I love board and miniatures games, but I just don’t have a lot of space to store them. It’s a pity, because who doesn’t want to have a behemoth like Gloomhaven or Twilight Imperium in their collection? Due to this capacity conundrum, I’ve started taking an interest in smaller versions of popular titles.
Now, I’m not talking about card or dice or ‘travel’ versions of board games; what I’m talking about are versions that are slimmed down and still retain most of the components or core mechanics. These versions are extremely similar to the original games without reducing them to a hand-full of cards. And, to be honest, I find dice and card game rereleases to be a bit of a cop-out.
These are a few of the titles I’ve come across – most of which I’ve yet to own.
Ticket to Ride: London [Board Game]
Ticket to Ride is fun, easy, and probably one of my favourite board games. There was a period of a few months where I was a bit sick of it – I’d taught the game to a lot of new people and explained the news ad nauseam – but I still love it.
Anyhoo, Ticket to Ride London is only 15 minutes long, reduces the space between destinations, and swaps out trains for busses. There are some other gameplay tweaks, but that’s the gist of it.
No, I haven’t forgotten about the New York edition, but I’ll leave that for another article.
Pandemic: Hot Zone – North America [Board Game]
This is quite the topical title. Hot Zone strips away the world-map from the original Pandemic and has players focussing on just North America. It further shrinks things down with just having three viruses and eight cities. With just a 30-minute play-time and simplified setup, Hot Zone is a title I need to add to my games library.
This is also the most adorable-looking slimmed-down title on this list. There’s just something about the small form-factor that screams “MUST OWN!”
Ascension: Apprentice Edition [Card Game]
I played Ascension back in 2014 and I was hooked. I quite like battle and dungeon card games, but Ascension streamlined a lot of mechanics and really made things easier for new players. The best part is you could get hours of playtime out of just the base set. Enter the Apprentice Edition.
This is the version that I own and it was created for two players as a taster for the full-fledged game. I’ve lost count of how many times this is hit my gaming title and is so quick to teach, play, and set up. I absolutely love it, even though I’ve almost never won a match.
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Storm Strike [Wargaming]
Smaller starter sets aren’t uncommon for the Warhammer games, however, Storm Strike really caught my eye. It comes with a softcover rulebook, an additional book with scenarios and more information on the Age of Sigmar, dice, cards, a double-sided game map, and 15 miniatures. All of the miniatures are push-together – no glue needed – and have their own sculpted bases. You don’t need to paint or decorate them if you don’t want to. It’s similar to the way Warhammer Shadespire is presented.
The rulebook and the Storm Strike books are a fantastic addition. Sure, you’re not getting the hardback tome that’s included with the big box Soul Wars, but so what? This is a perfect tase of the Warhammer fantasy universe with everything you need to get started.
Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion [Board Game]
And, finally, here’s the title that inspired this list. Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion is a smaller, lite version of the smash hit Gloomhaven. It allows players to have the full experience without the full price tag. It includes four playable characters with respective miniatures, while all of the monsters are cardboard standees.
What really sets this version apart from its bigger sibling are the scenarios and game tiles. In Jaws of the Lion, you’ll play through the campaign book, which also acts as the dungeon and play area. Yup, it all takes place within the ring-bound book with a supplementary book for bigger dungeons. Pretty neat, right?
If you liked this piece then let me know and I’ll look at putting another one of these together.