Top 10 Non-Top 200 being played in August 2013
Mike Jones
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I new Number 1 with several dropping out this month.

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

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: Dungeon Roll [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:2078]
Mike Jones
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So new, no images of people 'enjoying' this game. I actually watched this one getting played today, but didn't play it myself.

917 dungeon crawlers went on 3297 adventures.

What the committee says:
Rated: 4.75 (only two ratings)


Twinge - rated: 4.5
- I realized halfway through rules explanation that I'd played this game before -- back in November 2012 when it was still a prototype. I even still have some notes regarding suggestions I made at the time!

I disliked it at the time; the published version is certainly an improvement, but I still find it to be solidly lacking. What I find most interesting is that most of my major complaints with the prototype were actually addressed - just not as much as I would've hoped. The biggest remaining issue is the downtime; I realize this is also an issue in beloved games like Can't Stop, but it's certainly not a good thing.

The original was excessively random, new version is slightly less so (but still very swingy). Your ability to push your luck was extremely limited, and now it's still limited but you have at least a few options. Relatedly, you had little room for finesse and the dungeon progression curve met a very sharp end point - this is again slightly improved. The original had no sense of progression, and now you have accumulated treasures and a level-up.

So I guess it's nice to see that the published version is clearly improved and my feedback was assumedly taken to heart -- I just wish it was further polished to make it 'more' and offer more interesting decisions to players.

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2. Board Game: Trains [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:391] [Average Rating:7.21 Unranked]
Mike Jones
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A friend gave this to me last week after coming back from GenCon. It's still in Shrink. I guess I should take it out of the shrink.

469 train conductors went on 949 trips.

What the Committee Says:
Rating: 7.8

msaari - Rated 9 -One game in, and I'm very much tempted to slap a ten on this. Brilliant game. Dominion, with the best possible theme and some pretty good twists. The track-building makes this a very interesting game.

Enthusiastic.

KrisVerbeeck - Rated: 8 - Deck building games with a map. Points to be scored on map as well.

It's a visualisation of what you do in deck building games and it works excellent.

SteveK2 - Rated: 7 - Dominion with route-building. I'm not enough of an anorak to get excited over the theme, so I'll probably always be thinking why am I reading this tiny text when I could be playing Dominion?
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3. Board Game: Smash Up [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:661] [Average Rating:6.83 Unranked]
Mike Jones
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Not much for me to add to this game...

408 players played 710 games (including me)

What the committee says:
Rated: 6.00


Nap16 - Rated: 8 - Great fun with a quirky theme.

1000rpm
- Rated: 6
- One play and we didn't finish that. Felt too clunky and hard for what I hoped would be a fun card chaos game.

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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4. Board Game: Forbidden Desert [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:274]
Mike Jones
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I new rendition of an old title. Bumping it off the list and replacing it.

394 players tried 816 times to save themselves.

What the committee thinks:
Rated: 7.50


Nap16 - Rated: 7.5 - Follow-up to Forbidden Island . . . now too much sand and not enough water is the problem . . .

Award(s): Mensa Select Winner (2013).


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5. Board Game: Kingdom Builder [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:468]
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Yet another appearance on the list, failing a bit, but still here.

390 builders made 824 kingdoms

What the committee says:
Rated: 7.50


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.

thoia - Rated: 7 - Quick and easy to teach but more to it than first meets the eye. Very accessible and a quality addition to any game collection for purposes of being a gateway game. Game of the year? still wondering about that.

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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6. Board Game: Forbidden Island [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:609]
Mike Jones
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Oh WAIT, it didn't get knock off, just down!

Here it is.

With 386 peoples still playing the old 'version' 725 times.

What the committee says:
Rated: 6.72

DancerInDC - Rated: 8.5 -This is a great scaled-down version of Pandemic. But it's different enough to really feel like its own game. The components are really well done and the rules are simple and clear. It's very fast, making this a good warm-up or filler game anytime. The 4-player game is especially intense!

What a perfect gateway game to pull out with any group! Well worth adding to our collection.

gordon1018 - Rated: 7
- Good easier version of Pandemic. I feel like I have it solved though, and it's getting boring

JohnRayJr - Rated: 5 - Forbidden Island is a calculated foray into the mass market. The game is patterned on designer Matt Leacock's previous game, Pandemic, which has enjoyed huge success within the confines of the boardgaming hobby. Though I wish Leacock success with a newer, potentially larger audience, Forbidden Island has nothing to offer me as a Pandemic fan. All of it's mechanisms are derived and diluted from the previous game, making it less interesting across the board and robbing it of any distinguishing features. In particular, the roles of the game are nearly equivalent in that they all amount to "conserve an action."

Forbidden Island is an extremely inexpensive, nice-looking game. However, I question it's necessity as a "bridge" game. I can already get most people to play and enjoy Pandemic.

Though in this case I can appreciate the goal, the trend of taking excellent, well-loved games and "streamlining" them continues to yield awful results.
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7. Board Game: Bohnanza [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:382]
Mike Jones
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Again another showing.

It was played by 378 people, 547 times.

What the Committee says:
Rated: 7.06


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.)

czrdup - Rated: 7 - Light, fun trading game. I don't know that I would like it with the full contingent, just because the game already seems long, but maybe with more players the game actually goes faster since there is more cards in the fields?


Guantanamo - Rated: 5
- I didn't like how the limits in cards in play made it way too easy to get people to basically give you cards.

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8. Board Game: Elder Sign [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:473]
Mike Jones
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Another visitation to the list.

With 366 people playing it 627 times.

What the Committee Says:
Rated: 7.17


Grimwold - Rated: 8
- Initial Reaction
Billed as Arkham the dice game, this is an excellent distillation of the theme and mechanisms of Arkham Horror into a pretty quick yahtzee-style co-operative game. Game balance is maintained by having mythos cards come out every 4 turns regardless of how many players there are, and the way encounters work, with the specific tasks you must complete, is very nice.

Overall it's an excellent game and I look forward to another opportunity to play it.


Subsequently
After 5 plays, the game seems a bit too easy as I have never lost.

Walt Mulder - Rated 7.666 - Dice action with up to 8 players in the themed universe of Lovecraft. It's nothing deep but the character fits the crime.

stormseeker75 - 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.

Purchased from Time Warp Comics on 9/17/11.

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9. Board Game: Escape: The Curse of the Temple [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:436]
Mike Jones
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If you haven't noticed, I just don't have the clever banter in me this month.

360
people played it 1030 times.

What the committee says:
Rated: 7.43


Isamoor - Rated: 7.5
- GenCon13:

It plays a bit better than I was expecting, and I was expecting good. It's not going to change the world of gaming, but it's a coop I can get behind. A domineering player can still be a dick, but it is at reduced strength thanks to the real-time basis and the focus on your own dice. The ability to share gold dice is a brilliant way to build camaraderie too!

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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10. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:293]
Mike Jones
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Remember when this was 'top dog' on this list?

327 people played it 899 times.

What the committee says:
Rated: 6.7


1000rpm - Rated: 8
- Bought this game because of responses to a couple of my geeklists. Played several games with my brother in law and would have played more, but the rest of the family wanted us to play croquet!

DancerInDC - Rated: 5.25
- This is a good game to pass the time for 2 people, but I generally find it to be a bit too predictable.

The old mechanic of Rack-O is back with more attractive components. The investment cards are what keep it a bit more interesting.

The challenge is if a player gets a bad hand to start (i.e. all high cards), it can be difficult to choose a path to go with, and then he gets way behind.

"Lost Potential" would be a better name for this game.

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11. Board Game: Rialto [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:796]
Mike Jones
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HM 500

Where's all the Feld love?

324 players played in 489 times.

What the Committee says:
Rated: 7.57


boltongeordie - Rated: 8 - Good game, quite heavy despite its sub-hour playing time. Classic Feld balancing of several ways to score and a turn order track which is crucial in tie-breaking too. Very neat, I enjoyed it.

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12. Board Game: Mascarade [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:922]
Mike Jones
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HM 1000

Not widely available yet and barely missing the top 10 in it's own right, will it climb?

286 people played it 729 times.

What the Committee Says:
Rated: N/A

Ok, well they aren't saying anything YET! I hope to be able to say something soon. But, will have to wait I guess.
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13. Board Game: Bruges [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:206]
Mike Jones
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Gainesville
Florida
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HM #1

An SdJ nominee that I've not had a chance to try.

270 people have played it 413 times.

What the Committee says:
Rated: 7.27


SteveK2 - Rated: 7 - Impressed with first few plays of pasted-up German copy. Seems quite tricky to plan your four actions each turn given the constraints & resources needed.

Still on my wishlist, but I'm debating whether to buy a reasonably-priced German edition (& do paste-ups) or pay over the odds for an English edition. Or maybe just skip it. Many fish in the sea.
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14. Board Game: Legends of Andor [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:305] [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked]
Mike Jones
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HM #2

The SdJ winner, not sure I quite get it, but the couple people I've played it with have really enjoyed it.

216 people have played it 426 times (including me)

What the committee says:
Rated: 7.07


Walt Mulder - Rated: 9
-What I wanted Defenders of the Realm to be. Excellent co-op.
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