My top 25
Michiel Hillenius
Netherlands
Hoogland (Amersfoort)
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Simply a list of my personal favorites: generally games that score low in luck and high in strategy and tactics. Also they have in common that they are playable during one night, say max. 4 hours. I also like games which have enough (direct or indirect) player interaction. That is why for example BGG's nr.1 Puerto Rico doesn't get a high position on my list, nor does Princes of Florence: too much playing on your own little board. Numbers 4 to 10 are actually very close together and their precise order shifts back and forth. From about number 20 the games aren't that special anymore and there is a risk that they may fall off the list when I get to know better candidates.
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1. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:70]
Michiel Hillenius
Netherlands
Hoogland (Amersfoort)
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Great, great game, very good game system. Short and quick turns is another very good point. Great interactive game too. I never get tired of this one.
 
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2. Board Game: Struggle of Empires [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:328]
Michiel Hillenius
Netherlands
Hoogland (Amersfoort)
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One of the best. Very rich, very strategic. Takes about 4 hours to play, which is about my limit for a game. This is still playable during one night, if you limit the number of players to 5.
 
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3. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:28]
Michiel Hillenius
Netherlands
Hoogland (Amersfoort)
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Very good game: theme worked out very well. Plenty of ways to show that your smarter than your opponents. Calculating and allocating to do the most with your scarce money.
 
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4. Board Game: Torres [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:401]
Michiel Hillenius
Netherlands
Hoogland (Amersfoort)
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Great strategic game. Thinking ahead, calculating, optimizing various options. The difference among experienced players is usually made by very small details.
 
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5. Board Game: Java [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:720]
Michiel Hillenius
Netherlands
Hoogland (Amersfoort)
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Rather heavy game, but very rich. It is the complexity that requires players to think rather long and to puzzle to fit the pieces on the board correctly, that makes that this game doesn't get an even higher position. But the theme is very well worked out and the game system too.
 
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6. Board Game: Tikal [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:217]
Michiel Hillenius
Netherlands
Hoogland (Amersfoort)
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Very accessible game, simple rules, but with plenty of tactics involved.
 
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7. Board Game: Domaine [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:647]
Michiel Hillenius
Netherlands
Hoogland (Amersfoort)
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Also very accessible. Some luck in card drawing, but not annoying. A very good and very aggressive and interactive game.
 
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8. Board Game: The Bridges of Shangri-La [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:1168]
Michiel Hillenius
Netherlands
Hoogland (Amersfoort)
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Another very accessible game. Astonishing simple rules and still so much tactics involved. It's hard to win, you need the help of others for that, of course without them realizing that.
 
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9. Board Game: Samurai [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:172]
Michiel Hillenius
Netherlands
Hoogland (Amersfoort)
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This is pure tactics and I like it better the more I play it.
 
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10. Board Game: Stephenson's Rocket [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:1021]
Michiel Hillenius
Netherlands
Hoogland (Amersfoort)
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Underrated Knizia. Luck factor is zero, there is a lot in this game. A very good game.
 
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11. Board Game: San Marco [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:512]
Michiel Hillenius
Netherlands
Hoogland (Amersfoort)
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Very good. Different and also a bit simpler than El Grande in terms for example of a smaller variation of cards and with no text on them. The advantage above El Grande is that it plays quicker because of that.
 
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12. Board Game: El Grande [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:54]
Michiel Hillenius
Netherlands
Hoogland (Amersfoort)
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A classic. Very good, I just wish I had more control while playing this game.
 
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13. Board Game: Through the Desert [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:435]
Michiel Hillenius
Netherlands
Hoogland (Amersfoort)
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A lighter game, but enough tactics involved. I admire the quality to design a game with simple rules and short quick turns, that nevertheless has enough tactical depth and it doesn't take long to play.
 
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14. Board Game: China [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:628]
Michiel Hillenius
Netherlands
Hoogland (Amersfoort)
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I admire this game because it has a lot of strategical depth for such a short playing time (45 minutes). Ideal for three.
 
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15. Board Game: Capitol [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:1378]
Michiel Hillenius
Netherlands
Hoogland (Amersfoort)
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Good game with original elements.
 
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16. Board Game: Merchants of Amsterdam [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:1486]
Michiel Hillenius
Netherlands
Hoogland (Amersfoort)
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A very interactive and accessible game. Fun to play with plenty of tactics on the board. It is not just auctioning, there is a lot more to this game. An underrated Knizia I believe. And I like it because you run through the history of the Dutch Golden Age, as we call it. When Holland ruled the waves, had spices monopolies etc. The rise and fall of the Dutch East Indies Company.
 
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17. Board Game: Modern Art [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:226]
Michiel Hillenius
Netherlands
Hoogland (Amersfoort)
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A classic which I enjoy very much. A very smart system and still so simple and accessible. Great interaction. Still in its kind I prefer Merchants of Amsterdam because it has the combination of an auction-game and a tactical majority's game on the board.
 
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18. Board Game: Medici [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:442]
Michiel Hillenius
Netherlands
Hoogland (Amersfoort)
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For some reason this game has been OOP in Europe for a long time, but it is still a hit in the US, so I bought my copy while on vacation there. I still have to play it, but going through the rules I get the picture and I believe it is an excellent game, especially for 6 players. So I believe it will end up at this spot.
 
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19. Board Game: Taj Mahal [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:306]
Michiel Hillenius
Netherlands
Hoogland (Amersfoort)
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A original combination of a cardgame of which the outcomes are administered on the board by placing palaces.
 
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20. Board Game: Maharaja: The Game of Palace Building in India [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:506]
Michiel Hillenius
Netherlands
Hoogland (Amersfoort)
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A good game, but it can just become a bit monotone: the same story in every palace-town.
 
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21. Board Game: Mexica [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:513]
Michiel Hillenius
Netherlands
Hoogland (Amersfoort)
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The lightest of the Kramer and Kiesling actionpoint-series, but I definitely enjoy playing it.
 
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22. Board Game: In the Shadow of the Emperor [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:838]
Michiel Hillenius
Netherlands
Hoogland (Amersfoort)
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This is a game with many original elements and a real brain burner. I will play it more often and it has potential to rise on the list.
 
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23. Board Game: La Città [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:554]
Michiel Hillenius
Netherlands
Hoogland (Amersfoort)
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A rather heavy game. Played it only once: it went slow, but it was clear that this is a very rich game. Hopefully in future times it plays quicker and then it has potential to climb higher on the list.
 
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24. Board Game: Keythedral [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:681]
Michiel Hillenius
Netherlands
Hoogland (Amersfoort)
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Plenty of opportunities to block your opponents. So some tactics involved, but not too heavy.
 
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25. Board Game: Catan: Cities & Knights [Average Rating:7.47 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.47 Unranked]
Michiel Hillenius
Netherlands
Hoogland (Amersfoort)
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This is where I come from, so I will always respect the Catan-series. This expansion is about the only variation which I still play sometimes. This expansion really turns the game around and makes the base-version actually very tame. There is of course plenty of luck involved with the dice-rolling and some with card drawing, but because of the length of the game, this luck-factor tends to even out among the players. This expansion also adds plenty of opportunities to bother your opponents.
 
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