Tell your fellow geeks about you favorite "Hidden Gem"
Dan Rivera
United States
Fountain
Colorado
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I like board games as does every one on this site. But of all the things I like about board games and there are many, the one thing I like the most is finding the Hidden Gem. A game that is not talked about much or is not ranked very high or even at all but is a ton of fun to play. A game that has a mechanic that is so unique that you say man thats neat the first time you played it. A game that has such a crazy theme that you cant imagine what the designer was thinking but once you play brings a smile to your face.

I will add one or two of mine. Please add your own. The more of these that I can find out about the better.
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101. Board Game: Quoridor [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:785]
Shingo Ishikawa
Australia
Isaacs
ACT
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This game is a huge hit everytime I bring it out to play with non gamer.. and I do this a lot. It's so easy to teach, and play.. that we often play 5 to 10 games back to back.. or until they can beat me.

Seems like it is well loved amongst few people here but probably deserved more exposure here.
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102. Board Game: Queries 'n Theories [Average Rating:8.39 Unranked]
Gary Webster
United States
Littleton
CO
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I've "hidden" this one in my top ten for quite a while now. It's simply THE game of scientific method. One player (the "native") designs a language whose content is in the form of colored chips, and whose grammar are the rules the native comes up with to replace chips in sentences to make longer (or at least different) sentences in the language. The other players are "linguists" who attempt to discern the language by performing experiments, literally asking the native "is this sentence in your language?" Everyone has visibility into the experiments and to the native's answers, so all have the same chance to discover the language. The more questions asked, the better the chances of coming up with the language, but the fewer points garnered by the linguist community for doing so. A full game has everyone playing the native once, so things average out.

The level of the game is decided by the total number of chips allowed on the native's language mat (which are used to fully describe the language rules) and by the number of chip colors allowed. So, a game with five chips in three colors is harder than a game with five chips in two colors. The top level of the game is thirteen native chips in seven colors. There are rules about making redundant or bad experimental guesses, and a whole rigamarole once a linguist has decided he/she knows the language, but the core of the game is brilliant. One thing I really like is, once a linguist thinks he/she knows the language, the thing to say is, yes, "aha!" So, you have to be careful not to use that in normal conversation or when learning the language.

If you've ever been lucky enough to play this abstract, out-of-print but lovely game, well, you've been lucky indeed.
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103. Board Game: 24/7: The Game [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:3160]
Dean Rekich
United States
Lyndora
Pennsylvania
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One of my favorite games that gets little attention or a good ranking. You have to lay down tiles numbered 1 to 10 and make lines that add up to 7 or 24, straights, or sets of 3 or 4. The game almost seems too simple to be fun, but I always look forward to playing this and we end up playing it a lot. Probably best with 2 players, but also plays pretty well with 3 players.
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104. Board Game: Take it to the Limit! [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:2034]
Dean Rekich
United States
Lyndora
Pennsylvania
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While some prefer the simpler Take it Easy, once I played Take it to the Limit I would never go back to TiE. It used to be quite expensive (about 60 dollars) but now is selling at online stores for less than 40. For 40 you get *tons* of tiles, and boards so up to 6 people can play. I find this game to be very relaxing, yet at the same time nervewracking devil. It is so peaceful getting your lines working (the OCD in me ), however there is tons of angst when you need to pick which line to screw up so you can possbily "save" another line.
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105. Board Game: Rosenkönig [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:815]
Dean Rekich
United States
Lyndora
Pennsylvania
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Rosenkonig has a pretty decent ranking here on BGG, but it is not much discussed when it comes to great 2 player games. It is out print now, but if you like 2 player games you should try and get a copy of it. Dirk Henn is more well known for Alhambra, Atlantic Star, Metro, and a few others. However, I think this is a "hidden gem" that deserves to be more well known.
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106. Board Game: Bargain Hunter [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:1429]
Dean Rekich
United States
Lyndora
Pennsylvania
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Schnappchen Jagd is only one of three games I have currently rated as a "10". A simply wonderful trick taking game! It is one of the best, if not *the* best, 3 player game I know of.

It is out of print and hard to come by. Hopefully Valley Games will eventually reprint it. However, there is no excuse for not playing this game as you can make your own Schnappchen Jagd deck out of two decks of the card game Rage.

If you love card games and/or play a lot of 3 player games you *need* this game!!! Yes, it is that good!!!
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107. Board Game: Field Command [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:3079]
Joe Wyka
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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This independently produced game from 1991 tops my list of hidden gems. It's basically a game of capture the general but with perfect information and simultaneous movement. Players write down 12 moves at a time and then execute the movements. Pieces that end up on the same square may face elimination according to an inspired rock-scissors-paper mechanic. There are three types of cavalry and infantry (A kills B who kills C who kills A), cavalry beats infantry on open fields but infantry has the edge in the forests. Artillary eliminates units within range, and the range is variable depending on the elevation of the artillary and the target (it is a three-level molded plastic game board). There are also fast-moving guerilla units that operate by their own set of elimination rules. The pieces are all beautiful molded plastic with different bases to determine the rank.

It's a great feeling when the moves are revealed on both sides. Surprises galore. There are enough units that you get a real ebb and flow in the battle. So many delicious choices each turn outguessing your opponent. A favorite of mine.
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108. Board Game: 10-Four, Good Buddy [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
United States
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Make no mistake. I am not putting this here because it contains groundbreaking strategy, great co-op play, a nice screw-your-buddy component, amazing bits, or nice cards.

It has none of that.

What it does have is a slew of CB slang that, with the right group of people, will provide you with one of the funniest game nights you can have. Each card has some goofy CB-related sentence, and you are forced to read it out loud. Then, more often then not, people will want to consult the glossary so they can figure out what they just said.

Recipe for hilarity? Good friends, lots of booze, and 10-4 Good Buddy!
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109. Board Game: Booby-Trap [Average Rating:5.31 Overall Rank:10495]
Mike Tangedal
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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Guess why this game doesn't get the love it deserves? Couldn't be anything to do with that dumbass name could it? Whether you find the name charming or stupid, you really do need to show this game the love.

For me, this is one of the rare favorites of my youth that translates just as much if not more to the present. It's a simple dexterity game that will challenge your expertise in mechanical engineering, especially in the area of stress analysis. Scoring is easy but strategy abounds when calculating the risk of pulling the big disks for maximum score or playing it safe. The shriek of fun when the game board collapses upon itself never gets old.

Get down to your thrift store today since the original version is readily available. By no means go for the cheap plastic version they are now peddling. It's too small and too cheap and just horrible. Long live the wood version with the wood bits!

We play this all the time at our big game parties and it never disappoints. All ages love it!
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110. Board Game: Meuterer [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:526]
Tom Thingamagummy
United States
Oakland
California
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For such a small amount of money, you can buy yourself a whole lot of game. The idea is simple. Get the most victory points by trading or piloting the ship around the islands. But the game play is extremely complex, and only through the understanding of all the various mechanics can one spell success. You think Android is too complicated? Try Meuterer to totally make your head spin.

First, there's points for sailing. Different islands give the captain different points. As captain, you can give some of the island points to a first mate to help you avoid mutiny. Or you can hope to defend yourself against it. Or you can sail to the islands that you think people want to go. Why?

Second, there's trading. You can trade your cards at the island you sail to, or the island you're sailing from.

Third, there's hand management. The Captain always goes first, and has to only show a particular number of cards. The cards left in his hand show where the boat is going next. So he's got to be fairly straightforward in his card play. Of course, if you're planning and trading a lucrative item, you have to hang onto it until the right island, limiting your effectiveness in current trading.

Fourth, there's bluffing/time management. In order to get trading points, you have to have the majority or tie for the majority of any particular resource. Each player declares their trade in order, so the farther you are from the captain, you get to see what others do.

Fifth, there's card counting. Each card shows how many of that resource is in the deck. You can keep track of things that go by and get a sense of how well you are going to beat others in the next trade.

Sixth, there's role cards. Each player, once they stop playing cards in the trading round, can choose a character. (The Captain never does.) Two characters help with trading, three helps with the mutiny. Players can use this timing to enhance their victory point strategy.

Lastly, there's the mutiny. If the Mutineer wins, then they pilot the boat (based on their remaining cards via hand management), and they get the victory points from the island.

Such an amazing game, and it just goes unnoticed.
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111. Board Game: Nertz [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:3429]
Pat Wilz
United States
Bay St. Louis
MS
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We played this one with standard card decks in college, and we called it "Stop!"

You can play with up to 10 quite easily. It's a fantastic dexterity game with partners. The hardest part is playing alone when everyone else has a partner, but you can pull it off.

The only bad part is when the phone rings.

Bring some card decks to your next work party and have a ball! Make sure the decks have differently decorated backs of course....
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112. Board Game: Math Dice [Average Rating:5.55 Overall Rank:8800]
Robert Ward
United States
Eugene
Oregon
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No love for a math game. snore
Except this is quite an addictive little game that you can take anywhere.
You roll some dice to be the target number, then you roll a few dice to work with. Using arithmetic and powers you must use all of the working numbers to come close to the target number. The first person to shout out the most correct answer wins. Okay, it's more fun than it sounds.
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113. Board Game: Bad Hollywood [Average Rating:5.25 Unranked]
Dave Wilson
United States
Pleasanton
California
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Players are movie villain masterminds, sending villains out to take over movie studios so that the bad guys can win in the movies. But they have to watch out for heroes, who swoop in to try to save the studios during an attack. A fun little card game not too dissimilar from an Adlung-spiele game: it plays like a board game, made from cards.
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114. Board Game: Strand-Cup [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:4254]
Dave Wilson
United States
Pleasanton
California
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A card game of beach volleyball. You play in teams: 2v2, 3v3, or even 4v4 (though I think it's best to have two decks in that case). You play cards to hit the ball, and they have different effects based on whether they were used as a pass, set, or spike. Special cards allow for spinners, or glare off you mirror shades cool , and the like.

It's light, certainly, and I do think players need to get into the spirit of the game to enjoy it (in other words, you say "set me, set me!" rather than "Gee, Bob, I have a spike card with a big number on it."), but it can be a lot of fun as a game night closer.
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115. Board Game: Freedom in the Galaxy [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:1951]
Xavier Salvador

Badalona
Catalonia
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Some say a somewhat popular series of trilogies called Starwarts or so was inspired by this gamedevil Some say it was the other way round.

IMO Freedom in the Galaxy as a game is better than Starwarts as a feature film (unless you are 10 or younger, that is).

Look at this compelling background on the cards shown:
(besides Thysa Kimboobs!)
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116. Board Game: Plunder [Average Rating:6.24 Overall Rank:2624]
Erin D
Canada
Alberta
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The goodness begins with the packaging (a cool, treasure chest-shaped box) and does not stop. With the exception of the corny little cardboard tents that pass for player tokens, the bits are awesome: tiny gold and silver coins, a bunch of little period-specific national flags to designate who's at war with whom, and a bag full of booty. Gameplay is immersive--you get to yell "mutiny," and you find yourself saying things like "letter of marque" and "treasure fleet" and "first mate." A friend and I actually spontaneously broke into a rendition of "Barrett's Privateers" while playing this.
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117. Board Game: Amoeba Wars [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:3955]
E Henry Thripshaw
United States
Pacific NW
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Amoeba Wars

Vintage Avalon Hill space game that is somewhat like Risk in space, but it's much better. It adds numbered action cards that are used in a blind bid fashion to determine turn order each round. The cards add reinforcements, allow special moves (teleport anyone?), or allow you to cause specific amoeba to attack opponents.

The amoebas are system controlled and some games cause chaos by cutting supply lines, while other games they can be eliminated entirely. Nice randomness.

The only down side is there is down time for players waiting for the current player to complete their turn. However, they can be preparing their turn reinforcements and rolling on defense as necessary.

It has a nice space board and good Avalon Hill components, considering they were from the early 80s. I love the death stars! It's a nice little themed game that bridges the gap between mainstream titles (Risk) and hex wargames. Not too complex, but certainly added chrome above Risk. My wife enjoys it too. A fun beer and pretzel game for 4 players. Underrated gem in my opinion.
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118. Board Game: Tribes [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:5550]
N/A
Tribes is, by far, one of my favorite moderated party games. You've a caveman and your objective is to "create" the most progeny. Except, with this being a "beer and pretzels" Ameritrash game, you roll *dice* and, if the dice aren't in your favor, maybe the player playing the lovely lady you had your genes on will just have to pick some *other* stud to stay in the genetic game. A fun selfish-gene vs. group-survival game.
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119. Board Game: Micro Mutants: Evolution [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:1397]
Necessary Evil
United States
Glen Arm
Maryland
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I don't know if this is that big of a secret these days. However, this game, one that before the FFg $10 sale was not talked much about, Rocks!

Bring on the expansions!


-M
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120. Board Game: Chez Guevara [Average Rating:5.73 Overall Rank:6892]
N/A
IS GLORIOUS REVOLUTION TIME!!!

Steve Jackson Games has a maligned reputation on BGG, but for "beer and pretzel" gamers, Chez Guevara is a fun, politically-not-so-correct game that ups the chaos of the Chez Geek mechanics, while not overstaying its welcome. Pull rank, lead raids, and make sure your pet goat isn't eaten by the Glorious Leader!
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121. Board Game: Hunting Party [Average Rating:6.24 Overall Rank:3196]
Cameron McKenzie
United States
Atlanta
Georgia
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Hunting Party is really a great game. You form a party of hunters with unique abilities, and get equipment and potions you need to ultimately hunt down and defeat the Shadow.
But you also have to manage your party well, because each hunter will demand a share of the loot!

It does have its flaws, but altogether a great game -- I prefer to use a couple of house rules, but it is a lot of fun even as written.
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122. Board Game: The Succession Wars [Average Rating:6.18 Overall Rank:4472]
Jason Quintal
United States
Burlington
Massachusetts
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Okay - so what? This game takes just as long to set up as it does to play, but this is when board games were just starting to get helluva deep for me and required military leadership credentials to understand.

It was my first large-scale tactical battle game *and* first game where "friends" began to trick, deceive and back stab. I can't even begin to count how many times we uttered the phrase "YOU RAT BASTARD!" while playing this game!

This game taught me the meaning of ulterior motives and was a necessary primer for Diplomacy.

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123. Board Game: Escape from Colditz [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:1281]
Juanito
Spain
Córdoba
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This is a great game and i loved its new edition in spanish. I love its co-op theme and simple mechanics, making players to use their reason and not only exploiting the rules.

A bit old but full of fun for elder and newbies gamers!
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124. Board Game: Star System [Average Rating:6.05 Overall Rank:6152]
Ben Bateson
United Kingdom
Ross-on-Wye
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Take Clue(do).

Remove all the nasty dice bits that make it so little fun to play, leaving just the clever deduction mechanic.

Now instead of one deduction mechanic, have eight.

Now remove all but two players so the objective is to reap perfect information.

Add a crucial random element that means the best player can't win every time. Put on a price tag which is little more than nominal.

OK, it's not Dominion, but it is a great game.
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125. Board Game: Mission Command Sea [Average Rating:5.91 Overall Rank:4801]
Danger Mike
United States
Fenton
Missouri
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I've only played this once with one of my nephews. Great fun, excellent toy factor, and more strategic depth than you'd expect. You can load up on sidewinders to sweep your opponents planes from the sky, or emphasize harpoons to swarm the carrier. I think going after the destroyers could be a very strong tactic.
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