Cardboard & Coins - the modern board game thread

Hey there, board gamers - let’s talk about the games you’re playing and what makes them great! I got into board gaming at work a few years back when my boss at the time invited me to a lunch gaming group. Previously, I’d only really played things like MtG, D&D, and then one round of Arkham Horror with a group at some university in St. Paul. I really had basically no idea that board gaming had taken off like it has.

Fast forward a few years, and my Ikea bookshelf is over capacity with board games. I went to Con of the North this year and came home with way too many games, and I’ll be at Gen Con this year with some friends, so if you’re attending, maybe come find us!

I want to kick us off talking about a game I picked up at Con of the North - Vault Wars.(I’m gonna use some images from their presskit so strap in)

This game is basically Storage Wars with a fantasy twist. You and the other players control some vaults filled with loot from a dead adventurer’s travels. Depending on the vault, the players have varying amounts of information on what’s inside, and you (as the vault “owner”) set the opening bid, but then back out and let them run. At the end, the winner claims the stuff inside, which can be fantastic loot, or can be literal junk.

The thing that makes this game interesting is the vaults themselves. Each vault has a different twist - the number of items, the number of items known to the whole table, the number of items that each player can “peek” at without anyone else’s knowledge, and even the way that the items are selected can all vary based on which vault is being auctioned off.

I got a brief demo of this from the publisher at CotN and I really liked the idea (partially because I had just listened to the Cool Games Inc episode where they talk about a VR storage wars) but I didn’t understand just how good the vaults would make the game until I sat down and played it. There is some strategy to the game - you have two Lords of Waterdeep-style heroes that you can reveal at the end of the game (choosing one of the two) to get bonuses - say, extra points for Elven items, extra points for weapons, points for having junk, or even points for having the least money. You can also choose to, instead of keeping the loot you get to the end of the game for points, equip some of the loot to give you bonuses, like digging through the discard pile for gems and such.

So there’s my board game recommendation for today - what have y’all been playing lately?


Ah! Yes! A boardgame thread, yes, let’s do this! That game looks rad and i was immediately sold on fantasy storage wars!

Anyways, I have pretty basic taste in games (comparatively). I’ve been playing a some Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective as I got the Jack the Ripper expansion recently. Damn that game is gooood! It’s the perfect game for people who don’t regularly play games as well, as the skills needed to succeed aren’t gamey, if that makes sense. It’s easy to get a casebook for the evening, and get some friends together to figure it out. I also got that Mythos Tales game to play with my nerdier friends :sunglasses:

Otherwise I’ve been sticking to the staples of my collection for the most part. Survive: Escape from Atlantis, Tokaido (aka “vacations are a zero sum game: the game”), Quantum, Coup, Flick em’ Up. Damn, there are too many good games out right now!

I still maintain that Coup is one of the best-designed engines for a lying game that has ever been made (with the Inquisitor version, of course). Once I started thinking about it as a push-your-luck ante-type game, it really opened the heck up. There are expansions and new versions and all, and I really do enjoy Reformation, but the base game itself is so tight and smooth that I still bring it to the table more than any other version.


I am German, so I grew up on Settlers of Catan. The game that has gotten the most play for me recently is still Agricola, it’s just perfect. Also, big shout out to the new trend of storytelling games! T.I.M.E. Stories is a blast, Legends of Andor is wonderful, and Mice and Mystics is just too cute!


Some friends and I just recently played through the first chapter of T.I.M.E. Stories, and while we didn’t care so much for the ending (without going into spoilers, of course), we like the engine a lot and the next one we’re going to get is the fantasy D&D-style one. The way you reveal locations and explore the map is really cool, and the “save your game” feature in the box is extremely inspired. Makes me sad that so many games have nearly useless inserts.

I actually haven’t tried any of the expansions yet (or the inquisitor) but I just love bluffing games (should’ve mentioned Secret Hitler and Welcome to the Dungeon in my above post as well)! A variation that my friends and I will play at the end of evenings is playing the entire game blind. It’s not at all balanced or reasonable, but it’s always funny (pro tip: always go for foreign aid)!

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We actually loved the ending of episode one, we hit it right on the last time unit on our second run, so it was super tense. It must be really difficult to develop for such a system, but the recent rise in games like this makes me optimistic that people will become better and better at it.

Our next chapter will be the arctic expedition, really looking forward to that one. I just wish they had more and harder puzzles. There is a new series of escape room-type games called Exit that do the puzzle part pretty well. But overall I feel that the puzzles are often too easy.

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Admittedly, we made a bad decision right at the end and wound up in a fail-state, which I guess is a cool thing for a board game to have, but also kind of felt like we’d been cheated out of a lack of information about what we were facing.

All the same, we loved the experience (and did it all in one sitting) so our group is absolutely going to be picking up some more versions. We’ll just probably be skipping the zombie one because… eh.

My copy of the Dark Souls boardgame from the kickstarter dropped on my doorstep a few days ago, and I’m dying to try it out. The models look super nice for use as tabletop minis too.

I would like everyone to try Mysterium. Being a ghost and trying to get your psychic detective friends to solve your murder but only being able to communicate via these crazy picture cards is great and also frustrating sometimes!

Someone posted this on another forum and it is incredibly accurate

“Mysterium - Mysterium is funny. You are yelling at someone only using cards, except the cards are always useless and the person is an idiot. It is a game that capable of making you feel like a savant or an idiot.”


I’m into so many board games. My most recent major purchase is Food Chain Magnate, which I’ve played twice so far and like a whole lot, but it can be tough just because of how long it takes. That’s not gonna stop me from trying to get friends to play it with me at every chance, though.


I’ve been enjoying the heck out of Dead of Winter ever since I bought it a year ago. It’s one of those games that steals from a lot of games and makes it work.

It’s a game about surviving the zombie apocalypse in snowy Canada. It has a hidden role mechanic where everyone gets a personal goal that they have to accomplish in addition to the team goal, and one player might be a traitor whose goal is to make everyone lose. I love that even without a traitor the game can get backstabby since everyone has differing goals. It’s also one of those games that is 100% intense from the very first turn until the last one.

Also, Castles of Mad King Ludvig is a great game, if only because the castles you come up with are crazy.

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So glad there’s a board game thread!

I’ve been getting more and more into board games over the past few years. While I try to have a decent range of games for different groups of people, I’ve been building up my 2-player game collection recently. I would highly recommend Lost Cities: The Card Game, Patchwork, and Hive for fantastic entry-level games. Hive in particular is good for people who have experience with chess, as it has somewhat similar mechanisms.

Dead of Winter is one I’ve only played a little of, but I loved what I did play. The hidden goals and the rationing of gas/food is such a great mechanic - I went on earlier in the thread about how I love Coup’s engine, but I think Dead of Winter hits on a lot of the same notes and adds some resource management to keep things interesting. I’d have to play more to really be confident in my opinion, but thus far I’ve enjoyed the pants off of it.

I totally agree. Its super easy to learn and quick to play. A great filler game that really anyone can jump in and have a good time with. I do enjoy Avalon from time to time, but if I need a filler game or something to start the night out with, Coup is always my go to.

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I haven’t played with Inquisition, but I really dislike Coup. I’ve played probably 20 times, on account of its status as this perennial filler favorite, and not a single one of those times did I feel like the game was won by clever bluffing. For a game ostensibly about lying, lying is not a winning strategy. The winner typically gets the right cards and proceeds to tell the truth. Not only that, but once players have been eliminated down to 3, it’s usually a foregone conclusion who will win.

Talking about fillers, I really enjoyed Crossing recently. Lots of double and triple guessing what other people are going to do, and groaning when they don’t do what you hoped. It’s a really simple idea, everyone simultaneously points at a pile of gems they want, if you’re the only one pointing at it you get it. More than one person pointing at a pile, nobody gets it.

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I have a couple thoughts on this, because it’s come up before - firstly, I think it’s not as much a game about lying as it is a game about knowing WHEN to lie. Playing the honest route can result in victory if you get a lucky deal, but it’s much more (in my experience) likely to end up winning by not tipping your hand early and giving people very little reason to doubt you. Secondly, I find that if you take the “once we’re down to 3, it’s foregone” thing as a natural progression of the game, it becomes much more enjoyable. There is totally a point in some games where you can see clearly who is going to win based on how fast they can acquire money, and if that does happen, then just rip the bandaid off and declare them the winner. The trick comes in with the metagame - if you can convince the other players that, yes, the conclusion is foregone and you have a Duke and I have a Contessa and you’ll just keep grabbing coins until you Coup me, that’s great - especially when it turns out that you have an Assassin and were misleading the entire time.

In that way, it becomes less a game about individual lies and more a game about deciding early on what sort of web you want to spin, and then trying for it. If you want to convince people that you have a Duke and you go first, collect taxes - they might challenge you, but if they don’t, they have no information on you and you have 5 coins. Alternatively, you can keep claiming the Inquisitor and trading out cards over and over, while just taking back the Inquisitor each time, drawing someone to eventually call you on it and suffer for it.

It totally could be just not your thing, and that’s cool - I just think there are some really great metagame levels that Coup can reach if you stick with a similar group through 5 or 6 rounds.

I like the premise of Mysterium but damn that game is hard, those picture cards are nonsense!
It’s one of those games like Codenames. You think “hah! Nailed it. This is obviously the only right answer” and then they go off of the most tangential NOTHING and oh my god why are you so bad at this? Pick this onnnnnnne!

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