Recommend some new strategy board games!

Now that I have a bit of disposable income, I’d like to expand my board game collection. I fell out of the scene of ‘award-winning European strategy games’ a few years ago and don’t know what has come out recently that is worth getting.

Currently on my shelf: (in rough order of preference)
Puerto Rico
Twilight Struggle
Power Grid
Trivial Pursuit
Captain Planet and the Planeteers (don’t ask)

So what isn’t on this list that is a MUST HAVE for a strategy gamer?

Dune was a big favorite in my gaming group. It was also my introduction to gaming as an adult hobby.

How in Sam Hell is Settlers of Catan not on that list?

There’s a lot. A lot. Head over to for full details. Here are some of my favourites. I notice you have Argicola, so I am listing games which I think are after that.

Stone Age: You control a tribe during the Stone Age, having to gather food, bake bricks and etc. Like Argicola, you can reproduce to get more workers, but the food requirements go up. However, it is easier to get food. The draw here is the resources gathering mechanic. For each worker you assign to one resource, you roll 1d6 and total up. If you are gathering food, divide by 2; wood by 3, brick by 4 and so on. There’s lot more than this short summar (like Argicola, there are many ways to score points)

Cyclades. You are one of the Greek cities seeking to control the islands of Cyclades. You build armies, fleets and buildings during the course of the game through a bidding system; to build armies, you have to bid on Ares, to build priests, Zeus. Different gods give you different action. To win, you must build (or conquer) and hold 2 metropolis by the end of the turn.

Dominion: One of the darlings of BoardGameGeek, this plays like Magic The Gathering with the deck building being part of the game. Cards cost money to put into your deck, so cards you buy will eventually turn up in your hand through draws. Each turn you are allowed 1 buy and 1 action, and there are cards which allow you to chain actions (For example, some cards give you +1 dollar, +2 actions, +1 buy). There are already 4 expansions so far. Each box comes with 20 cards, and each game you randomly choose 10 set of cards, or choose from a predefined list, so the replayability is high. There’s also Thunderstone, a fantasy variant.

World Without End. ‘Sequel’ to Pillars of the Earth, it is a totally new game though. The main draw of this game the random event cards. On each card there are 4 resources, and you orient the card such that the resource you want points to you. This means that the other players will get the resources which are facing them, so you have to consider that you are not giving them resources that they want. The game draws inspiration from Agricola that there are taxes to pay, you need food to survive and must demonstrate piety.

Kingsburg. I can’t remember if this is during or after Argicola, so pardon me the OP already know of this. The aim of this game is to build up your province (Heroes of Might and Magic style) and you gather resources by influencing advisor. To do so, you roll 3 dice. Each advisor is given a number from 1 to 18. When it is your turn to influence an advisor, you take the dice that forms the number of the advisor and put it there. Normally one advisor can be influenced by one player. At the end of each year monsters will invade your province and you must have enough armies to fight them.

Small World. A quick and light war game where the goal is to gather as many victory points as possible by conquering regions on a map. There are a number of races to choose from, with each race with a special ability, plus one random ability. Some abilities allow them to gain more VP from certain terrain. The battle is deterministic and quick (basically, you just have to 2 more points than the defender, points coming from either an unit, terrain feature or defensive bonus). The catch is that there are no reinforcements. So once your race has run out of steam, you can make it go into decline and pick a new race and start your conquest anew. Player with the highest score by the end of 8 turns win.

War of the Rose. This plays like the A Game of Throne board-game with hidden orders; I never played it myself, actually, but only saw it.

Missed out Taj Mahal, a cutthroat bidding game. This is a last man standing bidding game. There are 4 (or 5?) categories of bid which you can start, and if you win, you get to construct a palace on the board (which is a map of India). If you can connect the palaces on a route which goes through different provinces, you get more points. Win the same category of bid 2 or 3 times and you get a special ability.

You beat me to it.
Settlers of Catan is a really remarkable game.

Dominion is really good. It’s basically a collectible card game except without the collectible aspect. There are 30 or so possible cards in the box (plus there are multiple expansions with even more cards) and in each game you use about ten of them, so the game is slightly different every time you play it. Very replayable and a lot of fun.

If you liked Twilight Struggle, you may also like 1960: The Making of a President, which is by the same game designers. It’s another 2-person simulation game, this time for the 1960 US presidential election. One player is Nixon and the other is Kennedy. Personally I prefer Twilight Struggle, but 1960 is a nice addition to your game collection if you don’t have it already.

Another favorite lately has been Galaxy Trucker. Every player has a little blank spaceship board in front of them, to be filled in with tiles that you take from the communal tile pile at the beginning of the game. You build your spaceship following certain rules of tile placement (lasers can’t be aimed at another ship component; neither can engine exhaust, etc.) and then you “fly” the spaceship, attempting to accumulate cargo and avoid pirates along the way. Lots of fun, especially with 3+ people.

ETA: Woot, Crowbar of Irony got in while I was composing my post, and I only managed to duplicate one of his suggestions. :cool:

ETA2: Speaking of Settlers of Catan, we have a bumper sticker that says, “Got wood for sheep?” On the interstate a few days ago, we got passed by a car full of people that were madly waving at us, which was confusing until we realized that they were holding up their copy of Settlers of Catan and pointing at it. Most satisfying. :slight_smile:

I notice a lack of co-op games (players play against the game instead of each other). I’d recommend Pandemic, a game where players are trying to cure diseases before they ravage the world. Battlestar Galactica is also very good if you prefer to have a traitor or two, though it works better with more players.

You also might want to consider some train games. A simple but very well done one is Ticket to Ride in which you are trying to complete routes on with ever map you are on. There are various versions with minor difference, but they all play pretty similarly.

I would also strongly 2nd the recommendation for Dominion. There is a decent chance if you get that it will get more play than the rest of your games combined.

Fury of Dracula is not quite a co-op game (it’s the vampire hunters working together vs. the Dracula player) but it’s really good and one of my all-time favorite games. I highly recommend it. It works fine with two players, too.

In our household:



Lost Cities


I really can’t pick a favorite - I like them all, at different times. We’re playing a lot of Hive lately, but that’s mainly because it’s the newest. For what it’s worth, we only buy games that are fun with 2 players, since 99.9% of the time, that’s all we’ve got.

An excellent game (though far from new, and potentially too slow-moving) by the great Sid Sackson, is Acquire.
(Some people play a 4-person partnership version which isn’t mentioned in the standard rules.)

Twilight Struggle is great, but if you like that and are after more of a strategy game look no further than Paths of Glory. It’s out of print and you’ll pay $70 plus on eBay for a used copy but it’s heading for rerelease this fall it’ll be reasonably priced with a thicker board and better components. I have the original and I’ll still pick up the new version as soon as I can.

+1 to the **Small World **recommendation.

+1 to The Stone Age recommendation.

You said you wanted strategy but like Euros, so I’d go with:

The End of the Triumvirate

Power Grid
For two players my wife and I really like Ballon Cup

I have more if these are up your ally.

If you can afford the price, setup time, and required space, War of the Ring can’t be beat.

I knew “Settlers” would be in the first couple of posts as soon as I read the game list.

Settlers has become so popular now that you don’t even need to say the full title. It’s at a stage of popularity where everyone has heard of it but no one think anyone else has heard of it. They think they’ve got this little niche game and don’t realize that everyone else has played it.

In a few years, everyone will know how popular it is, and people will be going “You’ve never played Catan?!”

Hell, you can get the rules for free and play for free online with the Zuntzu game platform and the gamebox

I love this game and it is soooo worth it.
Ok, I’m done now.

Pick up Diplomacy or Civilization by Avalon Hill, if your a fan of WWII and love detail and don’t mind reading a rule book the size of a binder. ASL Advanced Squad Leader is a hoot.

A fantastic way to learn quickly.

Quick followup on War of the Ring: it apparently is going to be reprinted before the end of the year. There’s also a Collector’s Edition, with tons of bells and whistles, but which will probably cost you 600+ dollars on Ebay or Amazon Marketplace (some are being auctioned for more than a grand!).

Any Avalon Hill game is fantastic, and most of them can be played solo if you play it fair and don’t cheat one side or the other. I have a bookshelf full of them and pull them out on occasion.

Much like ASL, albeit smaller in detail but still a big game that can take weeks to resolve, is Rise and Decline of the Third Reich, a personal favorite of mine even though I can’t get anybody to play it with me anymore.

I often mentions this bilingual site by a former friend of mine, who is kind of an expert in board games, and a rather successful game creator himself (besides being one of the only existing experts about unicorns with a PhD on this topic) which lists many “must-have” boardgames.

His comments generally give a good grasp of the game (except his own games that he presents but doesn’t comment), and his “you’ll like it if you like” and his “lists with this game” sections are quite useful.
For instance, you list “Agricola” , and he would list “Glory to Rome” , “Race for the galaxy” , “Before the wind” and a dozen others as games you might like too. Similarly, according to him it belongs to the categories “three players” (like “Settlers of the stone age”), “games for accountants” (like “rail road tycoons”), “worker placement” (like “Tribune”), etc…
Of course, his selection is based on his own preferences, but I always found his opinion very reliable.