Hey, that's MY board! Games with not-so individual player boards.
Harris Enniss
United States
Goleta
California
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Individual player areas are all the rage these days. By my count, thirteen of the current top-twenty games feature action taking place on some form of tableau or individual board.

The downside of these individual play areas is that they can contribute to games that don't feel interactive, as each player focuses on building their own tableau or optimizing their own engine and struggles to keep track of what other players are doing "five feet away and upside down."

This list is not for those games. This is for games where players must interact directly with each other's boards or tableaux. What counts as interacting is fuzzy, and is mostly gut feeling, but here are some rules of thumb I'm applying:

• If the game has you place your own pieces on an opponent's board, it probably qualifies.

• If the game lets you use abilities from another player's board, it probably qualifies.

• If the individual boards could be replaced by one or more counters, the game probably doesn't belong here. Being able to deal damage to an opponent isn't the sort of thing I'm looking for, even if hit-points are tracked on individual boards.

• It's not enough to just compare tableaux to determine who wins some contest. The military contests from Seven Wonders, for example, are not what I'm looking for here, nor does the dominance contest of Dominant Species.

• Interaction with other players boards should be a core game mechanic. Mottainai doesn't make this list, even though the Kite lets you copy another player's work.

• Interaction with other players' boards should be a normal part of the game. High Frontier doesn't make this list, because the piracy rules are fairly niche. It's easy to have games where they never come into play at all.
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1. Board Game: Pax Porfiriana [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:387]
Harris Enniss
United States
Goleta
California
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In this tableau builder, players compete for dominance in revolutionary-era Mexico. They accumulate partners and enterprises to generate money and grant abilities. While an enterprise will generally generate income for its owner, other players can also gain income by building connections on the enterprise, or they can send troops to extort a share of the profits.

In addition, players have the opportunity to buy many cards which will let them assassinate opposing partners, encourage unrest, or nationalize enterprises.
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2. Board Game: Pax Pamir [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:1062]
Harris Enniss
United States
Goleta
California
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As in Pax Porfiriana, players build a tableau of cards representing allies and other assets. Here, however, the cards form a ring surrounding a map. Players can recruit spies, which travel around this ring, and can contribute influence in the major powers, assassinate or bribe the cards they reside on, or help out in on-board military conflicts.
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3. Board Game: Container [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:586]
Harris Enniss
United States
Goleta
California
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Players produce goods and set prices on their own individual boards. Players send their ships to other players' boards to purchase goods they want to ship.
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4. Board Game: Innovation [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:283]
Harris Enniss
United States
Goleta
California
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Each player builds a tableau of different innovations that grant them special abilities, called dogmas. Whenever a player activates their dogmas, they share these effects with other player who has at least as many of the appropriate symbol in their tableau.
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5. Board Game: Cosmic Encounter [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:107]
Harris Enniss
United States
Goleta
California
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Players start out with fleets of ships on their five home system
planets in front of them. They send these ships off to to planets in
front of other players to conquer them.
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6. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:43]
Harris Enniss
United States
Goleta
California
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Each player builds a tableau, including various resources like mines and sawmills and brickyards. To build more advanced cards later in the game, you'll need to either acquire resources of your own, or pay your neighbors to share in the use of their resource cards.
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7. Board Game: Battleship [Average Rating:4.58 Overall Rank:16266]
Harris Enniss
United States
Goleta
California
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It's Battleship. Need I say more?
 
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8. Board Game: Caravans of Ahldarahd [Average Rating:5.18 Overall Rank:14617]
Harris Enniss
United States
Goleta
California
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"Each person's map can be invaded by any opponent controlling its Right of Passage card."
 
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9. Board Game: 51st State: Master Set [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:265]
Dom B.
France
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In 51st State (and its ancestor The New Era), you can both send a worker to another player's tableau to use one of its production facilities and destroy a card in another player's tableau.
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10. Board Game: Keyflower [Average Rating:7.87 Overall Rank:44]
Nicola Bocchetta
Italy
Milano
MI
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You can place meeples in/on other players' villages to activate the tiles and get the benefit (and also set the colour of meeples on that tile, so that only meeples of that colour can later activate it again). Devious!
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11. Board Game: Ora et Labora [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:94]
Nicola Bocchetta
Italy
Milano
MI
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You can use pay an opponent 1 or 2 coins, or pay them wiskey or wine to use one of the buildings in their tableau. This also uses one of their pawns (that can be good or bad on the situation).
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12. Board Game: Le Havre [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:39]
Nicola Bocchetta
Italy
Milano
MI
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You can (and often should!) activate a building built by another player, bapying him food or money. As long as your token stays on the building, no one can use it. You can move your token to another building to make use of this.
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13. Board Game: Archipelago [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:290]
Nicola Bocchetta
Italy
Milano
MI
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You buy evolution or character cards. But other players can use them paying you a price; this is most useful as paying you, I get the benefit of the card, and deny you the possibility of the benefit for yourself.
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14. Board Game: The Manhattan Project [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:224]
Andrew
United States
Kansas City
Missouri
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Disclaimer: haven't played this game myself.

I know you can bomb other players' buildings, and I believe you can occupy them through some sort of espionage mechanic.
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15. Board Game: Rayguns and Rocketships [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:7535]
Scott Rogers
United States
Thousand Oaks
California
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Players place minis to perform operations on their own unique ship boards but other players can board their opponents boards to smash equipment and fight other players for VP.
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16. Board Game: Villainous [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:1328]
Heather K
United States
Virginia
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Other players must play cards on their fellows' boards.
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17. Board Game: Baseball Highlights: 2045 [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:378]
Scott Smith

Michigan
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Your opponent's board contains runners on base as well as the player up to bat. The card that you play on your board will determine what will happen between your opponent's batter at the play and their runners on base.
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18. Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:11]
Fritz Schwartz
United States
Modesto
California
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This is what I thought of when I saw the GeekList title. Frankly, I need the extra boards. My wife generally rings my bell on the #1 board, so by using different boards, I'm hoping I have a chance. The experiment hasn't worked yet, but a guy can have dreams, can't he?
 
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