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Subject: What's Your Favorite Underrated Game? rss

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Alishah Novin
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The title is self-explanatory I believe - What game do you really really love, that you feel is really underrated, unappreciated, misunderstood, and misrepresented? And, importantly, why do you feel this way?

I'm posting this under recommendations, because I feel most people (including myself) may use it to try out new games.

Some ground rules:

1. Game's rating must have less than a 7 on BGG - otherwise, it isn't really underrated... The obviously more underrated it is.

2. Explain why you feel the game is better than it's rating, and offer suggestions/explanations as to why you think others don't understand the game in all it's glory.

3. Lastly, where needed provide any setup specific information. ie. If a game particularly works well with 3 players instead of the suggested 4-5, state it!

I will post my own games in a reply.
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Alishah Novin
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My two games are Gheos and Shark

First, Shark:

Shark is a game similar to Acquire, but faster paced, with greater volatility, and generally more action than I've found to be in Acquire. I've played it with 2, 3 and 4 players, and have found the game enjoyable in all cases. The major difference between 2 player games and 4 player games is how much the board layout can change by the time it's your turn again - but because this game is a game of strategic investment, it really means requiring and adaptive strategy. That's the key about this game - adaption. The game has high variability, as there is some small randomness in terms of the dice rolls, but ultimately the variability comes down to who is doing the rolling, and what they've invested in. Not only must you factor in the intensions of others, but the layout of the board, as well as the odds of the dice. I think Shark hasn't gotten as great a reputation because it's, comparatively speaking, relatively unknown. As a result, it hasn't been given the real chance it deserves. Moreover, people are likely to immediately compare it with Acquire, and thus may not fully appreciate the subtleties of Shark as it's own unique game. I think if people gave it a shot with 3 players, they'd really find it a fun game. Ultimately it makes for an exciting game that - though I've never won once - have always enjoyed.

Secondly, Gheos:

Gheos is another game of strategic investment whose economic engine is abstracted in the form of a civilization game. Players are "gods" who simply place tiles in a manner similar to Carcassonne, with the exception that placed tiles can be replaced with others. Moreover, placement on tiles is not limited to the tile that was just-placed. Because players are gods and not the civilizations, their goal is to acquire the faith of the civilizations - this means building up certain civilizations against others (ie. "investing" in some but not others), taking certain ones to war against ones that you have not invested in, migrating ones which become too powerful, etc. I've found the game to be most enjoyable as a 2 player game, and somewhat enjoyable as a 3 player game. At 4 players, the layout changes too drastically before it can become your turn again. Gheos is an exciting game as it challenges you to sometimes destroy the very civilizations you built up, to reform the map as you need it, and ultimately to predict which civilization will lead you to victory.
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Lucian Pleianu
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I would have to go with Sun Tzu. I really love the game, it has that "I know you know that I know" every time you lay down the cards for each region. Often you'll have players going back and forth multiple times over the cards, switching them over and over, just to find out once turned they made a great/lousy decision.

Another great title for two players is Odin's Ravens. Unfortunately OOP at the moment and harder to come by, but it's a brilliant game. Major hit with the non-gamers, it provides interesting match-ups between hardcore gamers as well.

I have lots of other games below 7 rating that I enjoy, but these two are gems I'd happily play anytime.
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Apparently, from my Stats, it has to be:


Search for the Emperor's Treasure

I don't know why I love playing this game so much, but other people definitely have fun playing it too (especially if they're at all into RPGs), and it's always a laugh (and there’s just enough of a spoof on J.R.R. Tolkien, and other stuff, that any adlib jokes and commentary can be fun/funny).

It's relatively simple (and easy to modify), it's straight forward, easy/fast to teach, and it's fun. But I think people don't want to take it seriously because it's a simple game, it uses chits, and other (newer) more high-production games seem to easily over-shadow it.
I think part of its greatness is in its perfectly functioning simplicity.
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Brandt Fundak
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I'm going with Funny Friends.

I love this game because it is one of the few games I can convince my wife to play when my friend John comes around with it. I love the fact that it doesn't shy away from adult themes and I feel like it really encourages interaction between the players. It's one of the few games where your real inter-personal relationships can have a bearing on the choices you make in the game when it comes to deciding who you start relationships with, have sex with and break up with. Also, it's a great game for a larger group.

I would say that the reason this game doesn't get the love is because of the adult themes (definitely not a game for kids) and because it is out of print. I've been trying to search down a copy of this though, because it is a great party game that is actually a lot of fun.
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Big Kat
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I'll go with Circus Flohcati. Our family plays this several times a week.

It's simple enough for kids, but also interesting enough for my wife and I to play. It has different ways to score points as well as different ways to end the game. Setup doesn't take long, just shuffle the deck and you're ready to play. It's fast paced, you don't wait very long for your turn to come around. It has a fun press your luck element to it. And you can finish a game in 15 minutes including setup and takedown.

Another one would be Pokémon Trading Card Game. My son had a bunch of cards (because all the kids in his class did), but didn't know how to play the game. I took a look at the rules one day and tried it out with him. Turns out that it's a pretty good game! Who would've thought! So we have fun playing this one together.

A couple of very fun dexterity games are Micro Mutants: Evolution and Chopstick Dexterity MegaChallenge 3000.
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Tim Collins
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Rush n' Crush Is a fantastic racing game to say the least. The art is also great. I prefer this to any other racing game since it requires risk management and weapons tactics to win (or not explode at least)
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Tony Hamen
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I'd have to say the game Mall World, which has an abysmal 5.5 rating or something. I got this game because it is super cheap on Ebay, and everywhere else, and it sounded like something I'd like. Believe it or not this game turned out to be one of my favorite games in my collection.

The basic idea is you are building a mall with some other contractors, and you are taking and receiving bribes from companies in order for them to see specific areas of the mall be built to cater to their needs. The player with the most money in his Swiss bank account at the end wins.

Here are some things I really like about the game:

It plays great with 3, 4, or 5, and can be played in about an hour and a half, sometimes less.

The artwork is scary, and I think it actually makes it look original. I don't need more princes, kings, wizards, and knights. The people tiles in this game actually look like dead people. I think it adds to its slightly off kilter charm.

It has a really cool mechanisms that work really well together. There are a lot of do I or don't I moments, there is some bluffing, some auctioning, some push your luck, and some straight Euro calculation.

Most of all, the game only costs as much as a meal at frickin' McDonalds! My only word of warning, is be wary of the rules, they are poorly translated. But once you get past that, the game is amazing.

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Easy for me to picka couple of favourite games with less than a 7 rating on BGG.

#1 Star Wars Miniatures
I discovered BGG while looking for sites about Star Wars minis. And while BGG has introduced me to a multitude of new games SWM is still my favourite. But it is very obvious to me that a large percentage of BGGers are opposed to the CMGs purely becuase of the cost. I obviously understand that, I've spend around £2500 on this gamem that's nearly three times what I paid for my car! But SWM is a great fun game and you do not need every mini to enjoy it. I genuinely think if money wasn't a factor this would be a higher rated game. 10, only because I cannot rate it 11.

#2 Warhammer 40,000 (fifth edition)
I only started playing this year since I have spare cash with the cancellation of Star Wars Minis, and all my mates are playing it. Wow, why didn't I start sooner. Sure, with the model making side it is as much a hobby as it is a game, but I like that. I like that I can use my artistic side when building and painting pieces. And it a fun game to play also. I rate this a 10, a genuine 10.


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Rick Kimmel
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Chuckila wrote:
I would have to go with Sun Tzu. I really love the game, it has that "I know you know that I know" every time you lay down the cards for each region. Often you'll have players going back and forth multiple times over the cards, switching them over and over, just to find out once turned they made a great/lousy decision.

Another great title for two players is Odin's Ravens. Unfortunately OOP at the moment and harder to come by, but it's a brilliant game. Major hit with the non-gamers, it provides interesting match-ups between hardcore gamers as well.

I have lots of other games below 7 rating that I enjoy, but these two are gems I'd happily play anytime.


I could have easily picked these two as well. Excellent games.

I'll add Metropolys and Witch's Brew. Metropolys has a unique auction that's very playable with 2 players and scales well. Witch's Brew is best with 5, is ok with 4, and not that great with 3. Probably why the rating is lower than it deserves.
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Troy Nies
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Supernova

Geek Rating: 5.849
Average Rating: 6.30

Seriously? A 5.849?!


2. Why is the game better than it's rating? There is a multitude of reasons, here's 2 that come to mind right away:

a. High level of production quality. Everything from the artwork to the rulebook to the components, it's all demonstrates a high level of quality.

b. Re-playability. With 3-5 players, a variety of special abilities/event cards and so on, there's a variety of things that will be different from game to game.


3. Explanations as to why you think other don't understand the game in all its' glory:

I think people thought that Supernova was going to be some kind of party-night Twilight Imperium, when it's really a timed, strategic area control game WITH some combat and trait building.

Admittedly, there is a steeper than normal learning curve for this game and I think that is where the lower than average ratings come into play. Again, it's not one to whip out on party game night and try to figure out the rules while you are playing. There are subtle nuances to the rules (which were reconfigured and made clearer with the rulebook update) Sitting down with our gaming buddies with the fore-knowledge that the first game was a 'learning game' was required for us to get the flow. I'm sure a good number of groups want something that is less involved and again, the numbers reflect that.

The game requires 3-5 players. I think 3 is too few, 5 may be too many. We've found that the game runs approx. 1 hour per player, so again, here is another reason review numbers may be low. Our group enjoys the longer, more though provoking games (Civilization, Age of Antiquity, Assyria) so for us to go through 'learning games' is an enjoyable process.

Lack of dice. People like piles of dice (Arkham Horror?) and evidently card-based combat is something that doesn't seem to appeal to those folk. It still holds a random element, but is much more controllable and (imho) palatable as it's usually not a blind card-off, as abilities/modifiers due factor in.

I'll be taking this to a board game weekend soon in an effort to get it on the table, where it deserves to be. PLAY IT!

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D M
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bigkat wrote:
Another one would be Pokémon Trading Card Game. My son had a bunch of cards (because all the kids in his class did), but didn't know how to play the game. I took a look at the rules one day and tried it out with him. Turns out that it's a pretty good game! Who would've thought! So we have fun playing this one together.


Thank you for being brave enough to mention this! I always made a habit of picking up at least one instance of currently popular "kids" games, just to see what it's all about. Most of the time, it's just a junky fad with little value, but Pokemon is good, simple fun. I tried out Yu-Gi-Oh!, as well, years ago and it was pretty decent. There is a tendency for games to become bloated with so many rules additions that it becomes an unwieldy mess, so I'm not sure how these games play nowadays.
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Andy Leber
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Monopoly.

That's right, I said it.

It's not even in my top 10 (or remotely close to being in my top 10)... but it's a classic that can be fun with some like minded individuals, and the hatred it gets on this site is a little mindless and excessive.

I just feel sometimes like it gets hated on, just because it's trendy to hate Monopoly if you like Euros.

Now that I've discovered how good board games can be, I'm not sure it deserves much more than a 5, but it's still hated on more than is necessary.

BTW, the only way I'll play it anymore is on Xbox 360, that way it's only 40 minutes or so.

You may now proceed to blast me.....


Edit: It's obviously not "underrated" in the traditional sense, across the general public... but in regards to this site, and the ratings associated with it, I think it's a suitable candidate.
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Max Maloney
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InnsmouthMedic wrote:
Supernova

Geek Rating: 5.849
Average Rating: 6.30

Seriously? A 5.849?!

When the Geek Rating is that much lower than the Average Rating, it usually just means it hasn't been rated by very many people. It's not indicative of much more than that.

Holmes108 wrote:
Monopoly.

It's not even in my top 10 (or remotely close to being in my top 10)... but it's a classic that can be fun with some like minded individuals, and the hatred it gets on this site is a little mindless and excessive.

I just feel sometimes like it gets hated on, just because it's trendy to hate Monopoly if you like Euros.

I try not to jump on bandwagons, but I hate Monopoly. I really don't have issue with it as a game; I'm not hating for snobbery. I have simply never had fun playing this game. ALL of my childhood memories of it consist of aggravatingly long games that weren't fun. There is no other game that has caused more boredom and frustration in my life than this one.
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Andy Leber
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Dormammu wrote:


Holmes108 wrote:
Monopoly.

It's not even in my top 10 (or remotely close to being in my top 10)... but it's a classic that can be fun with some like minded individuals, and the hatred it gets on this site is a little mindless and excessive.

I just feel sometimes like it gets hated on, just because it's trendy to hate Monopoly if you like Euros.

I try not to jump on bandwagons, but I hate Monopoly. I really don't have issue with it as a game; I'm not hating for snobbery. I have simply never had fun playing this game. ALL of my childhood memories of it consist of aggravatingly long games that weren't fun. There is no other game that has caused more boredom and frustration in my life than this one.


That's fair. I loved it as a kid. I don't have a ton of fun with it anymore... but if it weren't for Monopoly, I may not have discovered all of these amazing games I play now.

It certainly did go on too long for many people, much of the time. But length alone isn't necessarily a negative.
 
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Laszlo Molnar
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ldsdbomber wrote:
Finca (6.81)
(...)
A Castle for All Seasons (6.63)
(...)

I completely agree, The last time I checked these games they were rated 7.1ish and that felt almost right. (update: no, they are still at 7.08 and 6.9 respectively - the above ratings are used only when rankings are created.)

But the game I really feel is underrated is Times Square (6.34). It's a wonderful little card game with a surprising depth: while during the first game it feels like a game of pure luck (which might be the reason for its low rating), there are lots of tactics to be learned later and it's the game where the more experienced gamer almost always wins. A really tricky and fine game.
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And Max, I think that the lack of votes was directly related to the negative comments people were giving it when it first came out. I remember a great deal of excitement when before it was released. I'm wondering if that criticism cut into the number of people who would have picked it up?
 
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Bill August
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I'm going with, Mammoth Hunters. I believe it is rated a low "6".

The game is far better than its rating based on a number of factors.

First and most interesting is the idea of "light" and "dark" cards. The fact that a player MUST help his/her opponents in order to help himself is IMHO pure genius. It makes for great tensions and you have to think about what card to play and on which player, so that you actually might be able to help yourself.

Another factor is the "glacier" wiping out a area, decided by the player in the last place. It reminds me of Powergrid in this area, and adds a level of strategy.

The fact that you really don't know what level of population an area can hold until the "campfires" are turned over, only add to the fun and tension.

I also love the fact that it is "majority" control as opposed to "area" control and that all players stand to lose points depending on the conditions in the area.

Being part of the "Big Box" collection most likely causes the rating to fall as it may, on the surface, lack their flare. However, I submit that there is more interaction and this game is more accessible for players of all levels. Compared to Princes of Florence, I game I love by the way, I get "eye glazing" when trying to explain the rules to non-gamers. Something that is common with many games.

Overall, a fast paced game with excellent mechanics that, sadly, is underappreciated. It delivers what I love about games. Interaction, tension, thoughtful decisions, original mechanics (I think), backstabbing, and quick play.

Basically, the main difference is that I seem to have actual "fun" when I play it as opposed to Puetro Rico and/or Powergrid which is "fun" in a different sort of way. The way that hurts my brain.



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Andy Leber
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I'll throw Lost Cities out there... I believe it's just over a 7, at the moment. I know this breaks the OP's rules, but I felt like this game got a lot of flak for being "just a card game" and the fact that you can essentially play it with a normal deck of cards.

I find both of those complaints irrelevant though, and think it's a great, simple card game.
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bigkat wrote:
I'll go with Circus Flohcati. Our family plays this several times a week.

It's simple enough for kids, but also interesting enough for my wife and I to play. It has different ways to score points as well as different ways to end the game. Setup doesn't take long, just shuffle the deck and you're ready to play. It's fast paced, you don't wait very long for your turn to come around. It has a fun press your luck element to it. And you can finish a game in 15 minutes including setup and takedown.

Another one would be Pokémon Trading Card Game. My son had a bunch of cards (because all the kids in his class did), but didn't know how to play the game. I took a look at the rules one day and tried it out with him. Turns out that it's a pretty good game! Who would've thought! So we have fun playing this one together.

A couple of very fun dexterity games are Micro Mutants: Evolution and Chopstick Dexterity MegaChallenge 3000.


Pokemon is AWESOME!

played it about 11-12 years ago. That kind of makes me feel old. I'm only 23.

2 underrated games from the top of my mind

Tannhauser 6.something
Wings of War 6.8

Both are 9s IMO

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Carthage: The First Punic War: 6.165. It's my #1 game. Quite simply, there is no other game that has set out to do what this game does (simulate grand strategy in ancient warfare realistically) and done it so well. It can be established if anybody will like this game by having them evaluate just three statements:

The game is designed by Richard Berg.
There are over 50 pages of rules, including 13 on the politics of the Roman Republic.
The game takes 20+ hours to play.

Are you excited or scared?
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Sounds exciting to me!
 
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Ugavine wrote:

#2 Warhammer 40,000 (fifth edition)
I only started playing this year since I have spare cash with the cancellation of Star Wars Minis, and all my mates are playing it. Wow, why didn't I start sooner. Sure, with the model making side it is as much a hobby as it is a game, but I like that. I like that I can use my artistic side when building and painting pieces. And it a fun game to play also. I rate this a 10, a genuine 10.


I don't think wargames count. I'm guessing you play space marines. They game is so broken. Irregular updates. EXTREMELY unbalanced factions. Highly favors close combat. I would rather try to read and understand the rules to an AEG game than play this game again.


Dungeoneer: Tomb of the Lich Lord
Great game. Very cool threat mechanic. Every-changing dungeon. Never the same game twice. Plenty of expansions.

The Red Dragon Inn
Why are knockout games so hated??? Do I try and steal coins or add to their alcohol level? Nahhh. I'll just punch their lights out.
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John Rogers
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Typically I put Container on this list but its average rating is now 7.08 (geek rating still under 7 though). So in lieu of this I'm going with Kaivai.

Kaivai is a fantastic, nasty little gem coupled with an incredible butterfly effect via the myriad of options available at any given moment. The bidding/action phase is positively brilliant with its tug and pull between when to risk one action over another and when to conserve influence for future turns. I also love how the game forces players together into the same island-villages. The scoring (glory points) is wonderfully opaque with a communal distribution; an attribute I'm quite fond of as it holds players attention throughout the game.

A bonus the artwork/components are very beautiful as well.
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I'm going with Space Hulk (third edition) which dropped from the top ten to currently number 107 for reasons having nothing to do with players experience playing the game, the components, or the games quality, and everything to do with actions taken by Games Workshop.
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