I know I searched for a few titles on the forum in the past and came up with nothing, so here is (probably?) the first thread on WATMM devoted to board games in general. After all, having all the rules and mechanics in your head and manipulating physical pieces according to the said rules is pretty IDM right?
A lot of people think about Monopoly and then maaaybe Settlers Of Catan when board games are mentioned but the truth is the board game community evolved so much in the past 15 years it's ridiculous. It has become a very strong niche with a lot of devotees; single-person developers gaining as much as 3,5 million dollars on Kickstarter campaigns; play-cafes are opening up in more or less every capital nowadays. The result are also more complex games, longer games, more expensive games, more expansions, etc. It truly became a very big and convulted world of board game enthusiasts. Some are attracted to miniatures and beautiful components, others to the intricate gameplay.
Board game are nowadays usually sorted as euro or ameritrash. Ameritrash games try to invoke the theme as authentic as possible - they are usually centered on conflict and have quite a lot of luck involved. Euro games are more abstract and have indirect conflicts, no player elimination and a low level of luck.
I'm still quite new to the whole board-game shenanigans, but for me they represent a fine balance between an innovative mechanic, limited physical space, components, entertainment and socialising. The limitations are really interesting to me - you can pack 1000000 codelines into a video game, but when designing a board game you have to make everything as elegant as possible, so it can fit into a box and into a head.
Sooo, does anyone play anything? Any recommendations?
I'll start of with a few titles:
SETTLERS OF CATAN
So, this is known as the gateway drug for most of players. As such it usually isn't played anymore when you turn to more complex games but it has its merit. For starters, it was the first game I played that I admired its balance. You build villages, towns and roads to harvest different resources through the game and be the first one to gain 10 victory points. There are numerous ways to get victory points and you have to constantly shift your strategy based on what resources are harvested and what your opponents are doing. If you are new to this, I strongly recommend a game or two of this.
The first meatier game I purchased and played with my friends. Blood rage is dudes-on-a-map game, which means conducting battles on a board in the style of Risk. But it is so much more. Its theme are Vikings and portions of the map are getting destroyed by Ragnarok as the game progresses. You can be aggressive, protective, you can even gain victory points by losing battles with the power of Loki. The tension is crazy and it gets even wilder as new battle cards come into play. I had to stand up and walk around the room a few times after losing a battle. Crazy fun.
This is known as the most euro game of all euro games. It is Settlers Of Catan on stereoids. You control a race with a distinct power and terrain-type and you can only build on your terrain-type, so you have to terraform the board to your liking. Others are also manipulating the board and there are cults and different advantages in different rounds and bonuses and... But still this is a game that is played with perfect knowledge. From the start of the initial setup you know what will be important when and how, no luck involved. The only variable is what others are doing. It is truly engaging and hard and for a while it was the best rated board game on https://boardgamegeek.com
I haven't played this yet, but it is currently the best rated game on BGG. The box it comes in weighs 20 pounds and you get choose-your-own-adventure style of an evolving RPG campaign, divided in 100+ scenarios, each requiring a few hours of gameplay. It contains multiple characters, enemies, secret envelopes, modification cards, etc... What you do will influence everything that follows. Gloomhaven is a legacy game. Legacy games are the new craze. They include game-changing mechanics, which expect you to tear up cards, add permanent stickers to the board, etc., all of which ultimately make the game more intimate and involved. Since Gloomhaven is so big and almost impossible to ever finish, this mechanic really adds to the experience.