GCL Eclipse, episode 101: Poking about in the corners and looking under the rug for dust bunnies
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When I feel overloaded by work, I find my solace in my collection. One of my favorite things is reading my geekbuddies’ comments on games I own, particularly games I haven’t played yet.

Then I read BGG users’ general comments on the same game. If I can’t, for whatever reason, be playing a game, I like to read about it and think about how much I’ll enjoy playing it when I can make it work out. I’ve been in a stim-happy state about Cosmic Encounter for about 9 months, now, and I expect it will last until I find a fourth player.

This summer has been overrun with work. Good for us, but a ready excuse to not get things done: I’m tired, I don’t want to do X when I really want to just crash and take a break, so I read BGG instead. That only puts the work off until later, but it feels good at the time.


Last week I was doing just this and I took a notion to look at the general rankings list again, struck by a desire to see how my collection spread across the BGG ratings spectrum. Find that out prompted me to two geeklists: How deep can you dive? and How deep have you dived?—my only two geeklists if you don’t count these GCL lists and a mostly inexcusable one back in June.

I surprised myself by being able to flip through 4,000 items (40 pages) in the BGG database before coming across a page from which I didn’t own a game.

Partly that is thanks to wargames: I had a 25-page surge starting about page 15 that featured wargames heavily.

But it is also partly owing to my geekbuddies. I used to wear myself out reading reviews on BGG, and I often came away undecided, in many cases decidedly of two minds. But after I started reading comments, I realized that that would be all I’d ever need. When people are forced to be short, they’re descriptive and pointed. These mini-reviews, and names dropped in them, have sold me more games than BGG’s reviews ever have.


So thanks to my geekbuddies, I’ve ended up with games I would never have bought (Mage Wars, The Great Zimbabwe, Pax Porfiriana, Kemet, 51st State/NE/W, Snowdonia) or would never have even known existed (TurfMaster, Skat, Sticheln, Breaking Away, Cosmic Eidex, Meuterer, Verräter, Titan: The Arena).

Although I have a larger collection than I thought I’d ever have, I could tell you why each game is in it: each fills a niche that I thought it would fill best. Only a scant few could I remove without creating a hole, from my point of view.

For example, I own Ad Astra, which I expect to finish Magnate’s work of being a total replacement for everything I ever got out of Settlers of Catan. I keep SoC because it carries with it intense nostalgia; but it doesn’t play a role in my collection as such—its place has been filled.


So I’m curious: What little-known, underestimated, hard-to-find, poorly regarded, or out-of-print games do you think would (or should) replace well-known games from the average gamer’s collection? Nobody’s vetting your definition of overlooked (just take it from the description above) other than to say that it would be passing fine to learn about some new games out of this.

Answer as many or as few questions as you please, please.

0. What overlooked gateway game should be in every game evangelist’s collection?

1. What overlooked eurogame deserves a spot high in every eurogamer’s collection?

2. What overlooked strategy game should have a place in every strategy gamer’s collection?

3. What overlooked dexterity game should be ubiquitous among dexterity gamers?

4. What overlooked wargame should no wargamer (of its target period or subject) miss playing?

5. What overlooked CCG-style game should every CCGer/LCGer have the chance to play?

6. What overlooked abstract deserves to be high in every abstract gamer’s collection?

7. What overlooked trick-taking game should be a regular at every card gamer’s table?

8. What overlooked Ameritheme (this is a compromise; I hope it is acceptable) game are ATers missing out on?

9. What overlooked recent game was unjustly left in the cold?

————————————————————————————————————————————————

This is the Game Chat League: Eclipse discussion list for the week of July 28, 2013.

Lurkers, see the Eclipse wiki for more information about the discussion group.


Next up:

Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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————————————————————————————————————————————————

Please read before posting:

If you’re a lurker or have otherwise discovered GCL Eclipse
, feel free to read along with us. And if you have a constructive comment or something else you think would add to the discussion, consider posting it—if it’s helpful, respectful, and polite to the discussion group as a whole, as well as to its individual members. However, if you’d like to join in regular discussion, first post to the current discussion list inquiring about the possibility of becoming a member, with full discussion privileges.

To that end, GCL Eclipse members may from time to time request that nonmember posters refrain from commenting in the discussion lists for reasons that may include aggressive or confrontational commentary, disruptive or irrelevant discourse, and overly frequent or habitual posting without first requesting and being granted membership.

If you are interested in becoming a member, please peruse our wiki. If what you see interests you, contact Jason to inquire about the possibility of becoming a member:

Jason Lott
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Thank you for respecting these guidelines in our place of regular discussion. We hope the discussion we create here is rich, informative, and, most of all, fun for members and nonmembers alike.
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1. Board Game: Entrapment [Average Rating:7.98 Overall Rank:4692]
Jonathan Harrison
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Abstract.

I’m a big fan of Quoridor, and although I haven’t played my copy of Entrapment yet, I’ve read the rules. I may have to do some coaxing to get it played (Jane isn’t the world’s biggest fan of Quoridor, and Jesse refuses flat to play abstracts), but I think the added complexity will tempt Jane into playing.

It’s self-published and will probably never gain the traction it should, but it is available online (see BGG’s page for links), and I’m glad I have it—I’ve had it on my wishlist for years and finally broke down and bought it when they dropped the price a little.
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2. Board Game: The Artifact [Average Rating:7.52 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.52 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.52 Unranked]
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Amerit.

I find it hard to even describe this game. The designer has probably done it best:

Quote:
THE ARTIFACT is a space opera using the Last Frontier: The Vesuvius Incident game system (published by Fat Messiah Games). Three to eight players take over such roles as the Mad Scientist, the Space Pirate Captain, the Phone Company, or a mystery Alien. Because the format is four way blind, and the players are uncertain of each other's motives, the fog of war is a formidable obstacle in this new gaming genre.

The action takes place on a space warehouse at the edge of an un-navigable region of the Galaxy known as the Coal Sack. The mad scientist in charge of the facility is trying to sell the Artifact, an alien navigational buoy, to space pirates. The scientist wins if he completes the deal while keeping his illegal activities secret from the Phone Company, who has a couple of agents on board the station somewhere.

Victory for the Phone Company depends upon who their secret employers are. His agents may be just innocent employees here to fix the phone lines, they may be working for a rival Museum, or they may work for the Government or private agencies.

The Pirate Captain's motives are more transparent; he needs to get the Artifact by trade, artifice, or force. Even with his overwhelming firepower, this is not easy. One of his men may be a government informant. The Artifact may not be all it seems. Loss of contact with his men may mean they have turned against him, or alien bugs have laid eggs on their disemboweled remains. A clank outside may signal imminent explosive decompression, or just a sailmaker robot on the outside hull doing its job.

Aliens may or may not be on board; their nature is unknown. The ship's computer may or may not be a sentient character working with its own victory conditions. One's partner may be a trusted companion or a shapeshifting fiend in disguise. The ship's security system, robots, and self-destruct countdown may be puppets for unknown agencies.

The Artifact is a gripping drama, full of surprises and mayhem. No two games are alike, full of sabotage, sneak suits, bluster, kamikaze aliens, EMP and plasma guns, booby traps, hacking, and the prospect of the space station being blown up bit by bit by pirate cannon. The action never falters until the last lifeboat is away, the final alias revealed, and the last storeroom explored.

I think of this day as the day Phil Eklund went insane.
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3. Board Game: IRONDIE [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:6308]
Jonathan Harrison
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Constructible.

A ridiculously expensive collectible dice game doesn’t stand to gain a lot of traction around BGG, but it’s a shame.

Luckily the game doesn’t need to be collectible, and for me never will be: one starter set in each color is sufficient to get the full game experience. Better still, their concept of rares actively repels me, so for me it’s just a constructible game whose base and expansions have already been released, with no prospect for more.

Nevertheless, I will never regret having bought Irondie. It’s my second-highest rated game, if you don’t count Go.

It combines everything I ever wanted in a rolling-handsful-of-dice game with everything I like about constructible decks. The concept as pitched (collectible dice game! get the rares!) might seem a money grab, but as I said you’re not missing out on anything if you never get more than the color starters, and the core game is really a brilliant concept. I wasn’t expecting good gameplay when I first encountered the game, and in fact I was quite skeptical. I half convinced myself to buy it because the dice would be great for a post-apocalyptic RPG I want to run.

But the core game itself turned out to be one of my favorites. A month ago it sat right under Yomi on my list, and above Troyes. Now it sits under original Netrunner.

The game is simple enough, and I hope you’ll forgive a rules explanation:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Draft 9 dice apiece. Your own drafted dice must include at least 1 attack die, at least 1 defense die, and at least 1 life die.

Divide your dice into two groups. Roll one group. The value or summed value of your rolled life die or life dice (you must roll a life die at least) equal your hitpoints. Your defense dice protect it in the final battle.Your attack dice attack the other player’s defense dice in the final battle.

Before the final battle, skirmish. Take your second group of dice, if any, and if you have the initiative, use their special powers to attack your opponent’s life, defense, or attack dice.

During a skirmish, spend up to two rounds attacking each other’s dice in this way, including by attacking each other’s skirmish dice.

Then resolve the skirmish dice, in reverse order.* Any killed, nullified, or prevented dice then have no effect.

Rinse and repeat until skirmish dice are used up.

Final battle takes place. Reduce life dice by damage taken beyond defense dice protection.

If you wish, take back one life die to reroll.

Divide your dice into two groups.

Rinse. Repeat.

Also, if you roll a 1, your die gives an immediate, one-time bonuses to a die or dice of its color or of its complementary colors.

* This is where the game gets brilliant.

I look forward to playing this with my kids for years to come. It just pushes all the right buttons for me. It’s what I always wanted in a dice game.
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4. Board Game: Hamertjesspel [Average Rating:5.33 Unranked]
Jonathan Harrison
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Dexterity.

I don’t think there’s much to be said about this game that isn’t said by this picture:

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5. Board Game: Vanuatu [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:643]
Jonathan Harrison
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Euro.

I’m pushing my own conception of overlooked here, but thanks to the disaster that the reprint has become, I think this game is getting only a fraction of the notice it deserves. It’s one of the meanest, most interesting euros I’ve had the privilege of playing, and I’ll never part with my copy. The tension I feel when I play Vanuatu is so strong that I feel it just thinking about playing: opportunities for smart play in this game abound, and everything you try to do hangs on your ability to make it happen while everyone else is jostling for position around you. The closest I can come to describing the action-programming opening of each round is a bidding trick-taking game: It’s a similarly Heisenbergian kettle of self-frustrating fish. You can try to do what you need to do, but then probably won’t be able to do it, or you can try to do what others are ignoring, only to find yourself eventually able (had you the option) to do what you really wanted to do. Your bid relies on your ability to have the lead. And having the lead is so, so hard in this game.

Jesse played Vanuatu before I did; and I assumed he would have a moderately bland time, he not being the world’s greatest fan of euros.

After he finished, he looked at me and said, “You are going to love this game.” As it turned out, one of the three players had spent the entire first turn without being able to take a single action. It’s the possibility for play like that that makes me adore Vanuatu. It’s just so smart.
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6. Board Game: Cockroach Poker [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:1208]
Jonathan Harrison
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Gateway.

The rules are dead simple:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
There are 8 creatures, and 8 cards for each.

Deal out the cards evenly.

Each player takes a card and passes it face-down, stating either “This card is X”, where X is a type of animal, or “This card is not X.”

The receiving player either (1) says (a) “You’re lying” or (b) “You’re telling the truth”, or (2) looks at the card and passes it on to another player, making a claim (possibly the same claim, possibly not) about the card.

When a receiving player says (a) or (b), he reveals the card. If he was correct in believing or doubting, the sending player takes the card back and places it face-up before him. Otherwise, the receiving player places the card face-up before him. He then chooses a card from his hand and pass it face-down to another player, making a claim about it.

The game ends when one person has 3 of a single kind of animal face-up in front of him. That person loses, and the game ends.

I can’t think of a game I’d be more likely to take to parties. It’s perfect for subtly teaching many fundamental concepts of serious gaming, including reading other players, making semi-informed decisions, and choosing between a wide array of alternatives. And it’s just plain fun to play. I’ve already given away a copy as a wedding present:

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7. Board Game: Snowdonia [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:344]
Jonathan Harrison
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Recent.

I’m going to hold off and take my time to write a proper description of Snowdonia. It’s hard to describe how magical this game has been for me.
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8. Board Game: High Frontier [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:782]
Jonathan Harrison
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Strategy.

If only strategy gamers would play this! If only the rules would let them!

This game deserves a complete rules rewrite in a language known to man. I’ve heard it claimed in all seriousness that Phil Eklund wrote the rules in MIL-spec; I am tempted to believe it.

I love the game, and I’d like to rewrite the rules for my own benefit. It deserves a wider audience and much more play. It’s practically geared for the strategy gamer, but sadly it’s almost inaccessible to most people, including me: our first play took us 4 hours to leave Earth. One player left three times, only to take his move immediately back with the words: “Wait. I would crash and die if I did that.”

I didn’t mind the time, and Jesse didn’t mind the time, but the other guy playing with us was moderately perturbed. However, he has since bought his own copy, much to both our shock: it’s just a very, very compelling game.

This is the one game I really want to solo: the feel of exploring is why I love the game so much. Maybe someday I’ll consider the victory conditions, but for now it’s just a great big playground in outer space, and with a 60"×40" map laid out, it’s wide open:

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9. Board Game: Sticheln [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:808]
Jonathan Harrison
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Trick-taking.

My favorite trick-taking game is Up and Down the River and always will be, but Sticheln (double Stichlen, specifically) comes away with a lot of honors. I anticipate a pantheon of UDR, Skat, Schafkopf, , Sticheln.

The rules should say it all:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
There are 5 (or 6 colored suits), numbered 0 to 8 (or higher).

Deal out all the cards.

Players simultaneously reveal 1 card (2 cards in double Sticheln) to be their penalty suits. All cards of those color that they take, including the just-revealed card, are set aside as negative points per their number value.

All other cards taken are set separately aside and count as 1 point apiece, regardless of their number value.

There is no trump. Following suit is never required.

When a card is led at the beginning of a trick, its color is the ‘weak suit’. All other colors are strong against it: any strong color will beat a weak color.

Cards whose number value is 0 cannot take tricks (unless only 0s are played in a trick).

After each player has played a card, the trick goes to the player who played the highest-valued strong card or (if no strong cards were played) the highest-valued weak card.

Play five hands; the deal and lead rotate after each hand.

It sounds so simple, but it’s murder to actually play. We play with cards spread to speed play (it’s a card-counter’s dream), and it’s still a nightmare of (1) choosing the correct penalty suit (or two penalty suits) and (2) trying desparately not to take cards in that color or colors. I don’t think I’d have any success trying to explain just how hard this is. Jane is consistently good at this game, and is the only one of us to consistently finish rounds with positive scores (almost every round).
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10. Board Game: Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:1512] [Average Rating:7.85 Unranked]
Jonathan Harrison
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Wargame.

I shouldn’t have to say more than state-of-the-art WWII squad-level combat in 11 pages of rules. I shit you not. Jim Krohn has been getting unqualified praise for his Band of Brothers system from squad-level gamers who have found it to give better, more apt results than some monster systems I won’t bother to mention here. I have this on my list to play with Jane, and it’s the only squad-level game I’ll probably ever use to tempt fate by putting it on that list.
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11. Board Game: Extrablatt [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:3228]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Quote:
1. What overlooked eurogame deserves a spot high in every eurogamer’s collection?

Extrablatt - I wish they would stop dawdling and finally release an English edition of this game. It needs to be released again before all of the newspapers go out of business and no one understands what the game is about. Great fun - you are the editor of a newspaper, and compete with the other editors to scoop the best stories, and force your competitors to commit "canards'. The advertisements for "escorts" adds to the fun.

Quote:
2. What overlooked strategy game should have a place in every strategy gamer’s collection?

God's Playground = Not sure if this is really overlooked. But the war theme probably kept some strategy gamers away. The complex rules don't help either. But once you get immersed in what the game is doing, room for clever play emerges.

Quote:
3. What overlooked dexterity game should be ubiquitous among dexterity gamers?

Packen Wir's! - Another Schmiel game. This time the players are movers. You need to work with a partner, using funny shaped chop sticks - one per person - to lift dollhouse furniture into the correct apartment. Hillarious and rather difficult.

Quote:
4. What overlooked wargame should no wargamer (of its target period or subject) miss playing?

Civil War - The Charles S. Roberts game from 1961. This is interesting from an evolutionary perspective. In 1961 Charles S. Roberts introduced the hex grid to hobby games. Civil War was one of the first games ever to use this revolutionary design element. But at the same time it employs plastic pawns. Players learn about CRT results, reinforcements, etc. An evolutionary stub to the ConSim hobby.

Quote:
6. What overlooked abstract deserves to be high in every abstract gamer’s collection?

Not sure I am qualified to answer this. But I will give a predictable call out to Das Spiel. This is a game kit built around the unique pyramid building baseplate included in the game. There are dozens of games you can play on this system, and the author encourages everyone to invent their own games.

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12. Board Game: Der Garten des Sonnenkönigs [Average Rating:5.92 Overall Rank:10257]
EGG Head
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0. What overlooked gateway game should be in every game evangelist’s collection?Fauna

1. What overlooked eurogame deserves a spot high in every eurogamer’s collection? Der Garten des Sonnenkönigs interesting auction game

2. What overlooked strategy game should have a place in every strategy gamer’s collection? Forum Romanum

3. What overlooked dexterity game should be ubiquitous among dexterity gamers?Rhino Hero the beauty of this one is it's portability

4. What overlooked wargame should no wargamer (of its target period or subject) miss playing?

5. What overlooked CCG-style game should every CCGer/LCGer have the chance to play?

6. What overlooked abstract deserves to be high in every abstract gamer’s collection?Most abstracts are overlooked but I'll say Santorini which was recently republished

7. What overlooked trick-taking game should be a regular at every card gamer’s table? so many good ones here but I'll mention Patronize kind of like Die Säulen der Erde: das Kartenspiel which Joe introduced to us last year, it combines trick taking with resource gathering

8. What overlooked Ameritheme (this is a compromise; I hope it is acceptable) game are ATers missing out on?

9. What overlooked recent game was unjustly left in the cold? Town Center
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13. Board Game: Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:66] [Average Rating:7.83 Unranked]
Chester
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Temple
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Games Played 7/21 - 7/27

Flash Point: Fire Rescue x3
I soloed this cooperative game 3 times as I learned the rules, in anticipation of teaching my mom and kids how to play. I'm not sure how well it will go over, but it seems pretty fun.

Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers x1
I think my ladder league has ended. It was fun, but I'm ready to put this one to rest for a while.

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases x1
I paid full retail price from my FLGS for this. I like to patronize the store periodically, because they support open gaming space and have always been helpful to me when I visit. There is another local store that's been pretty poor. Anyway, I had wanted a copy of this reprint and just got it on impulse.

Played a 3p game with my wife and mom (but mom begged out half-way through to take a phone call). Wow, this is a unique feel, and turned out to be a BLAST! We played it as a cooperative vs Sherlock Holmes, though there is a provision for playing independently.

We really had to reason through the mystery and decide how to spend our actions efficiently. It was fun to root through the details of the case.

The downside of this game is that its the type of game you 'consume'. Its only good for 10 playings (10 cases) and then you're done with it. But if I'm honest with myself, most of my games don't reach 10 plays....so its really probably not a problem. Anyway, the reprint is great and I highly recommend this for a nice change of pace and a unique gaming experience.

Thunderstone x1
One more play. I'm starting to get the hang of the 4p format....but its slow on Yucata. The new cards are interesting. I may sign up to play a few more games after my tourney ends. I don't think I'm making a good showing in the tourney, but I'll win at least one of the games I have winding down now.
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14. Board Game: Taj Mahal [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:306]
Froggy McFrogface
United States
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CO
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0. What overlooked gateway game should be in every game evangelist’s collection?

Taj Mahal: great game with real strategy, easy to explain, with a rinse-and-repeat progression that can newbies into the game quickly.

1. What overlooked eurogame deserves a spot high in every eurogamer’s collection?

Don't know if it's 'overlooked,' but I'll throw Taluva out here. Beautiful components, simple mechanics, quick play-time, in-depth strategy. In a word: elegant!

2. What overlooked strategy game should have a place in every strategy gamer’s collection?

Caylus: probably answering with this because I've had a couple of great plays of it recently. The only randomness in this game is the starting turn order; after that, you're on your own!

Edit: Considering the 'overlooked' (or 'under-the-radar' qualification Neue Heimat, a fave of this GCL.

3. What overlooked dexterity game should be ubiquitous among dexterity gamers?

Oy! If it aint Crokinole than perhaps it could be Riff Raff. Both are crowd-pleasers.

4. What overlooked wargame should no wargamer (of its target period or subject) miss playing?

Twilight Struggle: just to get Skippen's ire up here!

5. What overlooked CCG-style game should every CCGer/LCGer have the chance to play?

I am not qualified to answer this.

6. What overlooked abstract deserves to be high in every abstract gamer’s collection?

I'm not especially big on abstracts, but I always enjoy Qwirkle. But I suppose Chess and Go should both be there.

7. What overlooked trick-taking game should be a regular at every card gamer’s table?

Some'R'Set is my all-time fave. Sluff Off! has some delicious nastiness to it!

8. What overlooked Ameritheme (this is a compromise; I hope it is acceptable) game are ATers missing out on?

Again, I'm probably not qualified here, but I'm enjoying the heck out of Kemet.

9. What overlooked recent game was unjustly left in the cold?

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15. Board Game: Planet Steam [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:665]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Highlights of games played 7/16-7/29:

Well, there weren't many. (Games played, that is, not highlights...)

The biggest highlight was getting to meet Jason and Scott, and getting in a bunch of games with them. We played Durch die Wüste, Keltis, Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar, Goa, and Igel Ärgern. I also taught them En Garde.

Played Sextet, Cribbage, and as a going-away present for a co-worker.

Played Saint Petersburg twice, before and after recording a podcast on the game.

Played Smarty Party! and Taboo with my brother and his family.

Tried the new edition of Planet Steam - and amazingly enough, I think I like it more than the original. That almost never happens. I also played Brass: Lancashire for the tenth time, which is an excuse for a random aside:

Games I own: 286

Games I own which I've played 100+ times: 8
Which I've played 50-99 times: 16
Which I've played 20-49 times: 72
Which I've played 10-19 times: 109
Which I've played 5-9 times: 81
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16. Board Game: Games of Art [Average Rating:6.61 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.61 Unranked]
 
EGG Head
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Got an extra copy of this and had fun making art with "Klee." It was a great excuse to use a nice set of colored pencils I've had on the shelf for a long time! Reminds me of having a giant box of 128 crayons which I so coveted in grade school. Looking forward to trying the other games. Also tried Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 1 – Team Asia & Legendary Asia with 3 teams. The team aspect was mildly interesting but it plays like a 6 player game-snore and Keyflower
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17. Board Game: Keltis [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:1344]
Jason Lott
United States
Cheverly
Maryland
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It's been a good month for gaming, and so I have some fun things to report.

Acquired:

First I got a game in trade - Taluva, which I look forward to trying. Any experience on ideal player count?

After this past weekend I had to break down and order a copy of Keltis. That might just be the start...

Our FLGS has a used game sale this weekend, so I know I'll be there shopping and am afraid I'm going to walk out with more games than I sold!

Plays:

Here were my awesome gaming opportunities from 7/8 - 7/28, and a few highlights:

7 Wonders 2
7 Wonders: Wonder Pack 2
The Resistance: Avalon 2
7 Wonders: Cities 1
7 Wonders: Leaders 1
Agricola 1
Clubs 1
Dragonheart 1
En Garde 1
Goa 1
Guillotine 1
Igel Ärgern 1
Keltis 1
King of Tokyo 1
The Rivals for Catan 1
Through the Desert 1
Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar 1

With my friends locally I got in several game nights which was terrific. It was a nice mix of new games and dusting off old favorites. Avalon was one of the new ones, and our group already had done the original, so we got a good compare/contrast. The Merlin/Assassin dynamic went over well, but they started to feel like with other characters (Percival and Mordred) it got a bit too much. Meanwhile we had some friends specifically request Agricola, which I hadn't played in ages. I still think it's a good game, but not a great one. It's overly long and complicated, and there are far, far too many cards - I think a deck of just the best ones would be great. (Might just figure that out myself.) Loyang is still my favorite in the harvest trilogy.

Later Scott and I had the great fortune to be able to drive up an hour to meet Joe at his hotel and he taught us several games (as mentioned above). I told Scott later it was like being enrolled at the Huber School of Strategy, because I learned so much not only about the games, but about how Joe formulates strategy. It definitely didn't matter to me if I was winning or losing, I was just absorbing and it was awesome! It's hard to pick a favorite as they were all winners for me. I think I liked Goa the most for having the depth/complexity level I like, but I really liked TtD for its elegant simplicity. (Scott loved that one, so I'm definitely buying it.)

We had such a great time, and it was a treat to put a face and personality to the man we know online. Joe is the coolest. But y'all knew that already.
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18. Board Game: Goa [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:107]
Froggy McFrogface
United States
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As you all know, Goa is one of my favorite games ever. Since I already own a copy, I didn't pay much attention when Z-Man came out with a re-issue. I knew there were some 'expansions' included, and I thought 'meh - game doesn't need 'em.' I've come to discover that there were some rule changes as well. I thought, 'Why? The game is nearly perfect as is.' Then I read this thread, and paid especial attention to the 10th post by
Chris Moffa
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Clementon
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Now I'm curious: should I adopt and adapt the new rules to my favorite old game?

I'd love to hear the thoughts of Eclipse (and informed lurkers) regarding the differences between the original version and the new.
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19. Board Game: Terra Mystica [Average Rating:8.24 Overall Rank:8]
skippen
United States
Greeley
Colorado
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Well, I have not reported my plays and purchases/trades in a long while, so bear with me here.

For June:

Terra Mystica
Kingsburg
Sentinels of the Multiverse
Age of Industry
Automobile

For July:


Targi
1812: The Invasion of Canada
The Guns of Gettysburg
Baltimore & Ohio
Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game
Among the Stars
DC Comics Deck-Building Game
Warriors & Traders
The Hobbit Card Game
Haggis

Purchases/Trades/Acquisitions:

Legendary: Dark City
Seasons: Enchanted Kingdom
World of Warcraft: The Adventure Game – Artumnis Moondream Character Pack
World of Warcraft: The Adventure Game – Dongon Swiftblade Character Pack
World of Warcraft: The Adventure Game – Zowka Shattertusk Character Pack
World of Warcraft: The Adventure Game – Shailara Witherblade Character Pack
World of Warcraft: The Adventure Game – Thundershot Character Pack
Steam over Holland
Runebound: Sands of Al-Kalim
Grant Takes Command
Mice and Mystics
D-Day Dice
Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game
Tinners' Trail
The Battle of Five Armies
Dixie: Bull Run
Here Come the Rebels
Nemo's War

Traded Away:


Carthage: The First Punic War
The Napoleonic Wars
Aquädukt
Caylus
Age of Exploration
Dust Tactics: Revised Core Set
PQ-17: Arctic Naval Operations 1941-1943
Combat Commander: Battle Pack #1 – Paratroopers
The Siege of Alesia
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20. Board Game: Castle [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:2833]
Frank Eisenhauer
India
New Delhi
Delhi
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0. What overlooked gateway game should be in every game evangelist’s collection?
Castle
1. What overlooked eurogame deserves a spot high in every eurogamer’s collection?
Stephenson's Rocket
2. What overlooked strategy game should have a place in every strategy gamer’s collection?
Pacific Victory
3. What overlooked dexterity game should be ubiquitous among dexterity gamers?
Make 'n' Break Extreme
4. What overlooked wargame should no wargamer (of its target period or subject) miss playing?
Origins of World War II
5. What overlooked CCG-style game should every CCGer/LCGer have the chance to play?

6. What overlooked abstract deserves to be high in every abstract gamer’s collection?
Babel
7. What overlooked trick-taking game should be a regular at every card gamer’s table?
Frank's Zoo
8. What overlooked Ameritheme (this is a compromise; I hope it is acceptable) game are ATers missing out on?
Kings & Things
9. What overlooked recent game was unjustly left in the cold?
Factory Fun

Bonus:
Lost Valley
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21. Board Game: Morels [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:578]
skippen
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Greeley
Colorado
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Well all this chatter about Morels made me go about and buy it today at lunch (along with Uchronia).
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22. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:49]
Kenny VenOsdel
United States
Saint Paul
Minnesota
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We played 2 games of RftG, one with 3 players. I have less than 12 plays with more than 2 people so that was quite fun. My wife and I also tried out Thricewise, a Decktet game. Neither of us liked it very much, I think it would have been better with 3 people.

We didn't get to play much last week due to re-tiling the bathroom. I had planned on regrouting some tiles and recaulking but it turned into redoing the whole darn thing. It's finally done though (only a few touchups to make) so things can go back to normal I hope!
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23. Board Game: Railways of the World: The Card Game [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:1929]
Jennifer Schlickbernd
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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What I've been playing:

There was no card game entry, but this little gem has certainly been overlooked, even by me! I've owned it for awhile as it was a birthday gift a few years ago, but I just assumed it was bad because so many card games that share the same name as a board game are. Well this one isn't! What makes it interesting is that there is some nice interaction and difficult choices as to how to set up your railway. You want to set it up where you can score the points and your opponents can't but that's pretty difficult. Its biggest downside is that it takes up a lot of table space! Played it two player and really enjoyed it.

Ground Floor
Another surprise! While I think it's too new to be really overlooked, this reminds me of what Greed should have been. A nice, interactive business simulation and the rules aren't totally ridiculous! I had a couple of questions but Seth cleared them up, and if you do get it and play it be sure to study carefully the examples.

Planet Steam

I enjoyed this second take on Planet Steam as well. As Joe says, the box is a reasonable size now and the rules weren't changed. Errata is that the player aid is correct when it comes to costs for the Luxury Quarter, not the card. I do miss the nice crystals and I'm looking for replacements for those.

Firenze

We played this 'real time' on yucata yesterday and I thoroughly enjoyed it, although I wish I'd seen the 'reset' button while I was playing the game instead of having my son tell me about it later. I have it pre-ordered but I'm afraid that my pre-order won't get filled because they are not getting many English copies over here.

Viticulture

Hey it's a Kickstarted game that doesn't suck! At least it didn't after our first play. You need to add in the rules from the expansion that is not included in the retail version, but our two player game went well. Reminds me much more of Stone Age than Vinhos. If you want to play the game, be sure to add an "El Grande" meeple that can take over bonus spaces and take stuff even when the spaces are locked.

Core Worlds
With the expansion. Much better with the expansion than previous. Just better developed and more choices.

I got Village Inn but haven't played it yet.

Has anyone played City of Iron yet? Heard positive stuff from the New Played in July list.
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24. Board Game: Impulse [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:1160]
Dave Kudzma
United States
Millsboro
Delaware
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It occurs to me that I haven't listed my plays for a month now. How time flies.

Boss Monster: The Dungeon Building Card Game x6

Impulse x4 - A recent post from Asmadi said this one will likely miss Essen. Guess there are more tweaks I don't know about yet

Hart an der Grenze - Of all the short, light, silly, party games, this one deserves a reprint the most. Bad Hispanic accents encouraged.

Sentinels of the Multiverse x5

Dominion x10

Yspahan

Imperial 2030 x2 - We managed to get a couple more plays of this wonderful game in. I STILL need to go back and play the original, but I have a feeling it's not going to play differently enough in my limited experience to matter.

That's Life!

The Castles of Burgundy

Heimlich & Co.

Blue Moon City

Terra Mystica x2

Nexus Ops - I own the original edition and every time I think about playing the game I wonder if I should buy the new one; then I play and think "Nope.".

The Great Zimbabwe x5 - I've now played this with 2, 3 and 4. It delivers an experience much like the compressed Roads and Boats that Neuland is, which I always find an ironic thought. Splotter keeps making solid games and it's nice that they've decided to make one less than 2 hours long Now I need to play Bus again.

Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game x3

Ingenious

King of Tokyo x5

Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age x2

Diamant

Age of Steam Expansion: 1867 Georgia Reconstruction, South Carolina & Oklahoma Land Rush - 3p Oklahoma Land Rush. Since the goods are distributed on the board and none are randomly generated it makes for a seriously competitive game. Final scores were 95, 92, 91

Earth Reborn x2

Battle Beyond Space

Walnut Grove

Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)

Mage Wars Arena
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