Of my Top 5 Solo Games, these didn’t make the 1PG Top 200 in 2020
Kirk Roberts
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This is a list to showcase personal favorite solo games that did not make the 1 Player Guild People’s Choice Top 200 list in 2020.

It is NOT saying any of these games SHOULD have made the top 200, because the games that should have made the list DID make the list. It’s a popularity contest among the voters. Case closed.

Primary criteria for inclusion
d10-1 It IS in my TOP 5* solo games (it’s possible that all of your top 5 are in the Top 200, and if so, please don’t post any games here).
d10-2 It is NOT in the 2020 People’s Choice Top 200 Solo Games. Please check to make sure the game is not listed there. Here is that list, titles only: https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/277814/2020-peoples-choic...

*Feel free to use the general comments at the bottom of the page to mention your favorites that are not in your top 5 and not in the Top 200.

Please follow these further guidelines to help keep the list mass down
thumbsup This is a TOP 5 game for me. Not #9. Not #14. Not even #6. #1 – 5 only, please. (put any others in the general comments below.)
thumbsup I played this game solo in 2020 (no theoretical or “hall of fame”/“emeritus” picks, please)
thumbsup I own this game and intend to keep it and keep playing it solo
thumbsup This is a tangible game, not 100% an app
thumbsup This game is not in the 2020 1PG People’s Choice Top 200 (should be obvious, but repeated just in case... did you check?)

Share your enjoyment!
Suggested information to include in your game comments:
E what do you like about it?
E how many times have you played it in 2020 and overall?
E what # is it on your solo game list?
E why do you think it isn’t in the Top 200?

Let’s try to keep comments positive and/or constructive, please. None of these games are in the Top 200 anyway. Adding general “I didn’t like it” or whatever is not going to help anyone.

Thanks for reading and thanks for sharing!

The list is ordered by BGG rank.

Thanks to @Zerbique, @wren08, and @davidcoleman in the 1PG for helping to shape the "top 5" restriction. This list will surely be more useful because of it!
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1. Board Game: Troyes [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:82]
Board Game: Troyes
Jonathan Arnold
United States
Medford
Massachusetts
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My #5 pick for Top 20 Solo game was Troyes. I just love this game, both multiplayer and solo. Unfortunately, due to "things", I haven't played multiplayer live yet. But I have played a number of times online and I liked it so much I bought the physical game and the Ladies expansion, in the hope that some day, once again, I might have folks over to play games.

But until that happens, the solo game for this is pretty solid. I think the way it is set up does a nice job of balancing work with pay back. You just roll 2 dice, add them together, and look them up on Le Roy's table and do it. Pretty straight forward. Just be sure to get the updated table from the BGG files section, because I guess the included page in the game is a translation mess.

As for why it isn't on the Top 200? No idea. It is a fairly well regarded game (#80 on BGG), that has a ton of replay value and unique mechanics. Combine that with an easy to run opponent, and you would think you'd have a recipe for success. Maybe the art work puts people off? Maybe it is a little hard to get these days? I dunno. I just love it.

As a shoutout, I would like to add my #6 pick, Tide of Iron. You have to play it the old fashioned grognard way of doing the best you can for each side, but the little miniatures are great, the rules are streamlined and I ended up getting nearly all the expansions. It was great that the "New Wave" versions were compatible with my original version. So much fun pushing the tanks around on my hex board.

Other games in my Top 20 that weren't even in the top 200 include Deadball: Year II (#8), The Colonists (#10), A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game (#14), Shadows of Malice (#15), Level 7 [Escape] (#17), Fireteam Zero (#18) and B-Sieged: Sons of the Abyss (#20). So that means nearly half my picks didn't even make the Top 200. Yikes.

I will have my Top 20 posted soon.
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2. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:178] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
Board Game: Carcassonne
Kirk Roberts
United States
Jonesborough (will trade by mail)
Tennessee
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My #5 solo game
28 solo plays so far in 2020, solo new in 2020

Have you heard of Carcassonne? laugh Did you know there is an official solo/coop variant released in 2020? It plays very differently than regular Carcassonne, and I love it. It feels more like a puzzle with some push your luck thrown in. As in the regular game you have to make the most of what you draw. It is a “beat your own score” game.

I like it so much that I am running solo challenges with predetermined tile draws if you want to try it out in the company of others! https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/822/carcassonne/forums/2...

Why is it not in the Top 200? I don’t know… too new? (just released this year) Too unknown? (released online only) Maybe Carcassonne is too old?
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3. Board Game: Kingdomino [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:214] [Average Rating:7.36 Unranked]
Board Game: Kingdomino
Kirk Roberts
United States
Jonesborough (will trade by mail)
Tennessee
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My #2 solo game
26 solo plays so far in 2020, solo new in 2020

I remember when Kingdomino was making waves on the way to winning the 2017 Spiel des Jahres a common comment on BGG was that it was “too light” or “featherlight”. Seeing those words here is now a pique to my curiosity.

After an initial honeymoon Kingdomino became the poster child for “a game I never ask to play, yet find very satisfying having just played it.” It languished on the shelf for a good while as shinier newness claimed table time.

Then, 2020. Covid. Sheltering. I started playing Kingdomino on Board Game Arena with friends. Interest is rekindled. For some reason I decided to try the fan-made Princess Dorothy “variant” found in the BGG forums. I put variant in quotes because Dorothy is really a robot player. The rules of the game don’t change at all, you’re just running Dorothy’s rules for her alongside playing the game normally yourself. It reminded me of how much I like the game.

I got a little obsessed with it. I had the idea to run a solo challenge for it but someone else beat me to it. When they dropped out the next month I started making the solo challenges myself. Then I started fiddling with how Dorothy worked. I loved how she picked tiles, so simple and logical. Unfortunately how she set up her kingdom was a big chore at the end of the game and felt too interpretive. So I changed it, and humility aside I think I made it much better: more integrated into the flow of the game and with zero judgment calls (I think, haha). It takes much less time to do and feels even faster than that because it is spread out throughout the game.
Link to solo challenges: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/204583/kingdomino/forums...

I think this game shines for me because it is simple, short, involves planning and placing tiles, and the art has the right whimsy for me. When I am done I can imagine my little kingdom being a real place and that tickles me in the right ways.

Why is it not in the Top 200? It’s a fan-made variant that has been mutated by another fan. Why in the world would anyone even try it?
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4. Board Game: Fire in the Lake [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:408]
Board Game: Fire in the Lake
Colin Taylor
United States
California
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My #3 game.

This is the game I'd spent the most time with without actually playing it. I found the bot flowcharts so confusing, with what I called precisely imprecise language, that I endeavored to rewrite them into a format I could understand. I spent ages on it, and ultimately never completed the project. I just got too wound up in the confusion.

But then something changed.

Why it isn't in the Top 200:

COIN games are pretty heavy games, and Fire in the Lake is at the upper end of the series in terms of complexity. Add on the price, and the pool of players is going to be pretty slim.

However, I suspect it may reappear in the future. Bruce Mansfield, the designer of Gandhi (the only COIN that looks like it'll be ranked this year), is applying his Arjuna bot system from that game to FitL. I was lucky enough to be a play tester for Trung, and it is good. Hence my ranking. But it isn't out just yet, so any impact won't be felt until next year's Top 200.

Colin
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5. Board Game: Defenders of the Realm [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:506]
Board Game: Defenders of the Realm
Toma Putere
Romania
Bucharest
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My #5

It's not in top 200.
Why? Because:
- It's 10 years old.
- There's also Pandemic in the market
- Pandemic Fall of Rome uses the same marching armies mechanic.
- Too many expansions released during the years that have differences in artwork and quality from the base game (some smaller minis, different colors on the minis, different hero board style...)

I like it because it offers a huge fantasy realm, with many things happening, heroes fighting armies of daemons, undeads, orcs and dragonkins, trying hard to defeat the evil generals.
It has dragons, it has quests.
And everything plays quickly and smooth, using the same basic mechanics as Pandemic (but with more complex heroes and actions).
I also like the art (but I agree that it is somehow old style and it is not for everybody).
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6. Board Game: Cuba Libre [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:513]
Board Game: Cuba Libre
Justin Green
United States
Georgetown
Texas
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I'm a big fam of this series of games, and Cuba Libre is my favorite.

I ranked this #4 on my 2020 top 20 list.

I like how the board is small and the actions are relatively simple, yet powerful (especially operation and special action combos).

There's never a shortage of dramatic turns.

Every game in this series is incredibly deep and Cuba Libre is no exception, despite its relatively low complexity.

I think this one gets overshadowed a bit by newer entries.

Lots of people are attracted to some of the other themes (Pendragon and Fire in the Lake seem to be particularly popular themes) and there's just a lot to choose from in general now that the series has expanded so much.

Ghandi also gets a lot of love from solo players due to the card based bots.

They are nice, but it's less of a draw for me since I prefer playing COIN games multi-handed if I'm playing solo.

Anyway, I've loved this game for several years now and will continue to enjoy it for years to come.
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7. Board Game: Villagers [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:628]
Board Game: Villagers
Eric Woning
United Kingdom
London
London
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I'm going out on a limb here... but I'm guessing Villagers will not make the top 200.
I think its a crying shame.
It's my #5

The baroness is a mean opponent - even in easy mode she's not friendly... but meet the real her - pfoeh!
But she is easy to handle.
So it's exactly what an non-real opponent should be like.

Artwork is great.
Tableau building is great.
It's quick to set up - the way the box is made makes it easy to table and easy to put back. And just writing about it makes me want to crack it out (though it's waaaay too late for it now.)

I think it was not too big a kickstarter and has not had a lot of shelf love. Also - I think that for a solo tableau builder, most will go for Everdell... though this is half the price (I haven't played Everdell - so I can't comment... except that many think it's less good as a solo game and I think this one is quite good solo)
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8. Board Game: Civilization: A New Dawn [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:658]
Board Game: Civilization: A New Dawn
Alexandre Santos
Belgium
Brussels
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My #5, new to me in 2020 and only one solo play before submission of the list, but the one I'm currently most looking forward to play solo.

It did not reach top 2020 top 200 probably because the web published solo mode is too recent.

It provides for a challenging opponent for a medium civ-game that keeps complexity low while retaining the flavor of civ games, specially with the Terra Incognita that just came out, and about which I wrote a first impression's report.

From gallery of AlexFS

The play's turning point, when Numidian's (red - me) manage to conquer the Aztec (automa) desert city and outflank them in the East. Up until then the Aztecs had been making inroads, even managing to sack Numidia's capital.

If the solo mode is updated to fully include the expansion material, I expect this game to reach top 3 status.
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9. Board Game: Pandemic: Rising Tide [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:712]
Board Game: Pandemic: Rising Tide
Justin Green
United States
Georgetown
Texas
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Pandemic: Rising Tide made my 2020 solo top 20 list at #5.

I'm a fan of pretty much all things Pandemic. I think the game system is very well designed and balanced and has stood the test of time, holding up to thousands and thousands of plays by thousands of players.

I don't play the standard game much solo anymore since I tend to save it for family gaming.

I like all of the spinoff games I've played, but this one is my favorite, edging out Iberia.

I particularly enjoy the water mechanism and how connectedness matters without resorting to a pick up and deliver type mechanism.

The alternate goals and population mechanism are great for added longevity as well.

Every game seems to play pretty differently and I always enjoy my plays.

I tend to go for this game when I can't decide what else to play and it has never disappointed.
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10. Board Game: Cooper Island [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:740]
Board Game: Cooper Island
Gretchen Fontenay
United States
Apison
TN
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This is my #1 solo game but I doubt it will make the top 200 because not that many people seem to know about it, it's heavier than many people like and it's a pure Euro. There aren't fancy dice or miniatures (at least until I get to blinging it!) and very few meeples.

I love it.

Edit: It did NOT make the top 200... this year. Or probably any other year to be honest.

I've been asked to expand on what I love about it so I'll try.

Cooper Island is tight... There are only 5 rounds and you start out with only two workers. You can get more workers... but the most you can have to place is four. There are five workers but when you get one of them, you have to use him or another worker on a card spot for the rest of the game. It gets you end game points but doesn't increase the number of workers you have to place for actions... and there are SO MANY ACTIONS! There are also so many resources... but you start out with very few and timing when to get more, what to get and how is mind bending.

Part of this is because your resources depend on how high you have build your part of the island. If you have three tiles on top of one another, the resource is worth three. But to build more on that tile or to place a building or statue on the tile, you have to spend the resource. You can move it to your board... but then it's only worth one- you lost two just by moving it- and space on your board is limited. Oh, and the resource doesn't replenish- you get it when you build... and never again until you build again.

Key to better play are your 'anytime' actions that don't require a worker. But sequencing is critical- in what order you do things is as important as what you do- otherwise you'll waste actions and resources and you cannot waste anything!

In the meantime, that dratted dog is paddling around the island picking up points... if you can throw an anchor on him it will only slow him down a little bit. And if he beats you... well, it's a bit embarrassing to be trounced by a dog, isn't it?

And there is no luck involved anywhere. There is some variation in which cards can be drawn when you build buildings but honestly I've only gotten a couple of cards out in any game- like anything else, they're a struggle to get. So, whatever your final score, luck had practically nothing to do with it, it's all how well you planned and how effectively you used your actions.

All in all, it's an optimization puzzle and there is never an obvious best move... you have to think ahead... no further than that... keep going... and the branches of the decision tree are myriad.

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11. Board Game: Calico [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:743]
Board Game: Calico
Calico was my number 4. I was totally biased towards it before I even got it: tile laying, cats, quilting, cute. All my jam.

I was ecstatic to see how well it played when I finally got it. It's my most played game this year by far. (Followed by The Isle of Cats, at about half the plays of Calico - same bias there and I love IoC more, but Calico is smaller with a quicker setup so it sees more table time.)
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12. Board Game: Fields of Green [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:806]
Board Game: Fields of Green
Sara Bear
United States
Centerville
Utah
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My #1.

What do you like about it?

The drafting for each year, how those decisions change based on met/ unmet goals, what's built in my farm, do I need more money, food, equipment, water, storage, and other things.

The spatial thinking, layout, and use of proximity or adjacency in what the things you are placing, or previously placed, need, and how they interact with other things in the area. Building something that feels like a farm, and looks like one.

The engine building.

The choices every firth during the year, where you USAbe to use one card, discard one, and can keep the third for consideration on your next turn.

The fact that I have had very few gameplay questions, and especially notably, almost no card interaction questions, which is something that usually pops up more for me than other people with games.

The appealing theme and art.


How many times have you played it in 2020 and overall?

Twice.


Why do you think it isn’t in the Top 200?

Thera are a number of more well known and highly played farming games. Several by one of the most known game designers. Also, the official solo is in the expansion. I have also seen that many who want to play solo, don't know how this game plays solo, nor where to find out what they need for that. Also, I don't think Artipia did much to promote this. Mostly I feel it's that a lot of guildies have played so many games, they can't see what Wilhite draw them to this.

For me, I don't have any other games that do what this does, and only one that has any half feeling in common with past of it. It's also a game I couldn't tell how it would feel to play, until I played.
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13. Board Game: Menara [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:842]
Board Game: Menara
Kirk Roberts
United States
Jonesborough (will trade by mail)
Tennessee
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My #4 solo game
7 solo plays so far in 2020, 18 all-time

I like when the physical enters the world of board games, so in general I like dexterity games. Menara combines stacking with resource management. There are some push your luck elements. It is a cooperative game that officially supports solo play. It takes me about 30-40 minutes depending on whether I make it to the end.

Right off the bat when I got the game I made a deck of cards to represent the temple floors so I wouldn’t have to shuffle those oddly shaped tiles. In addition to making the game more wieldy to set up and play it turns out the “floor deck” really opens up the ability to adjust the difficulty of the game (the expansion, which I do not have, also offers a deck of temple floor cards for this purpose).

This game feels magical for me. The way the temple rises up is always interesting. There are multiple tension spots: which pile of construction cards do I pull from? What construction “order” will I get? Do I dare put this floor in that precarious spot? Can I place these two columns at once to maintain the balance? It’s a delicious mix that I enjoy solo and with others, which is something I can’t say about most games.

Why is it not in the Top 200? I’m guessing two things: exposure and the dexterity element. I ordered my copy from Germany and I don’t think it was widely available until just recently. And are there ANY other dexterity games in the Top 200? I know they are rare for solo play, and maybe they are a particular taste anyhow.
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14. Board Game: Ambush! [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:860]
Board Game: Ambush!
Christophe Jannin
France
ORVAULT
Loire Atlantique
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My #3 on my top 20 list.

I have only 3 games from my Top 20 that made it to the the top 200, and I guess it says a lot about the games I like.

As someone said about my top, it'a pretty obscure list. I should say, not really. It's mostly older games (the oldest being my#1 : Magic Realm), non euros (only 2 on my top 20, and they are more hybrids than pure euro), and solo only wargames.

Ambush! is, IMHO, still today the best tactical combat and narrative game ever made.

I usually describe it by saying: reading Ambush! rulebook is like watching the Dirty Dozen or Kelly's Heroes. playing Ambush! is like being in those movies
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15. Board Game: Peloponnes [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:919]
Board Game: Peloponnes
This was my #2 for the 2020 voting.

I have 14 logged plays for the year and see a couple more to be had before the year's end.
I have owned this since 2011. I started off solo gaming with Agricola in 2010 and had seen this listed as Rhados #1 around that time, so I picked it up based on that recommendation. I now have over 50 plays. I did not keep track back then but I try to do so now.

It is easy to set up and has a satisfying challenge in each game. A great weeknight game to play for one with a busy schedule.
You have many starting civilizations to choose from and five levels of difficulty. So, variable and good replayability to be had.
There are disasters that happen throughout the game that you need to be watchful for, as well as my personal favorite in a solo game, a score to achieve for victory. I feel it gives a win/loss based on my skill and decisions, not a random AI or just playing for points.
It is also nothing like the card game, I much prefer this offering and quickly traded the card game. It would be like comparing farming to cooking in trying to find similarities in those games.

It is an older title and many solo gamers do not care for the victory conditions. The game box is much bigger than it needs to be and over time I have warmed to the artwork. The disasters tearing down what you have built may be distasteful to some, but they can be mitigated and offer a nice random in-game element.

On a side note, Bernd Eisenstein has produced one of the finest tile-layers with a win/loss condition. Palmyra is the one I refer to and when played on the third difficulty, my games are always close.
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16. Board Game: Tramways [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:1165]
Board Game: Tramways
Amused To Death
Netherlands
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This is my number three game, and I am really sad it has disappeared from the People's Choice Top 200 Solo Games. The more I play this game, the more I admire the mechanisms. I love how my tramways look, I love moving the passengers, and I love how puzzly this game is. Everything feels so satisfying. Tramways is so much more replayable than I thought it would be.

Has it disappeared from the list because this is a beat your own score game?
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17. Board Game: Clinic: Deluxe Edition [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:1215]
Board Game: Clinic: Deluxe Edition
Amused To Death
Netherlands
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Clinic was my number five. I know for sure this is going to get to my table over and over again. This Deluxe version is very pretty, and I love all the little wooden bits. (They nailed the colour for the zombie cubes. Yes, I am easily amused.) Somehow Clinic feels relaxing, unlike Tramways, which is objectively stressful. Both of these games are satisfying in their own ways. The solo variability seems much lower in Clinic than in Tramways, some modules are clearly better than others, but for some reason I don’t care. Playing this game feels strangely comfortable. Building my clinic comes natural, I always love moving everyone around as efficiently as possible, and really delight in bringing patients to the brink of death before curing them. Wait, what? Don’t judge, I need the money! The way everything comes together in this game is just as amazing as in Tramways.

It is a beat your own score game, just like Tramways. It is also an Alban Viard game. I see a pattern... I wish I could make people feel what I feel when I play these games.
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18. Board Game: Middara: Unintentional Malum – Act 1 [Average Rating:8.71 Overall Rank:1317]
Board Game: Middara: Unintentional Malum – Act 1
Dan B
United States
Meridian
Idaho
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My #3, although it fights for the top two positions with Nemo's War and Gloom of Kilforth. I've played through the entire game this year using a PNP version of the 1.1 update pack, having reset my campaign a couple of times due to major game-changing revisions to said update pack as it was in development.

Middara is, simply put, the richest tabletop game I've ever played in terms of lore and world-building. It easily rivals that of blockbuster JRPGs like Final Fantasy and cult classics like Disgaea (from which the creators took much inspiration). There's even a 30-minute narrated video on their website introducing players to the setting, which I highly recommend watching before playing the game.

I'm 100% certain that lack of availability is the only reason Middara didn't make it into the top 200 this year (it did appear at position #118 in the 2019 list when the first Kickstarter delivered) and that it will reappear at a higher position once the update pack delivers in February 2021.

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19. Board Game: Expedition: Northwest Passage [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:1378]
Board Game: Expedition: Northwest Passage
Steve Johansson
Australia
Cudal
NSW
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Straight up I must acknowledge who brought this ripper of a game to my attention.

Jessica
United States
Rochester
New York
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Since Jessica is busy hosting SGOYT, and I know for a fact it was her #2, how about I add this for both of us. After all it was the 'Breaker of Wallets' and her epic SGOYT posts that sold me on this.

And after many months of searching I stumbled across one in a BGG auction. This was highly anticipated after reading Jessica's reports and I have to say it did not let me down at all. And I need to add this is my #4 for 2020.

Plays this year: I think it is only 2, maybe 3. I don't record plays.

What did I like: Firstly I LOVE the theme. And for me at least, it oozes theme. Find your way through the fabled Northwest Passage and get home again. Secondly, the passage of the sun (which is brilliantly implemented) limiting how far you can get with your ship and meaning you have to time when to unload the sled and how you are going to assign the crew are critical. Then you are sledding while your ship is locked in the ice. Do you push to explore or do you chase the bonuses? And there is always something different happening in this game due to the random nature of you drawing tiles from a bag and laying them to fit, while trying to keep a path open for your ship. I really, really enjoy this.

At this point I have to add I am an absolute nutter for Antarctic exploration history. Shackleton, Scott, Amundsen, Mawson - I've read them all. But by far the best rollicking adventure story is Shackleton's Boat Journey by Captain Frank Worsley. It details the trip Shackleton, Worsley, Crean, Vincent and McNish made from desolate Elephant Island to a whaling town called Stromness on South Georgia Ialand. Given the conditions and the available resources it was an insane last gasp attempt to get Shackleton's crew rescued after their ship was crushed in sea ice. It is to my mind one of the most incredible things I have ever heard of and the way it is told by Worsley is nothing short of mesmerising. It is easily one of my favourite books of all time. And I think of it often when I pull this game out.

Why is it overlooked: apart from the difficulty acquiring this I honestly don't know. It's almost gaming nirvane for me whenever I drag it out. It was originally relaased in 2010 and I have never seen another copy of it in the flesh other than my own. I have only seen one other copy on the Geekmarket in Australia and that was over double the price of mine so I guess I got very lucky. I have heard others say they liked the mechanics but there wasn't enough there to bring them back. Fair enough - my love of Antarctic exploration elevates it massively for me and I understand not everyone will have that interest. I believe it is almost criminally under-appreciated. Such a wonderful play experience. I cannot recommend this highly enough.

And if you don't believe me, click on the link to read Jessica's reasoning for making it her #2. Complete with images and her wonderful story telling ability.
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20. Board Game: XenoShyft: Dreadmire [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:1626] [Average Rating:7.33 Unranked]
Board Game: XenoShyft: Dreadmire
Toma Putere
Romania
Bucharest
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This was my #1 and it didn’t get in top 200.

Why it is not in top 200?
- Multiplayer is long and many people dismissed it for this.
- There are other deck building games out there that are better promoted and get more appreciation (like Aeon's End).
- As a deck builder it doesn't revolutionize anything.
- It is hard to win.

Why I like it?
It works perfectly solo.
You buy units, buy equipment for them and try to survive wave after wave of aliens attacking your base on a distant planet.
Units are different (basic marines, special units, marines in huge armored suits), items are a lot and different (from grenades and machine guns to med kits and items that allow you to manipulate your deck).
It has units of different levels, it has enemies of different levels, so there is a sense of progression during the entire game.
The game is very thematic with good artwork and overall visuals.

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21. Board Game: Conquest of Paradise [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:1686]
Board Game: Conquest of Paradise
Steve Johansson
Australia
Cudal
NSW
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My #3.

I don't record plays but I know this one has 3 plays this year. My first 3 plays ever.

My wife and I rented a cabin, pretty much in the middle of nowhere, for a few days so she could edit her book of short stories in peace and quiet. As for me, I commandeered the kitchen table and played my way through a large stack of games I brought with me that were mostly unplayed. Couldn't do a lot else anyway - we were snowed in for 2 days. Which was brilliant.

I played 3 consecutive games on the last full day we were there and I was absolutely smitten with the game. Lots of pre reading of the accompanying background information, which was really interesting, and then just 4 and half hours of pure unfettered joy. I really got immersed in this but just don't have the table space to play it properly at home. The main board takes my entire table space which is a shame as I'd play the heck out of this otherwise.

What did I like? The randomness of what your exploration turned up and then the rush to get the islands populated. My first game I played entirely through exploring the unknown and colonising islands. It helped discovering New Zealand very early on. I also enjoyed the simplicity of the combat in my second attempt when I tested that side of the game out. Turns are quick and easy once you have the basic tenets worked out. It is certainly not the most in depth game as it's weighting indicates (2.47/5) but I always love the first half of my Civilisation games on PC where I am exploring the unknown, building cities, working on improvements - and well, here a large part of that is, all set in the beautiful South Pacific. Awesome.

Why is it overlooked? Well, it's a 2007 release and it's not easy to get hold of. And being a classic GMT game with a lot of counters it doesn't have that immediate table appeal many newer, and dare I say shallower, games have. Maybe people are turned off by the history of the time - it wasn't all laying on the beach and enjoying life. These were some brutal times for the Polynesians and colonisation isn't the most accessible topic to discuss without becoming emotive. So that could be an issue too. The history of the time is fascinating though, obviously with hindsight and the comfort of not being directly involved in it.

It was definitely someone in the 1PG that made me aware of it's existence - most likely through a SGOYT post. So to whoever that was, thank you for bringing this cracking game to my attention.
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22. Board Game: Four Against Darkness [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:1908]
Board Game: Four Against Darkness
Mark Perry
United States
Newtown
Pennsylvania
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This is my #2 game this year.

I long avoided this game system, because it ostensibly appeared to be a dungeon crawler. I am not a dungeon crawling, fantasy type or gamer, by any means.

But then with the pandemic, and wanting to try other things, I did, and wowwee, what a system! The ideas in the system , and the mechanics make clear toe that this is essentially the game I have been looking for for years.

I am surprised it hasn't made it to the top 200; I guess the bad press the core has gotten must have turned players off. This is too bad, since the core + the game book adventures + the supplements + the spin offs really make these games so special. And compared to most of what is available on KS, these are so much cheaper, and deliver exactly as promised.
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23. Board Game: Funkoverse Strategy Game [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:2288] [Average Rating:7.52 Unranked]
Board Game: Funkoverse Strategy Game
Sara Bear
United States
Centerville
Utah
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E what do you like about it?

DC comics, Harry Potter, and Jurassic Park smashups? Yes please, and that doesn't include Jaws or Back to the Cutie, yet, as I don't have them.

The character abilities really bring in the theme, often with movie quotes like, hold on to your butts.

Having Voldemort hse a Batarang, or Kool Aid man ride a Cleansweep 11, is awesome. Technically he's holding it, but he does use it to move more.

E how many times have you played it in 2020 and overall?

6-7

E what # is it on your solo game list?

3

E why do you think it isn’t in the Top 200?

I am playing two sides, there's no official solo. Plus, it's not cheap, though currently I am averaging almost half off, as I wait for sales. Also, some people may assume it's for kids, but there's good game play and decisions to be had.

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24. Board Game: Healthy Heart Hospital [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:2520]
Board Game: Healthy Heart Hospital
A M
United States
Virginia
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I know we still have 40 games to go, but given that Healthy Heart Hospital ranked at #294 in 2019 Top 200 season, I'm not holding my breath for an appearance. And that is a crying shame, because this is an amazing game.

What I Like: Everything! Well, almost everything. HHH is a great blend of luck and strategy/tactics. The theme really comes through - you feel like you're trying to save a failing hospital while managing a crush of patients. There is a good amount of replayability and variety (even more so with the recently released Nurses Expansion). It has an excellent risk/reward curve - you probably will lose the game if you don't take a few chances, but smart planning will let you hang on longer than if you constantly swing for the fences. The game has a great sense of dark humor for so serious a theme. It also sets the gold standard for diversity and representation in boardgames.

My only real complaint is that occasionally you get snowed under so quickly on your first couple of turns that you don't stand a chance. Even then, the game's easy setup makes resetting a minimal bother.

How Often Played: Not since February. I think this had a legit shot at #1 on my list this year, but then the pandemic hit, and I couldn't find the appeal of playing a game where you literally stack up tombstones for your dead patients. I'll break it out again soon, but for now it's a little too real.

My Ranking: My #2 solo game for 2020, up from its debut at #7 the year before. Hard to see it falling out of my Top 10 anytime soon.

Why It's Overlooked: For one thing, the theme is not for everyone. Some gamers like their themes grandiose and others like them quaint, but it's a special breed of masochist who thinks "bankrupt hospital administration" sounds like a good time. But more than that, I think the game tends to get lost in the crush of more lavish games put out by VPG. Some of these games have shared characteristics and feel, even if they are ultimately different in theme and mechanics, so I can understand if HHH got lost in the shuffle. (I personally let go of Infection: Humanity's Last Gasp, still a great game, when I realized I would always end up playing HHH instead.)
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25. Board Game: Dark Souls: The Card Game [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:2889]
Board Game: Dark Souls: The Card Game
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This was my number 4 - apparently I was the only person to vote for it...

Great game, almost impossible when playing solo single handed (since you have to block almost every single attack), but so much satisfaction when you finally beat it!

This year alone, I have played it at least 30 times..
(although not reflected in my play stats, since I only recently started recording my plays)

There have a few reviews that panned it completely, even one that said "soulless design!".. It does take a certain psyche to enjoy this (maybe I am masochist!)

I suggest watching playthrough videos to see if you would like it.

And it is from SteamForgedGames and also had the hated KickStarter name of "Dark Souls", so this becomes a non-starter for many.

Honorable mention - I had Terra Mystica as my No 7 - and it has an unofficial solo from Gaia Project.. once the official solo comes out, Terra Mystica will go up the rankings for sure..
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