2009 Biggest Sleeper Hits
David Kahnt
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Youngstown
Ohio
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It's fun, it's healthy, it's good exercise. The kids will just love it. And we put a little sand inside to make the experience more pleasant.
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Is there any game you have played published* within the calendar year of 2009 that you would consider a "sleeper hit?"

That is a game that at first you don't even know why you sat down to play the game... or maybe one you promised yourself you would never ever play but then you did...

And you enjoy it thoroughly.

If you can think of game put it here.

Cf: 2008 Biggest Sleeper Hits

-DK

* - thanks joe.
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1. Board Game: Tales of the Arabian Nights [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:317]
David Kahnt
United States
Youngstown
Ohio
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It's fun, it's healthy, it's good exercise. The kids will just love it. And we put a little sand inside to make the experience more pleasant.
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While this is technically a reprint. This particular game is my sleeper hit for 2009.

When I first heard of this game, I did not want to like it.

In fact Tom Vasel's video review of the game made me even more not want to like it or play it.

So at WBC when I saw someone with the game I decided to give it a shot, if nothing else but to confirm my initial hatred of the game.

I was wrong. After much thought about the game, I decided as a 'heavy weight party game' its very good. And in that situation I like it a lot.

cf: Ce n'est pas un jeu. Or: If you take this game too seriously, you're doing it wrong.
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2. Board Game: Keltis: Der Weg der Steine Mitbringspiel [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:2278]
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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Assuming you meant _published_ in 2009 (as I suspect the design work on this - not to mention most games published in 2009 - predates the year)...

I picked up this without any particularly high expectations, but discovered to my delight that it's actually quite an enjoyable little game.

Another choice - also from Knizia - is Gelini Nightlife. I'm not convinced that either will have staying power for me, but in a thin year for games to my taste, they're both quite enjoyable...
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3. Board Game: Hansa Teutonica [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:108]
Steve K
United Kingdom
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I'll jump in quick, because it sounds like a lot of people will also pick this game.

Before Essen, I heard Argentum were publishing a new Andreas Steding game, and this got me interested. When I saw pictures and early descriptions, my interest faded. At Essen, I didn't even bother to check it out.

A couple of weeks ago, I played the game at a convention, and was really impressed. After a little online searching, I bought a copy.

It's a rather abstract game of developing networks and abilities. Quick, little downtime, lots of ways to score, lots of interaction.

I'm still not sure about the artwork, though...
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4. Board Game: Campaign Manager 2008 [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:1223]
Jesse Dean
United States
Orlando
Florida
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I sat down for this one with low expectations. While I am a big fan of Twilight Struggle, I was much less impressed with 1960, and thus did not expect much from Campaign Manager 2008.

I was surprised enough with my first play that I ended up playing it two times in succession after that, and end up purchasing the game shortly afterwards. In the time since I have played the game 10 times, and have found it to be one of my new favorite two player games. I expect to get a lot of play out of this one in the future.
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5. Board Game: Maori [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1657]
Ender Wiggins
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2-5 players (20-30 minutes) | age 8+, suitable for 2 players

You probably hadn't even heard of this game had you? Published in English by Rio Grande Games in 2009, it certainly hasn't received a great deal of attention on BGG. I was fortunate enough to receive a review copy of Maori, but it had completely escaped my notice until then, and otherwise I would never have found myself playing it or even knowing about it. It turned out to be a surprising hit with my family. It's a tactical tile laying game about exploring Polynesian islands, best with 2 or 3 players, and has the advantage of a very quick play time (20-30 min), and variable levels of play. An accessible euro with a good theme and nice components, and ideally suited for children and families, as well as a speedy and lighter euro-fix for gamers.

The San Francisco Chronicle is right when it says:
"Part of the delight of this short and rewarding game is seeing how much variety and tactical subtlety can be wrung out of an uncomplicated set of rules. Your goal is to complete an island map using printed tiles, with bonuses for things like palm trees and flower garlands. Players take turns moving a ship around a layout of tiles, trying to maneuver into position to get the tiles they want; you can spend clam shells for greater mobility, but they're hard to come by and need to be used sparingly. The whole thing sounds too simple to work, but in fact it rewards many repeated plays."



If you're sufficiently intrigued, check out my pictorial review for more info:
Mario Kart the board game and Carcassonne the arcade game
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/452228
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6. Board Game: Imperial 2030 [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:167]
Mike B
Netherlands
Utrecht
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To my surprise Imperial 2030 is rising real slow in the top whatever. It's currently at 866, (thanks to just 87 ratings, 8.27 average) while the "old" version is at 29 (3445 ratings, 7.81 average)

People seem to generally agree this new version is better. I couldn't tell, never played the old version, but I do like this one!
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7. Board Game: Homesteaders [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:494]
Jason Matthews
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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New publisher, new designer? I wasn't expecting too much, but this is a very clever design. Folks who like Puerto Rico are bound to find something to enjoy here. It really rekindled my interest in games of that style. Congratulations to all involved.
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8. Board Game: Valdora [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:1217]
Chaddyboy
United States
Olathe
Kansas
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I wasn't completely blown away by anything this year and I'm not sure if this is really a huge sleeper or not, but this would have to be my favorite of the 2009 crop. I love me some pick-up and deliver, and this one delivered!

Another notable sleeperish game was Masters of Venice. Great if you like economics games!
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9. Board Game: Peloponnes [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:677]
Jason Matthews
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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Its a sleeper because its from another first time publisher. The designer, Bernd Eisenstein, has other games under his belt. But he has not had the kind of portfolio that indicates a Civ-light design would be his forte. Well, was I wrong. I am not sure that the holy grail of the "Civilization light" game will ever be designed, but this may be about as close as we get. Bravo.

In summary, its been these new publishers, or small publishers with the games to crow about since Essen. Most of the anticipated releases, in my experience, have been kinda "meh."

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10. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
Scott Caputo
United States
Santa Clara
California
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I know it's odd, but I really expected to dislike this game--it just didn't sound like my style of game. I was super wary of the hype--why are so many folks so crazy about it??? But my wife and I really enjoyed playing it at GenCon and she suggested we even pick up a copy. Now, it's on our shortlist of games to play together just the two of us. Oh well, sometimes the hype is right...
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11. Board Game: Erosion [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:5255]
Giles Pritchard
Australia
Shepparton
Victoria
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An unassuming card game from Sierra Madre Games. This has got to be one of the most interesting and best card games I own. The theme may be fascinating to some and dull to others, but the gameplay is tense, thought provoking and thoroughly engaging. Truly an excellent little game that punches well above it's weight. It is rare to get such a big game from such a small package, but Erosion does it with style.

Probably best with 2 or 3 to begin with, and after experience with 4, this is a deep little game with plenty of interlocking facets. Well worth a look in my view!

Cheers,

Giles.
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12. Board Game: Castle Panic [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:809]
Brian Stevenson
United States
Castle Rock
Colorado
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NEw small publisher, not a lot of press.......quickly becoming my favorite game bought this year/

Board Games with Scott talked about it a little, and I was interested about the idea, but it looked a little simple. Even after seeing it live at BGG.con I thought it looked good, but not great.

I was greatly surprised that it's becoming a most played game from the con. I love it and it's really accessible to a lot of people.

If you get the chance to try it out, do so.

And Justin, the designer, is a really nice guy also.
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