What Theme(s) Really Appeal to You?
Doug Bass
United States
Winston-Salem
North Carolina
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Theme has always been important aspect of games to me, even though the themes I like have changed over time. I've zigged and I've zagged with respect to which themes I like, but I have always liked theme. I know there are others of you out there for whom the theme of a game matters, too. And I'm talkin' to everyone, even if your favorite theme is argyle sock puppets. To that end, I've decided to create a GeekList for folks to share their favorite themes with one another.

If you'd like to share a theme you enjoy seeing in games, simply add an item to this list by selecting a representative game. In the comments for your item, tell us why you like the theme, how you became interested in it, anything really. List any other games you own or have played that have the same or similar theme. Or list a game you know about but have not played and are wondering about. Feel free to add anything else you feel is relevant. If someone else has already listed the theme you're interested in, no matter. Go ahead and tell us what you like about it and what games you like.

If you'd like to make recommendations of other games the poster might like and may not have considered, I'm sure they'd appreciate it. Add whatever you want, really.

I'll start this off with one of my new favorite themes, The Middle Ages.

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1. Board Game: The Road to Canterbury [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:1276]
Doug Bass
United States
Winston-Salem
North Carolina
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For the past month or so, I have really developed an interest in Medieval history. I've been listening to The High Middle Ages (a "Great Courses" CD set) and reading a book called The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England, both of which I've really been enjoying.

This theme appeals to me in part because I don't know much about it and would like to learn more. But I also like the artwork, architecture, tapestries, and sculptures I have seen in places like The Cloisters, which is north of NYC. If you've never been there, it is more than worth the ride from Manhattan, even though it's long. I enjoy what little music I've heard, too. So all of this has got me thinking about games with a Medieval theme.

The Road to Canterbury - I became a supporter of this game on Kickstarter as soon as I heard about it from my friend Chad, who just happens to have studied Medieval History extensively. We've been recently having a lot of interesting discussions about Feudalism, Crusading, and other topics. Anyway, I can't wait for this to arrive.

Troyes - I like this game a lot and I think the artist has done a superb job capturing the theme in his artwork. The designers have similarly done a great job with the dice, cards, and board areas by dividing them into three groups representing the three estates, or divisions, of Medieval society. For these reasons, this game is much more than rolling dice and placing cubes and meeples.

Feudo - I recently found this game for a great price, but have yet to play it. It focuses on the frequent warring that went on among the nobility in the High Middle Ages. I don't know how it plays yet.

De Vulgari Eloquentia - Another Medieval-themed game that is still in shrink. Would love to hear peoples' thoughts on it.

Chronica Feudalis - This is actually an RPG, but one I am keenly interested in. I've been reading the rules and following threads on RPGGeek. I'll be creating a character soon to try out the game with Chad as the GM.

Anyone else share my passion or can offer some suggestions as to what other good Medieval-themed games are out there?
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2. Board Game: Tour: Cycle Free [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
Luke Morris
England
Faversham
Kent
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CYCLING!

(Which also gives a good chance to link one of my designed games hurrah!)


There's just so much going on in the sport of cycling with regards to the tactics, the victories, the glorious failure, the lone breaks that are doomed from the start....It's a romantic sport, maybe the most romantic of them all and as far as racing games go, cycling offers more for me than cars, horses etc. The peloton is a living organism and the riders are relying on their own legs and lungs...Man it's a great great theme for a race game.
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3. Board Game: Citadels [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:216]
Dan Edelen
United States
Mount Orab
Ohio
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I adore games where the screwage potential is off the charts. A little nastiness makes for lots of fun—and heartbreak.

Maybe not the type of theme you're looking for, but I think it still works.
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4. Board Game: Western Town [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:1765]
The root of all evil... but you can call me cookie.
United States
Gainesville
Florida
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Western!

Man I'm a junkie for the wild west theme. I just don't seem to get enough of 'em. Problem is finding the quality one. The western theme gets slapped onto a lot of mediocre games. There are a few that I really enjoy however. If this is interesting to you check out:

Dice Town
Carson City
Homesteaders
Dry Gulch Junction
Way Out West
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5. Family: 18xx
Bob Archer
United States
Tampa
Florida
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Trains

I don't know if it is the theme of trains, or just I like the mechanics of many train games.

18xx is perhaps my favorite game family. I also enjoy Steam, Railways of the World, Sante Fe Rails, Ticket to Ride family, etc.

Trains are also an important part of the history of most of the developed world. They were the beginning of making the world flat, later enhanced by planes and then of course the internet.

BOb

(ha I originally spelled it "plains" which was quite a punny faux pas... since "plains" are pretty flat. Yes, I amuse myself.)
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6. Board Game: Mobsters [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
The root of all evil... but you can call me cookie.
United States
Gainesville
Florida
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The Mob. Another theme that kind of goes hand in hand with the wild west theme that I mentioned above. I'm also drawn to these games and it's nice to see we've had a few interesting ones lately.

Famiglia
The Boss
Cargo Noir
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7. Board Game: For Sale [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:220]
Ronster Zero
United States
California
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I really enjoy games that have simultaneous selection in theme. It does not have to be the only theme, but in the game mechanic somewhere.

I like it so much I made a micro badge mb

Other games that have this mechanic is some form:
Hammer of the Scots when you select your card a the beginning of a round.
Broadsides and Boarding Parties Your whole movement is setup before hand.
Cutthroat Caverns You set your attack before any cards are shown.


And many others.
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8. Board Game: Automobile [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:195]
United States
New York
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HYPERBOLE! It's like the greatest thing ever!!!
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Economic
Anywhere there is risk assessment, markets to be manipulated, goods & prices to be evaluated, that's where you will most likely find me. It is especially nice if it is an attempt at a simulation of an actual industry (and it does it well). Would love to see Futures & Commodity Trading become the hot new themes among designers.
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9. Board Game: Flying Colors [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:1017] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
John Di Ponio
United States
Warren
Michigan
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Naval/Sailing
Ah...the high seas!! I love games that represent this. I DO like other forms of naval games but sailing is pretty cool! It can be naval, non naval, fantasy (Man O' War) ...its all fun!
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10. Board Game: Advanced Civilization [Average Rating:8.02 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.02 Unranked]
Bob Archer
United States
Tampa
Florida
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Civilization Building Games

Also great ones in this category:

Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game
Mare Nostrum
Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization
Antiquity

BOb

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11. Board Game: The Looney Bin [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:6807]
alice ward
United States
California
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Horror. Like the movies, like the games. Some of other scary titles I enjoy are also light takes on the subject:
Bump in the Night
Good Help
Give Me the Brain!
Godzilla: Monsters Attack!
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12. Board Game: Star Trek: Expeditions [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1458]
Jay Hawkins
United States
California
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Sci-Fi Is there really any other theme that reaches so far.
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13. Board Game: K2 [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:320]
Brian Boyle
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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Mountaineering

I do love 'the further you go, the harder it gets to survive' underpinning this theme. Almost an inverse-economic approach "ie the further you go, the more resources" you have. Less a runaway leader more a hypoxic leader issue.

The trouble is, it isn't that popular a theme. Perhaps mountaineering and board game design are mutually exclusive. However, K2 is certainly an exception. Also the VP game series
Disaster on Everest, Disaster on K2.

More please....
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14. Board Game: Lord of the Rings [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:502]
Justin
United States
Kentucky
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Fantasy is like sci-fi in that it covers a lot. But when i see a fantasy themed game i instantly have to at least look at it. I'm not talking about just lord of the rings although that helps a lot.

when looking for co op games like pandemic or defender of the realm. i am instantly more drawn to defenders of the realm.

the same thing goes for the middle ages type stuff.
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15. Board Game: Kung Fu Fighting [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:2476]
Jim Wilde
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
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Martial Arts

I like fighting games, but Martial Arts themes are an instant draw for me. Especially if they have a mystical element to them as found in this game, Ghost Stories, or Yomi. Good stuff.

HIIIIYYYYYYYAH!

Edit to add links, and would appreciate if anyone mentions any more such games...
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16. Board Game: Primordial Soup [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:442]
United States
Lexington
Kentucky
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I like weird, random themes. I'm tired of mustachioed men of European Descent and trite fantasy themes. I would like to see more of the following themes (in no particular order):

species evolution
chaos theory
hacking
schooling behavior
disc golf
outdoor survival
siege warfare
engineering
geocaching
gladiators
capture the flag
hive behavior
circuit design
immune systems
parasites
prospecting
ice cream trucks
the big bang
katamari ball
prison break
tower defense
spelunking
natural disasters
giant monsters attacking cities
hide and seek
insects
snow ball forts
rube goldberg machines
bank robbery
chemical reactions
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17. Board Game: Fresco [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:176]
PK WADDLE
United States
Austin
texAS
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ART

Madly in love with Fresco these days...

also dying to play http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/91620/pastiche

Played tons of this as a Kid ( and now am well aware all of it's auction mechanisms are broken ) http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/1501/masterpiece

and playing this both online and IRL these days.. http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/40381/modern-art-the-...

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18. Board Game: Busen Memo [Average Rating:4.83 Overall Rank:10936]
Glenn Martin
Canada
Ottawa
Ont.
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Me likey the boobies!!!

I don't think there are enough games out there on this vital subject.
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19. Board Game: Le Havre [Average Rating:7.99 Overall Rank:15]
Samantha RD
South Africa
Harrismith
Free State
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Ships! Don't know why, but I do - Love Le Havre, Shipyard is on the way, and I await the advent of Mare Balticum with bated breath
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20. Board Game: HeroQuest [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:495]
Robert Lavarnway
United States
Horseheads
New York
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Dungeon Crawl

Avoid the traps, find secret doors, make your way to the Big Bad's lair and hope to make it out alive!

I only have experience with HeroQuest, but have been doing a lot of research on the Geek looking for more dungeons to delve.
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21. Board Game: Stone Age [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:50]
United States
Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
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Most of the themes I favour have been posted (cycling and space being the top two), but I love a game about prehistory! Carc: h&g, Stone Age, Settlers of the Stone Age, Mammut, Dominant Species. With this said I did decide the game Caveman was not for me, so it's nice to know I' not a sucker for this theme (I am a sucker for cycling, if there is a bicycle in it I will want it).
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22. Board Game: Second World War [Average Rating:6.90 Unranked]
Björn Hansson
Sweden
Bromma
Stockholm
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WW2. The most interesting military conflict in history.
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23. Board Game: Marvel Heroes [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:1317]
Rauli Kettunen
Finland
Oulu
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Make Mine Marvel!

Not superheroes in general, just Marvel versions. In addition to Marvel Heroes, own Heroscape Marvel, Heroclix (only Marvel clix), Overpower (again only Marvel characters) and Spider-Man. DC stuff really doesn't do anything for me, at least nothing that would make me want to add their clix or decks to games. That either makes me anti-DC or Marvel-purist, not really sure.
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24. Board Game: Evolution [Average Rating:6.19 Unranked]
M C
United States
Honolulu
HI
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EVOLUTION: I love the theme of evolution because it tends towards rewarding player experimentation. I also love building things and letting them lose to see how they do in the world. I am not a game designer, but it seems like a hard theme to build mechanics around that capture the amazing freedom players should have to experiment. That may explain why there are relatively few evolution based games on the market. Primordial Soup and Dominate Species being two of the more popular ones.
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25. Board Game: Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:349] [Average Rating:7.10 Unranked]
Juan Carlos Goyes
Colombia
Bogota
Cundinamarca
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For me there isn´t a better theme than zombies (although I enjoy Fantasy and Sci-Fi themes too)

I like the apocalyptic setting that goes with a good zombie game, also the screw you mechanic leaves me fullfilled in a game session even if I lose.

My favorite zombie games.

Last Night on Earth
Mall of Horror (I have never won this)
Zombies!!!
Zombie in my Pocket


Looking forward for the upcoming
The Walking Dead (Both games)
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