Boardgaming Limits!
Matthew Chua
Singapore
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Most of us started out with the usual gateways and somewhere along the line, we got hooked onto this hobby. Our purchases increased and not only did our shelves get more cluttered, our tastes began to tend towards longer and more complex games.... And then one day, the bubble burst - we buy a game that breaches our capacity. Whether it's the length or the complexity of the rules, we come to a point where we realize that this isn't a game that we'll manage to play with any regularity or perhaps even desire to. We've breached our boardgaming limit.

While my original intention for this geeklist was to highlight the games that 'enlightened' us to this limit, I thought perhaps it would be more informative for us to share the heaviest/longest game we currently own that we are happy and prepared to play on a regular basis - in other words, YOUR current boardgaming limit.
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1. Board Game: Le Havre [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:31]
Matthew Chua
Singapore
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I have to admit that at the peak of my boardgaming craze, almost every new game I bought felt heavier and longer than the previous one. It got so bad that my wife (who was then my best gaming buddy) got so turned off that she till this day, refuses to play games with any regularity anymore

The games that broke the camel's back were Twilight Struggle and Through the Ages. The learning curves were steep and initial games were in the 4-5 hour range. I sold/traded them off before I managed to get close to the fabled 2-3 hour games.

While I personally enjoyed TS and TTA, their length and brain-numbing nature made me realize that while I wouldn't mind playing them once in awhile, they weren't the kind of games I'd manage a steady diet of. In fact, since that experience, I've gravitated towards games of the 1-2 hour range.

Le Havre is probably the game I own that best represents the limits of my boardgaming capacity. It's at a complexity which is extremely satisfying and yet allows me to play in about 120 to 150 min for a 3 player game, depending on my opponents. It is a game I'm happy to table at any and every gaming session. These days, I don't even consider a purchase beyond Le Havre's length and weight, which helps par down my watchlist considerably
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2. Board Game: Here I Stand [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:149]
Jesse Dean
United States
Orlando
Florida
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I am definitely on the heavier end of the spectrum. I like complex, long games and willingly play 18XX and the like regularly.

I did play a session of Here I Stand once that lasted 9 hours, when we were only a few turns in. I suspect that that is about the longest I am willing to go with a single game. The session length was fine (we even played Agricola afterwards), its just individual games probably should not be more than 6-7 hours long with any regularity.
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3. Board Game: Shot and Shell [Average Rating:7.08 Unranked]
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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This is the one that's currently pushing the envelope for me.

I abandoned ASL in 1995 or so, upon finally concluding that the "rules density" was overwhelming. I had learned the game and was playing it. But anytime I took a break from it for a few months, I'd have a lot to relearn and refresh myself on. And in every game, there were little things I'd have to look up in the rulebook. I finally got fed up with that.

Then I took a break from wargaming for ten years or so. Maybe computers had spoiled me. In any case, I just couldn't bear to spend the time it takes to set up and play a typical hex-and-counter wargame.

But I missed this type of game, and in 2008 I started tiptoeing back in. I began with a couple small games from Victory Point Games. Pretty soon, though, I found they had just whetted my appetite, and I wanted something meatier--but something still small and manageable.

I'd heard naval wargames were like that--relatively few units, but plenty detailed and interesting. So I bought a copy of The Ironclads--and tried it, and liked it. Enthused, I quickly snatched up the rest of The Ironclads Series.

It can be a tedious game--lots of manual record keeping and dice rolls and chart checking. But it adds up to a vivid, exciting, absorbing wargaming experience. So, I'm so far willing to put up with a somewhat complicated game like this. But I haven't tried any big scenarios yet.

Apparently I still have my limits, though, when it comes to game length and rules complexity. I recently started teaching myself Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization, and I gave up. It wasn't too long or too complex in any absolute sense, but for me it was too long and complex for the kind of game it is; my interest just didn't last.
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4. Board Game: The Republic of Rome [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:309]
Albatros
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Once upon a time, I would have said Civilization. Those were the days that I could pull an all-nighter and have a good time doing it, but not any more. The Republic of Rome has proven to be the limit now and, frankly, I think my group pushed it too far the first time we played it. At least as far as our wives were concerned; they were not happy about how late it ran.

Since then, we've played one other "Early Republic" game to completion. But that time we played it over two nights. We occassionally talk of playing it again, but that requires all of us to be completely "wife-free" on a weekend. So far that just hasn't happened.
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5. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:209] [Average Rating:7.33 Unranked]
John Di Ponio
United States
Lake Orion
MI
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I guess this game represents my limits of gaming right now. Not overly complex per say but QUITE involved! I am a wargamer and have always strived for that mesh of complexity and playability. I think I hit my wall when I was learning War in the Pacific (second edition). I think it has a matter to do with TIME...that valuable commodity that we all seem to lose after our teens. So learning the system took a lo9ng time and finding opponents was next to impossible.

Arkham allows me to play a moderate complex game that still has the flavor of gameplay I am looking for...at least for now. I am sure I will jump back into my war games and minis that require some time and patience to re-learn.
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6. Board Game: The Russian Campaign [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:988]
Dan Freedman
United States
Apex
North Carolina
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Tried playing the campaign game. Didn't realize there were other options. Anyways..we got though 8-9 turns in 5 hours and realized we were only a fifth of the way through...so we quit. I think the Russians were going to win a slow, drawn out war as the Germans didn't make enough progress before winter set in. Possibly it would have stalemated. But we didn't want to play for another 20 hours to find out.

The rules were not too complex for a wargame, but there were so many chits...and they keep coming back! It was overwhelming to move so many and remember which ones had already moved. Not to mention we were both rookies so we wanted some "take-backs". Fun, but overwhelming.

A close 2nd is Blackbeard (AH edition). Tried to learn the rules from a pdf (w/out opening game). If I found it as difficult to learn with an actual game to reference when reading, this would be #1.
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7. Board Game: Dungeons & Dragons Basic Game [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:2085]
Jerry Martin
United States
Loveland
Colorado
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I realize this is cheating a bit, but I was a part of a campaign that lasted 4 years. We played regular 6-8 hours sessions once a week or so that entire period.

Currently I am in a game that has been going on for almost 2 years.

So far as a Boardgame any game that goes over 3 hours better be well worth it. I could play two other games and probably be happier. I have played numerous games that have lasted well over 8 hours and in almost all cases i found it wasn't worth it...except when it has been DND.
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8. Board Game: Twilight Struggle [Average Rating:8.36 Overall Rank:3]
Ed
United States
Oakland
California
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60 to 90 minutes is my preferred length these days and nothing more complicated than Power Grid or Agricola (closer to say Stone Age is even better). I could see myself playing TS on a regular basis in spite of its length. My wife is my 2d player, so how often this hits the table is going to be up to her (once she tries it).
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9. Board Game: World in Flames [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:858] [Average Rating:7.51 Unranked]
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
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The longest game I currently own that I'm willing to play.

Though I'd love to give La Grande Guerre 14-18 a shot.
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10. Board Game: Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:18]
Jordan Spikes
United States
Portland
Oregon
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I have played this game twice, and both plays were in the past month--and both were 2-player. The first play took 4 hours, and the second, 3.5. However, the plays did not feel long.

I had high expectations for this game before these plays, so I need to play a couple more times to decide whether or not I actually enjoy the game or whether I just want to enjoy the game.

Before this, I had complained about the length of RuneWars and Le Havre, both taking around 3 hours for my group and I to play.
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11. Board Game: Empires in Arms [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:897]
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MURRUMBEENA
Victoria
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Hoping to play this again- and I still play roleplaying campaigns. cool

Of course, no kids...


-R
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12. Board Game: Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:41]
David Hammond
United States
Phoenix
Arizona
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How has this not been added yet!?

Not only does the game weight in at a whopping 6 hours, if you have anybody new to the group, they'll suffer massive decision paralysis.

Am I glad it's in my collection? Yes. Does it see the table more than once a year? Not really.
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13. Board Game: War of the Ring (first edition) [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:71]
ErikPeter Walker
United States
Rochester
Minnesota
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I really, really like WotR but since I moved "out east", I haven't found anyone who wants to play longer, more complex games, except for Random Event Generators (like Arkham Horror, or one of those Flying Frog dicefests).
 
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14. Board Game: 1830: Railways & Robber Barons [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:154]
Linda Baldwin
United States
White Plains
New York
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Years ago, I was perfectly willing to learn any game. After all, Avalon Hill was king back then, and I played a number of AH games: Circus Max, Merchant of Venus, etc. And if you can handle those rules, you can handle anything! Plus I played multiple RPGs, and GMed several different systems. So I was pretty much fearless.

I had heard a lot about 18xx, but no one I knew owned any of them, and every con I attended always listed those as "Experience Required." So when I saw "1830 for Beginners" listed on a schedule, I signed up double quick!

One problem: I was the only newbie. Two other players were there, jonesing for an 18xx fix, and using me as an excuse to get it. And while the GM was patient and helpful, the other two were vicious and cutthroat (and nasty -- accusing each other of stupidity, etc., while I was just trying to grok the damned RULES!) After the game, I ran away double-quick, convinced this game was just beyond me. Somehow it's always stuck in my head as that thing that's simply beyond my mental reach.

But y'know, I really need to give it another chance. The gaming world has changed. I play Starcraft, Arkham Horror, Agricola, Die Macher ... Something tells me it wouldn't be nearly as scary this time around.
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