Three board games that represents your country - both good and bad
mazienda
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Since I joined BGG nearly a year ago, there have been some geeklists about games from specific countries. So I thought why not make a shortlist with three games from each country, to represent the national treasures (or garbage gulp ) that it's played in your country.

The conditions for this geeklist: 1) games should be designed by someone from your country and somehow represent your country (widely known or widely played), 2) try to find board games that fit into the three categories below (if you don't, that's fine), 3) it's my/your personal opinion so feel free to comment if you feel there's some other game more befitting.

Game 1. The classic This is the game that most families in your country will own, and does not have to be the best of games. It's the game that if you ask your grandmother what's an example of a boardgame, this is their answer (and no, Monopoly is not the option).

Game 2. The party game This a lighter game you will play with your (non-player) friends when you're gathered, perhaps for a party. This could be the same as the classic but most often it's a trivia game, or an action/dexterity game, or a negotiation game, whatever. Just as long as it can accommodate a lot of players and something that could be played at a party (it doesn't even have to be fun!).

Game 3. The heavy-weight This more of a gamer's game, something with more meat on it. It can be a wargame, a heavier euro or an economics game. It's probably a game that will take more than an hour to play, and involves some degree of skills/rules explaining. This might or might not be ranked better than average at BGG.
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1. Board Game: Afrikan tähti [Average Rating:4.63 Overall Rank:15401]
mazienda
Finland
Vaasa
Ostrobothnia
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FINLAND

1) The classic: Afrikan tähti (Star of Africa). This game was designed by Kari Mannerla and released in the early 1950s. It will be found in most Finnish homes. It's an roll-and-move set in surprise-surprise Africa, on a hunt for a great diamond (and other gems). The artwork and gameplay is not the best, mostly considered as a children's game.

2) The party game: Alias. This is a Finnish party game designed by Mikko Koivusalo and released in early 1990's, it shares some features with Taboo. I think this game most Finnish persons in their 20's and 30's have played. It's a team game where one member of the team is explaining words with sentences and his/her team-member is trying to guess as many words as possible before time's up. See binraix's review for details.

3) The heavy-weight: This category is by far the hardest for me to come up with a good contender. As I at this moment can't think of one, I'll add Zanziar by Timo Multamäki, released in 2008. I came across this game a couple of days ago, seems to be a fine but some-what convoluted fantasy board game.

For more Finnish-designed board games, check this geeklist by Julenius.
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2. Board Game: BANG! [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1030]
Andrea Angiolino
Italy
Rome
European Union
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ITALY

1) The classic: Il gioco dell'oca (game of goose). A Renaissance game that was appreciated in couurts, as in Florence, and was sent as a gift to foreign kings. But also a whidespread popular game thanks to the invention of press. If it had a board I could have quoted Scopa, a card game from the same age: cards where popular in Italy from early 14th century, before than in the rest of Europe. Luck is strong in both, and Italians are somehow fatalistic and also rely on luck for their hopes - 500 years ago they also invented Lotto, another international success.

2) The party game: Kaleidos. This is an original Italian party game designed by Spartaco Albertarelli and released in mid 1990's. Quite whidespread thanks to several editions, mainly by Editrice Giochi that's one of the two main Italian game publishers. It also had several foreign editions. Italians are artists, you know, and this game is based on beautiful illustrations.

3) The heavy-weight: War of the Ring (First Edition), by Roberto Di Meglio, Marco Maggi and Francesco Nepitello. Choosed by the owner of the movie rights among several other prototypes by famous authors all over the world, and beautifully creafted by the Italian publisher Nexus Editrice. US edition by Fantasy Flight Games than learned from it how to make games with miniatures and used the same production team from Doom! onward. Highest ranking Italian game (the second is its astounding Collector's Edition) and maybe the only one to ever enter BBG's Top 10 (reaching the 3rd position). Italians love fantasy, that as Tolkien wrote it is the Escape of the Prisoner and not the Flight of the Deserter. By the way, Ariosto's Orlando Furioso is a well appreciated Italian forerunner of fantasy literature.

I would have quoted Bang!, more than 500.000 among games and expansions sold up to 2009, but Kaleidos is more a party game and War of the Ring is heavier. It is anyway a good sign of how the western imaginary influenced Italian culture from late 19th century and more again after WW2. Cards, you know, are in our blood from centuries. And traitors and liars... well, we have plenty of them too.

For more Italian-designed board games, check these geeklists.

If any Italian has different opinions, please post another trio or comment here!
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3. Board Game: Monopoly [Average Rating:4.39 Overall Rank:15441]
Jeff Wolfe
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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USA

1) The classic: Even though you say no Monopoly, nothing could be more quintessentially American than Monopoly. Everyone knows about it and most people with any game collection at all own a copy (or two). By all accounts, it was invented by an American, even though some dispute which American.

2) The party game: With apologies to Dominic Crapuchettes, I'm going to have to put Apples to Apples in this slot. Apples to Apples has transcended its hobby-game roots, and is now sold at "regular" stores like Target. But it still makes the occasional appearance at board game conventions, as well.

3) The heavy-weight: This is a tough one. There are several Americans designing good games in this category, but none of them really say "U.S.A." to me. So I'm going old-school with Diplomacy.
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4. Board Game: Die Macher [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:187]
Dennis Bingham
Germany
Herford
NRW
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Germany

Couldn't be more German than that. You basically elect the German govermnent in this game.

2nd would be Catan, a german game that might have done more for boardgaming than any game 50 years prior.

3rd i'd say Skat because it's THE german cardgame.

PS: My order is reversed here... Die Macher is the heavy weight, Settlers of Catan would be the lightweight gateway game and Skat of course the traditional german game.
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5. Board Game: Crokinole [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:75]
Michael Barlow
Canada
Stratford
Ontario
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The Classic: Caves and Claws. Admittedly I haven't played this one, coming to boardgames later in life, but it seems to me, if you have kids, you've played this game. Family Pastimes is a rather prolific designer/publisher, but this seems to be the only popular title they've had.

Ahem.
The Classic: The bestest of dexterity games. My fingernails ache ever after.

The Party Game: Trivial Pursuit. It's making has become legend. Everyone I know has owned it or played it. And with the recent passing of one of its designers, it keeps appearing in the news.


The Heavyweight: Hmm. Steer away from wargames... I'm drawing a blank. I'll leave it to others.
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