Games In Which The Journey Supercedes The Win
Roland Wood
United States
Visalia
California
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There is a class of games that seems to exist that focuses more on how the game emerges and on how players interact rather than on "The Win". Many of these games are branded "unbalanced" or unfairly accused of not being playtested enough. These opinions are usually forwarded by those types of gamers who have as their primary requirement for fun being that they must be able to "win". This geeklist is intended to be a list of those games that win-obsessed gamers ought to reconsider before purchasing or playing. Those who thoroughly enjoy the process of playing and interacting with each other within the game environment and enjoy postgame discussions more than being the winner must own these games. Please feel free to add to this list.
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1. Board Game: Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:48]
Roland Wood
United States
Visalia
California
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This game has taken a lot of knocks because of perceived game balance and game mechanics issues. However, the pure joy of the player interaction that this game inspires overcomes the above flaws (and you may not even see them as flaws). If your gaming group has a problem with the mechanics and balance issues there are fixes to be found on BBG and on Fantasy Flights website. But do not wait any longer to enjoy the politics, betrayals, deals, alliances, bribes, and more that this game inspires.
 
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2. Board Game: Lord of the Rings [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:698]
Roland Wood
United States
Visalia
California
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This is a game about trying to get a higher score than the last time rather than winning. The game is challenging and the expansions for it just increase that challenge. Is this game balanced to let winning-focused-crybabies have their brand of fun? No way!!! It is wonderfully designed however to encourage cooperative playing and teamwork. Whether you win or just finally make it past Shelob before the ringbearer gets sizzled by Sauron you will love playing this game and discussing who should have contributed what when and how.
 
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3. Board Game: Doom: The Boardgame [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:805]
Roland Wood
United States
Visalia
California
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There are just some people who hate a challenge. This game seems to bring all the if-I-can't-win-then-the-game-sucks-gamers to mouth-frothing screams of "unbalanced!" This game, however, has atmosphere in spades and many many tactical and teamwork choices that make for a pleasant postgame analysis session for your group. The game is stacked against the marines on purpose and this will offend those gamers that probably always played the original Doom video game on god mode so they could have their win.
 
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4. Board Game: Munchkin [Average Rating:5.93 Overall Rank:3351] [Average Rating:5.93 Unranked]
Roland Wood
United States
Visalia
California
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This light little cardgame is all about laughing for 45 minutes. It is a game that encourages you to hose each other and so it is tough to win by your own strategic choices since all your plans can be undone by the rest ganging up on you. Win-focused gamers seem to hate it when players gang up on them. If you ever played Dungeons and Dragons you will get a great chuckle out of this game and if you enjoy hosing games this is a gem.
 
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5. Board Game: Talisman (third edition) [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:2497]
Douglas Buel
United States
Hollywood
Florida
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If you've never played Talisman, know that winning involves rolling a die and adding either you strength or your craft, and this total must be higher than the Dragon King's strength or craft of 12 plus the number rolled on a die by the other player.

Playing, on the other hand, involves moving around a pretty cool board, finding spells and magic items, visiting different places, racing to take advantage of different game features and the occasional fight with another player. Definitely, for us, a game where "the stuff that happened" was the stuff during the entire game and not so much the die roll at the end.
 
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6. Board Game: HeroQuest [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:547]
Douglas Buel
United States
Hollywood
Florida
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If the players worked together in Heroquest, they pretty much couldn't lose to poor Zargon, who was pretty much the punching bag of the four brave adventurers. The fun needed to be, and was, in the overall experience.
 
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7. Board Game: Break the Safe [Average Rating:6.02 Overall Rank:4441]
Michael Lewis
United States
Unspecified
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We just picked this up, and since it really isn't that hard to beat, but my kids love it (my girls literally jumped up and down to tell mom what happened, and going to jail is now a running joke in the family (just for ref, I have YOUNG kids), I would say this game qualifies.

If your kids liked Spy-Kids, they will "get" this game almost immediately, and have a ball.

Possibily not an Adult game, but a fairly quick, very interactive, co-operative game.

BTW: makes an interesting team building exercise. There is a VERY competative couple I know that I think would be very entertaining to watch play this.
 
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8. Board Game: Return of the Heroes [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:1677] [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
Alan Kaiser
United States
Aurora
Colorado
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Wins! Who cares who wins! Let's just make sure someone takes out the bad guy so we don't all end up as slaves or something. The journey here is certainly what the game is all about. Yes, of course, someone wins in the end but the victory seems very hollow and anticlimactic. Most of the fun here is tied up in defeating the various monsters/encounters along the way and watching your character gain the necessary skills to finally take on the evil, mean guy.
 
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9. Board Game: Werewolf [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1168]
Paul B.
United States
Frostburg
Maryland
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I think this fits your list well.
 
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10. Board Game: Once Upon a Time: The Storytelling Card Game [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:1278]
Paul B.
United States
Frostburg
Maryland
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No game could fit this list better, IMO.
 
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11. Board Game: Lords of the Sierra Madre (second edition) [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:6591]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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This list would cover a great many of my favorite games, LotSM being one of the top. Lords of the Renaissance, Mad Monks and Relics, Tales of the Arabian Nights, American Megafauna, Empires of the Middle Ages... who cares if you win as long as the 'story' created during the game is a good one.
 
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12. Board Game: Tomb Raider Collectible Card Game [Average Rating:6.00 Overall Rank:8463]
Thomas Fuhs
United States
Goldsboro
North Carolina
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And now a comment by the "cardboard crack" faction:

Tomb Raider CCG falls into this list. You lay out the map as you play & battle whatever you find while searching for the main treasure location. Actually getting the prize is more of an anti-climax.
 
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13. Board Game: The Republic of Rome [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:338]
Robt. Ferrett
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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Win? Who cares? It's all about the drama--keeping Rome alive (or, often, not) as wars pile up, the populace revolts, and popular Senators become consul-for-life, rebel, or get assassinated. Oh yeah, and the intrigue and treachery. Can't forget that.
 
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14. Board Game: Down with the King [Average Rating:5.76 Overall Rank:8048]
Robt. Ferrett
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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Another game I don't mind losing, because the road to defeat is so comical. The funeral table alone is worth the price of admission--falling into the grave (and thus losing prestige), propositioning the queen at the king's funeral (scandal!), and of course, promising revenge at the funeral of the nobleman you just killed.

Plus the gout. Gotta love the gout.
 
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15. Board Game: Fluxx [Average Rating:5.69 Overall Rank:6641]
Sean Tompkins
United States
San Antonio
Texas
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Never go in against a Sicilian when DEATH is on the line!
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I've seen this game bashed repeatedly on the geek. This is not a game that I play to win - at least, not in the traditional "the win is the goal" sense. I think the fun of the game is the total chaos of the changing rules and changing ending conditions. It's impossible to have very much strategy, because the strategy you employ might be for rules and endgame conditions that change the very next play...

I absolutely love the "play all" card - there are some cards in your hand you DON'T want to play, and trying to play everything in an order that still benefits you is so much fun...
 
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16. Board Game: Betrayal at House on the Hill [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:422]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Sometimes its totally unbalanced. Sometimes you have to improvise the actual winning conditions. You don't even know who will be on which side when you start!

This game is not meant to play with a win/lose attitude at all - just play to see what happens, who will die and who will save the day!
 
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17. Board Game: War of the Ring (First Edition) [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:82]
Antigonus Monophthalmus
United States
Maryland
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I hardly ever win this but I could care less. The "journey" really is very exciting and gut-wrenching at times.
 
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18. Board Game: Die Macher [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:185]
Andrew Faehnle
United States
Cincinnati
OH
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Jumped to the front of my mind when I read the list title.
 
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19. Board Game: Svea Rike [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:3585]
Mike Siggins
England
Bexhill
SUSSEX
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A game that is all about the participation.
 
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