Rahdo Runs Through►►► The Games of 2011!!!
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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My wife and I love playing boardgames together -- it's become our favourite hobby, and we feel very lucky that we both enjoy something so much and can share it. We prefer heavier Euro-ish games that don't feature much conflict, so this GL reflects that preference, listing our picks for the best new games of 2011 that we've played.

For those who are interested in more random thoughts of a 2p married couple, here's our 2012 best of list: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/153724/a-married-coupl...

UPDATE: Hawaii makes a late entry at #7, causing everything else to shift up by one

UPDATE: 5 more games added (Space Maze, Space Bastards, Mundus Novus, 1955 and Rapa Nui) getting me up to 51! Woot! (I wonder if I should do one of these lists for 2010)

UPDATE: And can't forget Kingdom of Solomon

UPDATE: Dark Horse & Anhk Morpork

UPDATE: Several more games added, from the disappointing Santiago de Cuba, to the fun Road to Canterbury & Trollhalla (from the same designer) to the surprise fav Gnomes of Zavandor

UPDATE: And the hits of 2011 just keep on coming! Tschak!, Airlines Europe and Kingdom Builder - oh, and Eclipse

UPDATE: It's been awhile, but here's a couple more 2011 games that have recently hit our table - Power Grid First Sparks & King of Tokyo!

UPDATE: I haven't forgotten this list! And look a new title: Flash Point Fire Rescue added!

UPDATE: Nefarious makes the list!
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51. Board Game: Sewer Pirats [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:1645]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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The german version came out at Essen 2011, and seems to have gone largely unnoticed, and that's a shame, because this is a very smart and clever race/hopscotch game with an awesome theme and incredible high quality components. In the game, players control crews of anthropomorphized animal pirates, each species with a unique ability, and try their best to be the wrest control of makeshift pirate ships to gain access to all the treasure up ahead in the sewer. Great stuff, should really get more attention!
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52. Board Game: Trollhalla [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:2088]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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First Pirate Rats, and now Viking Trolls! Fun fun game of pillaging small islands to pursue big set collection bonus points, while manipulating the weather to have smooth sailing or stormy skies. And the trick is that players have to share the same viking ships, which creates really fun give and take interplay.
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53. Board Game: Fortuna [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:1693]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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BEAUTIFUL board and presentation, and a really smart action selection mechanic added to a rock solid resource conversion/race to the top game, with just a dash of luck of the die. This game didn't get a lot of attention, but it's really fantastic, and well worth seeking out.

Update: we like the game so much, I've done a video gameplay walkthrough of it, located here:

http://boardgamegeek.com/video/15990/fortuna/fortuna-gamepla...

Let me know what you think!
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54. Board Game: The Gnomes of Zavandor [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:2619]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Wow, this was a big surprise, came out of nowhere for us. Lovely game of commodities market trading and resource collection, plus some cool special powers thrown in for those who can built the best gnomish artifacts. Very very enjoyable, starting out dirt poor and having major major operations at the end. Exactly the kind of thing we love!
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55. Board Game: Kingdom Builder [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:340]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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FINALLY got around to playing this, and turns out it's excellent! Wonderful components, elegant gameplay and endlessly interesting combinatorial setup makes this come in very high on the list - almost top 10 material!
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56. Board Game: Last Will [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:235] [Average Rating:7.31 Unranked]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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It's funny how while on the surface, this seems like one of the most original themes of the year (spend all your money before everyone else), it's really just a simple flip of a standard race to score a set number of points before everyone else.

Regardless, it's a fantastic, whimsical card game with auctioning that works great for 2. What's not to love?
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57. Board Game: Helvetia [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:638]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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What a fantastic and smart game. This is player interaction the way we like it: not destroying each other, but sharing resources in unique ways. Here, it's that to increase my access to goods, I have to marry my workers to my opponent's workers. Great stuff, leading to lots of interesting and surprising plays.

Highly recommended, one of the most original games of the year!
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58. Board Game: Paperclip Railways [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:3652]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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This game is all about ingenuity, on every level. Building your tracks out of paperclips and then carefully draping them on the playing surface, trying to get a few extra millimetres while avoiding obstacles, is just a wonderful tactile experience. And then the stations, each with their own benefits, some of which are hilarious, is icing on the cake.

And this game has, hands down, the best way to handle promos of any game, period, ever!
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59. Board Game: Village [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:76]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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This is a great evolution of standard worker placement - the notion that your workers grow older, have children, and die of old age! Genius! And on top of that, it's a really solid resource converting engine to boot, with lots of different paths to victory. So so good!
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60. Board Game: Lancaster [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:161]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Another fantastic game from Mattias Kramer. After this, Helvetia, and Glen More, he's obviously a designer to watch! What makes this one so special? Escalating worker placement race, player interdependency to fight foreign wars, strong set collection, and a fantastic voting system that works great with two players.

To make 2p sing, ignore the rule that says not to use the player screens, and try not to count your opponent's resources. You'll have an incredible time!

EDIT: Have made a gameplay walkthrough video, for those who'd like to know more. Here's the link: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/video/16308
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61. Board Game: Hawaii [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:354]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Finally got a copy of this, and absolutely LOVED it. Very charming and fun and nice to look at, with great replayability through a modular board, and randomly assigned action spaces that change every turn. Love it so much I did a vid for it, which you can see here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/video/15868
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62. Board Game: Prêt-à-Porter [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:654]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Okay so maybe this is cheating to list Pret. It did originally come out in 2010, but that was small print run Polish only version. Surely one should consider that a "limited pre-release"?

Anyway, what a fantastic game... an incredibly strong business simulation that could be used in classroom settings, but is still wildly fun. Both long term strategic and short term tactical planning is essential, and every fashion show is a tense showdown. And kudos on the completely original theme. Good show all around!
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63. Board Game: Walnut Grove [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:730]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Describing this as Agricola-lite isn't true to the gameplay, but it is true to the feel of this wonderful title. A great mix of Carcassonne tile laying, resource harvesting, homestead building, and shopping in town, with a great seasonal passage of time randomize system that ties everything together.

There's nothing particularly innovative about any of it, but it all comes together in arguably the smoothest playing cube pusher of the year. Bliss!
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64. Board Game: Ora et Labora [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:47]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Uwe Rosenberg's latest opus, this is a fantastic fusion of the best of Agricola and Le Havre. And yet more proof that "player interaction" doesn't have to mean players attacking each other. We find actually interacting through the usage of resources much more meaningful and fulfilling than trying to crush each other.

Don't be dissuaded by those complaining about poor quality production... it's a mountain out of a molehill, and the game is so great, it should not be missed!
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65. Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:9]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Stephan Feld is hands down the best Euro designer working today, IMO. His games are consistently the epitome of elegance of design and intelligence of gameplay. There's enough theme to have a meaningful context to your actions, but not so much that it gets in the way of mechanics. CoB was his best game to date at the time of its release... a perfect blend of dice throwing, kingdom building, and resource management. Ausgezeichnet!
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66. Board Game: Trajan [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:38]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Just when we thought Feld couldn't top himself with Burgundy, it looks like he may have done just that with Trajan. Basically 6 games in one, players can focus on the spatial gameplay of the world conquering or the city building actions, the set collection and luck of the draw of shipping, the race of the senate and forum competitions, and most importantly the insidiously clever mancala action selection that ties it all together. This is gameplay virtuosity we're witnessing here. Mindbogglingly good!

EDIT: SOO good I made a video!
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/video/16331
Enjoy!
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67. Board Game: Dungeon Petz [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:86]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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What makes this game number one for 2011? It's got brilliant gameplay design (smart gambling simultaneious action bidding, card driven needs system, multiple contest/sale driven mid-game targets for points optimization), it's one of the funniest and most charming of the year (insanely engaging and detailed art, laugh out loud funny manual and events/monster/items descriptions, characters that you can get emotionally attached to, so much so it can affect your gameplay choices), and its integration of theme and gameplay is unparalleled. Even though it's a very deep strategic and tactical game, I could introduce anyone to it because all the acitons are so intuitive and natural. Nothing short of a masterpiece, and Vlaada's best to date!
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68. Board Game: But Wait, There's More! [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:2608]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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As great as all of those are, there's still a whole bunch of games that I suspect we'll like or love that we haven't even played yet! Here's the list of ones I've decided to get my hands on one way or another. No surprise if some of these find their way into 2011's top 40, but only time will tell...

High Hopes
Dr. Shark
Martian Dice
Poseidon's Kingdom
Quebec
The City
The Impossible Machine
Vanuatu
Ventura
Warriors & Traders

Largely Unknowns
A Fistful of Penguins
Artefakt
Bohn Camillo
Castelli
Casus Belli
Core Worlds
Ein Mann. Ein Spiel.
Fealty
Murder! Mystery! Mastermind!
Serica: Plains of Dust
Medieval Mastery

Dunnos
Carnival
Conquest of Planet Earth: The Space Alien Game
Deadwood
Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game
Rails of New England
Sentinels of the Multiverse
Siberia
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