Tuesday, November 14, 2006


The best board & card games that take 3 or more hours to play...
also nominated:
For comparison, the top five games from 2002:
The Pickers indicated a slight preference for the newest version of History of the World and the American edition of crayon rails (Empire Builder). There was a dead heat between Civilization & Advanced Civilization, with one participant so turned off by Advanced Civ that he refused to vote for the combination.

There was also a lot of griping from the Pickers about how games made it onto the nominations list - "It NEVER takes us 3 hours to play [blank]." Remember, the nominations were compiled from lists of seven games chosen by the Pickers based on their personal experience with these games.



Anonymous josh miller said...

Wow, and all this time I thought my group was a little on the slow side.

Three or more hours for Caylus and Age of Steam?

10:36 AM  
Blogger Chris Farrell said...

Caylus definitely can be over three hours, although I wouldn't think it's generally so (even though it often feels like it to me). But Age of Steam is a head-scratcher, I must admit. My games usually go two hours or so.

This category was tough for me personally because of the slightly ambiguous situation for wargames. I wasn't sure what wargames might get traction with the jury, and what was realistically too far off (the job was made somewhat easier by the fact that Hannibal is not 3+ hours). I ended up nominating EastFront and Successors, although without much optimism that those votes would matter :)

At the time when I voted, I had not yet played Antiquity. Having since played a number of times, I probably would have voted for it.

I'm a little disappointed that Revolution: The Dutch Revolt didn't even make the nomination list (I nominated it). I know some folks have said they've had problems with the rules, but we never have. It's probably my single most-played "long" "euroish" game of the past couple years, although I don't play that many of that sort of game.

11:09 AM  
Blogger Kevin_Whitmore said...

When Age of Steam first came out I was at a game day where three people took about 4+ hours to play it for their first time. I actively avoided it for over a year; fearing it would be deadly dull and s-l-o-w. It took Railroad Tycoon to come out for me to try the system. Later when I tried the original Age of Steam I was delighted to find out that the game was good, and easily playable (with my group) in under 3 hours.

Despite all this trepidation about game length, I'm coming back around to thinking that long games may sometimes still fit my tastes. For many years I played games that took 2 or 3 evening sessions to complete. When I discovered Eurogames in the late 90's they swept a whole class of older games off my table for a long spell.

But lately I've been starting to wish for some of those older longer games again. I haven't played Civilization in years, but I'm finally ready to do so again. When Tresham's Revolution was released I didn't really consider getting it. But now I wonder...

Die Macher is one of the few longer games I've played in the last couple years. I've only played it once, but was suitably entertained.

Modern boardgamers have many different tastes, and I hesitate to try to categorize too broadly. But I will observe that at my club, The Game Bistro, people come once a week, some don't come on a regular basis, we play from 7-10pm, and we waste "game time" with important socializing. So we have less than 3 hours to devote to a game. Further, many people resist getting into "longer" games - meaning they hope to get in a couple games during their game evening. When possible, people like to mix it up and get into a second game with different folks than they played the first game with.

This basic sort of behavior is the norm at my game club; and I've gotten the feeling from years of associating with online gamers that this behavior is relatively common. So the opportunity to play 3+ hour boardgames is limited for some % of gamers.

On the other hand, I have been gaming for nearly 20 years with a smaller core group of strategy gamers. Back in the day we would take 2-3 weeks (one weeknight session per week) and play Civilization; History of the World; Outpost; 2038; Time Agent; etc. Since this is a closed-cell; we do not actively recruit for more players - the allure of a longer game can be considered.

The joy of a longer game is a pleasure many neophytes to the hobby may have never experienced. For example, I really like the story arc of 2038. You start as a hardscrabble independent asteroid mining company; the rise of TSI and how it takes over everything it can; and how the remaining independent companies form the Asteroid League. Sure, all this may be dismissed as "chrome"; but the game sucks you into its own reality. I can think of no short game that offers the sort of immersive atmosphere I am thinking of. Likewise Civilization & History of the World pull you into the rich history of the earth. And so forth with all these other worthy longer games.

You'll just have to figure out if you have a venue for them.

3:04 PM  
Blogger huzonfirst said...

You can't really argue with this list. There's not a duff game in the bunch. My first two choices (AoS and Funk) are both represented, as well as one of my nominated games, 1829. I've only played Die Macher once, not nearly enough to decide what I think of it, and to me, Caylus simply isn't a long game (at least Speed Caylus isn't--3 player games take only 90 minutes). As a matter of fact, Age of Steam usually only takes about 2.5 hours, but I decided to put it into the "long game" camp.

My other votes went for Diplomacy, A Game of Thrones, and Roads & Boats. My other two nominated games were Serenissima and Pampas Railroads.

Of the nominated games that didn't make the list, Civ is good, but not really on my "good bang for the buck" list these days. I also enjoy Zavandor. My one try at Antiquity turned out very badly, but I'd be willing to try it again (this time, no pollution!). The one game on the list that I really WANT to try is Indonesia. One of these days...

If I were voting today, one game that I'd certainly be voting for is one of the hits from Essen, Through the Ages, aka the Civilization Card Game. I've just played one advanced game, but was completely blown away. It took four hours and was worth every minute. I'm really looking forward to playing it again sometime soon.

6:41 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home