Nowadays, for the tabletop gamer the new games seem to come from everywhere. Small independent game-makers, German designers, etc. Good board games sprout from everywhere.
In the 70s and 80s, the Real Gamer™ was waiting for the next Avalon Hill game to come out. Avalon Hill produced some of the most detailed wargaming games I played as a child, games that made Risk or Axis and Allies look like Sorry in comparison.
Panzer Leader and Luftwaffe were two games that immediately spring to mind, for the strategic wargamer.
However, in the really long list of games produced by AH there are a number of other genres. The first Civilization, which created the idea of technology trees… since imported into most RTS computer games. Titan.
One of the family favorites is still Acquire, which actually isn’t originally an Avalon Hill game but a 3M game… ah, acquired by Avalon Hill.
If you haven’t played Acquire, it’s one of those games in which luck plays a large part, but there are tactical underpinnings that definitely benefit the player with a good sense of probability. In the game, there are seven hotel chains: Luxor and Tower (the two cheapest stocks); American, Worldwide, and Festival (the middle ground stocks); and Imperial and Continental (the expensive ones). Hotel chains are created and merged, until the board is occupied only by one gigantic chain or all chains on the board are “safe” (they are at least 11 tiles in size).
It’s a 40-50 minute quick game, perfect for four players, still well playable with five. Before my board game geek family plays one of the Big Long Games (like the aforementioned Civilization or Diplomacy – a game with which the LoOGers are passing familiar), we usually play at least one game of Acquire.
If you don’t have it, that’s the recommendation for the week.
Tangent: if you’re ever playing at my house, the following names are equivalent:
Luxor: Lincoln Logs, Luxor Luxurious
Tower: Tower Terrific
American: Americanski, Americanos
Worldwide: Matercroft, Wacos
Festival: no nicknames
Continental: CONTINENTAL! (shouting is allowed)