Fiddly Games That Are Still Great
J. Jefferson
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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Games are often criticized for being too "fiddly" when they've got a lot of moving parts and it starts to feel like work to play them. But fiddliness doesn't necessarily make a game bad. In fact, some of my favorite games involve a lot of moving bits around--often vegetables.

Here are my favorite very fiddly games, please add yours.
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1. Board Game: At the Gates of Loyang [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:265]
J. Jefferson
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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This game inspired this list. There's a lot of moving vegetables around. I wouldn't consider playing it with more than two players because there would be so much downtime. If you forget to move some of the bits in the right way it can either hurt you a lot or give you an unfair advantage, so you've got to pay attention to what you're doing.

But still a fun game, one that comes out fairly frequently.
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2. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:7.99 Overall Rank:25]
J. Jefferson
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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Another poster child for fiddliness. Restocking everything between every round can make this game feel like work. Once you've got a system down though, it's easy. Errors due to fiddliness became rare once I was a few games in.
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3. Board Game: Lord of the Rings [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:779]
J. Jefferson
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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So many rules, so many cardboard pieces, so not intuitive how it all fits together. Yet somehow, once you figure it all together, it does. And though it's not the most immersive game ever, I find it nicely thematic. It helps that most of the art is fantastic.
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4. Board Game: A Castle for All Seasons [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:1200]
J. Jefferson
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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I really like this role-selection and worker placement game. But boy, there are a lot of pieces, and you have to move them around the board a lot.
 
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5. Board Game: Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization [Average Rating:7.99 Overall Rank:35]
Ville
Finland
Unspecified
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This one is really fiddly. Really good too.
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6. Board Game: Buck Rogers: Battle for the 25th Century Game [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:3241]
Boaty McBoatface
England
County of Essex
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This one has an irony to it. In my group our favourite part of the game is the fiddly bit. The realy excelent solor system display. Its a great idea that really needed a better game. Each plaent in the inner system (plus about 6 asteroids, which I am getting cream for though) move around the sun in their own orbits one dot a turn.
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7. Board Game: Europa Universalis [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:4377]
Enrico Viglino
United States
Eugene
OR
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With all the book-keeping, this probably deserves the term 'fiddly'.

Still, it's one of the most ambitious simulations ever made.
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8. Board Game: Stellar Conquest [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:3729]
Enrico Viglino
United States
Eugene
OR
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This game is nearly all about record keeping.

A complete classic.
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9. Board Game: Roads & Boats [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:319]
Steffan O'Sullivan
United States
Plymouth
NH
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"We talked a little more of Milesians and Firbolgs; but I do not write what he told me here, as it is at variance with things I have written already, as is often the case with legend, whence comes a pleasing variety." -Lord Dunsany
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This one practically defines the genre.
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10. Board Game: Antiquity [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:198]
Steve McIlhatton
New Zealand
Palmerston North
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This is my fiddliest game.. and it's great fun as well...
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11. Board Game: The Republic of Rome [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:388]
Jason Weed
United States
Memphis
Tennessee
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Doesn't get much more fiddly for me.
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12. Board Game: Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) [Average Rating:7.87 Overall Rank:56]
 
Leo Zappa
United States
Aliquippa
Pennsylvania
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Frankly, this could simply be a placeholder for quite a few FFG games! I just played Runewars last night for the first time, and I could have easily substituted it for TI3 here. Regardless of their fiddliness, with multiple, interlaced, layered turn structures, with their various and sundry activation markers, order cards, damage chits, and so forth, I remain drawn to these games like a moth to a flame. Whether we are talking TI3, Runewars, Starcraft, Warrior Knights, or War of the Ring, FFG's AT games are some of the most fiddly yet enjoyable games I've ever experienced.
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13. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:273] [Average Rating:7.29 Unranked]
Adam Tucker
United States
Warren
Michigan
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A game is a series of decisions; a good game is a series of interesting decisions
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People call this fiddly.

I call it FUN.
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14. Board Game: La CittĂ  [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:645]
Kristi Lawless
United States
Rosemount
Minnesota
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The little citizen figures are fiddly, but the game is a lot of fun.
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