Best of the Lightweight Euro Games
Craig Viau
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I have moved all my lists to group them together. Any games added by others were included but all the comments have been lost.
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1. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:124] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Craig Viau
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With elegantly simple gameplay, Ticket to Ride can be learned in 3 minutes, while providing players with intense strategic and tactical decisions every turn. Players collect cards of various types of train cars they then use to claim railway routes in North America. The longer the routes, the more points they earn. Additional points come to those who fulfill Destination Tickets – goal cards that connect distant cities; and to the player who builds the longest continuous route.

“The rules are simple enough to write on a train ticket – each turn you either draw more cards, claim a route or get additional Destination Tickets”, says Ticket to Ride author, Alan R. Moon. “The tension comes from being forced to balance greed – adding more cards to your hand; and fear – losing a critical route to a competitor.”

(Revised my rating to 8 see extra comments added at bottom)I was and still am dissappointed with this game. It should/could be a 9 for me. Let me explain why. I feel very strongly that the bonuses for completing your rail links between cities is too small. In game play terms I'd add about a 25-50% to the value of the bonus to every city card. You could do this by adding 5 to every card or use a percentage as above. If you added say 30% a 10 would be worth 13. As the game sits its mainly about getting a east to west rail line using as many 5 or 6 link sections as you can. There is virtually no way you can win without using large links. I played a game where I drew mainly north south runs in the east. I completed 7 of 8 but as it turns out even if I'd completed 8 of 8 I still would have lost. This just doesn't seem right. A train game should primarily reward you for building clever rail lines not just a big sections where ever. If you wish you can overlook this completely and play it as a pure strategy game and have fun but I think it still limits the strategic options to one rather than two.

New Idea: we have revised our strategies to try a new concept which is to keep two small runs which you can complete easily and focus on playing a mainly defensive strategy to stop others from connecting thier big runs. If you get help from one or two other players who may also try this strategy, then completing a big run becomes difficult. This should nicely balance things out. If you really mess with one guy early he will have no choice but to join you in stopping someone else when he is not going to make his big runs. Then this can landslide to 3 or 4 people stopping the last one or two people trying for the big connection.
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2. Board Game: Citadels [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:316]
Craig Viau
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Players seek to build a collection of buildings worth from one to eight points. Once someone's built eight buildings, then the game is over and the player with the highest total value wins. However to facilitate the process (and make the game interesting), players sequentially chose a character from a rapidly dwindling pool of eight each turn. The characters give players special abilities for the turn.

For me this is a good game but not the be all and end all some people seem to think it is. On the positive side its portable, inexpensive and quick. Due to large majority of people rating this highly I've added it to the list.
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3. Board Game: Bohnanza [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:367]
Craig Viau
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As card games go, this one is quite revolutionary. Perhaps its oddest feature is that you cannot rearrange your hand, as you need to play the cards in the order that you draw them. The cards are colorful depictions of beans in various descriptive poses, and the object is to make coins by planting fields (sets) of these beans and then harvesting them. To help players match their cards up, the game features extensive trading and dealmaking. The newest English version is from Rio Grande games and it comes with the first expansion included in a slightly oversized box.
 
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4. Board Game: Alhambra [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:393]
Craig Viau
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Alhambra is the latest update to the stock market game Stimmt So!, only it has been completely rethemed with an Arabian theme and has added an additional tile-laying component.

Based on the fact that there is a quite a bit of luck in this game I would normally give it a 6 or less but I'm always a sucker for building a city or other types of structures. That and the fact that its a heck of a lot of fun to play.
 
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5. Board Game: Sticheln [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:808]
Craig Viau
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Similar in scope and evilness to David and Goliath, players seek to gather points by taking certain suits, while avoiding the negative points in other suits. At the beginning of each hand, each player selects one card from his hand, which becomes his 'pain' suit. The face value of all the cards from that suit he takes will be negative points. Positive points are won by taking any other card not in your 'pain' suit, however each of these cards is only worth a single point. Players need not follow suit if they don't wish to, however every card not in the suit led (except for the precious zeros) is considered a trump card, with the highest, earliest played trump card taking the trick.
 
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6. Board Game: Coloretto [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:482]
Craig Viau
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Friends of “quick and easy, but fun” card games may rejoice, as this is certainly a winner in this respect. It is not the deepest of games, but can be a satisfying filler or closer for an evening of games. Collect columns of colours, but beware of too many - too great diversity brings negative points!
The game is very easy, but not dumb, appealing to both gamers and non-gamers.
This game also contains a kind of "unofficial" Expansion Set for "Knatsch" (same publisher, same author).
The name for the game was subject of a competition- the winner was Sebastian Herzog, member of the "Spuiratzn" gaming group, Munich. The prize was a bunch of Abacus games....

Light card game but it has that special something that makes it a lot of fun. Its always fun to gamble on getting the right cards. There is room for some tough decisions on when to stay in and when to pull out.
 
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7. Board Game: Winner's Circle [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:678]
Craig Viau
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This is the revised version of Knizia's Turf Horse Racing (Gibsons 1995). While a number of details have changed, the basic mechanics have remained the same.

 
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8. Board Game: High Society [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:860]
Craig Viau
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In Reiner Knizia's High Society, players bid against each other to acquire the various trappings of wealth (positive-number and multiplier cards) while avoiding its pitfalls (negative number and divisor cards). While bidding, though, keep an eye on your remaining cash - at the end of the game, even though all those positive-number cards might add up to a win, the player with the least money isn't even considered for victory.
In 2003 published with a new theme by Amigo as Einfach Tierisch.
Excellent card game for up to 5 people. Its not really a card game, more of a bidding game. The luck is fairly minimal. The bidding is really intense. Knizia as usual has some excellent idea's and mechanisms. A true classic.
 
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9. Board Game: TransAmerica [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:893]
Craig Viau
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A very simple railway game. Each player has a set of 5 cities strung across the US that need to be connected by rail. Players place either 1 or 2 rails each turn. The player who can make the best use of the other players' networks is generally victorious.

Lots of comments from our group about this being the game Sante Fe should have been. This is a very fast lighter strategy game running about 15-30 minutes. I'd give it a 2 out of 10 for depth.
 
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10. Board Game: Fearsome Floors [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:910]
Craig Viau
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Finstere Flure (or 'Sinister Corridors') is the new big game from Friedemann Friese:

The storyline is a terrible attempt to continue the FFF-saga from last year with the players trying to escape from Fürst Fieso. But never mind the story, what we have is a wonderful race game in which the players must move through a dungeon as fast as possible - or at least within 14 turns - before it crumbles over their heads.

This could be done in 7 turns if everything was peaceful and quite, but unfortunately is the dungeon also the home of a very hungry monster!

Players must maneuver their disks through the dungeon trying to maniuplate the movement of a monster who is always after fresh prey. Players can try and lead the monster to opponents pieces, but may find themselves eaten instead! Pieces might slide along blood slicks, or be crushed between a boulder and a wall. You can even try to get the monster to teleport to another part of the board, where he will fall upon his next victim!

I'm giving this game a 7 because for families its a 8 but for my regular group it would probably be a 6. The game pulls off what it intended. This is a great lite family game. I've played this 4 times with my 6 year old son. He's won 3 of the games and almost beat me the last time. My wife and I had to give him some help but its a great game with a great theme. In regards to your usual gaming friends it should still be pointed out there is almost no luck in this game so it still has room for strategy and some devious plays.
 
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11. Board Game: Frank's Zoo [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:1195]
Craig Viau
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Categorizing this game as a trick-taking game might be a bit of a misnomer, as the object of each hand is to be the first one to run out cards, which makes it similar to The Great Dalmuti or the other non-trademarked off-color card games that many people know. The difference here is that the 'suits,' which are colorfully illustrated by Doris, are different kinds of animals, which each have a 'predator,' for lack of a better word. Players set out one to whatever cards of a particular variety, and someone can play onto that pile only if they have a like number (or more) of any of the animals which are pictured on the cards. After a set number of rounds which pair the players off, the most successful point-getter is the winner.

Some similarities to Gang of Four, the Great Dalmuti, Karriere Poker, President and Dilbert Corporate Shuffle. Frank's Zoo adds nice elements making it a worthy addition.
 
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12. Board Game: Wildlife Safari [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1299]
Craig Viau
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This game is one of those 'painfully simple' games, at least in concept. There are five different colored chips, with six cards, zero through five, in each of the colors. The cards are dealt out, and then players take turns playing a card and taking any available chip. When one color has all six cards played on it, then the game is over, and players use the last card played in each category to value their chips. The highest total value wins.

Description of 1996 Milton Bradley re-issue Quandary, for 2-4 players:

A game of placement, shares and nerve by Reiner Knizia, this is a lovely edition with nice, heavy tiles akin to Mah-jong pieces in weight and feel. Players in turn lay numbered pieces on tracks curling to the centre, and then take a share in a different colour. The round ends when a track is filled. Scoring is based on your total share multiplied by the value of the final tile played on each track. So if you are collecting blue shares, I'll try and lay a blue 1 as near last as possible. Then you'll want to play a blue 5 to raise your possible score, but must take a share in a different colour. Typical neat mechanism from Knizia, this game was also published by Amigo as Flinke Pinke. The difference being that was in a little box with cards & coins instead of tiles.

Description of 2002 Heidelberger re-issue, Thor, for 2-6 players:

This is yet another re-theming of an older game. In this case, the card game Flinke Pinke which was also sold as a tile game Quandary. In the basic game for 2-5 players, there are 4 suits with 6 cards numbered 0-5. There are also 5 character cards of each suit which are basically tokens that can be collected.

Depending on the number of players, all or all but 2 or 3 of the cards are dealt out. On their turn, each player plays one card in front of the same-colored character cards and draws any one character card. These are kept in front of each player. This continues until the 6th card of a suit is played. The round ends immediately and each token is worth the value of the last card played before it. The game lasts the number of rounds that there are players.

Description of 2003 Fantasy Flight Games re-issue, Loco!, for 2-4 players:

Here is the FOURTH version of the game that was originally Flinke Pinke only this time, the added "rule" is that whenever you play a card with a value of "0", you must say "Loco!" aloud or forfeit your opportunity to select one of the colored chips. Apart from that, the game is identical.

A fun game of hand management, psychological manipulation, bluffing and share prices. Easy to teach and good light fun.
 
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13. Board Game: Members Only [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:3511]
Craig Viau
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This game is clearly a relative of Herr Knizia's other more-popular betting game, Titan: the Arena. In this case, players place bets on how many cards of the six available types are held by players. A bet is simply placed on the included board, with the odds clearly noted on the board. A fairly easy bet only pays one point, whereas a long-shot bet can return four or five points. Plus players can increase their returns by using a reuseable 'doubler' token, or placing the bet with their single double bet token. Once each category has a player in the five plus region for payouts, the game ends and the most successful wager-mongar takes the victory.

I am rating this game an 8 because thats how much fun it is. On paper I can't explain it so I'm going with my gut reaction. It involves deduction, playing the odds, some negotiation and card management. Although in my opinion this could be increased easily which would also add to the players control by simply dealing a larger hand and discarding more at the end of the round.
 
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14. Board Game: Career Poker [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:4718]
Craig Viau
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Career Poker offers each player a job at the firm of Crazy & Co. The positions within the company are constantly changing. So the boss’s chair can start wobbling, and before you know it the journeyman is calling the shots. But beware! The last one left sitting on their cards gets stuck with the dirty work and is the dishwasher.

Similar to Gang of Four, The Great Dalmuti, President, Dilbert Corporate Shuffle and somewhat similar to Frank's Zoo. This game accommodates up to 8 players which is a bonus. So of the group this may be the best one to get.
 
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15. Board Game: Money! [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1420]
Craig Viau
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The object of this gorgeous Reiner Knizia card game is to collect as many of one type of currency as possible. Players bid cards from their hands to exchange for 'lots' of cards, with the order being determined by whoever put out the highest valued cards. The cards themselves are renditions of currencies from around the world, with vibrant colors and designs on all of them, except for the boring old American dollar.

To describe this game it may not seem like much but the game experience is a lot of fun so I'll give it a seven. You have to take cards out of your hand to bid on cards you want. Two sets of 4 cards are turned over and the highest bidder takes his pick of one of those piles or any of the other bids. The next highest bidder then follows. The two left over bids then get restocked to 4 cards each. It is a relatively simple game but a lot of fun.
 
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16. Board Game: Ivanhoe [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1670]
Craig Viau
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"Take on the role of a knight and join the prestigious tournaments at the king's court. Use your cards to win the jousting competitions, or fight with your sword, axe or morningstar. Rally your squires, gain the support of a maiden, and play action cards against your opponents. The first player to win four or five different tournaments becomes the overall victor."

Fun card game. Lighter but still requiring some skill. Lots of special cards do add to the luck verses skill but they do make it more exciting and proper play of those cards is still critical. With lots of cards the luck should tend to even out because its not like you will only get one or two in a round.
 
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17. Board Game: Gloria Picktoria [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:2419]
Craig Viau
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A bidding game about making as much money as possible from acquiring commodities at the best prices.
Also published in the USA as Get the Goods.
 
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18. Board Game: King Me! [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:1934]
Craig Viau
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With the announcement of the King's retirement, the pirouette for succession begins! All of his subjects from cobbler to cook, painter to paladin, debutante to duchess bustle about the castle in preparation for the succession. One of your favorites can attain the throne. But, beware! it will require clever maneuvering and selective positioning to be in the right place at the right time to achieve the crown!

A nice light diversion. Limited strategy but as a light game its just fine in fact I think it's one of the better ones. There is a great deal of fun factor to it. It falls into what i call the double think category. (Second guessing what your opponents might do.) Usually I don't like that type of game that much but this one makes it very interesting.
 
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19. Board Game: Nicht die Bohne! [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:2528]
Craig Viau
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This warped but fun card game is more intense than it first appears to be. Players try to collect points in four different suits, but along the way points can be made negative instead of positive or even cancelled entirely by taking one of the Nicht die Bohne cards. With its interesting trading mechanism, this game can be a little hard to grasp at first, but it's worth the effort. A note to the wise: although this game shares a common theme of beans (bohnes) with Bohnanza, that's about the only similarity.

Fun card game. Quick. Decent strategy. Very solid game but not outstanding.
 
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20. Board Game: King's Gate [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:3165]
Craig Viau
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The king is dying and the nobles (the players) try to get influence enough to be the next chosen. Influence is achieved by surrounding key areas (palace, library,) with buildings you control. The opponents can erect new buildings over the ones you already built so be careful. Like in all good games there is a dragon It can be sent for destruction of your opponents’ buildings.

Fast lighter strategy game. We played with one wrong rule which gave me a landslide victory but it still looks like an excellent game. For a quick game its a lot of fun and still requires some level of strategy to win. No doubt my brilliant play had a lot to do with the victory. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Ok played this again with the correct rules and lost. But to be honest there was some collusion. My opinion holds this is a excellent filler game. coming in around 30 miniutes.
 
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21. Board Game: Paris Paris [Average Rating:6.20 Overall Rank:2794]
Craig Viau
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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Every year, millions of tourists visit Paris and the many attractions the city has to offer. To the joy of the Parisian business owners – represented by the players – the tourists leave a substantial amount of their vacation
money in the Cafés, Bistros, and Souvenir shops. There are five tour bus operators that offer different routes. The places where the most successful tour buses stop are great places to open businesses that cater to tourists. Then the next time the tour comes by, the owners can reap big rewards for their investments. The player who earns the most money will win the game.

Fun game which I plan to aquire. Easy to learn. Quick to play. The game involves choosing which locations on bus routes to place you markers and collecting points as buses pass by. You choose your location by picking a tile from a group of tiles that are randomly turned over. One more tile is turned over than players. The points are then scored by players with markers on or closest to the location tile that was not chosen. The major scoring involves when buses run along one of the entire bus routes of which there are 5. I'm not sure the strategy boils down to much more than just picking the best location which is almost always one of the main intersections crossed by two bus routes. I had a lot of fun with this game but I'm not sure it will have staying power.
 
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