Surviving the Purge
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
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List of games that survived the Great Purge of 2019.

What started as an exercise in reducing a collection to the Great titles -> https://opinionatedgamers.com/2019/07/04/brandon-kempf-sturg...

Turned into an actual massive culling of games.

I documented my Culling -> https://opinionatedgamers.com/2019/12/14/41680/

Since that time I have been doing posts that highlight games that stayed in the collection and giving a bit of the reasoning as to why.

This geeklist is incomplete and will be continually updated as I post a new Surviving the Purge article over on the Opinionated Gamers website, usually on Saturdays or Sundays.
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76. Board Game: Santorini [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:179]
Board Game: Santorini
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
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This game is the answer to the age old question of “How do you sell a buttload of re-makes of an old, indy, abstract title?”. The answer is, you give it a theme, Kickstart the heck out of it with some plastic, stylistic graphic design, and fun player powers (A LOT OF THEM) and that’s how you sell a buttload of Santorini. Completely unnecessary as the basic game could be reproduced using Legos for crying out loud. Chris has you covered with the full review. Santorini was long one of my Grail Games as I wanted one of those older hand made wooden versions. That opportunity never presented itself and then Roxley Games appeared and gave us all a chance at the game designed by Gord Hamilton. One of my oldest daughter’s favorite two player games, we have racked up over fifty logged plays of Santorini since it arrived on an icy day. How do I remember it was icy? Well, I picked it up off my porch as I was going back to work and took it with me. That afternoon we had an ice storm roll in and by the time I went home, our sidewalk and stairs were sheets of ice. Me being me, I decided to gingerly make it to the house with the game in hand, and I nearly made it. I got to the top step and as soon as I stepped I knew it was over. After what seemed like minutes of trying to regain my balance I managed to fling myself away from the concrete steps to the ice covered grass hill and Santorini went flying, as did I. It fared better than I did as it landed on the grass and slid to a calm, peaceful stop, meanwhile I careened down the hill, into the trash can and came to rest against my car. Luckily no broken bones, only scrapes and bruises and a game that survived that day and my purge. 49 logged plays since December 2016.
 
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77. Board Game: Seasons [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:218]
Board Game: Seasons
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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A bit of a departure for us really, but we absolutely love playing Seasons. I know when it came out folks were touting it as a Magic the Gathering styled card game, but that was never the draw for us as I never played Magic the Gathering. Dale has us covered on The OG. The thing that is always brought up when you mention Seasons is those big chonky dice that are the core of everything that happens. Roll the dice, draft the dice, gain resources, play some cards and hope to chain everything together into big monstrous turns that drive your opponents crazy. And that’s the part of the game we enjoy. Hunting down and finding the combinations in the cards and using them to score the most points. Also because of this combolicious nature of the game we tend to not play it with four players, preferably at two as downtime can be a thing and it is an AP inducing beast sometimes, but even with all of that, it’s an absolute delight to play. I believe there are two expansions for Seasons, we have one of them in the box and the other we never grabbed for some reason. But they are coming back with a reprint, so I’m sure we’ll add it in sooner than later. Now, how to track down all those promo cards. 27 plays since March 2013. Numerous unlogged online plays over on BGA.
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78. Board Game: Sentient [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:1086]
Board Game: Sentient
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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My Full review of Sentient can be found -> https://opinionatedgamers.com/2020/02/09/surviving-the-purge...

 
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79. Board Game: Seven Suitors [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
Board Game: Seven Suitors
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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Friend, and fellow OGer Chris Wray, created this ode to 7 Symbols, and 7 Nations so even if I hated it, I couldn’t give it away. But I don’t hate it. And in ways I like this a bit more than the other re-implementation of 7 Symbols, and 7 Nations, Yokai Septet. A very solid trick taking game with quite a bit of variability out of the box. Too bad there are only like five in existence and I know where most of those are. 2 plays since 2017.
 
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80. Board Game: Shaky Manor [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:5365]
Board Game: Shaky Manor
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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Another wonderful dexterity game that uses the box as part of the game. Shaky Manor is a game where players are trying to complete challenge cards by getting the correct things into the correct rooms. A manor is 8 different rooms of different colors and randomly there are wooden items in the rooms, from snakes to ghosts, spiders and eyeballs and each room has a doorway in between them. So, in order to actually complete the cards, you have to shake the actual manor and maneuver the items in your manor to the correct room. It’s lightweight, it’s challenging and even a bit frustrating at times, but ultimately, it’s a lot of fun to play. Would I have kept this one had my youngest daughter not requested it? Probably not, but we’re happy to have it around for some lighthearted easy to set up dexterity gaming. 3 plays since July 2018.
 
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81. Board Game: Small World [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:263] [Average Rating:7.26 Unranked]
Board Game: Small World
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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It’s a small world after all, it’s a small world after all. Sorry, now that song is going to be stuck in your head for the rest of the day, and I apologize. Would you believe there is no review for Small World on The OG? If there is, I can’t find it, but there is a review of Small World Realms, which is also on this shelf, but sadly, I’ve not even played it yet. Small World is Days of Wonder’s family weight area majority game that is a reimplementation of the lesser known Vinci. What makes Small World so endeared is the different way that the game will play based on the different combinations for the races and their powers. 14 races and 20 different powers create a lot of different possibilities and thus entirely different games. Combat is simple to explain and simple to perform making it a perfect family/gateway game. I really wish we played this one more often than we have, but everytime I go to get it off the shelf, something else grabs us. Days of Wonder has such a great lineup of these games. It’s weird that it may be the first one on this list so far though, but it will not be the last. 5 plays since 2012.
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82. Board Game: Star Realms [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:121] [Average Rating:7.58 Unranked]
Board Game: Star Realms
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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Primarily I play this on the app anymore, but I learned it and played it first on the table. Star Realms is a nearly perfect two player head to head deck builder that can play more, but I’ve rarely done so, although one of my favorite Star Realms experiences was a six player game. You are basically building your deck by buying new cards in hopes of reducing your opponent’s health to zero before they do the same to you. There are four different colors of cards, aka factions, and each of them has a distinct feel and works really well with other cards of the same factions. It’s rare though that you will be able to get all of the same color to play against your opponent, at least if they are paying attention it’ll be difficult. It’s fun, it plays quick, especially the app and I adore it, but here is my crowning moment for all to see.



Mary has us covered on The OG with a thorough look at Star Realms. 11 logged plays on the table, but I think there are far more. Countless matches on the app, well over 200.
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83. Board Game: Stick 'Em [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:1048]
Board Game: Stick 'Em
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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A German trick taking game that I was late to discovering, but thanks to Chris, I got to play and learn to love it. It’s a game that has long deserved a North American printing, but until recently, there was no sign of that happening. But thanks to Clay over at Capstone Games, it will soon, well at least fairly soon as Stick ‘em. The game is fairly rules light, at the beginning of a hand, players will choose one card from their hand and that suit becomes their “pain” suit, meaning that they do not want to take cards from that suit. At the end of a hand, each card of their pain suit that a player takes is worth negative points, face value, and every other card they have taken is worth one point. A hand is played like normal trick taking with a player leading a suit, and if everyone follows suit, the highest card of that suit wins and the player who played it then takes the trick. Each card played during a hand that is not the lead suit is considered a trump, so if a hand is played with different suits being played, the highest trump suited card will win the trick. Play as many hands as there are players and the highest point total wins, and it probably won’t be that much. Sticheln has a reputation as a mean trick taker, and it’s a reputation that is well earned. But the meanness comes from a place of strategy, and of fun. This is probably the best trick taking game out there, and thankfully, a lot of other folks who hadn’t had the chance to try it before, will now get to. 4 plays since November 2017.
 
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84. Board Game: Stockpile [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:344]
Board Game: Stockpile
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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I love simple market manipulation games, and while Acquire is one of my favorites in the genre, it ultimately was not one that my family enjoyed playing, but Stockpile is. Dale has everyone covered with the review here on The OG. I love that Stockpile gives you insider information and makes you use it. More than a bit shady, eh? I’ve also been fairly succesful in teaching Stockpile to just about everyone, and had them understand it. Acquire can have a bit more of a learning curve, or rather an understanding curve. Stockpile feels far more modern and it plays that way as well. We’ve added the expansions to the box, but honestly, I’ve yet to play with them, the game is nearly a perfect gateway game as it is. 8 plays since October 2016.
 
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85. Board Game: Survive: Escape from Atlantis! [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:288]
Board Game: Survive: Escape from Atlantis!
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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Another game with no presence on The OG in spite of it being a classic in my mind. Survive Escape from Atlantis has the pleasure of being the only game that I have ever seen one of my kids cry during. We, including her, still laugh about it to this day. If you have read many of these posts you can kind of tell that my family kind of likes direct confrontation, in a fun, light way. Not direct confrontation in a big war game, or big Ameritrash style game, but direct ways that we can completely screw over our opponents, or they can screw us over, but still manage to have fun the rest of the game. It’s a game about surviving the sinking of Atlantis. All of your people start out on the island, which consists of tiles of differing thicknesses representing different topography types of the island, and the meeples are of differing values from one to six. Meaning if a 3 point meeple escapes to safety they are worth three points. Once those meeples are put on the island though, you are not to look under them to see the value, it’s a bit of a memory thing. Each turn a player destroys a part of the island and can move some of their meeples and possibly a monster, or shark or whale, or dolphin. All of which can do different things, like eat other player’s meeples or sink their boats as they try to get to safety. It was a shark encounter that really upset my daughter, who was probably 5 or 6. It was a turning point in our gaming experience, from a game where I was always picked on, to a game where my kids mercilessly would attack their mom’s meeples any time they had a chance. We don’t play that way now, it’s a pretty even game when we play now, but rest assured, we will eat those meeples, sink those boats and leave your swimmers to drown in the middle of the ocean, so you better get ‘em moving quickly. 9 plays since 2015.
 
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86. Board Game: Takenoko [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:285]
Board Game: Takenoko
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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There is a very fun story for this one, a touching one even. But first, I’ll let Matt have the honors of telling everyone what exactly Takenoko is, and how it plays. To start with, Takenoko is firmly in the “I lIke it” ratings for me according to the OG scale, but sentimental reasons have it in an “I love it” rating. Let’s see, how is the best way to tell this, probably to just kind of copy an old blog post of mine from 2013, it’s a story that some have heard, so I apologize.

It all started with this comment on a Geeklist Item “Ugh, it might be worth it to drive 12 hours to Gencon for a one day pass just to pick this up and head back. I would be gamer dad of the millennium according to my daughter.”

Well technically, it started a bit earlier than that with me showing my daughter the giant sized Takenoko that was going to be sold to a select few. Then we saw it on the Gen Con 2013 Geeklist done by W. Eric Martin and she jokingly told me I would be the "Gamer Dad of the millennium" if I surprised her with it. But like most dads, I took it to heart and started thinking of a way to get up to Gen Con, if even just for a day, just so I could pick it up. I tried to talk my wife into it and she probably would have relented if our financial situation hadn't changed a bit due to us deciding it was time to sell our house and find a new, more up to date home. So frivolous spending on becoming Dad of the Millennium was out and I had come to grips with it. Then GenCon comes and I see that they were selling it for $300 and I was pretty happy that we had decided that I wasn't going to make the trip. If I had driven up there for that and then spent almost double what we had thought it would cost, I would have been sleeping in the garage, which is even more out of date than our house, for a few months.

Then, a month and a half after that comment I get a random email with the Title of "Random Question - Takenoko?". It was from a user asking if I had made the 12 hour trip to GenCon to pick up Takenoko. I explained to him that I had not made it up there and kind of explained why and then sent the geekmail, not thinking anything of it.

About a week or so later I get another Geekmail with the same subject, this time he apologized for the delay in reply and said that he had to check with Asmodee first, but wondered if I would like a copy of it. He went on to say that he wrote for a website called Meepletown and that he had been invited to a press event and was one of the media outlets that received a copy of the Collector's Edition Takenoko and he thought I should have the opportunity to be "Dad of the Year".

So I reply that while I would love a copy, I know how much the copies cost and I didn't think that I would be able to swing the price that I was sure it would fetch. To which I got an almost immediate reply of, "No no, I mean totally free."

That's when my jaw hit the floor, I mean I had heard of random acts of kindness happening on BGG, but I never really grasped that it really happened. If there was ever a case of being a blubbering idiot via Geekmail, that's what I turned into over the next couple geekmails that we exchanged, and I am still kind of blubbering. It's not everyday you encounter unselfishness and kindness like this, let alone on a website, even if this website houses all kinds of people that enjoy the same hobby as passionately as you do and your family does.

Fast forward to today at around 1:30 pm, I was on my lunch when the UPS man knocked at the door holding a box that had Takenoko all over the outside. My wife and I couldn't decide if we were going to let my daughter open it tonight or if we were going to wait till this weekend so we didn't interrupt any homework that might need to be done, but Gabby(my oldest daughter) had done her homework right after school at her Aunt's house AND helped make cupcakes for my brother's birthday and we couldn't keep it from her.

I put it in the FFG bag that we got from GenCon 2012 and handed her the bag and we let her dig in, and I will remember that goofy smile on her face for the rest of my life, she looked at me and said, "You got it for me!!!!" I told her the story of how this came to be and that it was the kindness of Derek Thompson, his co-writers at Meepletown, the folks at Asmodee and the community that is built every day here at BoardGameGeek that really deserved the thanks.

I have been rendered almost speechless, even my wife shed a tear and our three year old couldn't get enough of how HUGE the bamboo was.

Thank you Derek! I don't know if we'll be able to Pay it Forward quite like this, but we will most definitely try, and like I said, if you are ever in the Mid Missouri area and have some free time, I know a family that would love to play a game of Takenoko with you or just about any game.

From gallery of Vacabck



Now, I do wish that we had kept the smaller, more manageable version to play on. That die can do some damage, but it does bring a smile to my face to play it with the kids whenever they want to, even if some of those goal cards are a bit easier to fulfill than others late in the game. 18 plays since 2012.
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87. Board Game: Tuki [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:3247]
Board Game: Tuki
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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I love spatial puzzle games, but I am absolutely rubbish at playing them. I fumble around, placing stuff here and there hoping that it’ll fit, by the time I get close to figuring something out, everyone else has long been done. Tuki kind of evens the playing field for me somehow, and I don’t quite know how it does it, or how I do it. Tuki is a wonderful puzzle of a game. Each round a card is drawn and the players race to match the photo on the card using their blocks. Before drawing a card though you roll a dice to pick both the orientation of the card and whether or not the Tuki that you are building can touch the table, or if you have to build the design on top of the neutral blocks that you have. The last player to finish, or not finish, gains the card and after a certain number of cards are gained, that player is eliminated. Last person standing, so to speak, is the winner. I have zero business enjoying Tuki nearly as much as I do, but it manages to take a spatial puzzle and limit it, there are some downright difficult patterns to finish, but everyone has issues with them and some of the easier ones have so many different ways to complete them that it’s always interesting to look around the table after you are done and see the different routes that each player took to get to the same conclusion. Wonderful game. 5 plays since June 2019.
 
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88. Board Game: Völuspá [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:2199]
Board Game: Völuspá
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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The name is just wonderful to yell in your best Nordic yell. Mark has you covered for the full overview here on The OG. This shelf of games has games from two of the best tile placement designers working right now, Jeff Allers and Scott Caputo the designer of Voluspa. Tile placement is probably my favorite or second favorite mechanism in a board game. Find me a good Auction/Tile Placement game and I’d probably just pass out from excitement, maybe that’s close to what Isle of Skye & Castles of Mad King Ludwig are, but that’s neither here nor there. Voluspa is dead simple, play a tile from your hand to the board in one of the available lines and score it, if you can. The tiles have different abilities and some need different things to happen for them to score, so it’s a very tactical game with you watching what your opponent is doing and trying to not let them score too much based on what you play. Genius little game that I have mostly played online via Yucata, although we have played the cardboard version a handful of times. A fun theme, matched with fun accessible gameplay that rewards clever play. 4 plays since 2014 in physical form, but countless online games.
 
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89. Board Game: Zombie Kidz Evolution [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:577] [Average Rating:7.85 Unranked]
Board Game: Zombie Kidz Evolution
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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We really need to get back into this one as it is a wonderfully done Legacy styled family game. The school is being overrun by zombies and you and your friends are the only hope to stop them. Each game plays in about five minutes and the games increase in difficulty after each round. As you go there are envelopes to open that introduce new twists to the game increasing the difficulty and variability as you progress. Zombie Kidz Evolution has a wonderful way of keeping you interested, using a “trophy” system much like video games use. Each time you win you will check and see if you fulfilled one of the tasks, if you do, gain an extra trophy sticker for your path, as you progress down that path, that’s how the envelopes will open. Trophy Hunters beware, you could spend an evening and finish this in its entirety. We’ve chosen the slow and steady path, much like any Legacy styled game in our collection. I do worry that we don’t return to it, but I have faith. 8 plays since 2019.
 
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