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Rahdo Runs Through►►► The Games of 2011!!!
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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My wife and I love playing boardgames together -- it's become our favourite hobby, and we feel very lucky that we both enjoy something so much and can share it. We prefer heavier Euro-ish games that don't feature much conflict, so this GL reflects that preference, listing our picks for the best new games of 2011 that we've played.

For those who are interested in more random thoughts of a 2p married couple, here's our 2012 best of list: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/153724/a-married-coupl...

UPDATE: Hawaii makes a late entry at #7, causing everything else to shift up by one

UPDATE: 5 more games added (Space Maze, Space Bastards, Mundus Novus, 1955 and Rapa Nui) getting me up to 51! Woot! (I wonder if I should do one of these lists for 2010)

UPDATE: And can't forget Kingdom of Solomon

UPDATE: Dark Horse & Anhk Morpork

UPDATE: Several more games added, from the disappointing Santiago de Cuba, to the fun Road to Canterbury & Trollhalla (from the same designer) to the surprise fav Gnomes of Zavandor

UPDATE: And the hits of 2011 just keep on coming! Tschak!, Airlines Europe and Kingdom Builder - oh, and Eclipse

UPDATE: It's been awhile, but here's a couple more 2011 games that have recently hit our table - Power Grid First Sparks & King of Tokyo!

UPDATE: I haven't forgotten this list! And look a new title: Flash Point Fire Rescue added!

UPDATE: Nefarious makes the list!
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26. Board Game: 1955: The War of Espionage [Average Rating:6.27 Overall Rank:3257]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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I had my doubts about this one, as it's fairly aggressive area control, which is normally not our thing. But here it works really really well and we enjoyed it quite a bit. With two core strategies and a bit of bluffing, the game offers a fair bit of meat. Now I just need to figure out how to get my hands on all the promos that I missed out on!
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27. Board Game: Nefarious [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:1383]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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First time we played the game, it didnt seem like muc, but I'm so glad we immediately played a 2nd time, because then the game really came alive. Every time you play, you get a different set of rule changing cards played, that pretty radically changes how the game plays. And that's where the fun comes from. Nice system, though I suspect it would be much better with more than 2.
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28. Board Game: Mundus Novus [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:1090]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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A very nice card game. The trading aspect loses a bit when played with only 2, but even still, the game has an incredibly smooth flow, and when you remember that it's a very fast paced race to earn the most money, the decision making can be tough as each turn, you're trying to enhance your engine and make some cash, but it's hard to do both effectively.
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29. Board Game: PAX [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:1447]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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A great card game, where players are rebel leaders trying to bring justice to the Roman empire. Our favourite part is that there's effectively a 3rd player (the empire of Rome) who's progress parallels our own. And if you like, you can help them along, playing as a traitor to the rebellion, which is brilliant.
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30. Board Game: TSCHAK! [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:2056]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Great little card game with some of the best art we've seen, period! Nice quick gameplay too, great escalation of tension as you climb the towers, trying to outguess your opponent!
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31. Board Game: JAB: Realtime Boxing [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:1728]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Only got this as part of a bundle deal, along with Homesteaders and Belfort. Who knew that we'd enjoy it so much? My wife, who HATES boxing begrudgingly gave it a try and fell in love with it. Normally she prefers games that move slow and give her plenty of time to think, but the realtime nature of this really charmed her. Basically a party game for 2, which is perfect for us.
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32. Board Game: Belfort [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:217]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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One of the best produced games of the year, easily. Everything about this game screams quality and fun, and strong comic thematic integration (especially like the clipboard board). And one of the smartest catchup mechanics around, with the notion of taxing you more the farther up the victory point track you go. Very smart.

However, with such a strong emphasis on area control, we felt this didn't work as well with only 2p, and it really needs more to bring out the best of the game.
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33. Board Game: Dark Horse [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:2647]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Great old west themes dice rolling worker placement game in the vein of Kingsburg, with Settles of Catan-like town/network building. A very nice combination. This game really needs to get more attention: I've made a video walkthrough of it here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/video/18390
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34. Board Game: Coney Island [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:1814]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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We really enjoy this for a number of reasons: the light hearted theme, building in a shared space rather than on our own player mats, and most importantly: the brilliant worker deployment scheme, where the more workers you've employed, the more income you make. Very very clever and intuitive and thematic.
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35. Board Game: Pergamon [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:660]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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A great thematic set collection game with a brilliant press your luck worker placement scheme quite unlike anything else out there. Add a great thematic wrapper of digging up ancient treasures and displaying them at a museum, and you've got a little gem of a game.
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36. Board Game: Rapa Nui [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:1356]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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A great little card game from the designer of Puerto Rico (correction: Carcassonne). We like this as much as we do, in part, because we really loved the film of the same name, and having seen that film, the game feels VERY thematic, as the last tribes of Easter Island use their few dwindling resources to build monuments to their gods.
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37. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:71]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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A really solid thematic co-operative card game. We like it quite a bit, though if it didn't have the Tolkein theme, we probably wouldn't enjoy it quite so much. Overall it's got great smart gameplay, but it feels a bit unintuitive in gameplay. Still, fantastic recreation of a world we love so much.
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38. Board Game: The Road to Canterbury [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:1284]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Designer Alf Seegert had a great year, between this and Road to Trollhalla! The rhythms for Canterbury are very non standard, and really broke us out of our normal thought patterns for games. Normally don't care for area control in 2p, but this one felt good. Plus you can't beat the very imaginative theme of being a medieval con man fleecing the devoted pilgrims. Very cool and original!
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39. Board Game: Tournay [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:556]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Troyes was one of our favourite games of 2010, and so the card game sequel should have been a no brainer, and largely it was. We again love the art and the setting and the basic mechanics. Being smart about building your town in such as way to maximize the yield of the buildings is rock solid. It's a shame the iconography is SOOO poor though. Actively turned my wife off of the game, and I'm going to have to work hard to get her back into it. But I know I can, and I know it's worth it. Shame though... sometimes a word is worth a thousand icons.
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40. Board Game: Drako [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:999]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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This is a fantastic card-driven tactical war game representing an asymetrical fight to the death between a wounded dragon and 3 dwarven dragon hunters. Short enough that you can get two games in quick succession so both players can play both sides in a sitting. Wonderful pieces, tight gameplay, highly recommended.
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41. Board Game: Mondo [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:961]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Who would have thought that a lighter Galaxy Trucker would be a good or necessary thing? Well, it is! Great realtime island building game with just enough depth of risk and reward to keep us coming back.
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42. Board Game: Mansions of Madness [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:148]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Amazing thematic rollercoaster ride of a game. Yes, the scenarios are wildly imbalanced, but who cares? If you're playing it as a benign dungeon master, then both players can have a fantastic time. The game has an amazing ability to create truly memorable player stories, and that's why it deserves major kudos, because it's all about the stories the players tell, not the story that the game tells!
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43. Board Game: Airlines Europe [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:207]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Wonderful to find a stock manipulation game that plays well with 2. This alone makes it worth picking up, but everything about the production says quality. Would have liked to see some more elements of variety thrown in, but even still, solid 2p experience!
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44. Board Game: Star Trek: Expeditions [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1456]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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A Trek themed Pandemic? Not quite, but certainly close enough for us. We enjoy this a lot, played at full hard difficulty. It takes a lot of knocks from people for perceived "lack of replayability", but I think that's totally unfair. Just because they've woven a strong storyline through the gameplay, doesn't make it any less replayable than Pandemic or any other co-op. If the fact that it's the "same story every time" bothers you, then just IGNORE THE STORY, and instead focus on the gameplay, which is what it's all about anyway!
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45. Board Game: A Few Acres of Snow [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:142]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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What a great great game. Perfect fusion of deck builder + kingdom builder + wargame. Unfortunately for us, we don't care for tearing down each other's creations, so the game isn't for us. But there's no denying how great the game is.
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46. Board Game: Power Grid: The First Sparks [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:582]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Wow, our first Freese game that we actually like! Great components, really solid play. We wanted to enjoy the original Power Grid but it was terrible 2p. This is good 2p, so a definite keeper. A lot of people blag on this because "it's not Power Grid!" but I say that's fine with us. It's a solid game in its own right. I really hope it continues to get new card promos like its big brother does!
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47. Board Game: Urban Sprawl [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:800]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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This was one of my most anticipated games of the year, and largely it delivers on what I was hoping for: capturing the magic of the original Sim City in a solid competitive boardgame. Unfortunately, there's two problems, either one of which wouldn't be too much of a bother, but both together bring this down several points:

1) the game is crazy crazy long.
2) the event cards create crazy unpredictable swings of luck

Either of those by themselves, no problem. Both together kept this game out of the top 10 where it otherwise should have been.
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48. Board Game: Olympos [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:560]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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We love the time track mechanism from Thebes... arguably one of the most brilliant gameplay devices in boardgame history, as far as I'm concerned. So it's great to see it in combination with a great world conquering game with a strong tech tree for players to exploit. Overall a fantastic game with great presentation and an appealing theme.
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49. Board Game: Expedition Sumatra: Dadu Dadu [Average Rating:6.54 Unranked]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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We love rolling dice, we love exploring, we love racing, we love animals. So that's love x4 for this wonderful little game. Add in what is one of the cleverest box designs ever (the wooden box it comes is becomes part of the game), and you've got one of the best games and biggest surprises of the year.
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50. Board Game: Homesteaders [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:284]
Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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CLICK THIS BEAGLE if you're looking for in-depth gameplay video run-throughs! :)
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Absolutely fantastic auction/town building game. The 2nd edition is a fantastic production. Just top quality all around.
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