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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26. Board Game: Hattrick [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:2845]
Brian Robson
Scotland
Edinburgh
Midlothian
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Great, quick trick taking game when you have 5 or 6 players. The "trick" is there are two trump suits in each hand, with the third suit counting as negative.

Great fun ... and it can be played down the pub.
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27. Board Game: Golem [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:6603]
Jeff Corrie
United States
Independence
Missouri
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Great game, gets broken out about once a month. Play as a mad scientist, and build your golem (or golems) to fight other golems. You gain diabolical points each turn your golem survives. There's a fair amount of luck, but also a good share of diplomacy to convince others to attack other players. Goofy drawings and the equally goofy names which we give our golems makes this game a blast.
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28. Board Game: Clay-O-Rama [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:4132]
Guest Starring...
Austria
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How can you not have a good time when monsters made of Play-doh are involved?

Everybody needs to play this at least once in their life.
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29. Board Game: Glory to Rome [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:93]
Andy Smith
United Kingdom
Ashford
Kent
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Always enjoy playing this, Seems to always give game satisfaction, and a great game to detox the Race for the Galaxy addicts
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30. Board Game: Bindle Rails [Average Rating:6.26 Overall Rank:6583]
F H
United Kingdom
UK
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This is a newly released game that deserves some love. It's a solitaire Rail Game. It's also Print and Play and FREE.

I've played enough games of this to know that it's a solid game that challenges you differently each time.
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31. Board Game: Hour of Glory: Stronghold Kit [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:3498]
F H
United Kingdom
UK
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This game is SOOOO good it should be gold plated. It's a WWII sneak em up. One player is the the Commander in charge of a secret research station, the other players are spy's/commando's trying to sneak around the station and steal secrets.

It has a 60 minute clock and every action the spys do takes time. So the pressure builds as you play. It's simply great.
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32. Board Game: Pensari [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Matthew Eklund
United States
Tucson
Arizona
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Clever, quick... awesome solitaire... also good semi-cooperative (because it can be just that hard).

And completely off of the radar.

This game really deserves a reprint, and is vastly superior to other puzzle-ish or thinking type games. I dream in shapes and colors after playing a couple of rounds of this.

Super transportable.
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33. Board Game: Die Säulen von Venedig [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:1794]
Jeffery Qualey
United States
Odenton
Maryland
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Die Säulen von Venedig / The Pillars of Venice (2006) is my hidden gem. I'm not sure what lead me to this game in the first place. No doubt it appeared briefly at the bottom of BGG's front page. I placed it at the top of my wishlist and received it from my Secret Santa in 2007.

I love the tactile aspect to the game as well as the fact that everyone has a hand of 5 cards - 5 potential actions each round. Each action that you use becomes a potential action for your neighbor.

English rules (in 3 variations) and English cards are available in the game listing.

It may not be very easy to find, but at least one copy is available at BoardsandBits for $38.50.
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34. Board Game: Android [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:710]
Tiago Nunes
Portugal
Odivelas
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I know this is a very recent game and is pretty well-known.

My reason for putting it here is that every other review I read about seems like the reviewer played a different game than I did.

This is a deep game that always manages to be different, the variable player powers plus the different murder scenarios ensure it will be that way for lots of plays.

Just don't try it if you're expecting a deduction game like everyone else, because this game isn't it. If you like cyberpunk neo-noir though, this game will never fail in immersing you in such a world.

I don't think this game will ever hit top 200, but it will always be a niche game for a small subset of people.
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35. Board Game: Dragonland [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:1973]
Pierce Ostrander
United States
Savannah
Georgia
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Not a "10" for me (most of my "10's" are gems, but they aren't very well hidden!) but a really fun game that is quick and beautiful. Just enough strategy to keep it interesting without being brain-burning. It's really got it all (except an auction)... and yes... even ROLL AND MOVE!!!

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36. Board Game: Beowulf: The Legend [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:1293]
Geoff Hall
United Kingdom
Yate
Bristol
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A Knizia game released by FFG that gets very little love here on the geek but one that I really enjoy. There's a very tight game of hand and risk management hidden here and it's really easy to get your head around the rules by just sitting down and playing the game.
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37. Board Game: Limit [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:6056]
Hubert Orlik-Grzesik
Poland
Studzionka
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Well, it's abstract, I know.

But I love good abstracts. And this is one of the best I've played. Moreover, for some reason it occured to be great gateway for abstracts. Perhaps it's because of really complex strategy compared to really simple rules. But I'm not sure - that's what I love in all abstracts
Anyway, give it a try.
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38. Board Game: 300: The Board Game [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:5117]
Clint
United States
Austin
Texas
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This may not be the best choice for folks who loathe/fear dice, but 300: The Board Game is a great little Ameritrash game that oozes theme. Essentially, the game consists of two armies who meet in a head-on collision and have to duke it out. Of course, the Spartan side has no hope of destroying the Persians, but if they can earn enough honor before their ultimate betrayal and annihilation, then the Spartans win. Tactical game decisions include how to organize and reinforce armies, when to press an advantage vs. regroup, and when/how to play event cards to the greatest advantage.

Overall, this game really does a great job of capturing the feel of 300 the movie. And given that it only lasts 30 minutes or so, it's the perfect little wargame to play during a lunch break.
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39. Board Game: Keesdrow [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:4917]
Paul Whittenhall
United States
Des Plaines
Illinois
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Keesdrow is a great game. It's a cross betwwen Scrabble and Boggle. Each letter can be used up to 3 time and it is worth more points the more you use it. The board is random each game with the tile being double sided. Everyone we played it with loves it. I bought it as gitfs for some friends and others ran out and bought it for themselves.
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40. Board Game: DruidenWalzer [Average Rating:5.96 Overall Rank:3337]
Chris Montgomery
Canada
East York
Ontario
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DruidenWalzer

Great for two players. More challenging still is the fact that *none* of the rules translations match up

I couldn't get a copy so I made my own.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/420870
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/420871
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41. Board Game: Wool Rules [Average Rating:6.06 Overall Rank:3369]
BibKamp318
Belgium
Beerse [near Turnhout]
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This is one of the games in the Zoch series.
The whole series is not aimed at deep gaming, but a simple good clean fun.


What I fail to understand why Pickomino
is so much more loved by BGG.
It is merely a push your luck dice rolling game.

Volle Wolle is much more than just dice rolling.

Yes, it involves dice rolling, but you first have to predict how much the total value of the 3 dice will be at least.
You have 3 attempts, every time you have to put 1 die apart and roll the remaining ones. You can opt to add tokens to make up for your predicted value - providing you have enough of these tokens and are willing to spend them on this.
You are then allowed to pick up as many cards as you have rolled dice on your last attempt [so 3, 2 or just 1 card].
When you failed to achieve your predicted value you are rewarded with 1 token. However, when your total value is less than 14, you might have to pick the cards with negative values.
All cards go into a single pile, with 1 card on top.

Player order is determined by that top card [every card has a sequence number]. When you're thye last to roll, you don't even have to, but you need to pick up all remaining cards [good and bad ones].

You have to remember which cards you already picked up [you can't look into the pile again], as some cards in combination are worth many points; if you have not enough of them they're worth a lot less,

So much more fun then Pickomino if you ask me: at least you can influence the game a bit more as you have more handles.
Definitely worth a shot.
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42. Board Game: Mancala [Average Rating:5.84 Overall Rank:3061]
Nicolas Varela
Chile
Santiago
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If you like abstracts, you'll love Mancala. It's a fairly easy-to-learn game, yet it requires thinking ahead to be able to win. Besides, with the same board you can play hundreds of other games.
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43. Board Game: Midnight Party [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:1595]
Dan Perez
United States
Houston
Texas
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At rank 889, this Ravensburger game would probably qualify as obscure. It's a kid's game and ultra-light, but I've never played such a simple roll-and-move game that was so much fun. This almost always gets pulled out of the stack on game nights here. I've always liked the scoring with this, too (it's nigh impossible to get a positive number as a score,so the winner is the player with the least negative number as his or her score). Readily available on ebay.

Watch out for Hugo, the most amiable of murderous ghosts!
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44. Board Game: Monster Mash [Average Rating:5.71 Overall Rank:7801]
Choubi Gogs
France
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Loads of fun.

This is the only game from my youth that I still happily play anytime I can. All the friends I introduced it to loved it!
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45. Board Game: Shuttles [Average Rating:5.65 Overall Rank:7353]
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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I got this out of the Mindware catalog a few years ago. This is a simple, colorful little game. The thing that makes it unique and that I really like about it is that the sliding pieces are attached! Nice little game to take camping, to play with kids, or for a light 2-player diversion.

You move your pieces as far in one direction as you can, until you hit a wall. You can slide rows of your color one move in either direction on your turn, in lieu of moving a piece. You win when all of your pieces reach the other side.
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46. Board Game: Quits [Average Rating:5.83 Overall Rank:7707]
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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LordDillon and I played this together for the first time this weekend. I love the wood pieces - and not just one or two tones, but 6 (the circle that holds the squares, the movable squares, and 4 colors of marbles). The rose pieces especially are lovely, and sized like ZERTZ marbles - about the size of a quarter.

You can either play with 5 marbles and get 3 off the opposite corner to win, or play with 3 and get 1 off. The 5/3 version is for 2 players, but the 3/1 version can be played with 2 or 4.

Marbles can be moved one space left, right, or forward. The neat thing about this game is that the board is comprised of individual squares, and you can take a square out, put it on the other end of that row, and slide the whole row. Good to advance (or slide back) your marbles, or to thwart your opponent.
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47. Board Game: Fortune [Average Rating:6.03 Overall Rank:5883]
Lindsay Thomas
United Kingdom
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This was one of only about 4 games to receive the highest rating of 6 out of 6 when reviewed by Games and Puzzles magazine in the 1970's.

It had surprisingly high quality components by the standards of the day.

This is the Thinking Man's Monopoly. The best roll and move round a Monopoly track game that I can think of.

Surprisingly, my children beg to play this game more than any other game in our collection - which includes Agricola, Puerto Rico and Power Grid.

I think they like playing this game because you win by getting the most money quickest - which these days makes a refreshing change from the typical Euro.
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48. Board Game: Loopin' Louie [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:430]
Jeff Hinrickson
United States
St Paul
Minnesota
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This game is addictive as hell, need I say more?
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49. Board Game: Monsterpocalypse [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:885] [Average Rating:7.24 Unranked]
Steve Cates
United States
Visalia
California
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Collectible game probably puts it off the radar of most BGG'ers but this game totally rocks. If there was some way to package it in a single game and still have all the sweet bits at a resonable price, it would be golden. I'm still glad I have it even at the big sticker price.

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50. Board Game: Pirates on the High Seas [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:3366]
Josh Jenkins
United States
Henderson
Kentucky
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One could make the argument that this is as much a toy as it is a game, but one could also make the argument that all games are toys, so let's not get caught up in that.

Available in the U.S. (and at a discount from Amazon) as Pirates on the High Seas, this game is amazing. The components are the best I have ever seen, bar none. The large, high-quality pirate ships and tower are specially designed so that when certain scoring locations are hit, they breakaway or collapse to release the "trophy" piece to the other pirate.

It's basically a dexterity/shooting game, but the goals and movement mechanics help elevate it beyond that. Additionally, there are advanced rules to make the missions for the pirates a little more involved and more interesting.

I've never seen people, gamers and non-gamers alike, display so much undisguised glee as I have watching them play this game. (Although Rattlesnake is a close runner-up).

But don't take my word for it. Watch the time-lapse video of a game with my son:



(You can see this video and read the more detailed report of the session here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/367496)
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