Classic games and their BGG next door neighbours
Matt Musselman
Canada
Burnaby
BC
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Recommend
12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
One of the initially striking things about BGG to new non-gamer visitors is how low their classic family favourites rank next to most of the newer post-Euro-revolution games.

"How could this be? My family played and loved Monopoly for decades?" Yes, and people still eat fruited Jello salads, too, but it doesn't mean either of them are all that good.

There are still quite a few classics, however, like Go, Chess, and Scrabble, that still rank favourably to the newer games.

I thought it would be an interesting exercise to pick the 10 or so timeless classic games and list them side by side with their nearest neighbour in the rankings, to get a sense by example of exactly how some of the classics stack up.
Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
  • [+] Dice rolls
1. Board Game: Go [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:121]
Matt Musselman
Canada
Burnaby
BC
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The one timeless classic in the BGG top 100, Go remains the ultimate of the abstract strategies. (Yes, YINSH has a similar rating, but it'll take a while before it's as accepted as Go.)

One of the few games to truly live up to the "minute to learn, lifetime to master" catchphrases heard so often in relation to abstracts, its beauty and simplicity remain a role model for many game designers.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
2. Board Game: Combat Commander: Europe [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:102]
Matt Musselman
Canada
Burnaby
BC
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
And Go's nearest neighbour, Combat Commander: Europe, a card-driven World War II wargame from 2006.

Being not into wargames myself, I've never actually played, but I find it interesting that Go, whose mechanics often elicit comparisons to tactical battles for small pieces of territory, would be paired up with a game like this.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
3. Board Game: Mahjong [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:616]
Matt Musselman
Canada
Burnaby
BC
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quickly dropping out of the top 100, but still in the top 250 comes Mah Jongg (or Ma Jiang, in pinyin) the venerable Chinese set collection game.

Of all classic games, this one is probably most misrepresented, at least in the Western world, a beautiful and strategic rummy-like strategy game tarnished by its frequent association with the popular tile-matching computer solitaire game which has nothing to do with the real game.

Mah Jongg is one of those few games I've played where I've spent a whole Saturday playing before I even realized the time had passed, and, ironically, still didn't actually finish a whole official 16 hand game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
4. Board Game: Manila [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:614]
Matt Musselman
Canada
Burnaby
BC
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
And Mah Jongg's nearest neighbour, Manila, the well-rated 2005 game with the theme of shipping goods from the Philippines.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
5. Board Game: Chess [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:414] [Average Rating:7.09 Unranked]
 
Matt Musselman
Canada
Burnaby
BC
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Right next to Mah Jongg in the rankings is Chess, that king (no pun intended) of western abstract strategy games.

I'd be curious how many North Americans, if surveyed, would vote Chess as the #1 board game in terms of strategy and quality.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
6. Board Game: Java [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:719]
Matt Musselman
Canada
Burnaby
BC
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
And next to Chess is Java, part of Kramer and Kiesling's mask trilogy, an area-management semi-abstract set in Indonesia.

Java, and the rest of the mask trilogy (particularly Tikal, the highest-ranked of them) tend to elicit a very polarized response from people who try it for the first time -- these games seem to breed a love/hate relationship in the people who experience them.

It's interesting that, in my experience, Chess does much of the same thing. The people I knew growing up either loved it (and played almost nothing else), or despised it as musty, cerebral, and slow.

Perhaps it's an attribute of many of the low-200s sorts of games in general. I don't know.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
7. Board Game: Xiangqi [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:1003]
Matt Musselman
Canada
Burnaby
BC
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Xiang Qi, or Chinese Chess, is the board game of choice in much of eastern Asia. Several years ago when I was in Beijing, I could barely walk a block without passing a couple of guys in folding chairs and a wooden table, playing Xiang Qi with giant wooden pieces on a board made of paper or plastic tablecloth material.

I've tried to learn the rules, but could never find someone to play against and promptly forgot them again.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
8. Board Game: World in Flames [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:943] [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
Matt Musselman
Canada
Burnaby
BC
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Xiang Qi's nearest neighbour is World in Flames, an 8 hour marathon of a wargame released in Australia in the mid-80s.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
9. Board Game: Scrabble [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:1504]
Matt Musselman
Canada
Burnaby
BC
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Alongside Chess, Scrabble is probably the other stronghold of board gaming amongst North American classic gamers.

Despite being criticised, and often parodied, by people who don't care for it, it maintains a huge following, and quite a side industry in official Scrabble dictionaries, player aids, and other items.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
10. Board Game: Trans Europa [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:1168]
Matt Musselman
Canada
Burnaby
BC
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Next door to Scrabble is TransEuropa, oft maligned (along with its American cousin TransAmerica) as being an "overly light board game, with almost no strategy."

I don't mind a game of TransAmerica or TransEuropa every so often, and it's a decent gateway game, but somehow I would have thought that Scrabble would have ranked a little higher.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
11. Board Game: Backgammon [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:1087]
Matt Musselman
Canada
Burnaby
BC
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Backgammon, second only to Chess in terms of games most easily found in luggage and gift shops.

Backgammon still has a pretty strong following, I've found, and seems to enjoy a sort of "We're not chess players" subculture to it.

This is my in-laws' favourite game to play with each other, and I can fondly remember dozens of games played with my brother when we were young, and at which we were better matched than at Chess.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
12. Board Game: Attribute [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:2367]
Matt Musselman
Canada
Burnaby
BC
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Next to Backgammon is Attribute, the light-hearted 2002 concept-matching sheep-slapping game.

I'm not sure what most serious Backgammon enthusiasts would think of this, and I wonder if Backgammon, like Scrabble, might not be a little underrated on BGG?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
13. Board Game: Rummikub [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:1551]
Matt Musselman
Canada
Burnaby
BC
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Rummikub, a "new classic" that emerged in the late 70s, and started finding its way into Bridge circles and other gaming groups. It's still fairly popular in parts of Europe. My Romanian in-laws enjoy a game with their friends every so often, despite Backgammon being the favourite when it's just the two of them.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
14. Board Game: Orient Express [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:2661]
Matt Musselman
Canada
Burnaby
BC
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Rummikub's neighbour is the 1985 murder mystery game Orient Express.

I'd almost like to try this one for the chance to play with the interesting train components, if nothing else. I'm also a little partial to deduction games in general.

Incidentally, I found it interesting that this was the same ranking neighbourhood as Warhammer 40,000, which enjoys a great deal of popularity amongst serious gamers, at least those into tabletop miniatures, so we're not quite into bad game territory yet, despite being past 1000 in the rankings.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
15. Board Game: Kalah [Average Rating:5.86 Overall Rank:3456]
Matt Musselman
Canada
Burnaby
BC
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
A classic kid-friendly counting game of African origin, Mancala is a light tactical game which is can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. I'd never really heard of it until the late 80s or so, when it received a bit of a resurgence in North America.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
16. Board Game: Moai [Average Rating:6.24 Overall Rank:5318]
Matt Musselman
Canada
Burnaby
BC
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Mancala's partner is Adrian Dinu's 2007 strategy game Moai, set on Easter Island.

I've never had the opportunity to play this one.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
17. Board Game: Dominoes [Average Rating:5.44 Overall Rank:14949]
Matt Musselman
Canada
Burnaby
BC
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Dominoes, one of the perennially popular games in Latin and South America, and amongst certain groups in North America and Europe.

A semi-strategic tile-laying game which is simple enough to teach to kids, but still enjoyed by many adults.

Personally, I prefer Dominoes' trick-taking cousins, 42 and Tien Gao.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
18. Board Game: Trivial Pursuit: Junior [Average Rating:4.81 Overall Rank:14738]
Matt Musselman
Canada
Burnaby
BC
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ranked alongside Dominoes is the 1992 edition of Trivial Pursuit Junior.

This doesn't bode so well for Dominoes. . . .
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
19. Board Game: Pachisi [Average Rating:4.46 Overall Rank:15317]
Matt Musselman
Canada
Burnaby
BC
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
"Play the official game of India," many of us were told as kids.

Pachisi was not so bad, considering. For a roll and move game, it, like backgammon, provided tactical choices in terms of which pieces to move based on the dice roll, and provided some mechanisms for landing on other players' pawns and sending them back to the beginning.

Still, not exactly a brain burner by any means, and didn't have a lot of replay value.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
20. Board Game: Battleship [Average Rating:4.58 Overall Rank:15318]
Matt Musselman
Canada
Burnaby
BC
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
And what should we find next to Pachisi but Battleship, another mainstay of many people's childhoods.

I actually feel more bad for battleship being ranked next to Pachisi, rather than the other way around.

Sure there was a lot of luck in terms of the grid guessing, but effective sweeping techniques and deduction based on the already-discovered ships often resulted in a consistent winner of the game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
21. Board Game: Monopoly [Average Rating:4.40 Overall Rank:15327]
Matt Musselman
Canada
Burnaby
BC
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
What classic game is more picked on, despised, and otherwise derided than Monopoly?

We all spent hours as children on seemingly endless games of finding out whether the person who first landed on and purchased Boardwalk would actually win the game, or if it would be one of those rare 20% times when it was the Park Place person instead.

And we'll probably never put ourselves through that again.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
22. Board Game: Game of Goose [Average Rating:3.35 Overall Rank:15312]
Matt Musselman
Canada
Burnaby
BC
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Next to Monopoly, perhaps appropriately enough, is the Game of Goose.

While not necessarily known directly to most modern board gamers, it effectively set the stage for every roll-and-move style board game ever since, with players moving a pawn along the track by rolling a die, and experiencing special move-ahead/move-back spaces long the way.

There's no skill to this game at all -- strictly die-rolling luck, so even as much as I despise Monopoly, it's hard to argue that it and Goose are equivalent.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.