My first Geek birthday!
Kārlis Jēriņš
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So, today marks one year since I stopped lurking, made an account and started contributing (small though my contributions have been) to the community here. In celebration of that, I'm making a top 13 list of the best games in my collection. Take a look and maybe, if you have good ideas, suggest what I should spend my money on next
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1. Board Game: Cheating Moth [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:1927]
Kārlis Jēriņš
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#13: Cheating Moth
This is the only game on this list that I've reviewed so far. I hope to do something about that in the future.

This is also the only party game on the list. Because it's the best one I have - I have yet to see a game that brings more laughter to the table than this one. Recommend it to everyone.
 
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2. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Europe [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:92] [Average Rating:7.57 Unranked]
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#12: Ticket to Ride: Europe
An excellent family/gateway game. I've also bought the Europa 1912 expansion and the Heart of Africa map, but haven't had the chance to try either of them. Again, I hope to do something about that eventually.

Oh, and I'm really glad this version has full-sized train/ticket cards, unlike the tiny monstrosities in the original game. The card size is, in fact, the only reason why I decided to get this rather than the original.
I'm not the only one who feels so strongly about tiny cards, am I?
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3. Board Game: Carson City [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:344]
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#11: Carson City
An excellent worker placement game. My first worker placement game, in fact.
I really love the idea of duels here (the implementation with dice less so; I really should try the Might is Right variant with those tiles at some point. Does that make duels better?)

I also love the way how this plays really quickly and doesn't drag out. And even though the game only goes for 4 rounds, the board ends up looking pretty crowded by the end.

To the lucky ones who have the expansion - any thoughts on that? It's not available here so I would have to order it from somewhere, and that's expensive. Is the expansion worth the price tag that says "expensive"?
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4. Board Game: Samurai [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:175]
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#10: Samurai
Gameplay-wise there isn't one bad thing I could say here. This game is just plain excellent. But it's Knizia, so I guess that's to be expected.
The only tiny complaint I could have is the player screens - they're rather flimsy.
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5. Board Game: A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:85]
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#9: A Game of Thrones
My first "big" game - a gift from my sister.

I love this game. Plain and simple. I also love the books (though I'm terrible at getting around to reading them, and so have only read the first two) and the TV show. I've also obtained the Song of Ice and Fire roleplaying game core book, but that looks terribly hardcore so my group will probably not be playing that anytime soon.

There are two problems here, though, which explain why this isn't higher.
First, the play time. When I sit down to play, I won't regret a second spent on it, but the play time does somewhat discourage me from even starting.
Second, I think there's a bit too much open information. I've been considering a variant with hidden house cards, but that's not tested yet.

Even with those two things, it's still an excellent wargame set in an excellent universe. And it's an FFG production, so excellent component quality as well.
 
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6. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.66 Unranked]
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#8: Dominion
Oh, how the mighty have fallen! At one point, Dominion was my absolute favorite and the perfect 10, and I couldn't imagine that changing. Sadly, it seems Dominion is vulnerable to overplaying. (I'd imagine most games are, but I haven't really played most of them enough to tell)
At the overplaying point, I realized I don't want to play it at all, so it just spent several months on the shelf. I considered getting an expansion, to get a fresh experience, but decided against it, because this would probably happen again. And then, on Christmas, a very good friend got me the Alchemy expansion. She told me to only open the present on Christmas Day (even though I already knew what was inside), so that's what I did.
On Christmas Eve, I played at least 5 games of base game/Intrigue/Seaside. And turns out the "sick of playing" phase is over, and I can, once again, play lots and lots of Dominion! Woohoo!
And on the next day, we added Alchemy to the mix and played about 10 more games over the next couple of days. Still not sick of it.

I haven't played Dominion since Christmas, though, and that's probably for the best - if I play it only occasionally, rather than all the time, I won't get sick of it and can keep enjoying it for a long, long time. And maybe get some more expansions at some point.
 
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7. Board Game: The Resistance: Avalon [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:86]
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#7: The Resistance: Avalon
This is one of the things I've obtained through Kickstarter, so I've also got Excalibur and Lancelot. Excalibur is strange, and it seems to benefit Mordred's agents a lot more, and I've yet to try Lancelot.

I've heard people describe The Resistance as Battlestar Galactica in 20 minutes. I suppose that's partly true, though I think my games of Avalon don't take 20 minutes. Never really tried to take time, though.
The addition of the special roles and the added knowledge they bring in Avalon is an excellent thing. Of course, I'm not all that good at actually using that knowledge, but I still love it.

The only bad thing I can say here is the minimum player count of 5. Of course, this really wouldn't work with 4, but it does make it a little bit more difficult to get to the table. The upper limit of 10 hasn't been a problem for me yet.
 
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8. Board Game: Ground Floor [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:1018]
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#6: Ground Floor
Another Kickstarter here, and the best one I've participated in yet. (or at least the best of those few whose rewards I've already received - I expect Hegemonic to beat this, but that's over half a year away)

An excellent worker placement game. Yes, it's supposed to be "time management", but in this game that's really the same thing.
Now, I hate economics. I didn't enjoy it in high school, and I had a terrible professor at university (speaking of, why would there even be a mandatory economics course for Computer Science students!?). And this game, therefore, is all about something I hate and don't understand. Yet I love it!
Just like economics, this game confuses me, since I have played it about 3 or 4 times and don't really understand what's good for me and what isn't. But there is a great amount of choices, and a lot of work has obviously been put into balancing everything.

One small drawback, though - the game box is a blatant liar. It says that play time is 90-120 minutes. Of the games I've played, none have been shorter than 3 hours, and I don't see that number getting much smaller. This doesn't deter me from trying to get people to play it, though (unlike Game of Thrones at #9, which is a bit strange), but I don't like it when a box lies to me.

And to end on a positive note - production quality. The art here is excellent. Nothing flashy, but flashy would stand out in the worst of ways. All art is appropriate here, the icons everywhere are perfectly clear and I'm happy with all of that. And the physical quality - the time discs are just wood tokens, nothing special about them, but I do love the CEO markers. What material is that, anyway? And all cardboard is really thick and excellent in all ways. And the box - I've yet to see a better made game box. Really solid - I can't imagine this one accidentally bending or something. All games should come in boxes like this one!
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9. Board Game: The Manhattan Project [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:219]
Kārlis Jēriņš
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#5: The Manhattan Project
Yes, it's another worker placement. What can I say, I love that mechanic

While the theme here isn't nearly as crazy as Tomorrow (which I would have Kickstarted if not for the high shipping cost to Latvia), I still consider this to be a very unusual theme. And I like that.

I'll start with the one thing I don't like here - the air strikes. They seem pointless to me. The only way how they can be useful is for ganging up on a runaway leader, but I don't like the ganging up part at all. If someone managed to get that far ahead, they probably deserve the win anyway. It's different in wargames, where negotiations are a really essential part of everything, but I don't think they really belong in Eurogames.

And everything else about the game (everything that isn't air strikes) goes in the "I like this" category. I like the way how desiging bombs work; I like the three different kinds of workers; I like the idea of contractors; I like the way how workers remain in place until you specifically recall them; I like the espionage track and limited ability to send people to other players' buildings. In short, everything is great here!

I've yet to try the Nations mini-expansion, though. Is it good or should I just forget I even have it?
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10. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:43]
Kārlis Jēriņš
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#4: 7 Wonders
This game is close to 10/10 for me. I love the theme, even though it's not all that integrated in the game. I love the player range (2-8 is seriosly great!). I love the way how it plays with barely any downtime, and even that is only when AP-prone people are playing.

Oh, and I'm terrible at this game (just like in pretty much all games) and almost never win. There have been times when I lose even when all other players are new, and here that's saying something! Because if all others are new, that means I was the rules explainer, and I've never been able to explain this one well. But probably that's just me.

A note on expansions - I know some people say Leaders brings unnecessary complexity to the game. I disagree - I very much appreciate the way how leaders provide a suggestion for what strategy I should pursue this game. Because otherwise I just end up doing a little bit of everything and that never works out.
As for Cities, I'm less familiar with the public opinion there, but I really love them. I love the 5 military card (it just looks really scary), I love the debt and peace mechanisms, and most of all I love the Clandestine Dock and Secret Warehouse (did I remember the names right? Because if I did, it's a little bit scary - I don't usually pay attention to card names here. Anyway, I mean the cards that give you resources that your city doesn't produce/already produces).
And just like those two Cities cards, I also love the Catan wonder board. The resource manipulation shenanigans one can engage in.. delightful!
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11. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:239] [Average Rating:7.31 Unranked]
Kārlis Jēriņš
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#3: Arkham Horror
My own copy is fairly new and has yet to see the table, but I have played it, along with many of its expansions, at a friend's place.

Some people dislike fully cooperative games because of leader behavior, where one person is telling everyone else what to do. I don't have this problem - I don't think I'm much of a leader, myself, and when someone tells me what to do in a game, I do my best to evaluate that move myself before making it.

I have to confess now that I haven't ever read any of Lovecraft's works, or seen any movies, if they're even a thing that exists. Arkham Horror has been my only exposure to the Cthulhu mythos so far, and I love every bit of it. That feeling of rapidly incoming doom that you can only do so much to stave off... This game delivers it perfectly, and I find it really tough. (I've heard Ghost Stories is much harder, but I've yet to play it)

As with all FFG products, Arkham looks excellent on the table. If only it didn't take up all of my table even without any expansions, that'd be great.
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12. Board Game: Mage Wars Arena [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:146] [Average Rating:7.73 Unranked]
Kārlis Jēriņš
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#2: Mage Wars
And here's the newest addition to my collection, and already at second place and a 10/10 score!

I don't think there is a better two-player game than Mage Wars.
First, theme-wise - here we have dueling mages, and that's just awesome.
Second, the theme really comes through - that probably wouldn't be the case without the spellbooks, (so mad props to the designer for figuring out the need for those) but you really feel like a mage casting all kinds of spells.
Third, everything seems perfectly balanced here - granted, nine games might be too little to have a reasonable opinion on that, but I haven't yet noticed any overpowered combos (or severely underpowered cards) here. Again, mad props to the designer.
Fourth, card art. It's amazing, to say the least. And I do so love the flavor text on them

Sadly, even 10/10s do occasionally have some flaws. In this case, it's the table (and shelf) footprint for the game. That board is huge. Yes, a smaller board would probably not work (even with a board this size, there are often some squares that are so overcrowded that we leave cards in adjacent squares and just remember that they're supposed to be somewhere else), but it does make things a little bit difficult.

Oh, and one more positive thing to end this. I have a brother, and he's not much of a gamer. And yet it barely took any persuasion to get him to play this for the first time, and then he was asking to play more and more. Excellent!
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13. Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:62]
Kārlis Jēriņš
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#1: Battlestar Galactica
First, I have to thank my Secret Santa again for being so awesome! I wouldn't even have this if not for you.

I actually have played this very little - about 10 plays in my life (granted, it hasn't even been a year and a half since I started playing games, so that play count is probably not that bad). My own copy has been played 4 times, and the expansions not at all. I haven't even examined the contents of Exodus properly yet, since I haven't seen the last season of the TV show and don't want to see any spoilers.

Now, let's get to why this is the best of all games.
First, I just love coops with hidden traitors. I'm terrible at lying and therefore being that traitor, but I love it nonetheless.
Second, this game, just like Arkham, excellently presents a sense of impending doom. Those resource dials, which just go down, barely ever increasing... And the crisis cards - everything is constantly going south, and the constant struggle is excellent.
Third, I really love the TV show. And we have the exact same paranoia here in the game.

And I think I'm all out of rational reasons So I'll just say once more that this game is awesome, and with the expansions the rating goes up to eleven!
 
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