The GeekSnob's Game List
Chuck Uherske
United States
Rockville
Maryland
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Last night I found myself poring through the RockSnob's Dictionary, reminding myself of the necessity of employing the terms "plangent" and "coruscating" wherever possible, and refreshing my memory of long-forgotten producers and session players.

It occurred to me that a similar reference could be created for GeekSnobs.

The GeekSnob, like the RockSnob, is of a subcommunity within a subcommunity. It's not enough for the GeekSnob to disdain Monopoly; rather, a true GeekSnob should be a champion of more obscure, neglected games than even most BGG geeks have ever played.

To be truly equivalent to the RockSnob, the GeekSnob must be willing to occasionally embrace the reputedly "non-gamers' game" -- just as the RockSnob extols the virtues of Dion's later works. Resuscitation of reputation is an ongoing hobby of the true Snob. By force of intellect and persuasion, the true Snob hopes to eventually persuade his compatriots -- but not too many, mind you, as that would force a rejection later -- of the overlooked virtues of his favorite games.

To produce a comparable GeekSnob list, I went through the favorite games lists of some of the (in my opinion) more discerning Geeks around here. I chose GeekSnob games based on the nature of the comments about them, and the existence of a small but vocal minority of adherents/promoters. Extra points given for some obscurity, some age, and the counter-intuitive allure.

What do you think? Are these games worthy of GeekSnobbery? Weigh in; and add your own nominees.
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1. Board Game: Die Macher [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:197]
Chuck Uherske
United States
Rockville
Maryland
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This one was an easy call. I'd nominate Die Macher as the Holy Grail of Geeksnobbery. 20 years old now, rare, universally praised by virtually all who have played it, with a German title no one even bothers to translate.

Will Die Macher retain its GeekSnob status after being republished?
 
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2. Board Game: Breaking Away [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:2073]
Chuck Uherske
United States
Rockville
Maryland
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Breaking Away also has the quintessential ingredients of being a GeekSnob game. Self-published, with cheap components, its reputation lies solely on the strength of its simple, elegant mechanics. Its relative obscurity adds to the coolness quotient.
 
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3. Board Game: Liar's Dice [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:583]
Chuck Uherske
United States
Rockville
Maryland
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You probably remember this as a drinking game from college days, but no, it's an authentically praiseworthy game in the eyes of Geeksnobs. Decades-old, many Geeks swear by it as a filler that puts more recent inventions to shame. Adherents include Bagherra, Daniel Karp, and Aldie himself.
 
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4. Board Game: MarraCash [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:1803]
Chuck Uherske
United States
Rockville
Maryland
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I've participated in the Geeksnobbery behind Marrracash. The commentary in praise of Marracash resembles the finer utterances of Rock Snobbism; praise of its elegant, subtle virtues that the masses just don't seem to fully appreciate. Dorra has produced a number of more commercially successful games, but this one has the greatest Geeksnob cachet.
 
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5. Board Game: Survive: Escape from Atlantis! [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:236]
Chuck Uherske
United States
Rockville
Maryland
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Praise for Survive as a youth-targeting, commercial game disguising Geekworthy gameplay is almost a rite of passage for Geeks. Morgan, Justin Green, and others have singled out this game as one that alerted them to the potential of sublime gameplaying.
 
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6. Board Game: Storm over Arnhem [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1628]
Chuck Uherske
United States
Rockville
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I'm embarrassed to say that I own this game back at my parents' house, but I've never played it. Which is a shame, because SoA has a sterling reputation among knowledgeable geeks, as the pioneering Area-Impulse game (whatever that means), and one which has held up surprisingly well across the decades.
 
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7. Board Game: Game of the States [Average Rating:4.72 Overall Rank:15733]
Chuck Uherske
United States
Rockville
Maryland
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It's de rigeur among GeekSnobs to single out a game or two from their childhood as being well ahead of its time, an unappreciated advance over the comparative mindlessness of Monopoly. Careers draws this type of praise from time to time, but the game I'll single out here is Game of the States. Mr. Cranky, Randy Cox and even yours truly have fond memories of this game. Well-themed, it was a kid-oriented precursor to the pick-up-and-deliver games that later entered the market in large numbers.
 
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8. Board Game: Sleuth [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:976]
Chuck Uherske
United States
Rockville
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Well, I hadn't intended to go to my own favorites, but Sleuth definitely qualifies as a GeekSnob game. It has the hallowed age (1967), it was designed by the ultimate GeekSnob designer (Sid Sackson), and it has the sort of timeless elegance that causes breathlessness in GeekSnobs. In addition to yours truly, Bill Skulley, Eye of Night, fuzzyfife, and Daniel Karp are among Sleuth's acolytes.
 
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9. Board Game: Daytona 500 [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:1415]
Chuck Uherske
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Rockville
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Going back for a moment to games with a kid appeal, we can hardly overlook Daytona 500. Its Geeksnob allure is no doubt aided by the fact that it can only be bought on Ebay these days. Moreover, it has Geeksnob tactical relish overlaying a simple set of family-friendly rules. Nothing delights the Geeksnob more than to haul out a game with this commercial packaging, and to thereupon convince his fellow Geeks that they're playing a masterpiece.
 
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10. Board Game: Merchant of Venus [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:734]
Chuck Uherske
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Rockville
Maryland
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Haven't played (or even seen) this one myself, but it clearly has a certain appeal to GeekSnobs, a sort of rail-connection game in space of nearly 20 years vintage. It's also hard to find affordable copies, which adds to its esoteric appeal.
 
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11. Board Game: Wildlife Safari [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1336]
Chuck Uherske
United States
Rockville
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Another important element of being a GeekSnob is finding the Knizia masterpieces that don't begin with "Tigris", "Taj" or "Modern," or similarly familiar words. And if those masterpieces are a few years older and have a minimalist ruleset, Snob appeal comes rushing on. Loco/Quandary/Flinke Pinke has appealed to true GeekSnobs for some time, numbering Dangermouse, Morgan/Sisteray, and Glamorous Mucus among its fans.
 
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12. Board Game: Rail Baron [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:1990]
Chuck Uherske
United States
Rockville
Maryland
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Another pastime of the GeekSnob is to find timeless quality in the older Avalon Hill games. This is among the earliest of the train games, and a number of GeekSnobs name it as among the best to this day. It's a long game, which can be a plus for snob appeal.
 
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13. Board Game: Liberté [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:726]
Chuck Uherske
United States
Rockville
Maryland
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A true GeekSnob doesn't think of Age of Steam first when Martin Wallace is mentioned. No, he thinks of this thematic offering based on the French Revolution. Any game that was Gola's first (and for a while, only) 10 almost by definition must ascend to the ranks of Snobbism's upper echelon.
 
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14. Board Game: Poker [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:883]
Chuck Uherske
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Rockville
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There is also a subset of GeekSnobs that extols the virtues of Poker as a serious strategy game. Strangely, chess doesn't attract the same level of GeekSnobbery, perhaps because chess is thought of by the masses as a highly intellectual, strategic game. But to discover the deep strategy of poker, particularly in the wagering and risk-management aspects. . . that's a cause truly worth a GeekSnob's attention.
 
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15. Board Game: Speed Circuit [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:1699]
Chuck Uherske
United States
Rockville
Maryland
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Amid the rash of racing games out there, true GeekSnobs will tell you that this 40-years-old luck-free racing game from 3M still remains one of the best (unfortunately, I'm still hunting for my copy.)
 
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16. Board Game: Venture [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:2819]
Chuck Uherske
United States
Rockville
Maryland
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Well, I have to make my own unique contribution to GeekSnobbery, don't I? Venture is the hidden gem I've been promoting on BGG since I joined here. Nearly 40 years old, tactically engrossing in the extreme, devoid of masses-pacifying bells and whistles and fancy bits, it's the prototype of the GeekSnob game. If most others here haven't caught on to its timeless elegance, that's not my problem.
 
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17. Board Game: Successors (second edition) [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:2526]
Jim Marshall
United Kingdom
York
North Yorkshire
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One of the few advantages of being of a maturing vintage (i.e. old) is that today’s young ‘uns rave over things you took for granted in your own youth. Being able to casually drop that you saw Joy Division play live into a conversation with the current yoof garners cool points that your sagging belly and balding head would otherwise deny.

Games-wise, the same applies. My collection of dusty old Avalon Hill titles impresses those who think games proper started with Settlers. I can offer Civ (original and pure, none of this noncy advanced rubbish, thankyou very much), Age of Renaissance, Speed Circuit, Squad Leader (see previous comment under Civ), We the People, Hannibal, etc, etc..

My personal nomination for this list is “Successors”. It’s from the same series of card driven wargame as the fabled Hannibal and We The People - just check out those BGG ratings and second hand prices for these two. However, from the snob’s perspective it's both more obscure (extra cool points) AND is that rarity, a proper multiplayer wargame (cool points bonanza!!) The fact that I’ve never found enough interested people to actually play the thing is neither here nor there, of course…..
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18. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:292] [Average Rating:7.21 Unranked]
Harold Jansen
Canada
Lethbridge
Alberta
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How can this, probably the most ubiquitous Eurogame out there, be a GeekSnob game? It depends on the edition. Real GeekSnobs don't have the English edition, they have the German version. And it's not "Settlers," it's "Die Siedler." And the GeekSnobs who look down on the other GeekSnobs have a version without the Spiele des Jahres icon on it, to show that they bought the game before it became the game of the unwashed masses.
 
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19. Board Game: Bargain Hunter [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:2163]
Stven Carlberg
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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Everybody knows Bohnanza, Uwe Rosenberg's tremendously popular card-trading game, but not everybody knows that he's had another dozen oddball ideas for cardgames published.

This one, "Bargain Hunt" as a rough translation, has a cult following -- a snob following, if you will. It's been out of print for a while and the price it fetches on eBay is nuts. $50 for a deck of cards? Zooks!

It's a rather screwy trick-taking game in that the card led never counts as trump, but if you can't follow suit you have the option of declaring the card you play to be trump or not trump.

But what's really screwy about the game is that every card you take counts as a point against you unless it's your "bargain" card. And you may be able to change to a different "bargain" card in between hands. I won't go into more detail here, but will leave it as an exercise to the rules reader in case you ever do have the game on your table.

Oh, and to add to the snob appeal, all the cool kids agree that it's ideal for exactly three players, while merely acceptable for four.
 
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20. Board Game: BattleTech [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:866]
Just call me Erik
United States
Waldorf
Maryland
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When miniatures are concerned, more often than not Battletech is somewhere in the discussion. Those who play Battletech have their own brand of GeekSnobbery. Obviously, you were introduced to the game before the lawsuits, and have pewter models of all the unseen mechs.

Second, you think that removing the rules for LAMs was a shame, because they were so powerful and fun to use.

Next, you're going to say how much it sucked when the Clans were introduced.

Your maps, rulebooks, compendium, master rules, TRO's, all have copyright dates of 1988 or earlier, or you're just not hip. You Johnny-come-lately.

You have Battlespace, Citytech, and Aerotech/Aerotech 2 as well, so it's a complete gaming system.

And don't even MENTION MechWarrior. Battletech not good enough for you?

I'm a Battletech player, but i'm no snob. I can't afford to be, seeing as i only got into the game in 2002.
 
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21. Board Game: Infinity [Average Rating:6.00 Overall Rank:11327]
Paul Boos
United States
Falls Church
Virginia
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Just owning such an interesting tile-laying game would make you worthy of Geek Snobbiness (see the British pretension is beginning to rub on me - must be hanging out here with the Admiral). In fact, almost anything from Philip Orbanes make you a most worthy snob, able to legitimately look down the noses on the mere peasantry of other gamers...
 
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22. Board Game: Go [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:128]
Jeff
United States
Marion
Iowa
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I'd think another previous Geeklist here would warrant the addition of Go to this list:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist.php3?action=view&listi...
 
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23. Board Game: Magic Realm [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:978]
TD W
United States
Maryland
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No snob GeekList can be complete without this puppy. Its design is both bizarre and brilliant. Its rules *will* kick your butt--heck, it's been kicking grognard butts since 1978, back when rules were rules, not some stupid single sheet of paper with little pictures of meeples on it.

Another big point: at the time, the theme was considered "soft," not worthy of a Real Game like, say, a simulation of the German invasion of Russia at the company level was--and then you got this rule set! I suspect a lot of formerly-scoffing wargamers were reduced to muttering and trying to sneak another peek at the Woods Girl. You know you're in for trouble when the game rules actually inhibit victory-seeking behavior owing to the calculations required to complete that behavior. "Uh, on the other hand, I *won't* try to have combat with those four natives. Even if they DO have the Bejeweled Dwarf Vest. A-and the Timeless Jewel, which means I could stop having to write down everything I want to do in advance."

This game may pass the biggest snob test of all--its ungainliness and horrendous learning curve are actually the reasons that its fans love it, much as people love antique Jaguars. To top it all off, the rules-to-play ratio (actual games, once you set them up and understand them, are often quite surprisingly and unsatisfyingly short) is reminiscent of the shop-to-road time ratio of said Jaguar! How could you do better than that!
 
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24. Board Game: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:608]
Eli Smith
United States
Hillsboro
Oregon
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If you must play a CCG make sure that it's one now out-of-print and nearly impossible to find. Make sure you laud its superiority to all other CCGs.

Bemoan the current state of Magic the Gathering smatter all your comments baout the game with "Back in the Alpha and Beta days things were so much better because..."
 
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