Are there better alternatives to these games (Holiday Shopping Conundrum 2011 ed)
Ronny S. Mo
Japan
Iwamizawa-shi
Hokkaido
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With the holiday shopping season in full swing I've been putting together my final games order for the year and a couple of games on that list have me vacillating back and forth. To try to resolve my flip-flopping nervousness I figured maybe the geek had a third or fourth opinion to help me make up my mind or dig up some better games.

I've of course tried with my gaming group, but the ones who are not below the age of 8 just haven't been particularly communicative on the topic. I tried engage them on the topic by getting them to help pick the next co-op game, but haven't really received much feedback. I'm sure it is partially due to something I'm doing wrong, but it takes a really long time to teach a dog a new trick.

So does anyone have better alternatives to these games?
(I should note that components, component quality and visual appeal do matter a great deal to me for a variety of reasons.)
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1. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:43]
Ronny S. Mo
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Mixed buzz at this point, but on the list due to the large number of players it accommodates and speed of play.
 
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2. Board Game: Ascending Empires [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:808]
Ronny S. Mo
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Lightish 4x space game with flicking. I like flicking, and it's a fair equalizer when we have a mix of strategic capability at the table.
 
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3. Board Game: Belfort [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:375]
Ronny S. Mo
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This has been getting a lot of positive buzz and looks pretty. It's on the list due to the high production value and mix of mechanisms.
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4. Board Game: Core Worlds [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:547]
Ronny S. Mo
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I suppose it's this or Eminent Domain. I'm a sucker for the space theme, but Eminent Domain's art doesn't do much for me at all.
 
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5. Board Game: Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt Board Game [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:491] [Average Rating:7.30 Unranked]
Ronny S. Mo
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Co-op dungeon crawl with cool components. I don't have any dungeon crawlers at this point.
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6. Board Game: Yspahan [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:461]
Ronny S. Mo
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Does interesting things with dice, cameeples. In the Kingsburg/Alien Frontiers/Troyes line of mechanics, which is what I'm looking for.
 
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