Games JC should rate

Eugene
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Do you enjoy counter-intuitive games that offer relatively strong zero-sum patterns, small random effects, no hidden trackable information, and emergent player incentive structures? I sure do. And so I often look to the ratings and commentary of JC "Clearclaw" Lawrence as a guide when searching out games of this description.

However, some games that clearly fall within JC's preferences remain noticeably absent from his ratings list. This geeklist collects some of those.
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1. Board Game: Australian Railways [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:4801]

Eugene
Oregon
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As the de facto ambassador to Winsome games, JC has orchestrated the re-printing of scores of unavailable yet excellent titles. However, many of the more notable Winsomes have not been commented on by JC. These first few entries highlight some of these glaring omissions.

Part of the Early Railways Series, which also includes Lancashire Railways and New England Railways. They're Winsome, they're progenitors of Age of Steam, and they're still unrated by JC. Very odd.
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2. Board Game: Kansas Pacific [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:4105]

Eugene
Oregon
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A recent offering by Winsome that some have complained suffers from endgame problems. JC really should weigh in on the matter.
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3. Board Game: Age of Scheme: Routes to Riches [Average Rating:6.02 Overall Rank:6381]

Eugene
Oregon
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A black sheep with a troubled past, of sorts, in the Winsome line. JC did not hold his tongue during the controversy surrounding its release, but strangely, he has not yet voiced an opinion on its merits as a game.
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4. Board Game: Union vs. Central [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:4953]

Eugene
Oregon
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An 8-hour, 2-player, card-driven, logistical slug fest. Do the random elements of cards combined with take-that kicks-in-the-groin make this Winsome fall outside of JC's tastes?
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5. Board Game: American Rails [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:887]

Eugene
Oregon
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And now we get to games that one would expect would appeal to JC, but that haven't yet been graced with his comments. Perhaps he will find among these some worthy of future investigation.

Cube rails game by Tim Harrison in the same vein as Chicago Express. The player-controlled variable turn order somewhat calls to mind the one employed by Maharaja below.
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6. Board Game: Bunte Runde [Average Rating:5.94 Overall Rank:5624]

Eugene
Oregon
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No randomness set collecting from Knizia that plays like a hybrid of two of his others, Tutankhamen and Wildlife Safari.
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7. Board Game: Deluxe Camping [Average Rating:6.18 Overall Rank:5426]

Eugene
Oregon
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Downright nasty fence-placing area control that rewards setting up one opponent to be the aggressive party towards a hapless other. Play with three only!
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8. Board Game: Hansa Teutonica [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:77]

Eugene
Oregon
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Current darling of the con scene. But that's probably a mark against it for the ever contrarian JC. Still, he really should give this a try. Network building meets Goa-style player attribute development.
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9. Board Game: Maharaja: The Game of Palace Building in India [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:327]

Eugene
Oregon
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Route-building, plan-wrecking, and coat-tails riding with simultaneous action selection being the only unknown factor. Punishingly tight economy that's perhaps second only to Age of Steam in its "Oh God, I just completely screwed myself" potential.
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10. Board Game: MarraCash [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:1179]

Eugene
Oregon
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Completely complete and perfect information auction game with emergent incentives aplenty in the pick-up-and-delivery of customers to the open doors of your and your opponents' shops. Thick with ambiguity too.
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11. Board Game: Medina [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:484]

Eugene
Oregon
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Luckless multiplayer abstract territorial game of chicken. Don't let the player screens dissuade you, JC. They can be left in the box in favor of completely open play.
 
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12. Board Game: Neue Heimat [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:1546]

Eugene
Oregon
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Frighteningly fuzzy auction game that has uneasy cooperation and outright extortion teetering on a fulcrum of self-interest. Two games in, and I still have no idea how to approach this thing, much less have a grasp at valuation.
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13. Board Game: Traverse [Average Rating:5.97 Overall Rank:4943]

Eugene
Oregon
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Multiplayer abstract jump-and-race game that bears some similarity to High Tail It!, though this was published many years earlier.
 
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14. Board Game: Trippples [Average Rating:5.70 Overall Rank:7732]

Eugene
Oregon
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Complete and perfect information abstract based on a network of feedback loop movement potentials. Your move dictates where your opponent may move which dictates where you may move. For those who crave the excruciation, can be played by four as silent partnerships.
 
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15. Board Game: Tulipmania 1637 [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:2554]

Eugene
Oregon
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Stock market manipulation game that has its roots -- tulip roots -- in the 2D markets of 18xx. Some have declared this game dry and unfun. Sounds like an endorsement to JC.
 
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16. Board Game: Vasco da Gama [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:279]

Eugene
Oregon
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This is not your standard no-interaction, solo-optimization, worker-placement, economic-engine Euro, JC. It's very much a zero-sum fight where pursuing self-interest and thwarting the progress of others go hand in hand. Jockeying for turn order is exhilarating, even nausea-inducing. Played correctly, this game is rife with screwage, strong-arming, and bitter feelings.
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17. Board Game: Sumeria [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1753]

Eugene
Oregon
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Set collecting through area influence and market manipulation of the value of said areas. Pieces can be dropped in, taken out, or most interestingly, shuttled along the network of nodes and links to the first vacant space. The only random element is the order the collectible tokens show up, though this is always known at the start of every round. Any more than three seems like pure chaos. In fact, even three seems like chaos. I'm not sure yet.
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18. Board Game: Big Shot [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:2399]

Eugene
Oregon
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Brutal, evil area placement/auction game that has players struggling not only with each other, but also with the game's ever-punishing loan system. Loans will be necessary, and each additional loan provides one less cash than the one previously taken. Add to this that if an area, come claim time, has two players tied for most influence, they cancel each other out and the area is awarded to the player next in line. Nasty, and absolutely no randomness.

Edit: Wait, I take that back. There is a bit of randomness. During game setup, player makers are mixed and distributed into groups of four. The order these groups of four are auctioned off is random. They will all be auctioned and will come on to the board, the question is just when. Think of it like Age of Steam goods production.
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19. Board Game: Age of Steam Expansion: The Zombie Apocalypse [Average Rating:7.89 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.89 Unranked]

Eugene
Oregon
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I'll throw Michael Webb's Age of Steam Expansion: Montréal Métro in here as well. Two very good maps with three. Both employ an altered Goods Production, with cubes on the New Cities at the start of the game. But Zombie Apocalypse is the one I really want JC to try. Zombies wander the board, devouring goods and razing cities! They follow programmed movement, so nothing random. You've yet to rate (perhaps even play?) a zombie game, JC. This is the one for you!
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20. Board Game: 1848: Australia [Average Rating:7.86 Overall Rank:2204]
Henri Harju
Finland
Oulu
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I'd be interested in his opinion.

For what it's worth I think it's the strongest new 18xx title (that I have played, which really crashes the value of this statement.. ) around, slightly topping 18MEX. I was really impressed how well it worked with 3 players.
 
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21. Board Game: Alchemist [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:1837]
Drew
United States
Wisconsin
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This, by the way, is the poster child for "torquing the incentive grid."

cool

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22. Board Game: Masters of Venice [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:1918]
Tim Harrison
United States
Cleveland
Ohio
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www.gamesonthebrain.com
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www.gamesonthebrain.com

Here's another one.
 
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23. Board Game: 1846 [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:1108]
Breno K.
Brazil
Brasília
Distrito Federal
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I remember reading on your blog (or somewhere else) that you seriously disliked this, though you find the design respectable. I've played it 3 times and I really liked it, though only as a variation of the standard (it benefits from being unique, I don't think many future 18xx would benefit from adopting many of its changes)
 
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24. Board Game: Portobello Market [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:1273]

Eugene
Oregon
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Just played this for the first time yesterday. It's a train game, folks, from the designer who brought us the gem Die Dolmengötter. And with the MarraCash-style queue-of-dudes variant, an entirely randomless one. Much like Die Dolmengötter, a quick-playing game of shared incentives and game length timing.
 
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25. Board Game: Steam Barons [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]

Lacombe
Louisiana
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Suddenly a shot rang out! A door slammed. The maid screamed. Suddenly a pirate ship appeared on the horizon! While millions of people were starving, the king lived in luxury. Meanwhile, on a small farm in Kansas, a boy was growing up.
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Not as an expansion to Steam, but as a back-ported expansion to Age Of Steam.

As per: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/49284/stock-market-dis...

Mostly because:

A) I recently picked up Age Of Steam and I know JC rates Age Of Steam highly.

B) I am vaguely interested in 18XX, and this seems to intermesh AoS and 18xx [?]

 
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