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Subject: Tell me your euro top 10 from years gone by (The new stuff is leaving me cold): rss

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Stephen Keller
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I'm fairly new to the euro-gaming hobby (2 - 3 years now) and have found myself inexplicably caught up in the cult of the new. I very quickly found myself trying to keep up with the buzz and continually trying to digest all of the new and shiny games coming out - continually trying to be part of the 'new' conversation.

Alas, there's been something that I've been discovering as time has gone on. Although many of the new games coming out have given me exciting and enjoyable first couple of plays I find many of them not living up to further scrutiny.

Now, throughout this I've found myself picking up older titles from time to time and the thing that I've found is that many of these oldies have game play that just blows many of these new titles out of the park. I'm starting to discover that many newer games seem to be borrowing elements of many well known old titles and adding little nuances to them or mixing them with other mechanics. The realization that I'm having is that the original games, the source of many of these mechanics, seem to simply be much better games with much more lasting appeal.

Old games that I've been discovering (and loving) include: St. Petersburg, Web of Power, El Grande, Tigris & Euphrates, Age of Steam, Caylus, The Princes of Florence, Puerto Rico, and so on.

The question: Can I get you guys to list off older gems that are 'must haves'? It's hard to set a time cut-off. I don't know, pre 2006 give or take? List whatever you can think of, even things I've mentioned. Make it a top 10 list if you're feeling energetic.

**Note: Why just older stuff? Well, the theory is that these will be games that have stood the test of time. Many of the hot games from the last couple of years, while amazing at first, are sure to disappear into the collective games of the past being buried by the constant flow of newer 'awesome' games. While something like St. Petersburg or El Grande is sure to have legs 10 years from now I can't see something like core worlds or Cyclades having much impact on the world of gaming by then.
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Marc Lanctot
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Stephen,

I went through the same phase. I bought games without ever playing them and realized after a while that I had many I didn't even like. So I sold half of'em.

If you just want to exclude "cult-of-the-new" games, I'd personally define "old" as pre-2009. Here is my list of top 10 euro games that I have played lots of times and have never gotten sick of:

- Caylus
- El Grande
- Tigris & Euphrates
- Power Grid
- Ra
- Ticket to Ride
- Stone Age
- Bohnanza
- Citadels
- Yspahan

Saint Petersburg and Roll through the Ages would be the 11th and 12th. I've played them many times on Yucata and would still play them face-to-face any day. And if it was one year later than now, Egizia would have made the list I'm sure.
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Paul Incao
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Many of my favorite euros have been around for around 5 years:
Caylus
Notre Dame
In the Year of the Dragon
Tribune: Primus Inter Pares
Yspahan
Amyitis
Sylla

BTW, Great job with your video review series. thumbsup

-Paul
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Stuart Finlay
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Try these for a start if you haven't already

GeekList - Best of Each Decade (not just Euros) http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/66255/polls-game-of-the-de...
and
Advanced Search (Euro only, until 2006 - games with later reprints may show dates after 2006) http://boardgamegeek.com/search/boardgame?sort=rank&advsearc...
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General Norris
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As I always say, there's not such thing as a must have. Play the games you like or find interesting, there will always be more good games that you can even care about. It seems to me you are changing the label but falling into the same trap. My good man, it's not about new or old, it's about why you are getting games in the first place!

Personally, I would play the games you already have. And if you don't want to play them, well, sell them and get the ones you really want to play, the ones you care about.
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Mark crane
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Wallenstein (reissue)

Wallenstein has been re-issued with expansions, but I believe it still counts as an old game.

General_Norris wrote:

Personally, I would play the games you already have. And if you don't want to play them, well, sell them and get the ones you really want to play, the ones you care about.


I have found that finding a good group to game with is even more important than finding the right games.
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Chief EGG Head
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check out the Old, Older, Oldest articles at http://opinionatedgamers.com/category/best-of/
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Stephen Keller
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General_Norris wrote:
As I always say, there's not such thing as a must have. Play the games you like or find interesting, there will always be more good games that you can even care about. It seems to me you are changing the label but falling into the same trap. My good man, it's not about new or old, it's about why you are getting games in the first place!

Personally, I would play the games you already have. And if you don't want to play them, well, sell them and get the ones you really want to play, the ones you care about.


Oh, don't worry, I do sell the games that I don't see myself playing anymore. The thing is, I'm seeing myself getting rid of the tip-top new games really quick but any of the old games that I'm buying are staying put.

Thus the request. I'm defining "must-have" as games that contributors feel are exemplary. I'm defining an age because I'm getting weary of new hot games coming out that people are proclaiming as the 'best game evar!' but am personally finding goodish but empty.
 
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John Rogers
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Let me go up through 2007:

Container (2007) - Favorite game all-time.
Commands & Colors: Ancients (2006) - Best wargame I've ever played.
Reef Encounter (2004) - Favorite game to play with my wife.
The Bridges of Shangri-La (2003) - Very unique, brutal little gem.
Fresh Fish (1997) - The best game nobody ever talks about.

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Mrs Smith
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Reef Encounter is the best game there is in my opinion.

Other favourites include:
Samurai
Through the Desert
Ra
Agricola
Puerto Rico
Ticket to Ride
Bohnanza

You might also find these geeklists useful:

N/A
Why are not everyone playing more older games
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Dave VanderArk
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I came into gaming as a hobby in the early 1980s. When Eurogames hit the US in the mid 1990s my hobby became an obsession. When the definition of "Euro" morphed to mean a game with little to no luck, my interest in new releases waned.

Take a look at the list of older games you mention that you have discovered and loved. The only one with virtually no luck is Caylus. Puerto Rico has a little (plantation tile draw). In each of the others there is enough randomness that it doesn't feel like you're constantly playing the game system instead of playing your opponents.

I think that a little (or a lot) of luck in a game makes it more fun to play. I don't want to feel like I'm at work dealing with a spreadsheet. That's the feeling I get when I play a no-luck game.

I also don't agree that one of the essential definitions of a Euro is a game with little to no luck. Worker placement and action point games drive me insane. I prefer an engine in my car, not in my game. So, taking my opinion with that caveat, here's my list of my top ten (alphabetical order because that's the way they're listed on the Geek):

My 10s:
Auf Achse. I love route planning and pick-up-and-deliver games. I love player interaction. This one has plenty of randomness, and I recognize that it's not for everyone.

Citadels. What could be more random than cards, plus a healthy dose of screw-your-neighbor? Amazing with two or three players.

Cosmic Encounter. Like the first two on my list, this one is loaded with player interaction. Lots of player interaction used to be a characteristic of a good Euro.

Expedition. Another route planning game. Probably the best of the genre. And with 90 or so cards, enough randomness that it's not me versus the game system, with a couple of other people sitting at the table while we ignore each other.

El Grande. A bit less randomness, but plenty of player interaction. Carries off the theme of political influence incredibly well.

Tichu. Genius in a deck of 54 cards. Deep decisions, well balanced, amazing interaction.

Ticket to Ride. A very social game that is fairly simple and has great components. Almost every non-gamer I have played this with has enjoyed it.

Tigris & Euphrates. Anyone who says this one is not random (the threads are out there), has never been short on red tiles. You make decisions and hope that the tile draw is good to you.

My 9.5s:
Around the World in 80 Days. A family-friendly race game that has plenty of decisions that make me want to play it over and over. Another that works great with people not familiar with gaming as a hobby.

Power Grid. The game is loaded with interaction (jockeying for spots on the board, resources, power plants). The many expansions with their unique rules change the game in meaningful ways, keeping it interesting.
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Hoyle A
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Age of Industry (or Brass), Power Grid, Reef encounter. Aos/Caylus would have been my #1 and #3 but are already on your list.
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Gustavo
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When I started in the hobby I was mainly interested in Euros and Ameritrash. Playing abstracts seemed the second worst thing in the hobby, only better than wargames, which looked like completely boredom to me. They all looked the same, it seemed that they all would feel the same. Well, it turns out that all the Euros started to feel the same to me, and I decided to give abstracts a shot. I can say I almost only played abstracts ever since. Now I started to look at wargames, and they seem to be quite solid as well. They probably won't have the same replayability level as abstracts, but I'm willing to give them a try.

In short, maybe a parallel solution to your problem would be to look at different kinds of games.
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Dave VanderArk
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gmsa84 wrote:
In short, maybe a parallel solution to your problem would be to look at different kinds of games.

Outstanding advice.
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Stefan Daniels
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I do think that there have been some recent games that are real 'games' (these ones will have lasting power as they bring a unique gaming experience to the table).

[These are in no particular order]

1) Inca Empire. This adds A LOT to the road building games. Fantastic 3 AND 4 player game.

2) China. I like this FAR better than T2R. Play with the Embassies Expansion and this adds even more tasking decisions throughout gameplay.

3) Eketorp. The direct conflict in this game is delicious. A friend of mine doesn't like that you have to wade through so many other players but this really means that you have to plan.

4) Imperial. This is an awesome economic game (I put this beside Container and 1830: Railways & Robber Barons as my favorite economic games).

5) Die Macher. What's there to say...

6) Tigris & Euphrates... that's not already been said?

7) Tikal. While I do think that this has worn out its welcome as a 3-4 player game, playing with the 'Mini Tikal' Variant for 2-players is still very enjoyable.

8) König von Siam. Easily one of the best 3-player games that I own. Reminds me of Die Macher but in 1/10th the time. Brain. Burner. Tickles me in all the right places.

9) Löwenherz. Teuber's best, IMO. Nasty but wicked good. Delightful.

10) Princes of the Renaissance. Delicious. Crappy art but what a game experience.

There are quite a few more I could add to this list and again, some of them are more recent fare but I can easily qualify them as both 'keepers' and regular 'players'.

Tammany Hall, Taluva, Revolution: The Dutch Revolt 1568-1648, The Manhattan Project, High Frontier, Vinhos, German Railways... man there are so many!!!
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Daniel Barrett
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Tikal
Java
Acquire (plastic buildings instead of wooden cubes)
 
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Kelly Bass
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Okay, here's my list:
Taj Mahal Love this one!
Acquire Classic!
Ra Favorite auction game
Aladdin's Dragons
Attika
Maharaja: The Game of Palace Building in India
Power Grid My honey's favorite
Elfenland Needs 5 or 6
Mexica
Aqua Romana

I love these 10. I'd play them in a heartbeat.
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David Boeren
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Taj Mahal
La Citta
Tikal
Java
Union Pacific
El Grande
Ra
Samurai
Reef Encounter
San Marco
Through the Ages
War of the Ring
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John Farrell
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Tikal
Lord of the Rings
Taj Mahal
Domaine
The Bridges of Shangri-La
Goa
Amazonas
Antike
Hacienda
Key Harvest
Phoenicia
The Princes of Machu Picchu
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Jim Bolland
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Tigris & Euphrates has been my favorite game since it first came out - that's staying power! I won't rank the rest; my lists are in order of publication date instead.

Here are my essential classic board games:

El Grande (1995)
The Settlers of Catan (1995)
Medici (1995)
Löwenherz (1997)
Tigris & Euphrates (1997)
Elfenland (1998) + Elfengold (1999) (Elfengold is required - it makes this one superb.)
Samurai (1998)
Ra (1999)
Tikal (1999) (This MUST be played with the auction version.)
Aladdin's Dragons (2000)
Taj Mahal (2000)
The Princes of Florence (2000)
Genoa (2001)
Santa Fe Rails (2001)
Puerto Rico (2002)
Goa (2004) (The new version should be tuned even better!)
Power Grid (2004)
Saint Petersburg (2004)
Louis XIV (2005)
Leonardo da Vinci (2006)
Thurn and Taxis (2006)
Notre Dame (2007)
In The Year Of The Dragon (2007)

Alea is responsible for EIGHT games above! They are why I just HAD to go as recent as 2007...

And here are my essential classic card games:

Wizard (1984)
Where's Bob's Hat? (1990)
Tichu (1991)
(1995)
Frank's Zoo (1999)
Money! (1999)
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Andrew Iverson
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Although I neither have it nor have ever played it, from the many things I read and hear about, I think that the ONE game you absolutely MUST HAVE is beyond the merest shadow of doubt, surely.....

San Marco

get it and enjoy!! happy gaming
 
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Cole Gibbons
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Interesting thoughts... My wife and I are purchasing a new game or two this week, and this thread has me reconsidering some of my top choices. We were leaning toward newer games on my wishlist (Troyes, Burgundy), but now I'm wondering if we should go more classic (Louis XIV, Saint Petersburg). Decisions...
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Ron D
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Don't overlook Goa! It is a classic and has been hard to find for years, but the reprint happening now is a great chance to grab this again!
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Ron
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ASL ... yes, this is my Desert Island Game. If I have to give up all my 3000+ games and only allowed to keep one, this would be it. This bloody game stood the test of time. Around for more than 25 years - simply the best.
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I consider these three games essential:

Puerto Rico
El Grande
Funkenschlag (and some of the expansion maps for it)

Then, in no particular order:

Caylus
Goa
Ra
Tichu
Carcassonne
Alhambra
Saint Petersburg (preferably with the expansion)

Good hunting meeple
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Stephen Keller
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gmsa84 wrote:
In short, maybe a parallel solution to your problem would be to look at different kinds of games.


I have. I've been dabbling with very light war games and euro/war game hybrids and really quickly found out I simply don't like that sort of thing. I've toyed with abstracts but the only ones that have stood a chance are the one's that try to trick me by having great themes/components. I've tried some ameri-games but cannot get past the ridiculously high amounts of randomness almost all of them have - I really tried too. In general they're all no-goes.

It's really apparent that I'm euro all the way. My definition of "euro" is cold, calculating, low luck, and throw away themes. Hard and stressful decisions that usually involves resources and wooden cubes. There's been the odd surprise like Galaxy Trucker but those are far and few between.

All I can really say is that the new stuff is disappointing me but all the older stuff that I've researched and bought so far have struck me as exactly the type of games that I enjoy. That's why I'm calling out for suggestions on proven potentially amazing games that I could research.

--To all: Thanks for all the great suggestions so far. There's a lot of things being mentioned that I wasn't aware of or was only semi-aware of. I've got lots of stuff to look up now. Keep the suggestions coming though. I look forward to more suggestions both to give +1's to things already mentioned and also to suggest new stuff. The only sad part is that some of the suggestions are out of print such as Keythedral and Lowenherz--
 
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