Top 5 outside the top 1000
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Okay, let's delve deeeper down into the rankings. There are 5 games I can name that are quite beloved by our family, and are severely under-rated in our not very humble opinion.

I'm sure lots of folks can delve down there too, so feel free to add.

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1. Board Game: Helden in der Unterwelt [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:6852] [Average Rating:6.38 Unranked]
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Rank #2684

Best of the RotH lot.

Helden in der Unterwelt is the funnest of the rpg'ish euros but was only published in german and is now out of print. There is however an english translation of the rules and a condensed version of the rules, also in english, here on bgg. The components are pretty much language independent. If reprinted, it would be great if it was published in an english language edition.

Helden in der Unterwelt has the basic pick up and deliver mechanic as most of the euro games in this genre, but it also has lots of twists to it that make it interesting and give the game a solid sense of progression. I really dig the setting in the mythical greek underworld, as well as the mechanics of building the underworld around you as the game progresses, and also the use of dark shadow experience. When a hero gains dark or shadow experience for his skills, it also strenghtens the dark side. The dark side is the life points of the damned one and if he gets too strong before you can fight him, he wins the game, with a minor victory going to the darkest hero (the one who has the most dark experience). And you cannot fight the damned one with a skill that has dark experience. There are various ways to gain and lose this shadow stuff and to eliminate the life points of the damned one. Yep, it's a pretty damned good game with a lot of twists, and mechanics that mesh perfectly with the theme.

This game is in the Return of the Heroes series and Helden in der Unterwelt is my favorite of them all. I've only played it as a standalone game though - as an expansion it would make the game unbearably long in my opine... If you can't find Helden in der Unterwelt, then Return of the Heroes is a good game too though not nearly as inventive in its mechanics. Return of the Heroes is also out of print but is much easier to find and it was published in english which makes it more accessible.

I wouldn't play Helden in der Unterwelt as an expansion to RotH - the combo would be incredibly and terribly long for my tastes...

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2. Board Game: Era of Inventions [Average Rating:6.09 Overall Rank:4430]
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Rank #1819

I do not understand why this game is so low in the rankings. Yes, it is new, yes it's not that readily available, but look at how Agricola shot up to number one with only a limited release? Go figure. (The 'gric folks really knew how to market that game!)

Anyway, back to Era of Inventions - very fun game with a variety of meaningful decision points, great flow and sense of progression, and a beautiful game board. It does suffer though from terribly colored bits - the black discs are incredibly hard to distinguish from the purple ones, and the game uses little cylinders that can too easily roll off the gameboard. But if you replace the bits with better ones, you're good to go.

I really like how you place your agents (workers) to get resources, factories, inventions. patents, and production. Take a look at Drakkenstrike's video review:
http://boardgamegeek.com/video/4377/era-of-inventions/drakke...

This game makes me feel like I am part of the industrial revolution, for good and for ill!!!!

Anyway, it seems like this one will definitely move up in the rankings.

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3. Board Game: Siena [Average Rating:6.15 Overall Rank:3913]
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Rank #1816

A much maligned game that I totally get into.

When playing Caylus, I think of myself as an ambitious real estate developer...

When playing Siena, I think of myself as a social climber with all of the necessary hard work, luck, and tenancity to move on up. You start out as a peaseant, climb your way to become a merchant, and then finally comes the pinnacle of social success and wealth... you become a banker strolling through the city, trying to avoid the pitfalls of the brothel and increase your reputation as a good wealthy citizen...

The rules are not well written, but once you figure out how the board works and what the cards do, the mechanics and flow of this game feel intuitive, with a strong sense of game progression. It is fascinating, immersice, and fast playing.


Anyway, this is a beautiful game with beautful game components.

Having played this game, I am looking forward very much to Mario Papini's new De Vulgari Eloquentia, which also has an unusual and immersive-sounding theme - the development fo the Italian common or vulgar language! How weird is that!

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4. Board Game: The Great Space Race [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:4204]
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Rank #1809

Okay, this is a CRAZY ZANY game to play!!! Do you like chaos? Do you like RoboRally on steroids? Then this is your game!!!!

The production values of the The Great Space Race is more like a nicely done self-published game, which also adds a certain cool factor.

Take a look at Tom Vasel's review to get an idea of the excitement of this game!!!
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/112781/review-the-great-spac...

Unfortunately, my family does not enjoy chaos and ramming into each other as much as I do...

 
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5. Board Game: Gloria Mundi [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:3339]
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Rank #1458

Fun race game with a "decline of civilization" theme that's quite hilarious. Oh my gosh, the barbarians are coming, the barbarians are coming! Gloria Mundi's mechanics of resource and hand management give it rather more breadth or complexity than most racing type games, which keeps it interesting for adults and gives it good replayablity. And of course the marauding Goth keeps it amusing and exciting with his path of destruction if you can't or decide not to appease him (there are times when it is far more strategic to let him destroy because your opponent has more to lose than you do..).

We play with some house rules for 2-3 players to ramp up the game faster and add a couple of twists:

1. Each player starts with 3 each of food, gold, and peace - so buildings can be bought earlier in the game.

2. Each player gets a tribute token that can be used once in the game - with it you can force another player to pay the tribute to the Goth - it can save you when you can't pay, or prevent another player from buying a desireable building during her/his next turn.

3. Each player gets a building token that can be used once in the game - with it you can forcibly purchase another player's building. You pay him/her the building purchase price, and you get to take the movement points for purchasing a building, plus the building of course.

4. No hidden information - we play without the screens to hide your resources. We tend to favor games without hidden info, but it works perfectly well with if you want to hide your stuff behind the screens.

With these rules, the game goes very fast with a good sense of progression, has little downtime, and gets an added couple of differently flavored decision points. Woohoo!!! Great game though, however you play it. Nice light strategy game with excellent tactical opportunities and interesting decision points, a good sense of progression throughout the game (especially with our house rules), and just plain fun. I have no idea why people think it's confusing or complex.

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