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International Tabletop Day 2017 Miskolc - Event coverageimage © Puskás Tibor

If you have limited time, but you'd still like to get the broadest possible experience with boardgames, I've collected my recommendations you should try.

Bang!: It's a card based antagonistic boardgame, with randomly drawn roles. To achieve victory, you need to guess the roles of the others, while having conversations and drawing guns on them. The randomly drawn characters also make every single game different. There are several, themed variants of Bang!, so if you don't like the western shoot-em-up setting, you might find others that fit your tastes. A similar, but less antagonistic game is Resistance, that also have several variants.

  • hidden roles
  • social interaction to achieve victory
  • random characters

Camel Up: It's a semi-antagonistic boardgame of betting on racing camels. It has the most accurate betting mechanic I've seen in games. It's also great that every single action affects the game - there's no grinding and waiting for your opportunity. The semi-antagonistic nature is also interesting, as players don't actively try to hurt the others, just try to get the most out of the situations.

  • semi-antagonistic
  • every action counts

Cthulhu Wars: It's an asymmetric, antagonistic boardgame of ancients gods who compete for the destruction of the world. Every single faction has totally different rules to achieve victory, making this game a bit hard to explain to new players, but a great experience to play. It could be also played in a semi-antagonistic way, unless Cthulhu is one of the playier factions. Similar games are Chaos in the Old World, Glorantha: The Gods War.

  • different gameplay rules for different faction

Escape: It's a real-time, limited time cooperative boardgame. You don't have unlimited time to play the game, and your team must cooperate to achieve victory. A similar real-time game is Project: ELITE and Mech Command, but both of those game have long pauses between short real-time sessions.

  • real-time
  • limited time
  • cooperative

Gamemaster run games: They are antagonistic asymmetric games of completing objectives while killing monsters. They are similar to Zombicide, but the opposition is played by another player instead of the system itself. Recommended games: Descent (FFG), Hero Quest (MB), Space Crusade (MB), Space Hulk (GW), The Others: 7 Sins (CMON), Tyranid Assault (GW).

  • cooperative for one group of the players

Kragmortha: It's an antagonistic boardgame. The game is unique in that while it's the usual boardgame, with pawn running around the board, the game effects affect the players, not the characters. It might lead to some strange situations with heavily impaired players.

  • the actions affect the players, not the characters

President: It's an antagonistic card game of climbing hierarchy. The most effective players of a round get advantages, while the less effective get disadvantages. One drawback of the game is that the taxing depends on the honesty (or sometimes intelligence) of the players, so it can be abused (or at least get messed up).

  • climbing game, the previous game affects the current one

Zombicide: It's a cooperative boardgame of completing objectives while killing zombies. The cooperative nature makes it an interesting experience, as the opposition is being run by the game rules. There are several similar cooperative boardgames out there (Imperial Assault, Massive Darkness, etc), but the stupidity of the zombies make playing the opposition easier and believable.

  • cooperative game
  • opposition run by the system (enemy AI)

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While not especially unique, I'd recommend trying the following games if you didn't have a chance yet:

Activity: It's a semi-antagonistic social game of using different abilities, and knowing the other players. Similar games you might try are Codenames, Dixit, Imagine, Pictionary, but those focus on the use a single player ability.

Chess: It's an antagonistic boardgame of crushing enemy forces with easy to learn rules. If you get too good at Chess, you should try the limited time variant.

Citadel: It's an antagonistic card-based social game. It's similar to Settlers of Catan, but I enjoyed it more due to the more options that arise from the directly antagonistic gameplay.

Settlers of Catan: It's a semi-antagonistic social game of empire building. You need to barter with the other players to gain resources to be able to build settlements.

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Games with a gimmick - these are ones that could be interesting to try, but I don't know how it would enhance my gaming experience.

Games with elements that use dexterity: You play a normal game, but you also have to build or manipulate something that have effect on your success. For example games that use Tower of Dread (Jenga blocks). I can imagine you can also create similar games from Animal Upon Animal or Meeple Circus.

Games with night vision googles: The game is played in a dark room. The players can only see a part of the playing area that is lit by the leds on their playing pieces. The Gamemaster has night vision googles and can see the whole playing area. The only game I know that uses this gimmick is The Depth of Durangar.

Games with pieces that get destroyed: These are one-shot games - if you play them through, you won't be able to play start again. Several escape room games fall into this category, but games like Pandemic Legacy should be also played in a way that changes the pieces permanently.

I like the element of change in a game (Wasteland was the first game I've been introduced to this idea), however I'd like to have the chance to reset it if I feel like starting over again.

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Do you agree on these recommended boardgame choices? Do you know other boardgames you would recommend? Tell us in the comments!

 

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