Trenton's All Time Top 20
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So I figured I would jump on the Top 20 bandwagon. I play all types of games but my favorites tend to be those that

-have a spatial component
-allow for long-term strategic planning, but still encourage tactical maneuvers along the way
-encourage creativity rather than rigid calculation
-have high amounts of tension
-have elegant rules but deep gameplay
-are brain-burners

I tend not to enjoy cooperative, "Ameritrash" games, and the constant onslaught derivative resource management Euros that have become popular recently. The most recent game on my list is from 2011 for a reason.

Hope you enjoy the list!
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1. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:16]
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20. This is the evergreen of modern Eurogames. Although among expert players it may become somewhat scripted, Puerto Rico will always be regarded as a classic. Puerto Rico can still hold its own against today's new releases, and will still be played when most of them are long forgotten.
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2. Board Game: YINSH [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:133] [Average Rating:7.70 Unranked]
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19. One of the first modern games I played, YINSH is a classic. It made me see abstracts in a whole new way, as it is fresh, dynamic, and can be enjoyed as a casual game or as a cerebral brain burner.
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3. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:70]
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18. Unlike any other game, this is a masterpiece of design. I can imagine this being played 2000 years ago in Mesopotamia with scraps of clay on a papyrus map. A truly timeless creation.
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4. Board Game: Antike Duellum [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1019]
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17. An excellent duel of wits for 2 players. This takes the rondel mechanism I loved from Navegador and makes it the center of a tense battle. The game keeps you on the edge of your seat until the last point.
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5. Board Game: What's My Word? [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:2808]
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16. As a fan of both word and deduction games this game is a dream. It is absolutely brilliant. I love how even if you have figured out the opponent's word, there is still the puzzle of scoring the most points with your remaining moves. Pure genius. I just wish I could play it more.
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6. Board Game: GIPF [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:728] [Average Rating:7.12 Unranked]
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15. A great namesake for project GIPF. Although the most opaque of the project, its elegance also gives it an undeniable charm. The standard game is excellent, but the tournament game adds an extra level of strategy onto the game. It is possible to win with only a few GIPF pieces, while it is also possible to win by only playing GIPF pieces. Great game!
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7. Board Game: Endeavor [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:202]
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14. Endeavor is an excellent game. The mechanics fit together well to create an elegant gamer's game that plays especially well with five players. The engine building aspect of placing one building every round works incredibly well, and it is refreshing to see a Eurogame that does not involve worker placement, economics or resource management.
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8. Board Game: In the Year of the Dragon [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:221]
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13. This is by far Stefan Feld's best design, with the possible exception of Luna (which I only played once). Although there are obstacles that must be overcome at specific times, a multitude of long-term strategies are possible. My favorite strategy is to ignore initiative entirely, filling up the palaces with 4 court ladies as soon as possible. Terrible with 2 players, 3 is good, but with 4 and 5 players this game truly shines.
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9. Board Game: TZAAR [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:344] [Average Rating:7.68 Unranked]
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12. My favorite of the GIPF project, and this honor does not come lightly. The game wastes no time, as from the beginning both players are gearing up for utter annihilation. TZAAR provides the players with a multitude of creative opportunities: I won one game by building up a 9-tall Tzaar stack while leaving an isolated Tzaar on the board, only to jump a Tott on top at the end to leave no legal move for my opponent. Great game.
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10. Board Game: Ra [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:134]
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11. Another one of Knizia's classics, and my favorite of his offerings. I love how the sun tiles don't have monetary values, but the value of a sun tile has to be determined based on the circumstances. A gold standard for auction games.
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11. Board Game: Metropolys [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:643]
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10. I love this game. The spatial auction mechanism is brilliant, and the secret goals work extremely well. The secret goals add an element of bluffing to an otherwise deterministic game. Area control is a crucial aspect of the game, as a clever player will lead the bidding into a dead end in order to create an empty space to fill with their 1 building. A very good game with 3 or 4, but this one really shines with 2.
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12. Board Game: Reef Encounter [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:490]
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9. A highly elegant and strategic Eurogame with a depth and uniqueness that rivals Tigris and Euphrates. This one is a stock-market game in disguise, but with a delicious spacial component. Like Tigris and Euphrates there is nothing else like it, and like the ocean, this one's depth is nearly bottomless.
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13. Board Game: Tichu [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:122]
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8. Easily the quintessential four player card game. Win or lose, this one is always a blast to play. The app is addicting, although it cannot compare to experience of playing Tichu with four experienced players. If you enjoy tension-packed games, you must give Tichu a try.
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14. Board Game: Montage [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:3673]
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7. This is a very clever game as long as you keep the clues to traditional crossword-style clues. Otherwise the game devolves into inside jokes and knowledge not unlike Dixit. However, if played correctly with four adept, like-minded players, this is one of the greatest experiences in all of gaming.
 
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15. Board Game: Dominant Species [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:53]
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6. Damn. This game is phenomenal. After one two-player game my mind is blown. Four tension-packed, engaging, brain burning hours passed in what seemed like 90 minutes. After I finished playing, I would have been willing to immediately play again. The design of this game is amazing, as everything fits together so well. I love games that let you plan out your moves in advance, but require flexibility as well. I am a huge fan of area control, as long as players can plan to defend against attacks and to conquer regions, as opposed to having to rely on luck. I love games with a combination of strategy, tactics, and tense decisions, and Dominant Species delivers. Outstanding game.
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16. Board Game: The Bottle Imp [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:1085]
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5. A devilishly diabolical trick-taker for 3 players. The theme, the fantastic short story by Robert Louis Stevenson, fits the game perfectly, and the trump mechanic makes for very interesting play. Unlike any other game, this game is just plain fun! It is awesome to have a very strange hand, and to hope for the best, trying to make your opponent who has the 3 take the bottle when you are stuck with the 4, 2, and 1. The best moment I had playing this game was when 9 of my 12 cards were yellow after the pass and I had passed away the 3 and the 1, and put the 5 under the bottle. (Crazily enough, I got 4 and 6 in return.) For the third trick or so, I led the yellow 12 (trump was 11), my left hand opponent was forced to play the 1 as he had no other yellows, and my right hand opponent only had the 2 and 3 of yellow, sticking him with the bottle. We all laughed for several minutes at the complete ridiculousness of the situation. I have never played with anyone who did not have a great time. I can't ever see myself not wanting to play this.
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17. Board Game: Letters from Whitechapel [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:184]
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4. Letters from Whitechapel is an absolute masterpiece. Playing Jack is an amazing and thrilling experience, and requires great planning and bluffing in order to win. My favorite games are the ones that allow a player to feel like they truly deserved their victory, and Whitechapel delivers in this regard. Whether I am playing the detectives or Jack, I am captivated for the entire game and love every minute of it. Although it is not the deepest game, no other game can deliver the same thrill as Whitechapel. I am constantly thinking about the game, and can't ever see myself passing up an opportunity to play. I can't recommend this one highly enough.
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18. Board Game: Mr. Jack in New York [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:609]
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3. Mr. Jack in New York is an improvement on Mr. Jack in almost every possible way: modular board, more balanced between Jack and Inspector, more tactics and strategy, more balance between abilities of characters (unlike in the base game where Goodley is overpowered and Watson is highly underpowered, for example.) I love the added element of the Informant to draw Alibi cards. My favorite aspect of New York is Liberty Island, which can be cleverly utilized by both Jack and the Inspector. The transformation of metros, lights and buildings into parks is also brilliant. This is a phenomenal evolution of the Mr. Jack framework.
 
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19. Board Game: Scrabble [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:1524]
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2. As a two-player game, Scrabble is unparalleled. Although it is important that both players are at a similar skill level, Scrabble combines area control, hand management, VP optimization and creativity in a way no other game can. Read my review here.
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20. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:50]
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1. After the initial hurdle of the iconography, Race for the Galaxy is an excellent game that only becomes more rewarding with repeated play. The base game is excellent but winning strategies tend to either be consume engines, military, or settle or develop spam tableaux. Alien Artifacts avoids the power creep issue of the first three expansions, perfecting the base game. With the addition of 45 new cards, there are seemingly limitless viable strategies. I have won games with a two card tableau, by playing only developments, with a combination of military and a consume engine, playing production worlds with 6 devs but never consuming... The possibilities are truly endless. With Alien Artifacts every card can be utilized successfully, but no card is overpowered, which is an amazing feat.
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