Top 11 Non-Top 200 being played in June 2013
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Ok, this one is for you
Pete Belli
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So, here is my contribution.

If you remember them, can you believe that it's been three years since I stopped these?

So, this list is the top 10 games by UNIQUE PLAYERS that are ranked over 200.

I'll probably go back and add comments from 'the committee' after I publish it.


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

One thing I dislike about some people's monthly lists, is after a while they stop explaining their reasoning behind them. So, if you've read mine before (or you don't care) you can skip on to the list now. But, here's the full why:

IMHO, some games are good because others say they are good. And so get more play; "all these people are playing this game, let's play it". While other good games sit around with little notice because they aren't being talked about. So, a few years ago I decided to start looking at those games that are getting played a lot that AREN'T part of the top 200. You may ask why top 200 and not 100? Or for that matter 300? 'Because'. Although, I suppose if I was motivated, I'd really switch it to 500.

IMO, if a lot of different people are playing a game, it must have some value to someone somewhere. That's not to say that the Top 200 AREN'T good games or there aren't games out there that are good that aren't getting any play. I'm just trying to show some games out there that different people are playing 'because they are fun' and not just because they have the best press. Over the past couple months, I've gotten a couple comments about 'well these are on BSW (or what not)'. To that I have to say "ah but you have heard of [them].." Again, I'm not saying there aren't MORE good games out there.

I've also had a suggestion about adding weight to longer games. A complaint is that these are short (filler) games because people are more likely to play shorter games. Well, isn't that the point? Showing some games that people in your group might be willing to play. Plus, I'm doing it on number of users playing it, not number of times. IMHO The length of a game does not measure enjoyment. For my gaming tastes I get more enjoyment playing 3-6 different games in the same time the other table is playing one game of TI3.

Obviously, expansions skew this. It's just going by how they were logged. So, if someone logged Niagara while others logged the game under spirits, it's just got Niagara.

So, here's some 'good' press for games that may not be showing up on 'top lists'.

I'm allowing additions, but let's keep it to those games that are good (to your group), get played a lot on BGG (you decide), but aren't ranked in the Top 500.


My HM are games that look interesting that just stay under these 10 or that I've played recently and are just outside the top 10. I've also added a Top500 HM and Top1000 HM. The most played (by different users, not number of times) that is ranked higher then 500 and 1000 and not on this list already.

I had had a couple lists by weight, but since this is 100 eye balling manual through the game stats page, I've dropped those.

I must say each month I had gone ahead and picked up a few games off of this list and for the most part have been VERY pleased. Most people in the group are buying the top games and I've been adding to the game library by adding these gems. The lone exception really was Poison. I some how thought there would be more to that game then counting to 13.
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1. Board Game: Kingdom Builder [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:451]
Mike Jones
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The REAL number 1

With 944 amongst 462 kingdom builders!

What the committee says:
Analysis for Kingdom Builder
Average Rating: 7.10
Group: Top200comittee

Johnnydollar = rated 8.8 = Engaging fast-playing abstract with a nice touch of theme (think about the same level of theme integration as Carcassonne). I like how Adam78 puts it: "This is an abstract game, with a beautiful atmospheric setting."

Huge game-to-game variability due do different boards, different powers and different scoring rules in every game. I enjoy games that have "emergent properties" such as the overlapping trios in 7 Wonders and the organically created landscape in Carc. This game has as nice an emergent landscape as any game I've seen since Carcassonne. Beautiful, lush production by Queen Games, wonderful board and cards.

Initially 8.2, upgraded to 8.5 after 10 plays, as it has really grown on me.

After 16 plays, upgraded to 8.8, liking this more and more. I love old maps and historical settlement distributions, etc. And this is a fun way to kind of recreate that, kind of like the "build a dungeon" game. You can see how your peoples spread through the land if they were Miner Hermits, etc. I like how lots of thought has been put into the terrain patterns on the boards so that they get put together in interesting ways; "valleys", chains of mountains, etc

doubtofbuddha = rated 6 = As far as fillers go, Kingdom Builder is not bad. The placement rules and variable victory conditions do provide some measure of interplay variability and tension, and it is interesting determining what the risk/rewards are for making certain placement choices. That being said, I like to have the opportunity for a very large number of plays in my filler games, and after about 20 plays you will see most everything that this game has to offer. Granted, there are a large number of possible combinations between cards and player boards, but these are not going to add new decisions to consider, and thus is not enough for me to want to play this further.
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2. Board Game: Smash Up [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:620] [Average Rating:6.85 Unranked]
Mike Jones
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At number not really the number 1

This game was played 689 plays by 418 people.

It's a relatively short game, so I'm surprised the number of plays to players isn't a bit higher.

what the Committee says:
Analysis for Smash Up
Average Rating: 5.60
Group: Top200comittee


Nap16 = rated 8 = Great fun with a quirky theme.

Thoia
= rated 6 = I kind of like this one for what it is. Beware the unstoppable magic using robots though.

verandi = rated 3 = I'm clearly not the target audience for this game, and only played it to appease a friend. Predictably, it was awful, with an extremely poor depth to complexity ratio. Smash Up poses as a special power combo game (a genre I dislike anyways) but in practice plays more like a silly slug fest, due to the capricious card effects. The antithesis of my type of game.
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3. Board Game: Escape: The Curse of the Temple [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:421]
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Good thing this is the last item I felt the need to number because it's not really Number 2 but it's number 3.

OK this is better 1138 plays amongst 380 explorers.

Bet you can't play just once! (if you survived!)

I've played this one a few times (in one sitting) a while ago

Committee says:
Analysis for Escape: The Curse of the Temple
Average Rating: 7.63
Group: Top200comittee

1000rpm = rated 8 = Rating based on one play. Great fun, very full on. Played in Malta on a guys weekend. Played with Richard Ham.

Neil Thomson = rated 5.5 = A real time dice rolling game in which the players must work together to place gems at key locations to stop the curse and then get out in the real time time limit of 10 minutes.

I'll be honest this one just didn't float my boat. Novel idea but for me (a dice rolling fan) the rolling here just seemed a little tedious. The audio CD does its best to add tension to the game but for me this game is not worth its investment.

Really a filler and one that you don't want to be pulling out all the time or it will wear thin quite quickly.

Some have the same feeling about 7 Wonders. Well my personal bent is that 7 Wonders has way more going on than this and will hold my interest far longer than Escape can.
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4. Board Game: Qwixx [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:683]
Mike Jones
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I try and take as many SdJ nominees to a local gaming convention that's held every June.

This one I was unable to buy at that time, but now I guess I have to search again for it and try it out.

Up there with Escape on the plays to player ratio, this one was played 1152 times by 356 people.

What the committee says:
Analysis for Qwixx
Average Rating: 7.33 (although to be fair only 3 raters)
Group: Top200comittee


SteveK2 = rated 8 = Clever little dicey filler. Minimal downtime - players make decisions on other player's turns. A bit like Keltis: Der Weg der Steine Mitbringspiel, but different.

Luimas = rated 7 = Nice basic card game. Addictive to the point of playing twice, maybe 3 times, but not more. So quick to play, easy to play often before, after, in between. Clever new mechanism.
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5. Board Game: Rise of Augustus [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:773]
Mike Jones
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Ok, finally a game I've played in this month. I did get a hold of a copy of this.

I quick filler for up to 6 players. Not bad, not great.

927 plays by 349 legati wantabes.

What the committee says:
Analysis for Augustus
Average Rating: 6.20
Group: Top200comittee


Boltongeordie = rated 7 = Light, family game that I feared (at one point) was going to resemble Bingo. However, there is more strategy to this than meets the eye - the little tile you are given showing tile distribution hints at that - and although it is luck heavy there is enough to satisfy a seasoned gamer, at least for half an hour.

SteveK2 = rated 4 = Bingo-flavoured Civ-lite. Pull a chit, then lucky players queue up to pick a new card. The more players there are, the more frequently these scoring phases happen, so there's a continual interruption to the game.

I actually enjoy a few bingo-like games with the family, but this one just doesn't flow well enough.
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6. Board Game: Elder Sign [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:463]
Mike Jones
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So, is this game still kicking around?

I've still never tried this one out.

But, others have and still seem to be playing it. So much so that it was played 927 time by 349 investigators (?)

What the committee says:
Analysis for Elder Sign
Average Rating: 7.50
Group: Top200comittee


Nap16 = rated 7 = The theme is nicely done for basically a dice game; however, the decisions are not as compelling as some other offerings in this genre (e.g., Alien Frontiers, Ra: The Dice Game, etc.).

Stormseker75
= rated 7 = TONS of dice rolling. I love the theme and I like the mechanics, but this game felt impossible to me. I need to play this more.
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7. Board Game: Quarriors! [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:686] [Average Rating:6.79 Unranked]
Mike Jones
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Ever expanding.

This one was played 632 times by 325 dice rollers.

Should I finally try this one?

What the committee says:
Analysis for Quarriors!
Average Rating: 6.36
Group: Top200comittee


Stormseeker 75 = rated 8 = Dominion invented the genre of deckbuilding and many others have taken the idea and twisted it. I've played almost all of them, but none of them are as much fun as Quarriors. This game is pure fun. There's not a lot of meaningful decisions, but there are lots of decisions. It seems like a lot of the dice are about the same power level which means that they'll all be generally useful. This avoids one of my big problems with Dominion.

I'm really looking forward to more plays of Quarriors. I've started my rating at 7, but I think this will go up a lot. I'm trying to be cautious with this one because I love the fun factor. I don't want to set myself up for failure with this one.

doubtofbuddha
= rated 4 = Quarriors takes the super-trendy deck-building mechanic and replaces the cards with dice. While in theory this could be an interesting sort of game, and I can appreciate the design on a general level, it is essentially just a reimplementation of the general “Lets Make a Game! About Dice!” idea that generally fails to work for me.

Really though, this is probably just another game that was not designed for me. I am not a fan of fillers in general, and dice games in particular. The main reason I ended up trying it out was it was new, short, and hot enough that it seemed like it was worth trying a few times. It ultimately was, but I saw enough in those three games that I know this game is not for me.
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8. Board Game: Tsuro [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:771]
Mike Jones
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One of the few still kicking around this list from years ago. A solid filler.

559 plays by 295 string walkers.

What the committee says:
Analysis for Tsuro
Average Rating: 6.47
Group: Top200comittee

Blott = Rated 9 = An awesome game that is so extremely short we usually play multiple games in a row. The components are great quality, and the rules are simple to teach. The one flaw is the way the rules are written, they greatly confuse the use of the Dragon Tile. Check the Rules section here on BGG for some clarification. Aside from that, it's an excellent puzzly type of game that has become an instant classic in our household. A mix of strategic tile-placement and path-finding make this a fun game for all ages. And just one game is rarely enough, most players want to try again almost immediately.

I think the one downside is that it can sometimes feel like luck when you win. Often in the later part of the game players have no choice but to send themselves off the board. If that would annoy you then I would caution you to stay away. And, though the game is still fun with 8 players, it becomes even more chaotic. But, again, the game is so short it's hard to get annoyed by the luck factor.

Isamoor = rated 5.6 = Much better than expected. Nice light fun for many people.

I think it feels very similar to 6 nimmet though. I still want to own it, especially since it's drop dead gorgeous.
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9. Board Game: Bohnanza [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:367]
Mike Jones
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I believe the last time I did this list, this one wasn't eligible. But, here it is.

431 plays by 293 bean farmers.

Twinge = rated 9.5 = An excellent negotiation game that only takes about an hour. Always a fun game; best with 4 or 5. (I still enjoy it with any number of players, but it's not as good.)

Manowarplayer = rated 6 = Originally played it alot. Then less. Now, not so much. Kind of a random game it seems. The appeal is best when you haven't played for awhile and there are some new players in the game to mix it up a bit.
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10. Board Game: Las Vegas [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:479]
Mike Jones
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More dice rolling!

Haven't played this in a while BUT 487 plays by 264 high rollers have logged plays.

What the committee says:
Analysis for Las Vegas
Average Rating: 6.80
Group: Top200comittee


SteveK2 = rated 8 = Dicey filler. More Pickomino than Alea Iacta Est. Fast turns. Potential for sudden comebacks, self-destructing rolls, cheeky steals, fun & laughter.

The "everyone also rolls neutral" variant for 2-4 players adds another layer of decisions without adding complexity. Highly recommended if playing with fewer than 5.

One of the little pleasures of life is watching an opponent roll his last neutral die and have to place it such that it eliminates his own dice and gifts the rewards to another player.

Guantanamo = rated 6 = It's a generally 'ok' game. I do like that ties are resolved by 'removing' all tied players before resolving the winners. So, it gives an interesting twist to it. But, ultimately it's a random dice game. Not that I don't like that type of thing, I just don't love it and can see playing this more, just not it lasting for years.
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11. Board Game: Libertalia [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:297]
Mike Jones
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One of the few games around here that I know NOTHING about.

But it did get played 357 times by 261 people.

what the committee says:
Analysis for Libertalia
Average Rating: 6.50
Group: Top200comittee

SteveK2 = rated 8 = Pirates grabbing booty through the age-old medium of simultaneous card play. I enjoyed it, but no plans to buy a copy.

Our play was slightly marred by differing interpretations of how one of the cards worked: resolved quickly & amicably, but still...

Twinge = rated 5.5 = I'm supposed to like this game more based on how it plays and the mechanics - but I keep trying it and I keep not really liking it. It has some definite lame duck potential (not a huge deal for a quick game, but still annoying) and I tend to feel like I have extremely little control. I also really dislike the uneven tiebreak distribution - for how important tiebreakers are, having some colors beat others 80% is ridiculous and unnecessary.

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12. Board Game: Hey, That's My Fish! [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:672]
Mike Jones
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HM#1

Well, I've played this a couple times recently on Yucata (not logged).

I do need to get a FtF play logged soon.

Played 428 times by 238 penguin lovers.

What the committee says:
Analysis for Hey, That's My Fish!
Average Rating: 6.92
Group: Top200comittee


Stormparekiet = rated 8 = This is a really neat little game. There's even room for quite a bit of strategy (all the rest are tactics, no luck to be found) in this 20 minute game. NOT a children's game - though the penguins are cute enough.

Update 2012/01/02: the design of this game feels flawless. Really great game, and I found out it actually is playable with children.

Krisverbeeck = rated 5 = good filler
It is a whole different game with four than with two. With two it was actually quite light. With four however it became much more tense. With two play was quick. With four players there was sometimes some slowdown when a player thought too long about a move. But because the board changed all the time this wasn't much of a problem. The quality of the tiles are not comparable to the ones of carcasonne. But this isn't much of a problem.
***Update*** After playing "Through the Desert rating drops. I still give it a 7 because it is a fun game. And the problem that a weaker player can decide the winner in one turn isn't here.
There is however another problem. That is that the endgame is an anti-climax. Because whole areas disappear from the board. These secluded areas work much better in through the desert.
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13. Board Game: Viticulture [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:120]
Mike Jones
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HM#2

I was surprised that I liked this one.

Worth looking at.

Played 314 times by 209 wine makers.

What the committee says:
Analysis for Viticulture
Average Rating: 7.53
Group: Top200comittee


Thoia = rated 8 = Alright so the buzz has arrived. I got my copy of this from CSI for 40 bucks. Neat game. Kind of a basic worker placement game with an item or two that makes it interesting. I like this one and plan on seeing it played a good bit.

However it's awful at 2 players. With the game end trigger coming at 20 points there is no reason to ever skip the turn order option of "take 1 VP." I know people will argue with me on this but really I've proven it. Even in my head I can rationalize how other options should be better at certain times but honestly if it's left for you...TAKE it. This means your opponent then must take it on their, leaving you the first player position. All in all the turn order sequence loses so much of it's luster and it's one of the coolest parts of the game.

SteveK2 = rated 7 = Single play, 6 new players. Things took a while to get going, then we rushed to a conclusion in a few rounds. It looks great, but I can't help feeling more effort was spent on design than on tuning gameplay - spring & winter cards seemed very swingy.
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14. Board Game: Guildhall [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:694] [Average Rating:7.01 Unranked]
Mike Jones
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HM500

AEG, 'nuf said.

339 plays by 220 people

What the committee says:
Analysis for Guildhall
Average Rating: 5.58
Group: Top200comittee


Nap16 = rated 7 = Solid card game with some elements of Dominion built-in . . .

Guantanamo = rated 4 = was almost exactly what I was expecting. It was a Saturday all day gaming thing and we were hemming and hawing on what to play while waiting for others and someone wanted to play their new game (they had already played it once with their family). I looked at Neil and said 'Are we going to sit down and play an AEG game?' We shrugged and sat down anyway. It was fairly boring, repetitive and near the middle as people kept taking from each other it seemed like it was going to just drag (and it did a bit). I rated this one a 4 (a well deserved 4)
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15. Board Game: Zombie Dice [Average Rating:6.23 Overall Rank:1708]
Mike Jones
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HM 1000

More rolling.

Brains!

583 plays by 232 people

What the committee says:
Analysis for Zombie Dice
Average Rating: 5.45
Group: Top200comittee


Boltongeordie = rated 7.5 = Not bad, a very simple dice-rolling push-your-luck game. Nice as a quick filler with lots of players.

Bagherra = rated 5 = much like the theme, a mindless push-your-luck set collection game.

Not best in breed, but occasionally enjoyable

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Mike Jones
United States
Gainesville
Florida
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For historical reference, the metalist with the previous 50ish lists.
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