The 50 (Or: How Many Games Does A Man Need?) Pt 1
Stephen Glenn
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Tolstoy once posed the question: How Much Land Does A Man Need? I have adapted that question to suit my own situation: How Many Games Does A Man Need? By this I mean what is the minimum number of games I could have access to and not feel deprived as someone who loves games. I settled on 50, which I think is a reasonable number and amounts to nearly one different game a week in the course of a year.

Why put a limit on the number of games I play? There are three: (1) Time, (2) Money, and (3) Space.
(1) Time - I only have a certain number of hours in any given week to play games. Why waste that time playing games that don't interest me as much as others?
(2) Money - I don't have unlimited funds, and the majority of games in this list require a separate purchase. Of course, many card games can be enjoyed with a single deck of cards, but there are few of them in this list.
(3) Space - Games take up space in my home. Owning a vast library of games that, for the most part, never get played does not interest me.

The question is only hypothetical, but if I did decide to limit myself to 50 games, these would be it. Presented in alphabetical order for your protection.

(by the way, the answer to Tolstoy's question: Six Feet From Head To Toe.)
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1. Board Game: 6 nimmt! [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:574]
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Probably my favorite Euro cardgame. Never fails to elicit laughter and groans.
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2. Board Game: Acquire [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:207]
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Sackson's masterpiece.
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3. Board Game: Backgammon [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:1086]
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The best "roll-the-dice-and-move-game" ever.
 
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4. Board Game: Beyond Balderdash [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:1048]
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If I'm going to play a party game, I'll choose one that gives me ample room for creativity. I've had moments with this game that I wouldn't trade for money.
 
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5. Board Game: Black Vienna [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:2360]
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This game is very fragile. If people don't play carefully, bad things can happen. Still, it's a fun little puzzle when things go smoothly.
 
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6. Board Game: Bohnanza [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:366]
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An odd choice, because I've never been in love with this game. I think it could grow on me if I played it more which is why I include it.
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7. Board Game: Breaking Away [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:1971]
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My favorite racing game. I get emotionally attached to my team members.
 
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8. Board Game: Canasta [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:2729]
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A very nice game for a small, social gathering. Sip coffee, talk about the day's events and play cards. Soothing and relaxing.
 
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9. Board Game: Can't Stop [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:621]
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My favorite press-your-luck game. Always exciting.
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10. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:139] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
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I like this game more for the effect it has on others than for my own personal enjoyment. Non-gamers love it. I've played it so much I'd miss if it weren't around.
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11. Board Game: China [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:628]
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I prefer this over Web of Power. China is family friendlier, more elegant, and less lucky than its older sibling. Still, the older game has a unique character that its supporters find irresistable. You can't go wrong with either one of them, but if I had to choose one...
 
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12. Board Game: Circus Flohcati [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:1361]
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It's Can't Stop with cards. Very quick (once through the deck is all) and fun. An outstanding groaner!
 
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13. Board Game: Civilization [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:225] [Average Rating:7.52 Unranked]
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This is a cheat because I've never played it. Still, it stays on the list until I do.
 
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14. Board Game: Crokinole [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:75]
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A dexterity/strategy game that I can't ever imagine myself tiring of. I own one just like the one pictured (an Eagle with green pitch). I can envision this one becoming a family heirloom, with my kids' kids enjoying it one day.
 
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15. Board Game: Daytona 500 [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:1333]
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My favorite incarnation of the famous Wolfgang Kramer racing system. This game is more about betting and manipulation than it is about racing, but it's still pure gold and tons of fun.
 
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16. Board Game: Diamant [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:612]
 
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Press-Your-Luck meets Group-Think. A splendid combination and, as an added bonus, it works very well thematically. Great with eight!
 
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17. Board Game: Through the Desert [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:435]
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I've been a fan of Durch die Wuste so long that I wrinkle my nose at its English name (though BGG insists on ruining the alphabeticity of my list - hmpph!) It's majority-meets-connection sweetness and my second favorite Knizia ever.
 
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18. Board Game: DVONN [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:346] [Average Rating:7.44 Unranked]
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Three of Kris Burm's Gipf Project games made this list. They're that good. An excellent series that breathed new life into the two-player abstract genre.
 
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19. Board Game: EastFront [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:1339]
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Another cheat, since I haven't played this one, either. It's my list and I'll cheat if I want to. Cheat if I want to. Cheat if I want to.
 
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20. Board Game: Edel, Stein & Reich [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:1221]
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I love simultaneous action games where you're trying to outthink and outguess your opponents. Basari was a fabulous example of that kind of game, and ES&R did it one better by getting rid of the superfluous board and adding room for an extra player.
 
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21. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:70]
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For my money, this comes as close to gaming perfection as we're likely to see. Playing E&T is like watching a great tragedy unfold. It sounds cliche to say no two games are ever alike, so I'll add the fact that I see something NEW in every game I play. A new strategy - a new beautiful element of the design. Bad luck can sometimes spoil a brilliant plan, but that's all just part of the drama.
 
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22. Board Game: Expedition [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:1588]
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I slightly prefer this to Wildlife Adventure, but they're both great. Few games fill me with as much tension and angst as Expedition. In many games you can voice anguish over an opponent's turn, but in Expedition you just have to suck it up and suffer in silence. Many have been the games where I'm kicking and screaming in my head, all the while providing a pleasant, smiling exterior.
 
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23. Board Game: Football Strategy [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:3880]
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Football is my favorite sport, and I haven't found a game that simulates the guessing game between offense and defense more elegantly and cleanly. Simultaneous action fun for two!
 
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24. Board Game: Formel Fun [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:4172]
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Formerly known as Devil Take the Hindmost, Formel Fun is a very simple racing game. Each player controls three cars in the race. The kicker is that every lap the car in last place is removed from the race. There is a small bit of player elimination present, but since each player owns three cars it can take awhile before you're completely out of the race. And by that time the game's almost over anyway. There's very much a Survivor Island feel to it and every game always "races" (pardon me) to a very exciting climax. A superb, fun implementation of a simple idea.
 
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25. Board Game: Forum Romanum [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:2777]
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Wolfgang Kramer -- area control reduced to its simplest elements. El Grande added a less-abstract map and more rules, but this is the game I prefer.
 
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