Rahdo Runs Through►►► The Games of 2014!!!
Richard Ham
United States
Washington
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Hello again! Sorry I'm so late with this, but at long last, here's my ranking breakdown of everything 2014 had to offer that we played, in countdown form from least to most favourite. SOOO many games. As always, you'll notice a distinct lack of titles that don't support 2 players, titles that feature a lot of conflict, abstract titles, etc. Not our bag, so you won't find it here.

Also worth mentioning, just because the first half of the list is populated with titles that we didn't enjoy, doesn't make them bad games - many of them are demonstrably brilliant, and all of them are at least good. In fact, there's not a single *bad* game on this list, because I do everything I can to avoid playing bad games altogether. So this is simply of ranking of how much we enjoyed the games we played, and why

If you'd like to know about years gone by, here's 2013 in geeklist form

Spoiler: here's the full countdown all at once so you can see how everything ranks:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
90 Splendor
89 Run, Fight, or Die!
88 Magnum Opus
87 Mythotopia
86 Orcs Orcs Orcs
85 Lap Dance
84 Quilt Show
83 Kill Shakespeare
82 Damage Report
81 The Witcher Adventure Game
-------------------------
80 Fields of Arle
79 King of Clubs
78 Robin
77 Eggs and Empires
76 Five Tribes
75 Istanbul
74 Fallen
73 Scoville
72 Mr House
71 Helios
-------------------------
70 Cypher
69 The Walled City: Londonderry & Borderlands
68 Troll Hunt
67 New Dawn
66 Panthalos
65 The Ancient World
64 Deus
63 Dungeon Bazar
62 Grog Island
61 The Golden Ages
-------------------------
60 Cargotrain
59 Evolution
58 Panamax
57 Gold Ahoy!
56 Myth
55 Fantasy Frontier
54 Prime Time: The Ratings Game
53 Rolling Japan
52 The Front Nine
51 Musee
-------------------------
50 Uruk II: Die Entwicklung Geht Weiter
49 Patchwork
48 Athlas: Duel for Divinity
47 Let Them Eat Shrimp!
46 Yardmaster
45 Yardmaster Express
44 Worker Placement
43 Waggle Dance
42 Planes
41 oddball Aeronauts
-------------------------
40 Cubist
39 Zombie 15'
38 King's Pouch
37 Limes
36 Clinic
35 Versailles
34 Lagoon: Land of Druids
33 Epic Resort
32 Praetor
31 Pandemic: The Cure
-------------------------
30 The Battle at Kemble's Cascade
29 Destination: Neptune
28 Temporum
27 Pay Dirt
26 Trains: Rising Sun
25 Murano
24 Alchemists
23 ZhanGuo
22 Nations: The Dice Game
21 Isle of Trains
-------------------------
20 Heroes Wanted
19 Progress: Evolution of Technology
18 Ancient Terrible Things
17 Steam Donkey
16 Assault on Doomrock
15 La Isla
14 Johari
13 Greed
12 Viceroy
11 Staufer Dynasty
-------------------------
10 Akrotiri
9 Paperback
8 Castles of Mad King Ludwig
7 AquaSphere
6 Orleans
5 Subdivision
4 Kanban: Automotive Revolution
3 La Granja
2 Roll for the Galaxy
1 Shadowrun: Crossfire
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1. Board Game: Splendor [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:118]
Richard Ham
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Washington
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Obviously loved by many, but this really fell flat with us. Rock solid gameplay (though it does suffer with 2), but so dry and abstract, we couldn't get invested in the gameplay at all...
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2. Board Game: Run, Fight, or Die! [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:1162]
Richard Ham
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I had hoped that the co-op might make this a goer for us, but the game is clearly designed to be competitive in its heart of hearts, and while the Yahtzee style dice rolling to fight endless waves of zombies certainly works well, we found it to be too light and too cutthroat for our tastes.
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3. Board Game: Magnum Opus [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:4504]
Richard Ham
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Had high hopes for this, as we love deckbuilders, and also love the concept of doing magical experiments to further our progress in the game, but this was far too long and luck ridden for our tastes.
 
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4. Board Game: Mythotopia [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:1268]
Richard Ham
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Every once in awhile, a heavy conflict game comes along with gameplay so compelling, we'll put aside our distaste for the combat. We thought this might be one such game, but it wasn't, unfortunately
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5. Board Game: Orcs Orcs Orcs [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:3314]
Richard Ham
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Was really intrigued by the idea of a competitive version of Castle Panic, with deckbuilding at its core. And to be fair, the game works great, but unfortunately, it's featherweight light. A great gateway for families, but not for us
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6. Board Game: Lap Dance [Average Rating:5.66 Overall Rank:9248]
Richard Ham
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We really loved the hilarious party-game style hoops this had us jump through (speaking in song, saluting other players, etc.), and the realtime dice rolling was compelling as well, but surprisingly, the gameplay itself was a bit too heavy for our tastes... would have loved this a lot more if the decision space had been lighter (which is odd for us).
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7. Board Game: Quilt Show [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:3477]
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A lovely, charming alternative to Ticket to Ride, but it really wants more than 2 players to make the quilt show competitions to be more interesting, and in the end, too light/gateway-ish for us.
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8. Board Game: Kill Shakespeare [Average Rating:5.93 Overall Rank:9563]
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REALLY smart, clever semi-co-op that tells wonderful stories and creates really tense and fun collaborative gameplay. But so much of what makes it great is lost with only 2 players, it just wasn't a keeper unfortunately, as awesome as everything else about it is. Shame about the poor component quality though...
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9. Board Game: Damage Report [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:4326]
Richard Ham
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A very cool real-time take on co-op, as players all race against the clock to keep their space ship from falling apart. Unfortunately, we didn't care for 2p requiring each of us to control multiple characters. It worked alright (unlike, say, Space Alert), but in the end, this one is much better with more players.
 
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10. Board Game: The Witcher Adventure Game [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:2087]
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For an Ameritrash style game experience, this was actually pretty good, and we found ourselves enjoying the competitive face-paced fantasy race with hints of resource management. But again, for this game to be at its best, you need more than 2 players, so that the player interaction (trading and shared quests) becomes more prominent.
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11. Board Game: Fields of Arle [Average Rating:8.18 Overall Rank:54]
Richard Ham
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Uwe Rosenberg's excellent 2p-only refinement of ideas from some of his greatest hits seems on paper to be a perfect match for us, but in the end, we didn't really enjoy the open "sandbox" design, and really found ourselves wanting more concrete boundaries and limitations to be imposed by the game structure.
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12. Board Game: King of Clubs [Average Rating:5.60 Unranked]
Richard Ham
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A very sweet, fast playing bluffing card game with amazing art and a smile-inducing theme, but it wants more than 2 players to shine.
 
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13. Board Game: Robin [Average Rating:5.91 Overall Rank:6991]
Richard Ham
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Washington
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Clever little card game, but fell flat with only 2... needs more players to come alive
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14. Board Game: Eggs and Empires [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:2020]
Richard Ham
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A trick taking game from the designers of the excellent Fleet, which works awesomely where the cards you play have lots of special powers in addition to their core value that defines who wins the trick, and where the trick is a constantly shifting pile of dragon eggs which might blow up in your face. Great great gameplay here, but like all trick taking games, is less than ideal with only 2, though this one works better than most...
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15. Board Game: Five Tribes [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:55]
Richard Ham
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Washington
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Putting aside the brouhaha about the gratutious slavery inclusion, our bigger issue with this excellent reinvention of the mancala was the 2p rules... 2014 was the year we discovered that giving each player double moves every round to emulate a 4p experience does not work for us!
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16. Board Game: Istanbul [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:91]
Richard Ham
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Really really excellent pickup and deliver mancala game (it's rare that we can find a PU&D game that we actually enjoy) and this would have been a keeper for us, but in the end we felt there were some degenerate strategies (only in 2 player, they clearly go away with more) which turned us away. Shame, as we *really* liked this one a lot!

Also worth noting that a LOT of people disagreed with us on this
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17. Board Game: Fallen [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:1810]
Richard Ham
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We loved the competitive approach to 'choose your own adventure' that this game offered, but the gameplay itself was so not our cup of tea, with standard dice rolling/card playing Ameritrash player vs player combat that was a bit of a turn off. Works well, but not our thing, and a bit heartbreaking, because the story stuff was divine!
 
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18. Board Game: Scoville [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:531]
Richard Ham
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One of the more clever games of the year, and a very enjoyable theme and presentation, but unfortunately it's WAAAY too cutthroat for us, especially in 2p!
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19. Board Game: Mr House [Average Rating:5.96 Overall Rank:9981]
Richard Ham
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Fantastically designed game about resource collection and conversion as players compete to build the best dream house. Unfortunately, the 2p implementation is poor, with no real board tightening to make things interesting. A great experience with more than 2 though...
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20. Board Game: Helios [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:1356]
Richard Ham
United States
Washington
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Wow, this had the potential to be a really high scoring game for us, as the core mechanisms are very fun and compelling and fresh. Almost feels like a Feld game, in the best way, and the presentation is phenomenal too. But a complete and total lack of variable setup kills it for us, which is a shame. If not for that, this could have been a top20 contender. Maybe someday it'll get some expansion content and solve its only downside!
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21. Board Game: Cypher [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:4445]
Richard Ham
United States
Washington
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A very cool cyberpunk themed microgame in the vein of Love Letter and the like, and in fact, this game is so clever it totally kills LL in our estimation. But unfortunately, like Love Letter, this one wants more than 2 players to be at it's best... it's 'okay' with 2 (unlike LL), but still not good enough to keep for only 2p gaming
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22. Board Game: The Walled City: Londonderry & Borderlands [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:2887]
Richard Ham
United States
Washington
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Very clever area control game where player are building the areas at the same time that they're trying to dominate them. Really solid, but like so many area control games, loses it's spark in 2p. Still works, but becomes very dry and chess-like, which isn't to our liking.
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23. Board Game: Troll Hunt [Average Rating:6.04 Overall Rank:11469]
Richard Ham
United States
Washington
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Very clever puzzle game that becomes a bit too cutthroat for our tastes.
 
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24. Board Game: New Dawn [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:2158]
Richard Ham
United States
Washington
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Continuing the "we know we won't like the conflict, but maybe we'll enjoy this anyway" train, we come to this wonderful euro-4X hybrid that does everything right, gameplay and presentation-wise, but still, that 4th X (extermination) was too much of a turnoff for us.
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25. Board Game: Panthalos [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:4306]
Richard Ham
United States
Washington
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Really fresh take on worker placement, with a lot of cool mechanisms that really reinvigorate the venerable gameplay genre. And a great theme as well, with titans overrunning a Greek city as players try to use this to their advantage. Shame about the extreme (to our taste) in your face, player vs player conflict, which of course doesn't work for us.. If it weren't for that, this'd be another top20 candidate.
 
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