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Subject: Crowd Source a List of Essential Games for ANY New Gamer rss

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Dan Lundberg
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I am trying to crowd source a list of games that really should be played at least once by anyone who calls themselves a board gamer. This should be a list of games, whether they are your favorite or not, that are pretty much ubiquitous at this point. Try not to let your likes and dislikes weigh into this discussion, rather, focus on Essential Games for any gamer.
 
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Ernie Barrett
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Heres a start

Carcassonne
Dominion
Catan
Ticket To Ride
Stone Age
7 Wonders
Pandemic
Power Grid
Puerto Rico
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Trent Boardgamer
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Not bad earnie.

I'll need to have a longer think about this. Ideally I'd like to include games that introduce the major varied mechanics in great introductory ways.

Off the top of my head I'd also add to ernies list;

Memoir '44
King of Tokyo
Resistance
(I use Lords of Waterdeep over Stoneage, but either introduces worker placement well).

More to come later.

 
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Michael Debije
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Titan
Hannibal
Squad Leader
Civilization
1830
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Don Lynch
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TriviaGeek wrote, "I am trying to crowd source a list of games that really should be played at least once by anyone who calls themselves a board gamer. This should be a list of games, whether they are your favorite or not, that are pretty much ubiquitous at this point. Try not to let your likes and dislikes weigh into this discussion, rather, focus on Essential Games for any gamer."

So my question is if I don't like a game, how can I call it an 'essential' game? To restate it, how can one recommend a game that one perceives as a piece of crap (POC)?

For example, ErnieB listed some games he has either played or just listed because they are big BGG faves. Frankly, of the 9 games he listed, I would only recommend 1 as maybe essential, Ticket to Ride, out of the 7 on the list I have played. Most are just not my cup of tea. Why would I consider them worth of being essential?

Carcassonne - POC
Dominion - POC
Catan - POC
Ticket To Ride - Fun, played out but took a while
Stone Age
7 Wonders
Pandemic - POC
Power Grid - Meh, played out quickly
Puerto Rico - POC

Who is the 'gamer' that is the putative target of the list and what is said person's gaming experience? Lacking this information and taking 'ANY new gamer' literally, my short list would begin and end with:

Checkers
Chess
Go
Risk
Monopoly
Clue

Edit> OP idea just seems like a variation of 5 games on a desert isle
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Trent Boardgamer
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I can still see games I don't much enjoy as being the fundamental introductions to various mechanics. Understanding the fundamentals allows people to enjoy the more complex.

Quote:
Edit> OP idea just seems like a variation of 5 games on a desert isle


I don't see the question as that at all. This isn't about your favourite games, it's about what games should a newer gamer play to a) learn about the various genres/mechanics and b) have a good foundation to know what they do and don't like.

i.e. Dominion was the first major deck builder which gives a basic understanding of that mechanic, most other deck builders build upon this concept further, but had you played Dominion the others are all extremely easy to pick up in concept.

Quote:
Who is the 'gamer' that is the putative target of the list and what is said person's gaming experience? Lacking this information and taking 'ANY new gamer' literally, my short list would begin and end with:

Checkers
Chess
Go
Risk
Monopoly
Clue


Well, sure I think any gamer should have at least played those games once, if not only to create a base line. In regards to Chess and Go two are two of the best and fundamental abstract games so I agree they would belong on an essential games list in any event.
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Robert Bracey
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Civilization
Formula 1 (earliest modern race game)
Go
Pandemic (rather than for historical reasons Lord of the Rings)
Monopoly (its historically huge)
Hannabi
Shadows over Camelot
Clue Express (still in essence Clue but the one poor contemporary choice removed)
Diplomacy
Something by Knizia (Ra, Tigris & Euphrates, Battleline)

Plus some of the preceding mentions. There is quite a lot you really should have played to have a sense of board gaming and most of it is older than modern games. I do not think Checkers is particularly significant and any of the Chess variants would do (even Hive would be fine) though Chess is probably the best choice from that category.
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Cris Whetstone
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TriviaGeek wrote:
I am trying to crowd source a list of games that really should be played at least once by anyone who calls themselves a board gamer. This should be a list of games, whether they are your favorite or not, that are pretty much ubiquitous at this point. Try not to let your likes and dislikes weigh into this discussion, rather, focus on Essential Games for any gamer.


Call themselves a board gamer or someone who you would approve of as being a board gamer? Is this about judging the status of games others have played for approval by a group of strangers?

Maybe something more useful would be a list of games people should want to try if they wanted a wide introduction into board gaming and have some idea of what range the hobby offers. I'm sure there are plenty of threads on this subject around here.
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Alexandre P.
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Bearhug78 wrote:
I can still see games I don't much enjoy as being the fundamental introductions to various mechanics.


In this case, shouldn't you just list mechanisms like "drafting", "deck-building" ... and then watch on BGG which one is the first or, at least, the first to have earned recognition ?

I have a hard time to consider the opinion "I don't enjoy this game a lot but I think you need to play it for your boardgame knowledge": for me it's consistent with arts you study (for example an artistic movement), not so much with a leisure.
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Steve B
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Agricola
Combat Commander: Pacific
Pandemic

You get the greatest designed worker placement game of all time, the most accessible war themed game of all time, and the best coop game of all time. Essential for any board gamer to play at least once.
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Trent Boardgamer
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Wow, some people seem really resistant or objectionable to a fairly basic question.
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Edit: my bad. Read the post but forgot the thread title.

What i will say though is that I don't really think that new gamers need to pass exams so to speak in order to move up and try more complex things. Different people have different interests and things will click for some that won't for others.
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Ian Williams
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I don't believe there are any games you HAVE to play in order to call yourself a board gamer. The hobby shouldn't be so elitist.

The above lists are good examples of a nice spread of games with great mechanics, well-implemented, that could give a new gamer a sense of what they like.
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Mattias Ingelstam
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You are not a real gamer until you played munchkin until you got sick of it, then found better games devil
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Alexandre P.
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Bearhug78 wrote:
Wow, some people seem really resistant or objectionable to a fairly basic question.


Because the concept of "essential game" is strange, to say the least.
Gaming is a hobby, a source of pleasure, why should someone constraint anyone to try a boardgame rather than another one.

For me:
- either you consider boardgames as a hobby and you don't consider that some of them as essential, but only that some of them appeal you,
- or you consider boardgames as "cultural products" with their history, their artistic movement without considering them as a hobby.
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J J
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TriviaGeek wrote:
I am trying to crowd source a list of games that really should be played at least once by anyone who calls themselves a board gamer. This should be a list of games, whether they are your favorite or not, that are pretty much ubiquitous at this point. Try not to let your likes and dislikes weigh into this discussion, rather, focus on Essential Games for any gamer.


Why does the bold part matter to you? Especially the part in italics.

Moving on from that - I could not call any game essential, or (considering modern games) ubiquitous. I most certainly could not provide a list of games and then tell someone "you ought to play these".
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Nicholas Hjelmberg
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Xahendir wrote:
Bearhug78 wrote:
Wow, some people seem really resistant or objectionable to a fairly basic question.


Because the concept of "essential game" is strange, to say the least.
Gaming is a hobby, a source of pleasure, why should someone constraint anyone to try a boardgame rather than another one.

For me:
- either you consider boardgames as a hobby and you don't consider that some of them as essential, but only that some of them appeal you,
- or you consider boardgames as "cultural products" with their history, their artistic movement without considering them as a hobby.


Why would boardgames not be considered as "cultural products"? A list of essential boardgames is just as relevant as a list of essential books, films, paintings etc. If you have a favorite game, play it by all means, but if you're new to gaming or want to explore new areas of gaming, an essential list is a good start. However, to compile and agree on such a list is just as difficult as for other cultural items.

The best option is probably to do what the OP did and ask as many gamers as possible to see which games keep being mentioned. Another could be to browse the different mechanisms and sort them by number of ratings to find candidates.

My personal list would look something like this (including both games I like and games I'm less interested in):

Agricola
The Resistance: Avalon
Carcassonne
Catan
Chess
Civilization
Diplomacy
Dominion
El Grande
Go
Pandemic
Power Grid
Puerto Rico
Ticket to Ride
Tigris & Euphrates

Potential candidates I haven't played yet:

1830: Railways & Robber Barons
Caylus
Magic: The Gathering
Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
T.I.M.E Stories
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Darth Heisenberg
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Define "Boardgamer" please.
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J J
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Registrau wrote:
Define "Boardgamer" please.


I believe there's some similarity to the True Scotsman.
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Dan Lundberg
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I guess what I was really trying to get at with this list would be, what games hold a place in the board game world (be that historical or because they were notable for some reason relevant to the hobby) that everyone really needs to play, if for no other reason than they should experience the game for what it is.
Let's face it, the hobby has grown tremendously in the last 20 years. What games "came before" those new to the industry that need to be played to appreciate where the industry has been and where it is going?
 
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J J
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TriviaGeek wrote:
I guess what I was really trying to get at with this list would be, what games hold a place in the board game world (be that historical or because they were notable for some reason relevant to the hobby) that everyone really needs to play, if for no other reason than they should experience the game for what it is.
Let's face it, the hobby has grown tremendously in the last 20 years. What games "came before" those new to the industry that need to be played to appreciate where the industry has been and where it is going?


No such varmint. Same as everything else, books, movies, music. There is no need.
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Alexandre P.
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TriviaGeek wrote:
what games hold a place in the board game world (be that historical or because they were notable for some reason relevant to the hobby


Once again, no "need".

But you can descend through the ratings and write down the names of boardgames which are at least 3 years old and are not a "duplication" of a previous one until you have all the main mechanisms.
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Darth Heisenberg
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TriviaGeek wrote:
...what games hold a place in the board game world [...] that everyone really needs to play...


One user already sent a list, of which many games were immediately labeled by another user as "piece of crap". Their words, not mine.

Rinse and repeat.

I'm afraid there might be no consensus on this thin-iced deeply subjective question.
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Joshua Hibbert
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I agree with a lot of what has been said already. One game I haven't seen yet: Medici (classic auction based game).
 
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Alexandra M
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donlyn wrote:


So my question is if I don't like a game, how can I call it an 'essential' game? To restate it, how can one recommend a game that one perceives as a piece of crap (POC)?

For example, ErnieB listed some games he has either played or just listed because they are big BGG faves. Frankly, of the 9 games he listed, I would only recommend 1 as maybe essential, Ticket to Ride, out of the 7 on the list I have played. Most are just not my cup of tea. Why would I consider them worth of being essential?

Carcassonne - POC
Dominion - POC
Catan - POC
Ticket To Ride - Fun, played out but took a while
Stone Age
7 Wonders
Pandemic - POC
Power Grid - Meh, played out quickly
Puerto Rico - POC



I can totally understand not thinking of something you consider to be poor games as essential, but this is obviously a very subjective opinion, especially given how highly acclaimed and rated a lot of those games are. I would actually argue that all those games are better than Checkers, Risk, and Clue, by a long shot. I guess this begs the questions - what should constitute essential? Is it those that are currently popular that exhibit a wide-range of mechanisms (such as that list would include). Is it those that have stood the most test of time?

I personally would want an introduction to all main mechanisms used in contemporary boardgames as a part of the "essential" pack, so people can really get a sense of the variety of things that is out there. So yes - a worker placement, a card drafting, a cooperative, a deckbuilder, a tile-layer. That sort of thing. Then the individual has an opportunity to feel comfortable with a wider range of other games upon introduction, as they already know the mechanisms. Checkers, Chess, Go, Risk, Monopoly, and Clue, don't really set you up to be able to play those games, but I would argue that those which you called pieces of crap, would.
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