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Ben Fairbank
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1. Board Game: Spot it! [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:861]
Ben Fairbank
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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A fast-paced reaction time filler. The perfect game when you have 5-15 minutes to kill.
2-8 players; 3-5 minutes plus 1 minute rules per game
 
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2. Board Game: Cards Against Humanity [Average Rating:6.09 Overall Rank:2383] [Average Rating:6.09 Unranked]
Ben Fairbank
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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Apples to Apples plus things that are gross and/or wrong.
4ish-8ish players; 30 minutes
 
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3. Board Game: Fairy Tale [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:747]
Ben Fairbank
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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Card drafting and tableau building in a manner similar to 7 Wonders, but shorter and with cleaner rules.
2-5 players; 20 minutes + 5 minutes rules
 
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4. Board Game: Haggis [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:685]
Ben Fairbank
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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A clever trick taker with interesting wild cards and "instant win" plays. Play 1 hand as a filler or to a set score for a longer game.
2-3 players; 5-10 minutes per hand plus 5 minutes rules
 
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5. Board Game: Biblios [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:290]
Ben Fairbank
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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Part card draft, part auction, part set collection. There are some similarities to For Sale; in phase 1 you get some stuff and in phase to you use it to get get other stuff. Plays well at any player count.
2-4 players; 20 minutes + 5 minutes rules
 
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6. Board Game: Mr. Jack Pocket [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:607]
Ben Fairbank
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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Hide and Seek, advanced. Very interesting action selection mechanism.
2 players, 15 minutes + 5 minutes rules
 
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7. Board Game: Patchwork [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:57]
Ben Fairbank
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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Tetris puzzling + economic engine? IT sounds weird, I know, but it works. This pushes some of the same buttons as Factory Fun, but with 2 players.
2 players, 15-20 minutes + 5 minutes rules
 
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8. Board Game: Le Havre: The Inland Port [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:813]
Ben Fairbank
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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But a building or use a building; that's it. Take some engine building, some resource management, and a cool way to track your buildings & "stuff" (no giant piles of bits to manage) and you get The Inland Port. IT doesn't feel quite like Le Havre, but it feels very much like an Uwe Rosenburg game (no feeding necessary).
2 players, 30-45 minutes + 5 minutes rules
 
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9. Board Game: Paris Connection [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:1180]
Ben Fairbank
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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Tracks and shares use the same bits in this quick playing train & stock game. Full of sabotage and parasitism, this is one of my favorites to end a game meet up.
3-6 players; 25 minutes + 5 minutes rules
 
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10. Board Game: Gulf, Mobile & Ohio [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:4371]
Ben Fairbank
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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A train & stock game where you win through VP, not $. There are many companies that use the same few colors of track creating a very interesting system.
3-5 players; 60 minutes + 10 minutes rules
 
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11. Board Game: South African Railroads [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:4843]
Ben Fairbank
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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Unplayed
 
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12. Board Game: German Railways [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:1855]
Ben Fairbank
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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Maybe you'll get a turn, maybe you won't. If you can't handle the uncertainty and possible lack of control you might want to stay away from this one. A great medium length train & stock game with a fun and unique turn order mechanism. GR causes considerably more shouting, excitement, and swearing than any other train game I've played.
3-5 players, 90 minutes + 10 minutes rules
 
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13. Board Game: Locomotive Werks [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:2695]
Ben Fairbank
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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This is not a train game. No. Seriously. I know... I know... The name, the cover, the little cards with trains on them. It's confusing; I'll admit it.

LW is an engine builder with a dice generated demand system. Upgrade your factories and get your trains sold before the competition makes you (and you factories) obsolete. 5 players creates the best interaction.
3-5 players; 120 minutes + 10 minutes rules
 
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14. Board Game: Factory Fun [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:871]
Ben Fairbank
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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Fun? In a factory? Hell yeah.
I once played 6 or 7 games in a row and would have likely played more if I didn't run into a time constraint. I can personally guarentee this is the most fun you'll have building a factory that produces nothing of value. Part puzzle, part reaction game; I consider 4 or 5 players to be the best experience.
2-5 players; 45 minutes + 5 minutes rules
 
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15. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:281] [Average Rating:7.22 Unranked]
Ben Fairbank
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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Roll, Trade, Build. I don't care what the new editions say.
 
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16. Board Game: Tournay [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:766]
Ben Fairbank
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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Tableau and engine builder with some cool worker placement elements. Shares an art style and some mechanics with big brother Troyes, but is it's own game, not "Troyes Lite".
2-4 players; 45-60 minutes + 5 minutes rules
 
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17. Board Game: Seeland [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:1103]
Ben Fairbank
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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With 2 players it's cutthroat with a very cool rondel based market. I've never played with more.
2-4 players; 45-60 minutes plus 5 minutes rules
 
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18. Board Game: Walnut Grove [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:930]
Ben Fairbank
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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Carcagricola? Agricasonne? Sort of.
Place a tile, take an action, and be punished by the harsh winter. One of my favorites in the "slightly heavier than gateway" category.
2-4 players; 30-45 minutes + 10 minutes rules
 
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19. Board Game: Hansa Teutonica [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:108]
Ben Fairbank
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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The game that pushed me into the hobby. A novel combination of an action point game and a route building game; this is highly interactive and will play very differently with different groups. The Britain map is also in the box.
3-5 players; 45-60 minutes + 10 minutes rules
 
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20. Board Game: Trajan [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:71]
Ben Fairbank
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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A Feld points salad game with a Mancala action mechanism? Why not. Let's try not to get too bogged down in planning 8 moves ahead, okay guys?
2-4 players; 30 minutes per player plus 10 minutes rules
 
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21. Board Game: Terra Mystica [Average Rating:8.24 Overall Rank:8]
Ben Fairbank
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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Do you like lots of different game mechanics? TM is the game for you. A great choice for a "main course" Euro. 4 players is generally considered the sweet spot, but it works across all counts.
2-5 players; 90-120 minutes plus 10 minutes rules
 
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22. Board Game: Dominant Species [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:53]
Ben Fairbank
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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Sure, the bookkeeping can be a little annoying and the cards can create big swings, but it's great. Really great. My favorite worker placement game and another great "main course" euro for those who don't shy away from a little conflict. Some people enjoy this at the higher counts, but I consider 4 players to be the max for both gameplay and time reasons.
2-6 players; 120-240 minutes plus 10 minutes rules
 
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