My favorite 'third world' games
Matthew Nadelhaft
Scotland
Edinburgh
Scotland
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Not games about colonization - sorry if the title is misleading - third world companies; the little guys who still have day jobs... and probably lose money with every game... but keep doing it 'cos they love the business! The dangerous thing about making this list is that any one of the companies might stop existing overnight. But I want to thank them.
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1. Board Game: Last Frontier: The Vesuvius Incident [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:3968]
Matthew Nadelhaft
Scotland
Edinburgh
Scotland
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I like to think of Fat Messiah Games as the Sonic Youth of the game industry: they've never managed to carve out a niche for themselves because every release is totally different from the others. But they are all high quality. I'm less fond of their "parlor-gamey" recent releases like Lifeboat and RoboTanks, although those are good fun. I like the ones that remind me of Task Force Games most!
 
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2. Board Game: HellRail (Second Perdition) [Average Rating:6.07 Overall Rank:8969]
Matthew Nadelhaft
Scotland
Edinburgh
Scotland
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Before Mayfair took over this game - when it was released in a handsome little box by Galloglass Games (now Glastyn Games). I don't know if this company is still around, but if they are, I am really looking forward to their next release. Have been for years, which isn't encouraging... BTW, I think this version is much better than the third edition. And lovely little pewter trains!
 
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3. Board Game: Hive [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:203]
Matthew Nadelhaft
Scotland
Edinburgh
Scotland
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Man, this is a gorgeous game! Thoughtful and well-made. One of the most consitently fun, playable, and strategic two-player games I own. I see that Gen.Two.Four has another game out: I'm gonna have to get it! Has anyone ever seen it for sale in the U.S.?
 
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4. Board Game: Vanished Planet [Average Rating:5.86 Overall Rank:6154]
Matthew Nadelhaft
Scotland
Edinburgh
Scotland
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When the company and game have the same name it must be "third world." What happens if they make a new game? This one must have cost a fortune to produce, and the run seems really small. It takes quite a while to learn but has a nice topic and tense, cooperative play.
 
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5. Board Game: Dying Lights [Average Rating:5.06 Overall Rank:13691]
Matthew Nadelhaft
Scotland
Edinburgh
Scotland
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Kind of similar theme to Vanished Planet, but even more depressing, and not at all cooperative! A card game with a serious, butt-kicking, complex combat system and careful fleet composition. Also, well-worth the price: not collectable! I really hope it stays in production and that GhazPork release more games.
 
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6. Board Game: Dungeoneer: Tomb of the Lich Lord [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:2591]
Matthew Nadelhaft
Scotland
Edinburgh
Scotland
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I'm counting this one because it was published by Citizen Games before going to Atlas. I don't even know who they are. A clever dungeon crawl with a neat mechanism: collecting and spending your own "glory" and opponents' "peril." It looks like this one will stay in print and be expanded, but are the Atlas relases compatable with the original?
 
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7. Board Game: Quest for the Dragonlords [Average Rating:5.57 Overall Rank:12180]
Matthew Nadelhaft
Scotland
Edinburgh
Scotland
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I think this game is "broken," but man, is it nice to look at! I also give it a high mark because it doesn't seem very hard to "fix" with some house rules. We just changed the victory conditions to make the quest mechanic a more important part of the game, and gave players a way to keep playing when their king is lost. I'm not fond of elimination games, especially long ones. Somebody always has to wander off and watch television for hours.
 
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8. Board Game: The Hills Rise Wild! [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:4741]
Matthew Nadelhaft
Scotland
Edinburgh
Scotland
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I think this might actually have been the first minis game I ever played? (somebody remind me if it wasn't, please!). Hillbilly zombies are always a hit. The rules are understandable and the chrome (spells, cannibalism, etc.) are fun. Is the expansion ever going to come out?
 
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9. Board Game: Zombies!!! [Average Rating:5.85 Overall Rank:4472] [Average Rating:5.85 Unranked]
Matthew Nadelhaft
Scotland
Edinburgh
Scotland
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This is another game that I'm claiming for my list because it was originally released by some company I had never heard of before going on to bigger and better things. Nice plastic zombies, too. Geez, that's two zombie games in a row. I look sick.
 
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10. Board Game: BattleBots [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Matthew Nadelhaft
Scotland
Edinburgh
Scotland
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I really hope this little company still exists, but I'm afraid they probably don't. I'm a sucker for neat, compact packaging (as one look at my microgame collection will tell you). I also like arena combat and robots. Two great tastes that taste great together...
 
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11. Board Game: Abduction [Average Rating:5.26 Overall Rank:14677]
Matthew Nadelhaft
Scotland
Edinburgh
Scotland
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I would have given this game a higher rating on the 1-10 scale if it hadn't been for the nauseating green color to everything. But it's still very humorous and you can play it at pretty much any gathering with any level of player.
 
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12. Board Game: Black Death [Average Rating:5.67 Overall Rank:11338]
Matthew Nadelhaft
Scotland
Edinburgh
Scotland
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Does BTRC still count as "third world?" A great party game, this one! Design and name your own disease and then compete for the highest body-count. A bit like Nuclear War but doesn't make you feel as guilty. Last time I played it one player was "lycanthropy," one was "syphilis," and another was "Hulkamania." I don't remember what my disease was.
 
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13. Board Game: Sucking Vacuum [Average Rating:5.58 Overall Rank:12560]
Matthew Nadelhaft
Scotland
Edinburgh
Scotland
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In its first edition, it just looks like another Cheapass rip-off. But it's imaginative and relatively fun to play. What is the new edition, $12? Still a better deal than those $30 Steve Jackson releases that rattle around in an empty box.
 
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14. Board Game: Heroes Incorporated [Average Rating:6.07 Overall Rank:6066]
Matthew Nadelhaft
Scotland
Edinburgh
Scotland
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I'm kind of embarrassed that I like this game of repeated dice rolling, so I'm going to shut up. It must be because it's about superheroes.
 
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15. Board Game: O Zoo le Mio [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:1392]
Jaap van Gruijthuijsen
Netherlands
Nijmegen
Gelderland
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A small dutch game designer that produces games in a tube. Colorfull artwork and well designed. Zoosim is the first game that got licensed by a big game company. His others games are certainly worth checking out too though.
 
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16. Board Game: Shendao [Average Rating:6.04 Unranked]
Gilles Kutten
Luxembourg
Bertrange
Unspecified
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Very small publisher from France has produced this "As d'Or" Winner. Very low-fi material and graphics, but the game is tremendous!
 
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