Localized Omniscience
Steve Hope
United States
Woodside
California
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After reading a good, thorough negative review of Nexus's War of the Ring by Ynnen, I thought I'd solicit a list of games where "localized omniscience" ("omniscience" as described by Ynnen and pertaining to gaming) is a clear advantage to the players.

For purposes of the list, "localized omniscience" describes the following situation: After the game has been completely set up and the first turn has begun, there is information important to the play of the game (not strategy tips--basic information about the possible developments in the game) which is NOT available to the player through access to any of the in-box play aids. This is most commonly the case due to a deck of cards or similar game component that is NOT described in full either in the rules or in a play aid. Uno, therefore, would not be a game where "localized omniscience" is an advantage. Nor would Amun-Re, since in both of these games all the cards are described somewhere which is universally available to the players during the game. To qualify for this list, a game must be able to surprise a player during the game by making him say, "I didn't know THAT was a possibility/THAT existed!"

Note that I'm consolidating several KINDS of games in some of the entries--I'm more interested in games that don't fall into the categories where this clearly applies. For example, are the "laurel" tokens in Quo Vadis an example of this, or are those quantities available to all? Does TI3 include all the various cards in all the various decks in its play aids, or are there victory objectives and other things which only repeated play or a close study of the cards will make a player aware of?

As an aside, how do people feel about this aspect in a game? I quite like it and think it adds depth to a game, but I can see that it makes for a steeper learning curve and that people who like to play MORE games rather than a few games a LOT might see it as a problem...
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1. Board Game: War of the Ring (First Edition) [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:82]
Steve Hope
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The game that spurred the list today.
 
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2. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:28]
Steve Hope
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The game that really inspired the list for me. Playing Power Grid, I was struck by how important it is to know what the "plant pool" is. Yet that information isn't available anywhere that I'm aware of. That seems very rare for a Eurogame, but maybe this list will prove me wrong!
 
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3. Board Game: Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:134]
Steve Hope
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Hannibal stands in for ALL card-driven wargames. These are obviously list candidates unless they describe all event cards somewhere in the rules or play aids (which several do).
 
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4. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:157] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
Steve Hope
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Assuming this is M:tG (not sure I transcribed the Game ID correctly), this stands in for ALL CCGs, where the surprise moments were a big part of the fun before the internet came into our lives.
 
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5. Board Game: Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:413]
Jay Little
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Eden Prairie
Minnesota
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This is another game from my original Omniscience geeklist that I feel fits the bill. Granted, there's a player aid detailing all the units and the cards, but you still need a fairly good grasp of all the unit powers -- and how they interact -- to play well.
 
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6. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:139] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Kevin Cachia
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Springfield
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Carcassonne. Knowing the tile distribution can be a powerful bit of information.

Although I have seen breakdowns here on the Geek, I don't think such a list is included in the box.
 
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7. Board Game: Parthenon: Rise of the Aegean [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:2701]
Michael Keller
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Austin
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Knowing what event cards exist can alter your strategy for any given year, if you expect to take advantage of a bonus or avoid a particular pitfall. Not every event card sees play every game, so knowing them isn't a gigantic advantage, but being aware of what might come can certainly help you.
 
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