Published in 2010: Best and Worst games I've played and what remains to be tried. Opinions&suggestions are welcome!
Laszlo Molnar
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A year ago I created a geeklist about the games published in 2009. Looking back, it seems that year offered some more games that can be considered original and creative than 2010 - but while in 2010 there were few new ideas, there were lots of good games.

The numbered ("ranked") games in this list (first two pages) are these games. You can comment why you agree or why you think I'm stupid to think a game is good when it's terrible.

Then you'll see the games I still would like to try.
You can tell me why I should avoid them based on the first page or why I should choose one to be the next one I try.

The rest is for your suggestions: If you think there are other games not listed that I should try (published in 2010 according to BGG) based on my opinions about the games I played.
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1. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.87 Overall Rank:19]
Laszlo Molnar
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#1

While 7 Wonders is clearly the most popular 2010 title in the database (it's crawling up to the top 10 which it might or might not reach eventually) I guess it won't be on top of many 2010 top 10 lists.
In some aspects even I agree this one isn't the best game of the loot I played (look for #2 and #3 for those). But it's a great, fast little game with more than enough depth and meat for this length. It's also playable with 3 to 7 players which is very rare (I don't know how it plays with 2 - I'm not sure about that player count). It's also a game that is accessible for those who are already experienced in gateway games and also gamers don't hate playing with it. And by these values it is so special that it deserves the award (Just like it deserves the Spiel des Jahres).
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2. Board Game: Navegador [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:98]
Laszlo Molnar
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#2
The best heavier game published in 2010 is interestingly not a very original one. I am looking for original ideas and original experiences in games. 2010 was full of multiple paths to victory Euros built up of mostly the same mechanism ideas but most of them weren’t really outstanding. For some reason I do really appreciate Navegador though. It's really balanced, and while in many aspects it’s a typical complex Euro it just doesn't really feel like accounting as you are exploring and colonizing different parts of the world during the game. While it's still an Euro about building an efficiency engine, it has lots of competition and a sense of theme added, while the market prices are constantly on the move – it manages to be exciting while it’s an elegant game with no unnecessary mechanisms or rule details. It’s a… sophisticated game.
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3. Board Game: Luna [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:284]
Laszlo Molnar
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#3
Luna is the best heavier game published in 2010 that I would also call original. Luna is, in a way, also like all the usual Euros: you collect tiles and in another action you use the tiles; you do actions to be able to collect points and you do actions to collect points; you get points immediately, you get points in the end of each round and you get points in the end of the game. But it’s all organized in a very unusual way. I’m not sure this is the game that a non-gamer would ever really call “fun” and while the theme is really present it’s still a bit strange theme that is obviously created to cover the tricky mechanism. It’s also a no-luck, open-information game, although not a pure abstract strategy game (not only because of the theme but also because of the semi-random set-up and the number of players). It’s a strange animal but in a very pleasing way.
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4. Board Game: Keltis: Das Orakel [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:1433]
Laszlo Molnar
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#4
It’s the most complex and most gamery version of Keltis out there, with the most different ways to win. Das Orakel needs the most thinking and is a great game, but maybe Neue Wege has the best depth:complexity ratio for me. This mix of Keltis, Tutenkhamen/Bunte Runde and the Knizian linear adventure games is really different from the others and it needs different tactics: while you can have a score as high as 100 here, you get only max. 27 of that from the printed numbers on the board, so it doesn't feel like a race as the previous ones did; it feels more like a hand management game where you don't really have bad hands but you have to find the best way to use your cards - and the options are many. Also it makes a big difference that here you can and will start each of your 5 suits as having short suits doesn’t come with a punishment here. It takes away a bit of the tension that I appreciate so much in Neue Wege, Neue Ziele which remains my favourite Keltis game – while this one comes as a close second, unless playing with family or non-gamers because with them Keltis is still the best one (and the other versions are fine for travel).
MY REVIEW
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5. Board Game: Asara [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:565]
Laszlo Molnar
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#5
Asara is the first real family game in this list and this way I’m not surprised it’s one of the Spiel des Jahres-nominated games of the year. I’m so not surprised that right after my first play I said in the new to you list entry “I think it has a chance for at least a Spiel des Jahres recommendation, possibly nomination this year” and one day before the nominations were out I predicted its nomination, even saying it might have a chance to win.
Of course it’s not a very complex or very deep game. I have played Asara according to the advanced rules with gamers who found the game was a bit shallow; I have also played the beginners’ version with a non-gamer and that was just the perfect version for her, at least as an introductory game. I just think it’s a fine gateway that has an interesting core mechanism that feels fresh even if there is only one little new idea there. This is worker placement meets hand management and set collection in a fine way. I do think those who haven’t played too many traditional card games (played with a standard deck of cards) find a game like this too luck-dependent (thinking it all depends on the luck of the draw); I don’t. It’s about priorities.
This game needs a bit different thinking, different decisions from your standard Euro. Here your workers are cards in 5 colors (each round they are dealt again) and while you can play the first worker anywhere as you like, further workers at that site must follow suit (color) – or you can use 2 other cards there, resulting in having less actions for the round. I like the game and I find it has really good potential so I really hope the planned pro expansion will be released as soon as possible.
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6. Board Game: London [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:172]
Laszlo Molnar
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#6
In some ways it felt like a "7 Wonders for gamers" game to me, as you have 3 decks of cards following each other and being different (in 7W you won't find resources in the third deck; here you need to get your money from the first two decks); you are forced to give away cards knowing that the next player can pick them up and you can experiment with different strategies as there are obviously several ways to collect points and win. London also reminds me of Oltre Mare and Condottiere in that while it has a board, the board has only a secondary role in the game that feels more like a card game. London is quite fun, especially after you start to know the cards. But luckily it's a good game even before that (I was afraid it's going to be an experience like Race for the Galaxy which is said to be fun after your 5-10th play when you start to learn the cards - I don't want to play 4 to 9 times with a game I don't enjoy, hoping I would enjoy it afterwards). So, all in all, I like it and want to explore it more.
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7. Board Game: Funfair [Average Rating:6.00 Overall Rank:4896]
Laszlo Molnar
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#7
A game by so many great designers? (Friedemann Friese=Power Grid, Michael Rieneck+Stefan Stadler=Cuba, Inka+Markus Brand=A Castle for All Seasons, Martin Schlegel=Aqua Romana, Peter Eggert+Tobias Stapelfeldt=Neuland etc.) That must be great! Well, if you think so quite probably you will be disappointed. This game is not a gamer’s game at all and based on what the top 200 games of BGG are it’s not really a game for the geeks.
This game is what its title and theme suggests. It’s a family compendium of 8 (9) little games, each of them based on some fun little idea. These games try to capture the fun of the funfair attractions and they do a really good job. Some of them even has some euro-like ideas but I wouldn’t call this one a Euro; it’s more like a party game for families – with some dexterity, some bluffing, some deduction (in one of the most hilarious small games of the compendium – the ghost train, see image) and lots of luck. But it can be really fun if you don’t expect anything meatier – a fun little diversion for kids, adolescents and drunk grown-ups, just like the real Funfair.
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8. Board Game: Haggis [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:449]
Laszlo Molnar
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#8
I love Tichu. The rules for Haggis are a bit confusing but it is a viable 3-player game of the same type. I like it.
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9. Board Game: Troyes [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:49]
Laszlo Molnar
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#9
Troyes provides some little twists on the usual worker placement and efficiency engine building games but still feels like a rather standardEuro built up of mostly familiar elements with a virtually non-existent theme. I see it has dice instead of some cards but here dice really do make it a bit more luck-dependent than I’d like to see from a game of this complexity. Throwing only low numbers comes with a cost so throwing high numbers with a perfect timing gives you an advantage (and there aren’t too many dice rolls in the game to even things out). Also there are some stuff that totally depend on simple die rolls (you get something if you roll 3 or more etc.).
I do like dice games (see below) but the luck of simple die rolls is not something that I really like in a game like this (and I did like Macao, I do like dice game/euro hybrids Alea Iacta Est, Kingsburg, I find each of them more balanced in this aspect). Troyes is built on a not too perfect core mechanism and while all the rest of the game is trying to balance the fragile bases, most of what’s built on this mechanism is just the standard Euro stuff. But well, the game is still good just not great; I still enjoyed the game enough to play it more than once and explore some of the strategies.
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10. Board Game: Fresco [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:176]
Laszlo Molnar
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#10
When last year’s Spiel des Jahres nominations were announced and Fresco was one of them I really started to hope Dixit wins and not this one, even though it’s a fine game. If the theme weren’t fresh you would surely say it’s a pretty average and usual, good but not special middleweight Euro, very typical for the past some years. You could easily change ‘colors’ to bulding materials etc. and have a boring Cathedral-building game. But the theme and the artwork does help a lot, so finally it becomes a rather enjoyable game (but not more than that).
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11. Board Game: Tikal II: The Lost Temple [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:967]
Laszlo Molnar
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#11
Tikal II just misses the top 10 spot. I know why this game is called Tikal II (Let's use that popular game title to sell this completely different game!) and I guess it makes the game sell well. The game does have some similarities to Tikal but it’s a rather different game (and not only because the first one had a more or less “realistic” theme while the second one is pure fantasy) : it’s a game of racing and treasure-hunting, and it’s not guaranteed that if you like the old one you are going to like the mechanism of this one as well. Instead of action point allowance system you have a kind of self-restricting rondel mechanism. It’s easy to memorize all the tile combinations used in the game and that makes it more strategic than it seems first, but Tikal was still a deeper game with fewer rules. In my book, a game with more depth and less rule details is (probably) a better game so I don’t think Tikal II is as good as Tikal – but at the same time Tikal II. plays a lot faster, it’s not an AP-heavy game (at least not as much as Tikal was) and that’s in Tikal II’s favor.
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12. Board Game: K2 [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:320]
Laszlo Molnar
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#12
K2 is a fun race game about mountain climbing with the old Kramer race mechanism (play one of your cards simultaneously to move your figure and hope others don’t get in your way) with some nice thematic touches: weather, the need of air (going uphill), building a tent. It’s enjoyable with fine replayability and it also provides harder and easier levels (with a two-sided board and different weather conditions). It’s one of the finest new race games I have played in the last years; it’s not ranked higher only because I’m not really a fan of the racing genre.
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13. Board Game: Jäger und Sammler [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:2033]
Laszlo Molnar
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#13
Knizia’s big box family game has a mechanism somewhere between Hey That’s My Fish! and Through the Desert (which is fine as Hey That’s My Fish already resembled Through the Desert in more than one way) but not as cutthroat or unforgiving as either one, having some commonly usable tiles where you just can’t block each other. It means serious gamers might even find it bland but it’s really perfect for families or as a gateway; also it feels like a whole gaming experience compared to the “too short game based on a nice simple idea”, Hey That’s My Fish! And the board and the tiles are just beautiful, a pleasure to look at.
MY REVIEW
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14. Board Game: Titania [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:3128]
Laszlo Molnar
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#14
An underrated, fine family game by Herr Dorn. True, it’s nothing new: you can find the movement and expansion rules familiar from Journey to the Center of the Earth and Arkadia, all this combined with some elements from Knizia’s tile-laying trilogy (e.g. ending an age when one of the colors run out) but the result is a really fine lightweight game with more depth and possible strategy than it seems first (although it’s really shorter than it should be). The only thing I don’t like is the player markers – their colors are just too similar to each other.
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15. Board Game: Glen More [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:192]
Laszlo Molnar
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#15
Glen More is a very typical Alea game and a very typical Euro. It doesn’t mean it’s not finely balanced or doesn’t have anything to offer (although I’m rather happy to see Artus as the next Alea game – a brave move from the publisher, even if many are going to hate it). The limited (‘zero-sum’) market of Glen More is clever, the relative scoring is clever, the game is fine, it just didn’t feel special, different or exciting enough for me. I guess it could grow on me after several plays though.
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16. Board Game: Key Market [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:915]
Laszlo Molnar
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#16
The first Key... title that wasn't designed by Richard Breese himself really fits the series: it really felt like the only game I know from the family, Keythedral. Just like in Keythedral, the fields are placed in the beginning of the game by the players following each other. Then our workers are placed during the game and goods are produced on these fields (fish, apple etc., at least they are not cubes this time). The game is once again about building the efficiency engine and of course timing is the most important. It's a fine game (of the standard Euro type) if the turns don't take too long - don't play it thinking too long as the fun disappears with time.

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17. Board Game: Firenze [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:516]
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#17
I’m among those who didn’t really fall in love with BGG favorite Hansa Teutonica. I admired the mechanism but didn’t find the game particularly fun. But of course as it was a success I guess the designer was approached by publishers to find and finish his probably half-baked, unpublished efforts. And actually I quite enjoy Firenze. No, it’s not that original, its mechanism is not something to be admired but the game is enjoyable (strange but I guess it also helps that it's more colorful); also while it’s not as special as HT it felt a bit more fun. The biggest drawback is that right now its cards have German texts on them and this game is rather language dependent.
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18. Board Game: Boomerang [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:2461]
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#18
I have never played Lascaux – Boomerang is said to be a re-themed update of that one. Actually it feels like No Thanks – the family game with some hidden information, bluffing and set collection thrown in to the mix. A very light but enjoyable family game with a really special graphic design; I’m thinking about buying it for family purposes.
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19. Board Game: Seeland [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:959]
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#19
My all-time favorite game is called Samurai and Seeland shares some of its ideas in the tile placement/evaluation aspect. That’s also the reason why I’m pretty sure I can’t really see Seeland’s merits and faults after one play. I’m sure this one (just like Samurai) gets better with fewer players – partly because you have more control that way and also because (just like in Samurai) in a 4-player game your success largely depends on the skill of the player sitting before you. So although I was a bit disappointed during the first game I guess it’s a fine game – with optimal player number and skill levels.
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20. Board Game: Olympus [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:933]
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#20
Olympus is a relatively simple and not too special civilization game from the designers of Kingsburg. You can tell it’s from the same designers – everyone has the same set of buildings/actions that they can buy, there are 3 different-colored resource cubes (even there’s an action to change 1 cube to the other 2) etc. The main difference is that you don’t have dice here (you have a kind of Big Kini-like action selection mechanism) and the game is a no-luck, open-information game with no random set-up. And as the action selection mechanism is not that special, the only thing that makes it a bit different from other similar Euros is the (fun) way you can attack others with your army (take away some resources) and choose to ’give’ plague to others (killing some of their men unless they can choose to counteract). Also it gives it a real civilization game edge: military is important – if only one player is focusing on military it can get too easy for them to win. Of course the confrontation makes the game a bit more enjoyable than it would be otherwise… I’d also like to see a To Forge a Realm expansion with more variability, possibly roles and event cards as well to shine.
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21. Board Game: Asteroyds [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:1617]
 
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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#21
I have never played RoboRally but I hear it’s like a lighter, faster version combined with some other ideas. What’s sure is it’s a fun game (if you like spatial thinking and chaos coming from time constraints) of pre-programmed movement with a really short time given to make planning. Even though there are some different game modes I’m not sure about the replayability, though.
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22. Board Game: Grand Cru [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:1072]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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#22
Just like in case of Olympus vs. Civilization, I guess it’s a scandal that I enjoyed Grand Cru which has appeared on many “disappointment of the year” lists more than I enjoyed the Essen 2010 sweetheart Vinhos (see next page). Grand Cru is not a bad game. It’s not very special but it’s okay, it’s rather thematic for a Euro and actually it’s quite enjoyable as even though you have several options to choose from during your turn, providing rather interesting decisions (especially in the timing aspect), each one of these options is doing something very fast, so the game has quite a good tempo. The worst part is the rulebook which isn’t clear enough (many rushed Essen 2010 games have this problem) so you might oversee some parts which can easily destroy the fun.
I have no problem with complexity, I have no problem with games demanding lots of thinking. But make the experience worth it. Make the games fun, that’s the most important thing I want from a game. In my book, Grand Cru is more fun and better edited than Vinhos is (and just like in the Olympus vs. Civilization comparison, it’s a big plus that it’s a lot shorter).
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23. Board Game: Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:89]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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#23
So I rate a simpler civ game actually more than I like this much-praised, much more complex adaptation of Sid Meier’s classic PC game? Yes I do. I was lucky to play with fast players (the game lasted 3 hours); I guess my rating would be a lot lower had I played with AP players.
I do think it’s a good adaptation. Still it has issues: the many little rule details are easy to forget (unlike when playing on PC), the different trades, buildings, great persons, techs and culture cards make it quite fiddly and I if someone loses a city early then suffers for 2 or 3 hours until someone is kind enough to attack their capital (there is no catch-up mechanism). If everyone is doing their stuff as they should during the game then everyone has a more or less equal chance to win, until someone suddenly wins in an unpredictable way in the same round when someone else also would have won (so there is a very long “set-up” for a semi-random ending). Still the game is rather entertaining if played with the right group; I would never play it with my (AP-prone) friends who play Citadels for 3 hours.
So why is it ranked lower than Olympus here? I can play 3 games of Olympus (or, preferably, a game of Olympus and then two other games) while I would play only one game of Civilization and I don’t think it gives me as much as those games would give me after adding them up.
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24. Board Game: 11 nimmt! [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:2005]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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#24
Just like Tikal II, Wolfgang Kramer’s other ‘sequel’ (to 6 Nimmt! a.k.a. 6 takes/Category 5) doesn’t really have anything to do with the original; it’s a rather different game with sequential card selection and with the aim of being the first to get rid of all your cards. It’s still very light but it has a bit more to think about, some more interesting decisions. At the same time it’s a bit less of a party game and it doesn’t serve too many players well because of the downtime; I guess it shouldn’t be played by more than 4 players. For 3 or 4 it’s really fine though, just remember: it's not a party game anymore. Even with its more or less unique rules is feels like a traditional card game so it will be enjoyed by those who like traditional card games. It’s ranked so low here only because while 6 Nimmt was one of the best lightweight “up to 10 players” party games, 11 Nimmt has many better competitors (so even if it is possibly better than 6 Nimmt it’s less special in its category).
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25. Board Game: Dragonheart [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:962]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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#25
A very lightweight 2-player hand management game by Rüdiger Dorn with a considerable luck factor. Interestingly it has quite a strong sense of theme because of the small board and the painting by Michael Menzel. Even though I have no idea why it isn’t in the standard small Kosmos 2-player box (it would fit there) it’s a fun alternative to Lost Cities-like games for couples. It’s also a fantasy game with dragons and trolls that will be liked by the stereotypical significant others!
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