ALEA! ALEA! ALEA!
Nate Sandall
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THIS GEEKLIST IS SORELY IN NEED OF AN UPDATE!! I'LL DO IT SOON!!
The Alea series of games designed by some of the best game designers in the industry and released by Ravensburger of Germany have enamored many a geek, including myself. Of the eight large box games and five small box games, I've only played seven of the large box games. Each of the Alea games are rich in strategy, have high production values, and have a lot of replayability which gives you good bang for your buck. Each one has never failed to surprise and delight me in some way. Seeing that I'm a statistics geek (wannabe Randy Cox perhaps?), I've decided to put together this list highlighting the Alea games, related boardgamegeek statistics (as of January 22nd), and some comments.

The games listed are in alphabetical order of their bgg name.

Some additional stats were pulled from these fine geeklists by Randy Cox:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist.php3?action=view&listi... What we play

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist.php3?action=view&listi... What to play

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist.php3?action=view&listi... World Boardgaming Championships Most Popular Events

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist.php3?action=view&listi... Tim Benjamin's FORM statistics game ratings list.
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1. Board Game: Hoity Toity [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1202]
Nate Sandall
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Bayesian average of BGG Ratings: 6.96 Rank: 219
Total number of Ratings: 502 Rank: 53
Number Wanted: 48 Rank: 69
Rank in Playings for January (thru 22nd): 355
Rank in Playings last 30 days: 249
Spiel de Jahre winner 1990
World Boardgaming Championships 25th most popular event.

Originally released by FX Schmidt in 1990, Adel Verpflichtet could have been the game to launch the German board game invasion of America through a liscencing agreement with Avalon Hill. Unfortunately Americans tend not to like games with names they can't pronounce and even a name change failed to introduce the American public to German games (that had to wait until 1996 when Mayfair liscensed Settlers of Catan from Kosmos). Eventually Ravensburger bought FX Schmidt and added Adel Verpflichtet as number five in the Alea big box series. There was no Rio Grande version of Adel Verpflichtet and the Alea version is now out of print but available. Uberplay will release the next version and will include up to six players. I think six would make things almost too crazy but I'll have to wait and see.

Adel is an amazing game but really only shines if you get five players for it. The winner of Adel Verpflichtet will be the player who best predicts the actions of his opponents consistently. I personally think it is a great game that is easily accessable to new gamers. My first victory in this game felt like a huge achievement as usually I'm not very good at bluffing but I do alright at predicting the actions of my friends. My rating = 9

 
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2. Board Game: Chinatown [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:363]
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Bayesian average of BGG Ratings: 7.16 Rank: 136
Total number of Ratings: 257 Rank: 175
Number Wanted 78 Rank: 15
Rank in Playings for January (thru 22nd): 717
Rank in Playings last 30 days: 468

Chinatown is the second game in the Alea big box series and is the most difficult of the Alea games to get ahold of because it is out of print and Rio Grande never made an English version. It's too bad too because Chinatown is probably the best trading game I've ever played! The rules are not difficult and the game is basic enough that it is an excellent game to introduce non gamers to. My rating = 10



 
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3. Board Game: Edel, Stein & Reich [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:1222]
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Bayesian average of BGG Ratings: 7.21 Rank: 76
Total number of Ratings: 157 Rank:
Number Wanted: 41 Rank: 96
Rank in Playings for January (thru 22nd): 84
Rank in Playings last 30 days: 74

Edel, Stein & Reich is a very well recieved Alea small box game that is #4 in the Alea small box series. I haven't played it or Basari yet but the numbers and my experience with the other Alea games has put this near the top of my wants list. Too bad there isn't a Rio Grande version.
 
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4. Board Game: Mammoth Hunters [Average Rating:6.14 Overall Rank:3144]
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Bayesian average of BGG Ratings: 6.32 Rank: 698
Total number of Ratings: 102
Number Wanted: 23
Rank in Playings for January (thru 22nd):
Rank in Playings last 30 days:

Eiszeit AKA Mammoth Hunters hasn't really sparkled in the ratings, but still seems like a solid entry based on the numbers and from what I've read. I'll probably see if there's an Alea #8 big box game before I decide if it's a must have. And chances are I'll get the German version just to have the #8 on the side. Yes I'm that crazy!
 
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5. Board Game: Fifth Avenue [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:3748]
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Thanks for the heads up Justin! Looking forward to hearing more about this title.
 
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6. Board Game: The Princes of Florence [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:116]
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Bayesian average of BGG Ratings: 8.12 Rank: 4
Total number of Ratings: 762 Rank:21
Number Wanted: 122 Rank: 3
Rank in Playings for January (thru 22nd): 13
Rank in Playings last 30 days: 15
What we play geeklist most played games rank: #20
What to play geeklist rank: #3
FORM geeklist rank: #10
World Boardgaming Championships popularity rank: #23

Princes of Florence (Alea #4) was once upon a time the highest rated game here on the boardgamegeek. That was before I discovered the geek and after the release of Puerto Rico. A very solid game that is somewhat dry yet very rich in strategy. For me, I would say it feels very much like Bridge or Pinochle in how you have to assess your strengths and bids and in the amount of mental energy that you have to burn on this game. Mastering this game would definitely be an achievement. My rating is a 9 but will probably settle in at an 8 once I've played a few more times.
 
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7. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:15]
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Bayesian average of BGG Ratings: 8.69 Rank: 1
Total number of Ratings: 1453 Rank: 3
Number Wanted: 138 Rank: 2
Rank in Playings for January (thru 22nd): 1
Rank in Playings last 30 days: 1
What we play geeklist rank: #1
What to play geeklist rank: #1
FORM geeklist rank: #1
WBC popularity rank: #2

Puerto Rico (Alea #7) was the first game in the Alea series that I was able to try. I thought everyone would have a copy by now on their shelf in between their Settlers of Catan and Carcassone games. Victory in Puerto Rico tends to go to the player who is best able to adapt short and long term strategies to those of the other players. I much prefer playing with four or five but that's mainly because I'm more of a casual player I guess. My rating = 10
 
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8. Board Game: Ra [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:134]
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Bayesian average of BGG Ratings: 7.83 Rank: 14
Total number of Ratings: 695 Rank: 24
Number Wanted: 113 Rank: 4
Rank in Playings for January (thru 22nd): 27
Rank in Playings last 30 days: 25
What we play geeklist rank: #11
What to play geeklist rank: #10
FORM geeklist rank: #14
WBC popularity rank: #10

Ra (Alea #1) is one of the best three player games ever made (definitely my favorite in that regard). However, I have yet to play it correctly it seems. I'll blame the translation here on the geek. My rating = 10
 
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9. Board Game: Winner's Circle [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:678]
Nate Sandall
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Bayesian average of BGG Ratings: 7.27 Rank: 101
Total number of Ratings: 380 Rank: 83
Number Wanted: 54 Rank: 52
Rank in Playings for January (thru 23rd): 83
Rank in Playings last 30 days: 74
What to play geeklist rank: #23


Royal Turf is #2 in the Alea small box series. I'm not really crazy about racing games, but everything I see and read tells me I really can't go wrong here.
 
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10. Board Game: San Juan [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:228]
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Bayesian average of BGG Ratings: N/A (need 30 rankings)
Total number of Ratings: 1
Number Wanted: 42 Rank: 91
Rank in Playings for January (thru 23rd): 311
Rank in Playings last 30 days: 463


San Juan (Small box #5) hasn't even been released yet but the buzz is big and getting bigger all the time!
 
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11. Board Game: Die Sieben Weisen [Average Rating:6.02 Overall Rank:5555]
Nate Sandall
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Bayesian average of BGG Ratings: 6.15 Rank: 848
Total number of Ratings: 54
Number Wanted: 18
Rank in Playings for January (thru 23rd): 952
Rank in Playings last 30 days: 918

So far Die Sieben Weisen is the lowest ranked Alea game in the whole series, but this small box #3 game has me captivated by the unusual negotiation/trick taking/alliance game. It also looks really cool!

 
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12. Board Game: Taj Mahal [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:306]
Nate Sandall
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Bayesian average of BGG Ratings: 7.73 Rank: 20
Total number of Ratings: 562 Rank: 38
Number Wanted: 83 Rank: 14
Rank in Playings for January (thru 23rd): 98
Rank in Playings last 30 days: 79
What we play geeklist rank: #25
What to play geeklist rank: #17
FORM geeklist rank: #19

Taj Mahal (#3) is one of the most beautiful games I've ever laid my eyes on. And it plays as good as it looks! Multiple scoring mechanisms, intriguing card play, and lots of tough choices make this an instant classic. My rating = 10

 
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13. Board Game: Genoa [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:497]
Nate Sandall
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Bayesian average of BGG Ratings: 7.47 Rank: 73
Total number of Ratings: 373 Rank: 88
Number Wanted: 68 Rank: 24
Rank in Playings for January (thru 23rd): 43
Rank in Playings last 30 days: 56
FORM geeklist rank: #45

Don't ask me why I bought this last September and then waited until just last Monday to try Traders of Genoa (#6) out for the very first time. This game is the greatest negotiation game I have ever played in my life! It's like advanced Chinatown and more! Definitely underrated here on the geek. I can't wait to play again! My rating = 10

 
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14. Board Game: Wyatt Earp [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:817]
Nate Sandall
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Bayesian average of BGG Ratings: 7.30 Rank: 39
Total number of Ratings: 465 Rank: 62
Number Wanted: 46 Rank: 78
Rank in Playings for January (thru 23rd): 37
Rank in Playings last 30 days: 33
FORM geeklist rating: #27

Last of all is Wyatt Earp - #1 in the Alea small box series. The theme doesn't really attract me, but the numbers and the buzz do so I will get it and play it someday.

 
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