Published in 2013: Best and Worst games I've played and what remains to be tried. Opinions & suggestions are welcome!
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I guess it's time to publish my (as usual, almost half-year-late) list of the games published in 2013 that I have played.

Published in a given year series metalist

The numbered ("ranked") games in this list (first two pages) are these games. You can comment why you agree or why you think I'm stupid to think a game is good when it's terrible.

Then (page 3) you'll see the games I still would like to try. You can tell me why I should avoid them based on the first pages or why I should choose one to be the next one I try.

The rest is for your suggestions: If you think there are other games not listed that I should try (published in 2013 according to BGG) based on my opinions about the games I played.


Just some notes:
1. I usually try to choose to learn games that I guess I would like. Still, I'm not as satisfied with the crop of 2013 as usual; I have minor or major problems with most of the games here. Unlike last year when I liked most of the games, I don't even feel like I want to replay items #29-#39.
2. You'll see I prefer some fillers over complex games. I don't think that's an outrage.
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1. Board Game: Yōkaï no Mori [Average Rating:7.03 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.03 Unranked]
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#1

I think it's quite telling that I chose this European edition collection of two older (2008 and 2012) games for #1 this year. But this is the only game that made me go wow without having any "but"s.

I’m not great (well, I'm rather poor) at abstract strategy games (even though I hope I’m getting better) so games like Chess feel like a mystery to me – and I just never feel like trying to play them. Now Shogi, this Japanese Chess variation is probably even more complex than Chess – more figure types, more promotions and a board that is probably crowded from the beginning to the end, as captured pieces are returned to the board as part of the capturer’s army. I would have probably had not wanted to try it, like, ever. But here comes the Japan Shogi Association and their two simplified Shogi variations. Yokai no mori incorporates these two simplified shogi variants, published in a European edition, adding lovely graphic design by Naidae (Tokaido) and here I am, suddenly playing Shogi-based abstracts with my son who is a lot more interested in learning and playing this game than e.g. Chess with its classic, somewhat boring-looking pieces.

The games included in Yokai no Mori are:
Let’s Catch the Lion – Played on a 3x4 board, the rules say (is it a translation mistake or some strange Japanese wording?) this game was developed “for children and girls”… But wow, I think this game is excellent, even when played against adults (not professional Shogi players of course). Small board, a few pieces and an interesting gameplay, this feels like an extremely well-designed hot Japanese minigame for me.

• and Goro-Goro Dōbutsu Shōgi – played on a 5x6 square board, this is a development based on the previous one, adding (also taking away) some rules to take players closer to playing real Shogi.

Now I hope these games become popular enough that in the end, Ferti releases Shogi with this artwork as well. I would buy and play that for sure.

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2. Board Game: Amerigo [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:279]
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#2

And here come the Euros that had some great ideas but were not without faults. For example, Amerigo has a few ideas to make me happy and say this game is for me - but I must admit strategy-wise there are more interesting and probably better-developed games in this list.

Amerigo is my favorite Feld game from last year. I'd say it's the most memorable one of the four. The cube tower/rondel thing works much better than I expected: it’s a fixed rondel with somewhat randomly added other options and (like in Macao) a randomly determined number for the actions (while the random card draw of Macao - which can make that game excitiong or boring - is largely missing). Moving the ships on the functional map (maps! I love them!) is something I appreciate. Placement of tetris shapes on a map (see Arcadia or Princes of Florence) is also something I like. Collection of sets and multipliers is also fun. Practically everything is to my liking here, and this year, that was enough to claim #2.

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3. Board Game: Spyrium [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:507]
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#3

Caylus designer William Attia’s latest is definitely not a grand scale game like Caylus; I’d compare it more to Ystari’s Mykerinos (another tactical and strategic game where you are collecting cards with an innovative mechanism of placing your markers at the cards in a few subsequent turns). While the „story” built on the central mechanism is nothing extraordinary and even what you do – build your efficiency engine, resource conversions, special buildings and so on – is just like every second Eurogame nowadays, the worker placement-based central mechanism is interesting, novel, tense and the game does not hide this fantastic mechanism (unlike many Stefan Feld games nowadays).

Timing is everything here: when to start taking your workers back; when to take money and when to take cards; when to take the special action available for everyone once in the round, just to wait to make a card cheaper etc. As you have a choice what you can do with your workers when picking them up, you are constantly forced to evaluate the current situation at the given cards (as others might have made you change your mind). The aims are usual, the tools for reaching the aims are usual, the way and order you get the tools is exciting, a lot more exciting than that gamer favorite from the previous year, Tzolk'in, where taking back workers and executing the action connected to them was also a separate action from the placement of workers.
The game is not very thematic but that has never been a problem for me - you know I'm a Knizia fan.

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4. Board Game: Lewis & Clark [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:145]
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#4

I'm really not a fan of so unelegant, fiddly games, overcrowded hodgepodges of a little from every existing hardcore geek favorites from the past few years. In this aspect Lewis and Clark reminds me of Keyflower, but it goes a bit even farther than that. So we have some
- classic worker placement
- deck/pool building in a somewhat Dominion-like (or even more, Ascension-like: you can buy one from the five face-up cards) fashion
- but with a deck size-management that somehow feels like e.g. the purple thing management in Terra Mystica (if you have too many cards, you are probably slowing yourself down)
- multi-purpose cards played for their action OR as workers depicted on their backside (like in San Juan/RftG and so on)
- collecting resources with cards in a somewhat 7 Wonders-ish way (collect as many of the given resource as the number of symbols on the cards in front of you and your two neighbours)
...while it’s all a resource conversion race game (!yes) where you convert resources into movement points on the two different terrain types.

Actually I like quite a few ideas (like pitching the camp or gathering the workers indians) and the race element makes the game exciting to the end. So, in the end I really enjoyed the game even though what I wrote above is true, but I needed to replay the game before it elevated to #4. Advice: do not play it with AP players! But it's fine with fast players and it fits in 60 minutes with two.

Related read: Are The Best Gamers' Games Copycats?
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5. Board Game: Le Fantôme de l'Opéra [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:1522]
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#5

My sister is a big fan of the Webber musical and the story of the Phantom of the Opera, so as we used to live at the same place, she infected me somewhat as well. That's how the theme, the setting, the characters all made sense to me which probably helped me enjoy this game so much.

Well, it's also a game based on the Mr. Jack game system which I also like. These games are a genre in theirselves, different from everything outside the franchise. The only game I don't own is Mr. Jack itself. Mr. Jack in New York is the more complex, more interesting (and better balanced) brother of Mr. Jack - too bad these two feel a bit too much like abstract strategy games played on boards with hexes, so it's hard to get them to the table. Mr. Jack Pocket is the small-size, 20-minute, lightest & simplest cousin of the series and it is really good for its sizes. In some ways I even prefer the simplicity of this one over the big brothers.

The Phantom is somewhere between Mr. Jack Pocket (there are only 10 rooms here) and Mr. Jack (...with 8 different character abilities) and some nice small and thematic ideas added (like the "timer" and aim of the game - does the investigator find out who acts in the name of the Phantom before Carlotta leaves the Opera?). Add that the theme feels the strongest (to me) here, and it turns out (surprisingly) I like this variant probably the most in the series. (I don't rank it even higher only because it's still "only" a variant of the designers' older games.)

edit: image added
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6. Board Game: Prosperity [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:1536]
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#6

This is obviously not a game for everyone, also it’s not very interactive – but it already makes me happy that it’s a Eurogame without worker placement or deck-building in 2013.
The game is about sustainable development in your country. While the game is pretty simple and abstract, this theme is strongly represented by the tiles. You can feel and see how hard it is to be juggling between these aims: almost all developments have their benefits and bad sides as well, also you don’t even have enough space on your board for everything, so you constantly have to destroy something to add something else instead. Luck does play a role but the fewer the players the more you can count on the events that are to come.
Still, the game might feel dry for some, not interactive enough or old-fashioned for others. But it's a good Knizia-Bleasdale game that gets better with repeated play, and as Knizia's design style fits me fine, I rank this game above many gamer sweethearts of the last year.



Related reads:
A Game of Two Knizias - A Gamer's Game, a Co-Design with a Theme? Really? (Pictorial review)
2013 - Reiner Knizia's Eventful Year
From Sauron to Prosperity - Reiner Knizia and a Series of Unfortunate Events
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7. Board Game: Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:561]
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#7

Having learned quite a few complex Euros from 2013 (and not being amazed by them, see them below) this game originally published by small companies came as a surprise. Yes, it still has worker placement but that's not the main feature of the game: it's a game of generations, marrying to the friends with the most benefits, getting into ventures, buying castles, giving birth (hopefully) to kids, getting them married to other friends of the family and so on. The funny artwork and names on the cards also add to the thematic fun: it's simply a lot better to make my son marry to the captain's "Neve Campbell in Wild Things" hot daughter than just adding a card to my display. The strong theme and the way generations worked made me forget the little fiddliness and that the game might have a level of randomness that heavy strategists don't really like.

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8. Board Game: Glass Road [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:210]
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#8

After Spyrium, Glass Road is the other "not too complex, not too long, but not trivial either" Euro with some fine mechanism ideas and some usual Euro sauce poured over them. So this one is not great either, but it had the potential and is not very far from that.

Just like in case of Merkator, I think can say I like Uwe Rosenberg's simpler Euros more than the average geek (or like his most complex Harvest games a bit less than the average). Glass Road has a very fun central cardgame mechanism to it (it's mostly like Witch's Brew improved) and although just like Merkator, it has just a bit too many resource types (and resource conversion) to my liking, the idea of the forced production is great, resulting in fun consequences.

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9. Board Game: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:5134] [Average Rating:6.67 Unranked]
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#9

This (mostly Elder Sign-like) Hobbit series is a 3-part game just like the movies. Too bad the game had to be stretched to 3 game boxes. I'd guess it originally had altogether 4 boards where the dragon one would have been the 3rd board and there would have been another (one) board instead of boards 5&6 (to be released in the end of the year). So it could have been something really Lord of the Rings-like. Then (some months before the premiere) Peter Jackson announced he can't keep himself calm and the final cut of the movie makes it a trilogy instead of a two-part game (the decision hurt the movies in my opinion).

So the game reflects the monster the movies are: it's entertaining, I like it (and I think it's best when played solo) but it's just going to be a bit too long when it all gets released. I like the Smaug episode, probably more than the first one, because of the fun variety provided by the 4th board with the dwarves arriving one by one and the dragon which has to be stopped (in a "game vs. players" tug of war mechanism a la Lord of the Rings). See further comment on the series a few entries below.

Related read:
2013 - Reiner Knizia's Eventful Year
From Sauron to Prosperity - Reiner Knizia and a Series of Unfortunate Events
Reiner Knizia's Tug of War Games
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10. Board Game: Russian Railroads [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:70]
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#10

For many geeks this one is THE #1 game of the year. I just did not get nearly as enthusiastic as all the other players at the table. It’s a rather complex Euro, a worker placement-based cube pusher where most of your actions are about moving markers on four different tracks. The theme is very weak here, also the worker placement base is pretty basic without real innovation.

So what are the more interesting aspects of the game? 1. On each track you can send more than one marker (5/4/3/2) after each other and this way they can score more for you. 2. While it's basic worker placement, in a way it still incorporates the now-trendy wp style where you can choose an action after someone else only if you use more workers 3. The scoring: whatever scoring spaces you reach during a round, you are going to get the points for that in each subsequent round. So while it could be a usual Euro where you try to make an engine work by the end of the game, you are actually trying to make as many points as you can during the game (in a race-like way) so you can score a lot. It’s also quite an unforgiving game where it’s quite hard to catch up once you start to fall behind, but that makes it quite tense. All in all, I’m not that fond of just pushing those cubes on the tracks but otherwise I must admit sometimes it's even fun to an extent, despite being a dry and complex cube-pusher.
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11. Board Game: Sanssouci [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:1275]
Laszlo Molnar
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#11

Oh no, I'm not only a Knizia fan - I'm also a fan of Wolfgang Kramer and also Kramer-Kiesling games. Michael Kiesling's other big-box game, Vikings is a favorite of mine. So how is his new solo design? If you expect anything like Vikings you won't like it (the only similarity is some matrix-like placement of tiles). This is more like a Take it Easy!-like game with only a very little interaction: each player is building their garden from a common pool of tiles, but most of the time you don' even know which tiles your opponent can or wants to take. I do like these kind of games so it did not bother me - the only things I have small problems with are the pink aim cards (sometimes it's just impossible to get a good score for them). Otherwise, having checked images of the Sanssouci garden, I also like that the illustrations show actual pavillons, statues and so on. It's... just a nice and family/spouse-friendly game.

edit: image added
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12. Board Game: BANG! The Dice Game [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:479]
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#12

Before I became a gamer I did play and like Bang! a few times - then started to get disappointed. Luck level was too high, card effects had to be re-learned all the time, the game could go too long and the last time I played Bang!, I was out of the game before I would have had my first turn. Now I liked the dice game version already when I read the rules and playing it just proved I was right. No unnecessary complexity but still some fun ideas, and the game lasts 15 minutes. Combined with the variety provided by the role and character cards, now this is a clear winner for me, a game I would never say no to in large parties; it's actually a game I would buy for large parties.

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13. Board Game: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:4439] [Average Rating:6.31 Unranked]
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#13

So this is the first part of the new Knizia Middle Earth cooperative trilogy - a fine dice+cards game on its own, but the sequel offers more variety.

The bad: The artwork of the tasks is not very inspiring and the small letters also hide the story from your eyes, and yes, even if it had more thematic illustrations, it’s a Knizia, so it's an abstract game (a quite typical Knizian dice roller) in a way, so it probably does not feel as thematic as other Middle Earth games.

The good: what's built on the simple dice roller is more interesting; lots of cards available for reaching the results, combinations and demanding decisions to be made; events adding company tiles back to your hand making hand management even more interesting etc. Also I like the way the game is scaled for experts and beginners. Also that you can help others but with a smaller effect than if you use the cards for yourself. Also our first real cooperative game with gamers had no trace of an alpha player. It's still a kind of common puzzle-solving experience though and that's not everyone's cup of tea. I find it quite interesting how it manages to be a game of skill but still (almost) never offer obvious decisions. There are always a few good-looking possibilities and it's up to the players to decide which one they want to use. I'm not sure it's good for Knizia- and dice game-haters or those who don't know anything about Middle Earth - but I like Knizia, dice games and Tolkien's work so it's fine for me.

Related reads:
2013 - Reiner Knizia's Eventful Year
From Sauron to Prosperity - Reiner Knizia and a Series of Unfortunate Events
Some thoughts of a Eurogamer after playing two thematic cooperative games
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14. Board Game: Origin [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:2006]
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#14

A rare feat: an Essen game that felt rather unusual. A kind of abstracted representation of evolution using some fine looking wooden figures of three different height, width and color, populating a sketch-looking Earth using some very simple rules (placement of a new figure next to an already laid one: the new figure must have two of the same qualities and one different – different color, or one level higher, or one level thicker; movement of a figure: may have as many steps as the height of the figure; exchanging two figures: your one must be stronger – thicker – than the other one). It also has a very-very simple form of “tech tree” (well, not really)… and three different sets of cards that you draw randomly. This is where the game loses some of its weight and in this aspect Origin reminded me of Takenoko, another fun, unusual and nice French game where the cards also added quite a bit of luck to the game. Both of them feel a bit lighter than I’d expect from them but they can be fine family games, especially with gamer kids, and I am ready to play both any time.

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15. Board Game: The Little Prince: Make Me a Planet [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:900]
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#15

It's a very simple tile card game using the illustrations of Exupéry's book. The game captures not only the spirit and illustrations, but also some of the morals of the game (I guess you needed French designers to make it work like this). Because… You could say the “making of a planet” is nothing else but collecting 4 sets of different card types. It is true; there is no real spatial aspect to the game; mechanism-wise it’s not even tile-laying. It’s the childish fun of creation that makes “planet making” fun (and, well, a game) while it’s (mostly) the “grown-ups” that measure the beauty you have built by numbers in this game. Adults measure the beauty of your planet, but you still like the creation (maybe because it’s the time you spent on creating your planet that makes your planet beautiful).
Well... and looks are deceiving. This is a very mean game (and I like that!)

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16. Board Game: Concordia [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:22]
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#16

In this Mac Gerdts game, instead of the fixed action order of the Rondel, everyone has their bunch of actions. And the deck-building part doesn’t even offer that many different actions; what’s interesting here is how his usual „multiplier scoring” is incorporated in this deck-building instead. Actually, the rules are relatively simple (does it even seem oldschool now?) but the game itself is still a rather thinky race for the best positions on the map and the best cards on display. A well-developed, dense, streamlined game, even though it didn’t feel as fresh and tense as Navegador did to me (which I ranked #2 three years ago), and somehow this time the dryness of the game bothered me (a bit).

Related read: Are The Best Gamers' Games Copycats?
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17. Board Game: Nauticus [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:1434]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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#17

This is the first one of two Kramer-Kiesling big box games from 2013. While it’s rated lower, actually I prefer this one over Coal Baron which was just too reminiscent of Asara for my taste. No, I'm not mistaken - I know Nauticus also has its share of common ideas with Asara. I'd even say this is one of the new Kiesling-Kramer quadrilogy of games where you buy tiles and place them in rows and/or columns.
Nauticus offers nothing novel: it has a light Puerto Rico-ish core mechanism (one player chooses one of eight actions, gets the bonus action, everyone else can do the action or pass (for some points, actually), it also does feature some ideas from from practically any Kramer-Kiesling from the past few years. But it works, it works fine and fast (45 minutes 2-player) and while it gets the criticism it’s a bit dry, this adjective usually does not bother me much in good board games. It’s no Palaces of Carrara, but I like it.

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18. Board Game: Rococo [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:195]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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#18

Not too long ago I have kind of become a Matthias Cramer fan (he's made some of the better complex but not too complex Eurogames, my #2 and #12 in 2011). This collaboration with Edo’s designer duo is a bit less focused and elegant – it has, just like Lewis & Clark and Concordia, a bit of everything and lots and lots of scoring possibilities. A kind of deck-building from cards currently laid out, it has resource conversion, area majority and something that resembles worker placement – you see, you create these workers that you send to certain one-use spaces of which many are actually action spaces, giving you something extra… It’s also not very thematic even if the pasted-on theme adds a little flavor to what we are doing. But, well, this complex system works quite fine, even if unspectacular.

E#10

I played the game with the Rokoko: Fancy Dresses Promo. This expansion does not break or change the game much, but it provides high scoring possibilities (with a price, of course).


Related read: Are The Best Gamers' Games Copycats?

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19. Board Game: Caverna: The Cave Farmers [Average Rating:8.10 Overall Rank:16]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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#19

Don't get me wrong. I can see why this game is rated and ranked so high. Uwe "Frankenstein" Rosenberg's monster is, just as I expected, a perfectly well-developed, complex game with even more colorful ways, many strategies to win... and too little to make me want to explore it more.
Agricola meets the buildings (available for everyone from the beginning) from Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small with the addition that this time you can upgrade... wait for it... your workers, to 14 different levels - the more the levels, the more different kinds of actions you can choose from to take with them using certain action spaces. And there also wild resources that can also be used more than a dozen ways (mostly overlapping with those of a level 14 worker).

This is what the game offers and if I felt I didn't get enough novelty in Ora et Labora, I really feel it now. For a game that takes one hour to explain and 2 to 4 hours to play I need more novelty or more fun to feel that the time and effort spent was worth it. I can play Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small 5 or more times during one play of Caverna and I would rather do that.

And I just feel I don't like most of the changes much.
+: the game is colorful
-: (to me) the theme makes less sense here
-: rubies and dwarves make downtime and eventually the game itself longer
-: strategic paths seem to be a lot more scripted, forced (yes, I know, it's just an opinion after one play), which might fit those who didn't like the opacity of the strategies in the original
-: as food is less scarce because there are millions of ways to make food, tension also feels significantly lower.

All in all, it's a good game but the changes are not for my liking.
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20. Board Game: Bora Bora [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:162]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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#20

Stefan Feld’s games are always well-developed, most of the time they feature one or two interesting central mechanism while usually there is just too much (and too samey in each of his games) general Euro stuff built on these mechanism ideas. Now except from Amerigo, last year's four Feld games even lacked in the central mechanism department - while they did feature some new idea, they really didn't feel that novel.

The core mechanism of Bora Bora is practically simple dice placement, a worker placement sub-genre that is rather popular since Kingsburg (2007), and the ideas is only slightly more interesting than that. But, well, at least it has the fun of dice, it does have a functional map and the decisions and combinations are a bit more interesting than in an average JASE. On the other hand, it's still just a create your VP engine game which I rate a bit below most of the former Felds because the core mechanism doesn’t really feel special.

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21. Board Game: Relic Runners [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:1482]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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#21

Relic Runners is a typical Days of Wonder release with some Tiket to Ride undertones (players can earn bonus points for creating long routes and traveling along these to collect relics) but also a dose of set collection. It's not terribly interesting or novel, nor very deep, but it’s a thinky family game that works on every level – and has overproduced bits that somehow still add to the quality to the game. I quite liked it, actually, I’m even thinking about buying it for family reasons (well... when it gets cheaper in one or two years).

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22. Board Game: Carcassonne: South Seas [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:759]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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#22

Before I became a geek in 2008, I used to be a big fan of the Carcassonne series. Quite interestingly, that was also the year when the last Carcassonne spin-off (New World: A Carcassonne Game) was released (since then, you only had slightly modified variants of the base game like Carcassonne: Wheel of Fortune, Carcassonne: 10 Year Special Edition and Carcassonne: Winter Edition).

This new spin-off (seemingly a first episode in a new "Carcassonne around the world" series) is a good, colorful and very family-friendly addition to the genre. The big change is replacing the original scoring with set collection (collecting different wares on the sea and islands and selling them to ships), the small ones are the possibility of taking your meeple back and the way farms (here: sea areas) are scored. This set collection and constant need of delivery makes the game easier to explain to kids, also the decisions are more short-term than in vanilla Carcassonne, so if you don't count My First Carcassonne (which I did not count above) then this is the first Carc game that has a lower age recommendation (7+ instead of 8+). Actually, with my almost 6-year-old son, it seems to me it works fine as a bridge between his often played Kids of Carcassonne and the real thing - but it's not a bad game for adults either. It's nice, colorful and a welcome change after so many years.

edit: image added
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23. Board Game: Rise of Augustus [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:796]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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#23

Okay, so it's a big box game with some Roman theme, nice artwork, lots of cards and meeple... If you are a gamer and did not hear anything about this game before, quite probably it won't deliver as the look creates false expectations. But if you know that it's a gateway filler with a somewhat Bingo-like mechanism, now then it works fine. It's just a decent and fast family game which offers the fun of Bingo with some additional space for maneuvering.

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24. Board Game: Bruxelles 1893 [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:250]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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#24

This game is, in a way, like Village (my #4 in 2011)– a complex worker placement eurogame where the wp mechanism is pretty basic, but it's spiced up everywhere as much as posible. The game is full of small ideas to make everything different from what you've played before – you have majority worker placement here, a special way to modify prices there, some spatial majority scoring for the worker placement at the other place and so on. I like that it has lots of new ideas, but in Village those bunch of ideas were serving the story while in Bruxelles 1893 they don't really feel like that – they are just a bunch of disjointed ideas poured on the old worker placement base.

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25. Board Game: Coal Baron [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:487]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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#25

So, after Nauticus, the other Kramer-Kiesling game is here and it's a worker placement game. Have they ever designed any worker placement games? Oh yes, they did, that was Asara, and that is my only problem with this game – although it’s not obvious at first sight, this is about 60% the same game as Asara. The wp mechanism used here might have seemed a novel idea when they started to develop the game but after Lancaster, Vanuatu and Keyflower it isn’t very new anymore: in order to use an action space that someone else has already used, you have to kick them from there – with more workers than what they have there.

Otherwise you just do mostly the same as in Asara, collecting colored tiles from face-up action spaces, making it harder (but not impossible) for others to use the same spaces in the given round, place them in columns, go to the bank if you can't do anything else and so on. Only this time the game is more complex than in Asara, even with some kind of W-K trademark Action Point Allowance system thrown in the mix, and it all works, but they just don't make the game more interesting or better for me.

Quite interestingly, while it’s a game from this legendary designer duo, the saving grace of the game is the components and especially the graphic design* which is detailed, clear but still captures the theme perfectly.


*by Dennis Lohausen, a name I didn't even know before but it's already the third game in this list with his clear artwork - after Glass Road and Carcassonne: South Seas. Hey, he's also the artist of Hansa Teutonica, Village and Terra Mystica! wow Well, at last I have learned his name.
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