SPIEL 2017
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Who could survive the Essen GameFair without a decent GeekList? Certainly not me. So here are my totally subjective TOP20-Games for the SPIEL 2017. The order signifies my level of interest.

Note that I did not include expansions on this list. If I had, you certainly would find "Scythe - The Wind Gambit" and "Die Gefährten des Marco Polo". I also did not mention reprints, otherwise "Twilight Imperium 4th edition" would be high up on the list.

Feel free to point out errors or comment in any other way.
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1. Board Game: Peak Oil [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:3506] [Average Rating:6.77 Unranked]
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Nr 20:
Peak Oil

Peak Oil piques my curiosity because of the beautiful cover and the unusual theme. You are the top manager at one of the big oil companies, tasked with leading your enterprise - Attention! Politically correct! - into a future without oil. Worker Placement, Set Collection and a Press-your-luck-Mechanic - I will certainly have a look at this one.
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2. Board Game: Montana [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:1994]
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Nr. 19
Montana

Yeah, I'm a sucker for western-themed games. "Recruit the right workers, deliver goods on time, and choose your settlements tactically. Only then you will have the biggest chance of winning" - that doesn't sound that innovative, but Rüdiger Dorn designed a lot of good games.
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3. Board Game: Cutthroat Kingdoms [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:6299]
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Nr. 18
Cutthroat Kingdoms
"Cutthroat Kingdoms is a competitive game that features marriage-alliance team mechanisms in which strategic planning and decisive military moves can swing the course of the Kingdom. Changing territories and events make each game unique."

That sounds a bit like "Game of Thrones". I like that open negotiation, deal-making, and tabletalk are encouraged. With the right bunch of people, that could be fun.
 
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4. Board Game: The Sanctuary: Endangered Species [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:4298]
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Nr. 17:
The Sanctuary: Endangered Species

Wow, did you look at the cover? Really?? Look again!

"In Sanctuary: Endangered Species, you will create a sanctuary for different endangered animal species. With the help of volunteers and rangers you will develop your facility, take care of your animals, and recreate their natural habitat as you try to save them from the impacts of civilization."

Ok, the next politically-correct-themed game, but wow, the artwork. And there's a nice twist to worker placement: each worker "sees" and can perform their main action and any side actions that are within their line of sight, which is limited by other workers and by obstacles printed on the cards. That sounds great. I hope it works.
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5. Board Game: Pelegrinus [Average Rating:7.22 Unranked]
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Nr. 16
Pelegrinus

Informations about this game are scarce. It will be on Kickstarter, and the description from Asyncron sounds interesting:

"Consolidate your influence by building commandies across the continent, then erect powerful abbeys to assert your power in different regions. Do not forget the intrigues of the papal courts, for the support of the sovereign pontiff will often be valuable to you."

Maybe I could take a look at a prototype in Essen?
 
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6. Board Game: Deadline [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:3005]
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Nr. 15
Deadline
There are not that many promising cooperative games this year, at least that's how I feel, since I'm not interested in "Escape"-Games (other cooperative games will appear on this list, do not fear ).

Deadline is a film noir co-operative card game for 2-4 players, which players as detectives using special abilities and hand management to follow clever clues to solve an original mystery.

I like the theme, the reviews are good, so i'll try it.
 
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7. Board Game: Exodus Fleet [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:4164]
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Nr. 14
Exodus Fleet

A resource management and tableau building game with a system of role selection and bidding in which players compete to hire miners, spaceship builders, and other groups to piece together their own fleet to escape a dying Earth.

"A lot of gameplay", according to Man vs. Meeple. And a politically correct theme, since you are building ships and filling them with refugees...
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8. Board Game: Wasteland Express Delivery Service [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:690]
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Nr. 13
Wasteland Express Delivery Service

"Take on the role of the half-insane drivers for the last delivery company left of earth: the Wasteland Express Delivery Service. In order to scratch out a living in this deranged universe, drivers will deliver goods and guns between the handful of settlements pockmarked throughout the hellscape that you call home and take on missions from the handful of factions still trying to hold onto the last dregs of civilization."

Everybody seems to love that game and you can't own enough Pick-up-and-delivery games anyway.
 
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9. Board Game: Noria [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:2080]
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Nr. 12
Noria

A great looking, steam punk universe kind-of-deckbuilding game. At the center of the game is an innovative mechanism called "wheel building". Each player has an action wheel consisting of three rings, with slots for a number of different action discs. Over the course of the game, players try to obtain new discs and manipulate the rings of the wheel to optimize their action selection. Additionally, to ensure their investments bear fruit, they also need to bribe politicians with knowledge.

If this plays as good as it looks, I'm certainly intrigued.

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10. Board Game: Viral [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:1044]
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Nr. 11
Viral

"Viral is a 2-5 players competitive boardgame in which each player controls a virus that is growing inside a human body. Players will simultaneously play cards to place tokens on the board and move them around with the bloodstream to gain control of zones to score Viral Points."

A family-weight game with a somewhat weird theme, but everybody who did play it seems to love it.
 
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11. Board Game: Clans of Caledonia [Average Rating:8.05 Overall Rank:44]
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Nr. 10
Clans of Caledonia

The TOP10 start with a heavy euro. Players represent historic clans in a 19th-century Scotland setting with unique abilities and compete to produce, trade and export agricultural goods and whisky.

Surely no game that invents the wheel, but maybe it's rolling along nicely?
 
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12. Board Game: Rajas of the Ganges [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:188]
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Nr. 9:
Rajas of the Ganges

A worker placement game from the designers of "Village" and the "Exit"-Games. I watched a german review and was intrigued. This game has not only a very solid mixture of worker placement and dice placement, but also a very clever winning condition: the game ends, when the victory point marker of a player (which moves clockwise) meets the money marker of the same player (which moves counterclockwise). It's difficult to explain but I strongly recommend you check this one out if you like euros...
 
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13. Board Game: John Company [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:1369]
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Nr. 8:
John Company

This does sound so epic:

John Company attempts to tell the story of the British East India Company from the inside out. Players will steer their dynasties through the company's history, vying for position, power, and prestige. The goal of the game is simple: Use the Company and the Company's trade to secure your place in society back home.

And it get's even better:
Players can tailor their experience by using one of the three tournament scenarios that cover the Early, Mid, and Late Company that can be played in about 90 minutes. The game also offers a full campaign game that will take players from 1720 to 1857 in an evening.

Variable Player Powers, Voting, Dice Rolling and Press Your Luck - please, please be as good as you sound!
 
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14. Board Game: Professor Evil and The Citadel of Time [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:2554]
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Nr. 7
Professor Evil and The Citadel of Time

A cooperative game with a very special theme:

"Professor Evil owns a time machine, and he's been ripping off all the best historical items from times both past and future. Your team has been charged with confiscating these items and returning them to their proper locations in time, so you now need to infiltrate the mansion and abscond with four items before Prof. Evil can secrete four of them in locations inaccessible to you".

The game has it's fair share of luck, since the moves of the Professor are determined by dice rolls, but overall I liked a lot of what I saw in various reviews.
 
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15. Board Game: Heaven & Ale [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:283]
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Nr. 6
Heaven & Ale

You have been assigned to lead an ancient monastery and its brewery. You will have to upgrade your cloister's garden and harvesting the resources you need to fill your barrels with the best beer possible.

The Opinionated Gamers played it, and here ist their conclusion:

"It’s meaty and has a unique feel, which is always nice. It was my favorite game from the Gathering and one I’ll absolutely pick up once it appears later in the year. The only thing I didn’t like about it was the weird title. We came up with the alternative name of “Drunk Monks”, but for some reason, the publisher wasn’t too inclined to switch to it!"

Cheers!
 
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16. Board Game: Summit: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:2895]
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Nr. 5
Summit: The board game

"In this cooperative survival game, players must work together to overcome the mountain and survive the expedition. Summit is a game so grueling you need only one team member to survive the ascent and descent, so players may sacrifice themselves for the good of the team."

Area Control, Dice Rolling, Press Your Luck, Variable Player Powers, cool theme - sounds great to me.

Note that Summit can be played in a competitive mode also, but the reason it's on this list is the cooperative mode. Tom Vasel thinks it's "a very very good cooperative game", but didn't like the competetive mode. Who am I to disagree?
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17. Board Game: Merlin [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:974]
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Nr. 4
Merlin

The last Stefan Feld games where ok to me. This one looks really promising.

"Players move their knights or Merlin with the help of dice around the action ring to get the most desired actions. While the knights are only moved by the corresponding player, Merlin can be moved by all players, which makes integrating Merlin in one's plan a tricky endeavor."

The theme is most likely irrelevant and of course there a multiple, truth be told maybe endless, ways to score points, but there are enough interesting mechanics to put this game this high on my list.
 
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18. Board Game: Clank! In! Space! [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:120]
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Nr. 3
Clank! In Space!

My wife loooving Clank! would be enough reason to pick this one - and I loved Clank! also. This space variant seems to be an expert version of the original one, since hacking into the command module and stealing the artifacts of Lord Eradikus will be harder than to pick up the artifacts in Clank! Amazing! This is an auto-buy!
 
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19. Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 [Average Rating:8.24 Overall Rank:31]
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Nr. 2:
Pandemic Legacy - Season 2

We loved to play Pandemic Legacy - and like everybody I hope that Season 2 will be as good as the first season. The few informations that are available sound great:

"Cities are falling off the grid and supplies are running low. The world needs a group of heroes to emerge and lead it through this crisis. In Pandemic Legacy: Season 2, this task has fallen to you. You must reestablish supply lines and get the world back on its feet."

Did they manage to build another epic came on the Pandemic engine? The BGG-Top10 will show us soon enough...
 
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20. Board Game: Charterstone [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:176]
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Nr. 1
Charterstone

Can't help myself, but Scythe was soooo great. Realistically, Jamey will not be able to design a game which is as good as Scythe ever again, but Charterstone sounds so promising and looks so gorgeous, and hey, there's always hope...

So I have no idea how good this game is, but my expectations are very high. And if Charterstone disappoints me, I can always play Scythe. The Wind Gambit is on it's way and a third expansion in the making. My guess: there will be a cooperative mode for Scythe. I'm sooo exited...
 
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