I used to play this... now what?
Jeb Adams
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This list in inspired by another that points everyone new to the hobby straight into the warm embrace of worker placement and role selection; seemingly without regard for how someone might have gotten here.

Rare is the person who grew up playing the latest Ravensburger games. This list is for folks that grew up on a steady diet of Parker Bros, Milton Bradley, TSR, and the like. I'm opening this one up for public additions--but please try to maintain the spirit of the first few entries: think of a game folks actually played when young and point them to similar games that have more game in them. For example, what would someone that played Mouse Trap want to do now? Or Operation?

Find the game you used to play and check out the similarly played ones in the post and comments.

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1. Board Game: Dungeons & Dragons Basic Game [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:2202]
Jeb Adams
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I used to play...
Dungeons and Dragons.

Didn't we all? The game's still around, it's still a ton of fun, and it still requires you read a bunch of books, fill out character sheets, and suck up a lot of time. What to get some dungeoneering done in an afternoon? Try one of these options:

Descent: Journeys in the Dark. Expensive, but it's basically instant D&D. Has little figurines, map pieces, a "dungeon master". Expansions are plentiful--this rabbit hole can go deep if you want it to.

Also see: World of Warcraft: The Adventure Game, Talisman, and Runebound.
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2. Board Game: Monopoly [Average Rating:4.39 Overall Rank:15339]
Jeb Adams
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Monopoly.

What a coincidence! Me too! There's a lot of ways to improve on this venerable classic--first would be to play by the rules as printed--no more Free Parking, auction off properties if you don't want them, &c.

If you're looking for more games with a financial theme, but not as nasty as this one, try one of these:

Acquire. This game has been around for about half-as-long as Monopoly, but has stayed under the radar to a much larger degree. You and the other players are again, financiers, this time founding and merging hotel chains.

Also see: Power Grid, Buy Low, Sell High, or 1856.
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3. Board Game: Clue [Average Rating:5.65 Overall Rank:7618]
Jeb Adams
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Clue.

Let me guess: you recall fondly figuring out that lead pipe thing, and not so fondly the slow-motion crawl down the hallway because you rolled a 1 three turns in a row. Try these:

Battlestar Galactica. Instead of deducing who killed Mr. Boddy, you have to decide which players are going to kill us all--it may even be you. Shadows Over Camelot does much the same in a different setting.

Also see: Scotland Yard, Fury of Dracula, and for a Clue-in-reverse kick: Kill Doctor Lucky.
 
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4. Board Game: Risk [Average Rating:5.58 Overall Rank:14523]
Jeb Adams
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Risk.

So world domination's your bag, eh? We can fix you right up, sir. Try one of these...

Risk. Really. The game's pretty much the same. The most recent edition has added some other ways to win, so it's not such a slog. The themed versions from Star Wars (Original Trilogy and Clone Wars) are also excellent, as is Risk 2210 AD.

Also see: Nexus Ops, Hammer of the Scots, and Twilight Imperium*.

*This last one is huge: HUGE.
 
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5. Board Game: The Game of Life [Average Rating:4.19 Overall Rank:15341]
Jeb Adams
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Life.

Ugh. Hey, at least the stock market part was fun, amirite? Trust me here, you can do better...

Dragonland. Instead of collecting a job and some kids, you collect gemstones and dragon eggs. There's a little more to do here than in Life, because you have more pieces than you do dice to move them.

Also see: Lord of the Rings, Talisman (collect treasure and kill your friends!), and for some nostalgic laughs: Funny Friends.
 
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6. Board Game: Squad Leader [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:473]
Jeb Adams
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Squad Leader.

There were about nine hojillion hex-and-counter wargames that you may have enjoyed in those halcyon days, this entry represents them all. Your best bet to recapture all that childhood joy is just to find...

Squad Leader. If you loved it and wanted more, you can "graduate" to Advanced Squad Leader, via the Starter Kits (#1, #2, and #3.)

Also see: Conflict of Heroes, Combat Commander: Europe (or Pacific), and Commands and Colors: Ancients.
 
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7. Board Game: Rummy [Average Rating:5.74 Overall Rank:5880]
Jeb Adams
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Cards.

If you like card games, here's a nice collection of games that either have card game mechanics or use cards in interesting ways...

Ticket to Ride is a very well dressed Rummy game.

Also see: Race for the Galaxy, Battle Line, Bohnanza or Blue Moon.
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8. Board Game: Mille Bornes [Average Rating:5.68 Overall Rank:6235]
ErikPeter Walker
United States
Rochester
Minnesota
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Mille Bornes.

I used to have a blast playing this game with my sisters, but it does not hold up well in the age of (game design) enlightenment. Flipping cards to get a green light, just to have your opponent hinder you and restart the cycle? No fun. Multiple opponents can be especially brutal.

Happily there's a slew of newer games that involve drawing cards and building up a collection of goodies while you race for the finish line.

Race for the Galaxy is, simply put, one of the best.

Munchkin is another option, if ganging up on other players is what floats your boat. Or for more strategic meat, try Catan Card Game (not the closest match, since there's definitely some board-game-style spatial placement to deal with).

Collectible card games like Magic: The Gathering should scratch the itch as well.
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