2003 Batty's Best Dozen Games
Ward Batty
United States
Atlanta
Georgia
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2003 was a great year for quality games with easily two-dozen memorable releases and at least a couple that are top tier. I've narrowed it down to a mere dozen, counting down from my favorites. It was tough limiting it to a mere 12 and I list some of my runners-up at the end of the list. (#13)
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Ward Batty
Batty's Best Comics & Games
3631-C Chamblee-Tucker Road
Atlanta, GA 30341
770.939.8455
<A TARGET=BLANK HREF=http://www.battysbest.com/>http://www.battysbest.com/<;/A>
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1. Board Game: Attika [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:565]
Ward Batty
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Canasta as a boardgame. Melding city tiles, using the board elements is a great idea. It works well both here and in Industria, but this is the more elegant of the two. I predict this will be next year's SDJ winner and is a great addition to TGOO (These Games of Ours). I also this this should be a commercial success and a good "gateway" game like Settlers and Carcassonne.
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2. Board Game: Magna Grecia [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:2261]
Ward Batty
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An excellent connection game. Lots of tough decisions and possible ways to build. This is a game that I think will be challenging and playable for many, many years to come. I've heard some say that 2003 was a year of quantity over quality and there are no new "great" games. I disagree. I think these top two choices both qualify as great games.
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3. Board Game: New England [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:1697]
Ward Batty
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Should have been last year's SDJ, imo. Very clever and original auction mechanism. Solid game behind it, too.
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4. Board Game: Feurio! [Average Rating:6.14 Overall Rank:3822]
Ward Batty
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I love meaty filler games. Just because a game is short it doesn't have to be super-light. This is a pawn-placement game more than a tile placement game that I really enjoy.
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5. Board Game: Armadöra [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:2677]
Ward Batty
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Great tile placement and bluffing game. Short and enjoyable. Good with 2 and 3 and great with 4 as a partnership game. Best least-known game of 2003.
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6. Board Game: YINSH [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:132] [Average Rating:7.69 Unranked]
Ward Batty
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Great new addition to the Gipf series, maybe the best one so far.
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7. Board Game: Industria [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:1782]
Ward Batty
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Very good game that combines Settlers elements with rummy. The auction, a well-worn mechanism at this point, is handled very well. While the language issues aren't bad, this game would certainly benifit from an English edition.
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8. Board Game: Amun-Re [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:260]
Ward Batty
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Very satisfying new "big" game from Mr. Knizia. Might be the last one we see for a while.
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9. Board Game: Alhambra [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:393]
 
Ward Batty
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Last year's SDJ. A superior reworking of Stimmt So!, elevating it from pretty good to very good. Kudos for changing the card colors to make them easier to tell apart in the new edition.
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10. Board Game: Princes of the Renaissance [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:585]
Ward Batty
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Haven't played enough to know where on the top 12 this belongs I have certainly played enough to know it belongs on the list. Neat game with a stock market element and an auction game (and fighting).
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11. Board Game: Santiago [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:523]
Ward Batty
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Solid auction and tile placement game with some clever ideas. Also, it is fun to say the word "Escudo."
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12. Board Game: Coloretto [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:481]
Ward Batty
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Card games should have their own SDJ award. It really isn't fair to make them compete heads up against bigger games, but a good card game is very satisfying thing and this is a good card game. Not too heavy but with some interesting choices and ways to play.
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13. Board Game: Alexandros [Average Rating:6.18 Overall Rank:3192]
Ward Batty
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RUNNER'S UP
Domaine, Paris Paris, InterUrban, Logistico, King Lui, Die Sieben Siegel (The 7 Seals), Zendo, Balloon Cup, Scream Machine, Maya and Alexandros.

Very tough to leave some of these off my list. I think that 2003 was a great year for TGOO and one that 2004 will have to go a long way to top. Bring them on!
--
Ward Batty
Batty's Best Comics & Games
3631-C Chamblee-Tucker Road
Atlanta, GA 30341
770.939.8455
http://www.battysbest.com/
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