Tell your fellow geeks about you favorite "Hidden Gem"
Dan Rivera
United States
Fountain
Colorado
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I like board games as does every one on this site. But of all the things I like about board games and there are many, the one thing I like the most is finding the Hidden Gem. A game that is not talked about much or is not ranked very high or even at all but is a ton of fun to play. A game that has a mechanic that is so unique that you say man thats neat the first time you played it. A game that has such a crazy theme that you cant imagine what the designer was thinking but once you play brings a smile to your face.

I will add one or two of mine. Please add your own. The more of these that I can find out about the better.
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1. Board Game: Ace of Aces: Handy Rotary Deluxe Edition [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:2090]
Dan Rivera
United States
Fountain
Colorado
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A great game of choose your own adventure for two. A WWI dogfighting gmaer where you have two flip books that have pictures of the pilots POV. Both of you decide what manuever your going to do by looking at a manuever chart at the bottom then telling each other the page. where there is a different picture whith your current POV. A fun fun game that can be played in a car. Its got a mechanic Id never seen before and wasnt talked about much so i think it fits as a hidden gem.
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2. Board Game: Yetisburg: Titanic Battles in History, Vol. 1 [Average Rating:5.80 Overall Rank:6259]
Dan Rivera
United States
Fountain
Colorado
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Ok its is card game about the civilwar with Yetis and exploding mammoths. That there is a Unique theme. Its also fun to play. A game that I had heard little about but it with that theme, I had to buy it.
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3. Board Game: Neuroshima Hex! [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:161] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Dan Rivera
United States
Fountain
Colorado
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A tile laying war game with a post apocolyptic theme. Ohh and it plays well with 2-4. Did I mention it has asymetric armies and was created by a Polish designer. A very good, smart game that is little talked about but a ton of fun.
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4. Board Game: Prince of Chaos: Battle for Tae Orn [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:6372]
Gunther Schmidl
Austria
Linz
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As overlooked as it is awesome.
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5. Board Game: Magna Grecia [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1533]
Brad Miller
United States
Seattle
Washington
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A connection game that is as fabulously good as it is butt-ugly.
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6. Board Game: N-Tropy [Average Rating:5.84 Overall Rank:7124]
United States
Lexington
Kentucky
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N-tropy is an interesting take on the standard stacking game. Pictures describe it better than words:



Although I still prefer Bausack to this game, N-tropy is definitely better than other games in the genre such as Villa Paletti, Jenga, and Tier auf Tier.
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7. Board Game: Wallamoppi [Average Rating:5.90 Overall Rank:5344]
George Young
United Kingdom
Feltham
Middlesex
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Wallamoppi is a brialliant game if you play with a variant ruleset.

* 3 to 10 Players
* All stand around the table
* Person to your left drops ball
* You take and place any tile on tower collect ball before it hits the bottom and drop ball through holw asap.
* If tower falls YOUR OUT rebuild pyramid base
* If Ball drops down base hole YOUR OUT continue

Next player does the same

It's amazing fun this way and game runs very fast... even watching while your out is fun.
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8. Board Game: Carpe Astra [Average Rating:6.04 Overall Rank:3558]
Tom Hancock
United States
Charleston
West Virginia
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Carpe Astra. This came out in 2008 but the buzz/hype is just getting started. Very cool area influence/majority scoring game with a lot of player interaction and beautiful modular components. I just wrote a review of it.
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9. Board Game: Kreta [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:904]
Preston Fuller
United States
Ashland
New Hampshire
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While there is nothing new about the mechanic (area majority/control), Kreta remains one of my favorite games and certainly my favorite Euro syle area control game.

I find it to be very underated. I will also add that the art work is wonderful.
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10. Board Game: Strong Stuff! [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:4311]
Sean Ross
Canada
North Vancouver
British Columbia
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Cute and colourful, quick to explain, easily understood, obvious in its challenge (but not daunting), Strong Stuff! is my collection's hidden gem. It's a fine children's dexterity game but it truly shines when played with adults; in fact, it's my "go-to" game for enticing adult non-gamer's to at least try playing a game. Seriously. How hard could it be? It's just a little wooden bear after all....

From my comments on the game:
The game's delicious tension grows in relation to the height of the wobbly hive stack where maliciously clever players have teetered their additions on the edge of collapse in hopes that the tower will fall before it has a chance to come back around and deliver them their just desserts. The plaintive prayers for "Zero" by the player tasked with moving a tower grown untenably high is drowned out by the cruel steady chant of "Three!" from the peanut gallery: it's like a Disney-fied Lord of the Flies, or like those tiny green cannibal urchins in Galaxy Quest exhorting "Rock! Rock!". Also, the use of taunts, whistles, ooooo-whoo-whoo-whoohs, and the occasional "jazz hands" from the other players is not verboten.

It's one of the best games I own or have ever played, and I rate it, unreservedly, a 10.
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11. Board Game: Carrom [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:859]
Jonathan Morton
Sweden
Spånga
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A rank of 537 isn't terrible... until you consider that this is a similar but much superior game to Crokinole, which is ranked a whopping 500 spots higher. I don't get it... sure, it's expensive and little known outside India, but isn't Crokinole equally expensive and little known outside Canada?
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12. Board Game: Auf Achse [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:1829]
Jonathan Morton
Sweden
Spånga
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This is a great little pick-up-and-deliver game. It was released in 1987 and was good enough to win the Spiel des Jahres, but was too random to appeal to BGG. The 2007 re-release introduced many tweaks to make it a much better game, but unfortunately it got no buzz.
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13. Board Game: Shanghaien [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:1425]
Sue Hemberger

Washington
Dist of Columbia
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Shanghaien has exactly the same theme as Corsari (recruit your pirate crew), but a very different mechanism. You use dice to claim cards (and, in some cases, cards to alter dice rolls) and can make the strategic decision to call a round off early rather than play to the end in hope of gaining more cards/greater advantage. Scoring is tricky -- player with the most points in a color gets the other player's points in that color (unless the other player has no cards in that color, in which case, the player with the monopoly keeps her own points). So you want something of everything, but not too much. And sometimes it's more to your advantage for the other player to get the card in a color you already dominate in than for you to claim it yourself. At any rate, it's a simple rules, tricky decisions game and I always like those!

For me, last year was one in which a bunch of promising new two-player alternatives emerged. Perry Rhodan: The Cosmic League, Pick & Pack, Biblios (which has probably gotten enough buzz to be disqualified!), Quinamid and Kamisado are others I considered adding to this list.
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14. Board Game: Objets Trouvés [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:2585]
Sue Hemberger

Washington
Dist of Columbia
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We're not generally into party games, but we've had a blast with some offbeat ones recently. Objets Trouve was special enough that we're working hard to develop a viable deck for home use (which, for us, means in English and with cultural referents that Americans, including a sophisticated 11 year old, will get)!

Basically, you turn over a card with 6 variations on a theme, roll a die (secretly) to determine which variation you must construct, then you set to work creating an artwork using the found objects provided (toothbrush, feather, rubber band, astronaut, woman's legs, clothespin, ladybug, blue balloon, plank), while other players (who know all 6 options) try to guess what you're illustrating.

My husband made a truly brilliant/poetic tableau depicting "sour grapes" -- a plastic dinosaur glancing back over its shoulder as it walks away from an astronaut atop a huge pile of every other game piece. The dinosaur was not included in the game -- it entered into the mix of objets when we hit a card on the scoring track telling us to replace some included pieces with others in the vicinity of the playing area.

Also-rans in this category include the Kiproko edition of Wat'n dat!? (another "drawing" game with limited pieces and the added complexity that the image emerges through collaboration with another player to whom you cannot speak), The 3 Commandments (a deduction game in which each novice tries to earn karma by discovering the sacred rituals while avoiding taboos), and the Cockroach series (Cockroach Poker, Kakerlakensalat, and Kakerlakensuppe) -- all of which are amazingly silly. Soup and Salad are quite similar -- speed perception games where rules govern whether you must (or must not) say what you see. Poker is a game of pure bluff.


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15. Board Game: Elk Fest [Average Rating:6.20 Overall Rank:1886]
David Kahnt
United States
Laurinburg
North Carolina
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It's fun, it's healthy, it's good exercise. The kids will just love it. And we put a little sand inside to make the experience more pleasant.
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I first came upon this game while buying others online and added this to the order.

I find it is a extremely fun game for two players during a lull in the day.
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16. Board Game: Ivanhoe [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:1192]
Paul Glenn
United States
Wheaton
Maryland
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I think this is one of Knizia's best. Fast moving and tense.
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17. Board Game: Tiki Topple [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:1586]
Pete Belli
United States
Florida
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A fun game that can be enjoyed on different levels... as a light diversion with lots of "Gotcha!" moves or as a strategy game that requires some planning and deception.

Great idea for a GeekList! thumbsup
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18. Board Game: Battleball [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:1650]
Dan Rivera
United States
Fountain
Colorado
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A very fun beer and pretzal game that doesnt get alot of love here on the geek. Its a fun dice fest with a little thinking thrown in just so you dont get complacent. Fun game that can be had cheap.
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19. Board Game: Pass the Pigs [Average Rating:5.25 Overall Rank:11037]
 
Andrew Kluessendorf
United States
Waukesha
Wisconsin
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This game comes as a pocket travel case containing 2 pig dice, two pencils and a scoring booklet that also includes the scoring table. The pigs are actual pig miniatures.

The object is to be the first to score 100 points using "pigs" as dice. On your turn, you throw the pigs and hope they end up in a scoring position such as a "snouter", "trotter" or "leaning jowler" (ranging in value from 1 to 60 points); if they do, you decide whether to "cash" the points (pass the pigs to the next player) or to roll again. If you roll a non-scorer ("pig out" --one pig on the right flank, the other on the left flank; a fairly frequent result), you lose any as-yet-uncashed points. If you throw an "oinker" (both pigs touch each other), you lose your entire accumulated score. If you throw a "piggyback" (one pig on top of the other), you're altogether eliminated!

Any game that includes the term "makin' bacon" is a winner with me. We took this game on several family trips - it was small enough to go anywhere, but could entertain us for hours.
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20. Board Game: Illuminati: New World Order [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:1753]
G. L.
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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I love this game. Asymmetric powers/win conditions, diplomacy, constant and direct player interaction, plots within plots within plots, and it positively oozes with theme. Formerly a CCG, now available in a factory set with one of every card for about 20 bucks on eBay. Plays great with 3-4 (2 is also OK, but should be played with special rules- no automatic takeovers), either as a one big deck game, or deal out the set into thirds or quarters and let everyone take 15 minutes to construct their deck out of the 100 or so cards they receive (it is kind of like a sealed deck tournament with REALLY good sealed decks, because you are receiving 25-33 percent of the "rare" cards in the game in your portion of the set).
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21. Board Game: Big Shot [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:2393]
Drew
United States
Wisconsin
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This brutal auction game by Alex Randolph would be my pick. It's an auction/area majority game, where players bid on random sets of cubes that the winner may place as he sees fit. In other words, he might be placing his own cubes, he might be placing yours. Areas on the board are awarded to the player with the most cubes in it as soon as seven cubes are placed in it. But the twist is that any ties will cancel each other out, so you can actually win an area with only 1 cube if the other players have tied. And, in fact, you really do want to try to win areas with as few cubes as possible because you're limited to only 18 cubes.

It's a tough auction game where it's very hard to judge the value of a set, and of course players are going to value the same set differently depending on whether it contains your cubes or theirs.

Worth buying if you can track it down. It plays quick and the rules are very simple.
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22. Board Game: Pizarro & Co. [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:1289]
Drew
United States
Wisconsin
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I also have to give a shout-out to Pizarro & Co. (aka Magellan).

Tom Lehmann designed a really cool auction game here that may start to get more interest now that everyone's hooked on his Race for the Galaxy.

If you hear "This game consists entirely of 36 auctions in a row" you may run away screaming.

You're using numbered cards to bid on explorers -- that's the theme anyway -- and by winning their services, you are granted more bidding power or points (generally not both), and typically some special ability (or handicap).

The trick is not only in figuring out how to balance between gaining bidding power and points, but how, exactly, to use your bidding cards. There's an element of bluff, because you want to appear to have a lot of bidding power (i.e., a hand full of cards) and when you win an auction, you don't get "change" when you pay your bid. So if you've got a hand of cards that's numbered like this: 1-1-2-2-9, and you win on a bid of 6, you might actually want to pay with your "9" card just so you can appear to have more bidding power in the following rounds. Get it?

Oh, well . . . check it out. It's ranked in the 500s, so that's not bad, but it's not the sort of game everyone talks about. For me, though, I think I prefer it over many of the higher-ranked auction games.
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23. Board Game: Biblios [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:257]
Drew Spencer
United States
Tucson
Arizona
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This one is kinda hard to track down, but it's awesome. It's card drafting followed by an auction phase, and it's executed brilliantly.
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24. Board Game: The HellGame [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:2730]
Tomas Syrovatka
Czech Republic
Beroun
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Pigs? Yettis? Phew, those are for wussies, real men play with demons! devil This is a great game with great theme, full of strategy, chaos and violence packed in one box. The artwork on the cards is awesome.
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25. Board Game: Terakh: A Creative Strategy Game [Average Rating:5.89 Overall Rank:6853]
Nick Bah Doo
Netherlands
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Low complexity, high interaction. Very scalable for 2-6 players due to the modular board. The components are nice and original as well ... plastic bits using rubber bands and chips.

The luck factor is pretty high due to the dicing, but it's a very enjoyable game which is easy to teach and quite easy to explain.
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