If Boardgames Were Works of Literature. . .
Chuck Uherske
United States
Rockville
Maryland
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. . . which would they be? Add your own.
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1. Board Game: Chess [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:416] [Average Rating:7.09 Unranked]
Chuck Uherske
United States
Rockville
Maryland
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The Iliad, Homer

The unforgiving old classic, on the timeless theme of a struggle to the death, precursor of so much that followed. Some return again and again to its lessons and marvel at its endless renewability, its relevance in our own age. Others find it tedious, that its action plods too repetitiously along the same terrain. Love it or not, familiarity with it is essential training.
 
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2. Board Game: Acquire [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:208]
Chuck Uherske
United States
Rockville
Maryland
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Don Quixote, Cervantes

Another timeless classic that I wish I'd read earlier in life. I knew at some level that it was enormously influential on so many of today's descendants, but didn't, until adulthood, appreciate how elegant and surprisingly modern it is. The work represents a break with everything before it, seamlessly laying down a new set of formalisms that became so standard as barely to be thought about.
 
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3. Board Game: I'm the Boss! [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:934]
Chuck Uherske
United States
Rockville
Maryland
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A Midsummer Night's Dream, William Shakespeare

Lord, what fools these mortals be!

Light, silly, you have to be able to laugh at yourself and at the vagaries of human behavior to appreciate it. Some find it too light, and can't believe that there is real substance in it, but for those who open themselves to it, there's plenty beneath the surface, though it's all presented with a knowing wink. The action begins turbulently enough, but by the middle of the proceedings, things are moving so many different ways that it's impossible to tell which way is up. But underneath it all there's a structure, discernible only if you keep your head about you and are unfazed by the twists and turns.
 
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4. Board Game: Daytona 500 [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:1336]
Chuck Uherske
United States
Rockville
Maryland
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Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson

If sailor tales to sailor tunes,
Storm and adventure, heat and cold,
If schooners, islands, and maroons,
And Buccaneers and buried Gold,
And all the romance, retold
Exactly in the ancient way,
Can please, as me they pleased of old,
The wiser youngsters of to-day. . .

Isn't this for kids? It could easily be. But sit down, Mr. Grownup, and give it a whirl. Soon you'll find yourself engrossed in every plot twist, losing your self-consciousness about rooting for your party. Who knew that there could be so much to think about, so much aesthetically to appreciate, in such a seemingly juvenile activity?
 
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5. Board Game: Stage II [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:6577]
Chuck Uherske
United States
Rockville
Maryland
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Ulysses, James Joyce

Gather up everything you once read or thought, or randomly encountered, and bring it along, because you're going to need it. The highest of the highbrow, the trivialest of the trivial, you'll need your ears open to the thematic links between the two. Erudition for erudition's sake, here, with a hefty dose of creativity and lateral thinking.
 
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6. Board Game: Timbuktu [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:1429]
Chuck Uherske
United States
Rockville
Maryland
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Labyrinths, Jorge Luis Borges

Something about this taps into the aesthetic side of mathematical, logical thinking, while also shedding any sense of dryness. A quirky offering, it feels something like a private discovery, to be shared only with discerning, appropriately minded friends. Logic and aesthetics work hand in hand in this precise little gem.
 
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7. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:15]
Chuck Uherske
United States
Rockville
Maryland
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Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

Everybody whose opinion you respect is reading/playing it, and loving it. You've got to try it, they say! And you plow doggedly along, part of you appreciating the skill and craftsmanship of the creation, part of you wondering when will appear the work's soul and beauty and fun. Endlessly talked about, it's inescapable amid your crowd, but there's a void at the center of it in which you can't find any heart.
 
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8. Board Game: Lord of the Rings [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:698]
Chuck Uherske
United States
Rockville
Maryland
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Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkein

OK, that's cheating.
 
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9. Board Game: Candy Land [Average Rating:3.17 Overall Rank:15345]
Chuck Uherske
United States
Rockville
Maryland
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Fun with Dick and Jane

Too obvious, isn't it?
 
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10. Board Game: Dream Factory [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:575]
Chuck Uherske
United States
Rockville
Maryland
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The Knife Thrower, Steven Millhauser

Tough one. For I so wanted to find a game to parallel my most luxurious literary pleasure, Proust's Remembrance of Things Past. And Knizia is, like Proust, the titan of his field. T-fab and RoTP each provide for me the deepest sense of pleasure that I can get from their respective genres.

But in too many other senses, this doesn't match. T-fab is too economical, not sprawling, not epic enough. its subtle, precise, and concise as well. So instead we select The Knife Thrower by Steven Millhauser, which, like T-fab, conveys that exhlirating sense of having discovered the aesthetically perfect where few else seem to be looking. As you move along through the proceedings, you feel as though you're in the hands of a true master, and you marvel at every little detail, as well as the persistent sense of magic. Millhauser isn't recognized as broadly in his field as Knizia is in his, but he is becoming more so, and The Knife Thrower, like T-fab, is a work that hasn't garnered as much attention as some of his others, while appealing to his most fervent fans.
 
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11. Board Game: Othello [Average Rating:6.07 Overall Rank:2383]
Jesse Acosta
United States
Spokane
Washington
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Shakespeare's Othello
 
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12. Board Game: Diplomacy [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:501]
D. Quinn Nix
United States
Arvada
Colorado
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The Prince, by Niccolo Machiavelli.

Oh, wait: that's not a work of literature. But, still...
 
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13. Board Game: Mystery of the Abbey [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1076]
D. Quinn Nix
United States
Arvada
Colorado
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Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco.
 
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14. Board Game: Napoleon in Europe [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:2911]
D. Quinn Nix
United States
Arvada
Colorado
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War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy.

(Heh. I appear to be going for the easy/obvious ones, here.)

(BTW: I'm so very glad I was able to add this OOP game to my collection, even though I've yet to play it!)
 
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15. Board Game: Age of Napoleon [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:1657]
Dan Rosewater
Switzerland
Z├╝rich
Switzerland
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War and Peace, Leo N. Tolstoi

"War and Peace" is the Ilias of the 19th. Century, a monumental novel over the epoch of the Napoleonic wars between 1806 and 1812 with a view in the Epilog on the following eight years, fateful for Russia and the European states.

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16. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:28]
kevin crog
United States
N. Canton
Ohio
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Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

This is a story that starts small, and constanstly evolves with new characters and situations. The characters are all laid out for the reader, and then slowly brought together in an ever more complex web of connections. There is also themes of redemption (the lowliest characters become great leaders), and a constant reminder that everything comes with a price, everything must be paid for. Terrific story, I feel very lucky to have read it.
 
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17. Board Game: History of the World [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:597]
Sean Ahern
United States
Spokane
Washington
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ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE, A book about the rise and fall of a town and a family. The book follows the five generations of the Buendia family through war and love in a changing world. Great opening line: "Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."
 
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18. Board Game: Go [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:121]
Matthew M
United States
New Haven
Connecticut
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Go is the Tao Te Ching of games. Or is that backwards? Maybe it just is.

-MMM
 
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19. Board Game: Machiavelli [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:1539]
Champion Eternal
Malaysia
Unspecified
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Niccolo Machiavelli's The Prince.
 
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20. Board Game: Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:48]
Todd
United States
Cleveland
Tennessee
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Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simons

An incredible science fiction series but the first book is a bit of a struggle to get through much like the first game of TI. But each book after the first get more and more amazing.
 
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