Worthwhile games you've likely never played...
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Update: I've decided to simplify the requirements for this list - rather than fewer than 10 ratings, a game simply must be unranked (fewer than 30 ratings). Besides making it much easier for me to update the list, with the growth of BGG it's getting more and more difficult to find games with fewer than 10 ratings.

Original intro:

Having recently updated my ratings (intentionally raising my average rating by over half a point), I discovered a number of games I quite enjoy that seem to have received very little play.

Additions to this list are welcomed, with the following criteria:

1) It should be a game you would recommend - typically a minimum rating of 7.

2) It should be a game that's received little or no attention - fewer than 10 ratings. It's truly amazing how many obscure, limited release games still have 20+ ratings here...

3) It should be an older game (at least ~2 years old), rather than a recent release the general public just hasn't seen yet.

Updated 2/1/2005: Numerous games added; Old Town, Columbus (Mayer/Schmidt), Das Prestel Architekturspiel, Fette Bauche, Die Safeknacker, and Winhard removed because they're now over 10 ratings.

Updated 8/7/2005: Added Älpler Stafette and removed Gülle Gülle (no longer rated a 7+) and Bounce It In and Der Plumpsack geht Um (too many ratings).

Updated 10/7/2005: Removed Der Schatz des Pharaos (no longer rated 7+) and Takt Voll (too many ratings).

Updated 11/22/2005: Added Bist Du sicher?, Strudel, Wolf in Schafspelz, and Tolstoi.

Updated 4/27/2006: Added Scoozie, Alpenexpress, and Aladdins Erbe.

Updated 7/1/2008: Removed Cubus (now ranked) and the games I've not held on to: Mary Dowser, Itinerary, Lemming, Die Vampirconnection, Willi, Wühltisch, Null Bock!, Sekt oder Selters, Das Magische Hexagon. They're all interesting, and worth trying, but they didn't survive a cull, which makes it hard to recommend them here. I've left Das Hornberger Schiessen, even though I should have removed it for the same reasons, because of the interesting comment with it. The reduced requirements allow the addition of a bunch of games, though - Ironman Football, Keywood, Quacksalbe, Schlangennest, Auf Fotosafari in Ombagassa, Demono, Die Safeknacker, Fundstücke, Challenge Bridge, Cherubim, Spinnentwist, O'Kudos, Rapa Nui, Wolf im Schafspelz, and Der Prestel Kunstmarkt.

Updated 5/21/2009: Removed Strudel (didn't hold up). I need to do a full update, but don't have time right now...

Updated 9/16/2009: Removed Spinnentwist (now ranked), Tolstoi (didn't hold up), Aladdin's Erbe (didn't hold up), Die Safeknacker (still a fine game, but it's left my collection), and Kunstmarkt (now ranked). Added Minenraeumer, Novo Dice, Sweep!, Fleetboard, Astron, and Don Q. und der Dreh mit den Windmühlen.
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1. Board Game: Banditos [Average Rating:5.06 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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A game completely about timing, as players primarily work to have the round end at the right time.
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2. Board Game: Head to Head Golf [Average Rating:5.71 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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An interesting little game from Larry Levy; the The Game Journal for the story of the game's development from Larry himself.
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3. Board Game: Hexenstich [Average Rating:6.34 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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The invisible Dirk Henn game. Interesting trick taking game that's always popular when it comes to the table.
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4. Board Game: Das Hornberger Schiessen [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Truly bizarre trick taking card game. I'm not sure just what I think of it - just that it's fascinating enough that I keep bringing it out.
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5. Board Game: Jati [Average Rating:5.33 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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You know, it's not a bad game. Nothing great, and more fun to play for it's rarity, but still not a bad game.
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6. Board Game: Game of Politics [Average Rating:5.35 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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If you ever have the chance to play the original 1930s edition, take it. The event cards make the game; the revised 1960 edition, which removed them, pales in comparison. There are a few fiddly rules in the 1930s edition, but they're easily fixed. (1960 release pictured)
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7. Board Game: Schützenfest [Average Rating:5.73 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Classic example of an overlooked older German game. Nearing the 30th anniversary of its release, it's a simple, innovative card game for 3 or 4 players, family-friendly but with room for strategy.
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8. Board Game: The Thing in the Darkness [Average Rating:6.71 Unranked]
upandawaygames.com
United States
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Obscure because it was only published in a magazine, but it's a very atmospheric (Call of Cthulhu) solo game that has been thoughtfully made, nicely illustrated and it really works. It wears out once you know the answer, but before that you will die more than a few times trying different ways to get the solution.
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9. Board Game: Sextet [Average Rating:6.25 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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6 player Bridge; plays _very_ differently, but is an enjoyable and unique experience when you have 2 Bridge players too many.
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10. Board Game: Botts and Balls [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:8832]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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A difficult game to get to play, but well worthwhile should you have the chance - takes the basics of Ricochet Robot in an entirely different direction.
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11. Board Game: Stunt Academy [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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The first Krimsus game since Strand Cup to really hit home with me - and the first to really do so on the strength of the mechanisms.
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12. Board Game: Numeri [Average Rating:5.53 Overall Rank:12377]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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A great example of the type of good game Rudi Hoffman's designed - very simple rules, playable with children, but enough strategy to make for real and meaningful decisions - children _can_ win based upon good dice, but strategy matters too.
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13. Board Game: Twin [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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I don't know just why I enjoy this game - it's abstract (usually death for a game for me), luckless (the sure death knoll for an abstract), and rather plain. Though it is, besides Fundstuecke, the only game I know of where you can start by asking what shade of green your opponent wants...
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14. Board Game: Gateball? [Average Rating:6.44 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Steffan O'Sullivan was kind enough to introduce me to this game, and I'm glad he did - it's quite enjoyable, and a really good choice for team play.
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15. Board Game: Hamstern [Average Rating:5.77 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Classic Rudi Hoffman tile laying game. The rules are brief (to put it kindly), but given a reasonable set of assumptions it's quite playable.
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16. Board Game: Älpler-Stafette [Average Rating:5.40 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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A very enjoyable light race game, with a nice theme and enough control to remain interesting.
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17. Board Game: Bist Du sicher? [Average Rating:5.94 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Interesting game about life, wherein players have to decide what difficulties to insure themselves against. Odd game, and one I'm looking forward to giving another play to.
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18. Board Game: Wolf im Schafspelz [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Another Wittig game, more in the mold of Black Box than anything else. My copy has two sheep marked; placing both and requiring that both be found to end the game actually makes the game more challenging, without going overboard.
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19. Board Game: Scoozie [Average Rating:7.29 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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I have Steffan O'Sullivan to thank for discovering this gem. It's an excellent game - and manages to combine two genres I don't care much for (abstracts and sports games) into a game I _really_ do. And it's even readily available...
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20. Board Game: Alpen Express [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:9938]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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This fascinating and beautiful game I have Morgan and Nello to thank for pointing me to...
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21. Board Game: Ironman Football [Average Rating:6.04 Overall Rank:10806]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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OK, it's the theme, moreso than the gameplay, that attracts me here; growing up in Northeast Ohio, the birth of professional football is a subject of significant interest to me. The gameplay _is_ interesting, if not particularly well suited to my tastes, but the theme carries it through for me.
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22. Board Game: Keywood [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:7856]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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For whatever reason, my favorite games of Richard Breese's are a couple of his earliest designs - Keydom (which I greatly prefer to Alladin's Dragons) and Keywood. Keywood _shouldn't_ be my type of game - there's too much negotiation - but for whatever reason it works for me. A bit too brutal with five, but very good with four...
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23. Board Game: Quacksalbe [Average Rating:6.24 Overall Rank:10353]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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At it's heart, it's a simple but interesting trick taking card game - but the theme (players are quacks, applying such techniques as bloodletting and electroshock) carries it through; using other player's specialties to kill of patients - and leaving them to dispose of the bodies - works very well.
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24. Board Game: Schlangennest [Average Rating:5.69 Unranked]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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A nest of snakes is a reasonably common theme for tile laying, extend-your-route games, as there's a better thematic fit with twisting, intertwined snakes than (for example) twisting, intertwined railroad track. This one is my favorite of the genre - the dimensions of the playing area are known, but not where the edges are, leaving players plenty of interesting options.
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25. Board Game: Auf Fotosafari in Ombagassa [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:7394]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Or, alternatively, Topfgucker; it's essentially the same game. Personally, I'm more fond of trying to take pictures of animals than trying to get the right veggies in my soup, but that's just me...
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