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suggestions for board game for small work team

torata
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suggestions for board game for small work team

#102305

Postby torata » December 7th, 2017, 12:03 am

I want to have a short board game session with my work team, none of whom play board games (and some of whom don't speak English, so not too much reading of cards).

Flavour: a bit of trust and maybe getting a better result by working together overcoming challenges (or chance events), but possibly with the ability to stiff each other and become competitive, and bring out people's real character. I want it interesting as the team have a tendency to default to goody-goody /collaboration mode (so possibly something were individuals have slightly different goals?) They are sharp so would quickly spot an XY/Prisoner Dilemna type game and default to instant collaboration.

Based on the games I know, Diplomacy meets Monopoly

The purpose of the evening is to get below the surface of the individuals. We had an interesting evening a few months ago with an escape room/treasure hunt where the unfamiliarity of it quickly showed how the members all tended to work.

Team size is 5 (maybe 6)

Time: about 1 hour to 1.5

As I don't live in the UK realistically I have to buy it untried, so if people can echo suggestions they like left by others, that would be helpful.

thanks in advance

torata

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Re: suggestions for board game for small work team

#102323

Postby redsturgeon » December 7th, 2017, 7:20 am

torata wrote:I want to have a short board game session with my work team, none of whom play board games (and some of whom don't speak English, so not too much reading of cards).

Flavour: a bit of trust and maybe getting a better result by working together overcoming challenges (or chance events), but possibly with the ability to stiff each other and become competitive, and bring out people's real character. I want it interesting as the team have a tendency to default to goody-goody /collaboration mode (so possibly something were individuals have slightly different goals?) They are sharp so would quickly spot an XY/Prisoner Dilemna type game and default to instant collaboration.

Based on the games I know, Diplomacy meets Monopoly

The purpose of the evening is to get below the surface of the individuals. We had an interesting evening a few months ago with an escape room/treasure hunt where the unfamiliarity of it quickly showed how the members all tended to work.

Team size is 5 (maybe 6)

Time: about 1 hour to 1.5

As I don't live in the UK realistically I have to buy it untried, so if people can echo suggestions they like left by others, that would be helpful.

thanks in advance

torata


That's a pretty tough brief. I'd suggest Risk which meets the not much reading criteria and allows for both strategic alliances and double dealing.

It might over run 1.5 hours though.

John

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Re: suggestions for board game for small work team

#102358

Postby GoSeigen » December 7th, 2017, 9:38 am

Perudo is a great game of dice -- quick and easy to learn, fun, flexible in terms of player numbers, not trivial but not complex either. It's simple enough but simultaneously interesting eonough to be enjoyed by both adults and children playing together. The key themes of the game are: maths/probablility, luck, risk taking, bluffing. It's more an invividual than a team game but there is scope for ganging up/alliances and there might be mileage in pairing up the players to try to win as a team rather than individually.

Has the additional advantage of not being costly -- you could get by with buying 6x5 coloured dice and 6 beakers and downloading the rules, though there is a certain tactile enjoyment in using the supplied sturdy and colourful plastic beakers.

You'll easily learn and play two or three rounds of the game in your time allotted and there will be no language challenges at all. Suggest you try the game in advance for familiarity.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dudo

GS

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Re: suggestions for board game for small work team

#102373

Postby UncleEbenezer » December 7th, 2017, 10:08 am

Reading your description, I thought "diplomacy" until you mentioned it yourself.

Does it have to be a board game? If you were to ditch the board for a pack of cards, maybe you could make something of Eleusis?

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Re: suggestions for board game for small work team

#102390

Postby UncleIan » December 7th, 2017, 10:46 am

If you're trying to bond a team together...I'd steer well clear of Risk and Monopoly. I've rarely ever played a game of either of those that didn't end in at least a little ill feeling, if not all out arguments and accusations. Explaining the rules to those with limited English might be a challenge too.

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Re: suggestions for board game for small work team

#102472

Postby GoSeigen » December 7th, 2017, 2:30 pm

UncleIan wrote:If you're trying to bond a team together...I'd steer well clear of Risk and Monopoly. I've rarely ever played a game of either of those that didn't end in at least a little ill feeling, if not all out arguments and accusations. Explaining the rules to those with limited English might be a challenge too.


Risk can be great fun with the Mac or other computer version and a bottle of whiskey...


GS
Wistfully reminded of college days in halls with 9:1 female to male ratio!

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Re: suggestions for board game for small work team

#102492

Postby UncleIan » December 7th, 2017, 3:34 pm

GoSeigen wrote:Risk can be great fun with the Mac or other computer version and a bottle of whiskey...


A Risk drinking game? Each army a sip? Sounds entertaining indeed! Or have I misunderstood?

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Re: suggestions for board game for small work team

#102504

Postby UncleEbenezer » December 7th, 2017, 4:03 pm

GoSeigen wrote:Wistfully reminded of college days in halls with 9:1 female to male ratio!

Hey, were you in that first year Girton went mixed? Or where else was this?

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Re: suggestions for board game for small work team

#103277

Postby torata » December 10th, 2017, 10:57 pm

Thanks for the suggestions so far.
Just not enough time for Diplomacy.

Eleusis (or maybe the Express version) and Perudo are interesting suggestions. It doesn't have to be a board game. Perudo reminds me of a bluffing card game that I used to play called "Bullshit", so one option would be to have a variety of card games and possibly get people to play in pairs. Similar to Eleusis is Zendo.

One board game that came up on my searches was Carcassone - does anyone have any experience of it?

torata

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Re: suggestions for board game for small work team

#103597

Postby SalvorHardin » December 12th, 2017, 1:23 pm

torata wrote:One board game that came up on my searches was Carcassone - does anyone have any experience of it?

I play a lot of boardgames. Carcassone is pretty good for newcomers, it's fairly easy to learn, has decent repeat gameplay and players are generally always in with a chance of winning. I can't comment much more because I haven't played it for years.

My number one recommendation is "Settlers of Catan". It plays well, games generally don't last more than 90 minutes, no-one is ever eliminated and most of the time players have a chance of winning (Catan is one of those games where players can recover from seemingly desperate positions). And there's plenty of player-player interaction.

Catan is a typical "Eurogame" (simple rules, not much text, not too much luck in the game, quite a bit of player-player interaction with scope for nobbling your opponents if only by not trading with them). Catan is designed for 3 or 4 players though the company sells an expansion for 5 to 6 players (Catan has numerous expansions).

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/13/catan
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catan

For a group of mostly new players, for games without too much text, I'd recommend having a look at the following:

Caylus
Puerto Rico (for many years Puerto Rico was the top rated game on boardgame geek)
Thurn und Taxis (4 players, though I believe that it can be expanded fairly easily)
Ticket to Ride (there are lots of versions, start with the original)
Ys (yes, that's how it is spelt; the problem is that Ys is 2 to 4 players)

A good introductory game, though with probably too much text for non-English speakers is "Sons of Anarchy: Men of Mayhem" which with one of the expansions can accomodate 5 or 6 players. It used to be safe to assume that any boardgame based on a TV series or film will be terrible; nowadays that isn't the case thanks to games like" Sons of Anarchy", "Firefly" and "Spartacus: A Game of Blood & Treachery".

For some more ideas I'd recommend having a look at the top recommended games on Boardgamegeek

I'd recommend avoiding Monopoly (and to a lesser extent Risk). How bad is Monopoly? No-one in my boardgame groups will play Monopoly (and I'm a Hasbro shareholder!). The main complaint that boardgamers have about Monopoly, asides from it being a poor game, is that in order to win everyone else has to be eliminated which means that lots of players end up spending quite a bit of time not playing - when you've turned up to boardgame. "Fast Food Franchise", the attempt to turn Monopoly into a half-decent game, is far better though it still retains some of the awful gameplay of Monopoly.

The other games our groups play regularly (Agricola, Dominion, Dune (Avalon Hill's version), Firefly, Judge Dredd, Kremlin, Le Havre, Small World, Spartacus) have too much reading for groups with non-English speakers. We used to play Diplomacy occasionally but player elimination quickly became too much of an issue.

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Re: suggestions for board game for small work team

#103885

Postby Gengulphus » December 13th, 2017, 12:09 pm

SalvorHardin wrote:My number one recommendation is "Settlers of Catan". It plays well, games generally don't last more than 90 minutes, no-one is ever eliminated and most of the time players have a chance of winning (Catan is one of those games where players can recover from seemingly desperate positions). And there's plenty of player-player interaction.

Catan is a typical "Eurogame" (simple rules, not much text, not too much luck in the game, quite a bit of player-player interaction with scope for nobbling your opponents if only by not trading with them). Catan is designed for 3 or 4 players though the company sells an expansion for 5 to 6 players (Catan has numerous expansions).

I can certainly echo that - Settlers of Catan is one of my favourite games, and offhand the only one I can think of that can cope with more than 4 players.

I'm not certain though just what balance of co-operation and competitiveness torata is after, so I will add that it is basically very competitive, like most other board games. Co-operation only really arises because the player in the lead gets ganged up on by the others! Though the scope for ganging up is quite limited - it's mainly a matter of trying to stop or at least slow down the leading player's progress rather than reversing it, and one does have to watch out for helping the 2nd-leading player too much...

I have played a number of co-operative games over the years, and have generally enjoyed them - but have seldom played any particular one of them more than once or twice because the group I play with tend to want to try out new acquisitions (most of which are not co-operative) and I don't manage to get along to it all that often... As a result, I've forgotten many details of most of them, such as their names! My general impression is though that most of them have been of the "either everyone loses or everyone wins" type, making them 100% co-operative and 0% competitive, rather than the "either everyone loses or the players are ranked in winning order" type, which gives a different balance of co-operation and competition to most games.

Also, I only remember one which was suitable for as many as 5 players, and that's of the "either everyone loses or everyone wins" type: it's called "Forbidden Desert" (https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/136 ... den-desert), and has a "race against time to escape from a desert before thirst or the ever-more-violent sandstorm gets you" theme to it. The players take different roles, each of which has a useful special ability, which will tend to set different players thinking along somewhat different lines. That can work out well if the players bounce ideas off each other and come up with a better plan than any of them would have thought of on their own; not so well if some players are a good deal more assertive than others, who end up essentially being spectators as the more-assertive players (or even just one assertive player) end up running everything...

Gengulphus

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Re: suggestions for board game for small work team

#103916

Postby SalvorHardin » December 13th, 2017, 1:53 pm

Gengulphus wrote:I can certainly echo that - Settlers of Catan is one of my favourite games, and offhand the only one I can think of that can cope with more than 4 players.

Catan is really good and surprisingly mainstream. Supergirl plays it and I gather it's been referenced quite a bit in "Big Bang Theory"

https://twitter.com/supergirltvsite/sta ... lang=en-gb
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/148094 ... -supergirl

There are quite a few games which can cope with five or more players. A good place to start is to look at games designed by Reiner Knizia, arguably the top boardgames designer in the world, who has created over 600 games and many of these are designed for 5 players (I believe that this was the size of his gaming group when he started designing). Three of his five-player games which I own are "Amun-Re", "Modern Art" and "Ra".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reiner_Knizia
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame ... ner-knizia

Amongst the better known games by other designers which are designed for up to five players are "Carcassone", "Caylus" and "Puerto Rico". The Game of Thrones boardgame "A Game of Thrones" is for 3 to 6 players (it pre-dates the TV series and is a pretty good game). "Junta" can cope with seven (the more players the merrier). And "Dune" is really designed for six, though it plays pretty well with five, and there are various homebrew expansions out there which make it up to eight.

Games Workshop's "Judge Dredd" is for 2 to 6 players, again the more the merrier. Somewhat less serious than the games mentioned above (it's surprising how often we find Judge Death committing the crimes of "Old Comic Selling" or "Tobacco Smoking"). We often play it at the end of the evening after a more involved game. It really captures the feel of the comic strip.

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Re: suggestions for board game for small work team

#104026

Postby Gengulphus » December 14th, 2017, 4:29 am

SalvorHardin wrote:
Gengulphus wrote:I can certainly echo that - Settlers of Catan is one of my favourite games, and offhand the only one I can think of that can cope with more than 4 players.

...
There are quite a few games which can cope with five or more players. A good place to start is to look at games designed by Reiner Knizia, arguably the top boardgames designer in the world, who has created over 600 games and many of these are designed for 5 players (I believe that this was the size of his gaming group when he started designing). Three of his five-player games which I own are "Amun-Re", "Modern Art" and "Ra".

Sorry, I was a bit unclear there. I meant that it was the only one of my favourite games that I could think of offhand that can cope with more than 4 players, not that it was the only game I could think of offhand that could do so!

And yes, Reiner Knizia is a very good game designer. I've got a few of his, and have played several more owned by other members of the group I play with. Mine include "Ra", which is a game I enjoy a lot when I play it - but it's not quite in my list of favourite games. Must admit I don't remember quite why not - it's been some years since I last had a game of it - so I probably ought to try for another sometime...

Gengulphus

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Re: suggestions for board game for small work team

#104276

Postby gryffron » December 14th, 2017, 10:20 pm

I'd vote for settlers of Catan as a great starter game too.

One of my personal favourites is Junta. 6 or 7 players. 1 1/2 hours per game. Not at all serious. Players are the senior families of a Central American dictatorship, and the objective is to stash as many pesos as you can into your Swiss bank account. Very structured turns make it very easy to learn. Though it is a bit backstabbing.

Or any of the Munchkin card games. As many players as you like. Less than an hour per game. Dead easy to play and fun. Although foreign language speakers might not get the the jokes.

Gryff

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Re: suggestions for board game for small work team

#104605

Postby BobbyD » December 16th, 2017, 7:42 pm

Settlers of Catan. - You can familiarise yourself with the gameplay in the online version here, for a few quid. https://catanuniverse.com/en/game Played a lot during the beta when the site and matching left a bit to be desired, but you can certainly get a feel for the game.

Ticket to Ride has more of the different objectives for different players element, both Europe and America Maps will take 5 players. Every map has slightly different rules. There's an online here: https://www.daysofwonder.com/online/en/t2r/ America 1910, big cities rules heads up FTW.

(Both far better as board games than online.)

If you were asked to design a game which ticked all the boxes of a terrible game you'd end up with monopoly, and I've seen vegan pacifists fighting over a game of risk...

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Re: suggestions for board game for small work team

#105121

Postby torata » December 19th, 2017, 12:12 pm

Thanks for all the suggestions.

Considering more deeply about the individuals and the levels of strategy, treachery, language dependency and general complexity made me go for Ticket to Ride Europe ('family' game), even though I think I personally would have preferred Puerto Rico or one of the others.

Possible 2nd game of the evening will be zendo with lego

torata


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