My 38 favorite discoveries of 2013
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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For me, 2013 was the best year for new games in some time; at least since 2004, likely since 1997, and possibly the best ever. After five straight down years for me for finding new releases of interest, I found 26 games of enough interest to add to my collection, and another 12 I'd be very happy to play, even if in the end I don't feel the need to own them.

So, just for the fun of it - I've ordered them, from favorite to least. I played a total of 175 games for the first time in 2013, so this list represents between 1/5 and 1/4 of the games I learned during the year.
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1. Board Game: Russian Railroads [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:67]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Year released: 2013
Times played (through 12/31/2013): 15
My rating: 10


My favorite new game since Race for the Galaxy.
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2. Board Game: Glass Road [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:210]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Year released: 2013
Times played (through 12/31/2013): 10
My rating: 9


Glass Road has one of the most clever mechanisms I've seen for tracking resources, eliminating the endless cardboard counters of Agricola/Le Havre/etc.
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3. Board Game: Twin Tin Bots [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:2944]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Year released: 2013
Times played (through 12/31/2013): 6
My rating: 9


This is the first game I played, originally funded through Kickstarter, which I found enjoyable enough to add to my collection. (I didn't contribute to its funding; just purchased it once available.)
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4. Board Game: Concordia [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:23]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Year released: 2013
Times played (through 12/31/2013): 6
My rating: 9


At one point, I thought this could become my favorite of the 2013 releases; I think that's less likely now, but I still really enjoy the game.
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5. Board Game: Machi Koro [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:735]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Year released: 2012
Times played (through 12/31/2013): 9
My rating: 8


A very clever city building game, which rates this high in no small part because it plays so well so quickly.
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6. Board Game: Sail to India [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:1114]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Year released: 2013
Times played (through 12/31/2013): 6
My rating: 8


One of two games I knew, from playing them previously, I absolutely positively was not leaving Essen without.
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7. Board Game: Koryŏ [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:1499]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Year released: 2013
Times played (through 12/31/2013): 7
My rating: 8


I love a good filler - and Koryŏ is a _very_ good filler.
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8. Board Game: Circus Grandioso [Average Rating:5.83 Overall Rank:11214]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Year released: 2012
Times played (through 12/31/2013): 10
My rating: 8


As you'll see, the vast majority of the games on this list are 2013 releases - which is one of the reasons I found the year so good. But I'm always looking for games which slipped under the radar, and this is a good one.
 
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9. Board Game: Kohle & Kolonie [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:1709]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Year released: 2013
Times played (through 12/31/2013): 5
My rating: 8


After a few lighter games, a heavier game again. This game veers close to one of my "gotchas" - not having enough to do in the game - but for some reason this doesn't bother me here.
 
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10. Board Game: Bluff in Zoo [Average Rating:6.33 Overall Rank:7053]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Year released: 2013
Times played (through 12/31/2013): 6
My rating: 8


I don't like Liar's Dice. And as a result, I didn't pay any attention to Bluff im Zoo. But Hilko brought it out, and I was happy to give it a play. And, lo and behold - I really enjoyed it. Which actually made it one of just two games I really discovered in Essen; everything else I enjoyed was already on my radar.
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11. Board Game: Magical Athlete [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:2358]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Year released: 2002
Times played (through 12/31/2013): 7
My rating: 8


The only thing to put this game on my radar was a mention on Mark Johnson's podcast. I'd seen the game, but it was Mark's description which really drew my attention.
 
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12. Board Game: Spyrium [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:483]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Year released: 2013
Times played (through 12/31/2013): 9
My rating: 8


I enjoy this a _lot_ more than Caylus - it's much more to my taste.
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13. Board Game: Café Melange [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:4622]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Year released: 2013
Times played (through 12/31/2013): 5
My rating: 8


A really clever "proof" game (as I call them - they're often referred to as deduction games, but there's no deduction involved, but instead the demonstration that something is the only possibility.
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14. Board Game: Zahlen-Mobile [Average Rating:5.28 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Year released: 2013
Times played (through 12/31/2013): 6
My rating: 8


This is the _other_ game I discovered in Essen that wasn't on my radar. It's a very clever speed dice rolling game.
 
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15. Board Game: Bruges [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:195]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Year released: 2013
Times played (through 12/31/2013): 7
My rating: 8


Brügge is the biggest surprise for me on this list, based upon my initial play. It was a pleasant enough game, but a number of things about the game bothered me, particularly the lack of control over card availability - but the more I played the game the less these things bothered me.
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16. Board Game: Eggs of Ostrich [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:4456]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Year released: 2012
Times played (through 12/31/2013): 7
My rating: 8


While my initial reaction to the game was more positive than for Brügge, I still didn't anticipate it placing so high for me, but the more I played the game the more I saw a place for it in my collection.
 
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17. Board Game: Nauticus [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:1387]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Year released: 2013
Times played (through 12/31/2013): 5
My rating: 8


I like this game quite a bit - but unfortunately it's not as enjoyable with four players, for me, as it is with three.
 
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18. Board Game: Coal Baron [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:471]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Year released: 2103
Times played (through 12/31/2013): 1
My rating: 7


Now we get to the games I just haven't played enough to know where they will end up for me. I really enjoyed my one play of Coal Baron, and am looking forward to receiving a copy.
 
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19. Board Game: Lewis & Clark [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:138]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
msg tools
Year released: 2013
Times played (through 12/31/2013): 1
My rating: 7


Another game I haven't played enough to know where it will end up for me - but I enjoyed my play enough to order a copy.
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20. Board Game: String Safari [Average Rating:6.09 Overall Rank:7570]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
msg tools
Year released: 2013
Times played (through 12/31/2013): 6
My rating: 7


A very different, very clever use of the String Railway system.
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21. Board Game: Topfrosch [Average Rating:6.92 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Year released: 2013
Times played (through 12/31/2013): 2
My rating: 7


The final game I haven't played enough to place accurately - though, being a dexterity game, it's a bit easier to guess. The final game on this list I ordered after playing.
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22. Board Game: Targi [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:149]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
msg tools
Year released: 2012
Times played (through 12/31/2013): 6
My rating: 7


For some time I've had more two player games than I need, given how rarely I play them. So it takes some doing for me to even try a two player game - and far more for one to enter my collection. But Targi managed the trick...
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23. Board Game: Loreley [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Year released: 1973
Times played (through 12/31/2013): 5
My rating: 7


One of the things I really enjoyed about attending Essen was the opportunity to participate in the math trade. It's directly how I got Nauticus, plus three other games of interest - but it also lead to a trade for Loreley. It's a typical Rudi Hoffman game, which means it would go over poorly with BGG, but I really enjoy it.
 
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24. Board Game: Strajk! Skok do wolności [Average Rating:5.79 Overall Rank:11215]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
msg tools
Year released: 2013
Times played (through 12/31/2013): 5
My rating: 7


There are a number of things not to like about this game, a simplified deck builder - but it's got a great theme and as a result ends up being charming.
 
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25. Board Game: Pharaoh Code [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:6793]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Year released: 2011
Times played (through 12/31/2013): 6
My rating: 7


A clever speed puzzle game - where here the objective is to reach one of ten results using three dice (or, in our variant, four dice).
 
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