mi_de's top 50 outside the top 500.
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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I've seen some similar lists which inspired me to be even a bit stricter, and go for games out of the top 500. Hopefully this will convince someone to try one of these gems, and that there exist superb play experiences outside the restricted top 200.

Hope to add more commentary as time goes by...
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1. Board Game: Divine Right [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:2597]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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My #1 game. A bit of nostalgia factor, but it really hold well even so. Magic, fighting, sieges, special abilities, diplomacy, random events- it has it all.
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2. Board Game: Dynasty League Baseball [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:3570]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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This is actually for Dynasty League Baseball, but the moderators stubbornly refuse the accept the games are different. The best baseball sim out there, bar none. Games in 30 minutes, can even play with my son.
 
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3. Board Game: American Megafauna [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:2999]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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The best game on evolution out there. As a Phil Eklund game, it is experience driven, telling a sweeping story. One doesn't really worry much about winning and losing, but more about surviving. Rarely have I learned so much from a game.
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4. Board Game: Empires of the Middle Ages [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:2596]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Grand, sweeping game of 25 year turns where you can watch the ebb and flow of Empires accross Europe and the near East.
 
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5. Board Game: Barbarian, Kingdom & Empire [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:5387]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Vinci and Smallworld use the mechanic invented here of the rise, fall, and disappearence of empires. Open ended game which only really ends when the players want it to. You can join or leave at any time. Delicious to watch the transition from expansionist Kingdoms to corrupt, teetering Empires. Great stuff.
 
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6. Board Game: 7 Ages [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:1541]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Yeah, yeah, yeah...events too harsh, lots of randomness. I say, who the hell cares? Great, worldwide expansion and decline game, due for an expansion any year now.
 
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7. Board Game: Excalibur [Average Rating:6.24 Overall Rank:5278]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Very overlooked game of warfare and economics. Works very well, except the order writing can be cumbersome.
 
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8. Board Game: Origins: How We Became Human [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:2628]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Totally unique in theme and execution. Sometimes derided for its ruleset (for which I'm responsible as I wrote them) but once you get the hang of it, it is a fascinating play. It will take a couple plays to figure out how NOT to screw yourself, but many players not willing to undergo this initiation, hence the many low ratings. For those that persist, however, the rewards can be great.
 
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9. Board Game: Source of the Nile [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:3118]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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The best exploration game around. Just surviving to return to England to lie about your exploits is a great achievement.
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10. Board Game: Blood Royale [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:2962]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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If you have the time, a lot of fun to watch your family grow and the dynastic entanglements evolve. Sometimes the gameplay a bit limiting, but overall lots of opportunity to battle, backstab, and court fellow players in this open-ended romp.
 
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11. Board Game: City of Chaos [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:4557]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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This game tells an amazing story. Multiple storylines, random map and encounters: always amazed how the authors got this one to fit together. Incredibly atmospheric, I've had my eyes set on fire, been devoured by rats, expired due to a rotting disease, and set aflame by religious zealots. How can you beat a game like that?
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12. Board Game: Lords of the Sierra Madre (second edition) [Average Rating:6.27 Overall Rank:7102]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Another experience game from Sierra Madre: been called the 'game with no rules'. You could be a slave plantation owner, bandit, ostrich farmer, or even run for the US Presidency. Yeah, try to cover all THAT in a game of Agricola.
 
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13. Board Game: Pax Romana [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:1762]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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25 year turns over the ancient period gives this game a novel scope. Lots of player interaction and great atmosphere as you have to balance your expansionist desires and people's needs.
 
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14. Board Game: Medieval [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:5100]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Underappreciated card game. Some underproduction (map a bit small and you run out of markers) and overly-criticized rules gaffes have given it a bad reputation, but I've thoroughly enjoyed this game every time we've played. Love watching how the Mongols eat away the map edge and the nail-biting fear as they crawl closer to your lucrative Kingdom in the East.
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15. Board Game: Gunslinger [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:1616]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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0.4 second turn segments break down a Western gunfight to its essentials. You have to pre-plan moves and it makes for a tense shootout where you can recreate almost any historical or fictional event you can think of. Remember the shootout in Shane? Play it here.
 
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16. Board Game: Circus Maximus [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:1658]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Mayhem, chaos, crashing chariots and scythe blades dominate this racing game of pure nastiness. Yeah, you can go for the win with a fast chariot and fast horses, but you'd be a wimp. Have not played with the betting rules, but would LOVE to put a racing season together.
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17. Board Game: Throneworld [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:5144]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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What Twilight Imperium 3 wanted to be. Perhaps this will be surpassed by the forthcoming Space Empires, but for the moment, this is my king.
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18. Board Game: Conquest of Paradise [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:1533]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Overlooked, 2 hour game of exploration, civilization, and warfare. Some of the color choices make it difficult to survey the map, but nice and compact game with oodles of supplamentary historical information. Even has an amusing expansion.
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19. Board Game: Byzantium [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:1590]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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One of Wallace's best games, although not given much credit. Each player playing each side in the war, with the third set of armies out there capable of ending the game early? Good stuff.
 
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20. Board Game: The Fellowship of the Ring [Average Rating:6.13 Overall Rank:6304]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Best game on Lord of the Rings, follows the first book as you try to bring the Ring as close to Mordor as possible. Your chances of tossing it in the crack o' doom are virtually nil unless you have a sleeping Sauron player. Like the use of dice as playing pieces, and the use of dummy counters.
 
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21. Board Game: Down with the King [Average Rating:5.78 Overall Rank:8064]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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More tables than Ikea, but taken for the story this is a real lark. Building up a behind-the-scenes dabbler in politics, you try to gain control of the many lords and ladies in a mythical European land in an undefined era to gain influence in the Royal house so that when the old King dies, you are right there to gain the real power.
 
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22. Board Game: High Frontier [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:815]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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The best space exploration game, period. So much real science in such a simple design. Lots of brain energy required to make the successful mission, with enough catasrophic failures possible to keep you on the edge of your seat. Brilliant.
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23. Board Game: Siena [Average Rating:6.15 Overall Rank:3913]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Much maligned game, but have always enjoyed our playing of it. Tough decision when to drop being a farmer and go for being a merchant, and eventually when to go for banking. Drop-dead gorgeous map.
 
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24. Board Game: The Napoleonic Wars [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:1909]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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A wild card driven wargame that handles multiple players, or even just two. Uses the Napoleonic era as a backdrop, but you are not confined to recreate history.
 
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25. Board Game: Men of Iron [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:2621]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
flag msg tools
This and SPQR have brought me into recreating battles at the fine scale, and ever so glad I did. Simple rules and rather quick-playing scenarios really give you the feel of the era, and help me understand why someone won a battle, and how the others lost.
 
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