

Noon: Citadels
Citadels

Break for lunch—the menu includes granola bars and cold canned vegetables—with the breezy city-building card game Citadels. Where Settlers addressed the population’s basic needs, in Citadels you must construct the great medieval metropolis. Outfit your burgeoning town with a cathedral, a palace, a school of magic! But note the darker sides of human nature at play, as everybody in Citadels has an ulterior motive—like the Bishop who’s siphoning gold from the city’s religious establishments—and deception is the key to success, lest an Assassin or Thief guess your intentions and lay your best-laid plans to waste.

Afternoon: Twilight Struggle
Twilight Struggle

And now we see civilization at its peak, with the entirety of the globe given over to a struggle between two mighty and irritable superpowers. Whether you’re playing on the side of Uncle Sam or Uncle Joe, the concerns of Settlers and Citadels will seem so petty now, as you’re fighting for the very future of self-government. Countries are mere pawns in this tense recreation of the Cold War, where the continents are tallied on a scoreboard and the Space Race is one enormous penis-measuring contest. The title of this epic game also takes on a literal slant amid a power outage, as you’ll struggle to finish it before the sun sets.

Evening: Forbidden Island
Forbidden Island

We like to think that when nature confronts us with an existential threat, the better parts of ourselves will emerge, and we’ll learn to work together. That’s the premise of Forbidden Island. This game dispenses with the usual antagonism and forces players to work together and escape an island where the water level is rising quickly. It’s a great way for non-New Yorkers to get this week’s Manhattan experience.

Night: Lost Cities
Lost Cities

Some day, centuries after the floods consume us all, the archaeologists of the future will unearth our once-proud empire and pore over the clues they discover. Why were these people so obsessed with olive gardens? And were these “Wii Fit” talismans believed to ward off evil under-the-couch spirits? You can get a taste of that future archaeologist-adventurer life with Lost Cities, a two-player card game in which you commission your own explorations of civilizations that crumbled long ago. Plus, it doesn’t take up much space—suitable for illumination by emergency flashlight.

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  • rvb1023

    Sad, I’ve only played Catan out of these games, but Twilight Struggle sounds incredibly fun. Most of the time my friends and I get together we play Agricola, Puerto Rico, Seven Wonders, and Arkham Horror.

    On second thought Arkham Horror might not be the best choice with the storm and all…

    • blue vodka lemonade

       Lost Cities is pretty fun, and playable with a regular deck of cards (although the game effectively has 5 suits, 4 works just as well.) It’s also not hard to teach to kids/old people who are bad at games/people who are bad at games in general, which makes it a favorite for playing with a mixed group.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/7434UGH3EEMU2AUKTGMU3NLDZA JoshJ

       You need a lot of light for Arkham Horror, what with all the little shit.

      • Aaron Riccio

        100% of the time, I’ll choose Betrayal at the House on Haunted Hill over Arkham Horror. It’s creepier, and there’s nothing like a friend turning on you all to make for a tenser atmosphere. 

        Easier, shorter, and less complicated, too, though there’s just as much damn cardboard.

    • WorldCivilizations

      FYI for Catan fans: the Seafarers expansion is awesome, once you get it, the original just doesn’t cut it anymore.

      • boardgameguy

        i really disliked seafarers because of the set map scenarios.  i much preferred cities and knights as my expansion of choice for the introduction of commodities.

      • Aaron Riccio

        I’m with @boardgameguy:disqus – to me, Cities and Knights is the ultimate expansion. It does more to enhance the base game than anything I’ve ever seen before, and once you play it, it’s hard to go back. 

        That said, I’m eagerly awaiting UPS routes to be restored so I can get my copy of 7 Wonders: Cities (already have Leaders); I much enjoy those. And of course, if we’re talking about expansions that can be played at any point, I think Dominion is still the end-all be-all of that. 

        (You may be detecting a bias on my part for card games. They’re just easier to transport. And often have more variety, as with something like Glory to Rome.)

  • NarcolepticPanda

    Good luck Gameological staff! Hope the storm isn’t as bad as the newscasters say, and have fun playing board games in your basements. Fellow Gameological commentators, with site posts possibly being compromised, shall this be our “random discussion” page?

    • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

       Last I heard, power was out in most of Lower Manhattan. Red Hook, other
      low-lying parts of Brooklyn, low-lying parts of Queens, and Lower
      Manhattan have flooded. Upper Manhattan and The Bronx have emerged
      relatively unscathed.

      I didn’t get any outages myself, just a couple of flickers – good thing
      I’ve got my UPS/surge suppressor. I hope all the Gameological staff and
      contributors are doing fine. Since I’ve got the next couple of days to myself due to hurricane-related issues, I’ll play some board games by candlelight in spirit.

      • Mike_From_Chicago

        Let’s hope the power outage doesn’t allow for any Horror at Red Hook. Something something Lovecraft something something mongrelization something something.

    • Effigy_Power

      My parents can apparently see water running through the street 4 blocks down, but seem pretty safe up there in Steinway. They do have some power outages here and there, some lines are down. Same for my brothers’ houses. I hear my old place in Bed-Stu has wet feet tho, some water in the basements there…
      Hope everyone at the GS is okay. I certainly am fairly glad to be up here in Canada for this specific event.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        You say that now.  Wait until the storm pushes the Wendigo habitat closer into your area.

        • Effigy_Power

          The Werepolarbears are never going to let that happen. They are very “White Power”…

        • Aaron Riccio

          I just have an image now from the X-Men arcade game, when Wendigo shows up as a boss and keeps yelling “Wennnndiiiiigooooooo.”

    • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

       It’s a little strange. I’m in northern VA, which was right in the bright-red zone of death on all of the maps leading into the storm, and all I’ve gotten is some pretty severe drizzle. Whereas my family in OH was having serious winds, rain, and storming, and folks in New England (like the GS staff) are getting hit with power outages and stuff. I’m not sure if I should count myself lucky, or wait for the proverbial other shoe to drop.

      In any case, good luck to everyone around the East-ish coast, keep dry and safe!

    • Aaron Riccio

      Board games in the basements? Sounds like a meta board game.

  • Ghostfucker

    One of the from around the web links I’m getting is “Game Bot Kills Human Judge”….If that story is at all related to what the headline implies; you’d think that it would be getting more ink in the mainstream press.

    • Fluka

      A covert robot operative will soon be sent to kill everyone who has seen that story.

      • covertRobotOperative

         Your performance on our HR simulator has been noted.

  • KidvanDanzig

    I figure a better night game would entail finding a partner to play Hide the Salami with.

    Actually you could sub it for any or, preferably, all of them.

    Seriously though, Brooklyn is in for a substantial baby boom next August.

    • Aaron Riccio

      Baby Boom, the CCG. Gotta impregnate them all!

  • Fluka

    Mr. Fluka is far away in a dry state right now, so this does not help me!  Unless I can teach our cats to play Settlers of Catan.  Spoilers: they will chew the gameboard and knock all of the pieces on the floor.  

    My part of New England (further north) has only had a 30 second power loss so far, after a blustery afternoon, and things are very quiet outside right now.  I was expecting wind and rain to cleanse this foul earth.  Instead, I have been inside writing code and finishing Deus Ex DLC.  And my university lab is closed tomorrow!  Whoo!  (This post is tempting fate / a power outage.)

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      New house rules:

      Nibblers of Catan

      Bam!  Now you have a whole crew to play with.

         Is the Deus Ex DLC satisfying at all, since it’s completely isolated from the rest of the game?

      • Fluka

        I thought it was!  It answered a lot of unresolved questions I had from the main game, mainly with respect to “What the fuck is going ON with the Hyron Project?”  The setting is kind of neat, although it’s not very big, so there’s some very frustrating running back and forth having to sneak past the same turrets.  But it was a good couple of nights.

        It helps that I played it completely differently than the main game, going for the “Factory Zero” achievement where you can’t upgrade your augs from the starting settings or use any guns, mines, or grenades. Made for a super-fun and incredibly infuriating challenge!

        The cats were playing the “Sit on Fluka’s hand to make her accidentally pop out of cover and get shot” game.

        • The_Forgotten_Quill

          So glad you enjoyed (are enjoying) the DLC. I played it in tandem with my first playthrough, so I wasn’t certain how it would translate after being away from the game for awhile.

          Anyway, hope you’re still safe, dry and with power. I’m on the Texas coast, so I empathize with everyone in the path of Sandy. Looking at that beastess on satellite reminds me far too much of Ike. It’s chilling to know you’re in the path of nature’s wrath.

      • The_Forgotten_Quill

        I wouldn’t call it isolated. It actually fills in the time you “go off the grid” for a couple days in the full game, so it does have its place in the story.

  • Spacemonkey Mafia

    I hope y’all have a bulwark of boxed wine on hand to keep the nerves calm and the conversation artificially breezy.
       Just not so much that dramatic, backlit-by-thunderstorm butter knife fights break out over stolen resource cards.
       I recommend Small World.  The art style is irksome to me, but it’s easy to pick up, the game board can be resized to accommodate any wayward new players that might blow in through the windows and it’s fun.
       Plus, the central game conceit of races in decline will add an apropos tone of fatalism to the whole thing.
       But please stay safe.  For your own sake, your families and pets sake’s and the sake of a small corner of the internet that doesn’t want to have to vainly locate another video game website where someone won’t stubbornly defend Warfighter simply because their cousin is married to a marine.
        

    • HobbesMkii

      How dare you suggest any alternative to these games. My cousin is married to a settler of Catan.

      • Effigy_Power

        Shouldn’t have palled around with those jerks from Carcassonne. Wall-raising, circular roads-building, monastery-hogging bastards.

      • Electric Dragon

        I think they prefer the term Catan-American nowadays.

    • NarcolepticPanda

      HAH don’t read the Kotaku comments! I do check that site and IGN for news, but geez, whenever I read the comments, I feel like a puppy died.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        Yeah, before the commenting system change, the Kotaku comments were a dedicated group of self-elected sages who would hand down edicts on video games with the dour seriousness of bitter Rabbis.
           Now, commenting is just the same potpourri of nonsense that constitutes most gaming sites. 
           I had to stop reading IGN years ago when I realized it was making me hate video games.  It had a babes section.  A babes section!
           I could hold my head higher with pride going into a Margaret Thatcher-themed peep-show booth than that site. 

        • NarcolepticPanda

          IGN has since eliminated that section. They’re pretty much focused entirely on video games now. I check it for reviews, news, and the very rare rather interesting feature. Kotaku, I dunno, news tangentially related to video games (“Guy kills somebody. He had an 360), and snack reviews? Not sure why I check Kotaku actually. This site, the GREAT features and comment threads. But I can’t keep up with the news here.

        • Electric Dragon

           I go to Rock Paper Shotgun for news (they’re mostly PC biased, but then so am I). The comments seem to have declined in quality but the articles are still very good.

        • NarcolepticPanda

          Well, PC biased doesn’t really work for me because I have a PS3 and PSP. Which is part of why I like IGN, they have several unabashed Sony fanboys.

        • Fluka

          @google-6108c5611fbc5b86af5df565c4b4b048:disqus My Rock Paper Shotgun reading experience has increased drastically since I registered a commenting account there.  I don’t comment…but I do very liberally exercise the Block User function.  Usually by calibrating it on “Women in Gaming” articles.  Sometimes I smile when I see an entire comment thread has been Blocked!

        • Aaron Riccio

          @Fluka:disqus : Want to buy a T-shirt? “I used to read RPS, but then I found the Gameological Society.”

    • Aaron Riccio

      Agreed. Small World is a bunch of fun, and the expansions are neat, if a bit expensive (because of all that carefully cut cardboard). My only problem with it is that there tends to be a LOT of kingmaking going on there. 

  • Meatwad_of_the_NJ_Meatwads

    How can you leave out Puerto Rico, the game of slightly more chance that Settlers where all of the townsfolk pieces are brown?

  • Staggering Stew Bum

    So am I the only one who upon clicking on this article was disappointed not to find an embedded video of a newscross to Pete Strackmeier on location in the flooded streets of New York?

    “Pete Strackmeier here, meteorological masterrrr, reporting live from the tempest…”

    • Effigy_Power

      “…talking about a torrent of games today, a veritable flooooood of entertainment. Really something to wetttt your whistle and keep your day flowing along nicely.”
      (At this point Strackmeier is beaten senseless by flood-weary and punned-out New Yorkers.)

      • Aaron Riccio

        And now, folks, you know why torrents are illegal.

    • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

       I can picture it with such crystal clarity…

  • HighlyFunctioningTimTebow

    Is now a bad time to mention the N64′s arcade port of Hydro Thunder? There’s this one level called New York Disaster, where you get to race your powerboat through a flooded Times Square, into a partially submerged subway system , and even use busted cranes as ramps!

  • Mercenary_Security_number_4

    A week of no power after Isabel led to a multi-day game of LOTR Risk, resumed every morning after breakfast and continued on and off throughout the day until the sun went down every evening.  We used the car sparingly because the gas stations were still closed too, so it was a week of walking, RISK, talking, RISK, incredible eerie silence, RISK, and s’mores after sunset.  good times.

    • HobbesMkii

      Risk has always seemed like a terrible board game to play with people confined to an area to me, as I have never played a single game of Risk that did not result in at least one player sulking and feeling bitter towards the others–the exact type of feelings you don’t want someone to have when you’re in your bunker during the zombie apocalypse and have to start rationing your canned beans ‘n’ weenies.

      I’m glad you appear to have had a different experience.

      • Mercenary_Security_number_4

         Eventually everyone just finally ganged up on me and declared the game over once I had been eliminated.  It was actually kind of flattering, sort of like I was Sauron and they were the last alliance and once I was dead Middle Earth was at peace.

      • Effigy_Power

        I have to agree with Hobbes. Risk was created by a bitter recluse who had no friends and didn’t want anyone else to have any either.
        The game is designed to not only enable, but necessitate betrayal and mob-tactics, breaking apart any feeling of fun and comradery and ensuring you’ll find tiny, pointy soldiers in your couch for decades to come.
        And no, I have never won a single game.

        • Aaron Riccio

          Risk and Monopoly are fine games when you’re growing up — the dice give even those who aren’t all that good the opportunity to win (much like Backgammon v. Chess, even though both have tons of strategy). However, at some point you’re going to want to find games that find ways to mitigate chance or rely almost entirely on skill and manipulation. For instance, the above-mentioned Twilight Struggle puts Risk to shame, and Acquire is far more cut-throat than Monopoly. 

      • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

         When I was in middle school, our games of Risk would become so overblown and ridiculous that it was hard to get angry at the ludicrous proceedings. There were the expected alliances being made and broken, and silly improvised narratives (the green army attacking the red army despite it being a poor tactical choice, because as complementary colors their cultures are inherently antagonistic, the red army secretly harboring a blue “refugee” who returns his army’s presence to the board after it was supposedly wiped out…), but to stave off boredom we’d do things like declare a “10 year armistice,” calculate how many units each army would have inherited in that time, and distributing insane amounts of units to each army (using the yellow pieces – “golden warriors” were 25 units “golden steeds” were 50 and “golden cannons” were 100). Stupid shit like that.

        Once or twice the army sizes and backroom dealings got too unwieldy for one map, so we pulled out game boards from other games, declared them other planets, and used my friends’ Z-Bots as high-count interplanetary units / drop-ships. At this point, rules were probably about 90% improvised (though the core dice-battling mechanic remained), and the game was so preposterous, it was hard to get mad at any of the nonsense that was going on, even if you were losing. The downside of this is that I don’t think anyone ever actually won a game of “Galactic Ultra Risk,” because it didn’t really have a proper endgame.

        • HobbesMkii

           You earned a like from me entirely for Z-Bots.

      • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

        I played one game of Risk with my college buddies. Just one. About three years ago. We still don’t like to talk about it.

        • Fluka

          We played a lot of Risk my sophomore year of college, usually with lots of alcoholic beverages.

          I missed this particular game, but the festivities finally ended when someone vomited on the board.

        • Effigy_Power

          @Fluka:disqus: It’s a move known as the Bush Senior.

      • Alkaron

        I like LotR Risk, mostly because you can play teams if you have 4 people. There are also other avenues to victory besides “completely wipe all other players off the map,” which helps a bit in staving off hurt feelings.

    • Fluka

      LOTR Risk is such bullshit.  They let the Nazgul cavalry pieces cross over water!

    • Bad Horse

      I played so much LOTR Risk in college. 

      • Aaron Riccio

        I was playing NFL Blitz. I’ve wasted my liiiiife.

  • wordsampersand

    Wow, nice work picking five awesome games. (I’m surprised that I actually own all five, too.) Twilight Struggle has settled down in the #1 spot at Board Game Geek for the past few years, and while I might hesitate to declare it as such, it really is an amazing (and amazingly tense) 2-player experience. 

    • Aaron Riccio

      I still enjoy the fact that you can win the game by refusing to compete in the Olympics, so long as your opponent’s the one who played the card. :)

  • Raging Bear

    Good luck, Gameological. I can definitely sympathize, because here in New Mexico, we have heard of this thing you call “rain.” The news said it’s like that stuff from the shower, only all over the place. It sounds terrifying. Be safe.

  • SaoirseRonanTheAccuser

    My recommendation: Sentinels of the Multiverse.  It’s a cooperative superhero card game with a surprisingly huge amount of diversity in playstyle.  I picked it up last week, and I’ve been absolutely in love with it.

    That said, Citadels, Catan, Small World, Forbidden Island – all excellent games, and great ways to pass the time.  When Atlanta got hit by a blizzard two years ago (read: like, 2 inches of snow that shut the whole city down) me and a few friends played Catan for hours, then picked up Arkham Horror after.

    I haven’t heard of Lost Cities or Twilight Struggle, but I’ll definitely look into ‘em, thanks!

  • Chivo Classic

    Has someone made a “I have wood for sheep” joke yet? I didn’t see one. Anyway, Catan is quite seriously the best strategy game out there for a lot of reasons.

    • SaoirseRonanTheAccuser

      Catan is also a little bit the game that made me hate strategy games.  The only people I had to play with for a long time were dating/recently got engaged, and they would refuse to attack each other in the game.  Which left, of course, only one target for all their shitty moves…

      • Bad Horse

        My wife has never had that degree of courtesy. She has always been the cutthroatest Catan player. Also the best. I have taken 3 games off her in probably 50+ attempts, with very different groups of players at different levels of experience. She just has that game cracked.

        • Aaron Riccio

          My friends hate playing Catan with me now, on account of how cruel I am with the robber and my massive road-blocks. Even more so in C&K.

    • Alkaron

      Catan is a good game, but its biggest virtue lies mostly in showing newbies to the hobby that strategy games don’t have to be intimidating rules-fests. Once you get a sense of everything that’s out there, Catan kind of pales by comparison. The last time I played it was 6 months ago, and then it was more for nostalgia’s sake rather than because I thought it was the best board-gaming option.

      I tend to prefer Carcassonne for stormy-weather family activities. No dice to make you feel unlucky, and no robber to make you want to strangle your own kin. Carcassonne’s like competitive jigsaw-puzzle building: laid-back; good for hanging out and talking instead of hurting your brain; but with enough strategy that there’s actually a point to investing in it.

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

        Yeah, Catan is nice, and even though I haven’t played many other board games yet, I can tell that there are some pretty big flaws with it. I think it relies too much on chance still, and you can get blocked off and have no chance of winning pretty early on. That said I still love it as it was my gateway game. 

  • boardgameguy

    this article makes me happy although the events that brought it to life are unfortunate.  another game that could work, although the humor in context is a bit macabre, is survive: escape from atlantis! which has a similar premise to forbidden island but you try to sabotage other players to ensure your own escape.

    • http://twitter.com/tapirman Kyle O’Reilly

      Way to profit from environmental disasters Boardgameguy!

      • boardgameguy

        always trying to take the silver lining.  thanks for noticing Kyle O’ Reilly

  • doyourealize

    Nothing about the Seafarers expansion for Catan. Robber and a pirate ship!

    Our home in northern CT seems to have been in a little safe spot. Nothing too damaging and still have power. You guys can run your offices out of my place for a few days.

  • ShoeLaser

    Got Citadels recently but I haven’t managed to bring it out with more than three playing. I think it could be amazing at 6-7.

    Wife and I played Campaign Manager 2008, which I think is a little boring but obviously the theme is perfect, and Castles of Burgundy, which has the weirdest mechanics I’ve ever seen but is a lot of fun.

    • boardgameguy

      castles of burgundy is super fun.  a worker placement game where the options are limited by what dice you roll.  very good times to be had with that game.

    • Alkaron

      I love Castles. Easily the best game I’ve played all year.

      Now if only the publisher would put out a premium version with higher quality components …

  • Blue T-Shirt

    It takes a goddamn hurricane to finally get you guys to start talking about board games? 

  • Blue T-Shirt

    More board game coverage, please. 

    • Effigy_Power

      I wholeheartedly agree. After years of drought I finally managed to build up a couple of people eager to play and I am out of the loop. My last slew of games is so long ago, Carcassonne was fairly new.

  • Bad Horse

    Fuck yeah, Twilight Struggle. Best $70 I ever spent on some cheap cardboard.

  • http://gameological.com/author/jasonreich/ Jason Reich

    Lost Cities is a great game to play at night because it will help put you to sleep. Not one of my faves. I really want to get into Twilight Struggle but not sure where I’m going to find someone willing to muddle through a first game with me.

    Two other great ones to add to the list are Dominion and Race for the Galaxy, both relatively easy-to-learn card games. Good for newbies because the emphasis is more on working out your own strategy rather than having to keep an eye on what all your opponents are doing, though there is a enough interaction to keep things interesting.

    Meanwhile “evil under-the-couch spirits” produced a hurricane of spit-take coffee here in my apartment. Hope the Gameological crew and all the East Coasters are doing okay. Even natural disasters make me miss New York.

    • Blue T-Shirt

      Wrong twice! Lost Cities is not boring, and Race is not relatively easy-to-learn for any interesting value of “relatively”.

    • Blue T-Shirt

      Wrong twice! Lost Cities is not boring, and Race is not relatively easy-to-learn for any interesting value of “relatively”.

      • Alkaron

        This. Race for the Galaxy sure makes you do a lot of work to play a game that’s basically multiplayer solitaire.

        Dominion, on the other hand, is great.

        • http://gameological.com/author/jasonreich/ Jason Reich

          The multiplayer solitaire aspect is a fair criticism, though I do think once you get into it, understanding your opponent’s strategy and adjusting yours accordingly is a crucial component of the game.

          I think the main problem with RftG is that the actual rules printed with the game are terrible. It lays them out in a way that doesn’t give you any sense of what the gameplay is like. I found it all clicked very easily with a protip or two from people who knew how to play.

        • ShoeLaser

          I think the RFTG expansions do a good job getting rid of the “multiplayer solitaire” feeling. Even so, there’s plenty of interaction in role selection.

        • Aaron Riccio

          @Stummies:disqus Funny, too, because Race to the Galaxy was attempting to make a game that could be understood purely from iconography. Except that the iconography wound up being so confusing that nobody could understand it without reading the rules. 

          It’s a swell game, though, once you’ve got a couple of expansions mixed in to keep your strategies constantly evolving. I think I’d rather play Eminent Domain, though, especially with the new combative expansion coming out (to avoid the multiplayer solitaire . . . though I think “Pounce” — actual mutliplayer solitaire — is still a great game).

        • Aaron Riccio

          @Stummies:disqus Funny, too, because Race to the Galaxy was attempting to make a game that could be understood purely from iconography. Except that the iconography wound up being so confusing that nobody could understand it without reading the rules. 

          It’s a swell game, though, once you’ve got a couple of expansions mixed in to keep your strategies constantly evolving. I think I’d rather play Eminent Domain, though, especially with the new combative expansion coming out (to avoid the multiplayer solitaire . . . though I think “Pounce” — actual mutliplayer solitaire — is still a great game).

  • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

    funnily enough, I just got Space Alert this weekend, which requires you to play along to an audio track. Fortunately, I’m not near the coast. I’m actually figuring it out pretty well with my group and it seems like it’s going to be LOADS OF FUN. It’s already pretty hectic, and we can’t even survive the tutorial phases. I’m just glad my friends are mostly into roguelikes, and the whole “failure-is-fun” thing. I love watching our plans go afoul and seeing exactly how our ship gets destroyed.

    I highly recommend it.

    Also, YAY BOARDGAME STUFF! I really want to play Twilight Struggle, but I’m holding off on getting it until I have a few more games in my collection. I now own Catan and Space Alert, along with some more common games, so i’m trying to have a nice variety of gametypes and things like that. I think I’ll get Dominion next.

    • Alkaron

      Have you had a chance to try Zombicide yet? It’s similar to Space Alert in that “losing” is just as fun as winning, except in Zombicide you get torn apart by mobs of ravening undead instead of asphyxiating in space.

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

        I haven’t heard of that one at all. I’ll probably steer clear of co-op games for a while, and I’m not too big into the Zombie theme right now, but I’ll put that in my list of games to check out. I think another Gameologician (?) recommended Last Night on Earth, which I’ve also put onto my list.  

        • boardgameguy

          don’t get dominion!  it’s only a games mechanic! there are other games that better incorporate deck building into actual games like a few acres of snow or quarriors (with dice rather than cards).

          take this with a grain of salt as i think i’m the minority opinion on this one.  if you do want to get dominion, i suggest the Intrigue stand alone expansion which at least gives each card more variability.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

          Yeah, I’ve heard more than a few complaints about Dominion that make me kind of second guess it. I really am trying to pick up games that don’t require much to get into so I can get more people to play. I splurged on Space Alert ’cause it sounded so fun, but I feel like I should get more beginner friendly games. What would you recommend if I want a deckbuilding game that is relatively quick to play and not too hard to get into?

          I may pick up Carcassonne or Dixit next. I’m saving Twilight Struggle and Battlestar Galactica for later purchases. Any beginner to medium level games you’d advise me to check out? 

        • Aaron Riccio

          @Douchetoevsky:disqus I’m fairly sure you can find FTP versions of Dominion online. They don’t have all the cards, but they have enough variety to let you play around with a plethora of strategies and to decide which expansions you actually like. (Prosperity is fantastic, for instance, Alchemy is shit.)

        • Aaron Riccio

          @Douchetoevsky:disqus I’m fairly sure you can find FTP versions of Dominion online. They don’t have all the cards, but they have enough variety to let you play around with a plethora of strategies and to decide which expansions you actually like. (Prosperity is fantastic, for instance, Alchemy is shit.)

        • Alkaron

          @Douchetoevsky:disqus Carcassonne’s a great choice if you’re looking for something that’s easy for beginners to pick up and play. It’s the first game I break out when trying to introduce new people to the hobby. Dixit’s also good, though it’s more of a party game than a strategy game.

          Really, if you want a deckbuilding game, I haven’t found a more elegant design than Dominion. Flavor-wise, it’s a bit flat, but it just plays better than anything else I’ve tried. I especially didn’t care for Quarriors, mostly because the dice introduce an element of luck that doesn’t need to be there. I’d recommend Puzzle Strike over Quarriors if a strong theme is important to you. Eminent Domain is also quite fun, though it’s more a hybrid between deckbuilding and “role selection.”

          As for other beginner-to-medium games: give “Ra” a try. It’s a game built around a bidding mechanic that offers a lot of depth. Plus, it can be learned and played in an hour—important when you’re trying to hook newbies.

        • Aaron Riccio

          I second “Ra,” especially if you like bidding mechanics. (There’s also a dice game, that’s not bad, but . . . it’s dice.)

          For an example of a *good* dice game, by the way, check out Stone Age, which is to Agricola as Backgammon is to Chess. 

          Also, in terms of the variety that Dominion brings to the table, there’s the DOTA 2 of board games, a real classic, Cosmic Encounters. With so many different aliens and varieties of play, it’s a great game to keep coming back to, so long as your friends don’t hold grudges. 

          I’ve also gotten a kick out of the recent reprint of Wiz-War.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andy.tuttle.79 Andy Tuttle

    Another fun game that kind of ties in with the hurricane is the game Pandemic. Its a co-op game where you work together to stop the spread of a deadly disease around the planet. Another game I would recommend for this hurricane theme is Save Doctor Lucky. You and your friends play as characters on a sinking ocean liner and you follow Doctor Lucky around from room to room trying your best to save him using special cards. The goal is to get someone to see you doing it and lay your claim to his vast fortune for when he dies, so then you go to the closet and pull out the next game, Kill Doctor Lucky.

    • Aaron Riccio

      I can never really quite enjoy a co-op game, although the ones that involve traitors, or the possibilities of one, can be enjoyable, though they range from balanced (Shadows Over Camelot) to argumentative (The Resistance) to crazily unfair (Battlestar Galactica). 

      • http://www.facebook.com/andy.tuttle.79 Andy Tuttle

         If you like co-op games with a traitor I suggest House on Haunted Hill. It reminds me a bit of the movie Cabin in the Woods because you go in as four or five horror film “types” and then once you activate a particular object in a specific room then a monster comes out, someone betrays the group and the rest of you have to figure out how to win. Sometimes you kill the monster, sometimes you escape the house, sometimes you have to find a potion to make yourself big again before the cat eats you. Its a great game.