Top 20 Outside 200
Brian Bankler
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If I asked people to name the "Five most important bands/singers of Rock and Roll in the 20th century" it wouldn't be that interesting. Really, there's such a dominant consensus ... sure maybe someone would skip The Beatles and Elvis, but would you trust someone who did?. But if you ask people to name the next five ... well, that's interesting. While I was thinking of this, Joe Huber published his "Top 10 Obscure Games from 2010" and that convinced me the "2nd Tier" listing is interesting.

If I told you my Top 20 games, what good would that do you? Not much. Most of the games I'd list are fairly well known. Same idea. That made me think ... "What are my Top 20 Games outside the Top 200?" Now that's an interesting list that may lead people to find something new. It's not as obscure as all that, but still leads to some choices you don't see everyday. So, here are my Top 20 outside of the Top 200, in alphabetical order.

I'd be interested in seeing your "Top20Beyond200" list. I suggest we use that tag.
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1. Board Game: 7 Ages [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:1541]
Brian Bankler
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7 Ages is the anti-Euro. It's long. It's unbalanced. "Take that" cards. But it's fun. I've only played this 5 times, but as a function of time, that's worth about 20 Euros. In fact, I need to play this again.
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2. Board Game: Ave Caesar [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:1112]
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Everyone has the same amount of movement ... but you only have a few choices each turn. Players race around for choke points and have to decide when to take their 'pit stop' (to Hail Caesar) after the first or second lap. A clever little game.
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3. Board Game: The Bottle Imp [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:1097]
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The mind-binding little trick taking game based on the classic short story.
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4. Board Game: Ca$h 'n Gun$ [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:929]
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Reservoir dogs, the party game. Bluffing and psychology in a psychotic little package. The expansion is a reasonable change of pace, but I prefer the purity of the base game -- every man for himself.
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5. Board Game: Castle [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:2939]
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With a simple rules tweak (your starting hand size is the maximum you can voluntarily go over) this game becomes a tense little game. Castle came out of a conversation that also resulted in Citadels, but instead of having a few roles and lots of buildings it's a single building (the castle) and lots of different people.

There are so many good games in the ~30 minute range in the Top 200 that any filler outside of it doesn't get much playing time. But Castle has held up well.
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6. Board Game: The Castle of the Devil [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:1797]
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(To me, this will always be "Kutchsfahrt").

A hidden team ("Semi-cooperative") game that works on deduction and inference. This can be a touch long with a new group (and I don't recommend playing with more than six, even though it technically works) but it's a unique package.
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7. Board Game: Caylus Magna Carta [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:696]
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I now prefer this to base Caylus, for a number of reasons -- not the least of which is that it's much more forgiving (IMO) for new players. The luck element helps to equalize any skill imbalance. And it's a much faster game.
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8. Board Game: Colossal Arena [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:783]
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A simple, elegant game. Ironically, I think that if Titan the Arena had stayed out of print it would be much more highly regarded. Works well with new and experienced gamers alike.
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9. Board Game: Fairy Tale [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:778]
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I, like many people, think that 7 Wonders is one of the better games of last year. But believe me, Fairy Tale did it first. Apart from the drafting mechanism, you have the simple little "when should I play this card" game.
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10. Board Game: Fast Food Franchise [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:4169]
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Fast Food Franchise would arguably be in my Top 20 (inside or outside of the Top 200). I play once or twice a year for nearly two decades. Of course, the real shame is that it's out of print.
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11. Board Game: Hare & Tortoise [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:1120]
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One of the early Spiel des Jahres. Actually I haven't played it in a couple of years, but it's a classic. I prefer the Gibson Games version...
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12. Board Game: Homesteaders [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:525]
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The most recent game on this list, I think. A tense auction game, with a technology tree and some limited ability to swap resources around.
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13. Board Game: Lifeboats [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:1273]
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A game of tactical voting. Full of humor, bitterness, and throwing people to the sharks.
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14. Board Game: Mare Nostrum [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:1114]
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It really requires the Mythology expansion, and the game makes absolutely no effort to stop a runaway leader. It's up to the players. Sometimes someone does run away with it (in fact, it happens fairly often with new players) and other times you get tense struggles that often resolve around an apparently unnecessary resource, or swinging control of the political or commerce leadership. It's not Civ in 2 (or 3) hours, but it scratches the empire building and conquest itch.
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15. Board Game: No Thanks! [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:397]
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Not the game (although I like it), but there were a few games I could have put on this list but didn't.

I decided to not include any classic game that arguably should have been in the Top 200. Bridge is in the Top 200, but Chess isn't. Backgammon isn't. Go isn't. Scrabble isn't. I probably should have put those games on this list, but it's not like they are obscure. I think they should be in the Top 200 ...

I also didn't put in Celebrities or Time's Up, because Celebrities is in the Top 20 of party games. I also didn't put in Legend of the Five Rings, mainly because I slightly prefer Shadowfist, and I didn't think I needed more than 1 CCG. In fact, I made the list 21 games so that the CCG I put in didn't count, and so that I wouldn't have to decide which game to drop.

Update -- I also excluded all 18xx, since 1830 is in the Top 200. Forgot to mention it, though.
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16. Board Game: Phoenicia [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:1624]
Brian Bankler
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In my mind, the Pinnacle of the "Outpost" family. I prefer this to Scepter, mainly because it's so much faster and less fiddly.
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17. Board Game: Primordial Soup [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:697]
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Do I prefer this to Cosmic Encounter -- probably not. But it's close. It's really close. I've played it more often in the last decade, I think.
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18. Board Game: Roma [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:888] [Average Rating:6.80 Unranked]
Brian Bankler
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Also includes Arena: Roma II. For a while this was my go-to 2 player filler. It's not quite there anymore, but still a great game. Sometimes a fast game that takes a few turns, sometimes a tense nail-biter that takes 30 minutes.
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19. Board Game: Shadow Hunters [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:747]
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Another semi-cooperative game. I was tempted to replace this with the Resistance .... but that's shot into the Top 200. Huh. I think there's more room for gameplay in this one, although there's also more luck.
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20. Board Game: Shadowfist [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:2670] [Average Rating:7.11 Unranked]
Brian Bankler
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I haven't actually played this in a year or two, but any game that I've played 500+ times is on the list.
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21. Board Game: Stage II [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:7076]
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The greatest trivia game. Every year or two I beg for a reprint, so I'm set for 2011. Is anyone listening?
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22. Board Game: Titan [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:817]
 
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A surprisingly deep game ... it has player elimination but it solves the 2 tough problem of freeform brawling -- First, "How do you keep people from turtling?" A:Make it so that fighting and losing a few pieces can improve your position. Second, "How do you keep people from picking on the weak?" A: Restrict movement to force maneuvering and don't just let one player attack out of the blue.

Takes a lot of effort to get into, but well worth it.
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