$10.00
Small, Short, Underrated Games
Jeff M
United States
Bethesda
Maryland
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The key to the treasure is the treasure.
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There's something about a big box and a long-playing time that demands attention. But just because a game is modest doesn't mean it's not great fun. In this list, I've attempted to highlight some small games that I feel are given undeservedly short shrift. I enjoy them all, and I'll explain why.

Feel free to add your own.
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26. Board Game: Saboteur [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:627]
Luis Paulino Mora Lizano
Costa Rica
Asunción de Belén
Heredia
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In this cheap and very good game, players get roles that are kept secret. Some of them are miners that want to achieve the gold. Some others are saboteurs that will try to avoid that, for an unexplained and crafty reason. Players can cave, demolish, see maps, destroy tools and repair them to fulfill their objective. Very good choice for large groups.
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27. Board Game: To Court the King [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:1041]
Luis Paulino Mora Lizano
Costa Rica
Asunción de Belén
Heredia
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The best example of controled randomness. You throw dice to earn the support of different characters in a run to get the king's favor. Each character gives you a special ability to manipulate dice. When someone reachs the monarch's attention, triggers the last round of the game. The winner is the one that has the most dice with the same number in that last round.
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28. Board Game: En Garde [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:1370]
Luis Paulino Mora Lizano
Costa Rica
Asunción de Belén
Heredia
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This is a simple and adictive game of two players. You're a swashbuckler in a fencing contest trying to hit your opponent with card combinations.
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29. Board Game: Treasure Fleet [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:6844]
Ben Penner
United States
Tucson
Arizona
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Tresure Fleet is great little card game that scales very well from 2-5 players. It is easy to learn and plays well. With the current contest going on and the discount offer to BGGers, I'm surprised that this game is not yet ranked. I mean, who doesn't love playing a pirate capturing Spanish gold ships? Arrr!!

Check out the contest information here: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/160310
You still have one week to participate for the chance to win copies of the game and some geekgold!
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30. Board Game Publisher: Gamewright
Michael B
Canada
Ontario
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Gamewright makes (and re-issues) a fair amount of "children's" games that are good short filler games for adults:

Landlock
Castle Keep
Turn the Tide
Curse of the Ruby Rhino (releasing soon: the rules sound cute)
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31. Board Game: Zoff in Buffalo [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:3175]
Mark Jackson
United States
Goodlettsville
Tennessee
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All of the good parts of Goldsieber's Vino (both games are by the same designer) without the spherical grape bits and the overly long playing time... it's 30 minutes of fun.
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32. Board Game: Mag·Blast (Third Edition) [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:2075]
Luis
Spain
Madrid
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His destructive programming is taking effect. He will be irresistibly drawn to large cities, where he will back up sewers, reverse street signs, and steal everyone's left shoe.
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626 was designed to be a monster, but now he has nothing to destroy. You see, I never gave him a greater purpose. What must it be like to have nothing, not even memories to look back on in the middle of the night?
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Initially, I bought this thinking in my pals from the university, as I thought it would be a great game to get them deeper into the dark side (you know what I mean devil ). But something happened...

Not only they liked it, but also I loved it! Surely, it's a game you can't play with everyone, as it has great doses of luck, but more than once I have found myself thinking "Hey, how can I have missed that? It was my winning move! I could have won!", so we have a light one that has it's dose of tactics, strategy and diplomacy.

Also, it has the funniest rule that I have ever found in any game: when you fire a laser you MUST make the sound of the laser or it misses! In our group it's something that we don't take too seriously, but we try to follow it almost all the time, as it brings hilarious moments: the croaking lasers of the Freep or the meowing ones of the Mhee Yow-Meex, to name a few.

The drawbacks? Well, in the box clearly reads from 2 to 8 players when the game only scales well with 2-5, being the optimum numbers 3-4. Why? Because if there are more players, at least one of them will die even before having a chance to play.

All in all, an excellent card game/filler if you are looking for "screaming space battles" robot
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33. Board Game: Ka-Ching! [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:2263]
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United States
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This is a great 2 player game. "Perfect information," very little luck. I've played the new Ka-Ching version by Gamewright. Nice short game with some meat on it's bones. This is a filler for gamers.
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34. Board Game: Walk the Plank [Average Rating:5.25 Overall Rank:9599]
Warren Sistrom
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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A great game that really is short, only 5-10 minutes.
Basically a trick taking card game.
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35. Board Game: Double or Nothing [Average Rating:5.70 Overall Rank:5563]
Kane Klenko
United States
Ridgeway
Wisconsin
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I've found recently that I really like Push Your Luck games. Can't Stop, Pickomino, Incan Gold (Diamant), Circus Flohcati, Exxtra....but I think Double or Nothing might be my favorite of the bunch. It reminds me the most of Incan Gold, but the difference is that each player makes their In/Out decisions in turn instead of simultaneously. Going for it can cause 3 different things to happen: Either the next card is a good match and you're in with more points, it's a partial match and you're ok but the point total has dropped, or it's a bust. With 4 different symbols to match in various combinations the amount of luck you're pushing can change depending on what the last card was, but you're rarely completely safe. Once all players have dropped out but one, that player must go Double or Nothing. This can either be a big pay off or a bust. That small twist adds some nice strategy to the game. You can either drop earlier than you planned to force someone into a Double or Nothing, or if you're way behind in the game you can push your luck a little harder to try to get the Double or Nothing.

Sure, it's light, but a game only takes 10 minutes. I say if you're just gonna play 1 game of it, don't even bother. I've found that DoN is best when played 3 or more times in a row with the same group. A very fun and underrated game.
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36. Board Game: Lucca Città [Average Rating:6.05 Overall Rank:3506]
Stefano Castelli
Italy
Rome
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I have to add this little gem to this list. Too much underrated. Plays very fast (you usually end a 4 player game in about 20-25 minutes), has a great set of rules and in my playing group it is played more often than Coloretto.

Great.
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37. Board Game: James Rizzi [Average Rating:6.19 Unranked]
lotus dweller
Australia
Melbourne
Victoria
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This little 2P game only exists as a description - and using 1-7 regular cards works as well as 0-6 (unpublished) fancy cards. I am still amused by my blindness to what must be a simple structure - but so far it produces fun and unexpected endings. Hopefully the penny will drop and it will be even more fun.
 
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38. Board Game: Celtic! [Average Rating:6.65 Unranked]
lotus dweller
Australia
Melbourne
Victoria
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Looks easy. Looks beautiful. Just what can 25 tiles of 5 types hold?

Play reveals great complexity and necessitates developing perception of possible circuits in a tangled mass of intertwined loops. Very satisfying.

Plays inside 10 minutes. If not use a timer.

Suggest using blocks/counters/coins to score circuits.
 
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39. Board Game: Rapa Nui [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:1347]
Hardy
Germany
Münster
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This was published by the End of 2011, and now - 1.5 years later - it is already out of print, and Kosmos says it will get no reprint. It has never, like most other Games of the small Kosmos square box series (mostly 2p-games), published outside Germany. And I'm asking myself: why?

This is nothing less than one of the best, outstanding short games (under 1h) of the last few years! It gained good to fantastic reviews everywhere, was on recommendation list of "Spiel des Jahres" and won 3rd price at a la carte prize.
Imho this is, together with Targi, the best game Kosmos ever published in that small square box.

It's highly original, with new mechanics, that will be interesting&new even to hardcore gamers.
With very simple means - there's only 5 types of cards (and no special cards/special functions) - it manages to create a very interesting, tricky game, with a unique gameplay and very interesting choices. And it even gets better after a few more plays!
The theme is also well implemented for a card game.

I played this with 3 different groups on the table so far (and several playes on Yucata), and in every group (2 gamer groups, one friends/casual gamers group), after the first play, it was demandend it play it again immediately.

I'm really asking myself, why this flopped cpommercially, and is not well known even in gamer's circles. Is it because the theme does not appeal to many? Because the cover looks ok, but not very special, not making it interesting?
Maybe teh shortness (40min) and smallnes, and the fact, that is does not qualify for many expansions, makes it unappealing to gamers, while the unusual mechanics make it too tricky for casual gamers? I don't know. Anyway: it's a really great game, one of the outstanding findings I made in the last 2 years!

P.S.: This scales well with 2-4 players. I think it's best with 3. Then it's absolutely operfect.
With 2 it's a tiny bit too long imho (maybe take out 4 cards to adjust it will solve this), and the sacrifice mechanism doesn't develope its maximum potential. Yet it's still very good with 2.
With 4 it's a bit too short in my opinion (too few turns per player), and the luck factor grows. Still fun to play, though.
 
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