The E•G•G Series from Eagle Gryphon Games: collect 'em all?
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Over the last two years, Eagle Gryphon Games has been publishing a new series called The E•G•G Series.



This series consists of small box games that are being marketed at a relatively low price-point. What they have in common is that they are portable, play quite quickly, and are designed to be accessible to a wide range of gamers. In other words, they're the kind of games that work perfectly as fillers, or for light and social gaming. They also feature a wide range of diverse mechanics and styles.

So should you collect them all? Certainly there are some gems in here! But not all games of The E•G•G Series are created equal, and that's what this list is about: how do the different games stack up against each other?

The list below is arranged by average BGG rating, so the order may change slightly over time - so the order these games appear will give some indication of the relative popularity of each game. I've written a pictorial review on most games in the series thus far, so I've included a link to my review, as well as some of my own comments about the merits of each entry in this series. But what do you think? Which ones are essential must-haves? Which ones should be avoided? How do you think the games in this series stack up, and which are best?
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1. Board Game: Chimera & More [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:7503]
#13 in the series.



Short version: A climbing game indebted to Tichu, but it can handle exactly three players or five players.

Longer version: Tichu is easily a modern favourite among titles in the climbing game genre, but it requires exactly four players. That's why in 2014 designer Ralph Anderson created Chimera, as a Tichu-like experience for just three players. Now with Chimera & More, original Chimera game has been expanded to include a five-player game as well.

In the three-player game, each hand sees two players teaming up as the Chimera Hunters to defeat the third player who is designated Chimera, and who has bid to "go out" first. The usual staples of climbing games are all there - pairs, triples, straights, and special cards - but the scoring system is interesting because your partner is constantly changing. While it shares a similar DNA to Tichu, Chimera is a different game, being faster, easier to learn, and more cut-throat than a partnership game. The changing partnerships and shifting allegiances are one of the very appealing aspects of Chimera game-play. Other aspects of game-play also help set it apart from Tichu, especially the many card combinations and the tense bidding.

The new "Chimera & More" edition has new artwork, plus twice as many cards for a five-player game, which has its own rules. This uses a much larger deck of 90 cards, mostly as a result of the addition of two new suits. Some extra cards were also added, and partnerships are adjusted to have three players teaming up against two players each hand, with the Chimera selecting a partner to work with. The main aim is the same (the Chimera tries to be the first to go out, and the other team of players tries to prevent this), but there are some other minor changes.

This game will mostly be enjoyed by people who like juicy and thoughtful climbing games. While not identical to Tichu, if you do like the feel of the game-play in meaty climbing games like Tichu, there's a good chance that this will tickle a similar itch for 3 or 5 players.

My review: A Tichu-type game for exactly three or five players
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1883355
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2. Board Game: SiXeS [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:5940] [Average Rating:7.22 Unranked]
#6 in the series.



Short version: A Scattergories type party game with some fun twists.

Longer version: SiXeS is in the style of the well-known party-game Scattergories, a commercial version of an old parlor game known as "Categories" or "Guggenheim". This game by Steven Poelzing and Rick Soued changes things up, and turned out to be much more fun than my family expected.

SIXES consists of different rounds which work differently: in some rounds you're trying to think of words unique to a category (similar to Scattergories), but in other rounds you're trying to think of words that will match those of other players. This mixes things up and makes it far more interesting and fun! There's also no alphabetic restrictions, and you're writing six words for each category, not just one.

While not something terribly ground-breaking or different from games we've seen before, it is enough of a twist on the familiar to make it a worthwhile game. We have had enormous fun with this game, and it's been requested a lot by people we have taught it too. While not a real gamers game, SIXES is ideal for playing at a casual family gathering. It is a good choice if you're looking to break out a quick and easy party game that's vaguely familiar, and yet different enough to make it feel fresh and fun.

My review: A Scattergories type party game, with enough of a twist to make it fun
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1562401
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3. Board Game: Fantastiqa Rival Realms [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:6222]
#14 in the series.



Short version: A two player game in the land of Alf Seegert's Fantastiqa, where players are summoning lands and travelling between regions, building their Realm and completing quests.

Longer version: There's much to love about Alf Seegert's excellent deck-building game Fantastiqa, which takes us down the rabbit hole and into a whole new world of whimsy, imagination, and adventure. Fantastiqa Rival Realms is a completely independent game for two players that is set in the same landscape.

In this game, you and your opponents are the magicians who summon the world of Fantastiqa into being, earning points by creating Rival Realms. You each play Region cards from your hands to "Summon" Regions into your Realm, and then "Go Adventuring" in your separate Rival Realms. You can collect Adventure Tokens which will give you Creatures and Artifacts that enable you to travel further and "Explore" new territory. You earn points by summoning and exploring Regions, connecting adjacent Regions of the same type, and completing Quests.

There's much to love here, including the whimsical setting, the spatial element which produces highly tactical game-play, and the fine components. As well as a solid two player game, rules for solitaire play are also included. Considering it is a card game, it punches well above its weight. There's a lot of bang for your buck, and there are several ways to play or add to the experience, including a built-in expansion. If you are already a fan of Alf Seegert's excellent Fantastiqa, then getting Rival Realms is a no-brainer. Although this doesn't feel like a scaled down version of the larger board game, there are enough connections in terms of the thematic setting and artwork to love it. Recommended!

My review: A brand new two player game from Alf Seegert joins the Fantastiqa family
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1953815

A mini-expansion for Rival Realms, called "Final Frontiers", is also available. I've posted a separate review for that here:
My review: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1984871
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4. Board Game: Fleet Wharfside [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:2853]
#8 in the series.



Short version: Satisfying set-collection card game set in the world of Fleet

Longer version: Fleet is a well-known and highly regarded strategy card game, in which players are trying to fulfil contracts by fishing. But what happens with all the fish that are caught? That's where Fleet Wharfside, comes in. Players collect fish from their fleet at the wharf, which they use to complete contracts from the Market.

The main mechanic of Fleet Wharfside is set collection, and you are trying to collect different types of fish to fulfil point scoring contracts. Besides your player area, there are two main areas where gameplay takes place, and on your turn you'll perform actions in one of these two areas. At the Wharf, you draw two goods cards from a selection of face up cards; contracts you're working on will give you special bonuses that assist you; before taking these cards, you can allocate up to two goods cards to contracts you're working on. At the Market you purchase contracts (also using goods cards) to work on, which you'll then fulfil at the Wharf; instead of a contract you can also purchase a building, which cost more but are also worth more points. There are also extra ways of earning points, e.g. by achieving trophies by being the first to complete contracts.

While a more lightweight game than Fleet, this title still lets you make enough choices for it to be fun and enjoyable. Decisions aren't always obvious, and you will have to manage your limited hand size of six and the limited contracts/buildings you are working on as best as possible, so there are elements of hand management that play an important role. There's also some tension as you compete for the trophies in a race with your opponents. It's especially enjoyable with 2-3 players, and is backed with a good theme, and high quality components.

My review: The little brother of Fleet
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1663699
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5. Board Game: Sluff Off! [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:1196]
#9 in the series.



Short version: An exact bidding trick-taking game along lines of Oh Hell.

Longer version: There's a lot of trick-taking games out there, and I've played quite a few, but this is easily one of the best, the most exciting, and the most fun that I've ever played. I've always been a big fan of trick-taking games, especially ones that require players to bid at the start of a round, like Rook, 500, and Oh Hell. Sluff Off! fits within this genre. It's a card game by Stefan Dorra, and has been around already ever since 2003, originally under the title Die Sieben Siegal, and later republished under the names Wizard Extreme, and Zing.

In this game, players get 15 cards, and must predict how many tricks of each colour they'll win that round, by selecting bidding tokens of corresponding colours. These bidding tokens correspond to minus 2 points that count against you at the end of a round, so if you win a trick of that colour, you lose the matching token (good!), but if you win a trick for which you don't have a bidding token, you get a black minus 3 point token (not good!). Then there's one person who tries to sabotage everyone else's bid.

This brilliant little trick-taking game has recently had a makeover under a new title and with all new artwork and theme as #9 in the EGG series. Despite the somewhat odd name and theme, the gameplay is terrific, and this is probably the most fun and tense trick-taking game I've ever played.

My review: A new edition of the most exciting trick-taking game I've ever played
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1691943
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6. Board Game: Eggs and Empires [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:2298]
#1 in the series.



Short version: A fun "can-you-outguess-me" filler card game with simultaneous selection.

Longer version: Eggs & Empires is a quick, light, and fun filler card game revolving around the blind bidding mechanic. In this game for 2-6 players, players are adventurers who simultaneously play cards from their deck of cards valued 1-10, trying to play the highest cards in order to win the point-scoring eggs on offer, while avoiding the minus points of the occasional "exploding" egg.

But this isn't just about playing the highest numbers, because each card also has special powers that will mess with the math. So when played, you also get to use the unique ability or effect of your adventurer, such as giving a collected egg to an opponent, or earning a bonus 6 points if you didn't collect an egg that turn. You score points for the eggs you've collected, and the highest score after three rounds is the winner.

The fact that players are simultaneously choosing and playing a card ensures that everyone is involved, and the game also plays very quickly. There's real potential for bluffing and outguessing, as you try to anticipate what your opponents are going to do, and that's what makes Eggs & Empires so much fun. It's very accessible and easy to learn, and yet there are thoughtful decisions about which cards to play. The wacky theme fits well, and the quality of the cards themselves is excellent. This is an accessible and quick card game that does a great job of producing an entertaining social experience in a short timeframe, and has potential to please gamers and non-gamers alike.

My review: A fun Love Letter-ish filler from the designers of Fleet
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1386762
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7. Board Game: Bowling Solitaire [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:4791]
#11b in the series.



Short version: A brilliant and well-themed solitaire card game by Sid Sackson about ten-pin bowling.

Longer version: This is packaged together with Elevenses For One in one box as Elevenses for One (with Bowling Solitaire). Sid Sackson was a game designing genius. This title shows his brilliance, and best of all, you can even play it on your own, with a deck of standard playing cards. Sackson originally designed it to be played with two suits of cards numbered from 1 to 10. But with this particular edition, Eagle Gryphon Games has done a fine job of bringing this relatively unknown game to a wider audience, with a lovely version that does justice to the theme, and also includes a printed copy of the rules, and a handy scorepad.

Game play works as follows: You flip up all three ball cards, and choose one to "bowl" at the ten face-up pins. You can remove a single pin card if it matches the number on the ball card, or two to three adjacent pin cards that add up to the number of the ball card (just consider the last digit of their total). All the ball cards must have a face-up card on top, so you can keep doing this multiple times. If you manage to get rid of all ten pins this way, you have achieved a strike. Otherwise you can roll a second ball by discarding the top card from all the ball piles and playing with the new top cards on each, again trying to knock over as many of the remaining pins as you can. The total number of pins knocked over with those two balls represents your score for that frame, with strikes/spares earning bonus points just as in regular ten pin balling. At the end of a frame, you reshuffle all 20 cards and repeat the process, until the completion of ten frames.

This really is a clever and very thematic game. Despite its age, it feels fresh and modern, and playing it is a very satisfying experience.

My review: A clever and thematic gem from genius Sid Sackson
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1660289
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8. Board Game: Harald [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:5641]
#10 in the series.



Short version: Clever and thinky card game filler for gamers.

Longer version: I'm always on the lookout for card games that have relatively simple rules, and yet satisfying gameplay with interesting decisions. This is definitely one of those games. In this clever card game, you are playing cards to the King's Council, to try to increase the influence value of the cards in your own Village, while cards played to your own Village will allow you to use the special abilities of those characters to interact with your opponents, and also score bonus points.

The game comes with a deck of 66 cards, with 11 of six different types of animal characters, known also as Blacksmith, Warrior, Bard, Navigator, Merchant, and Scout. On your turn, you do the following three steps: 1. Play a card to the King's Council; 2. Play a card to your own Village (and optionally taking its action); 3. Replenishing your hand back to four cards. At the end of the game, each character in your Village is worth points equal to the number of characters matching it in the King's Council. Characters can also earn bonus points that interact with other cards. But the real fun is using the abilities of the characters when you play them - these let you switch cards between Villages, between the Village and the King's Council or the deck or your hand, or flip cards over, so there's a high degree of interaction.

Despite simple rules, there's somewhat of a learning curve, simply because each card you play offers so much to think about. This makes the game-play very rewarding for people who appreciate interesting and tense decisions. This title is suitable for gamers willing to give it a fair try and not judge it too hastily, and who are prepared to take on the challenge of constantly changing battlefield where your opponents are using tactics to mess with your plans and giving you opportunity to mess with theirs. It's a game to return to, and one that offers a deeper playing experience than you'd typically expect from a card game in a small box of this size.

My review: A satisfying meaty filler for gamers
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1688213
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9. Board Game: Elevenses for One [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:6028]
#11a in the series.



Short version: A quick and clever solitaire puzzle playable in 5 minutes.

Longer version: This is packaged together with Bowling Solitaire in one box as Elevenses for One (with Bowling Solitaire). Elevenses for One is a spin-off from Elevenses, which I've previously enjoyed. This is a solitaire game designed around the same concept, with matching artwork. It is highly regarded, being a runner-up in the 2014 Golden Geek Awards, and the top "Small Game" in the 2014 BGG Solo Print-and-Play contest.

The game only has 13 cards, two of which are Timer cards, and the rest make up the "Pantry". With the Tea Trolley card face up in front of you, you shuffle the remaining cards numbered 2-11 and put them in a face-up row known as the Pantry. The aim is to move cards from the Pantry onto your Tea Trolley card in order from 2 through 11, within 15 minutes - not real time minutes, but minutes which you keep track of using the Timer cards. The cards all have unique abilities that have effect when they are scored or turned face down, and the trick is to optimize these abilities to try to win the game before the time runs out.

The more you play, the more you come to realize that there's actually a lot of careful and clever decisions to be made, especially in using the abilities well. Considering that it plays in only 5-10 minutes, there's enough going on to make it very rewarding. For a solitaire game, it is a very satisfying experience, and most gamers will find it an excellent choice to play on your own or while waiting for friends to arrive. The charm of the game is enhanced by the attractive artwork and good quality components.

My review: For when there's nobody else to drink tea with
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1656036
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10. Board Game: Seven7s [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:4429]
#7 in the series.



Short version: A very light and colourful card game filler themed on the number 7.

Longer version: Suitable for 2-4 players, Seven7s has 49 cards in 7 suits: the 7 Ages of Man, the 7 Colors of the Rainbow, The 7 Deadly Sins, the 7 Holy Virtues, the 7 Lucky Gods, the 7 Seas and the 7 Wonders of the World. Each of these suits consists of seven cards numbered 1 through 7, and has special powers. Game-play is simple: from your hand of three, you play a card (activating its power) to a common tableau, and draw a card, with the idea being to be the player with the highest scoring point cards in your hand of three at game end.

The game plays surprisingly quickly, in around 15 minutes. While there is quite a bit of randomness and luck of the draw, the real fun of the game is to use the special powers, especially the Ages of Man cards (which can make high value cards score nothing), the Color cards (which make all cards of a colour the highest possible value), and the Lucky Gods cards (which can earn you bonus points). While you can't plan much in the early game, towards the end it can become quite exciting, because you can't be entirely sure when the game will end, and the value of cards in your hand can change rapidly.

Seven7s is a fast and fun filler that grew on me with repeated plays; many others have experienced the same, so don't give up on after your first play or two. The components are also high quality and look fantastic.

My review: 7 Wonders ... and a whole lot more 7s!
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1675996
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11. Board Game: Can't Stop Express [Average Rating:6.32 Overall Rank:5546]
#12 in the series.



Short version: An addictive dice filler from Sid Sackson that has some parallels with Can't Stop.

Longer version: Legendary game designer Sid Sackson is known for many designs including his popular press-your-luck game Can't Stop. Can't Stop Express has some similarities in that players are selecting pairs of dice, but from five dice. It was first published in Sackson's 1969 book Gamut of Games, under the title Solitaire Dice, and now has the benefit of a fine new edition that is readily available.

The game works like this: Everyone gets their own score-pad, and all five dice are rolled. Each player now must use these five dice to make two pairs, while the remaining die becomes the "5th die". So each turn you'll be marking off two "pairs", and have one die left over which is marked in a special column on the scoresheet. When you've selected three unique values for your "5th dice", this becomes a game timer, because the eighth occurrence of one of these values ends the game for you. From now on you must set aside one of these three values as your 5th die if you can, while the other dice are arranged in pairs. You'll use these pairs to try to get as many occurrences of certain values as you can (similar to the Can't Stop board game), to maximize your points as listed on the score-pad. Each pair you begin scoring for starts with -200 points, and you'll need to get enough occurrences to get into the positives (similar to Lost Cities), adn will score more points the more times you roll each specific pair value.

There's something charming about a simple dice game, and Can't Stop Express is a good example of a game that is elegant in its execution, and yet challenging and very addictive to play. While it might not have quite the charm or appeal as the larger Can't Stop board game, this clever little game offers a lot of fun in a small package, especially as a solitaire experience.

My review: Sid Sackson's addictive dice filler
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1880400
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12. Board Game: Dexikon [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:7818]
#5 in the series.



Short version: A deck-building game with word-building.

Longer version: Deck-building games have been the rage, ever since Dominion came out, and it was only a matter of time before someone tried combining the deck-building concept with a word game. Unknown to each other, two designers were working on this concept simultaneously, one being Paperback, and the other being Dexikon. Fortunately the differences are significant enough to set apart the two games.

In this game, like in Dominion, on your turn you play cards from your hand to generate money which you'll use to buy new cards for your deck. Cards represent different letters, and when playing cards they must make a word, which will allow you to buy better letters. Alternatively, when making a word you can "bank" it for final scoring. When the game end is triggered you may also make a "last word" using all letters in your deck. There are also action cards that allow you to do special effects.

Dexikon does a good job of combining deck-building with word-building, and has the potential to appeal to fans of both genres. Despite some superficial similarities with Paperback, the games are sufficiently different to merit taking a look at both.

My review: Combining the deck-building of Dominion with the word-building of Scrabble
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1717773
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13. Board Game: King's Kilt [Average Rating:6.13 Overall Rank:7907]
#3 in the series.



Short version: Fun card game filler featuring a pyramid mechanic and secret objectives.

Longer version: It's not too often that you find the words "kilt" and "game" in the same sentence. The mechanics of this game are unique, as you advance clan cards up a pyramid, trying to ensure that clans that match one of your three secret objectives make it to the top. You can also use influence cards to betray clan cards and thus end their attempt to win the crown.

I love games that have secret objectives, because of the potential it has for bluffing and the uncertainty of what other players are aiming for, and this game has that element in the form of the three secret family clan cards that each player gets at the start of the game. The mechanic in which you're elevating cards up a pyramid feels quite unique, and gives this game an original feel that is very different from the vast majority of card games.

There is a luck element, especially in the cards that are added via the bottom of the pyramid, but luck alone doesn't determine the winner, because you're making decisions about which cards to advance, and which ones to betray, and there is some scope for bluffing in this process. So the game has just the right combination of luck and strategy, and also has a good amount of interaction. At the same time the rules are quite straight forward, so it's fairly easy to learn, and quick to play. The card quality is also excellent. While King's Kilt is not entirely as elegant as I'd like, it feels very fresh and original, and is an enjoyable filler that brings something new and fun to the table. And you don't even need to wear a kilt to enjoy it!

My review: Gaming where no men in kilts have gone before
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1680058
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14. Board Game: 12 Days of Christmas [Average Rating:5.90 Overall Rank:8608]
#2 in the series.



Short version: A simple shedding/climbing game with a Christmas theme.

Longer version: This Christmas themed game offers a simple take on the popular climbing genre, popularized through games like Great Dalmuti and President. It plays 3-8 players.

The deck consists of 78 cards, numbered 1-12, with each number having that number of cards. Players must try to get rid of all their cards, by playing as many or more cards as the previous player, of a higher value, or a straight of at least two cards. Going out first lets you claim a gift card, and you need to collect the most of these to win.

The climbing genre has seen a lot of games already, but it is a popular style of game, and the Christmas theme will make this a popular game for families and social gatherings to consider during the holidays season.

A review: Tom Vasel's review
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/video/111127
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15. Board Game: Krakatoa [Average Rating:5.47 Overall Rank:15454]
#4 in the series.



Short version: Dice rolling game with dexterity element and unique 12-sided dice.

Longer version: The box back calls Krakatoa "one of the most unique dice games ever created", and it certainly lives up to that description. In this unusual game by Joli Quentin Kansil, you're rolling dice trying to create point-scoring combinations with nine 12-sided dice (dodecas), but with this twist: there's a dexterity element in that you are trying to throw your dice to change dice that are already in play.

The game works best as a head-to-head two player game, as players take turns throwing the dice five times trying to accumulate points. Each of the twelve-sided dice has three yellow spots, four red spots, and five blue spots. The white dice are called "Steam", the gray dice "Ash", and the black dice "Lava". At the end of any given throw, you look at all nine dice and score points, in most cases achieved by trying to roll as many yellow spots as possible. Each round consists of five such throws. But there's one twist in relation to the rolling: you must hit at least one of the other six dice already in play, otherwise your roll doesn't count. That's where the dexterity element comes in - you are trying to change the colours of the existing dice, to improve the point-scoring combinations!

The components are impressive: the dice are certainly original and well-produced, and everything from the score-pad to the reference cards looks rather nice. There's not much interaction, because what you do on your turn doesn't affect your opponent. But it is unquestionably unique, because on the one hand there is a Yahtzee style re-roll concept, combined with a dexterity element, although there's a lot of luck involved. While a very interesting package, it won't be everyone's cup of tea, but it can be fun to play even as a solo game.

My review: A very unique dexterity dice game
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1651388
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BGG's Family page for the series.

In many instances the average rating for these games is a fairly reliable indication as to my own thoughts about the relative merits of the games in this series, although some titles don't have enough ratings yet to be an accurate reflection of how good they are.



My final recommendations in order, from must-haves to least-haves:
(3 stars = outstanding, 2 stars = decent, 1 star = mediocre)

My current ratings for the games in the series:
Sluff Off, Fleet Wharfside, SiXes
Eggs & Empires, Harald, King's Kilt
Dexikon, Bowling Solitaire, Seven7s
Elevenses For One
Krakatoa

(don't own: 12 Days of Christmas)

Which of these games are your favourites, and why?
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