A Curmudgeon's Greatest List
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Was bored today and thought I might as well put this up. It should be a work in progress, if I ever get back to it, and I may need to eat my words if i think of alternative games to the ones that popped into mind. but, what the hell, not like it really matters, anyway. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts, especially if you are an older bastard like I am and realize there are a bevvy of games outside the top 1000.
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1. Board Game: Civilization [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:250] [Average Rating:7.51 Unranked]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Designer

Let's start off with one of the tougher ones. There are several guys right up there for me...

Phil Eklund: love his stuff. I mean, all of it. The Lords series, High Frontier, Origins, American Megafauna, hell, even the pared down Bios: Megafauna and Pax Porfirana. I have almost everything he's made (anybody got a copy of The Artifact to trade?). They all tell a story like no other.

Chad Jensen: I have said I'd never get into a squad level WWII game, and then I tried Combat Commander. I said, pooey to tanks. Then I tried Fighting Formations. I passed on preordering both Urban Sprawl and Dominant Species. I will never make the mistake of dismissing one of his games again.

Richard Berg: Not in the same league as the first two guys, but the GBoH series, the original Blackbeard, Pax Romana and others make me sure to keep an eye out for his designs.

But the genius in my mind is Francis Trasham. He who formed the Civ game upon which all others are ranked. He who begun the whole 18xx phenomenon. He of Revolution, a masterwork so many missed. Even his lesser titles, like Spanish Main, is brilliant. Hats off to the Master.
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2. Board Game: Where Eagles Dare [Average Rating:8.32 Overall Rank:3375]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Map

Well, here is something that has improved over the years. There are some gorgeous maps out there. Some of my favorites among them:

Halls of Montezuma: I love the use of the old map of Mexico under the point to point overlay. UNfortunately the colors are not the best, but still love it. In the same vein...

Viceroys: Using the very old map was a really nice idea, although a bit of a nightmare for game play because of all the little islands in spaces, and the uncertainty of where exactly you are or where you are exploring.

Revolution: Simply beautiful map. Really gets you into the theme of the game.

Divine Right: so many little details scattered all over makes it a joy to look at. The clors seem a bit crazy at first, but then you get to love them.

Where Eagles Dare: I can pinpoint where I live and trace my ride into town. Monstrous and wonderful.

High Frontier: Totally unique and gorgeous. I had to get the Zazzle blowup map...
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3. Board Game: SPQR (Deluxe Edition) [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:1425]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Counters

I love counters. Love 'em. You can get so much information on them at a glance and still preserve the look of the game.

SPQR has some of my favorite: chock full of stats, but still with images that get me into the theme. The color coding also really helps in those big encounters.

Combat Commander has great, big counters with enough detail to also get me to know my men.
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4. Board Game: Cave Evil [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:2370] [Average Rating:7.91 Unranked]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Artwork, cards

Incredibly atmospheric and varied. Huge effort went into this. Lots of games have great card artwork in a wide variety of styles, including Sentinels, Seasons, Fallen, Arkham Horror... but none of them look like this!
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5. Board Game: Revolution: The Dutch Revolt 1568-1648 [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:1429]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Aetwork, box

Absolutely classic, looks to be a genuine period artwork. A lot of boxes look great, but this simple, classic style did it for me.
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6. Board Game: Here I Stand [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:195]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Cdg, multiplayer

Beats out Virgin Queen, at least for this week. So much going on in this very ambitious game, but it has an excellent rulebook and no end of ways to play.
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7. Board Game: 18C2C: Manifest Destiny [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:5250]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Train game

Have played quite a few 18xx now, and many of them start to blur together. Most Winsoms are play once and forget. But this one is a masterwork- so huge to set one giggling. Lots of space to play, but a nice clean design that got me hooked. Would love to get a copy someday, and to try 18oe as well.
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8. Board Game: Battle of the Halji [Average Rating:5.31 Overall Rank:14502]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Wildest themes

Playing as a sentient lifeform with three legs anchoring it to the surface of a planet spewing acid rain and bitter winds, sending creatures out to 'squelch', vomit over each other and stand upwind to better spread your diseases. Winning by blowing the legs off your opponent. yeah, this one is really, really weird. And awesome.

City of Chaos also would qualify here, and just gets beaten out...
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9. Board Game: Europa Universalis [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:4236]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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fantasies of playing

No game do I want to play more with less likelihood of that happening anytime soon.
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10. Board Game: The Hammer of Thor: The Game of Norse Mythology [Average Rating:5.04 Overall Rank:15387]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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failures

365 characters to play. Research out the wazoo. Ambitious connections to planned Greek and Egyptian expansions. A surreal map. But what a failure as a game for me. I intend to try once more to make this work, but damn my first attempts have been dismal failures.
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11. Board Game: Safe Return Doubtful [Average Rating:5.90 Overall Rank:12158]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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DTPs

Or ziplocks? I love so many of these: Ironman Football, Mad Monks and Relics, Rus... maybe my favorite type of game. But this one is a cracker. So simple and plain in design but so evocative of the theme. Makes me cold every time I pull it out.
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12. Board Game: War Galley [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:3556]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Box backs

I sometimes pull these off the shelf just to read them. I love box reverses, but a lot of games have really lousy rears: take Robinson Crusoe for example. Just too little text, relying only on images to carry the game into the shopping basket. No, sir, give me GMT with its historical information and comparisons to put the game style in context. Avalon Hill also had some great reads.
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