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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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51. Board Game: Pit [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:1073]
the scrub
Canada
Mississauga
Ontario
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Not for every situation or for everybody. But when you need a loud, fun, get a bunch of people involved game, teachable in seconds, playable in minute(s), Pit is it.
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52. Board Game: Murdero [Average Rating:5.79 Overall Rank:8843]
Brian Foster
United States
Kirkland
Washington
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Murdero is one of my favorite card games. This rummy variant deserves more attention because it is fun to play and offers lots of tough decisions (more than you would expect from a rummy-based game). I discovered Murdero by chance while searching for games with a mystery theme. OK, I got tired of waiting for Mystery Rummy: Bonnie and Clyde to FINALLY hit the market.

My wife and I play a lot of 2-player games, and the more we play Murdero, the better we like it. We are fairly new at gaming, and the only available Mystery Rummy game was Jekyll and Hyde. While that is a good game, we like Murdero better. The difference is that Murdero offers 15 action cards which can strongly affect the outcome of a game. Some action cards help you and others can hurt your opponent. This adds a lot of suspense and, unlike Jekyll and Hyde, you can't always tell which case your opponent is trying to complete.

The goal is to complete a murder case with cards valued from 1 to 5. There are three different cases: Mafia, Hollywood and Politics. During play, it is best to build all three cases and hope that you can complete one before your opponent does. Unlike Jekyll and Hyde, Murdero does not evolve into a card drawing endgame, where each player is trying to get a card to lay off to end the game. The tension is maintained until the end in Murdero, and you had better make wise decisions in playing your case and action cards!

Murdero can also be played by 4 as partners, or by 6-8 by combining two decks, but I have only played it 2-player. The game was designed by Tim and Lynda Cowles who live in the UK, and US distribution is beginning to pick up. It is currently available at Thought Hammer, Boards & Bits Funagain, Uncle's Games and a few others. Check murdero.com for more information and a good FAQ.

Strongly recommended for gamers who like the Mystery Rummy series.

Edit: added other stores which also have Murdero.

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53. Board Game: Midgard [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:1357]
A. B. West
United States
Beech Grove
Indiana
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Now here's a hidden gem. This game has very nice tried-and-true mechanics, but feels wonderful when tossed nicely with some tangy sauce in the form of a tricky scoring system. Feels like Knizia - but it's not. And that's substantial praise.
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54. Board Game: Ka-Ching! [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:2282]
Have faith
United States
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Short 2 player game that nevertheless has meat on its bones. No luck. Pretty unique gameplay, as far as I know.
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55. Board Game: Ricochet Robots [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:426]
Steve Holden
United States
Hudson
Wisconsin
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This is one of my favorite games, if you haven't tried it, it's a good one to check out. Currently at rank 247, it's somewhat well known, but still a good gem for those who've never played it.
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56. Board Game: Animalia [Average Rating:6.24 Overall Rank:2548]
Blake Morris
United States
Henrico
Virginia
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This size viola da gamba is like a cello with frets. I started playing at age 48.
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I hope this excellent little game will soon be made more widely available. It plays like a simpler version of Medici with the addition of special card powers. While the artwork is sure to be a hit with children, adults will also find this a satisfying filler.
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57. Board Game: Too Many Cooks [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:1792]
Joe Childers
United States
Dayton
Ohio
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This is a fun card game that is accessible to non-gamers but satisfying to gamers. Adds a couple nice wrinkles to trick-taking games. Not just another Knizia also-ran, It deserves better exposure here on the Geek.
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58. Board Game: The Battle for Hill 218 [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:1049]
Chris Schenck
United States
Dayton
Ohio
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Ranked past #500, which is a shame because it's a phenomenal 2-player game.

It's light, but it still manages to wonderfully scratch the tactical wargame itch with wicked portability. No dice, no pencil/paper needed ... nothing beyond the small deck of cards.

I always drop this in my pocket when going to family functions and other gatherings. Inevitably it draws a small crowd of watchers lining up to play it.
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59. Board Game: A House Divided [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:622]
Gregory Bay
United States
Kernersville
North Carolina
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Ranked 270 Overall and 325 in the wargames category this is a game I wanted for a long long time and finally picked up this Christmas and have not put it down.

I love the time period and wanted something that would be easy to learn, teach, play, and would provide depth and accuracy on the subject. A House Divided does this with class. A quality product for about 35 US and allows you to play all different aspects of the war without getting tied down for more than a couple of hours.

If you are looking for a great game covering the US CIVIL WAR look no further. A Classic!
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60. Board Game: Survive: Escape from Atlantis! [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:174]
Nick Short
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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A game right out of my childhood!

When I first found BGG, my first task was to identify and acquire a copy of this game. I hadn't played it since first grade, but it had always been my favorite at the time. I was certain that despite my childhood enthusiasm, it would be terrible; but I wanted it as a nice piece of nostalgia. Of course, it turned out to be every bit as fun as I remembered it.

Hex grids, modular maps, hidden scoring values, cutthroat tactics and temporary co-operation. Who knew Parker Brothers ever put out a game this interesting? It's still a blast to play!

Plus, if all else fails, you can always just eat all the pawns with Sharks and Sea Monsters! devil
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61. Board Game: Timber Tom [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:2310]
Peter Van de Voorde
Belgium
Schoonaarde (Dendermonde)
Oost-Vlaanderen
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Stepping out on the road is a dangerous business. You have to keep your feet under you, or before you know it you'll be swept off to who knows where!
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A game about gold hidden in mountains with actual sturdy 3D mountains to climb, actual pouches with gold to collect, lot's of mini trees to put in front of your competitors and a whole lot of fun.

You can even turn the whole board upside down without anything leaving it's place

It's a self produced game by Marco Bing and I love it.

The game itself only gets better because of the components and the integrated theme.

And all this for the price of a normal board game.
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62. Board Game: Lords of Alban [Average Rating:6.36 Unranked]
Ingo Keiner
Germany
Oberhausen
NRW
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My "not well known" gem is definitely this game.
We discovered it on the Spiel in Essen (´91 or ´92)
It was one of our first visits there and we were so excited that we had to make a date for the next day at the Demand-Spieleverlag-Booth to test-play it.
It´s a game about becoming the king of "Great Britain".
One can bring people on the board to fulfill this quest. With them, one can lumber forests to get tiny wooden sticks, cultivate fields to supply a village or later a city, build castles to get more votes for the crowning.
Sometimes it´s necessary to build ships, to get faster to an important land or to be in a better defensive state.
Military actions are as simple as they can be. Chesslike. One meeple beats one meeple. To capture a castle you need some more.
If there are enough castles built, there is an election. After three more rounds, there is another election.
The winner is, who can stay the king for two elections in a row.
Sadly it´s not an everyday-game, because most of our sessions last more than 5 hours.

Oh, and by the way, from the testing-play at the Spiel, we have our most important slogan. We were lumbering ever so much wood, that the explanator said: "This ain´t a lumber-game!"
As you can imagine, this is a perfect speech to so many games...
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63. Board Game: Lost Patrol [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:3285]
Jonas Mustonen
Finland
Helsinki
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Basicly this game is like Space Hulk or Space Crusade but cut down in the size and playing time. It plays quick and is perfect for passing time when you want game that's quick to set up and is easy on the brains.
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64. Board Game: Conquest of the Fallen Lands [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:1333]
Douglas S
United States
Torrance
California
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At first it might look like the game is easy, but there are tons of strategies and nuances in the ever changing board. Hidden Gem. Fun! Fast!
Very creative!
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65. Board Game: Slapshot [Average Rating:6.33 Overall Rank:2050]
Douglas S
United States
Torrance
California
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SLAPSHOT / POWER PLAY / PHANTOMS OF THE ICE


This is the best light game ever made. They play it at the wbc championships I know, but otherwise it is seldom talked about anymore. This game is fun with any group you play with. I've played with serious gamers, non gamers, game haters even! Great fun for all!
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66. Board Game: Groo: The Game [Average Rating:6.26 Overall Rank:2395]
Scott Everts
United States
Foothill Ranch
California
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This is my favorite card game and is perfectly themed. Each player tries to build his town and survive both a wandering Groo and other player's armies. It's even better if you like the comic since all the regular characters appear in it.

I highly recommend Groo: The Game – Expansion Set since it adds some great cards. I expect the expansion was originally suppose to be combined since the manual's example card is only in the expansion!

This game has been out of print a long time but they appear on eBay. If you can't find the game Medievalia uses similar mechanics. I have that too though I prefer Groo because of the theme.
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67. Board Game: Star Wars: Star Warriors [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:1832]
Richard Anderson
Scotland
Edinburgh
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A long lost beer and pretzal Stars Wars extravaganza! I loved this game in my youth and I'd still play it now. Slap on the Star Wars soundtrack [preferably the 'Asteroid Field' from ESB or 'The Last Battle' from SW:ANH] and I challenge anyone not to quote Star Wars left, right and centre as they play.

"The force is strong is this one" as you whip down the Death Star Trench.

"This is Red Five; I'm going in!"

"I have you now!"

"Accelerate to attack speed." and "Stay on target" as much as you want.

If you fly an X-Wing you can literally "Switch your deflectors on double front"

Use and abuse your R2 unit, fly the Millennium Falcon or Slave-1, tinker with the force and brave the asteroid belt (if you're crazy enough).

These days there are great Star Wars minis you can use to supplement the game should that be to your taste.

A very straight forward, well themed, 2+ multiplayer bash from a galaxy far far away. Check it out if you get the chance.
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68. Board Game: Saigo no Kane [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:4325]
Krzysztof Zięba
Poland
Kraków
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Now THIS is a Polish game worth knowing.
It may not have the best graphics (most of my friends are discouraged by the manga-style illustrations), it may not be made in the best way (some minor problems, that I'll probably write about in a review), but it is immensily fun. It has very nice mechanics, there's a lot of player conflict, both direct and indirect (especially with four players), and it is easy to lose because of overestimating or underestimating some of the games features.
I don't know what to compare the game to, because I haven't played anything like it, though there probably is something similar somewhere.
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69. Board Game: Jungle Speed [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:752]
Krzysztof Zięba
Poland
Kraków
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Now this is a party game I like to play.
Sure, it's all dexterity (and a bit of perception), but how a small game like this (a wooden totem and 80 cards!) gives you this much fun, it's surprising. And you can play it with virtually any number of people, providing you have a proper table.
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70. Board Game: Kaivai [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:1919]
Pedro
Portugal
Lisbon
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Someone described this as Puerto Rico with a map, but I think it's a little more than that. It's a tough economic game, with plenty of original mechanics (money devalues, actions get more expensive as players take them, the original auction like mechanic, among others), very good components and a lot of player interaction.

Kaivai is a real brainburner, with a lot of non obvious concepts interacting. It's not newbie friendly but I think it's an extraordinary game and always a joy to play. A real sleeper!
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71. Board Game: Pampas Railroads [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:2398]
Pedro
Portugal
Lisbon
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This is Chicago Express' older brother. It's a longer, deeper and more involved game, mostly because it's less chaotic and more predictable than it's younger brother. It's heavier on the strategy side and a little more of a builder's game. It's still about building alliances with the other players through share ownership, but here they last longer.

It's hard to find and the components are standard Winsome fare, but if you can get your hands on a copy, I highly recommend it!
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72. Board Game: Automania: The Game of the Motor Giants [Average Rating:5.85 Overall Rank:7412]
John Bandettini
United Kingdom
London
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I love this game, but judging by it's rating not many other people do. I wrote a review of it a few months ago to try to earn it some more love, but it did not seem to help. http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/346444
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73. Board Game: Dune CCG [Average Rating:6.19 Overall Rank:4099]
Hicham Vanborm
Belgium
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This is a long dead CCG (Yes, all you anti-CCG people can stop reading nowdevil ).

For a short while it had an enthousiastic following at my game store back in 1998. To me this is one of the best games around. It has politics, combat, auctioning, simple economics, duelling and plenty of theme to boot!

I should write a review of this hidden gem, to counter all the naysayers out there.

pros:
- Theme
- diverse (from battles, to duels, to auctioning, court politics, spying and assassination,...)
- plays well with more people
- great game mechanics

Cons:
- Rules are not light nor are they well written
- Bland artwork and lots of typos on the card


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74. Board Game: Ninety-Nine [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:1936]
Pee di Moor
Netherlands
Rotterdam
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A public domain game playable with a standard deck is my hidden gem.

With 5 persons Mu is the best trick tking game.
With 4 persons Tichu is unbeatable.

But what do you do when there's just 3 players, and you really are into track taking games ..... Then NinetyNine is the solution.

Boy, what a good game. The more we play it, the better we like it. You dont only try to obtain your own goals, but at the same time you try to destruct the bids of other hand with putting away the most unexpected cards ....
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75. Board Game: Down with the King [Average Rating:5.76 Overall Rank:5703]
David A
United States
Los Angeles
California
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An older game and long out-of-print but generally cheap when found due to the lack of love soblue
In my opinion, this game is the best Intrigue game around. I love it tons but almost never see anything good written about it.

The gameplay combines the best aspects of Kremlin and Republic of Rome, while the fictional psuedo-England setting evokes the power struggles Shakespearean tragedy. The fact that the sitting king whom everyone is trying to depose is implied to be a kind and just ruler is just extra EvilGravy on your diabolical sandwich.

The main problem with this game is that it is UGly. Counters, Cheap cards, a bunch of garishly-colored tables, and that's IT. And the courtly events tables are unforgiving! Personally I find it totally in-theme that a wrong step at the Court Ball can - literally overnight - plunge your chief conspirator from being the top King's Advisor to social pariah, but some will find this frustrating.

If all of that sounds good to you, you should check this game out.



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