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Must-Try Games
Nathan Morse
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These are "Must-Try" games: games that I have tagged as "Want to Play", and are highly "recommended", based on my High-Correlation GeekBuddies' ratings (see my profile for an explanation), and the 'Geek at large. They are vaguely organized from most-recommended on down.

This list is subject to grown and change, proportional to my interest in maintaining it.
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1. Board Game: Empires: Builder Expansion [Average Rating:7.54 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.54 Unranked]
Nathan Morse
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HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  10.00 
BGG average rating:  8.22 

While I doubt this will be a  10  for me, I do intend to get it, and am confident that its overall ratings are well-founded.

2016-10-12 Update:
HCGB 0.6+ average rating:  8.75 
HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  7.68 
BGG average rating:  7.5 

I'm ashamed to say that although I bought it, I still haven't played it. …and in the meantime, a deluxe rerelease occurred. I opted against it, due to the aforementioned situation. I still look forward to giving this a long overdue go, though!
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2. Board Game: Feudalia [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:3084]
Nathan Morse
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HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  9.00 
BGG average rating:  8.12 

Images of this game caught my attention as they were submitted to BGG, so I was very pleasantly surprised when one of my High-Correlation GeekBuddies rated this highly. Chances I'll get to play it anytime soon are probably nil, but it certainly looks interesting!

2016-10-12 Update:
My rating:  9 
HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  9.35 
BGG average rating:  7.7 

ABBA Games will be publishing this within the next year. Finally! It's brilliant.
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3. Board Game: Takenoko [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:218]
Nathan Morse
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HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  9.00 
BGG average rating:  7.63 

This was one of my Spiel 2011 (Essen) interests for zefquaavius. Once I saw how it worked physically, I went from very vaguely curious to quite interested. Apparently it has fans among my "peers".

2016-10-12 Update:
My rating:  6 
HCGB 0.6+ average rating:  6.57 
HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  6.85 
BGG average rating:  7.4 

Eh, it was fine.
 
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4. Board Game: Schafkopf [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:3125]
Nathan Morse
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HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  9.00 
BGG average rating:  7.55 

It's flabbergasting to see a traditional card game from 1780 so highly "recommended" for me. Clearly I need to check this out. Conveniently, I believe I have a traditional Bavarian deck of cards….

2016-10-12 Update:
HCGB 0.6+ average rating:  7.00 
HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  8.00 
BGG average rating:  7.5 

Still haven't played it….
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5. Board Game: Power Grid: Supply Contract [Average Rating:7.11 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.11 Unranked]
Nathan Morse
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HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  9.00 
BGG average rating:  7.50 

This was one of my Spiel 2011 (Essen) interests for zefquaavius. Hopefully Rio Grande Games makes this one readily available here.

2016-10-12 Update:
HCGB 0.6+ average rating:  6.67 
HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  7.21 
BGG average rating:  7.2 

I played it once, but that wasn't enough for me to form an opinion.
 
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6. Board Game: Railways of the World [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:100] [Average Rating:7.69 Unranked]
Nathan Morse
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HCGB 0.6+ average rating:  8.87 
HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  8.32 
BGG average rating:  8.13 

This is here on a technicality: I've played Railways of the World once with Railways of the Western U.S. My first impression wasn't quite as high as any of these ratings, but I liked it, and look forward to playing it more. Fortunately, I own it.

2016-10-12 Update:
My rating:  7 
HCGB 0.6+ average rating:  8.25 
HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  7.75 
BGG average rating:  7.7 

Railways Through Time is my favorite expansion ( 8 ).
 
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7. Board Game: Dominion: Hinterlands [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
Nathan Morse
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HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  8.57 
BGG average rating:  8.52 

Already pre-ordered. I suspect that these ratings are very close to where mine will be.

2011-12-16 update:  9  Yep, more good, rather interesting cards for Dominion.
 
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8. Board Game: Carcassonne: 10 Year Special Edition [Average Rating:7.68 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.68 Unranked]
Nathan Morse
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HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  8.57 
BGG average rating:  7.99 

[shrug] Carcassonne is fun, and apparently this is special. The box is unbelievable, though, and the only way I could own this is if I keep it standing on a shelf. Otherwise, there would be much crushing and dishing on my games, and that is unacceptable.

2016-10-12 Update:
I've never even played it, and probably never will. This marked the beginning of the Carcassonne matriarchy, which has really exploded recently. Funny, though: Despite my lack of desire to seek them out, Carcassonne-family base games (whatever sort they are) are consistently simple fun.
 
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9. Board Game: Eclipse [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:36]
Nathan Morse
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HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  8.50 
BGG average rating:  8.47 

Not only does this game include heptagonal pieces, but it looks very interesting as well. The comparisons I've heard people make (e.g. TI3) have really given me doubts about whether it will suit my tastes; however, if ratings and Pearson correlation coefficients are to be believed, this should be a winner for me. …and it has regular heptagons!

2016-10-12 Update:
HCGB 0.7+ average rating:  8.50 
HCGB 0.6+ average rating:  8.12 
HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  7.89 
BGG average rating:  8.0 

Wow, I even have ratings from 0.7+ correlation folks on this. I guess I have to try it eventually….
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10. Board Game: Ora et Labora [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:95]
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HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  8.50 
BGG average rating:  8.22 

Duh! Given my ratings of the big-box Rosenberg games*, I suspect that I will like this; however, I have set my expectations to "no clue", lest I wreck the experience with inaccurate expectations.

* Do an advanced search on Designer: Uwe Rosenberg, Year Published: 2007–, Owned by zefquaavius, if you're curious.

2016-10-12 Update:
My rating:  9 
HCGB 0.6+ average rating:  8.55 
HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  8.28 
BGG average rating:  7.8 

I. Love. The production "wheels" in this game.
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11. Board Game: MIL (1049) [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:2647]
Nathan Morse
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HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  8.50 
BGG average rating:  7.48 

Somehow this slipped utterly under my radar — perhaps it's because I didn't realize the title was in Roman numerals. Now I'm mighty curious about it, and my friend (with good taste in heavier games), Vital, recommended it before I had a chance to voice my interest!

2016-10-12 Update:
HCGB 0.6+ average rating:  9.00 
HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  6.73 
BGG average rating:  6.8 

Own it. Still haven't played it. Interestingly, the spread on the correlation focus group has grown, but the more tightly correlated group gives it a killer rating. Ugh, I guess I'll have to slog through the rules again….
 
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12. Board Game: Gettysburg [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:3012]
Nathan Morse
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HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  8.50 
BGG average rating:  7.37 

I got this as part of the Treefrog subscription, but I pretty much never find myself in two-player wargame situations. I see plenty of wargamers at CABS, but I prefer to play serious two-player games at home. It's a bit of a Catch-22, but folks have offered to come play with me, so I probably just need to create a niche in the schedule, and accept.

2016-10-12 Update:
I got this out a couple of times to mess with it solitaire, in hopes of getting the rules down well enough to teach an eventual, hypothetical interested party the game…. [crickets]
 
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13. Board Game: Struggle of Empires [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:366]
Nathan Morse
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HCGB 0.7+ average rating:  8.75 
HCGB 0.6+ average rating:  8.50 
HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  7.85 
BGG average rating:  7.62 

This one's been recommended personally. I know the rulebook is probably a nightmare, but I'm sure that if I come to play this, it will be because someone teaches me, so I don't let that worry me.

2016-10-12 Update:
HCGB 0.6+ average rating:  8.12 
HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  7.86 
BGG average rating:  7.5 

Still haven't given it a go…. It looks less intensely loved by my current pool of HCGB, but still great. Plus, Vital said I have to play it.
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14. Board Game: Navegador [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:176]
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HCGB 0.6+ average rating:  8.50 
HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  8.15 
BGG average rating:  7.79 

I spent three solid days in the same room with this game, which was constantly in play, but because I was teaching other games during all that time, I still have not played this. Way back when it was brand new, a trusted source wasn't too enthusiastic about it, but the numbers suggest I should be. Hmm….

2016-10-12 Update:
HCGB 0.6+ average rating:  7.36 
HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  7.75 
BGG average rating:  7.6 

Own it, still haven't played it; however, Concordia was quite nice. laugh
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15. Board Game: Dominant Species [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:49]
Nathan Morse
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HCGB 0.6+ average rating:  8.38 
HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  8.20 
BGG average rating:  8.00 

This has been highly recommended to me by numerous people, including my good friend, Vital Lacerda, who obviously has impeccable taste in games… and wine. The downtime scares me, but I just need to clear the calendar and dig into this.

2016-10-12 Update:
HCGB 0.6+ average rating:  7.96 
HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  7.96 
BGG average rating:  7.9 

Own it, still haven't played it. shake At least I think I got it in a math trade.
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16. Board Game: Baltimore & Ohio [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:1895]
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HCGB 0.6+ average rating:  8.50 
HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  8.07 
BGG average rating:  7.52 

At Vital's recommendation, corroborated eventually by the HCGB, I bought this. Can't wait to try it!

2011-12-16 update:  8  This is very fun and addictive. If it didn't take six hours for a four-player game, it would help, but I really like it.

2016-10-12 Update:
I've had much more fun with it by creating and employing some automation.
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17. Board Game: Trajan [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:73]
Nathan Morse
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HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  8.28 
BGG average rating:  7.92 

Squarely on my Spiel 2011 (Essen) interests for zefquaavius, and ordered. I am a Stefan Feld fan, and have received far too many strong recommendations from people with strong overlap in tastes with me in this part of the spectrum. Can't wait to play it!

2011-12-16 update:  8  Ooh, excellent! Indirect influence of the cogs and mechanisms in the game to get what you want, but since the vast majority of the cogs are exclusively yours, other people can only hose you so much. As a bonus, I won the first game, 125 - 124 - 112 - 100. Early in the game, I took a point instead of a probably-better opportunity, and consoled myself by joking that if I won the game by one point, it was that point that I took unwisely.
 
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18. Board Game: A Few Acres of Snow [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:255]
Nathan Morse
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HCGB 0.6+ average rating:  8.33 
HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  8.16 
BGG average rating:  8.10 

I played a solitaire 2p game of this when I first got it, in order to prepare myself to teach it. It's too slow and difficult to manage two players with one brain, but I could see its potential. Good grief, I need to get this played with another human already.
 
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19. Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:11]
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HCGB 0.6+ average rating:  8.50 
HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  7.92 
BGG average rating:  7.87 

Guh, why haven't I played this yet‽
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20. Board Game: Drum Roll [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:1184]
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HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  8.30 
BGG average rating:  7.55 

I am really pleased to see this getting "recommended". I was enthused when I started seeing announcements and graphics for it, but tried to keep any expectations at bay.
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21. Board Game: Québec [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:1098]
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HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  8.25 
BGG average rating:  7.82 

I've been keeping an eye on this since its first glimmers on BGG and BGGN.
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22. Board Game: Kaivai [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:2953]
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HCGB 0.6+ average rating:  9.00 
HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  7.38 
BGG average rating:  6.88 

I've always been curious about this game in the notoriously large box. I've tried to snag it in a couple of math trades, but never to any avail. Fortunately, I know two people in town who have this, so I merely need to plead with them to teach me.
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23. Board Game: Lancaster [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:256]
Nathan Morse
United States
Powell
Ohio
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HCGB 0.6+ average rating:  8.50 
HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  7.82 
BGG average rating:  7.59 

A few friends have recommended this, so I was already fairly intrigued. The numbers may light a fire under me.
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24. Board Game: Vanuatu [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:697]
 
Nathan Morse
United States
Powell
Ohio
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HCGB 0.6+ average rating:  8.00 
HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  8.40 
BGG average rating:  7.76 

Blast! This really piqued my interest, and was among my Spiel 2011 (Essen) interests for zefquaavius, but I resisted… twice, partially because I knew Boards & Bits was stocking it (OOS now!). Rats rats rats rats rats. Well, I'll look forward to playing it anyway. meeple
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25. Board Game: Urban Sprawl [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:1341]
Nathan Morse
United States
Powell
Ohio
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HCGB 0.6+ average rating:  8.75 
HCGB 0.5+ average rating:  7.53 
BGG average rating:  7.40 

With Dominant Species riding so high, it is no surprise to see this on the list; however, because of some of the less-than-stellar things I'd been reading from early raters, I am surprised to see the numbers so high.
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