Biased Gamers Sound-Off
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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Let's be honest for a moment. There is no man in the world who is completely free of bias. We all have preferences and tendencies that lean one way or another. Many of these are ingrained in us when we are younger, and some are developed over time. But the most intriguing part is when we become so biased that we are willing to overlook flaws, and defend our preferences despite all arguments to the contrary.

This is true of our gaming life as well. Sometimes it's the first game you played of a particular genre, or it's the game that put a new twist on a familiar mechanic, or it's just the game that opened your eyes to the wider world of modern board games. But these games we grow so attached to, that even though in our heart of hearts we could possibly admit that the criticism is true, we will defend it to our dying breath as a superb game design.

This list is for those games. Please share games you are biased towards and perhaps make a guess at why you care so much about it.
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1. Board Game: Rage [Average Rating:6.19 Overall Rank:2675]
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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If I was honest with myself, I would admit that there are other trick-taking games that have more elegant rules. There are probably other even more enjoyable trick-taking games. But for some reason I always find myself defending this game as the best trick-taking game around.

My best guess is that I have some bias ingrained in me because this was the first trick-taking game I ever tried that wasn't played with a standard deck. It also doesn't hurt that everyone in my family absolutely adores the game. So if you hear me spouting off about this game, you might want to add a little grain of salt with that.
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2. Board Game: Lord of the Rings [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:699]
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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It's kind of hard to count the number of times someone has told me that this game is too dry or too themeless. And it always seems to get under my skin. I feel like saying "If you'd just play with me, I'd show you how awesome this game can be."

I think maybe the cause of this one is a combination of things. It was the first pure cooperative game I had ever played, which was a big plus. Also it exceeded my initial expectations by a ton. Then there's the theme that I love, and the good friend with whom I originally played the game. All this was a perfect storm to make it my favorite game, and a game that I will defend despite all rational arguments that oppose me.
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3. Board Game: Grass [Average Rating:5.95 Overall Rank:4303]
Mike Banks
United States
Harrisburg
Pennsylvania
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Well, I played a lot of MILLE BORNES growing up with my family -- it always seemed like a good game, something more interesting than the regular roll-n-move choices. Plus, it had a bit of an exotic flair, with French on the cards and such.

In the mid-80's, I picked up a copy of GRASS on a whim at a smoke shop, and it took about ten minutes to figure out that this was basically a re-themed implementation of MILLE BORNES -- at the time, that seemed like a good thing, for various reasons I won't go into.

However, I also discovered there are quite a few cards that are completely unique, play-wise, to GRASS -- these, plus the cutthroat open negotiation approach, are what quickly made this game stand out.

I've never understood why GRASS is rated so low on BGG -- aside from the possibility that the theme alone may turn some folks away. That's a shame, because it is a highly interactive, fast-paced, and dynamic game experience that's also dripping with theme.

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4. Board Game: Strat-O-Matic Baseball [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:1132]
Robert Carroll
United States
Joplin
Missouri
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I feel in love with this game in the 70s and cannot get it out from under my skin. Sure there are more developed, more statistically accurate, more realistic baseball stat games out there--Dynasty League Baseball a/k/a Dynasty League Baseball for one. But it is hard to forget your first love . . .
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5. Board Game: Tongiaki: Journey into the Unknown [Average Rating:6.24 Overall Rank:2192]
Greg Jones
United States
Washington
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The first game I thought of ... whenever giving recommendations. Or at least the lowest rank game I recommend.

I hear more bad things about this game on the 'Geek than good. People say it's too chaotic. True, with six players. That's how I first played it, but I enjoyed the theme, so I gave it another try. I ignore the max number of players stated on the box and say it should only be played with 2-3. With a game this off-the-radar, it's hard to get that message out to everybody though.

Even with 3, if you have an inexperienced player, the player to their left will almost always win. This is a game of not creating opportunities for your opponent. If you slip up and create one, it can be a big one, as big as sweeping all the opponents' boats off the board in one turn. Even with players who "get it", player 1 can lose to player 3 because of player's 2's mistake.

People have a hard time getting that you should play this with 2, because there are sea routes that can only be passed with 3 or more colors of boats. So, aren't those just impassable in a 2-player game? Yes. It's fine. It doesn't break the game in the slightest. The fact is half the time when you explore you find an island just next door, and don't have to pass any sea routes. Finding impassable routes is really kind of rare, and it's part of the game to sink every once in a while anyway. Some people play with one of the designer's suggested 2=player variants for adding non-player colors to the board. I haven't tried those. I'm reluctant to, because I think the game is really good with the original rules, and I don't want to mess it up.

Another problem that I overlook is that in the 2-player game, which is the best version, there is a rather horrible first-player advantage with an experienced player who knows how to exploit it. That's ok with me. It's still possible to win from second position, and I don't mind a game that's not fair if it's still fun. If you want fair, you can take turns going first. It's a short game.
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6. Board Game: PanzerBlitz [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:2007]
Hunga Dunga
Canada
Coquitlam
British Columbia
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Armor silhouettes.

I don't know what it is about 'em, but I rarely buy a game if they're not featured on the counters.



Admittedly, I own games that have counters using the graphic mechanized armor insignia, and I enjoy playing those games. But I always feel there's SOMETHING missing.

I guess I don't feel like saying, "Clank, clank, clank!" as I move the pieces across the board.

I dunno.

I'll be ok.
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7. Board Game: Abalone [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:1405]
Patrick Davis
South Korea
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This game turned my attention to abstract strategy games. Why I like it? The look and feel: I like how a simple rule set creates a freely shifting shape on the board. The sound: I find the "clack" as balls shift places satisfying.

I remember the first time a friend was reluctant to play this game because it is prone to deadlock. I refused to believe him, and purposefully played aggressively (and inevitably lost) in denial that smart play leads to a dull game.

It is still one of my favorite games, and will defend it against all detractors. To this day I hold out hope that an effective solution exists to correct its flaws without disturbing its simplicity.
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