Please let this game be good - Components that make you pray for gameplay
Josh Goodall
United States
Oregon
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There are games out there with stellar gameplay and there are games out there with killer bits. But when are those glorious moments when art meets great gameplay? Taking one look at a gameboard, or noticing the fine quality of the bits has often made me think "Please God let this game be good." The components just beg to be played! What games have you seen, and at first glance thought "Now THAT looks like a great game... hope it's not just a mirage."

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1. Board Game: Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:134]
 
Josh Goodall
United States
Oregon
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This is the game that sparked the idea. I got this game yesterday, and though I've been thinking it's going to be a good game anyways, the arkwork blew me away. The gameplay looks similar to We the People, and the map is incredible. Even my non-gamer roommate commented on the "awesome" looking board. I sure hope the game is as good (or better) than We the People, as I may end up playing this a lot.
 
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2. Board Game: A Game of Thrones (first edition) [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:312]
Josh Goodall
United States
Oregon
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I bought this game early on in my boardgame life. Upon opening the box, I was amazed with the great wooden bits and splendid board. The supply and fiefdoms track areas were large and easy to read, while looking like they fit on the board. The wooden pieces were a great change from my other wargame experience of Risk 2210's plastic bits. It felt distinctly "old", and I found myself hoping the game would be as fun to play as it was to look at.

Edit: It was (as fun to play as it was to look at).
 
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3. Board Game: Age of Napoleon [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:1655]
Josh Goodall
United States
Oregon
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Age of Napoleon has a map that won me over right away. In stark contrast to my other chit experiences of the time (Squad Leader and 3rd Reich), AoN's bits were covered with nice, vivid artwork. Additionally, the chits were much larger and had a feel of elegant simplicity to them. I only wish the rulebook had been a little easier to understand. The game is simple enough, though it's much easier if someone teaches you.
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4. Board Game: Bausack [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:822]
Josh Goodall
United States
Oregon
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A game with tons of oddly shaped wooden bits that you have to stack on top of each other? Sign me up! This is the kind of game that I wished Jenga was, and I had to get my hands on it. The feel of the wood wasn't as "heavy" as I had hoped for, but it certainly looks good on the table.
 
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5. Board Game: Britannia [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:541]
Josh Goodall
United States
Oregon
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The map of this game is large and in charge. There are a few reference tables on the board, but they are very well color coded and helped emphasize the historical element of the game. You could look at the board only and figure out how things were going to go down. The bits were of the same high quality that I found in Age of Napoleon, and I was highly impressed with the notes of each country on the chits. Talk about attention to detail! Sadly the gameplay left me feeling a little like History of the World, though I'll need a full play to get a better feel of this one. The components alone are begging for another try.
 
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6. Board Game: Hive [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:204]
Josh Goodall
United States
Oregon
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A game where I make the board as I go? With wooden bits and shiny, reflective insects? This has to be a great game. I loved the chess feel of the game, with each piece a living creature. The blocks were big and hefty, giving the game a real 3-D look. Add to this the easy gameplay and I found a real winner. Although, I'd have kept this one even if the gameplay wasn't that great. Talk about a much easier way to get little boys (or maybe girls) interested in games like chess: just give them bugs!
 
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7. Board Game: Lord of the Rings [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:699]
Josh Goodall
United States
Oregon
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The artwork on the various boards is spectacular. I love how the artist had his own vision of the events, and didn't try to make it look like Elijah Wood and Viggo Mortenson. I loved the hollow look of the circles on each track, and the Sauron piece was mean looking. I wasn't a huge fan of the "dunce" hats that you put on each track, and I may replace the figures with my own painted LotR miniatures from the Games Workshop Line. But the artwork, wow.
 
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8. Board Game: Mare Nostrum [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:1074]
Josh Goodall
United States
Oregon
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The size of this board was great. Nothing is crowded on each territory, something many wargames have problems with. I could place a ton of markers and armies into each territory and still see the names of each place. Additionally, the hero and wonder cards looked like ancient drawings, capturing the feel of the game. I think the looks of this one probably add a point to it's rating in my book.
 
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9. Board Game: O Zoo le Mio [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:1393]
Josh Goodall
United States
Oregon
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What a great set of tiles! The trees, the park benches, the different colored zoo visitors! Add in the artwork on each zoo tile and this game looks great! I wish they made a game that was 150% bigger, as sometimes the game can look a little crowded. But it is a fantastic looking game. Part of what I like about it is how each addition to the zoo really makes things change. You may add trees, benches, or even new visitors to your new exhibit. What a fun looking game!
 
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10. Board Game: Oasis [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:1246]
Josh Goodall
United States
Oregon
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A game in the desert. Barren wasteland. Boring right? Not even! Though the bits themselvs aren't super detailed, the change the board undergoes throughout the game is a lot of fun to watch. What starts as a dry desert turns into a flowering Oasis with trade routes and stoney steppes. By the end of the game there are many citizens of the new lands, with fields and pastures the signs of life. The cameeples keep the game 3-D, a lot of fun to play!
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11. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:279] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
Josh Goodall
United States
Oregon
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This is the first German game I ever played. I was introduced to it at a friend's house, and the game was already set up when I got there. It was unlike anything I had ever seen, and I found myself hoping it wasn't just another flash in the pan. I had seen games with great production quality before (think Mouse Trap or others), but this one had wooden pieces! Something set it apart, and I hoped that the looks of the game wasn't the only thing different. Suffice it to say I was pleasantly surprised at how immersive the game was, and how the landscape changed as players began to settle more and more of the board. The board looks like a real community by the end, with the bits doing a great job of providing an idea of who's winning.
 
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12. Board Game: Colosseum [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:351]
John Hilla
United States
Ferndale
Michigan
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I bought this game initially just because I thought it looked snifty ... Turns out I actually really like it, but I've had the opposite experience as well.
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13. Board Game: Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:534] [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
I will not rest until Biblios is in the Top 100. - Steve Oksienik
United States
Howell
Michigan
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Well I been watchin' while you been coughin, I've been drinking life while you've been nauseous, and so I drink to health while you kill yourself and I got just one thing that I can offer... Go on and save yourself and take it out on me
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You want to talk about a nice looking game? This is the one. Eyecandy galore. Luckily the game is good.
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14. Board Game: Mesopotamia [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1752]
Charles Hasegawa
United States
Chandler
Arizona
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This is a great looking game and sounds really neat, but all the games seemed to play out roughly the same way regardless of skill and most games came down to who got the lucky card draw...
 
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15. Board Game: Utopia [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:2775]
Bobby Doran
United States
Simi Valley
California
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This looks awesome...
 
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16. Board Game: Cleopatra and the Society of Architects [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:757]
Michelle Zentis
United Kingdom
London
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Such a gorgeous game! The gameplay didn't quite grab me, but I still get the urge to buy it just 'cause it's so pretty.
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17. Board Game: Saba: Palast der Königin [Average Rating:5.54 Overall Rank:12914]
Mark Jackson
United States
Goodlettsville
Tennessee
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Am I a man or am I a muppet? If I'm a muppet then I'm a very manly muppet!
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It has a 3-D castle in the middle of the board - which you add to as the game progresses.

Doug Garrett seems to like (check out episdoe 91 of his podcast, Garrett's Games & Geekiness) which should mean it's OK.
 
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18. Board Game: Starfarers of Catan [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:847]
Chris Ferejohn
United States
Mountain View
California
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Pitying fools as hard as I can...
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First one I thought of. Haven't played it, but boy the phalluses spaceships are cool. I've heard the gameplay is somewhat flawed, but I've also heard a couple rule tweaks can improve it markedly, and for components this nifty, seems like it would be worth the trouble...
 
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19. Board Game: Dread Pirate [Average Rating:5.23 Overall Rank:15142]
Stephen Sekela
United States
Camp Lejeune
North Carolina
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First game I thought of when I saw this list. Never played it, so I cannot give an assessment. However, the majority opinion seems to be that:

1) This is one of the most beautiful games around, and

2) This is one of the worst games around (as far as gameplay goes)
 
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20. Board Game: Conquest of the Empire [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:1135]
Stephen Sekela
United States
Camp Lejeune
North Carolina
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What a beauty!!! The gameboard is (almost literally) a work of art, and the bits are terrific!

Fortunately, it's a great game(s), too!
 
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