What “holy grail” games have you discovered? [continued]

Posted by Jim {Power Gamer} | 17-Feb-17 | 17 comments

[This is such a great discussion, I’m gonna keep it at the top for another week, then we’ll go back to “What are you playing” next week.]

I thought I’d switch up this weekend’s discussion a bit…

For me the board game hobby has always had an underlying quest of finding those “holy grail” games that me and those I play with look forward to playing over and over again. Those games aren’t the same for everyone, since each individual and group is unique. I’ll share a couple of mine, and look forward to reading what other games are shared in this discussion.

The Resistance
Probably the most enjoyment I’ve ever gotten out of $15. We don’t always know how many will show up on our game nights, and whenever we’ve got five or more, we always break this game out. Our group just can’t get enough of the craziness that ensues with everyone trying to get their points heard (whether truthful or not!).

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game
We were skeptical of this game at first. We thought it sounded like each game you play you’d be doing the same thing over and over (close locations, find & defeat the villain, rinse, repeat). What we discovered was a game where you’re working closely with your friends to make it through epic adventures. There is a perfect balance of risk/reward as well as being your own force in the game while also working together as a team. This is a game we’ll be playing for a long time!

What “holy grail” games have you discovered, and why did they end up being such great games for you and those you play with?

Comments (15)

Gamer Avatar
7
Canada
Z-Man Games fan
I play red
Indie Board & Cards fan

The Resistance, and it’s “big brother” Avalon would have made my list but two things happened. 1st was multiple plays were people weren’t trying to play the game or were trying to power game too much. 2nd was Coup. the deduction in Coup is nice, and the players get to choose when and how they bluff. It works well with 3-6, and is not terrible with only 2.

But the biggest Holy Grail game for me has been Takenoko. This has worked well with gamers, non-gamers, and even my 8 year old niece. It’s engaging and plays well 2-4. Everyone I have played with has liked the game, and multiple people picked up a copy after a single play to add to their collection.

Gamer Avatar
8
Gamer - Level 8
Guardian Angel
Platinum Supporter

A few for me, those games that have tremendous replayability top my list, Castles of Mad King Ludwig, Mysterium, Five Tribes, and Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards. I really seem to gravitate towards games that set up the same, but the experience of each game is so different with all the same components in play.

Martian Dice has become that end of gaming day/night game that is just fun. My brothers have dubbed it the “chicken” game, cause in our game, if you take chickens first, the tanks come after us big time, almost guaranteed.

Gamer Avatar
5
Tide of Iron fan

My list would include “Lords of Waterdeep”, “Settlers of Catan”, “Ticket to Ride-Europe”, and “Settlers of Canaan” (a settlers of Catan variant). Settlers games are a lot of fun for my wife and other non-gamers or casual gamers. They also find Ticket to Ride as a fun game also. Lords of Waterdeep gets a little deep for some casual gamers, Especially those that don’t play longer games. I would rather play Memoir 44 or Tide of Iron, but my wife won’t play “those” games.

Gamer Avatar
6
Canada
I'm a Real Person
Treasure Map

I have a couple (or three) of games that I just want to play again and again. I guess you could call them my “go to” games.

– Fortune and Glory: the Cliffhanger Game – After I got this game, I found that I can play it again and again, and enjoy it every time. Winning or losing, I definitely want more.

– DungeonQuest – I like the chance to enter the Dungeon and hope to grab some loot and get back out. Sure I have died much more than I have escaped, and find myself cheering on others that have a chance to make it out alive once I have perished.

– Blood Bowl – This is my “chess”. I enjoy playing teams of against each other on the field. Moving your players up and down the field to score a touchdown or prevent one. Fantasy races against each other in a battle to win the day on the field.

I think those are my main go to games. I seem to fall back to those the most.

Gamer Avatar
9
USA
I play blue
El Dorado
Paladin

Two games immediately spring to mind as ‘Holy Grail’ games:

Arkham Horror: I always get many responses when I send out invites to play this, to the point now where I have too many players. I don’t like to play AH with more than four because it starts to get a bit long. However, my gaming group loves the rich theme, the on the edge feel of play, and the variety the expansions provide. This game always draws a huge crowd at our local con too.

Napoleonic Wars: My CDW group loves this game. Always get a ton of responses when I send out invites to play this one. My group loves the non-stop action, the big battles, and the fact that this game never plays the same way twice. Always draws a crowd when I host it at our local con and at the local gaming club monthly meets.

Gamer Avatar
4
I Am What I Am
Comic Book Fan
Basketball Fan
Pet Lover

Some nice picks. Resistance would probably make my list if I still owned it 😛

The sad thing for me is I have a bunch of games that I haven’t even played yet and I’m sure probably WOULD make my “Holy Grail” list. It’s kinda hard for me to make this list b/c I DO have some Holy Grail games, but there are other games I own I feel SHOULD be on the list, but I just haven’t got enough play out of them. Basically games I absolutely loved after one play, but it’s been just that – one play (maybe two). I won’t include those games. =( I also won’t include games that are no longer in my collection (which really breaks my heart, too!)

Anyway, I suppose mine are Blood Rage, Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, Carcassonne, The Grizzled, and I’ll also throw in Imperial Settlers.

Gamer Avatar
1

My preference has been towards dice games, but not exclusively. Machi Koro Roll Through The Ages and Ra: The Dice Game all appeal to me. My favorite has got to be Kingsburg (with the expansion). It has all the elements of most other games (resource management and area control) while heavily luck dependent.

Gamer Avatar
9
Grand Master Grader
Movie Lover
Book Lover
I play blue

For me it was Pandemic. I guess I have been looking for something to top it for two years or more. I got Flashpoint, and it is decent. I tried Ghost Stories, and it is also good. But I just don’t enjoy either as much as I do Pandemic… I am sure there is a Pandemic successor for me just over the horizon, as there are so many great titles available. But the hunt is half the fun.

Gamer Avatar
5
AEG fan
Tasty Minstrel Games Fan

Elder Sign, Catan, and Ticket to Ride come off the shelf most often. Imperial Assault is my groups honorable mention. For me though, Talisman is what started it all and still gets the most requests from the group. It’s hard to beat with the multiple expansions and docs rolling fun.

Gamer Avatar
9
USA
I play blue
El Dorado
Paladin

@Tom – Do you like fantasy themed games? if so, then give Defenders of the Realm a looksie. Plays similar to Pandemic but there’s more to it. It’s a very good game.

Gamer Avatar
9
Grand Master Grader
Movie Lover
Book Lover
I play blue

@Stargszer1-I do like fantasy themed games, and Defenders of the Realm is on my wish list. Thanks for the suggestion.

Gamer Avatar
5
I play blue
Zealot

For my gaming group, the most played game we keep coming back to is Battlestar Galactica. We were fans of the show and a friend bought it as a gift to another. We finally got it out one night, and that is what got us started in this hobby. Plenty of replay value with the different expansions and options within those expansions. Even though it’s many years later and our board game collections have grown tremendously, we still come back to this game quite often. It’s always a great time.

Gamer Avatar
8
Professional Reviewer
Canada
I play black
Silver Supporter

Fun question! My response is going to betray my thematic preference as both mine are LOTR-themed.

Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game because it provides endless variety (hence the Living) and a satisfying experience in a very tight 30-60 min timeframe. It is great as a solo and a group game and it allowed me to share my passion with my young son. I played it around 150 times over last year and it only makes me excited to play more.

Middle Earth Quest is a totally different beast. I played it a grand total of 5 times but it is such an epic and involved experience that I treasure every time I get to have it. Its many mechanics click so well together and it is so immersive and faithful to the world it brings to life that I can’t help but love it. The epic 3+ hr play time makes it hard to be a regular thing but every time it hits the table it’s like a little celebration for me.

I’m curious that Resistance is such a hit with folks. I own it and it is my favourite social deduction game, but the exhaustion I feel after most games preclude me from really loving it.

Gamer Avatar
7
Finland
Advanced Reviewer
Strategist

Without shadow of a doubt Battlestar Galactica. It runs extremely well with my diverse group, only one person dislikes it and he still agrees to play.

Other games divide the group more, but for me The Manhattan Project and Game of Thrones: Board game/Star Wars: Rebellion (shared) holds special place for me.

Gamer Avatar
4
Treasure Map
Explorer - Level 2

It’s early days for me in board gaming — I only started buying and playing in October. So far, the only game that my friends and I are always into playing is Codenames. That’s across the board interested. I generally play different types of games with different groups of people, so aside from Codenames, there aren’t any games that I can get everyone excited to play.

For me personally, I’ve been excited about playing every game I’ve bought, which is now over 20 with more than a dozen pre-orders to come.

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