Moe's List of Must-Have Boardgames to Start off a Collection
Moe45673
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This list is an interesting one for me. It's not a top 10. It's not a list of gateways to get one into the hobby. No, this is a list of games I believe that someone who is already a gamer of some sort, ie the kind of person who doesn't need gateways to fall in love with the modern boardgame scene, should acquire. A collection that will keep them busy for months, possibly years, with high quality games.

To make this list, the games listed have to fall into 2 criteria:
1) Replayable
2) Streamlined Rules

*edit* The reason I chose these criteria is that a game has to hit the table. A new gamer probably has to look out for a group and initially won't be able to play with other BGGers/hardcore, so he/she needs games that both him/her and the opponents can enjoy. So, as listed below, while some (including myself!) may prefer Brass or Steam or Planet Steam or what-have-you more than Chicago Express, CE will probably hit the table the easiest because of ease of rules and playtime!
*/edit*

So, in no particular order, I present to you a list of the bare minimum games someone should own when discovering the hobby. Fantastic games. Games that the more experienced here may find derivative or old or have since been improved upon; I ask you to imagine playing these games having never played any others before.

These are all games I will happily, excitedly play if offered.

List is purposefully restricted to my items to keep it easy for anyone who may find it useful
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1. Board Game: King of Tokyo [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:257]
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Light Game to start or end off an evening

Dice games tend to fall within the same category. They're really about pushing your luck or trying to get the most out of your dice roll. No game has done it better than this one. It's a fun theme, interactive, there are upgrades to be had.... it's pure fun! Plays well 3-6, a great addition to any shelf.
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2. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:7.99 Overall Rank:25]
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Heavy Game

Theme is dull as hell, about 17th century farming. But it's tough to rack up a successful farm, play your upgrades, nab those resources before your opponents, all while keeping your children from starving. Plays excellently 2-5 players, one of the best games ever made. Surprisingly thematic too.

This is a game that I've introduced to gamers of all sorts, from my non-gaming wife to hardcore geeks, and all have loved it. Something about the gameplay lets it touch the souls of almost everyone who has played it. Sure, some dislike it but could you imagine playing this as your first game? In fact, this being the one heavy game you own? I'd be happy as a child in rain boots.

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3. Board Game: Clash of Cultures [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:243]
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Civilization/4X Game

Anyone who knows me knew this was coming. A game I can teach the rules to in 10 minutes (they all fit on a one-page player aid). Plays 2-4 (about an hour per player), I've played it 17 times and still haven't tired of it. This game has everything you could want from a Civ game..... city moods, cultural influence, barbarian NPCs, an explorable map, tech tree, battles, it's awesome! An expansion has been announced which will introduce unique Civs as well, amongst other things.
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4. Board Game: Chicago Express [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:388]
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Brow-Furrowing Economic Game

Plays 3-6 (don't play with 2) in 60 minutes. Extremely simple rules, winner is the one with most money at the end. There is absolutely no randomness, entire game is player driven, and the depth is endless. Also, great components. Player alliances and finagling makes this game a hit. All the brow-furrowing is done through strategy and not trying to figure out the rules, a wicked cool design.
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5. Board Game: Lords of Vegas [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:371]
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Game to Introduce to those who think Monopoly is the greatest game ever made because they're ignorantly daft

We all know these people, those who think they're incredible tycoons because they play Monopoly all the time.

This game plays in 45 minutes. It is about battling over casino lots all over the Vegas Strip, trying to be the dominant developer. The game has trading, a neat push-your-luck feel, with real decisions. Thematic as hell, you can even gamble at opponents' casinos and if you win, they pay you! Very colorful and a ton of fun. My go-to gateway. Plays 2-4, although I wouldn't play with less than 3. Not only does this game kill Monopoly but it also kills Settlers of Catan, IMO.
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6. Board Game: 1775: Rebellion [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:286]
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Game to Introduce to those who think Risk is the greatest game ever made because they're ignorantly daft, though not as much as the Monopoly fans

A good wargame simulates war. In a real war, both sides fight at the same time, utilizing tactics to respond to the enemy's decisions. In Risk, one side simply waltzes around the board, doing as much as they like, while the others sit around waiting for this asshole to finish his turn. In this game, like all good wargames, you are limited to what you can do in your turn. You play a movement card which allows you, for example, to move any two armies up to 3 spaces. Then the other side responds. So the parry/thrust of a well matched duel is represented nicely here. You also get to throw big ass dice during battles... only unlike Risk, each army is made up of two factions and each faction is unique, both in what is shown on their dice (symbols, not pips) and in what cards are in their specific decks. Also, unlike Risk, the game takes 90-120 minutes and comes with 2 scenarios (3 if you count the introductory one). Plays 2-4 and is brilliantly fun. The prequel to Academy Games' earlier effort, 1812: The Invasion of Canada, and early reports seem to state this is the better design.
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7. Board Game: Puzzle Strike (Third Edition) [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:1004] [Average Rating:7.28 Unranked]
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Deckbuilder

Dominion is a great game. I am nowhere near sick of the deckbuilding mechanic, I think it's addictive as hell. I also am not adverse to multiplayer solitaire style games.

However, I do think PS3e is all that and a.... bag.... of.... chi..p......s (I'M SO SORRY).

a) uses chips in a bag instead of cards, so eliminates tedious shuffling
b) Introduces direct interaction by crashing gems at each other, as well as some really dick-ish cards
c) Introduces some asymmetry in the starting decks through the use of starting characters
d) eliminates "whoever has the most points wins" cliche
e) doesn't need any expansions to replay it over and over, the base set has a ton to dive into.
f) Doesn't start you off with any weak cards that you need to trash

There are those who prefer one or the other and many are sick and tired of Sirlin releasing 2 fixes to the original release so quickly, making gamers pay full price for each fix. But to someone new with their views untarnished by clunky releases, the 3rd edition is a gem and plays well 2-4. Love it!
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8. Board Game: Innovation [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:304]
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2p portable card game

All gamers need one of these. While there are other great 2p portable cardgames (Jambo), Innovation is simple to learn and has endless replayability. Ignore the expansions, at best they make the game equally as fun as the base game. Also, don't play with more than 2.

It's a game where you're fighting tooth and nail, every step of the way, for victory over your opponents. A lot of back and forth, stealing, cutthroat as hell. But fun. Oh so fun. No two games play the same.
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9. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:45]
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Meaty Game for Multiple Players When You're Short On Time

This is a game that takes 30 minutes to play, plays 3-7 people seamlessly, and has absolutely no downtime (everyone takes their turn simultaneously). It also has a good amount of strategy within. Despite being a cardgame, I feel like I played a Euro boardgame by the end of each game.

I thought it was dull as hell my first play of it but on my second play I was intrigued and I ended up playing it 10 times in the last month and am hooked. So is everyone else I know. Buy it!
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