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Sam Brown

gamer level 3
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Gamer - Level 3
Gamer - Level 3
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Submit 5 game tips, strategies, or house rules and receive a total of 60 positive ratings.
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Go to the Agricola page
Go to the Race for the Galaxy page
Go to the Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm page
Go to the Warmachine: Prime MKII page
Go to the Bohnanza page
Go to the Bohnanza page


48 out of 57 gamers thought this was helpful

Bohnanza is a solid game, even for power gamers. But where it really shines is introducing people to gaming who don’t think of themselves as gamers: People who would run screaming from a Catan board or give a polite no-thanks to Carcassonne and its meeples will more often than not give the cute little beans a chance, and then ask to play again, and again, and again. It’s the most successful gateway game for bringing new players into the hobby, in my experience.

I’ve played Bohnanza with fashion models who weren’t yet ready to join “the German Farming Bikini Team” and I’ve carried it on my back while backpacking across Europe. I ended up buying an extra copy to leave behind at one hostel because it would have been too cruel to cut the newly-minted gamers there off from their new obsession.

There’s a lot more you can say for Bohnanza: It rewards friendly play. It seats up to 7. It’s fast to pick up and fast to play and still has some depth in spite of that. But most of all I love it for its ability to give people who wouldn’t have given gaming a chance an appreciation for my world, and an invitation to join in.

Go to the Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm page
47 out of 57 gamers thought this was helpful

When teaching new players Race, I’m always eager to get them to the stage where they can play this first expansion. The added complexity is very worth it.

The big thing this expansion adds is goals, and the payoff for this small rules addition is huge. Goals dangle a carrot for the players to pursue specific strategies that they would likely have otherwise passed over. It adds replay value immediately, and it just keeps getting better. Being incentivized to pursue unusual strategies leads players down development paths they would have otherwise never explored, keeping the game fresh and building appreciation for the many tactical options the game offers. After playing several games with the this expansion, you’ll realize that strategies you thought were weak were actually viable all along, and see ever more paths to victory, even when playing without it!

Go to the Race for the Galaxy page
42 out of 66 gamers thought this was helpful

Show me another game that has constant strategic choices, yet finishes in under an hour. Yes, as others have commented, the learning curve getting into the game is steep. After introducing a dozens of new players, it still takes me half an hour to get the core concepts of the game across, and the new player doesn’t stand a chance for their first game while they put the ideas into practice. But what deeply strategic game with high replay value doesn’t face the same issue?

In my play group, Race is the game of choice when nobody has another game of Battlestar or Agricola left in them, but isn’t ready to call it a night quite yet. Or when we’ve got 2+ tables of games going, and one table needs to kill half an hour waiting for the second to finish up before we start the next round of big games. It’s worth playing on it’s own, but it’s ability to satisfy power gamers while squeezing into the cracks between other games is what keeps Race on the top of the shelf.

Go to the Warmachine page


100 out of 142 gamers thought this was helpful

A few things that WarMachine is getting very right:

It scales well. You can jump into WarMachine as a skirmish scale game and build up from there. Or you can keep playing it at the skirmish level forever, and it will stay interesting.

You can vary your playstyle without needing to buy a whole new army. Replacing your commander figure alone will completely change the tactics open to your battle force.

And most of all, it keeps the game stripped down to the essentials, and those essentials are well balanced and tactically interesting. Going on three decades as a gamer, pure combat games have a hard time holding my attention anymore. But WarMachine succeeds with grace and style.

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