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modboy's 111 games to play this year!
John Squires
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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(2006 is over so I can now publish the final results of this list and start working on 2007!) Thanks to all those who played games with me this year.

These are the games I hope to play this year -- wish me luck!

I didn't want it to be just a list of games to serve my own purposes. Hopefully you'll find something you haven't heard of yet that interests you. I consider myself to be a gamer yet it's silly too see how many highly touted games I've yet to play. As I play the games I'll let you know my thoughts. You may notice I've already played a handful already.

The list has three major categories MUST play, REALLY want to play and would LIKE to play.

If you're planning a trip to NYC feel free to drop me a line. If I'm available, and you pass my intuitive not-a-freak check , I can introduce you to one of my gaming groups.

The final stats:
MUST: 33/39 played = 84.6%
REALLY want: 23/38 = 60.5%
LIKE: 22/34 played = 64.7%
OVERALL: 74/111 = 66.7%
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51. Board Game: Ingenious [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:221]
John Squires
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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(REALLY) I wanted to try this after playing and enjoying Blokus. Looking forward to it, especially with Knizia's E&T scoring (which I've only read about: you score the points you have for the colour you have the least of). To score or to block ... guess it depends on your tile draw.

PLAYED 04/18/2006 ([Lev], sisteray): It's a light tactical version of dominoes with classic Knizia scoring. There probably is some strategy but it's always great to have the right tiles at the perfect time. Lev killed us. I've played it again since & I can honestly say that I'm terrible at this and dumbfounded how it "seems" I always have the worst tiles. How to use... them?
 
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52. Board Game: Way Out West [Average Rating:6.18 Overall Rank:2508]
John Squires
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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(REALLY) Another Wallace game to try out but this isn't one of his recent masterpieces. Instead it's an extremely thematic looking Western game. Some people really don't like it but I hear there's some decent variants to help fix some of the issues.
 
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53. Board Game: Phoenix [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:2010]
John Squires
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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(REALLY) From what I've gathered this is a simple, fun, colourful 2-player abstract with luck & some puzzle-solving depth.
 
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54. Board Game: Primordial Soup [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:436]
John Squires
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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(REALLY) What the heck is going on in that picture? This looks like great fun with such a strange and intriguing theme: amoebas with superpowers that poop, eat, mutate, divide & die. Hope to find out soon whether Doris & Frank are intelligent designers.

PLAYED 07/25/2006 (sloehand, jcrim13, sisteray): The player powers had a similar feel to the powers in Urland. This is a very interesting game of expanding, attacking and then trying to survive. Don't let the abstract pieces fool you. Morgan kicked our butts but I believe he was the only one who had played before and he definitely had a strategy coming into the game... good for him!
 
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55. Board Game: Magic Hill [Average Rating:6.03 Overall Rank:4353]
John Squires
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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(REALLY) Looks like one of those children's games, with a good mixture of luck & strategy, that the big kids, like me, would get a kick outta of. The world would be a better place if their were more games with towers.
 
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56. Board Game: MarraCash [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:1173]
John Squires
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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(REALLY) I've played Kramer's City & this is meant to have a similar feel with vastly improved mechanics. I like a good auction game: in Marracash, money is equivalent to VPs & there's a lot of planning as you try to manipulate tourists to visit your stores. Board & pawns make this look an ancient game such as Parcheesi.

PLAYED 06/23/2006 (Larry Chong, sisteray, Dan R.): An improvement on Kramer's City design. It's a fantastic placement and movement game where you need to position yourself in ways that will encourage others to move the tourists towards your shops. I wish this one was played more often in my group. On a side note this was the most civil game I've ever seen between Larry & Dan.
 
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57. Board Game: Hive [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:143]
John Squires
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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(REALLY) There's been a lot of buzz surrounding Hive over the last 5 years. It's compared to chess (but lighter & quicker) and the goal is to surround your opponent's queen bee. The abilities of each of your insects is meant to be quite intuitive.

PLAYED 12/31/05: I played this on the Hivemania site. It's a great little abstract. The movement of each of each insect, the defensive strategies & the rules around keeping the hive entact make for a really cool design. The site's AI is pretty darn good. Can't wait to get my fingers on those large wooden blocks and play in person.
 
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58. Board Game: Magna Grecia [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1522]
John Squires
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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(REALLY) People say this game is dry and abstract (huge suprise considering it's co-designed by Schact & Colvini). From what I've gathered it's a connection game at heart but one must also grow their markets and control the oracle in order to score the most VPs. There's also meant to be a lot of land-grabbing conflict. Many say it's difficult to determine who's in the lead. Sounds like fun too me.

PLAYED 09/05/2006 (MKUltra, sisteray, Jonbone): A pretty competitive and somewhat difficult control game (you don't want to get too far behind) where players are building markets which are worth the value of the number of routes, connected to cities, which are connected to it. A good player can forsee which areas are going to be hot commodities. Players are also vying for control of the Oracles which one gains by connecting to the Oracle from a controlled city that has the most markets connected to it. Something like that... I may have the cities & markets mixed around. Also, I didn't find it as dry as I thought it would be but I can see how others would think this as it's an open information game with a lot of thinking (I guess people find thinking to be dry?).
 
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59. Board Game: Byzantium [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:1011]
John Squires
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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(REALLY) Another new Wallace game! The premise in this sounds great in that you play both a Byzantine noble & an Arab sheik. Once again it's a blend of tight economics & war, combat is simple but some people won't like the luck of the dice. Players each have two scoring tracks & if Constantinople falls the game ends imemdiately and players only count their Arab points (usually the Byzantine points are added too).

PLAYED 02/07/2006 (sloe_hand, jcrim13, Natus): I love that each player is playing both the Arabs and Byzantine forces: these forces each have their own treasuries, armies and victory point totals. At the end of the game if a player's lower score for one of the 2 forces is less than half of their higher score than they only score the points for their highest scoring force rather than adding them together. Play-wise the game is fairly straight-forward but there are some extremely difficult choices to make. It really comes down to management of your actions (controlled by cubes), taking advantage of your positions and squeaking out a (fairly) balanced number of VPs for each of your forces. After the first play I wasn't extremely pleased but over the couple of days that followed I kept thinking about the game, possible strategies, it's balance, etc. and it dawned on me that this was another fabulous Wallace design. Would recommend playing with four.
 
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60. Board Game: Rat Hot [Average Rating:6.33 Overall Rank:1937]
John Squires
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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(REALLY) This uses the same tile-laying mechanisms that were used in Schacht's Dschunke, which were one of the best aspects of that game. Sounds like a fun 2-player puzzler.

PLAYED 03/05/2006 (dr glaze): Quick and fun two-player that I found has quite a bit of depth and replayability. You can be greedy and just try to increase your score or you can (and probably should) get rid of your rats before you're sunk. I've seen some wicked stacking strategies based on configurations that make it neigh-impossible to clear one's rats if your opponent lets them get out of hand.
 
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61. Board Game: Merchants of Amsterdam [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:1015]
John Squires
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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(REALLY) A Knizia area-control game with Dutch auctions run by a timer. A simple & well-balanced looking design that some reviewers found uninspiring. I'm very curious to try this game especially since the timer gizmo is meant to add a fair amount of tension.
 
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62. Board Game: An den Ufern des Nils [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:3700]
John Squires
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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(REALLY) A cool looking concept by two designers I've yet to explore. Players are trying to grow and then harvest their crops before the Nile floods (thanks to their dastardly opponents).

10/14/2006 (sdiberar, clarabow, travistdale, mdale): Unique design where players are growing plantations along the Nile and must try to sell them before they're flooded by the river. A good combination of placement, defense and screwage.
 
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63. Board Game: Silberzwerg [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:2600]
John Squires
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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(REALLY) Been wanting to try this ever since I saw it on BGG. It has dwarves ... and what do dwarves to well, they mine! Collect different-coloured gems to fulfill contracts. An economic, simultaneous action game with several opportunities to severely bash your neighbors.
 
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64. Board Game: Kogge [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:2366]
John Squires
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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(REALLY) Don't let the DIY components fool you. This one's meant to have a lot of depth. However, some find it to be a rather dry game of calculation. It's a pick-up-and-deliver with trading, shipping routes (which often change) and raids. I'm very interested to see how it pulls together.
 
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65. Board Game: Goldbräu [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:1526]
John Squires
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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(REALLY) Firstly, the theme is Beer Gardens. It's another economic / area-control game but some complain that it has a poor combination of difficult calculations & luck (cards & blind simultaneous action-selection). The big question, which I hope to find out, is: is it fun?
 
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66. Board Game: La Strada [Average Rating:6.23 Overall Rank:1914]
John Squires
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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(REALLY) Yet, another Wallace game (is that line getting old yet?) but this one didn't get much fanfare (or I missed it). Perhaps because it's a lighter game. I surmise players are trying to connect to cities and block others from connecting to those cities because the cities a player's connected to lose VP-value as each subsequent opponent connects to it. (That was a mouthful but I think it makes sense.)
 
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67. Board Game: Monkeys on the Moon [Average Rating:6.26 Overall Rank:2231]
John Squires
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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(REALLY) Looks like fun: Monkey Scorn, spaceships & excellent art.

PLAYED 01/02/2006: I thought this was going to be a fluffy game, boy was I wrong. It's a bidding / collection / stock-manipulation game with some clever mechanisms, real decision making, & an original theme. Cards are involved so there is some luck but it's minimal to the game play.
 
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68. Board Game: Industria [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1224]
John Squires
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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(REALLY) The auction system looks provocative (see summary). Another game that's been sitting on my shelf for awhile (still needs paste-ups). Players are bidding to build, um, industries: expand, link, improve, etc. Lotsa scoring & combos!
 
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69. Board Game: Paparazzo [Average Rating:5.81 Overall Rank:7565]
John Squires
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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(REALLY) An interesting match-up of designers: 2F & Panning. I've been carrying this around to game days for quite some time, hoping to play it but admittingly not pressing too hard. It could be good, it could be terrible, it's probably OK. The rules make it seem convuluted yet original. I'm guessing that my group will be split on this one.

PLAYED 06/30/2006 (dr glaze, sisteray, ???): A decent bidding / stock game with a good theme (smearing celebrities) but overall it didn't really have the wow factor. May be worth another try with some of the variants provided by the designers.
 
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70. Board Game: Manifest Destiny [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1943]
John Squires
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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(REALLY) Here's another game I own. I'm very interested in trying it out but I have a sneaking suspicion that it may not be that great. Perhaps I'm waiting for another friend to purchase it so I don't have to break open the plastic, in case it's a stinker. An empire-building update to Age of Renaissance that plays quicker (although it can still reach 4 hours). Cards, dice, leader-bashing. Might remind me of my Gamemaster days.
 
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71. Board Game: Maharaja: The Game of Palace Building in India [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:323]
John Squires
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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(REALLY) A brain-burning gamer's game from K&K where players have lots of options but only 2 measly action-points to work with. Purportedly screwage is a key factor so no whining. This is a palace building game with variable player powers (which can be switched, a mechanic some seem to despise) & travelling (movement). I think I'll like this one.

PLAYED 07/11/2006 (milksheikh, sad_otter, Jonbone): A fairly difficult and heavy feeling game that's hard for me to digest because it also has a bit of chaos thrown in (blind bids and role-stealing that can change plans). Need to try it again now that I understand the game (I didn't have a chance against experienced players).
 
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72. Board Game: Die Magier von Pangea [Average Rating:6.25 Overall Rank:2452]
John Squires
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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(REALLY) I've played Burkert's In the Shadow of the Emporer which I found to be a commendable design. Another Queen game that's been on my shelves unplayed (I really need to hook up my printer & create some paste-ups, but what a bore). This is a pick-up-and-deliver featuring a shifting board -- gnarly. Some complain of king-making but I plan to be so far ahead it shouldn't be an issue
 
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73. Board Game: Louis XIV [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:339]
John Squires
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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(REALLY) The new Alea Dorn game which I must try. Having not played it I really can't tell what's going on from the pictures. Players try to gain influence in the court of the Sun King. There are also powers & missions. Some say there's luck but the overall consensus is that it's minimal with little chaos.

03/14/2006 (sad_otter, sloehand, Natus): Elegant design where I think Dorn's stacking mechanism shines. The randomness of the mission cards and shields didn't bother me... I thought it just added a tactical element to the game. One of my favourite 2005 releases. I'm upset that I only got to play it once so far in 2006.

 
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74. Board Game: Downtown [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:4321]
John Squires
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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(REALLY) Another game that's sitting in my collection. I've recently read the rules and will be trying to get it on the table even though it's probably just an OK obsolete game; luckily I play with a bunch of gaming-whores. Still I'm curious, the only other game I've played by Webster is Ido which is an unusual abstract. Downtown's a development game with voting. You want to build in neighborhoods and follow the zoning rules to gain a maximum score.

PLAYED 06/30/2006 (dr glaze, sisteray, ???): Blind-bidding placement game where players are trying to complete building projects that are zoned properly. I think it works but it probably doesn't have enough control for most players and so ends up feeling a bit dated.
 
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75. Board Game: Turn the Tide [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:669]
John Squires
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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(REALLY) I bought this along with some other card games from the Boards & Bits gift cert. I won at the BGG con. I have the pig version (pictured). Should be another fun Dorra game. This one looks similar to Drahtseilakt but you get to play everyone's hand which pretty much eliminates the luck of the draw.
 
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