50 Modern Classics (A Geeklist of the Series on The Opinionated Gamers)
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In today’s marketplace, where thousands of titles are released each year, finding good games can be a challenge. It’s easy to find lists of recent hot games: we in board game media do a great job of appeasing the cult-of-the-new. But what are some modern classics that are worth trying? What not-so-new games stand the test of time? What classics do we keep coming back to?

I recently asked the writers at The Opinionated Gamers (many of whom are regulars here on BGG) to vote for 15 games (from a list of more than 100 nominated) released between 1995 and 2015. We left the criteria for selecting games to the individual, with my only request being that the games picked be subjectively good (i.e. the writer liked the game) and a little objective (i.e. they’re well regarded and available in the modern hobby).

You can find the methodology in detail in our first entry.

There are detailed write-ups and thoughts in the series over at The Opinionated Gamers.

Here are the links to the series.

Intro, Methodology, & #50-#41
https://opinionatedgamers.com/2018/05/07/50-modern-classics-...

#40-#31
https://opinionatedgamers.com/2018/05/08/50-modern-classics-...

#30-#21
https://opinionatedgamers.com/2018/05/09/50-modern-classics-...

#20-#11
https://opinionatedgamers.com/2018/05/09/50-modern-classics-...

#10-#1
https://opinionatedgamers.com/2018/05/11/50-modern-classics-...
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1. Board Game: Dungeon Lords [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:190]
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#48 (THREE WAY TIE)

Fun Fact: This is one of three games on the list by Vlaada Chvátil. He tied for having the second most games on the list.
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2. Board Game: Legends of Andor [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:301] [Average Rating:7.28 Unranked]
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#48 (THREE WAY TIE)

Fun Fact: Legends of Andor won the Kennerspiel des Jahres Award in 2013.
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3. Board Game: Piece o' Cake [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1509]
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#48 (THREE WAY TIE)

Fun Fact: The game was once mentioned on the CBS Sunday Morning News as part of the station’s Gen Con coverage.
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4. Board Game: King of Tokyo [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:233]
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#47

Fun Fact: This Richard Garfield classic is now a signature gateway game in the hobby. There are several expansions and spinoffs — most notably King of New York.

It once made The Opinionated Gamers list of games we recommended new gamers try first.
https://opinionatedgamers.com/2017/05/15/play-these-games-fi...
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5. Board Game: Bargain Hunter [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:2161]
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#46

Fun Fact: Back before Uwe Rosenberg became known for heavy worker-placement (like Agricola) and polyominoes games (like Patchwork), he got his start designing card games. Bargain Hunter, known in German as Schnäppchen Jagd, shows how innovative Rosenberg could be with cards.

This is one of three games on the list by Uwe Rosenberg. He tied for having the second most games on the list.
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6. Board Game: The Bottle Imp [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:1097]
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#45

Fun Fact: The Bottle Imp is a trick-taking game themed on the short story of the same name by Robert Louis Stevenson. Some versions of the game even tell the story. The game recently got a reprint from Stronghold Games.
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7. Board Game: Goa [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:116]
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#44

Fun Fact: In Goa, the players are 16th century Portuguese spice traders trying to make their fortune in the Goa region of India. Though it recently fell out of the BGG top 100, it was long towards the top of the rankings.
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8. Board Game: Brass: Lancashire [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:24]
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#43

Fun Fact: Brass, now known as Brass: Lancashire, is a heavy economic game that takes place in the early days of the industrial revolution in Britain’s Lancashire County. Players are competing to make a fortune in the cotton industry. The game is getting a reprint from Roxley.
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9. Board Game: Keyflower [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:44]
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#42

Fun Fact (Courtesy Alan How): Keyflower was a merging of systems from the two designers – worker placement around a set of tiles (Bleasdale), combined with cube conversion systems development (Breese).
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10. Board Game: Samurai [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:180]
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#41

Fun Fact: This is one of six (!) titles from Reiner Knizia that made our list. He had more games on here than any other designer.

This Knizia classic was recently reprinted as part of the Euro Classics line by Fantasy Flight games. It also has a card game spinoff that is worth trying.
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11. Board Game: Stone Age [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:80]
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#40

Fun Fact: This worker placement classic was designed by Bernd Brunnhofer, but he used a pseudonym on the game box. The name used was Michael Tummelhofer, which was a combination of the names Michael Bruinsma (of 999 Games, HiG’s partner in the Netherlands), Jay Tummelson (of Rio Grande Games, HiG’s partner in the USA), and Brunnhofer himself.
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12. Board Game: PitchCar [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:327]
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#38 (TWO WAY TIE)

Fun Fact: Pitch Car and Carabande are nearly identical games with non-compatible pieces. The design won a special award from the Spiel des Jahres jury in 1996 for dexterity games.
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13. Board Game: Notre Dame [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:222]
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#38 (TWO WAY TIE)

Fun Fact: The game received a 10th Anniversary Edition last year after being out of print in the United States.
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14. Board Game: Fresh Fish [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:2103]
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#37

Fun Fact: The game received an updated version in 2014 with the same name. See Fresh Fish.
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15. Board Game: Tales of the Arabian Nights [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:331]
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#36

Fun Fact: One of the credited designers is Zev Shlasinger, a.k.a. the founder of Z-Man.
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16. Board Game: Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization [Average Rating:8.01 Overall Rank:32]
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#35

Fun Fact: Through the Ages won the International Gamers Award (Multiplayer Category) in 2007. The game received an updated version called “Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization” in 2015.

As pointed out before, this is one of three Vlaada Chvátil titles on the list.

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17. Board Game: Memoir '44 [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:117] [Average Rating:7.55 Unranked]
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#34

Fun Fact: Memoir ‘44 won the International Gamers Award (2-player Category) in 2004. Its predecessor, Battle Cry, had also won the IGA.
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18. Board Game: Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:77]
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#32 (TWO WAY TIE)

Fun Fact: In his review, Mark Jackson called "a dungeon crawl game that combined some of the best elements of Space Hulk/Heroquest (the puzzle-cut dungeon boards & the nifty miniatures), Lord of the Rings: Sauron (with one player “running” the game, attempting to thwart the adventurers), and Runebound (the fatigue system & the fantasy world – “Terrinoth” – setting of the game), and then added innovative new design ideas first created for FF’s Doom: The Boardgame– in particular, the “one roll combat” mechanism."
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19. Board Game: Team Play [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:2746]
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#32 (TWO WAY TIE)

Fun Fact: Among the Opinionated Gamers, the inclusion of this game seemed to be the most controversial.
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20. Board Game: La Città [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:589]
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#31

Fun Fact (Courtesy Tery Noseworthy): "La Città is a civilization building, area control game set in the Renaissance where you compete with the other players to have the largest population living in the most advanced cities."
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21. Board Game: 1846: The Race for the Midwest [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:492]
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#30

Fun Fact: 1846 is shorter than other 18XX games but still retains a dedicated following.
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22. Board Game: Ghost Fightin' Treasure Hunters [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:1151]
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#29

Fun Fact: Brian Yu’s cooperative game was a hit in Germany under under the name Geister, Geister, Schatzsuchmeister! before it was later released in the United States as Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters.

Ghost Fightin' Treasure Hunters won the Kinderspiel des Jahres in 2013, and it is the only Kinderspiel winner to make this list.
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23. Board Game: Show Manager [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:1083]
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#28

Fun Fact (Courtesy Joe Huber): "Showmanager has, perhaps, the best rule of any game – for 2000 marks (well, in the original Queen edition, at least), you can say “I can’t work with these actors!”, and sweep them from the board. As many times as you want and can afford. As a practical matter, since you’ll have to pay to add most actors to your team, is not that many times – but it’s both satisfying to do and even more fun to cheer for others to waste their money on."
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24. Board Game: Heroscape Master Set: Rise of the Valkyrie [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:277] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
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#27

Fun Fact (Courtesy Mark Jackson): Though the game is now out of print, "the game continues to inspire a legion of fans to keep developing new characters & squads… and to keep fighting the eternal battle."
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25. Board Game: Lord of the Rings [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:719]
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#26

Fun Fact: Lord of the Rings is often held up as one of the first cooperative games. It won a special prize from the Spiel des Jahres jury.

It is one of six Reiner Knizia titles on this list.
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