Top games A to Z you may not know
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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I've been reading LOTS of 'top A to Z games' recently, but most of them you've heard of before. This list is one I try to introduce you to some top games you may not know much about...
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1. Board Game: American Megafauna [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2885]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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The absolute best game about evolution. Scientifically based, fascinating to play. Turns are 5 million years long. You watch the landscape evolve, and you'd better to or find yourself extinct. And a single meteor strike can wipe out all you've fought for over 150 million years...
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2. Board Game: Barbarian, Kingdom & Empire [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:5284]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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This game did what Vinci and Smallworld tried to do, only a couple decades earlier. Watch the rise and fall of your civilization, stave off the corruption of your empire long enough to score the points. Or, maybe you should just let it collapse? Extremely innovative, allows players to enter or leave at any time.
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3. Board Game: City of Chaos [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:4517]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Paragraph-driven story game, but also uses cards, a random city generator, and many, many novel mechanisms. A compelling story with several subplots. Really hard to survive: I've been burned, fallen from a balloon, eaten by rats, driven mad, among other things. Tremendous atmosphere generated by this intricate game.
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4. Board Game: Dark Cults [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:5478]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Superb horror storytelling game in the vein of Lovecraft or Poe. Very atmospheric art evokes the mood perfectly.
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5. Board Game: Excalibur [Average Rating:6.26 Overall Rank:5072]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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This and Merlin the best to come from Julian Musgrave (where is he now?) who single-handedly appeared to keep the UK on the gaming map outside of GW in the mid-to-late 80's. A splendid mix of politics, economics, and warfare on a small scale.
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6. Board Game: The Fellowship of the Ring [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:5990]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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The best game based on Lord of the Rings. No, you don't get to throw the Ring into Mt Doom (unless the Sauron player is very, very sleepy), but the evoked mood is tops among this genre. And don't be fooled by all the talk about the rules: my brother and I figured the game out, no problem, at the ages of 12 and 10.
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7. Board Game: Groo: The Game [Average Rating:6.27 Overall Rank:3199]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Simple card game, but evocative of the theme and plain fun with some chaos thrown in. Perhaps plays a bit long with five or more, and really needs the expansion to shine.
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8. Board Game: Hatu Matu: Chief of Easter Island [Average Rating:6.31 Unranked]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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A bit on the weaker side, but Hatu Matu has some decent mechanisms. It falls short in the endgame, but up until that time you've had an interesting time of it. A good effort by a small company.
 
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9. Board Game: Ironman Football [Average Rating:6.04 Overall Rank:10883]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Wow, where was this game when I was a kid? Just what I would have spent all winter playing rather than making up teams with my football cards. Extremely interesting franchise ownership game in the time of leather helmets and injuries treated by spitting tobacco juice on them. Really get a tremendous feel for the era, and much more game in between the actual sports contests than one would expect.
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10. Board Game: Joan of Arc [Average Rating:6.25 Overall Rank:4124]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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The only one on this list I don't own. I would have put Junta, but I think most people have heard of it. This is an older Tilset, but enough interesting stuff in it to make it worth some plays.
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11. Board Game: Konradin oder Interregnum [Average Rating:6.62 Unranked]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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The rules are a bit of a mess, and some victory conditions are well-neigh impossible to achieve. However, very historical, and you realize just how hard it was to field an army of any effectiveness in those deep, dark past ages.
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12. Board Game: Last Frontier: The Vesuvius Incident [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:4000]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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A solo game par excellence. Based on the premis of the film Alien, you will be on the edge of your seat as the countdown timer ticks off. Can you save the crew? Can you get out in time? Marvellous, good enough to beat out the many games in the Lords series from Sierra Madre for this list.
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13. Board Game: Mad Monks and Relics [Average Rating:5.78 Overall Rank:11681]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Another of the Simulations Workshop games: Randy Moorehead was one of the most interesting designers around. A 'take-that' style of game oozing with theme and dramatic disasters. And how many games have a card depicting the foreskin of Christ?
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14. Board Game: Nightmare House [Average Rating:5.88 Overall Rank:11196]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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I know I'll get lambasted for putting this one on, because the rules are truely nightmarish. However, underneath that mess is an intriguing game of house vs players, fought on the material and astral planes. Fits right in wih the Hollywood tales of possessed old mansions on the hill.
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15. Board Game: Origins: How We Became Human [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:2487]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Incredibly ambitious: the history of man from the wooden club to the Porsche. Huge in scale, with several very innovative aspects of play. A game you will suck at to start, and only learn to play well by experience. A game of timing and careful planning. Excellent stuff, and I have a listing as developer!
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16. Board Game: Dynasty League Baseball [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:3465]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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BGG refused to allow me to list Dynasty League baseball as a separate game, even though it is, so this will be the stand in for the best baseball sim on the planet. I've played 'em all, and this is the best.
10 
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17. Board Game: Quirks [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:5324]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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An evolutionary game in the silly sense. Assumes the players have some intelligence as well, which is something lacking in games made today. Plays fast with short rules. The Eon guys were so far ahead of their time.
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18. Board Game: Revolution: The Dutch Revolt 1568-1648 [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:1266]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Not sure how well-known this is, but it is a masterwork, from the same man who brought you 18xx and Civilization. The guy is a genius. Five hours of intense play. Only five turns long, but oh, how deliciously excruciating are the choices. No luck, either.
8 
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19. Board Game: Saladin: The Fall of the Crusader States [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Unfortunately only 60 copies were made, but this game is of grand scope and brings lots of new stuff in an enormously packed box. Speak about component flood! Diplomacy, economics, war in a rarely-seen theme- what happens at the END of the crusades? I re-wrote the rules on this one to clean them up, and now think we have a very workable, fascinating game.
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20. Board Game: Throneworld [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:4923]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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What Twilight Imperium 3 wanted to be. Outside a terrible map, this is a game of real universe conquest in a tidy package. Well worth the play time. Short rules, tech trees, economics, warp drives, exploration- it has it all. And no annoying plastic bits.
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21. Board Game: Unexploded Cow [Average Rating:6.08 Overall Rank:3104]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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A weak entry, but I haven't much for you in this letter. A simple card game with an amusing theme.
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22. Board Game: Viceroys [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:6090]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Worldwide exploration and exploitation. Requires players to make rulings on the spot with regards to the map, but there is so much interesting stuff to explore, who cares about a few rules snafus?
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23. Board Game: Wiz-War [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:1334]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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At one time well-known, but still number one for wizardly mayhem. Yes, you can be knocked out on the first turn, and yes, it can go a bit long, and yes, spell combinations can get difficult to interpret. But it is still a whale of a good time.
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24. Board Game: Xhenor [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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A bit of a cheat, as I have only read the rules, but it looks to be a unique take on a fantasy board game. We'll try it and get back to you.
 
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25. Board Game: Zoon [Average Rating:5.45 Overall Rank:13826]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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A silly game based on Stratego, but with individual character decks and special creature abilities and cute art. Died out quickly, but still fun to pull out a couple decks and play a 10 minute battle.
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