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Subject: What were you surprised you enjoyed? rss

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Chris
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Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars, where you will be forced to drift aimlessly farther into the vast, empty abyss of space until a lack of food, water and oxygen causes you to succumb to Death's cold embrace.
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I'm kinda snobby it seems, and lots of lighter games I decide I don't like before playing them. Sometimes though, I get proven very wrong, most notable games I can think of that I really enjoyed after initially dismissing them as pants are

Skull (and Roses)
- Knew for a fact that this wasn't even a game, just people pretending it was. Man it's fun in the right environment, so glad I gave it a go and understood it

Dixit
- Some dull kids game, whatever. Pretty pictures alone don't make a worthwhile game. Bought it for my Daughter, and loved playing it with and without kids.

Great to be proven wrong at times!
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Marco
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Dixit indeed. I had to play it to be able to explain it on a small game day(where you can try games for free). And by seeing the box I was really suprised it was so much fun.

World Without End seemed a bit hard and not much fun. But after 1 round I saw the fun in it and I loved it!

When I was going for a new board game, Legends of Andor was one of the games coming to mind. I had a hard time choosing, but in the end I bought legends of andor. I thought it would be a good game, which I would play some times... But every day I love it more and more and more! Not really what you meant with this thread, but yeahh..

Heart of Africa seemed really abstract at first and totally no fun. But when I played it, I kind of enjoyed it. When playing a 4p game a few weeks later I really liked the game. It has some good mechanics.

I learned from this that you shouldn't judge the game by it's box... But it's just so hard to not do that.
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Michael Weber
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From all the reviews and especially video playthroughs, I was pretty convinced that Sentinels of the Multiverse was not my cup of tea. I mean, I am not much of a superhero fanboy anyways, so what interest should I have in (to me, then) nameless heroes? I gave it a shot anyways, as I like card based games and there were so many recommendations in the 1 Player guild and boy am I glad I did!

As of today I have 61 game days under my belt with this gem and this within less than half a year!
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bryce kartchner
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For me, it is Legendary. I really didn’t think I needed another deck builder game as I have dominion with several expansions and puzzle strike. I had played Ascension, and thought it was ok. I didn’t pick up Legendary for some time, but I got it in a trade. I just lovvvvve the game. The theme and the small changes it makes to the Ascension model make it great in my opinion. I marginally enjoy super heroes, but the super hero theme is fun, exciting, and it keeps me coming back for more. I just can’t get enough of Legendary.
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Pete
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I had Penny Arcade: The Game – Gamers vs. Evil on the "sell at auction" pile after buying it for under $5 at a different auction, but decided to play it first. The response was overwhelmingly positive from everyone (including me) so I kept it.

Pete (should know better than to try to sell games)
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(ɹnʎʞ)
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No total surprises for me here so far, but some games definitely were/are way more enjoyable than I first expected them to be.

One example is Alhambra, which really surprised me how much fun it delivers. Not a top favourite of mine, but I respect the game and would not trade it away.

Elder Sign was a total surprise for my girlfriend. She wanted to play it over and over again in the first weeks, which then again surprised me. EDIT She also told me that Starship Catan was a very pleasant surprise to her, considering the game's sci-fi theme. This statment actually surprises me, as we watch a lot of sci-fi tv shows and movies. Well, to quote Spock: fascinating. /EDIT

Tales of the Arabian Nights also deserves to be on this list. Yes, the game is simple in terms of rules and complexity and yes, the game is so heavily based on (passive) storytelling and random encounters that the combination of both these aspects could easily result in some players actually refusing to call it a "game"...
But oh boy, there is so much hilarious and unique fun in this game even I did not expect when I first bought it.

Can't recommend it enough, if the players are okay with the unpredictable nature of this game and its self-aware humour.
If you are a die-hard competitive player, don't even think about playing this game, or you will end up locked away in a padded cell in Arkham.

Maybe the statement that this is not a game by definition is in the end indeed right, and to be honest, I personally prefer calling this game an "event", which it absolutely is with the right people.


I wonder when the first manly Rococo outing will happen here, as this game sadly gets dismissed a lot just because of its theme.


I created a similar geeklist some time ago: E Late love: Games your first ignored or dismissed, but learnt to like later on


Respect to those brave enough to take a step outside of their comfort zone and taking the chance of broadening their horizons.
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Tahsin Shamma
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I find it funny that I'm a little of a reverse snob when it comes to the light vs heavy thing.

Heavy Euros I am very skeptical of, since I very often find the theme (historical middle ages renaissance something) or the gameplay (convert this to do that to get VPs) to be just a repeat of theme or gameplay in other games.

I was very pleasantly surprised to see how much I liked Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar.
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Brian Jurney
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For me it was Kingdom Builder. I bought the game at a B&N clearance sale mostly on a whim, but it looked like a game that I might enjoy. I didnt know anything about it though. After reading the rules, I was worried that the game wasnt going to be one that I would enjoy. After the first play though, I loved it and it is now one of my favorite games.
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Kevin Keefe
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Kyur wrote:
Tales of the Arabian Nights also deserves to be on this list. Yes, the game is simple in terms of rules and complexity and yes, the game is so heavily based on (passive) storytelling and random encounters that the combination of both these aspects could easily result in some players actually refusing to call it a "game"...
But oh boy, there is so much hilarious and unique fun in this game even I did not expect when I first bought it.

Can't recommend it enough, if the players are okay with the unpredictable nature of this game and its self-aware humour.
If you are a die-hard competitive player, don't even think about playing this game, or you will end up locked away in a padded cell in Arkham.

Maybe the statement that this is not a game by definition is in the end indeed right, and to be honest, I personally prefer calling this game an "event", which it absolutely is with the right people.


This is so true. Personally, I love Tales, but my adult game group refuses to play it, calling it "the Aladdin Game of Life." It bums me out that I have this great game that never makes it to the table.

For me, I really thought Power Grid was going to be dull as hell. I avoided playing it like the plague. Not really sure how I got to that point, but when I finally played it I really enjoyed it.

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shawn
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I remember reading the description for 7 Wonders a while back, I thought a card driven building game would be lame so I avoided it. When I finally played it, I loved it.

Another one is Tokaido, to me the board looked cramped and uninteresting. When I played it, I really enjoyed the mellow flow of the game.
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Bill Solt
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Small World

I seen Tabletop episode and various reviews and it just looked boring. Oh these squares attack those squares and points. Then someone broke it out last week at game night and I was impressed. Of course, I played the ghouls totally wrong, and I just took them because they sounded cool. But then the strategy hit me. The next two factions I played worked much better.

Diplomatic anything is an awesome way to box someone in.

Sadly, I have bought all the games I am allowed to before January. Now I just have to hope I dropped enough hints to get it for Christmas.
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X X
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Five Tribes - it had been on my list for a long time and have had several times where it was either physically in my hands at my FLGS or in my cart online but could never pull the trigger. It wasn't until it was confirmed for Tabletop that it forced me to buy it. I am really glad I did because I honestly thought my wife would hate it and well she wanted to play it right after our first game. So very very happy that I bought it.
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Mark Halsey
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+1 for Power Grid

Since my group got it, it's been at the table more than any other game.

Vikings is another one I liked more than I thought I would.
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Mark Nicosia
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I saw eBay Electronic Talking Auction Game at the local thrift shop, stickered for 4 dollars and currently on half-price sale.

I thought I remembered it being on Eric from the Dice Tower's top ten something-or-other games (electronic? auction? sleeper hits?) so I figured it was worth risking 2 bucks. Awesome little party game, surely to induce cheers and groans as each auction is won, or sniped.

Also, The Royal Game of Ur. Found at a garage sale for 1 buck. Just got it because the seller wanted to get rid of everything and call it a day, and was almost pleading me to take any game I wanted for a buck (also got Tiki Topple). While nothing earth-shattering, UR is actually a pretty fun, quick little 2-player game. Haven't gotten the chance to try Tiki yet.
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bort
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astrostasis wrote:
Five Tribes


It surprised me that I liked it too. I watched the SUSD review, thought I agreed with the guy who didnt like it (his complaint was mostly about playing with AP prone people). But even looking at it, I thought it looked like a random mess, and I just assumed it would play like one.

But - played it, and really enjoyed it, so ended up buying it. Still enjoying it. Its a cool mechanic - very easy to pickup, and doesnt go too long. And I'm doing much better now (since I'm resisting the urge to pay for turn order every time).
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Mikko Ämmälä
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Seasons

I did not like its box, I did not like its name. BGG info did not make any buzz. After many passes and delays I was finally convinced to give it a go...

And it was good and fun. Not your superb masterpiece by any means but really a positive surprise. 2nd play some weeks later and it felt even better. At two different occasions I have almost bought it.
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(ɹnʎʞ)
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Karadek wrote:
This is so true. Personally, I love Tales, but my adult game group refuses to play it, calling it "the Aladdin Game of Life." It bums me out that I have this great game that never makes it to the table.

You could still play this game solo.

I have a different kind of pain with this game when it comes to my game groups: not all my groups are equally fluent in the English language, so it's simply incompatible in some cases. That's also one big reason why I always wait to buy translated games - to increase the chances of bringing as most people to the table here as possible.

The real pain with Tales of the Arabian Nights here is, that I know that they would really like and enjoy the game, but it's the linguistic barrier that's completely killing it, because the game is 99% text.
Then again, I can't blame the publishers for not translating this:


...although it is a real achievement in board gaming.


Sorry for going a little off-topic here. modest
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Dennis McCarthy
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Two games come to mind...

Splendor - sounded interesting, but not that interesting. Boy, was I wrong. The first play had me completely hooked.

Pret-a-Porter - Subject matter alone kept this off my radar for a long time. Then Rahdo had to review it and actually make it sound interesting. I kept looking into it and, what do you know, it sounded like a solid game. My Secret Santa got it for me and I haven't gone a day without wanting to play it...
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Mindy Basi
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Brutilus wrote:
Two games come to mind...

Splendor - sounded interesting, but not that interesting. Boy, was I wrong. The first play had me completely hooked.

Pret-a-Porter - Subject matter alone kept this off my radar for a long time. Then Rahdo had to review it and actually make it sound interesting. I kept looking into it and, what do you know, it sounded like a solid game. My Secret Santa got it for me and I haven't gone a day without wanting to play it...


I will have to tell the person who has PaP that we need to try again. He got it out and we couldn't begin to start with the rulebook as complicated as it is, so he put it back in the box. Then again, our game group has more often than not rejected heavy games for light social play.

A game that surprised me was Firefly: Out to the Black. It was actually fun for me, but it gets about a 50/50 love/hate reaction to hidden cards co-op. I thought it was good.
 
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David Janik-Jones
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De Vulgari Eloquentia. First play was with a teacher who didn't know the game, couldn't teach a game anyway, and everyone else but me suffered from severe AP. Wow, awful.

Bought it on sale for $13 recently after more carefully reading reviews and opinions and, at the heart of it, it's a simple take five actions and do them in any order, next player's turn. Turns out it's a very interesting and deep Euro with a decent number of moving parts that reminds me of Bruxelles and a few others. I love it now.
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Stephen Miller
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Title Bout

When my partner introduced me to this, I really wasn't expecting much of anything - Sports themed game, for a sport I have no interest in... To add to that, there's little to no actual game play in there, it's just... Turning cards and seeing what happens.

But oh dear hell is this a glorious simulation in cardboard, drama really comes across and it's just a fascinating little experience to see these fantasy bouts take place.

(And... whatthehellthere'saneweditionthatmightnotbereleasedyetbutisupforpreorderwhydidn'tanyonetellmeaboutthis)

Karadek wrote:
This is so true. Personally, I love Tales, but my adult game group refuses to play it, calling it "the Aladdin Game of Life." It bums me out that I have this great game that never makes it to the table.


Random and unpredictable game where things happen to you and which gives you little to no real control over what happens and how well you do.

...The difference being that Tales works as a 'watch what stuff happens' experience ride, while Game of Life doesn't really give enough info to make interesting stories happen, nor does it have an (admittedly crude) causality system in the form of a huge deck of status effects.

...They're both not so much games, as theme park rides that don't really create any excitement with drops and loops, but Life is a gentle circuit with a couple of static billboards, while is a branching monstrosity with multiple paths so you never get the same experience twice, and which has hugely detailed and atmospheric 3d dioramas that the carriage takes you through with sounds, sights and the occasional scent.

...I... May be playing roller coaster tycoon 3 on the PC at the moment...
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Zigi Hogan
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Without a question it had to be Lords of Xidit! This is not the normal type of game I enjoy but after playing this at a LGS with friends I immediately stood up and purchased it! One of my most played at the moment!
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Ray
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Splendor and Dead of Winter. I thought both were not going to be anything enjoyable, but I really like both.
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bortmonkey wrote:
astrostasis wrote:
Five Tribes


It surprised me that I liked it too. I watched the SUSD review, thought I agreed with the guy who didnt like it (his complaint was mostly about playing with AP prone people). But even looking at it, I thought it looked like a random mess, and I just assumed it would play like one.

But - played it, and really enjoyed it, so ended up buying it. Still enjoying it. Its a cool mechanic - very easy to pickup, and doesnt go too long. And I'm doing much better now (since I'm resisting the urge to pay for turn order every time).


I can't remember what exactly turned me on to Five Tribes, I remember when everyone (well a lot of people) were talking about it and at first glance i too was like "ap prone and it looks a mess" It was probably Rahdos run through that sealed it but the cost kept it away until tabletop.
 
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Nathan Bergom
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I've got to go with Ascension: Deckbuilding Game. When I heard that it was a deckbuilder, I didn't want to play it, since the only other deckbuilder I knew of was Dominion, a complete snoozefest. With Dominion, I pretty much knew exactly what I was going to be doing right from the start, just by looking at the tableau. Ascension's constantly changing tableau meant that I had to make interesting decisions as the game went on, whether to grab a strong card from a faction I didn't have much of, whether to grab a card that didn't do me much good, but would be very powerful for an opponent, etc.

The Legendary family surprised me as well. It wasn't that I was surprised to like them, it was the degree that surprised me. I loved how there were multiple ways to combo heroes (color and team affiliation), and the fact that the first hero won't combo, leading to more interesting dilemmas of the order of cards played. Play two different Iron Man cards one way, it gets you a combat bonus. Played the other way around, it's a free card draw. Either could be useful, the choice depended on the circumstances. Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game took the Legendary system and built a new game around it. I've become quite enamored despite never having been that fond of the movie franchise. (How on earth do you combine Joss Whedon with Jeunet and Caro and come up with something mediocre?)
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