My Top 20 Obscure Games (games I love with fewer than 500 ratings on BGG)
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Shamelessly copying the excellent list from:

Charlie Sundt
United Kingdom
London
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Unlike Charlie I'm not going to attempt to rank them, so here are my 20 favourites rated by fewer than 500 people, in descending order of number of ratings.
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1. Board Game: Cosmic Eidex [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:3572]
Board Game: Cosmic Eidex
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Number of ratings: 440
My rating: 8
My number of plays: 5
Print status: available from some German shops
Reason for obscurity: only printed in German (cards are language independent but you need a translation for the special powers). Rather complex for a trick-taker. 3-player only.

The basic game is a variant of a traditional trick-taking game from the Jass family, with the idea that you want to take either the most points in your tricks or the fewest - avoid getting stuck in the middle! CE complicates that by giving each player a special power which they keep for the whole game (hence the 'Cosmic'), providing a lot of variety. This is a heck of a lot of game in a very tiny package.
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2. Board Game: Team Play [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:2917]
Board Game: Team Play
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Number of ratings: 409
My rating: 8
My number of plays: 13
Print status: recently reprinted by Wizkids
Reason for obscurity: initial release was German only. Dubious iconography.

A partnership rummy-style game for 4 or 6 players (the rules claim 3 or 5 works too but you don't have teams at those counts and there's a reason it's called Team Play!). Really enjoy that you're not only working towards your own goal card but also keeping an eye on what your partner needs so you can pass surplus cards their way.
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3. Board Game: Elements [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:3337]
Board Game: Elements
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Number of ratings: 386
My rating: 9
My number of plays: 38
Print status: available in Germany
Reason for obscurity: original edition was Japanese and reprint German

This will always be Khmer to me and the stunning minimalism of the original edition is part of its appeal. But beyond that, it's a brilliant distillation of psychology and bluffing into just 16 cards with numbers on them. It really feels like you can get inside the head of your opponent.
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4. Board Game: Circle the Wagons [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:1140]
Board Game: Circle the Wagons
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Number of ratings: 364
My rating: 9
My number of plays: 23
Print status: available direct from Button Shy
Reason for obscurity: small publisher, Kickstarter copies just arriving

The only overlap with Charlie's list and it's a deserving one. This is the closest I've seen a microgame (18 cards, no other components) get to a fully-fledged Euro. Drafting (a la Patchwork), map-building (a la Honshu) and variable scoring conditions (a la Kingdom Builder) all in a tiny carry-anywhere wallet (though needing a fair amount of table space). Ingenious!
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5. Board Game: Iron Curtain [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:1985]
Board Game: Iron Curtain
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Number of ratings: 362
My rating: 8
My number of plays: 16
Print status: available and cheap
Reason for obscurity: didn't seem to get anything like the buzz of its 'big brother' 13 Days for some reason

Another fully-featured game made from just 18 cards (and some cubes). This is easily my favourite of Asger and Daniel's trilogy of Twilight Struggle inspired mini/micro games (13 Days and 13 Minutes are the others). Where it scores over those is keeping a strong spatial element. As well as your cards having the usual ops vs event dilemma, they also gradually build up a world map which is important both for gaining and losing access to different areas and for the timing of regions scoring.
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6. Board Game: Polterfass [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:5305]
Board Game: Polterfass
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Number of ratings: 359
My rating: 9
My number of plays: 13
Print status: limited availability, even in Germany
Reason for obscurity: German only (language independent components)

Fantastic hybrid of push-your-luck and blind-bidding with a great theme and components. I wrote a review here - this really deserves to be better known.
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7. Board Game: Auf Teufel komm raus [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:3867]
Board Game: Auf Teufel komm raus
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Number of ratings: 336
My rating: 8
My number of plays: 7
Print status: available in Germany (language independent)
Reason for obscurity: German only

Another great, colourful production from Zoch. This one makes a heavy use of push-your-luck too but as well as trying to pluck valuable coal from the 'devil's cauldron' yourself, you're betting on how well the other players will do, which keeps it involving even when it's not your turn.
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8. Board Game: What's My Word? [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:3789]
Board Game: What's My Word?
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Number of ratings: 297
My rating: 8
My number of plays: 3
Print status: available and cheap, plus easy to print & play
Reason for obscurity: word games don't seem that popular on BGG

The first of three appearances for the mad genius Joli Quentin Kansil - he's like Sid Sackson from an alternate universe. This is a clever hybrid of Mastermind and Hangman, in which you attempt to identify your opponent's secret word with a series of guesses that score for the number of correct letters.
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9. Board Game: Ninety-Nine [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:3446]
Board Game: Ninety-Nine
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Number of ratings: 289
My rating: 8
My number of plays: 5
Print status: n/a - traditional deck
Reason for obscurity: traditional card games don't get a lot of BGG love

David Parlett is the guru of traditional card games with his fantastic Encyclopedia and History of Card Games. He also has a number of his own designs and this one is brilliant in its simplicity. It's an exact-bidding trick-taker, but your bid is represented by the suit of the three cards you discard at the beginning of each hand.
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10. Board Game: Extrablatt [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:4667]
Board Game: Extrablatt
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Number of ratings: 251
My rating: 8
My number of plays: 3
Print status: long OOP but second-hand copies pop up
Reason for obscurity: old and German only

Karl-Heinz Schmiel was ahead of his time. In this one you draft newspaper articles and pictures to place on your front page, attempting to win various majority contests for different sections (sports, weather etc.) Lots of fun to be had from the German headlines and the fact that you can place adverts for escorts in the most irritating places on your rivals' front pages!
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11. Board Game: Lost Cities: Rivals [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:2442]
Board Game: Lost Cities: Rivals
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Number of ratings: 223
My rating: 8
My number of plays: 4
Print status: available
Reason for obscurity: recently released, likely to gain voters quickly

Not another Lost Cities clone I hear you cry. But this one is more Ra than LC - a deliciously vicious auction game with a tricky closed economy.
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12. Board Game: Voodoo Prince [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:2869]
Board Game: Voodoo Prince
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Number of ratings: 223
My rating: 8
My number of plays: 11
Print status: available in Germany (language independent)
Reason for obscurity: recent and German only

Another recent Knizia (all hail the Reinerssance), and this one's a tricktaker too - take my money! The neat twist to this one is that you're trying to win three tricks but the longer you can delay that the better UNLESS you're last to get there, which is disastrous. Lots of tension and laughter results.
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13. Board Game: Push It [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:3619]
Board Game: Push It
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Number of ratings: 218
My rating: 8
My number of plays: 18
Print status: available
Reason for obscurity: small publisher

It's an obvious idea and about as basic as flicking games yet. But it's perfectly executed - the pucks are weighted and finished beautifully, it comes with a tiny bag to carry it around in and it can be played pretty much anywhere.
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14. Board Game: Eggs of Ostrich [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:5350]
Board Game: Eggs of Ostrich
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Number of ratings: 195
My rating: 9
My number of plays: 32
Print status: used to be on BGG store but seems hard to find now
Reason for obscurity: limited release, Japanese, 3p-only, sexy ostriches

There seem to be quite a few simultaneous-bid/bluffing games on my list - I guess they're not big hits with more strategically-inclined gamers. This is about as pure as they get which gives you plenty of opportunity to think and double-think about what your opponents are going to do.

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15. Board Game: Neue Spiele im alten Rom [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:5856]
Board Game: Neue Spiele im alten Rom
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Number of ratings: 188
My rating: 8
My number of plays: 10
Print status: OOP
Reason for obscurity: old and long out of print

This compendium of 14 games re-using many of the same components will be of most interest to Kniziaphiles - the genesis of many of his later hits can be found here.
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16. Board Game: Montage [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:5033]
Board Game: Montage
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Number of ratings: 180
My rating: 8
My number of plays: 3
Print status: some copies of the Eagle Gryphon version around
Reason for obscurity: old, 4p-only, word game

Another Joli Quentin Kansil word game and one for crossword fans. This one isn't just about the letters but also the meaning of the words as you have to create crossword clues for your partner to solve before your opponents do. It's all on a clock too lending it a frantic air.
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17. Board Game: Texas Showdown [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:2598]
Board Game: Texas Showdown
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Number of ratings: 163
My rating: 8
My number of plays: 11
Print status: available in Germany
Reason for obscurity: German only (language independent)

Another trick-taker and this one is at the chaotic/silly end, playing particularly well with 5 or 6. The idea is that you have to follow any one of the suits that have already been played to a trick, and the trick is won (which you don't want) by the highest card in the most frequent suit. This leads to some unexpected and hilarious swings of fortune.

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18. Board Game: Dealt! [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:1936]
Board Game: Dealt!
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Number of ratings: 158
My rating: 8
My number of plays: 12
Print status: available in Germany
Reason for obscurity: German only (language independent)

The recent winner of Fairplay magazine's 2018 card game of the year award is a climbing game with the twist that you can only play sets of cards that are adjacent in your hand. It's great fun trying to get rid of the crap that's splitting up your high-valued pairs and runs.
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19. Board Game: 聖杯サクセション (Throne and the Grail) [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:5299]
Board Game: 聖杯サクセション (Throne and the Grail)
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Number of ratings: 61
My rating: 8
My number of plays: 11
Print status: hard to find
Reason for obscurity: Japanese only

It's not clear why this tricky Japanese 2p game of majorities, bluffing and psychology has stayed in obscurity while Hanamikoji has been a big hit - they're both excellent!
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20. Board Game: Marrakesh [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:9742]
Board Game: Marrakesh
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Number of ratings: 57
My rating: 8
My number of plays: 6
Print status: long OOP, you're best off making your own
Reason for obscurity: old and weird

A final entry for Joli Kansil and fittingly it's another one with simultaneous bidding and double-think. A weird hybrid of backgammon and card game with a baroque scoring system that all comes together surprisingly well.
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