Games that I played for the first time in 2008
Lowell Kempf
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Just what it says on the tin.

This year, I decided to track all the games I played for the first time, even the not-too-exciting ones.And, yes, I'll try anything at least once.

It was fun to put together the list and even more fun to play the games.
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1. Board Game: Afrika [Average Rating:6.65 Unranked]
Lowell Kempf
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A mancala varient. Not thrilling.
 
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2. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:16]
Lowell Kempf
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Dude, where's my farm?

The new giant of the board gaming world.

In fact, it really is a very good game. It almost lives up to the hype The vast number of cards give you a lot of different choices and replay value while the baseline game is incredibly solid and thematic. People are doing chores around the farm. The game would have to be severely rehauled to change the theme.

And, if you think it's all multi-player solitaire, you need to play with some of my friends. It can be a vicious game of denial.

Not my favorite new game of the year but easily in the top five.

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3. Board Game: Alak [Average Rating:4.97 Unranked]
Lowell Kempf
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It's an interesting idea but that's about all.
 
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4. Board Game: Alchemist [Average Rating:6.26 Overall Rank:2501]
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This is a curious game. The random elements are so limited that it really becomes a game of bluff and hardcore calculation. I'm not sure if I'd call it fun but I would call it thought provoking.
 
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5. Board Game: Army of Frogs [Average Rating:5.96 Overall Rank:4000]
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Lightning doesn't strike twice. Army of Frogs is a decent game, good for travel play and perfect for playing in a bar or the like, but it is not Hive, which is truly brilliant.

Still, nice parts, simple play and just enough random elements to keep it from being formulaic.
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6. Board Game: Australia [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:1894]
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This is a better game than people give it credit for. Yeah, it's no Torres but it is a good, light Euro game with a feel all its own.

There is a lot of room in this game for cunning plays and scoring multiple regions. You have a lot of choices to struggle with.

It also gets points for having pretty, brightly colored pieces.
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7. Board Game: The Awful Green Things From Outer Space [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:1619]
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Truly a look into a different world of gaming. The Awful Green Things dates back to a world where theme was king and wargames were princes.

Oh, and it's a whole lot of fun. I love how the game is solid yet tells a story that can be both dramatic and hysterical.

Ameritrash and proud of it!

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8. Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:62]
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I need to play this game more to get a real idea of what to think of it. It seems very solid, though, a very strong cooperative game.
 
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9. Board Game: Biblios [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:288]
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This game combines card drafting with auctions in a very interesting way.
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10. Board Game: Bison: Thunder on the Prairie [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:2338]
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Although it's near the top of the list, Bison was one of the last new-to-me games I learned in 2008.

Like Australia, Bison seems to get knocked for not being as good as Torres or the Mask trilogy.

However, when you take either game out of that contect, they're both quite good. While my color blindness was annoying in Bison, the game itself was solid. I really liked the number of possible choices you got with each separate action, at least if you set yourself up to have those choices.
 
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11. Board Game: Blockers! [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:1373]
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This is a truly great game. It scales well for 2, 4, and 5, offers some real choices and also is very easy to teach.
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12. Board Game: BuyWord [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:2906]
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Buy Word is not one of Sid Sackson's greatest masterpieces. In fact, compared to Acquire, Cant Stop, Executive Decision or Sleuth, it's not even a contender.

However, it is still a good game. In many ways, it is an economic game disguised as a word game, with the letters serving as an investment that you are trying to maximize your return on. The economic engine is the heart of the game, not the word creation.

I'm not in a huge hurry but I want to play it some more.
 
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13. Board Game: California [Average Rating:6.26 Overall Rank:2458]
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Thank you, Tanga. This game, which looks kind of dull at first glance, is really quite good. Every game I have played has been tight.

Its light enough for casual play but deep enough to make you think.
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14. Board Game: Cape Horn [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:4640]
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An older Euro with a different kind of feel. It's a race game and a nasty game. Well worth playing again.
 
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15. Board Game: Castle Keep [Average Rating:5.70 Overall Rank:7909]
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Maybe a little too simple and prone to endgames coming to fast if a player gets a really strong hand of tiles. Still, there is some strategy to the game and I only paid $4.00 for it.
 
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16. Board Game: Cathedral [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:1481]
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Need to play it some more.
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17. Board Game: Clash of the Gladiators [Average Rating:5.89 Overall Rank:4542]
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I have heard Clash of the Gladiators described as one of Knizia's weakest games. What are people talking about?

There are a lot of decisions in the game, both putting your teams together and chooseing which fights to pick. At the same time, the theme really comes through. This is Reiner Knizia doing Ameritrash and doing it well.
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18. Board Game: Colossal Arena [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:752]
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The unholy child of Euro and Ameri-Trash, this is a great game! I got to get it back on the table!
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19. Board Game: Condottiere [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:789]
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I have the new version. A neat cross between a card game and an abstract to form a war game.
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20. Board Game: Cosmic Cows [Average Rating:5.89 Overall Rank:5500]
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Yeah, it's a mindless dice game. However, just like Yahtzee, there are choices to be made and it has plastic cows! Yeah, this is an easy game to get folks to play.
 
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21. Board Game: Counting Zzzzs [Average Rating:5.64 Overall Rank:11879]
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It's not much of a game but I like it. It has a nice, dreamy feel.
 
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22. Board Game: Crocodile Pool Party [Average Rating:4.35 Overall Rank:15242]
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Not terrible. Just very boring.
 
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23. Board Game: Cronberg [Average Rating:6.00 Overall Rank:4937]
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I like the game but I'm not sure yet that it's well balanced. Luck of the draw can sometimes completely crush a players chances.
 
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24. Board Game: Den of Thieves [Average Rating:5.17 Overall Rank:13435]
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I bought Den of Thieves cheap years ago. For many reasons, it never made it off the shelf. Part of that was that I felt that most groups would have problems tracking 26 different roles, each with their own power.

And, I think that's still true. However, with a group that is willing to make that hurdle, it's a surprisingly good game. It's a take that game where you know all the possible choices people can make.

Luck still plays a big part but it does mean that you can make much better informed decisions than in a game like Munchkin.
 
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25. Board Game: Diceland: Deep White Sea [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:4151]
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Need to play it some more.
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