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The Further Frontiers of Kniziadom
Stven Carlberg
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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I've been a Reiner Knizia fan for years, and I've played and enjoyed a huge number of the games he's designed, from the "big" stuff like Euphrat & Tigris and Amun-Re to the delightful "little" designs like Trendy and Zirkus Flohcati.

But Knizia has designed a LOT of games.

The idea of this list is to look at some of the titles I haven't played that appeal to me, or that I know a little bit about and would like to know more. So if you've played any of these games and want to chime in with a recommendation or a caution, please add your comments.

After my long list of games, if you want to add a Knizia title you're curious about, I'll be glad to pitch in with my opinion if I've played it or welcome hearing from those who have.

I'll award a "thumbs up" to each non-trivial addition to the list (comment or item) which does not include the terms "theme" or "mechanic(s)."

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1. Board Game: Pirates! [Average Rating:5.67 Overall Rank:7967]
Stven Carlberg
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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This looks like it must be a fairly simple game with a lot of dice-rolling, since it's listed as taking 30 minutes. (Of course I realize these timings often vary with number of players and how much paralysis your group gets into with analysis.) But a lot of times, it's the simplest Knizia designs that turn out to be among the best, so that doesn't dampen my curiosity.

Adding to my reasons for interest are the facts that the game takes up to six players -- I'm always looking for six-player games -- and that it was nominated in 2006 for a Dutch game award. So obviously *somebody* liked it.
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2. Board Game: Gravediggers [Average Rating:5.83 Overall Rank:5181]
Stven Carlberg
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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A game with card-drafting and "bluffing." Of course I realize that "bluffing" is often erroneously listed as a game element when what really happens in the game is simultaneous cardplay, so I take that with a grain of salt. But this game from 2006 about "bank directors who decide to rob their own banks" has a few very enthusiastic fans wondering why the rest of us haven't caught their enthusiasm yet. Bankuberfall is also described as "unlike any other Knizia game." I am naturally intrigued.

And now I find that the game has been remade as Gravediggers for the English-speaking market. Maybe that'll bring out some more info.
 
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3. Board Game: Blue Moon [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:609]
Stven Carlberg
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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I know, I know, I must be the very last kid on the block not to have played Blue Moon! I'm even a big fan of Blue Moon City but have never gotten around to trying out the game to which it is a sequel.

I guess the main thing slowing me down is that I'm afraid Blue Moon will be too much like a collectible card game, and CCGs are an animal which thus far in my gaming life I have carefully avoided. By the same token, I'm a fan of Rudiger Dorn's Jambo, another game said to appeal to the CCG crowd, so maybe Blue Moon wouldn't be such a jarring experience for me and I should go ahead, steel myself, and give it a try.
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4. Board Game: Carcassonne: The Castle [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:372]
Stven Carlberg
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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Although this game gets an amazingly high rating on BBG, I've never seen the need for all the sequels and expansions to Carcassonne. You know, the original game is good, so why not just play it and forget about muddying the waters with two dozen different variations?

Yet... It's Knizia. And people like it. Do I truly owe it to myself to play this one?
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5. Board Game: Clash of the Gladiators [Average Rating:5.88 Overall Rank:3437]
Stven Carlberg
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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Another game that's been out a while and I simply have never gotten around to.

Apparently it's all about the dice and there's kind of a circular hierarchy of powers which results in a little bit of rock-paper-scissors kind of thinking. This could be a good thing or a bad thing, and my patience with dice, I admit, is not infinite. But I'd like to give it a try and see for myself.
 
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6. Board Game: Dead Man's Treasure [Average Rating:5.77 Overall Rank:5066]
Stven Carlberg
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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Hmm, another pirate game, this one from 2005. (You'd think pirates were suddenly popular or something.) The style of the artwork suggest it's a game for children, and the reviewers agree that children enjoy it -- but some say there's plenty to appeal to grown-ups, too. I wonder if it's somewhere in the same range as Quandary, a game of simple but agonizingly pivotal decisions?
 
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7. Board Game: Secrets of the Sea [Average Rating:6.06 Overall Rank:6206]
Stven Carlberg
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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A treasure-hunting game for kids that includes a goofy blue light? Said to be pretty simple, but not so simple that it's boring for adults. And that thing about the goofy blue light somehow seems to call to me.....
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8. Board Game: Double or Nothing [Average Rating:5.69 Overall Rank:5708]
Stven Carlberg
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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A betting game from 2006 that seems to have a press-your-luck element but a kicker at the end, as the last player in the round is obliged to go for broke. This one has some fans, and again, I'm always on the lookout for games that accommodate six players, so I'm wondering whether I should investigate Double or Nothing further.
 
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9. Board Game: Dragon Master [Average Rating:6.28 Unranked]
Stven Carlberg
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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A two-player game published in Korea. The description says the players play cards one at a time, building up a 5x5 structure, and then compare their weakest rows or columns to determine a winner. It sounds a little like Take It Easy if I'm getting the correct impression from the description, and it sounds like it might be a fun filler. Has anybody tried it?
 
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10. Board Game: Dragon Parade [Average Rating:5.76 Overall Rank:4573]
Stven Carlberg
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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More dragon games! Great colors on the box. In this one the idea is that you're navigating a paper dragon in a parade, hoping that when the round ends it'll be closer to the pawns you set up at the beginning. Sounds like another filler, but this time for up to five players... and a quick game for five while we're waiting for our sixth to arrive can come in very handy.
 
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11. Board Game: Escalation! [Average Rating:5.68 Overall Rank:5355]
Stven Carlberg
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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While I admit the image on the cover of a suburban crank aiming an oversized gun doesn't appeal to me, the description of the game -- and the fact that it plays for six -- make me think it might be worth checking out. It's said to be a pretty simple game of numbers, something in the same range as No Thanks, easy to explain and quick to play. Since I don't care much for No Thanks but am sometimes in a situation where a game of that weight is what we're looking for, I wouldn't mind finding one that I like.
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12. Board Game: Fair Play [Average Rating:5.72 Overall Rank:8175]
Stven Carlberg
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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"An odd mix of bluff and dice rolling with little strategy." But it's a racing game, it looks cool in the pictures, it plays for six, and it's in Bruno Faidutti's ideal game library. The game is from 1997, so it probably won't be easy to find, but I'd like to give it a try sometime.
 
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13. Board Game: Flotte Flitzer [Average Rating:4.78 Unranked]
Stven Carlberg
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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The description of this 2006 game sounds very similar to the description of Fair Play, though the pictures show cards being played on a board rather than onto an empty table. Still, they might be essentially the same game. Does anyone know?
 
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14. Board Game: Genesis [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:2335]
Stven Carlberg
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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This looks something like a traditional tile-laying game where 2-4 players are trying to claim territory. Being a Knizia design, I know there must be a twist in there somewhere. How good is it? How much is it like Auf Heller und Pfennig?
 
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15. Board Game: Great Wall of China [Average Rating:6.26 Overall Rank:1668]
Stven Carlberg
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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I've read numerous good reports on this 2006 game, which sounds like something of an area-majority card game. I'm eager to give it a try.
 
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16. Board Game: Merchants [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:1661]
Stven Carlberg
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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I'm a sucker for games with ships, so this new card game for 2-4 from Pegasus -- weren't they the company who brought us Stephenson's Rocket? -- goes straight onto my have-to-give-it-a-try list.
 
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17. Board Game: King's Gate [Average Rating:6.24 Overall Rank:2227]
Stven Carlberg
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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Another game a lot of people have played but which has thus far eluded my eyes. It looks like another tile-laying, territory-claiming game but with the twist that players can cover up each others' tiles. How much should I seek this out?
 
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18. Board Game: Little Italy [Average Rating:5.70 Overall Rank:6927]
Stven Carlberg
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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I can't find anybody who's especially enthusiastic about this game, but somehow I'm strangely drawn to it and guess I'll eventually have to find out for myself.

The idea of making deliveries for the Mafia is of course such a kid-friendly notion that the game is rated for ages 10 and up. This same story of hitting your marks and avoiding the cops is used in Palermo, another old oddball game that I get a kick out of, so that's one attraction. The other is that it plays with up to six, but apparently when you've got more than four players, you have to share a "car" with somebody else, which sounds like it would complicate matters interestingly. So... Little Italy here I come.
 
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19. Board Game: Medici vs Strozzi [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1251]
Stven Carlberg
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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I'm merely a lukewarm fan of Knizia's classic Medici. I'm much more likely to pull Modern Art, Fabrik der Traume, Ra, or Money! off the shelf if I'm in the mood for a Knizia auction.

But this two-player reworking of Medici is getting strong ratings, and I know I'll give it a try myself before too long.
 
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20. Board Game: Mole Hill [Average Rating:5.95 Overall Rank:5446]
Stven Carlberg
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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I've been hearing about this 1997 game for years but have never had the chance to play it. It's an asymmetric two-player game where one is the farmer and the other the mole. It has some fans and everybody seems to agree it's a rather odd game.
 
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21. Board Game: Nuba [Average Rating:6.19 Overall Rank:7293]
Stven Carlberg
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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A two-player game from 1995 that has been largely overlooked but has a few diehard fans throwing around words like "chess variant" and "genius." Plus which, the story is about seeing who can be the best musician.

Okay, I'm convinced. Please show me this game.
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22. Board Game: Prisma [Average Rating:4.83 Unranked]
Stven Carlberg
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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One of Knizia's earliest published designs (1991), this is described as a card game where one player scores for poker hands made vertically while the other scores for poker hands made horizontally.

That's not what the picture of the game looks like, exactly, but nevertheless the idea is a little bit intriguing.
 
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23. Board Game: Schatz der Drachen [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:3485]
Stven Carlberg
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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Okay, it's a memory game for kids on a 7x7 grid. But the artwork is appealing, it's got a BGG rating of 6.5, and the comments are surprisingly enthusiastic. Things like "the best a memory game could possibly be."

How good *is* that, exactly?
 
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24. Board Game: Spirits! [Average Rating:5.70 Overall Rank:9024]
Stven Carlberg
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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It's a card game for up to six, and in the tags it says "trick-taking," but the description of the game doesn't sound like trick-taking. I'm thinking this might be something like Too Many Cooks or Trendy (a big favorite of mine), and might actually be something I'd particularly enjoy.
 
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25. Board Game: Tal der Abenteuer: Die Schatzsuche im Himalaja [Average Rating:5.93 Overall Rank:4914]
Stven Carlberg
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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I'm especially interested in Tal der Abenteuer because it won the Austrian game of the year award in 2006. It appears to be designed very much as a family game, with uncomplicated rules and a nice helping of luck, but also with extravagant decoration and a board that you play both sides of, turning it over for the second side after the game reaches a certain point on the first side.

It's also described as having some of the same elements as Honeybears (recently rereleased as Bucket Brigade), a game which I like but which can be very unforgiving. So perhaps I'll like a game better which adds some complications and some froth.
 
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