Okay so Mizal was asking me about this, but since it’s a lot of info and I don’t feel like dealing with the spotty AIDS ridden server at the Villain Lair (It probably caught it from Steve) and furiously typing a bunch of shit whenever I can actually get a hold of her on there, I’m just going to put it here instead.
And yes, I could also just do a PM, but since Sentinel was also asking about boardgame related shit recently too, I might as well post for all to enjoy or whatever. Feel free to make your own suggestions.
Anyway, apparently Mizal potentially has a group of soccer moms to play with so no doubt they’re a bunch of filthy casuals when it comes to boardgames and will need simple rules. I’ll try to oblige, but it’ll probably go off rails at times. I’ll also try to avoid games with a shitload of expansions.
Okay, here’s 10 in no particular order:
1. Survive! Escape From Atlantis
This one isn’t that complex. Everyone has some people on Atlantis and you have to get them to another island while Atlantis is falling apart. Of course while that’s all going on, there are sharks, whales and sea serpents in the water ready to eat you (or destroy your boats). Get your people to safety while trying to kill everyone else. It’s pretty cutthroat which is why I like it.
There are a couple mini-expansions, one which adds 5&6 players (But Mizal doesn’t have that many friends. Lol) and another which adds giant squids if you want the game to be even more dangerous. (Of course you do)
2. Castle Panic
This is another easy one. Everyone has to work together so the castle in the center of the board that they’re defending doesn’t get overrun by the monsters that are attacking it. You play various cards to kill them or rebuild your destroyed walls. It’s basically a tower defense game in boardgames format.
You usually play it co-op, but it’s more fun to play it semi co-op so the person who killed the most monsters is the ultimate winner.
If you ever manage to get past your filthy casual phase, there are some mini-expansions that ramp up the difficulty and change the game a bit. (Like adding a wizard’s tower so you get magic spells, tougher monsters, etc)
There’s also Zombie Panic, if you want a modern zombie theme instead. Plays slightly different, but similar premise.
3. Downfall of Pompeii
In this one, you start off by placing your people in the empty buildings of the city and try to get as many as you can in the city before the volcano erupts. When the volcano does erupt now you have the task of getting them all out before they all get killed. Obviously the more people you save the more points you get.
This one is similar to Survive in that it gets cutthroat since everyone is trying to divert the lava to the other players instead. I remember killing a shitload of folks by blocking off all the exits on one side of the city. I had to kill some of my own people in the process, but it was worth it and I won.
4. King of Tokyo
Doesn’t get any simpler than rolling a lot of dice Yahtzee style. In this one, you take control of a giant monster and try to beat the chicken soup out of all the other monsters. Along the way, there are cards in play that you can gain which give your monster various abilities and advantages. You either win by being the last monster standing or getting 20 victory points before everyone else.
Again, this one has some expansions. One of which makes all the monsters a bit more “personalized” by giving them their own unique abilities.
Also there’s another version called King of New York which adds more complex rules, but I figure you’ll have a hard enough time figuring out the base game.
5. Forbidden Desert
This is another Co-op. Basically you and the other players are stuck in a desert and you have to rebuild this vehicle to get yourselves out of there before you’re buried by it. Each player has a different role, so they all have unique abilities. (Carry more water, dig out more desert tiles, move quicker, etc) Meanwhile the desert is constantly shifting, the sun is beating down and the sandstorms get worse.
There is another version of this game as well called Forbidden Island (Which came out first) which is a sinking island where you have to find four treasures instead. It’s a little easier too, if you think FD might be too difficult for you and the soccer moms.
6. Tsuro of the Seas
This one is an abstract strategy game, but it’s pretty easy and if you ever get more people that like you (Never happen. Lol) it can play up to 8 and still not get bogged down. You take control of a ship and lay down tiles to create your path. The object is to do this as long as possible without going off the board or crashing into another or eaten by a sea serpent. Last player still alive on the board wins.
And as usual, there is another version of this game just called Tsuro (came out first) which is simpler (No sea serpents) but I’m suggesting this version not because I’m mocking you yet again for being a newbie scrub, but because you can still play this game without the sea serpents. So you’re getting both versions already.
Also if you want more to this game, there’s a mini-expansion which adds a few extra things (whirlpools, cannons to kill the serpents, etc)
7. Awful Green Things From Outer Space
Since I know you don’t really have any friends and the few people that you can actually convince to play with you can be counted on one half of a hand, I’m suggesting this 2 player game. Now I could also suggest Hive if you want something more abstract and more chess like, but I’m still trying to mostly go with games that have a theme, because that’s generally more fun.
Anyway, in this game you either take the role of the ship’s crew or the green things. The crew are trying to kill the green things and vice versa. Generally the green things are better at combat and can replenish their losses while the crew can’t, but they can use various objects on the ship to help them in combat. The problem lies with it is unknown what effect these items will have on the green things. So a jar of acid for example, might kill them or it might just stun them, or it could even make them grow. You won’t know until you test everything out.
And if all else fails, the crew can escape in their life pods and blow up the ship, but then you have to play out a little CYOA (with some dice rolling) to see if those pods actually make it to safety. (So you could still lose if everyone dies on the way)
8. The Doom That Came To Atlantic City
It’s Cthulhu monopoly!
No, actually it isn’t one of the many themed monopoly boards. This is actually it’s own game, but it’s very similar to monopoly. Or rather a reversed version of it so it should be simple enough even for you to grasp.
You take control of a great old one (each one has its own special ability) and you go around the board destroying property. Destroy all the property and you get to open up a gate to your dimension there. You also gain cultists which you can then eat/sacrifice for more powers. You can also fight the other players on the board.
First person to open six gates to their dimension wins, but there are some other cards that can lead to a shortcut victory if you fulfill the requirements. Game comes with some really cool figures that represent your other worldly horrors too.
I’d suggest Ghettopoly too for the lulz factor, but good luck ever finding it since it got banned soon after it was released. Glad I still got my copy.
This one is a card game with a cool premise. It’s the French revolution and you’re trying to collect as many valuable heads as possible within 3 days (12 random people per day). Obviously some people are worth more points than others. So chopping off the head of Marie Antoinette is going to be worth a lot more than the Royal Piss Boy (No seriously, there’s a character called that in the game).
You’ll play various cards that allow you to alter the chopping block line so you can get the more valuable people in front or perhaps increase the value of some of the cards or even steal a few heads from other players.
By the end of three days, whoever has the most points wins. Simple.
10. Tales of Arabian Nights
Saved this one for last since I know I mentioned it briefly to you before in the Villain Lair, but I should go into greater detail.
Basically this is a CYOA in board game format. In fact this is one of those rare games where winning isn’t necessarily the important thing, it’s all the crazy shit that can happen to you on your way to trying to accomplish your goals.
You pick a character and a quest and you go from there. You move about on the board, rolling dice, picking up cards and choosing what you want to do on your encounters.
So a typical encounter, you run into a crazy beggar, you want to talk to him, avoid him, attack him, etc. then from there you see what happens.
There are also abilities you can gain that some encounters will ask you for or will allow you to do different things for an encounter (or increase your chances of succeeding).
Also there are many afflictions that can occur due to your encounters. You can be crippled, blessed, turned into a beast, get married, wounded, jailed, outlawed, go insane, become a sultan, and a whole lot more. There is also the dreaded sex changed affliction. (More on that one later)
These afflictions also effect your character in various ways, so like if you got turned into a beast, you can’t use your courtly graces of seduction skill. Or if you’re insane, another player chooses your actions during your encounters. Being jailed has its whole other CYOA section of you attempting to escape.
Other things include gaining treasures or gaining access to the really special location encounters that you normally can't just access.
The goal of the game is to accumulate enough destiny and story points and return to Baghdad before everyone else, but as I said, it really is one of those games you play just to see what sort of wacky adventure you have. And it comes with a huge encounters book so you aren’t repeating anything anytime soon and you’ll probably forget if you did as long as you space out your playthroughs.
Just make sure if you’re sex changed, you change yourself back to your original gender because the rules specifically say you cannot win while being sex changed. Yes, you heard right, you cannot win as a tranny and it’s REALLY fucking difficult to change yourself back to normal. (Just like in real life!)
Combine that with the references to praising Allah and enforced heteronormativity (You can only court/marry the opposite gender) and you couldn’t feel more immersed in the patriarchical Islamic setting if you were blowing yourself up to kill the infidels! (I typically play as Sinbad)
Now there is another game called Agents of SMERSH which is another CYOA type boardgame, but that one is much more complex and it might be harder to find.
However, if you want a co-op secret agent set in the 60s theme, then this is one to go for. Hell, I’d say get them both if you can.
Honorable Mention: Talisman
Just adding this one since it's pretty simple and it’s one of my favorite games.
This one is an adventure game of just trying to build your character’s stats up, gain equipment and spells, all to get powerful enough to kill/dominate the other players. It’s simple enough, but there’s many different characters you can play as and cards/spaces to encounter. It’s also an expansion monster. Last edition had 14 expansions, 15 with the unofficial fan made one to round out the board. (And yes I own them all)
However you’re probably not going to easily find it now since licensing agreements for it ran out, and it’s becoming out of stock, but it’s going to be republished at some point in the future by another company.
Anyway, those are 10 games which I think you’d probably like and are low on the complexity scale. I can certainly give more suggestions if you want them.
And Sentinel if you want a really cool game with zombies, story telling, traitors, and more plastic stands than you’ll know what to do with, go buy Dead of Winter (And the expansion The Long Night)
Wil Wheaton does a YouTube channel called Tabletop where he plays several of these games with b list celebs and other gamers. Forbidden desert and tsuro looked very fun.
Funny thing is, I’ve still never played that one or at least not the original. I’ve played “Settlers Jr.” since my wife wanted it for the pirate theme (Comes with little plastic pirate lairs and ships) and I have another version called Settlers of the Stone Age which uses the world map and tries to emulate human migration during that time.
Basically everyone starts out in Africa and tries to spread as much as they can throughout the world. The more you spread out and develop certain tech before others do, the more points you acquire. Instead of “The thief” you have the Neanderthal and/or the Sabertooth Tiger that can mess up your resources and progress instead.
You’re encouraged to spread as much as you can (Making better fur clothing to go across that ice bridge to North America for example) so just sticking around in Africa isn’t a good idea since there is a timed climate change thing going on and parts of it start to become desert that don’t provide anything and Africa becomes a shitty place for your people to live. (THAT’S RACIST!)
I've heard of a couple of the expansions like the Pirate one because my brother's go a couple (he's hooked, Catan will never be fully settled), but the stone age one sounds good.
Yeah, there's a rather infamous one actually called "Oudoor Survival." It's sort of an old game though and generally considered pretty bad, but everyone into games back in the 70s owned it mainly because the board was used for D&D adventures at the time.
I actually had it for awhile from a second hand store. I thought the solitary "Lost" scenario was fun since you just wandered aimlessly as your character slowly died from thirst or hunger. Was hard as hell to actually survive the game.
Anyway, off the top of my head, there is a game called Robinson Crusoe: Adventures of the Cursed Island which puts in an island wilderness survival scenario. I never played it myself though, but from what I know of it, there are some story driven elements in it, exploration and you can pick different scenarios (Like the island also being inhabited by cannibals for instance). It's also a co-op and the characters have different abilities. Most people who have played it seem to really like it, but it's got a lot of rules.
I think it's going to be re-implimented as "Robinson Crusoe: On Mars" or something if you want to fight crazed cannibal Martian colonists instead.
Most of the games focused on survivalist elements tend to be zombie or at least post apocalyptic themed rather than in a realistic setting though.
EDIT: Oh wait! They're coming out with a board game version of This War of Mine. Doesn't get anymore grim survivalist reality than that.
That game is amazing. The rules take a while to learn, but after that it's all good.
Holy shit, Dead of Winter's got a load of plastic stands! And to think I was gonna deprive myself of the Skaven experience just because I thought I wouldn't have enough stands for the hundreds of meatgrinder troops. What fool I was!
Painting lots and lots of models is dumb. Unless, of course, you are painting hundreds of Guardsmen to throw into the H.R. Giger-painted meatgrinder.
Oh, yeah, I wouldn't be able to paint models for the life of me. I'm probably just gonna end up printing out a load of units, cutting them out, and then sticking them in plastic stands.
I think Mizal was looking for more thematic games, so I leaned towards those, rather than the dry eurostyle games, which I’m generally not really a big fan of either. (Hell, I'll take an abstract without any theme over the eurogame style with the dry/boring/pasted on theme)
Ticket, Carc, Puerto (and Settlers) are usually the big “gateway games” due to the ease rules and lack of player elimination.
I’ve played Ticket and Carc, but wasn’t particularly fond of them. Never played Splendor or Puerto Rico, and while I’m not really interested in them, I know other people like them.
PR has the added bonus of possibly being about slavery, but glossing over it by calling the slaves “colonists” instead. Yeah, I know you’d THINK that would draw me to the game, but for some reason it just doesn’t.
Arkham Horror was brought up at the Villain Lair, but that one might be too complex for Mizal’s group. It’s also an expansion monster. I suggested Eldritch Horror since it’s supposed to be a more story driven, more streamlined version of AH. Less fiddly rules and has a global scope rather than just taking place in Arkham. Still an expansion monster though.
For whatever reason I didn’t get into Arkham Horror either. Seemed like something I would have liked, but just didn’t click with me.
Star Wars X-Wing I wasn’t even going to suggest because I figure Mizal doesn’t want to spend her meager savings on game crack since that one is that “collectable” design which I’m not a fan of. Yeah she could just buy the base game, but that one is really designed for you to keep collecting shit. Plus you have to have a large play area and rulers and stuff for it. Again, probably too much for Mizal’s group.
I played the game once with someone else who owns all the stuff (Best way to play it) and I didn’t mind it and even won, but it still wasn’t something I was nuts over. The other imperial guy I was teamed up with was sure I would lose my tie fighters. Instead I didn’t lose any of my ships and had to pull him out the fire despite him being the big expert on the game.
The Legacy style games are a whole other topic. With both of them, it probably helps if you can play with the same people in the ongoing “campaign.” Not sure what Mizal’s feelings are on Risk, but the Pandemic one is supposed to have a bit more story so that one might hold more appeal. The rules change up from game to game so again it might not be for Mizal’s group since she said she wants to keep it simple so they can remember how to play from session to session.
Haven’t played either, but personally I’d probably like the Risk one more since I’m not really big on the original Pandemic.
God I feel bad for Billy.
Source: was billy :(
Mizal said they were Mexican Walmart moms (still could be soccer moms though), so it's possible complex rules might be a problem due to a language barrier.
I could suggest Cash N' Guns where you try to get as much money you can after a heist while pointing foam guns at each other in a Mexican stand off situation. That one plays better with more people though.
Even the nerds were physically tougher back in IAP's day. I mean you actually had to run and find hiding placing from bullies which kept one in good shape. Either that, or you learned how to fight.
Nowadays, if the nerds have to deal with the bullies, they just have to block them online and report them to the school, who will then probably send a SWAT team to go raid the bully's house just for calling him a "Doodyhead" on the internet.
I like games like Coup, Resistance, and mafia. I guess that's why I drive the soccer mom van...
I was going to suggest Gloom since it's all about making your family as miserable as possible and then killing them to score maximum points, but the cards are generally pretty text heavy with rules so I figured it might not work for her group.
If she did get it, she probably should stick with just the base game before adding expansions since it can get confusing with all the different card rule effects.
Ah, Betrayal at House on the Hill might be good if you want something well-themed enough for the normies to get in on it. It's pretty straightforward at first, though the learning curve ramps up for the second half of the game. I guess it's a good gateway game that way- Lure them in with simple fun, then drop the book on them and make them learn on the fly without realizing it.
It's basically "Cabin in the Woods: The Game." Widow's Walk expansion adds 50 more haunts and some more rooms/cards.
And apparently because it wasn't nerdy enough it's getting a re-theme:
In a similar vein, there's also Death Angel (Not the Warhammer one) that's not only free, but seems pretty straightforward. Since a lot of the game is flavor text, it should be pretty easy to "Mod" your own stories and location designs into the game later once you finish the campaign the first time.
So another recommendation for Mizal (or whoever is into this stuff)
Near and Far (Along with Above and Below)
Going to start with Near and Far first since I just bought and played it. This game is a semi-sequel to Above and Below (Brief mention on that one later)
Near and Far at its core an exploration game with storytelling elements. The basic goal is to travel from the main city and around the map setting up camps (What I call “civilizing” the area) and getting the most journey points by the end of the game.
You accumulate points through various means such as gold, gems, treasure, artifacts, trade routes, setting up camps, defeating threats, etc.
While you’re doing all this, you’re also hiring adventurers in your party so you can do more stuff as the game goes on (better life, fighting, skill, searching, movement, etc).
The storytelling aspect comes from certain places on the map that have special encounters which lead to having to read a paragraph in a book and then you make your decision based on your choices given. Make your choice and then you have to roll the dice and add up your skill or combat stats and see if you pass the challenge or not. You usually get an extra bonus if you get a couple points higher than the base number you have to achieve.
The game also comes with 12 different maps to play on and three modes of play; campaign, character and arcade.
Campaign mode is the big one where you play every map from start to finish and you gain skills and experience along the way which are passed on from game to game.
Character mode is similar to campaign mode except the character standees now matters since each one has a separate story and goals. You’ll be reading a completely separate section concerning quest encounters now tailor made for the characters. In this one you just have a certain number of quests to complete before moving on to the next map and you’re only going to be playing about 3 maps rather than all of them.
Arcade mode is sort of the “backup plan” of the game to make sure it has even more added replay value. It also serves as a way for you to play a “one off” game without having to play a multiple maps.
With this one you don’t use the storybook at all and you just pick up cards instead for the quest locations. These still give you a choice and a challenge to over come, but you don’t get all the story fluff (Unless you make it up yourself)
In any case its not likely you’re going to run out of stuff to do any time soon since you’ve got 12 different maps with multiple choice quests on all of them. Add character mode which changes up the quest paragraphs for each character and there’s a lot of replay value even without using the cards. (Even more if you got a bad memory!)
So far I played the first map which is basically the starter map to get everyone used to the game. It was pretty fun (especially since I ended up winning). In one of the quests I acquired an “adorable kitten” card which allowed me to gain one life whenever I spent a turn at a camp (I guess everyone gives you warm and fuzzies due to the kitten) or I could lose 2 reputation at any time and exchange the kitten card for one food.
Now contrary to what you might think, I did not in fact eat the kitten. I was already getting a lot of food with a sleeping potion treasure that allowed me to bypass bandit threats and gain one food every time I did so. (So I assume I was eating the sleeping bandits instead)
Anyway, yeah it’s a cool game.
I’ll briefly also mention Above and Below as well. (In fact the Above and Below town is in the first map of Near and Far)
This one is more of a town builder game with story telling elements. No real adventure board like in the other game, just you building various buildings and gaining points for them along with getting more villagers to help in this task. As the name suggests, you’re not just building above ground, you’re also clearing out the tunnels and caves under your town to build down there too, but you have to explore those first.
Exploration in this comes in the form of sending villagers down in the caverns and reading various encounter paragraphs with a few choices to pick from and making a skill roll. Succeeding usually results in some sort of reward and clearing out the area so you can build down there.
I’ve played that one several times and still haven’t exhausted the encounter book for that one either and I recently found a PDF version of the hard to get expansion which adds even more story paragraphs so I don’t see it running out anytime soon.
The game is of course much simpler than Near and Far but just as fun.
Well I know I'm getting this:
Knowing Fantasy Flight, it will have a bunch of expansions.
Surprised to see no love for Zombicide. It's a co-op zombie game where you and your pals have to scavenge for certain items and then "escape" by getting to the end of the board. You earn XP which lets you do more shit and deal more damage, while digging through rooms and cars to find gear. You can also combine items to find to make shit like a Sniper Rifle (scope + rifle) or a Molotov (bottle + gas).
The longer you're on the board the more zombies you kill. This produces Noise, which also draws more zombies. And the more XP you generate, the more dangerous the situations get, and the more zombies and zombie-varieties spawn. By the end of the game you're totally swamped in Fatties, Runners and one really big dude called an Abomination. It's good fun.
I got Zombicide: Black Plague earlier this year, but I just haven't had time to really play it yet.
If anyone is familiar with the board game Pandemic, I just read an amusing anecdote that some guy was playing it with his brother and his brother’s wife and they refused to cure disease outbreaks in the Middle East, East Asia and Africa because they weren’t Christian nations. (The guy got pissed at them and left the game)
Sounds like they would have been better off playing Tomorrow. It’s basically Pandemic in reverse.
You play as one of the six major world powers (US, Russa, EU, China, India, Arab League) and you have to kill off as many people on the planet as possible to get the population down to a manageable level to save the planet. You do this mainly by using biological warfare. You can nuke countries too, but that generally makes things worse since you’re also ruining the land and not just killing the people.
Of course it’s not all about dropping anthrax/smallpox bombs everywhere, you’re also trying to make sure your country still comes out on top when it’s all over, so you score more points by having more of your citizens alive at the end of the game (Or territory under your military control)
On top of being a genocide simulator, it’s probably considered "racist" due to the fact that not everyone is “equal.”
For example, if you start out as India or China, you have a shitload of people, but they’re only worth one point a piece. While the US and the EU have less citizens but they’re worth like five points. Technically from a game mechanic stand point it balances things out among the players, but it hilariously makes it seem like “white people” are worth more than brown and yellow peeps.
Places like South America or Africa aren’t even playable, they’re just sort of hapless victims to get conquered and/or exterminated for points. Usually you’re targeting those places when you’re not trying to actively piss off another player right away and still want to score points.
And on top of everything else, if you all collectively fail to bring the population down to a suitable level within the time limit, EVERYONE DIES.
So yeah, fun for the whole family. (Yes, of course I have a copy)