Dull Bits... Great Game!
Eddy Bee
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Marin County
California
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Although I'm a total sucker for games with lots of detailed bits and colorful artwork, we all know it's how well a game plays that really counts. Here are some games that really shine when it comes to game play, but are somewhat lacking in the area of production values... (please feel free to add to this list).
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1. Board Game: Borderlands [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:3778]
Eddy Bee
United States
Marin County
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A true classic that was ahead of its time in many ways - I like to call it "Settlers on Steroids". Unfortunately, the paper map and cheap cardboard counters don't add to the experience. Try substituting Risk pieces for the armies, colored blocks for resources, and Settlers buildings or Monopoly motels for the cities.
 
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2. Board Game: The Brotherhood [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:10009]
Eddy Bee
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An outstanding negotiating game with a great theme. Unfortunately, the paper & cardboard bits, and hand-sketched artwork don't make a very appealing impression, especially for new players.
 
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3. Board Game: Circus Maximus [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:1587]
Eddy Bee
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I'm using this game as my generic Avalon Hill placeholder. Any of the great "old school" AH games (Civilization, Gunslinger, Merchants of Venus, Rail Baron, Win Place & Show, etc...) were all subject to Avalon Hill's low-tech production values. But I suppose it's all relative. Back in those days, we were just happy to have plastic horses in WP&Show!
 
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4. Board Game: Eurorails [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:1041]
Eddy Bee
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All of the crayon-rails games are pretty light on production values, but then again, what more do they really need? I think form fits function quite nicely in this case.
 
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5. Board Game: Junta [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:949]
Eddy Bee
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Another paper board & cardboard chits game that's so much fun to play - who cares about the components!
 
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6. Board Game: Chinatown [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:363]
Eddy Bee
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One of my favorite games of all time, but the board could've been larger, and the business tiles should've been mounted on top of little plastic buildings. It could've looked so cool...
 
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7. Board Game: Modern Art [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:226]
Eddy Bee
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My only aesthetic complaint with this game are the dreadful paintings. I realize art appreciation is subjective, but nearly everyone who's played this game with me always complains about the card art. It would've been nice to have artwork that is actually pleasing to the eye.
 
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8. Board Game: Organized Crime [Average Rating:5.70 Overall Rank:11094]
Eddy Bee
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The addition of plastic gangster tokens and cleaner board art in later editions of the game didn't really provide this highly underrated game with enough of a component facelift.
 
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9. Board Game: Phase 10 [Average Rating:5.08 Overall Rank:15297]
Eddy Bee
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Colored numbers on cards. But then again, what more do you really need? Many great card games fall into this category.
 
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10. Board Game: Speed Circuit [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:1636]
Eddy Bee
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My favorite racing game of all time, but the original components were downright ugly. For years I tried to get others in my group to take interest in this classic, with little success. Then I took it upon myself to make my own enhanced version of the game: modular track sections with photographic road textures mounted on foam board, MicroMachines race cars, model trees & shrubs, miniature grandstands, and speed cards and wear chips to eliminate written bookkeeping; and suddenly Speed Circuit has become one of the most popular games in my group. Despite what some might tell you, components do indeed make a difference.
 
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11. Board Game: Wiz-War [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:1322]
Eddy Bee
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The components in the original version were definitely less than spectacular. It seems like the next edition will address this quite nicely - if only they would actually release it...
 
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12. Board Game: Royal Tank Corps [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:8476]
Chris Farrell
United States
Cupertino
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Not just dull bits, but truly atrocious bits! The mapboard is made of tissue paper, is ugly, and has several errors. The counters have serious functional and aestheic problems. Player aids are non-existant. What few charts exist on the map have inaccurate information.

If you actually can persevere enough to get past all this, though, the game is actually quite fun. One of the few I've actually considered redoing myself almost in it's entirety. The map wouldn't be too hard, but unfortunately it really needs new counters, and those are considerably more problematic.
 
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13. Board Game: Breaking Away [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:1973]
Chris Farrell
United States
Cupertino
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This is, in my opinion, the best pure racing game there is, certainly the best bicycle racing game. Talk about unspectacular components, though ... the little cyclists are actually pretty nice, but it's unreasonably hard to tell which team member is which. The board is functinal but unimpressive, and don't even get me started in the box cover ...
 
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14. Board Game: Magic Realm [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:930]
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Oh, sure, us RPG'ers didn't have prepainted miniatures, or even color interior art, but between Avalon's this.dot.that.dot.thisotherthing rules and the components made with MSPaint and clip art, we had little incentive to even try out this game. It didn't help that the bits were such a disappointing follow-up to some very good box art.
 
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