Top 10 Underrated Games in My Collection, April 2014
Alex Drazen
United States
Massachusetts
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Everyone always wants to do a list of OVERrated games... how about a list of underrated ones?

Now, yes, some of these games are high ranking and deservedly so. This is just my opinion of where I see them sitting in the BGG rankings, as compared to some other games that I think are rather overrated (I'm looking at you, Lords of Waterdeep).

It's not a list about the ranking system, I just look at these games (which I consider good to excellent) and see a bunch of games ranked far above them that I don't think are very good.

You can tell me A:NR is popular all you want, but since I hate most cards-only games (I like card-driven board games, war games without heavy bookkeeping, and several cube-y euros), I think it's overrated in the sense that the idea of it actually being enjoyable eludes me, based on personal taste.

I guess I could have called it "Games That Should Be More Popular," but that sounds clunky.
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1. Board Game: Scotland Yard [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:1063]
Alex Drazen
United States
Massachusetts
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This one is old but fun. Perhaps the detection aspect is a bit too calculated, but #771 seems rather low for this early SdJ winner and one of the best games to come out of the 1980's.

Personally, I find it best as a 1v1 with one player controlling ALL of the detectives.

I'd put it in the top 400.
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2. Board Game: Trans Europa [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:1171]
Alex Drazen
United States
Massachusetts
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Currently ranked #760, this is a very simple train game that is all about timing. Where you start, and when you connect to opponents' networks, will determine how this game goes. There is a heavy luck factor, but as filler goes, it's light, it's accessible, it's a decent enough gateway without any real take-that mechanics (something I hate). I'd put it in the top 500.
 
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3. Board Game: Meuterer [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:802]
Alex Drazen
United States
Massachusetts
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I've only played this once. #414 isn't too shabby, but I actually loved this even though I hate most card games. It seems to scratch a very particular itch.

I'd bump this up 50-100 spots, probably the low 300's.
 
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4. Board Game: Hey, That's My Fish! [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:672]
Alex Drazen
United States
Massachusetts
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Stuck back at #389, this quick filler actually packs quite a lot of tension and strategy in for a filler kiddie game. If it were up to me, I'd let it crack a top 300.
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5. Board Game: 1775: Rebellion [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:247]
Alex Drazen
United States
Massachusetts
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#379? Inexplicably ranked behind its enjoyable, but inferior, predecessor, 1812: The Invasion of Canada (#349)?

This is a great abstract light wargame of the American Revolution. The catch is, every game is different, with varying setups, turn order, and different areas to run through. In "1812" the battle lines are well drawn and you just execute the same strategy over and over, but not in "1775" where your command decisions are often critical and nerve-wracking (do I stay and hope for a flee, or do I wander off to deny colony control?). This game also makes the use of Native Americans more balanced.

Could it be better? Sure. But this is just so much fun. In my personal top five favorites, I'd put this in the overall top 200 without reservation.
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6. Family: Blokus Series
Alex Drazen
United States
Massachusetts
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Blokus at #270, Blokus Duo at #413, and the best of all of them - Blokus Trigon - at #483? For shame, BGG, for shame!

This family should have at least one game in the top #200, probably Trigon.
 
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7. Board Game: Maria [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:252]
Alex Drazen
United States
Massachusetts
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One of my personal top five games despite only three plays to date. It's long, it's clunky, it's confusing, one player's role is literally described as "schizophrenic" by the rule book, it's got a negotiation aspect (something I normally hate), and it's almost impossible to get all the rules right, but I love it anyway.

I'm not saying it should be top five overall, but I'd easily place this in the top 50 compared to a lot of what's there now.

*Technically, this is not in my collection YET, but it's my next target of acquisition.
 
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8. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:139] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Alex Drazen
United States
Massachusetts
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I will understand and join in the hate-fest for Settlers of Catan, but don't knock Carc.

The meeple is basically the universal symbol of gaming and this is, in my opinion, the game that REALLY lit the fires of the hobby taking off as it has. Sorry, Klaus! You might be rich, but you've been overtaken.

I can take it or leave it, but to me this is a classic in the way that Chess and Poker are classics, and should be hovering around #50 instead of #100.

2P is a great cutthroat game, and 3P has a great negotiation balance as to who you "collaborate" with to score points (higher counts aren't as good except as a gateway). Everyone calls it boring, but I've never been bored in a game of Carc, so I don't get it. Yeah, there's better games, and it's not even in my personal top 10... but I still enjoy it, despite dozens of plays.
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9. Board Game: Stone Age [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:79]
Alex Drazen
United States
Massachusetts
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Sitting at #42, but stuck behind the inexplicably popular Lords of Waterdeep, this is probably my favorite gateway. The art is fantastic and this is a game that knows how to make dice work with quality risk/reward decision-making, instead of random events.

This is top 25 material from where I sit. Probably the best "lighter" game there is, despite its 60-90 minute playtime.

I choose it easily over Waterdeep because I have a strong preference for indirect interaction games, rather than take-that mechanics.
 
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10. Board Game: Brass: Lancashire [Average Rating:8.01 Overall Rank:34]
Alex Drazen
United States
Massachusetts
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At #13, can a game be underrated? Yes, yes it can. This should be a Top Ten game, hands down (IMO, in the top 12, only Power Grid, Agricola, Twilight Struggle, and Terra Mystica offer any real competition).

I'd get rid of Android Netrunner, Castles of Burgundy, and Mage Knight from their current slots, and Brass would easily make the top 10.

Its only flaw is that the map is the same every time, but plenty of games have rich depth despite only ever playing on the same map. I played this once and I was confused, but hooked. Now I think I kind of get it, and I'm more hooked than ever.
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