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2000 recorded plays under my belt - meet 8 great games you've never heard of!
Hilko Drude
Germany
Goettingen
Lower Saxony
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I started recording my plays on bgg in July 2009. A little trip over Easter pushed the number of plays since then over the 2000 mark, with a little over 350 different games involved. Those who know me might be aware that I play a good number of fairly obscure titles. But some of these are really good and you should take notice of them. So I have picked 8 great games out of those I have played at least three times since July 2009 and would like to introduce these to you.

Of course I have no idea whether you really never heard of these games. But almost all of them are unrated, and the one that is is just barely so. I will sort this list by average rating rather than by personal preference.

Most entries on this list are either abstracts or childrens' games; two categories which are largely ignored here on the geek. And most of them are short games, as I have little chance to play longer games often, unfortunately. So meet some games that are too unknown, and I hope that you will have a chance to play one of these sometime soon.
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1. Board Game: Volta [Average Rating:7.68 Unranked]
Hilko Drude
Germany
Goettingen
Lower Saxony
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"Ingeniously stupid" was a critic's comment - and how better to describe this? Volta is a dexterity game that takes around two or three minutes, but I could easily play it ten times in a row. The goal is to push the opponent's marble off its horse without losing your own. That's about it, but the game is full of laughs. I uploaded a video for it if you want to see it in action (I should make a better one, now that I have better equipment).

Volta is y Reinhold Witting, and it is one of only three games I rate a 10. There is nothing to add to or substract from it, it is perfect the way it is.
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2. Board Game: Tix [Average Rating:7.04 Unranked]
Hilko Drude
Germany
Goettingen
Lower Saxony
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Now maybe you have heard of this, as the designer, Martijn Althuizen, is rather active on the geek and has dropped the name of this in quite a few places. But most of you have probably not tried the game. What can I say? Change that!

Tix is a truly fantastic abstract game, with easy rules that seem very organic and fit together perfectly. Yet the game offers countless possibilities and enough tough decisions to make it really involving. I love this game, and if you like abstracts, you should very much give this a go. Unfortunately, the online version seems to be offline, but there is a smartphone app if you cannot find the game anywhere around.
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3. Board Game: Mandalay [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Hilko Drude
Germany
Goettingen
Lower Saxony
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Four ratings? Four? You have got to be kidding. This is a super-simple abstract by Jacques Zeimet - move the top piece of a stack as many stacks forward or back as the height of its stack determines, and try to block the other player - but it is quick and fun. The Giseh edition is somewhat overproduced in my opinion; I own the simpler version with blue and orange pieces and no board (why a board at all?).
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4. Board Game: 90 Grad [Average Rating:6.38 Unranked]
Hilko Drude
Germany
Goettingen
Lower Saxony
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Another abstract on this list. Designer Gunnar Kuhlencord won the Game of the Year award for unpublished designers with this, which I find very much deserved. It's a pity that he hasn't published anything else. I cannot believe how ridiculously lowly this is rated here.
90 Grad is another game with incredibly simple rules and loads of thinking. The rules: Move one of your balls as many fields ahead as there are balls in same line in the other direction (90 degrees removed). Try to push the other player's "king" off the board or get your own king to the center of the board. That's pretty much it, but game play feels really unique. You can attack in your very first move, although at a cost. Great game.

Publisher Holzinsel is out of business, unfortunately. I managed to buy my own copy rather recently, though, and if anyone is really interested, I can whisper the name of the (German) online shop which still seems to have a couple of copies left into your ear.
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5. Board Game: Mouse Match [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:6702]
Hilko Drude
Germany
Goettingen
Lower Saxony
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Hard to believe that Jacques Zeimet's masterpiece isn't even ranked on the geek (ah, such is the fate of good children's games). Mäusekarussell is a memory game that I am truly not good at, but it is so simple and beautiful that it is impossible not to be fascinated by it. There are six tunnels and seven mice - push a mouse into a tunnel, forcing another mouse to come out in front. If the color of that mouse matches a piece of cheese in the middle, pick up that cheese and gain a turn. Whoever collects most cheese is the winner.

Not much to see here for adults, but it is certainly one of the best kids memory games that I have ever played (and I actually enjoy it myself).
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6. Board Game: Stake Your Claim [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:7846]
Hilko Drude
Germany
Goettingen
Lower Saxony
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There have been countless geekless about the best filler games ever, and this one gets mentioned painfully rarely. Yet "Räubern" is in many ways the mother of all fillers. Rules are explained in a minute, the game plays in five. WIth four players, it is perfect, although it is so short and fun that less balance (as occurs with other numbers of players) don't matter so much. There are a bunch of versions, so choose the design you like most. I love the original 1980s artwork, but it might not be everyone's cup of tea.

The rules? Put one of your cards on a stack of cards. If the card matches the top card of the stack, steal the whole stack. Draw a card. That's it, really.

Räubern is by Wolfgang Kramer and is often available on German ebay for one Euro (plus shipping, of course). One Euro. Come on.
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7. Board Game: Kissenschlacht [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:5829]
Hilko Drude
Germany
Goettingen
Lower Saxony
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This game is actually ranked, but it has so few ratings that it is a worthy addition to this list. Designer Lisbeth Bos has managed to make a game that is fun to play with kids. While most kids just try to shoot the pillows into the bed (the game box, actually), adults will aim at shooting down the other players' pawns. Which is much harder, so kids usually win, but adults have their own level of fun.

Some of you might have seen this as a giant version in Essen in 2010. I couldn't get enough of it, but the actual boardgame is no less fun. Components are excellent, too.
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8. Board Game: Affentheater [Average Rating:5.81 Unranked]
Hilko Drude
Germany
Goettingen
Lower Saxony
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Need a fun game to play with your kids (around four/five and up)? Look no further than Affentheater by Stefan Olschewski. It is a memory based game which isn't terribly hard, actually, but the thing you have to remember is grimaces. Monkeys race through the forest, and when they encounter predators, they best remember how to scare these off.

I had tried this multiple times before I had a chance to play it with kids. We even had fun with grownups and a little beer. But my daughter (five now) also loves it. It is out of print, but there are still copies going around.
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