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Mary Weisbeck
United States
Black Hawk
South Dakota
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If I had to pare down my collection for some reason, these are the games I would absolutely have to keep.

They may not all be my top favorites to play, but they're ones I enjoy playing AND that my family will most willingly play with me.
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1. Board Game: El Grande [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:53]
Mary Weisbeck
United States
Black Hawk
South Dakota
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I love the duality of the bidding pieces and the action cards. They not only decide turn order and the action you're allowed, respectively, but also how many men you may take into your court and how many you may place on the board. To me, that's a clever balance and makes for tough decisions even before you must decide where to place your men. Being able to place men only in the provinces surrounding the King not only narrows your options to a manageable level but is an interesting twist to an area control game.
 
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2. Board Game: Memoir '44 [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:117] [Average Rating:7.54 Unranked]
Mary Weisbeck
United States
Black Hawk
South Dakota
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Memoir got so many glowing recommendations that I decided it would be a good choice to lure my husband to the dark side. And he loves it. As an added bonus, I like it, too! This is a fun, light wargame that almost anyone can play. Luck, yes. I wouldn't like to play a wargame that was too much like real war--I don't think war is fun. Cussing at the luck of the card draw and the crappy, *#@!$ die rolls is fun.
 
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3. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:294]
Mary Weisbeck
United States
Black Hawk
South Dakota
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Lost Cities is great for those times when you need to play a game but no one else wants to think too hard. It's light and fast but still gives enough thought-provoking choices to fulfill that gaming fix.
 
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4. Board Game: Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:390]
Mary Weisbeck
United States
Black Hawk
South Dakota
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Hunters and Gatherers is another game my husband will play without much nagging. Our winter pasttime used to be assembling jigsaw puzzles; this feels like competitive jigsaw puzzling. The conflicts seem less vicious than in other games. There's almost an appreciation for a clever move even though it hurt your position.
 
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5. Board Game: Torres [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:402]
Mary Weisbeck
United States
Black Hawk
South Dakota
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Torres' combination of action point movement and special action cards gives me the feeling of solving a puzzle as I try to accomplish my objective in a set amount of actions. There's also plenty of chances for clever, surprise moves, which is something my family really enjoys. We even like this with 2 players, though more is better.
 
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6. Board Game: Through the Desert [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:435]
Mary Weisbeck
United States
Black Hawk
South Dakota
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A cornucopia of decisions make this game blissful agony. With 4 ways to score points, 5 camel trains to control, and opponents to block while advancing your own progress, there's no end to the tension of where to place your lowly 2 camels.
 
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7. Board Game: Union Pacific [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:468]
Mary Weisbeck
United States
Black Hawk
South Dakota
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In Union Pacific, the randomness of the cards do not lessen the turn angst because most cards still give you several options for play. To add tension to the majority-scoring, you must decide WHEN to declare your strengths--too soon and you've given everyone else a chance to increase their scores; too late and you won't have time to lay down all your stocks before the scoring card makes its surprise appearance.
 
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8. Board Game: Jambo [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:491] [Average Rating:7.04 Unranked]
Mary Weisbeck
United States
Black Hawk
South Dakota
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I almost didn't buy Jambo--buy, sell, cards with various uses, what's new about that? But I finally gave in and I'm so glad I did. The heart of the game is in the huge variety of card abilities, mixing and matching until you're in control of your finances--at least for this turn! And you can occassionally mess with your opponent's plans, too, which is always a plus for us. Although there are a lot of different cards to get used to, it isn't painful and doesn't take long to get to know them. Soon you'll be whipping out a crocodile in a nanosecond.
 
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9. Board Game: Web of Power [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:507]
Mary Weisbeck
United States
Black Hawk
South Dakota
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I was told by many that I had to get Kardinal und Konig and they were right. My family all enjoys this tough tactical fight with its different areas of scoring that you must keep your eyes on. The decisions are not many due to the restriction of your cards, but they're tough, even to the choosing of your replacement cards. I mentioned the new version, China, to them last weekend and the change to having 4 cards face up to choose from and we all thought that might make it a little too easy to grab a pair and make the game too easy.
 
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10. Board Game: Blokus [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:518]
Mary Weisbeck
United States
Black Hawk
South Dakota
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Blokus is the abstract game for people who hate abstract games. There's something addictive about it, maybe because there's no perfect move; or because you aren't expected to think 3 or 4 moves in advance; or because anyone can play and have a chance to win, even kids. Or maybe it's just fun to watch the board turn into a colorful kaleidoscope. My husband will play this with me with almost no arm twisting.
 
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11. Board Game: Catan Card Game [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:736]
Mary Weisbeck
United States
Black Hawk
South Dakota
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The variety in the Settlers Card Game keeps it fresh and exciting play after play. I like the many different buildings with their variety of strengths and abilities; the different combinations of buildings, cities/towns, Knight and Windmill that can gain you the VPs you need; the trading and stealing of needed resources; and the almost-always useful die rolls. All of this creates a game of organization and manipulation that appeals to me.
 
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12. Board Game: Stephenson's Rocket [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:1021]
Mary Weisbeck
United States
Black Hawk
South Dakota
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I love building roads or laying tracks, add in the several ways to make money, the tough choices because there's always so much more you'd like to do, the wonderful way the board grows differently each time you play, and the ability to stick it to another player and this becomes a keeper.
 
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13. Board Game: Oltre Mare [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:1192]
Mary Weisbeck
United States
Black Hawk
South Dakota
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Hand management with LOTS of things to assess: goods, pirates, money, ship movement, number of cards to hold, number of cards to play. If that's not enough, let's move the ship and add in a few other choices. Lovely, important choices. But while you're deciding what to do with your hand, don't overlook what everyone else is doing! They might want to trade and you could end up on the very short end of the stick.
 
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14. Board Game: Trias [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:1674]
Mary Weisbeck
United States
Black Hawk
South Dakota
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Trias is my catnip (check the avatar ). It combines all the things that I like most in a game: area control, action point movement, nastiness, and the ability to make unexpected plays. I also like that you're never really out of the game because it's possible to come back from a bad position to win the game. Some people have complained about that, I assume they were on the losing end of it, but I find it keeps you on your toes and forces you to find those clever manueuvers.
 
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15. Board Game: StreetSoccer [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:1680]
Mary Weisbeck
United States
Black Hawk
South Dakota
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StreetSoccer is so fast and so easy to play, and it's also fun, so it's easy to find an opponent. Oh, the die can be a frivolous opponent but there's strategy, too. Unfortunately, I haven't figured it out yet and usually get my cleats handed to me in a duffel bag.
 
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16. Board Game: Magna Grecia [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:2256]
Mary Weisbeck
United States
Black Hawk
South Dakota
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Magna Grecia was a hit with me right from the start. The road-building sucked me in but then I found the depth of this game and it will forever hold top honors for me.

Having the biggest city is not a sure-fire path to victory as this game has other ways to score and many things to consider. Get a market into other players' cities and let them make points for you, cut someone off from the Temple and keep it for yourself, combine 2 of your cities and score one of the markets twice. All of these strategies while also managing your supplies. This is even good with 2 players who play aggressively.
 
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17. Board Game: I Go! [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:2438]
Mary Weisbeck
United States
Black Hawk
South Dakota
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Although Corsari isn't one of my top favorites, it's one that my husband loves and will play anytime. There's a nice bit of strategy in the Tavern and we play the German rules where you don't use a pen and paper for scoring which makes it even better. Why does Richard like this so much? I don't know; I beat him every time. But then we play Crazy Chicken, which I like better, but he beats me at it every time. Such things are what happy marriages are about, I guess.
 
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18. Board Game: Meridian [Average Rating:6.03 Overall Rank:5010]
Mary Weisbeck
United States
Black Hawk
South Dakota
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It took a push from a friend to get me to try Meridian but when I did, it became one of my husband's as well as my own favorites. It plays differently from anything else I've played in that your moves are analyzed vertically but the final scoring is done horizontally. Being able to pick up a tower and redistribute it in one of several ways lets you manipulate the verticle row, which can drastically change the future scoring. This bit of control plus the open information regarding which cards have been played makes for a very interesting and tense game.
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19. Board Game: Titicaca [Average Rating:6.26 Overall Rank:5378]
Mary Weisbeck
United States
Black Hawk
South Dakota
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A meaty area-control game, this one has its own twist: each area (country) starts with just 1 field but it can expand at the whims of the players (and the rules). It also has multiple ways to score which reminds me of Kardinal und Konig, bidding for turn order with weapons which also count as points if you've any left over, and a variable board so it's never the same game twice. All of these characteristics make this game one I really enjoy.
 
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20. Board Game: Fluxx [Average Rating:5.69 Overall Rank:6614] [Average Rating:5.69 Unranked]
eugene meidinger
United States
Unspecified
Pennsylvania
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Wait. What?
 
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