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 "Outdoor 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.
I love that game! At the community theatre I participate in, it is a popular backstage game when we aren't on stage. (:
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...
What I don't enjoy about playing resistance, is that, unlike in Mafia, people who are really bad at lying are under a lot of pressure to get on missions, if they are the ...bad guys, I forget the name. I'm ok, I can lie fairly convincingly I think, but I feel the game is 'broken' in that it's not everyone that can.
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.
I can't believe it either.
And Fantasy Flight Games already have one with the Star Wars IP. And boy are they making good use of it. https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/products/#/universe/star-wars
Also, there's a miniature combat game being released:
(Its via rpggeek because my workplace blocks bgg.com but not rpggeek.com, for some reason)
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)
Currently playing Twilight Imperium. Fourteen hour galactic politics game. Best game I've ever played, also the most frustrating.
You playing the new 4th edition or the 3rd edition?
Ohh, this is my Jam. I love board games. I and my friends go down to a local pub and play every Monday night since the Local Game store lets you play samples for free. So I am going to make some suggestions for Mizal and everyone else for good starter games.
In no Particular Order:
This game starts out fairly simple. Each turn you draw one card from the deck and Play one from your hand. However as the game continues the rules get more and more complex as you add them. Instead of playing one card from your hand; play four. Things of that nature come up until someone archives the Goal (Another type of card you play so the win condition also changes). It is a fast fun game that has multiple different versions including one that is a drinking game as well.
Ever wanted to play a role-playing game but didn't have time to make characters or a campaign? What to just kick down a door in a dungeon get loot and kick ass? Well this is the game for you. There are multiple versions of this game but they all involve the same things. Kick down a door, kill a monster, get treasure, and level up. First one to get to level 10 wins.
This game involves you being a rich megalomaniac trying to out buy, blackmail, and threaten your competition. The end goal is to corrupt the most people in town. This involves a system of placing secret bids and whoever places the best bid wins the influence of that individual for the turn. Can you prove yourself to be the Head honcho of the town?
4. Five Tribes the Djinns of Naqala
This game is basically an advance version of Mancala. You pick up all the tokens from one space and move them to another dropping on off on each space you move. This game has the added benefit of the colors all doing specific things. One of the best parts of this game is that you can get Djinn who make you more powerful as they grant your wishes. The way to win is to get the land worth the most points by the end.
This is a great game of word association. There are two teams and on each of the teams is a player called the Spymaster. The spymaster knows who each of the spy for their team are called but can’t say the codename out loud for fear of the enemy finding them. It’s up to the other players to use the hints from the spymaster to find all there agents before the enemy team find all of them.
6. Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Duel at Mt. Skullzfyre
This is a dirty hilarious game where your all wizards casting spells to kill each other and that’s it. You use three cards called Source, delivery, and Quality to make your spell. This is not a game suited for the easily offended or children. For example one of my personal favorite spells is Testikill which art shows magical balls getting chopped in half.
So Dixit lands in the more abstract games on this list. It is a game where each turn someone says a word or phrase that represents a card in there hand and the rest of the people pick a card biased on that phase. Then the phase giver shuffles all the cards together and flips them over and it’s time for the other players to guess what card was originally in the Phase givers hand. The art is beautiful and it is a fairly peaceful game to end a night on.
I have more but considering this post is already getting to be my longest ever on the site (Not including a debate on whether dropping Nukes in WWII was justified). I leave it at this. I love board games and if anyone needs suggestions I am always down to help.
Yeah Epic Spell Wars is pretty cool. Epic Spell Wars: Rumble at Castle Tentakill adds a few new rules to the original, including summoned creatures.
Supposed to have another expansion coming out for it as well.
Codenames is fantastic and actually mentally stimulating.
Munchkin is awesome and how I got my other half to play Descent: Journeys in the Dark (2nd ed) with me.
Been looking at Gloomhaven recently, but only issue with KS based games is lack of availability.
Also, was given Clank! in! Space! as a christmas gift, not played it yet, but it'll be my first deckbuilder, anyone had any experience with it or its predecessor?
Usually if a game is KS exclusive I just stop looking at it. 7th Continent for example seemed intriguing, but I just don't go in for the whole Kickstarter thing.
Not really fond of games that have a bunch of KS exclusive bonuses that you can't other wise get either.
Sentinels of the Multiverse is a fun one that had tons of KS stuff but most of that wen on sell later in separate card packs.
Well that is to bad. A fun game to bring the family together is Cards against humanity......
The only problem with Cards Against Humanity is everyone seems to want to play it all the time.
Mainly because it seems to be all these family suburban types who like to play it since they get some thrill out of being "offensive" and saying "naughty words" because its apparently the only time they're allowed or get the opportunity to do so.
Meanwhile all I'm thinking is this is Tuesday and a mild one at that.
I mostly play it with drunk collage friends at one in the morning. Where the superhero PussyMan is the funniest shit ever. If you want an even more twisted game you can look for Moral Dilemma. It is a game that gives you a situation and you choose one of the options you view as more "Moral". One of my favorite cards is this.
Your driving a car down the street and hit a dog with an attractive owner. She mistakes you as a friendly passer by who is trying to help her since her guide dog just died. You two are really hitting it off and she takes you back to her apartment. Do you?
A. Use a condom, No point in making her life any harder.
B. No protection. She can use the kid to help her see.
Of course I doubt this is shocking to you but pulling that card out at family game night was one of the best decisions I ever made.
Didn't think anyone actually played that game so much as they just put the contraption together and set it off.
I mean, it is the best part.
That depends, the new version that my kids have is nowhere near as fun to set off as the one I had growing up.
I know I’m late to the thread but I wanted to add Star Realms, Love Letter, T.I.M.E. Stories, and Dr. Eureaka to an already impressive list. I run a board game club at our local library and have enjoyed keeping up with new titles. Castle Panic is a group favorite but we’ve recently added Star Trek Panic to the mix. Agents of Smersh is pretty cool if you like Tales of Arabian Nights. It is pretty much the same game but with a James Bond style. Superfight is also a nice alternative that fits between Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity.
Well since Mizal's expressed an interest in colonizing Mars, I'll suggest the closest thing she'll get to it.
There's also First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet, but it isn't as highly rated.
Personally, I highly recommend the reviews here: https://arstechnica.com/series/ars-cardboard/
Holy crap, I didn't realize this thread was already over a year old.
Well Daemon hasn't been on in awhile, but if he (or anyone else) is still interested, the Fallout game is alright.
Gameplay as they would say on BGG is a bit "fiddly", since you're doing a lot of checking up on various icons and such but I imagine that gets better over the course of getting the rules down and not having to refer to them as much. As usual, it's probably best to play through it solo once before playing with a group. It has solo rules anyway so it makes a run through easier in that regard.
The game comes with 4 scenarios. The Commonwealth, Captial Wasteland, The Pitt, and Far Harbor. All of them have different set ups and the rival factions are different of course. Your goal is to get a certain level of influence in the wasteland before one of the factions wins. If none of the players do so, then one of the factions wins and all the players lose.
One of the more interesting things about the game is the CYOA story element since a scenario begins with a starter mission and depending on which one gets completed more story/mission cards get draw leading to more branches and options. One example is there are a couple of Vault decks, but you can't access them unless you complete some mission that allows you to do so. (Finding the vault for example)
Sometimes the way they worded shit on the cards isn't clear though due to the iconography, but again it probably becomes less of an issue after a few playthroughs.
Anyway, glad I enjoyed the game since they're coming out with a New California expansion which apparently is adding more characters to play as, new stuff, and two new scenarios. I know one is "Rise of the Master" so looks like they're doing the old fallout games. I thought if they were going to do an expansion, they would do New Vegas next, but maybe they're saving that for the second expansion.
Played through the first couple chapters of the House of Danger CYOA “boardgame."
So far it’s just as bat shit insane as the book based on the encounters, which have ranged from things like shrinking to a miniature size and exploring a doll house, a crazed Union general ghost that sic’d his giant Venus fly trap plants on us (resulting in death) and a chimp working at a desk who politely removed his monocle before viciously attacking. (Which we won)
The premise is a little different than the book which involves trio of teenage detective types exploring a weird house (Which has NO consistency between choice paths hence the bat shit insanity in it) In the game, you’re a psychic detective exploring the house which has been popping up in your nightmares and psychic premonitions or some shit. Along with choice making there are challenges to over come and a couple stats. There's basically two things to keep track of which is the danger level and psychic strength. You usually get more useful clues/items for passing challenges, which can help you later on.
Dying doesn't end the game immediately, it just sends you back to the last encounter and you usually get a penalty to your psychic strength or something. I imagine if you die in the last chapter, it's permanent.
Anyway, looking forward to finishing up the next 3 chapters of the game at some point. Also hoping that much like the book, there's an ending where you literally turn into Genghis Khan.
(I don't give a shit what the book says, that's a fucking win as far as I'm concerned)
I've seen that House of Danger game at Target. I own the original book. I can understand the bit about no consistency among choice paths because R.A. Montgomery wrote the book and he also wrote the CYOA book Trouble on Planet Earth, where the world's oil supply has mysteriously disappeared and, depending on the choices you make, was stolen by aliens or a terrorist organization called THRUSH. Like if A.E. Van Vogt or Philip K. Dick wrote a CYOA.
So I'm assuming the game can be played by multiple players or done as a solo game? I suppose that MIGHT justify in the insanely-high price it's selling for. You know they also have a card game based on the old Oregon Trail computer game, too.
Yeah you can play it solo or as a co-op with multiple people.
Actually got the Oregon Trail game too, someone bought it as a gift, though I know it's got shit reviews mostly complaining about how easy it is to die in it. Which sounds like it's pretty faithful to the video game.
Oregon Trail looks like it'd be fun to play with friends at a party, especially if someone dies of dysentery. I think they have a hand-held video game version of it, too! So I'm assuming House of Danger has a million times more options than the book?
Yeah it’s got more options, though some of the options you can only access if you pass a challenge or have a high enough psychic strength. There are the chapter cards which is the meat of the main game play and contains the story/choices and challenges, but there are a bunch of clue cards, some of which can sort of result in more choices as well.
When you get to the end of a chapter, you also get the option of “going back” to areas you haven’t done so you can try to gain more clues/items though this increases the danger level. Personally I’ve sort of been playing “just go forward and don’t look back.” Seems better that way, and will probably give a bit more replay value when going through it again.
You're in luck, they just came out with a "Hunt for Food" expansion which can be added to the base game, or played by itself.
Finished the House of Danger game, which resulted in the world getting blown up. No seriously, that's how it ended.
Anyway it was fun and I guess it's good for a few more playthroughs. Actually it probably would be suitable as a forum game due to the CYOA nature of it. Multiple people voting for a choice, etc. I'd just keep track of die rolls and such since there aren't many stats or anything to keep track of.
Though maybe it might be better to set something like this up in the Discord in the Round Table channel.
They came out with another game this year based on "War with the Evil Power Master." I admit I've been curious about this and the HoD game, but "Power Master" was never my favorite CYOA.
Interesting. They seem to be coming out with game versions of the CYOAs I actually owned. (I didn't own many of them)
War with the Evil Power Master was sort of a sequel, since there was another one I owned set in the same universe and had the power master villain. That one was called Prisoner of the Ant People.
Lol Hasbro trolling.
Well with all the talk about Woban Island, might as well bring this to Bill's attention if he isn't already aware of it.
They remade Fireball Island with several expansions, supposed to be better than the original one which admittedly looked cool, but gameplay was sort of meh. I ended up making up my own rules to it when I used to own it.
The new game is expensive, though, and limited to 4 players. I bought this as a Christmas present for someone, and I had it propped up (unopened) in front of me as I was writing the new story. I am looking forward to playing it in a couple weeks. (There will be some young children present who will also want to play, so we may have to simplify the rules a bit.)
So I did briefly get a chance to play the new Fireball Island this weekend. My reaction: I'm not entirely sure I like the new version. Or rather, the objective is a little too diluted, as you are basically just running across the island trying to collect random points. The gem is just one object you can collect, and not necessarily the most valuable. And with so many paths to follow, it is easy to roll the "fire balls" without knocking over any of your opponents.
But this was based on a single playing that was somewhat rushed.
I was still on the fence about getting that one, I'll probably hold off though unless I got money to just throw around and nothing better is available.
Well I had some money to throw around and my wife wanted it for Valentine's Day so we finally got around to playing it.
I actually like the new Fireball Island more than I thought I would and think it's better than the original. I didn't bother with any of the expansions, but I might be inclined to get some that add a few more cards and such.
Still need to get around to posting about some other games I played recently that are slightly CYOA related.
Glad you enjoyed it. Admittedly, the one time I was able to play the new version there was a time constraint, so there might have been aspects I missed. But there were three of us playing, and most of the time when a fireball rolled not much happened because the board was so big and it was easy to miss all the players.
To be honest, I remember very little about the original... except that it impressed me enough in 1988, apparently.
Okay, so two board games I played recently with story telling elements.
First one I’ll mention is Call to Adventure. This one definitely encourages the story telling as you’re playing.
Basically you get some cards and you set them up by “Act” which indicate the journey that your hero’s story is going to go. So the first act cards you start with are going to probably give you stuff like “Apprentice” or “Squire.”
The final third act card you have is presumably your character’s “destiny” is kept secret until you’ve collected enough cards to reach it.
Each act requires resolving certain events and such. The cards in the first act of course tend to be “early adventurer” type stuff like “Eliminating the forest bandits.” or “Finding the magic sword.” Later acts have stuff like “Discovering forbidden lore” or even antagonists like “The demon lord.”
Resolving the events usually involves rolling a certain amount of runes based on the cards you’ve collected. If you succeed then you take the event and add the bonuses from it to your character. If you don’t then you just lose that opportunity to take that card.
You can add dark runes to increase your chances to beat a situation, but the dark rune can add more tragedy to your hero which can decease your over all points in scoring. However there are more than a few cards that give points for extra tragedy, dark fate and such, so going the grim dark anti-hero route is a perfectly viable way to win sometimes.
As I said, it’s more about the story you’re telling that connect the cards of what your protagonist is doing that’s sort of the major fun bit about the game since the game itself is rather simple.
Apparently the designers of this game have been contacting established fantasy writers for the expansions which add new elements to the game. Unfortunately this means the new cards start becoming more specific to a particular fantasy world and I’d rather they just make expansions that aren’t tied to any existing fantasy world mainly because you have to take certain cards out of the base game otherwise they won’t make sense. (Like if there aren’t any dragons in some writer’s world, well it won’t make much sense if you’re slaying one)
As a result, I haven’t bought any of the expansions, but hopefully they come out with one that’s just a bunch of “generic” fantasy stuff like the base game since more cards and new elements would be welcome.
The second game I’ve played quite a bit as well and that one is called Escape the Dark Castle.
This one is a cooperative game where you’re these wretched prisoners trying to escape (wait for it) the Dark Castle.
Specifically the dungeon where you’ve been held captive of course. You’re no Chad or Stacy like adventurers either. Your choice of characters are humble peasant types like tailor, cook or at best a hunter.
You go through a series of cards which represent the castle and it’s events you have to overcome as a group. These events are usually dangerous in some way, ranging traps to combat with creatures. All this stuff is resolved with some good old fashioned dice rolling.
Each character gets their own dice, so some characters are better in certain traits than others. The Mason will have more “might” results on his dice while the Abbot will have more “wisdom.”
You can get some items along the way that can help you out, but again, you’re not some bad ass adventurer, so you can only carry two items at a time, only one if you have a two handed weapon. There are 4 of you though, so exchange equipment as you see fit. If you’re lucky you might find a bag to carry more shit or even a NPC ally.
Your characters are generally going to take a beating since there aren’t too many things that allow you to heal massive amounts of hit points. Maybe 1 at best from half rotten apples or stale bread. No seriously, you’re in a fucking dark castle, you’re not finding nice shiny fruit in there, let alone weapons in pristine condition, you’re lucky if you find a rusty sword. You’re equally likely to pick up a curse or a disease that rots your arm so can only carry one item (and no two handed weapons!)
The last card of course is the boss which is usually suitably difficult to get past. Beat the boss and you escape.
There are some minor CYOA elements involved on some of the cards which give you some options on how to tackle a situation. The big attraction for me on this game is the artwork which looks like something out of an old 80s RPG book or heavy metal album cover. All the cards come with flavor text as well. They definitely captured the oppressive feel pretty well. At least I thought so.
Other than escaping (Good luck with that) the game technically ends when ONE of the prisoners die, but I house rule that shit so it doesn’t end until ALL the prisoners die. I don’t see why the rest of the prisoners should just give up because their fellows were too weak to survive. Of course less characters makes the later encounters more difficult, meaning less chance to survive anyway, but that’s in keeping with the spirit of the game.
I was lucky with this game since it was one of those Kickstarter games that had most of the stuff for the game as kickstarter exclusive, but I managed to find the base game with all three expansion packs together in a store I go to sometimes to look around. Instantly bought it all and glad I did.
They’re also coming out with a scifi version called “Escape the Dark Sector” which takes place on a space station so I’ll be on the look out for that one as well.
Escape the Dark Castle was actually one of those games I was thinking about doing in CYOA format here with you lot since it does contain CYOA elements and I could easily write more details as far as the story and amusing dialogue between your characters of course.
My personal top 7:
7. Betrayal at the House on the Hill.
Okay, basically you and some other people roam a cool mansion and find stuff. At some point there's a 'haunt' where something happens. It can range from the mansion being filled with a shit ton of deadly acid goo, (Anyone remember that old movie 'The Blob'?) to a literal Demonic Invasion. It's pretty cool.
6. 7 Wonders.
The goal of the game is to get the most points at the end. You do this by doing things during each age. You can also build a wonder of the world for a shit ton of points, hence the name.
5. Exploding Kittens.
This is more of a game for 5 year olds but what the hell, it's fun as shit. You try not to get killed by exploding kittens with various cards and shit. It's fun. There's also an Imploding Kittens expansion, which comes with a nice cone of shame if you forget which way the flow of play is going.
4. Settlers of Catan.
Simple, long, and fun. Basically you settle on land and try to get rich. You can trade with other settlements for stuff, you can open of a port to trade for stuff, ect.
Okay, top 3.
3. Disney Villainous.
Relatively complicated, fun, and both expansions can be played as their own separate games. In the game you play as a Disney villain and try to complete a certain objective. For example, Captain Hook has to defeat Peter Pan at the Jolly Roger, Maleficent has to have a curse at each location, Prince John has to get a fuckton of money, ect. Basically everything's villain specific, and it's pretty fun.
2. Ticket to Ride.
Stupidly simple, incredibly fun. This game is super ease to learn, and can take a while, but it's really rewarding. Also, there are a few variations like a Europe edition, one for kids, ect.
1. Portal: The Uncooperative Cake Acquisition Game.
This. Game. Man, is it fun. The flow of play can be disrupted really quickly, and the fun just never stops. You play as Bendys trying to get the most cake on the board when the game ends. There's also turrets, Companion cubes, and a lot of in-depth strategy in a game that looks deceptively simple.
Alright, that's my top 7.
Just saw this, and skimmed through the other suggestions. There are a ton of good games on here, that range from simple to complex. Here is a few games that have gone over well when I have introduced them to people:
Relevant to Sent's text wall and someone bringing up the game.
Edge of Darkness
I've thought about getting this game a few times, but since it's a deck building euro style game I passed on it, since those are two major things I'm not fond of in my games as a general rule, even if the theme sounds interesting.
There was this one board game I used to play as a kid. It's been around forever. I think they release new versions of it almost every year? I'm not 100% sure but it used to kind of scare me. I don't remember the name. There would be up to 4 players. Each obviously picked one of the pieces to represent them on the board. You all fought to be the first one to the end (like any other game). The start of the turn would have the player pull a card then go to/do whatever it said. People would be reset at the beginning, have their character killed off, or even double their normal movements. All along the way you needed to gain momentum and defeat the cities and castles on the way. You pretty much would "blitzkeig" through an "NPC/mini boss area". The bosses were pretty easy compared to the players. It was hard to lose against them. They were all monsterous looking fantasy creatures that would give me nightmares honestly. I mean I was probably too young to have play it. Anywho, It was the other players you had to watch out for. You all wanted to get to the final castle to claim your throne and kill the other players, this ending the game. It caused so many fights among my friends and family who played. Oh yeah! I remember the name of it now: Candyland!
Secret Hitler has been my go to board game for a while. Secret Hitler is similar to the game mafia where there is a secret group of fascists trying to pass fascist policies in post WWI Germany, while the rest of the players are liberals who try and pass liberal policies. As more fascist polices get played, the government gets new powers, such as killing a player. Very fun game, but needs a minimum of 5 people.
That one's been out awhile, I remember when I first brought it up on the forums here and Morgan tried to hijack the topic by shilling her faggot friend's game or something.
Anyway sort of amusing they made all the Nazis look like reptilians.
I had a friend who always used to bring board games to play with the friend group. A lot of games he brought are on here, like Coup, Codenames, Sheriff of Nottingham, etc, but here's a couple of Asymmetric multiplayer games that I didn't see mention that I myself enjoyed:
Both in the sense that you have your fellow explorers and also that there is a murderous beast after you.
In this game, one player plays The Creature, and the other player play The Hunted, who have crash landed on the Creature's planet. The Creature has Hunt cards and Creature Tokens that they can use to harm, kill or otherwise disable The Hunted. The Hunted have Survival cards which they can use to confuse, distract, or otherwise stall the creature until a rescue ship arrives. If The Hunted successfully last until the the cavalry comes, they win. If The Creature kills everyone, it wins.
I had some pretty good times with that one, and some big brain plays were involved both on both sides in tricking and baiting the Hunted into danger, or bamboozling the Creature into making a stupid move. Pretty fun times with friends. 8/10 would play again.
DECEPTION:MURDER IN HONG KONG
A classic neo-noir murder mystery.
As with the name of the game, there has been a murder in Hong Kong, and all players are part of the Hong Kong police force. The catch is, one of the players has committed the murder, and utilized their police resources to cover their tracks. Unfortunately for them, another player has witnessed this murder, and knows who the murderer is. The final major role is that of the forensic scientist, who is investigating the crime and giving players clues, and is pretty much the GM. The goal of the murderer is to either wait out the investigation, or, if caught, to deduce the identity of the witness.
Now that the summary is out of the way, let's get into detail:
At the start of the game, Everyone gets 4 Evidence cards and 4 Means cards. after the roles are handed out, everyone covers their eyes but the murderer and the forensic scientist. The murderer chooses one Evidence card and one Means card (ex. Letter, Sledgehammer), then closes their eyes. The witness then opens their eyes and the forensic scientist points out the murderer. The witness closes their eyes, then everyone opens their eyes, and the forensic scientist gives out clues.
The clues always start with Location and Cause of Death (ex. home, severe injury). The next 5 clues are random cards, which can be helpful (ex. Duration of crime) to situational (ex. Weather). every round, one clue is switched for another random one (or a random event happens that may help or hurt the investigation), allowing the investigators to narrow the evidence.
Investigators are trying to find the murderer. They have use of a police badge which allows them one guess at a single person's Evidence and Means. Guess correctly both cards, and the murderer is caught. Guess wrong, and their badge is taken away.
The Witness knows who the murderer is, but not his cards. They are trying to shift suspicion onto the murderer, without being blatantly obvious that they are the witness, waiting for an opportune time to use their badge.
The Murderer is attempting to shift the blame onto others but themselves. They may even use their badge to do so, giving the illusion of cooperation. If they are caught, they can guess who the witness was, and if they do, the witness is killed and they still win.
An optional role is The Accomplice, who knows who the murderer is and how they killed, and likewise tries to support the murderer in the facade and will win if the murderer gets away.
An expansion, Deception: Undercover Allies, adds in more Evidence and Means cards, more Clues and Events for the Forensic Scientist, and 3 new roles: Protection Detail (An Investigator who knows who the witness is), Lab Technician (Who can secretly test ONE Evidence/Means card), and Inside Man (Who, working for the murderer, has the ability to take a badge from a player. Even the murderer himself, to dispel suspicion.)
Anyway, pretty fun game. I liked being the Forensic Scientist and helping to rationalize a story, like why the heck would a t-shirt be evidence for a death ray murder. It's sort of like mafia but with extra steps. Pretty fun watching people realize what happened, though. 9/10, would play again a lot.
Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
Deception: Undercover Allies
Because Hasbro can't stop trolling the libs.
This one was even better, but apparently it got temporarily pulled from shelves for pissing people off too much. (It's available again now I guess)
Anyone here come across Dominion? I'm shocked to find it not mentioned, as far as I could tell...
Yeah, I know Dominion is pretty popular in the boardgame community (And even the casuals) but I never liked it. I owned it at one time and ended up giving it away to someone. Not a big deckbuilder mechanic fan in general.
What kind of games do you prefer?
I posted most of them in this thread.
Yeah, our American housemate is quite fond of that draw-power strategy :)
Me and my friends play it a lot. So I'm biased. But I would argue there are not always cards that allow you to draw more cards/have more actions. You also have the whole dimension of attacking others, trashing their money or cursing them. I feel the art in building a good deck is combining cards effectively to complement each other. And then duration cards add a whole other dimension, in the later expansion packs.
I also feel (frustratingly at times) there is a meaningful element of chance in the cards you draw, which sometimes screws you over despite wise choices. That makes the game interesting. And every once in a while, you get a golden combination of cards allowing you to not just play the card stealing the other players' treasure, but repeat that card a second time and steal even more...
Anyhow, in a nutshell - I do like it.
Well let's bump this thread for those that are into the boardgame scene here.
Finally got around to playing this one, but probably haven't even scratched the surface of it due to all the factions and strategies involved. This rundown of the game will probably be mostly for Mizal's interest since this is basically Redwall the game.
This game is basically an asymmetrical wargame despite what anyone else says. You're playing as one of the many factions trying to control the forest.
The 4 basic factions in the game are the Marquis De Cat, The Eyrie Dynasty, The Woodland Alliance and the Vagabond and they all play vastly differently.
The Marquise Cats start out in control of nearly all the forest, their goal is basically in the "colonizer" role of building a bunch of buildings and scoring points that way. They have a stronger army than most of the other factions so they're straight forward to play.
The Eyrie (birds) were the original rulers of the forest and they only control one section in the beginning but have a stockpile of birds to spread out pretty quickly and build their roosts. They also have a lot more focus on combat (They don't even get many points for trading items) and are more straight forward, but they have to adhere to their "Decree" which gets longer and longer with each turn. Basically they have to perform any action in their decree and failing to do so means their current leader is overthrown and they start all over again with a new decree and new leader.
The woodland alliance is basically made up of mice, bunnies and foxes who are sick of all the other empires telling them what to do so they play a bit more different, trying to build up sympathy over time to gain more soldiers on the board. While they aren't as great at attacking, they're better at defending. They're less straight forward to play since you can't just stomp all over everyone with soldiers.
The vagabond is the wildcard adventurer. Basically you've got a choice of what sort of vagabond to play as like ranger, thief, tinkerer, but there's even MORE options in the expansions. Each type is represented by a different animal (Like they made the thief a raccoon, the wolf a ranger, etc) and has different abilities.
As the vagabond, you're basically going to be traveling around doing tasks for the other factions and gaining points by doing so. So it's literally like you're playing something like Fallout and running around doing quests for the various factions until you eventually decide to pick a side (Usually your own).
It's probably the most complex to play as the vagabond, but you get more freedom to do what you want in general and don't have to worry about controlling zones and such.
Not enough factions? Well there's expansions that add more!
There's the Riverfolk faction which are made up of otters and beavers. They're basically arms dealers and traders. They get to travel quickly along the rivers on the board and can set up shop in an area selling cards, items and such to the other factions that might need them and mainly earn their points that way. They also hire out as mercs in case someone needs extra troops to take over a place.
Not exactly spelled out but other factions can trade their people as payment to the Riverfolk faction which basically means the Riverfolk are SLAVERS.
If playing Otter slavers isn't sinister enough for you can play as the Lizard Cult. The lizards are basically outcasts from everyone and are preying upon the other factions by trying to lure away their people into joining. They play a little bit like the Woodland Alliance in that they have to build up before striking out.
The Corvid Conspiracy are another faction that aren't a major presence on the board immediately. They basically set up traps and bombs in areas, weave their plots and then at the right time and assuming everything goes as planned, they'll jump up in points with their bombs blowing up everyone in a clearing and then suddenly a bunch of corvids showing up in areas.
Finally there's the Underground Duchy which is a faction of moles. The moles don't even start on the board and can suddenly pop up anywhere. They're one of the "heavy hitter" factions with a large army. They're also into building a lot of structures to gain points. Though like the eyrie, they have an extra obstacle to them which is "war support." Basically the Mole dutchy has to keep the nobility happy with victories to prove that this invasion of the surface is even worth the trouble. More victories means more support and extra help from the nobles. Losing too much results in loss of support making your endeavors more difficult.
There's certainly a lot of strategies here and if you have no friends (like Mizal) never fear, there is the Clockwork expansion which basically gives you automated versions of some of the factions so you can play with yourself!
Oh yeah, I've heard of that one. It was made by Kiel Farren, wasn't it?
Lol the artwork was made by Kyle Ferrin.
Pretty sure this guy isn't the infamous Pedo Mod Kiel Farren, mainly because the artwork isn't animesque.