My Lame Top 10 List
Jeff Brown
United States
McKinney
Texas
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I am a relatively new board gamer that started the hobby several months ago after my CCG of choice, Vampire: The Eternal Struggle, was mercilously slain by Hasbro. Since my gaming group splintered afterwards and is only now rebuilding itself, I have played relatively few "gamer" board games (less than 20), so I expect the games on this list to shift drastically as I get further into the hobby and play a wider variety of games. All that said, below is my top 10 list.
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1. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:29] [Average Rating:7.79 Unranked]
Jeff Brown
United States
McKinney
Texas
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I have played Dominion more than any other game, so it would be dishonest to place it anywhere but the number 1 slot. With experienced players, it runs quickly and smoothly, and brings with it the satisfaction of the "well-oiled machine" when someone assembles a killer combo. The expansions, not including the soon-to-be-released Hinterlands, have largely added interesting mechanics to the game that make the experience even more varied and fun.
 
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2. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.15 Overall Rank:5]
Jeff Brown
United States
McKinney
Texas
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The odd thing about this pick is that although I love Puerto Rico, I can say that the word "satisfying" comes to mind long before the word "fun." The cycling role-based gameplay is what appeals to me the most, as I can always pinpoint my successes and mistakes by my choices and their consequences, which is definitely interesting but not necessarily "fun." Neverless, I do still love the game.
 
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3. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:80]
Jeff Brown
United States
McKinney
Texas
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Ticket to Ride is a light and fun game that is easily teachable and playable, even with non-gamers. I have played it quite a bit, typically with the USA 1910 expansion, and enjoy it every single time wthout fail. I expect the Europe version to surpass the original due to its more complex gameplay, but I will need more plays with it before that happens.
 
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4. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:43]
Jeff Brown
United States
McKinney
Texas
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I have a blast when playing Pandemic in addition to exercising my brain. The theme is light and has worked with differing levels of gamer. Sure, randomness plays a major part in providing the variety, partially exemplified in a friend's tale of an epic first turn loss, but it is still quite fun. As I suspect with all co-op games, I can see problems with stronger players bossing around less experienced ones, but I have fortunately not experienced that problem in my few plays thus far.
 
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5. Board Game: Ghost Stories [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:137]
Jeff Brown
United States
McKinney
Texas
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Ghost Stories is a fun and very challenging game that I have only recently gotten to my playgroup. The rules and corresponding terms are many, and the instruction book is not as clear as it should be on every one, but the rules prove to be relatively simple, elegant and extremely thematic when put into practice. I look forward to playing with the White Moon and Black Secret expansions in the near future.
 
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6. Board Game: Defenders of the Realm [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:221]
Jeff Brown
United States
McKinney
Texas
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Yes, this is the 3rd co-op game in a row on this list, and it is extremely similar to Pandemic in basic function, but playing it has always been a blast. The game is dripping with theme, largely due to Larry Elmore's ever-present artwork. Killing each general is extremely satisfying, and knowing you have been victorious with only 1-2 moves before Monarch City is overrun is fantastic. The setup is quite involved and the play time is a bit on the long side, which does result in this not getting to the table as much as I would like.
 
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7. Board Game: Mansions of Madness [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:148]
Jeff Brown
United States
McKinney
Texas
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Mansions of Madness is a great semi-cooperative game with relatively simple gameplay that is quite fun to play. It has felt like a bit of a "house of cards" during my playthroughs due to rules problems (which we found out later had errata) and the requirement of absolute precision required of the keeper to keep the story flowing properly, but it is still a satisfying play, even when I lose.
 
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8. Board Game: Le Havre [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:13]
Jeff Brown
United States
McKinney
Texas
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Le Havre is a great game with an amazing amount of strategic depth that forces players to constantly adapt and re-adapt their plans in order to be successful. However, its depth results in a long playtime that has kept it from the table, though more plays will certainly bump it up the list.
 
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9. Board Game: Ascension: Deckbuilding Game [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:350] [Average Rating:7.10 Unranked]
Jeff Brown
United States
McKinney
Texas
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Although this is essentially "Dominion Lite," it is quite fun and very easy to teach. The randomness of the center tableau seems to both help and hurt the game, as it sometimes provides moments of excitement when you grab someone else's desired card or moments of frustration as you look at a tableau of monsters with a deck built for buying heroes or constructs. After a few playthroughs of just the base set, I have found that playing with the first expansion helps improve the variety issues I initially experienced.
 
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10. Board Game: Cutthroat Caverns [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:781]
Jeff Brown
United States
McKinney
Texas
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Cutthroat Caverns has always been very fun due to its semi-cooperative backstabbing nature, though it seems to have a mysteriously long playtime that has resulted in my playgroup shunning the game. I fully expect the upcoming Dungeon Run to displace this game from my list.
 
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