...what's one more?
Joe Saul-Sehy
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Over the holidays my family plays TONS of games. Here is what we played and my thoughts on each, along with my picks for "game of the break" in each category.

I love reading these lists, so if you're like me....hope you get ideas on what your family might enjoy from this.
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1. Board Game: Seasons: The Calendar Rummy Game [Average Rating:6.20 Overall Rank:9198]
Joe Saul-Sehy
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MOST PLAYED GAME OF THE BREAK: This was played more than 10 times by someone in the family. Whenever there was a spare moment, Seasons was coming out.

What do I think of it? I think it's Rummy on steroids. We're big rummy players, so it's awesome for us. However, if you're just a casual fan of rummy, I'd recommend starting with the Mystery Rummy series first.
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2. Board Game: Mr. Jack [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:412]
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We played two games and Jack was caught each time. Everyone I play this game with wants to play it again immediately. Tense gameplay, quick actions, and lots of replay value because Jack changes every time. I can't see myself ever wanting the expansion people. The game does exactly what I want it to do "as is."
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3. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:294]
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I haven't played this game in over a year. However, now that I've returned to it I remember how much I liked the game. This is lots of fun, with cards that always seem to come up right after you gave up on it and played around it.

We played this a couple of times since returning home because of how fun it was. My wife was surprised when I brought it out after so long.
 
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4. Board Game: Manila [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:614]
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I brought Manila because I hadn't played it in nearly a year. I'm glad I did. My son, dad, and sister all moved boats down the river to score gold. This is a fun, casino-type game that never seems to get big press around here. Highly recommended.
 
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5. Board Game: Thebes [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:377]
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My brother in law and sister wanted to try this game, so they sat down with my son and I and played. I love the thematic gameplay here, but didn't come close to winning. However, this game is more about the journey than the ending.
 
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6. Board Game: Liar's Dice [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:563]
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We have the pictured version of this game, which never ceases to be a topic of conversation. I finally got this game three months ago and have never regretted it. My parents love this game, so it always comes out at family gatherings. I'm pretty good, but my dad is the liar's dice ace.
 
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7. Board Game: Poker [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:864]
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We have a texas hold 'em family tournament every year. In this year's version my wife (who never plays poker!) managed to get into the final two with my brother in law before going to bed, handing over her tournament life to me....which I lost for her about five hands later. I never seemed to get any good cards this year.
 
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8. Board Game: Manhattan [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:991]
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Another recent purchase I'm glad I made. We must have played this five times because my sister and dad like it so much. We played vanilla. Can't wait to add godzilla.
 
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9. Board Game: Can't Stop [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:623]
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This has become a staple of the group who wakes up early. No thought...just drink coffee and roll dice.
 
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10. Board Game: 1960: The Making of the President [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:157]
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I decided to teach this to my brother in law late at night. He really didn't seem to want to play. We were very tired before we started. However, we gave it a go, and were both glad we did. We finished in around two hours (pretty good for his first time playing the game), and in this election Nixon (me) was against the wall until the final two weeks. A large part of this game seems couched in having played the game before. Both brother in law's who played this game so far took me to the brink until two weeks to go, when I pulled away and won easily both times. I don't think the second time will be as easy against either of them.
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11. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:279] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
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Doesn't it feel good just to play the original sometimes? I was really looking to play old favorites this XMas. I think I'm getting burned out on all of my new games all the time. I want to begin digging in 2008 to play what I own more often. However, I think I said the same thing last year....
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12. Board Game: Things... [Average Rating:6.13 Overall Rank:2969] [Average Rating:6.13 Unranked]
Joe Saul-Sehy
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PARTY GAME OF THE XMAS BREAK. Best things question/answer: Things that make you think you're finally going crazy:

Answer: when your imaginary friend begins ignoring you.
 
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13. Board Game: Wits & Wagers [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:501]
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I think this is our family's favorite party game besides "things." Only my wife doesn't like it (and I think it's the victory conditions at the end). We'll try the second edition rules to see if this changes her mind.
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14. Board Game: Duel in the Dark [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:1679]
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TWO PLAYER GAME OF THE XMAS BREAK: We tried the advanced rules for the first time and couldn't put the game down. The advanced rules takes a good game and makes it much more gripping because of the changing weather, new pieces on the ground (which are far easier to implement than I had imagined) and the token system. Probably my favorite games of the holiday.
 
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15. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: USA 1910 [Average Rating:8.01 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.01 Unranked]
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We played the mega game and somehow (blind squirrel) I pulled out the win by completing tons of tickets. I thought about bringing Europe or Marklin along, but decided playing a 1910 variant would be good since we don't touch them much.
 
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16. Board Game: Battle Cry [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:615]
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I brought out the grand-daddy because I haven't played it in soooo long. We played Kern's Farm. As the confederates I made good use of the fence row to wipe out the union. We were going to turn the board around and play again but ran out of time.
 
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17. Board Game: Dart Wars [Average Rating:5.36 Overall Rank:13743]
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Okay, on this one I violated rule #1 of teaching games....know it ahead of time. However, we navigated my rules ambiguity and had a generally good time playing this. But it wasn't as fun as I'd hoped. Even though we like darts and the game plays similarly to any global domination game, I think i'd rather pull out the real thing (either darts or a global domination game) than plan this hybrid.

By the way, if you have this, the bottom of the board needs the slope up to hold the darts in place. We tried to tape the bottom to the wall to get ride of the curl and immediately the darts began falling off.
 
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18. Board Game: Dream Factory [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:576]
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If you haven't played this, what are you waiting for? We played my favorite game and this time...I was never really a factor. I seemed mired in second the entire game. However, my sister, whom we had all discounted, ran away with the win.
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19. Board Game: The Pillars of the Earth [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:231]
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I thought my sister would enjoy learning how to build the cathedral, even though we'd been playing games for three days straight and were all tired...and I was correct, although it didn't start well. I could see her eyes glazing over as I explained the rules. What was interesting was that my wife walked by while we were playing and commented "oh, the cathedral game. I like this one." She'd only played it once and hadn't mentioned it since, so I was shocked. Also interesting was that while my brother in law, sister, and I all focused on building our "machine", my son went for straight victory points every time possible and beat us by a mile.
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