The Shelf
Andrey Sanin
United States
California
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The Shelf is a list of games on my board games shelf.

I cover the where and why of each game within.

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1. Board Game: The Island of El Dorado [Average Rating:8.53 Unranked]
Andrey Sanin
United States
California
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Ok, it's not technically on my shelf yet.

But this is the most exciting board game of 2017 that's been revealed so far.

If you don't already have a copy, seek out a local game store and order through them.

The Island of El Dorado is likely to steal the play time of some of my favorite board games due to both the beautiful art and well-designed gameplay.
 
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2. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:15]
Andrey Sanin
United States
California
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Puerto Rico is like the crack dealer of eurogames. It's a good way to get started, even if some people carry a running hatred of it.

Many people think that the game features slavery, which can be debunked with some quick research via Google. (For those interested, the game features a University. A quick google on the founding date and the date of abolition of slavery in Puerto Rico should be all the answer you need)

Despite this, Puerto Rico is a great game that is simple enough to teach while being complex enough to leave players wanting for that VP fix.
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3. Board Game: Tobago [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:387]
Andrey Sanin
United States
California
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They say that it's about the journey, not the destination.

As much holds true with Tobago. The components are beautiful, down to the little details of the jeeps having windows painted on.

I've never played a game of Tobago I didn't enjoy, and it can go from a tense race (2 players) to outright mayhem (4 players). It feels unique as the gameplay doesn't compare to any other board game that I've ever played. Hunting down treasure by eliminating where it could be is lots of fun, and amulets add a second layer of decision making once the race for treasure is truly on!

As hard as a copy is to find, if you have the opportunity, definitely give the game a go. It's easy to learn yet difficult to master.
 
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4. Board Game: Lords of Waterdeep [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:50]
Andrey Sanin
United States
California
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A long-time favorite of mine, LoW is great for introducing players unfamiliar with or not experienced with worker placement games to my favorite genre of board games. The game is very forgiving to unexperienced players, which makes it perfect to play with casual gamers.

The expansion is a wonderful second step to that process, introducing more complex mechanics while still retaining the feel of being very forgiving.

Add to that, both boxes are excellently-designed and hold all of the components perfectly, and you have an amazing product that will always be worth picking up.
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5. Board Game: Terraforming Mars [Average Rating:8.38 Overall Rank:5]
Andrey Sanin
United States
California
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A great strategy game with questionable expansions.

I've had to hold off on picking up the expansions due to the questionable pricing on them, but overall this is a wonderful game by itself.

The "Beginner Corporations" are a great noob-friendly mechanic that allows new players to seamlessly learn the game without everyone else being affected too harshly.
 
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6. Board Game: Viticulture Essential Edition [Average Rating:8.17 Overall Rank:20]
Andrey Sanin
United States
California
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Viticulture is one of my favorite worker placement games.

Automata is a huge plus, and it feels like it adds half a board game on top of the wonderful base.

I'm a big fan of components, which Viticulture handles very nicely, overall. Metal coins from SM come heavily recommended if you want longer-lasting coins, but the cardboard ones do well enough here.
 
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7. Board Game: Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:173]
Andrey Sanin
United States
California
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I enjoy Civilization. The designer transferred most of the feeling of the wonderful computer games to a board game without making it feel tedious.

Despite this, the game still takes at least 3 hours to play, especially with the 5 player expansion in the mix. Not recommended for the AP-prone.

It will take over your night, but you'll come out satisfied.
 
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8. Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:62]
Andrey Sanin
United States
California
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A great Mafia-style game that uses some interesting mechanics to keep you on your toes.

Though I'm a fan of the series, the gameplay of BSG far outweighs any ties with the show it may have in terms of long-term staying power. The mid-game loyalty round makes it especially exciting as players you once trusted have to be re-evaluated for potential nuts and bolts rattling about in their Cylon brains.

 
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9. Board Game: Scythe [Average Rating:8.30 Overall Rank:7]
Andrey Sanin
United States
California
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Probably my favorite game that has come out in 2016.

Unfortunately, mileage varies heavily on the group playing it. Groups prone to AP tend not to do well with Scythe, but those who are more relaxed make for good, clean games.

Automata is brutally enjoyable, splitting the difference between fun and frustration.

The Board Expansion and the 7-Player expansion are a good investment if you enjoy this game and see yourself playing it often. I'm also looking forward to the community-driven airships expansion coming in 2017.
 
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10. Board Game: San Juan (second edition) [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:282]
Andrey Sanin
United States
California
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San Juan is to Puerto Rico what Puerto Rico is to board games.

With a 10 minute set up/teaching time and a 20-45 minute play time,San Juan is a game that many people who don't play board games often can enjoy. It gets people interested in the hobby beyond Catan, Risk, and Monopoly and makes a good lead in to Puerto Rico.

Along with Puerto Rico and Waterdeep, San Juan is on my track plan of board game addict creation.
 
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11. Board Game: Steampunk Rally [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:419]
Andrey Sanin
United States
California
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My favorite game of those I would call strictly "casual".

The race and machine-building aspects of Steampunk Rally are very well put together, and the game plays very naturally throughout, with the game being very swingy even at the finish line!

If anything, I'd complain about the rule that says whoever has the most machine parts wins in case of a tie (as a strategy involving cannibalizing one's machine as you go nearly won a game we played, it being the surprise runner up among stacks of over-engineered monstrosities).

Great casual fodder, but don't expect much else from here.
 
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12. Board Game: Evolution: Climate [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:236]
Andrey Sanin
United States
California
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While the base game of Evolution has its problems, Climate addresses most if not all of the issues I had before.

The weather component adds another level of player interaction that makes playing Carnivore strategies much more dangerous.

My only complaint is that games go fast enough that the weather track doesn't make much impact on the game if managed diplomatically.
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13. Board Game: Fresco [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:249] [Average Rating:7.32 Unranked]
Andrey Sanin
United States
California
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Surprisingly solid worker placement from Queen Games. Whenever it comes to the table, Fresco always ends up feeling satisfying. Revealing a beautiful piece of art piece by piece is fun, and the level of player interaction within the game is at a very favorable place for many play groups.

Definitely sticking around on my shelf!
 
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14. Board Game: Macao [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:243]
Andrey Sanin
United States
California
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It hasn't been played in over a year, but Macao is a game that I always end up coming back to.

A fairly basic eurogame, Macao gets to the point and sticks with it, no bullshit. Great for when you want some good, clean victory points.
 
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15. Board Game: The Witcher Adventure Game [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:2041]
Andrey Sanin
United States
California
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A mixed bag, but overall The Witcher is enjoyable even if you're not a great fan of the source material.

Though it can seem a bit imposing at first with so many things going on, the gameplay boils down to moving between cities and questing (or fighting monsters!) to complete a larger mission.

There are a few issues with balance, but it's a good pick up to try something different.
 
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16. Board Game: Elder Sign [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:463]
Andrey Sanin
United States
California
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If ever there was a Cthulhu game that I could recommend to anyone with a straight face, it would be Elder Sign.

The co-op play feels very well balanced, though groups of 8 will struggle to do much of anything before the big baddie comes to town.

At counts of 4-6, Elder Sign is very fun without being complex.

A good social game, but it can be prone to Captain In Charge appearing if one player thinks they've got it all figured out. (When it comes to Cthulhu, the only thing I've figured out is that the best course of action is to run away as fast as humanly possible)
 
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17. Board Game: Gearworld: The Borderlands [Average Rating:5.59 Overall Rank:11876]
Andrey Sanin
United States
California
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Gearworld has replaced Diplomacy on my shelves.

Though the game could use some errata, the basic gameplay is actually much better at creating an environment of diplomacy and tension between players than other games that attempt to do this.

Be warned: Players that like to swing around their combat prowess tend not to enjoy this game. Fittingly, Gearworld punishes everyone when wars start to break out. The game will grind to a halt and the playtime will take a 2 hour dive for the worse.

Useful as either a longer, relaxed strategy game or as a punishment to greedy players who think there's no place for diplomacy in board games. Rarely used, but it's always a nice surprise to have stored away for the right times.
 
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18. Board Game: XCOM: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:481]
Andrey Sanin
United States
California
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Hit/miss depending on the amount of people playing.

This game can only be played with 4 people. Though the box/app say you can play with less, the social aspect is a large part of what makes the game good.

When played with a full complement of 4, XCOM is truly up there in the category of social miscommunication games that always bring laughs to the table.

Not going anywhere soon, but it's definitely not a first choice game for any situation.
 
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19. Board Game: Mission: Red Planet (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:190]
Andrey Sanin
United States
California
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I have mixed feelings about Mission: Red Planet.

On one hand, it's a fun game.

On the other, it gets boring very quickly.

YMMV, but Mission: Red Planet is most likely facing expulsion sooner rather than later.
 
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20. Board Game: Lagoon: Land of Druids [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:2243]
Andrey Sanin
United States
California
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If anything, the component quality of this game is great. Cardboard feels nice and the linen tile bag is a quality addition.

That said, the game can be a little confusing for new players due to the amount of triggers you end up having to keep track of.

Very much a hit/miss, and it will probably be leaving the shelf to go into storage once a better game takes its place.
 
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21. Board Game: Urbanization [Average Rating:6.20 Overall Rank:4219]
Andrey Sanin
United States
California
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Either unplayable jank or a decent game that gets dismissed as such.

I have yet to touch this one, but I do not anticipate doing so.

Most likely will get booted to storage, as I got it on Amazon for very cheap.
 
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22. Board Game: Ascension: Deckbuilding Game [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:496] [Average Rating:7.03 Unranked]
Andrey Sanin
United States
California
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Gets boring quick with the base game alone.

The plastic VP, although cute, are more of a hinderance than an asset.

Currently this game is just waiting to be replaced by a better one.
 
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23. Board Game: Small World [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:183] [Average Rating:7.33 Unranked]
Andrey Sanin
United States
California
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The game has gotten stale over the years.

The box has not been opened for at least 2 years now because there are simply better games to play.

Going away when a better game finds its home here.
 
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