Hey! Wha' Happend? - Games that shoulda, coulda made it big
Uncle Bouncy
United States
Wisconsin
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I was looking through my games the other night and thinking...Wha Happened? Why isn't this game a bigger deal than it is?

Please add your own to this list. Maybe we can re-kindle some buzz, get some games reprinted or at least build awareness for some games that some gamers may have missed.]


I was looking through my games the other night and thinking...Wha Happened? Why isn't this game a bigger deal than it is?

Please add your own to this list. Maybe we can re-kindle some buzz, get some games reprinted or at least build awareness for some games that some gamers may have missed.
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1. Board Game: Court of the Medici [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:2168]
Uncle Bouncy
United States
Wisconsin
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Exhibit A: Maybe, perhaps the father of micro games? Ok, maybe not. But this little box of evil and meanness is a great game. The artwork is gorgeous. It's cheap and still available too.

The comments from some of the 1,278 users who own it are almost always positive. Yet only 53 people have it on their wishlist.

So...Wha Happened?
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2. Board Game: Shokoba [Average Rating:5.88 Overall Rank:11420]
Uncle Bouncy
United States
Wisconsin
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If you like Scopa, but have non-gamer friends...this is the game for you. It has a much simpler scoring system. This a game I often take to restaurants to keep the kids occupied until the food comes. We use sugar packets as counters instead of the cute little gems that it comes with...and you might get some looks if someone sweeps and yells "Shokoba!" To me, that makes it more fun.
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3. Board Game: Pocket Rockets [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:2948]
Uncle Bouncy
United States
Wisconsin
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If you like rondel games, you should find this tiny game. I have very fond memories of playing this one with my sister as she recovered in the hospital. Maybe that memory makes it better than it really is, but I think it's one that people should at least take a look at.
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4. Board Game: The Great Heartland Hauling Co. [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:993]
Uncle Bouncy
United States
Wisconsin
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So much game in such a small box. A pick-up and deliver game that you can pick and deliver to almost anywhere. I have to admit some of the Car Wars and John Hughes references put the game over the top for me. I wish more people knew about this one.
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5. Board Game: Wyatt Earp [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:817]
Uncle Bouncy
United States
Wisconsin
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This one has nearly 4,000 owners...which is great. I think it might be the most clever of the Mystery Rummy series, but I don't seem to hear it listed as one of the great card games. I do wish it would get re-printed with normal sized cards.
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6. Board Game: Queen's Ransom [Average Rating:5.75 Overall Rank:8579]
Uncle Bouncy
United States
Wisconsin
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This one only has 474 owners. The rest are missing out if they like deduction games. Another game that's beautiful and clever. I have to admit, I haven't played it enough. I dug it out and played it last night and really enjoyed it.
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7. Board Game: Bushido: Der Weg des Kriegers [Average Rating:6.32 Overall Rank:5419]
Gordon Watson
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey - United Kingdom
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This should have done better - excellent twist on conquest games - you have to rely on other players fighting your battles. Brilliant mechanics to theme fit - looked good as well - could have done with a slightly better English rulebook.
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8. Board Game: Colossal Arena [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:752]
Megan Nelson
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Recently got a copy of this...I had never heard of it before, or anything. Interesting strategic betting element and the special ability options are different each game. I feel like this is one of the more underrated games in my collection...
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9. Board Game: Via Appia [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:2038]
Megan Nelson
United States
Portland
Oregon
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I feel like this game really got shafted in the review department because of the "coin dozer" mechanic. I just don't understand how it is different from any other randomaizer...? I thought this was a great game. Fun and engaging board and artwork combined with streamlined game play makes it accessible to young and new gamers, as well.
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10. Board Game: Québec [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:1013]
Snowden Wyatt
United States
Tucson
Arizona
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This is one from 2011 that I thought would have more staying power. The cascade mechanic is pretty unique and I've very much enjoyed it every time I've played.
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11. Board Game: Homesteaders [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:490]
Andrew
United States
San Francisco
California
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This 90-minute strategic auction engine-builder from 2009 was one of the early releases of Tasty Minstrel Games. Unfortunately they were screwed by the Chinese manufacturer and the first edition suffered from serious quality issues. A second edition came out in 2011 (via a different manufacturer) with improved graphic design but Homesteaders never was the hit it could have been.

While there have been requests for an expansion and the designer has ideas, the fact the game is 5 years old means that its window of opportunity may have passed.

Why is it a great game? Firstly it plays quickly (thanks in part to the Amun-Re-like auctions) and smoothly (the framework rules are very simple) but offers a lot of options, paths, and strategies. Secondly the debt and trade systems allow you to bid in any auction or trade for any resource at any time, giving the game an open feel. Finally while there are auction tactics, the game is mostly about building out a strategy and choosing from longer-term options.
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12. Board Game: Acquire [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:207]
Nick Bentley
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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Poster child for this. It's been reprinted for decades, it's very simple, everybody loves it, and yet it never crested over into mass market success. Why?
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13. Board Game: Cinque Terre [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:1296]
Mike DiLisio
United States
Indianapolis
Indiana
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This is a great pick up and deliver game that for some reason seems to fly under the radar. The rules are so simple they could be explained in 10-15 minutes, but there are agonizing decisions to be made throughout the game. The art direction is wonderful as well. More people need to be playing this.
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14. Board Game: Bandits [Average Rating:5.86 Overall Rank:8687]
Uncle Bouncy
United States
Wisconsin
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Forgot this one

Found it on clearance at Wal-mart

My kids can't stop laughing when we play it

Lots of take that and silliness

Is it groundbreaking? No
But it's very fun
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15. Board Game: The Great Khan Game [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:3484]
Charles Lucas
United States
Gladwyne
Pennsylvania
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A really great light conquest/ political maneuvering game that was released at or close to the height of the designer's popularity.

Everyone I've played this with has enjoyed it immensely,and quite a few have thanked me for putting it on the table. It has a fairly high replay value and with a little rules tweaking (see the post on my game collection) becomes a very balanced and intriguing contest only flawed by the capricious whims of some of the more deadly cards that might be played on an empire.

My theory is the horrible outside packaging and labeling involved with its production, as the cover art on the box makes the game look like two hyperactive 9 year olds were the target demographic for this game. The other problem is that it was marked on the front of the box as being part of the Forgotten Realms world, a fantasy RPG setting that has absolutely nothing to do with this little masterpiece.

BGG lists only 534 owners out there, so maybe that has something to do with it. That or the horrible name given it.
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16. Board Game: Trick of the Rails [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:2274]
Pete Hornburg
United States
Portland
Oregon
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This small trick taking game could have become a lot more popular if it were marketed well. It doesn't seem that many copies were made, and I wonder if due to its graphics and theme (Rails), people might be thinking its got complications similar to 18XX?

I'm going to keep adding this to geeklists til it gets reprinted or someone offers to sell/trade it to me, or I make a bootleg copy from Rage deck.
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17. Board Game: Tobago [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:387]
Adam 'Fenn' Fenton
Scotland
Falkirk
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Gorgeous components. Beautiful art. Gateway game mechanics. Critically acclaimed(?)

What happened??
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18. Board Game: Arimaa [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:1858]
Avri
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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Deep and fun Abstract Stategy game with a media-friendly backstory ($10,000 prize for a programmer who can create a computer bot that can beat the best human players), simple enough rules for kids to pick it up more quickly than Chess, two excellent books published on history-strategy-tactics and a mass market sized print run by Z-Man.

Looked like it was about to breakthrough into the big box mainstream, but instead the designer had to call in favors from all his family members to store the remaindered copies rather than seeing them pulped.

*sigh*
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19. Board Game: Livingstone [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:2084]
Scott Preston
United States
Fremont
Nebraska
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I picked this up when Tuesday Morning had some copies for $4.99 (and if you missed out on that, you should check out the Hot Deals thread more often)...and I have been very pleasantly surprised! I can't believe this isn't in the Gateway/Family Game Hall of Fame...it's been a huge hit with my wife and kids.

First off, the art (by Michael Menzel)is very good and components are top notch...it's a visually appealing game.



Once I got to playing it, I found that it incorporated so many things that I would want a gateway/family game to have:

-Shows people there are uses for dice other than roll-and move. Here they are used as an action selection device.
-Light player interaction. There is a chance to hose your neighbor (and you always need to be aware of what they are doing), but it's not necessarily a requirement to win the game.
-Having a choice to push your luck. When going for money you have the option of taking the sure thing or taking a risk to "mine" gemstones out of a bag for possibly big returns (or no returns at all!)
-Finding balance. Building tents/camps provides scoring right away, but you're also building toward end game goals.
-Tension to the very end! All along the way, you are trying to kick back enough money to the Queen (in your little personal treasure box). How much is enough??? It depends on the game...the player that contributes the least amount during the game can't win (even if they otherwise have the most points). Counting your treasure is almost always worrisome because you're never quite sure how much everybody else contributed.
-Ideal length. You can play this game in 45 minutes. For me, that's right in the sweet spot for a game of this weight.

I know a lot of those things will turn some people off, but I think Livingstone offers more than it got credit for.

By the way, as I type this...you can still get it for less than $15 (eligible for free shipping) on Amazon. I think that's a pretty great deal.
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20. Board Game: Cities [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:2248]
Scott Preston
United States
Fremont
Nebraska
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Not everybody likes puzzly games. Not everybody likes multi-player solitaire. Not everybody likes tile placement. Not everyone likes games that play in 15 minutes. I get that.

HOWEVER, if you lile puzzly, tile laying, quick games that don't have any conflict...YOU NEED TO OWN THIS GAME. Because it's true multi-player solitaire, the game is infinitely scaleable. You just need 1 copy of the game for every 4 players involved.

I think this is a wonderful, relaxing little filler game. Also, I think it's a type of game where you can't complain about the result...because each player had to lay the exact same tiles at the exact same time. If you lose, it's because somebody beat you. The game didn't mess you over any more than it messed over everybody else.

Z-Man published, SdJ recommended...and yet I was able to buy it last year for about $9 on Amazon. How could this happen?
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21. Board Game: Kingdom of Solomon [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:2138]
Scott Preston
United States
Fremont
Nebraska
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What a terrific worker placement game. It's simple, but presents you with tough choices, it can be very cut-throat, goes well from 2 to 4 players, is just the right length, and does a great job applying theme that is largely ignored. Yet I don't hear it discussed when people talk about good games that came out of Kickstarter.

Alas, it only has 573 users owning and 82 users wanting.

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22. Board Game: Safranito [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:1349]
Heiko Günther
Germany
Saarbrücken
Saarland
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Explained in five minutes, plays in half an hour, combines luck, dexterity and planning in the right amounts, you get to kick other player's poker chips off their marks with your own poker chips, thus thwarting their plans, this is great. Great, I tell you.

It might be the theme or that it only plays four people, but this game deserves a lot more praise, in my opinion.
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23. Board Game: Heroes of Metro City [Average Rating:5.79 Overall Rank:9021]
Joseph West
United States
Franklin
Tennessee
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Talk about bad timing. The hero board game genre became crowded very quickly last year with releases of Sentinels of the Multiverse, Legendary and the Marvel deck builder game.

Released at another time, I think this game would have been huge. It's a co-op hero game that is open-ended, meaning you can design your own custom hero from the ground up. It's very similar to Sentinels in some ways. Players work together to down a main villain and the villain's henchmen. It's also very similar to Dominion. You build your character by purchasing cards from a community of shared cards, but that community also dictates how much time you have to defeat the villain.

The game was being pushed at GenCon this year, but I never saw it in any stores; online or brick and mortar. It's well designed with very good components.

The publishers have released an expansion on Kickstarter https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/3some/heroes-of-metro-c... that currently has four-days to go but it's struggling to meet its funding goal.

I think the game suffers from both competition (as mentioned above) and lack of marketing. It probably won't make it long-term.
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24. Board Game: 2 de Mayo [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:1025]
B. L.
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A nice looking two player filler with strategy.
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25. Board Game: Planet Steam [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:662]
United States
New York
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Brilliant economic game. Easily the best economic game I've played. Also, it allows for wild swings in which a player may seem out of it, but can come back to win with one big turn. Should be Top 10.
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