To each his own - Games that have excellent player reference sheets
Jason Lott
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Cheverly
Maryland
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Inspired by this item in Blott's great geeklist on game explaining, I'd like to have us honor games that provide excellent player reference sheets. You know there are the games that really need them (hence all those file uploads to BGG). But which games do it right from the outset? Who should game designers be taking their cues from?

I've included a few of my favorites to get things started.
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1. Board Game: Cleopatra and the Society of Architects [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:760]
Jason Lott
United States
Cheverly
Maryland
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It's probably no surprise that I'm starting with a couple of Days of Wonder games. They have a reputation for strong components and rulebooks.

I love that Cleopatra provides everything a player needs to know on a small 2-sided reference sheet. What special cards do, how to do an offering, what constitutes a sanctuary - it's all in there. I appreciate that I can point to something on the sheet for new players when they have a question.
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2. Board Game: Colosseum [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:352]
Jason Lott
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Another handy (and very necessary) reference sheet comes with Colosseum. Players get all the requirements for the mid-level and high-level performances, so they can plan ahead. They also have an easy reference for how to score, and the order of player turns.

When we play we tend to read right down the front of the card as the game turns progress, and also when scoring. Most helpful.
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3. Board Game: Tikal [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:219]
Jason Lott
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Cheverly
Maryland
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A more creative, but still helpful reference are the cards players get in Tikal. Through the symbols on the cards, players can remember what their options are each turn, and how many action points are required.

Also great is that the cards are two-sided, offering the options for the auction version on the back!

I really appreciate this well-thought out (and attractive) reference.
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4. Board Game: Vikings [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:312]
 
Bryan Maxwell
United States
Burtchville
Michigan
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Vikings comes with a little scoring round/endgame cheat sheet for each player. The scoring round reminder is handy for new players until they get the hang of things, the endgame scoring reminder is handy for a much longer.
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5. Board Game: Manoeuvre [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:646]
Kent Reuber
United States
San Mateo
California
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I write a lot of summary sheets for games. To date, I've uploaded over 90 of them. Manoeuvre has one of the best player reference sheets that I've seen: it describes the turn sequence well and spells out most of the fiddly rules. The only things I would add is the setup for random scenarios where one player chooses terrain, one player chooses, armies, etc.
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6. Board Game: Citadels [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:320]
Barry
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Gold Canyon
Arizona
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This game provides a handy little card that outlines the players turn actions on one side plus scoring rules on the reverse. It's not a difficult game at all but, it's nice for those just learning the game.
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7. Board Game: Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:539] [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Barry
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Includes very nice turn summary cards that explain what needs to be done and in what order for both hero and zombie players. They are a huge help.
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8. Board Game: Neuroshima Hex! [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:209] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Yoki Erdtman
Sweden
Södertälje
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I really like the player aids in Neuroshima Hex!, but was sad to find that Portal did not include any in the Neuroshima Hex! Babel13 expansion.
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9. Board Game: Small World [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:185] [Average Rating:7.32 Unranked]
Tiwaz Tyrsfist
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Gladstone
Missouri
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Small worlds reference sheet, with all the race and power badge powers on one side, and the rules of play on the other. Probably the FINEST player aid I have ever gotten with a game.
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10. Board Game: Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:26]
Edwin Priest
United States
Inverness
Illinois
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These are the most helpful player references I have come across. They truly speed the flow of the game and have been invaluable for us.

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11. Board Game: Age of Conan: The Strategy Board Game [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:1343]
Ferran Solà
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Barcelona
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Age of Conan hast four player ref. sheets, that are very helpful, specially the first games played. They are still helpful after learning the games, but it really helps and makes having to read the rulebook in-game a more uncommon thing.
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12. Board Game: FAB: The Bulge [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:1486]
John Brodin
United States
Plymouth
Massachusetts
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FAB: Bulge has one of the best set of player aid charts that I've seen in a wargame. Lots of little complexities of the game are summarized nicely in the various charts.

I learned to play with a quick skim of the rule book and just used the charts on the intro scenario.
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13. Board Game: Primordial Soup [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:680]
Kyle
United States
Up Nort' Der
Wisconsin
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Primordial Soup has the best "official" reference sheets I've ever used for a game.

The front cover has a quick synopsis of every phase that occurs during the game, and inside are details on all of the gene cards with all of the relevant stats and a brief explanation of how they work.

It's all laid out in such a clean and concise order that other than a couple minor setup details (starting Biological Points and initial amoeba placement), which are probably better off not being in the reference sheets, I can't think of anything that could be done to improve upon them.
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14. Board Game: The Princes of Florence [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:119]
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One of my favorites. You can follow along on the right hand side of each player board. It tells you what you can do in each phase, for how much, and how many points you will gain.
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