Gateway Games: Games That Take HoursMarch 26, 2019
Gateway Games is a series of articles aimed at helping you find the games that are right for you. Today is the last article in this series. I want to jump into the deep end of gaming and recommend some games that take many hours to play. If you have fallen in love with board gaming, it’s worth checking these out.
Starting my recommendations for longer games is one of my favorite cooperative games of all-time – Arkham Horror. Themed in the world of H.P. Lovecraft’s infamous Cthulu Mythos, players take on the role of investigators trying to prevent alien invaders from breaking through space and time into our world. There are eight possible Ancient Ones, or enemies. One is chosen before the start of each game, which adds to the replayability. Each player gets to choose a character that they want to represent out of sixteen options, each with their own deck of cards, abilities, and back stories. Characters level up throughout the game, participating in battling monsters and picking up skills, allies, items, weapons, and spells along the way.
I love the flavor of the game and believe it is best played with a little bit of role-playing (like you would expect in a D&D campaign), but that is certainly not required. This game can play 1-8 players, but it is best between 4-6 players (in my opinion, 4 players if you ask boardgamegeek). It does take more time the more players you have, so keep that in mind when choosing what friends you want to save the world with.
Diplomacy has a reputation for ruining friendships. I’ll admit, I have never played the game myself, but I used to host parties for people to play. It was entertaining just listening to all the secret conversations and to watch the backstabbing happen as alliances were ruined and trust broken. I know multiple friendships that ended over this game. So, play it with that warning in mind…
Diplomacy is truly one of the most intense negotiation games out there. Players each become the leader of a different European country out of the “Great Powers” before World War I – Great Britain, France, Austria-Hungary, Germany, Italy, Russia, and Turkey. It is best played with seven players so that each country is represented. The game is played in rounds that represent the course of many years. The mechanics are quite simple. The entirety of the gameplay requires players to write out what they are doing with their military units each turn. The only options are moving into new territory, holding their position, or supporting an ally. The complexity comes from the required negotiation with other players. There is nothing quite like it.
Twilight Imperium is known as one of the longest board games to play, so I’ll keep my explanation short. Players take over one of seventeen available fleets in a galactic war with the goal of dominating the entire galaxy. Each faction offers a unique playstyle and the game has components of standard warfighting tactics, political negotiations, and economic bargaining. The game starts with a series of tile placing as players create the game board. Then the game begins and takes hours to complete. This is another game that is best at its maximum amount of players, six. It is a must play if you want to unlock an honorable achievement in the tabletop world to express your commitment to the hobby.
I hope this series has helped game-curious folks and gamers (new and old) find board games to add to their collections, helped families find games to enjoy together, and helped avid gamers teach their friends some awesome, beginner friendly board games. I have loved writing each one of these articles and hope they have provided you with some entertainment as well.