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Subject: Galaxy Trucker Contest - Courtesy of Czech Games Edition rss

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Doug Garrett
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This week's podcast - Circus Flohcati, Pi Mal Pflaumen, and Pack O Games Set 2
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Yes, you can win a copy of Galaxy Trucker, donated by the wonderful people at Czech Games Edition! Here's what you need to do:

1) Join my guild (if you're here, you probably are already a member)

2) Write a narrative about YOUR top 5 games. That could be "of all time" or "current favorites." However you want to answer the question. HOWEVER, the key is to address the WHY - WHY are these your favorite five games? Write this HERE as a reply to this post, or send it by email, OR Skype me!

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Doug

PS TWO runners up will win a copy of either Desert Bazaar or Voltage.
 
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Mark Zielinski
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Top 5 games:

1. ASL. Why, simply because it is the best tactical World War Two boardgame ever made, period.

2. ASL Starter Kits. Why, because ASL can play long, and now that I have kids I can get 80% of the ASL experience in about two hours a scenario now. I just started teaching my nine year old son how to play ASLSK, so that dropped M'44 from my top five list.

3. Battlelore. Why, because being an ex-Games Workshop nutter I now find myself with less time on my hands. Battlelore lets me get my miniature wargaming done in about 60-90 minutes. Cool. cool

4. Zooloretto. Why, because my kids LOVE playing the game, and we can drag in mom when she is not too busy. This one will replace Ticket to Ride as my number one gateway game. I hope they put out some other animal sets just for some more variety.

5. Carcassonne (and the related expansions, etc.). Why, well so far we have the Carcassonne Big Box set, and Carcassonne the Discovery and I enjoy both of them. I am looking forward to getting Hunters and Gatherers this Christmas season.

Number five was the toughest one for me on this list because so many different games could have taken that fifth slot.

Thanks for the contest Doug!
 
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Sean Ahern
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I haven't listened to the episode yet, but how is the winner determined? By best response as determined by you, or by votes? Or will it be by a random drawing?
 
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Martin Boisselle
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My Top 5:

1- Java. Mainly because it's the first game that really made me think hard (think Analysis Paralysis). It has great illustrations, nice feel and it's tridimensional!! Doesn't get a lot of plays nowadays, but still my favorite.

2- Mr Jack. This one's a blast. Quick, fun and strategic. I play it a lot with my girlfriend, she adores it! Fast enough that we can play between 2-4 games a night.

3- Cash N Guns. Great fun with my family. Yeah I know, pointing a gun in someone's face is kinda weird; we have a weird family. I have the black foam guns, and they're a hit when we pop it out. It's fast, it's bluff, it's fun! I guess it's sorta like poker for me, but with guns....

4- Power Grid. It doesn't get played often, but when it does, it's a blast (no, not nuclear...). It's so many things at once, auction, area control, economic manipulations.... It's deeper, so I don't suggest it as often as I would like. But when the right group comes along, it's always a good bet.

5- Hey that's my fish. Why? I can get my girlfriend to play it, it looks easy for those who never played it and quick! So quick in fact, that I think that setting up the game is longer than actually playing the game! My go-to for the non-gamers or as an amazing gateway game.
 
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I could be wrong, but probably not. I AM a Steve.
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Top 5 Games:

5. SiegeStones. I like the gameplay because it is fun and fast. There are a lot of strategic choices to be made. The other reason I love this one is that my non-gamer wife chose it. It was easily the best game gift anyone in my family had ever bought me without finding it on a wishlist.

4. Blokus. Easy to teach and very addictive. Every time you play this one you're certain you can win the next time. It's also a very visual game and one that I can get new players interested in quickly.

3. Khet: The Laser Game. When you ask someone if they'd like to try a game and they're sort of ho-hum about it, just mention that it has lasers and see what happens. This is a great gateway game for getting players to realize that not all my games are weird and esoteric and take hours to learn.

2. Diplomacy. Dirt simple rules and the best player interaction of any game I've ever played. As long as the players are mature enough to walk away from the table friends, this is a great game.

1. Deadlands: Doomtown. My favorite CCG hands-down. Lots of different elements in deck-building, plenty of different ways to win and shares a theme with Deadlands, which is one of my favorite RPG settings.
 
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Nick Drochak
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Number 5
Carcasonne - After many years away from gaming, this one brought not only me back to the hobby, but also my non-gamer wife and my kids too. Now we play more games than watch TV and the kids don't have their faces in their DS's anymore.

Number 4
Euchre - Learned this in high school and played it a ton of times with my friends. Being partners with people you really don't know well or thought you didn't like so much really helps form new and stronger friendships.

Number 3
Fortress America - College favorite and got me through the boring and occasional homesick times of my freshman year being away from my folks and old friends.

Number 2
Magic the Gathering - Love the creatively of the combos deck building trade -offs.

Number 1
Dungeons & Dragons - First and only RPG I've ever played. Love being the DM and helping the PCs have an awesome time hacking and slashing. Best creative medium I've experienced in a game so far.

 
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Dave Peters
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Sounds like fun, Doug; thanks!

When I look at games, that I really enjoy playing, there are two
factors that stand out to me: I enjoy the process of attempting to
execute a plan against a chaotic backdrop, and I'm a sucker for
"story".

#1: Magic Realm

Of my two factors, the "story" is primary in Magic Realm. Each time
one hits the realm, a narrative of adventure and calculated risk
unfolds. The "plan" part is inherent in the game makeup: one selects
a character and custom victory conditions at the start of the game,
and attempts to ad-lib one's way to success against often overwhelming
odds - or die trying. The latter is more common than the former.

I began playing Magic Realm in the late '70s against my brothers.
Today, I play with my children (and occasionally my nephews and nieces
when they're about.) In addition to providing a fresh story each time
we play, there's also now a multigenerational narrative of fun and
adventure embedded in the battered blue box. As a result, it's pretty
firmly wedged in the first place in my pantheon.

#2: Taj Mahal

This one, for me, is mostly about the plan and its mutations through
the course of the game. One observes the board, checks out one's
starting cards, and (despite von Moltke's "No battle plan survives
contact with the enemy") does one's best to execute a reasonable plan
against a game that's much more akin to N-way simultaneous "chicken"
than something sensibly static. The story is there, but it's couched
in Taj Mahalisms that, sadly, lose much of their import to an
untrained (or unsympathetic) listener.

I've inflicted Taj Mahal on a variety of previously unsuspecting
friends. Some groups have taken to it with enthusiasm, others are put
off by its messiness and unpredictability. "How can I begin to plan,
when everyone else is messing with me," one friend complained. But
that's the point: it's not a sterile exercise in min-maxing a perfect
set of information; instead, it's about trying to perceive the plans
of one's opponents, and somehow weave a viable plan into the
interstices. I love that feeling of riding the probability wave -
even when I (as is often the case) crash ignominiously.

#3: Dune

Like Magic Realm, I've been playing Dune since the late '70s. I have
four younger brothers, and Dune plays pretty well with 5 (though,
still, I'd much rather have the full compliment of 6.) The game fits
directly between its two predecessors on this list, in some ways: like
Magic Realm, it has a strong story; like Taj Mahal, a successful
outcome is often the result of coming up with a plan that is
sufficiently complementary to that of others that it can be adequately
executed.

Here the narrative is one of the waxing and waning of power, the
betrayal of trusted subordinates, the outrageous fortune of battle and
its often unlikely outcome. The result - with the right six
participants, of course - is entirely delightful.

#4: El Grande

I really disliked El Grande the first time I'd played. I had,
unfortunately, understood the game to be one of successive
optimizations and found myself completely consumed by the worry that
my analysis might be taking too long for the sensibilities of my
opponents to enjoy the process as much as it might have permitted.

Fortunately, my next play was in a completely casual environment. And
so I played "lighter" (if that makes any sense) trying only to see the
tiniest sense of the optimization, without worrying about quantifying
the result. Perhaps not at all surprisingly, the game was delightful
and the narrative won out. Since that time, I've tried to play El
Grande as a narrative.

Like the two predecessors on this list, there's again that strong
sense of plan with chaos. Here, it seems to me, the game provides
some cosmetic friction that keeps a susceptible player within a
predictable, unimaginative and ultimately unsuccessful frame. The
challenge here is to strike out on a path not yet travelled (for
following another iconoclast is not a winning strategy, either) and
strike boldly toward a possible success.

Or I might just like it because I seem to win more than my share.

#5: Princes of the Renaissance

In my entirely irrelevant opinion, it's this title - and not Age of
Steam - that is Wallace's masterpiece. (Well, current masterpiece:
through 2006. He's entirely capable of producing something cooler.)

I love the interplay of currency, influence and investment; find the
conceit that one can win as easily with a tiny incompetent army as a
huge and nigh-on-omnipotent one delightful; think the story color is
tremendously amusing. Despite its wrinkles and special powers, the
game is entirely learnable in a reasonable period of time. And it is
not terribly long (at least compared with #1 and #3) to play.

But the play; oh, the play! Where else would you bribe your own
troops to desert the battlefield? Or find the Pope ready to be bought
each decade - and, for that matter, bringing with him an apparently
trivial side effect that is surprising in its potency when unveiled at
the right moment. Or cheer when you lose a battle, because it's all
about the consequences. Maybe it belongs at #4...

1 
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Doug Garrett
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Now DAVE sure knows how to write a narrative! Woo Hoo!

Glad to see so much interest in the contest. Hmm, could it be that the game high on many people's want lists???

:-)
Doug
 
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Daniel Brown
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But don't be fooled by the radio, the TV, or the magazines. They'll show you photographs of how your life should be but they're just someone else's fantasies.
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“Memory is difficult, even if one remembers.” I cannot remember the name of the author who gave me this quote typed on a sheet of paper. What I do remember of this author fills me with doubt about my youth and the choices I have made. Since my youth, I have played many games. Most of which I have forgotten and the ones I remember I unsure of why I like or dislike them. Was my favor or disfavor from my mood that day, from my fellow players, or from the game itself? So, what are my five favorite games and why do I like them?

Why do German cows stand in a line and American cows stand in chaotic fashion? Why does it seem cows in German are called Buffalo? These are the questions asked of Leon Hendee as he taught us Zoff in Buffalo. And no, I did not remember how to spell the game nor Leon’s last name; I got them from the Geek. What I do remember is that Leon is great man with a love of games and a great enthusiasm for games and the teaching of them. This is my most sought after game and the only reason I can think of is Leon.

Being that I am a computer programmer, I find it hard to resist a game where reason and logic fill the game. When I was in high school I swore that I would never be a programmer after waking up one night having figured out an algorithm in my sleep. I do not like it when things affect my sleep. But, computer programming pays well and that is way my mind is wired. So, it is of no surprise to anyone that knows me that Power Grid is one of my favorite games. I attack each turn like a software bug which may be fixed in many ways but which way is best? I am a quick thinker because I cannot afford analysis paralysis in my job and I will not tolerate it in how I play. So, I quickly think of which factory will lead me to victory and how much it is worth.

When I was twelve my brother purchased a wargame for me. He is eleven years older than me and he had never beaten me in a game. He was sure that he could be victorious over me in this game. I won. That was 30 years ago and he has refused to play a game with me since. That was one game that I should have lost, but it forever put in my heart a love of wargames. A Victory Lost is my current favorite in this genre. Every time I play this game I think about my brother and how much fun it would be to play him again if he would have just acquired one victory from me.

Well, if you cannot play with your brothers than you must play with your friends. One of my friends had Acquire from Avalon Hill and we played that over and over again. I don’t remember much about game but that game is forever been etched in my memory. It does seem that I have blocked out any bad parts of the game to the point that I cannot remember ever loosing. It has been ages since I have played that game and I worry that when I do play it again I will loose.

Well, some you win and some you loose. And I have never won at Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization. This is the only big game that I have played at a convention and after 4 hours I had lost but I had fun. The game reminds me of many of the computer games that I played as a kid but now I get to play the game face to face with real humans. I don’t own a copy of this game and anticipation of owning this game has continued to drive my desire to play this game. I want what I cannot have. I must wait for this game and I am frustrated with remember what I should of done differently when I played it months ago.

I am glad I have had to chance to write down what I like because in the future I may have forgotten what I like or why I like it. Maybe the same games will bring out bad memories instead of good ones. “Memory is difficult, even if one remembers.”
 
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Mark Zielinski
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Quote:
Now DAVE sure knows how to write a narrative! Woo Hoo!


Now Doug, what subject do you teach again?
 
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Daniel Brown
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But don't be fooled by the radio, the TV, or the magazines. They'll show you photographs of how your life should be but they're just someone else's fantasies.
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aslskfan wrote:
Quote:
Now DAVE sure knows how to write a narrative! Woo Hoo!


Now Doug, what subject do you teach again?


Yea, I have this real fear that Dave is going to correct the spelling and grammer in my post and send it back to me to do it again.
 
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Bill Heaton
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Always tricky these questions, I find it hard to order anything, but because I listen to your podcast a lot I feel I should contribute something back, (nothing to do with the game !?!?!) so I'll give my 5 favourite games in no order.

Poker - OK so this is my favorite game. I've been playing for 15 years now, since I was a wee teenager and I'm still playing it, although a lot less since I found the board game calling. Endlessly replayable, hundreds of variants and just so tense. It is the greatest game in my humble opinion, but should be played face to face whenever possible. I tried the online games, but it lacked a lot of the skill of reading your opponent.

Railroad Tycoon - I still can't get enough of this game. I desparatly want an expansion board to come out, as we have played the US map to death and to be honest are starting to find some flaws in it. The game itself is just awesome. You genuinely feel like your expanding a rail network and the more forgiving nature of the game makes it more accessable to new players. I'm still coming up with new strategies each time I play it and I'm happy to get my clock cleaned trying something new because I just always have loads of fun playing it no matter what. ALthough I do find it is a game that I spend standing up almost the entire time...

Ra - The best auction game out there for me. The push your luck elements combined with the knowledge of what your opponent has the ability to play is just a fantastic combination. I generally don't buythe same games as my brother-in-law, my main gaming partner, but in the end I had to buy this one and 'double up' as he calls it, just because I love it so much.

Blue Moon - I was stunned by how much I like this game. The more you play this the greater your ability to manipulate the cards to do what you want. I play this with my better half and she loves it to. every game is different, sometimes its a lot a small quick battles and others just a few titanic struggles with each of us playing 12 or 13 cards. We would buy the expansion decks one at a time and each new deck offered a whole new series of fights as they all play so differently and what works against one race wont necessarily work against the other. Hats off to Knizia for this one, definatley a game that should be well in the BGG top 100 in my lowly opinion.

El Grande - mmmmmm big wooden tower....the games great too. I really like area majority, but its the cards that really make me love this game. A wonderful variety and you often left wanting 3 or 4 of them each time.

I'm pretty easy though, I love loads of games and will play anything, thes are favorites for the moment although I played my Bro-in-laws copy of Battlelaw and saved up the pennies to get C&C ancients immediately, syet to play it, but I feel it will be fighting for a spot in this list pretty soon.
 
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Eric Knauer
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My top five is always in flux and has a lot of room for change since I have yet to play a bunch of highly rated games such as Age of Steam, Indonesia, Twilight Struggle, Shogun, Race for the Galaxy, Through the Ages, etc.

My current top five are:


1. Power Grid- I think one of the reasons I enjoy this game so much (apart from the brilliant mechanics...) is that I find the gameplay and strategy intuitive. I can always look back and figure out what I did right and/or wrong. It’s probably about 30 minutes longer than I prefer but there’s always a feeling of satisfaction along with a fun post group discussion about how people screwed up along the way.

2. Crokinole- Not really a true board game. Most people like the four player game better but I actually prefer two players since it seems a bit more challenging.

3. Tichu- Cynthia and I started playing this about five months ago and have loved it ever since. What makes Tichu better than other trick-taking/climbing games are the 4 special cards and amount of flexibility one has in choosing how to get rid of your cards. Plus I really enjoy the ability to pass unlike a standard trick-taking game where you are forced to follow suit creating a more constrained environment. I like options.

4. Princes of Florence- This was one of the first meaty Euros I played. Unfortunately, I don’t get to play it as much as I’d like. After playing it a few weeks ago, I still consider it a favorite. I like the balance of long-term strategy mixed with tactical adjustments you have to make along the way due to the unpredictable auctions. Fun stuff.

5. China- Short and meaty. Abstract but not too dry. Just the right amount of luck due to the card drafting.
 
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Tom Rosen
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Thanks Czech Games Edition! I'd love to try Galaxy Trucker

Enjoy episode 88 Doug, and thanks for doing another contest. I'm finally current so I'm not listening to the contest weeks after its closed, like the last few times.

And now for the Top 5 list of my all-time favorites:

1) El Grande - I recently decided to move this up to my #1 game of all-time. I had held off doing so for a while because it really needs 5 players to thrive. Since it's tough to get 5 players together, I figured this couldn't be my favorite game... I was wrong. After my most recent play of the game, I realized that this is just too good to not be in the top spot. I can't hold it against the game that it needs a certain number of players. I should judge the game by how good it is when played under the right conditions, not how hard it is to get the right conditions. Well, to some extent, if that were entirely true then Die Macher wouldn't be #6 on my Top 20, but would certainly crack the Top 5. But within limits, I'm trying to judge the games regardless of the challenge of getting them played. And with that caveat, El Grande is definitely my favorite. I absolutely love how unbelievably simple the rules are, yet how difficult and interesting the decisions are. I can teach the rules to this game in a matter of minutes, but I still have no idea which power card to play when, and which action card to select, and then what to do with it. There are so many decisions, and they all seem pretty meaningful, as far as I can tell. And that's what I want in a game, simple rules, difficult/interesting decisions that determine the outcome. The biggest downside with this game is the need to try to convince everyone else how bad you're doing so they don't target you, but there's a bit of that in almost every game really, and with the right group, it can be an enjoyable part of this game, as El Grande certainly leads to a lot of fun table talk.

2) Java - I liked Tikal and enjoyed Torres, but neither of those prepared me for how incredible Java is. This is the pinnacle of the action point genre. I love the Kramer-Kiesling action point games because of the amazing flexibility they provide. On each turn, you are presented with countless options to choose from, and different paths you can take. In some games, even great games, you only have a couple choices. For example, in Puerto Rico, a great game, you only ever have a few roles to choose from. In Java, or any action point game, there are seemingly infinite different ways you can spend your action points. I love the freedom and flexibility of the genre, and the only negative is that Java has pretty much spoiled me for the rest of the games in the series. I love the look and feel of the game, the wonderfully chunky tiles, and the way the board grows and evolves. I love the decisions of when to use your few precious special tiles and your few bonus action point chits. I enjoy how the game scale well from 2 to 4 players, and despite how long it can take, there's enough to think about to keep you engaged for as long as it may take for everyone to make up their mind and do their turns.

3) San Marco - Are you seeing a trend here? I'm a sucker for area control games. El Grande, San Marco, In the Shadow of the Emperor, Kreta, Louis XIV, and the list goes on and on. San Marco is the best three-player game ever in my opinion. It is unbelievably difficult to decide how to split the 10 cards into 3 piles and unbelievably fun to try to come up with a clever split that gets you what you want. There's nothing else like this game, and with the right group of 3 people, it's a blast. This is one game where I enjoy and encourage kibitzing. It's definitely up to the two observes to advise and cajole the person doing the splitting, to try to get the cards to fall their way. It doesn't hurt that the board is absolutely gorgeous. This is Alan Moon's best game by a long shot, and it's sad to see both Java and San Marco currently out of print, hopefully not for long!

4) Age of Steam - Maps, maps, maps, maps, and more maps! I love maps. I only own 16 maps, but that's plenty to make this one of the most replayable games ever. I can't imagine Age of Steam ever getting old in a million years. I absolutely love the ability to bust out a new map that completely changes the game experience, but importantly, without requiring a bunch of time to teach and learn rules. There's only ever a small tweak here or there for the new maps, so there isn't much time needed to learn them. But these small changes generally make for a whole new game that feels and plays very differently. I love the joy that comes with finally getting out of debt and earning your first dollar in this game. It's a real feeling of accomplishment if/when it happens that very few other games can emulate. I like the fact that it also provides some longer-term strategic planning options in addition to the short-term tactical decision-making that you see in most eurogames. I also love how well this game scales, given the different maps, so I can play two-player on Scotland or Alpha Centuari, three-player on Scandanavia, Korea, Japan, etc. etc. It means I can break this out no matter how people are around.

5) Tigris & Euphrates - This used to be my #1 game for the past few years, and perhaps I've unfairly moved it back to the #5 slot. I really should play it again soon, as it's been a while. It's my most played game from the Top 5 by far, with 64 plays. I love two-player Tigris & Euphrates especially. I love the way the board shifts and morphs over the course of the game. I enjoy watching the rise and the fall of the kingdoms. I totally and absolutely believe Knizia when he says on GeekSpeak that the theme for this game came first. I know this is the poster-child that people like to accuse of a "pasted on" theme, but I just don't see it. I honestly really feel the theme here, and think that it contributes significantly to the game. I know there's a lot of luck here, but nothing beats finding the perfect play for that catastrophe tile you've been holding on to.
 
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Dave Peters
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Daniel wrote:
Yea, I have this real fear that Dave is going to correct the spelling and grammar in my post and send it back to me to do it again.


I only correct spelling. A read of my post will provide the reader with several examples of how not to construct sentences!
 
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Number Five: Chess
Aside from a few "young'un" type games, Chess is probably the game I have been familiar with the longest. I remember playing against my dad and my brother many times throughout my childhood, often loosing. It was quite a while before I was able to win a game (I was the classic "offense only" player). While there are games in my collection that I play more frequently, Chess has best stood the test of time, and I do not think it will ever leave my top five.

Number Four: Settlers of Catan
This is the game that set me on the path towards Eurogames. It was the Summer of 2006 (Yeah, I know... for all my love of Euros I am a relative newcomer to that market), and I was on vacation in the Adirondacks. Someone brought along a whole boatload of Euros to play, and most of us were completely new to them. Settlers opened up a whole new world of gaming for me. While there were several Euros introduced in a short number of days, this was the one that started it all. And I can oddly trace the origins of my lack of money to this game.

Number Three: Black Box
This was a recent discovery for me. A month or two ago I was home visiting my folks. I was helping my dad move some furniture around and clearing out the upstairs closet. While going through some old boxes I found a few games that did not make it to the downstairs game chest. This is where I found a dusty old 1978 version of Black Box. Talk about a hidden gem! I have always been a fan of abstract puzzle games, but this blows everything else out of the water. Everyone always talks about Euros being brain burners... the level of brain burn associated with Black Box is the real deal. There isn't much wrong with this game. In fact, not that I think about it, I'm off to my BGG profile to change a few things...

Number Two: Winner's Circle
This game is great! It's easy to get new people interested in, it's easy to understand, yet it is consistently difficult to achieve your preferred outcome. After reading this review I decided, "What the hell... this game is going on the next big order." Plus, it's a Knizia so it would have been hard to go wrong. Winner's Circle has the most unique Game mechanics of any game I own. Having to decide wether to better your own horses, or to completely screw your opponents'. Hmm, should I move my horse 7 or should I move your horse 1, ruining your chances to move him 20 spaces this turn? For us, this game gets rather cutthroat. Plus it doesn't take very long to play, so there is hardly ever a reason to pass on this one.

Number One: Carcassonne
This is it... Number One, Numero Uno, The Dog's Balls, The Bee's Knees...
I love this game. This was introduced to me during the same vacation at the lake as Settlers (along with Bohnanza and a few others). I was hooked from the start. It was easy in concept, but not so easy in practice. I've played with two people up to four, even as a solitaire game (trying to figure out ways to use all the pieces within a set dimension, etc.). The beauty (for me) of tile-laying games is that the game is (almost) completely different every time you play. Plus, unlike the rest of the games in my collection, Carcassonne as been the beneficiary of a steady stream of expansions. Each time I pick up an expansion it effectively becomes part of the base game, and I rarely play without it. I currently am sitting at 4 expansions, with 3 big ones and 3 small ones (I think) to slowly add into the mix. Although, with that being said about all the expansions, there is something to be said for pulling out the base game on it's own every once and a while. I suppose the short answer here is this: Carcassonne is endlessly modifiable, endlessly scalable, constantly different, and infinitely enjoyable. You could try and change my mind, but it won't happen.
 
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Travis Bridges
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This is not a strict following of my ratings, as I think a list of the Top 5 should be somewhat off-the-cuff. It is more about memory than intricate dissection.

It is difficult to find any defining characteristic of all of the games in my top 5. I can't say it is the lack of randomness since my number 6 would probably be Thebes, which is a smattering of several random mechanisms. Other games in this list have just enough randomness to make each play different. I can't say anything on strategy vs. tactics, since these games have varying levels of both. I think the best thing to say is that these games, in my opinion, are the ones I have played that are the most successful at creating pure board game mechanisms and rewarding clever play.

Number 5. Ricochet Robots
I know that you two, Doug and Shelley, seem to shy away from puzzle games. I enjoy them, and this I feel is the king of puzzle games. Yes, it has a high barrier to entry, but it keeps people in the game while they learn to train their brain to think in a new way. I have known people to be drawn to this game with the feeling they will never compete at it, when, suddenly, the light bulb turns on and it becomes a favorite.

Number 4. Reef Encounter
A thematically strong game with very abstract mechanics (something that is very hard to find). I love how the varied tactical options mold into a nearly singular strategy for all players. Can you attack for, build and consume the colors that are worth the most at the end of the game? How do you spend your resources to improve your final tally? Can you devise a plan that is benefitted by the actions of other players? Can you devise a way to protect yourself from the interference of the other players at the table? Such an agonizing, but ultimately rewarding game with a dramatic final scoring.

Number 3. In the Shadow of the Emperor
An often overlooked influence/area majority game. The starting placement and action selection guarantee that this game will never play the same way twice. It avoids the less pure, randomization mechanics of similar games, like El Grande, San Marco, etc. I think what draws me to this game is the way you have to plan for all rounds of the game through the prioritization of small tactical movements dictated by a limited card set. The negotiation and voting mechanisms work incredibly well with the full complement of 4 players. The dramatic final tally makes the game a pleasurable experience in my opinion.

Number 2. Caylus
Did you know Caylus rid the world of smallpox, then helped a group of blind senior citizens cross a busy street during rush hour, before devising a plan for world peace? Sure it was hyped as the boardgame equivalent to Superman, but it delivers. Some may say it is a little long, I don't think so. Some say it is a little dry...maybe, but the enjoyment is in the eye of the beholder, and I like games that make my brain bubble. It has agonizing decisions that are based on a limited quantity of incredibly variable actions. The number of strategies in this game makes nearly all other games blush in their ineptitude. Attia deserves the Nobel Prize.

Number 1. Princes of Florence
What make Princes of Florence a better game than Caylus? I think it is in its simplicity. This simplicity does not cause it to sacrifice any sense of long-term strategy. This game has more mechanical structure than any other game I have played, and all of those mechanics work flawlessly. The auction and action selection mechanics are fantastic. The player wants to do so much, but only gets 14 actions and 7 auction purchases. You have to plan your last actions so early in the game that you can't falter. Meanwhile, you are forced to balance your economic machine versus the acquisition of prestige. Did I mention you also have to build wisely? To say that this game is multi-player solitaire is preposterous. Come play with me and some people I know and you will soon find that there is indeed player interaction. The fact that the game plays in about 75 minutes is all the more a tale of its greatness.

I think 1960 will somehow crack this top 5 in the future. I have to play it a few more times to really put a good rating on it. After 1 play, I am just enthralled with it. Other than that, I am waiting to see how the Essen releases shake out.

Thanks, Doug, and keep up the good work!
 
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Daniel Brown
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But don't be fooled by the radio, the TV, or the magazines. They'll show you photographs of how your life should be but they're just someone else's fantasies.
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rynelf wrote:
Daniel wrote:
Yea, I have this real fear that Dave is going to correct the spelling and grammar in my post and send it back to me to do it again.


I only correct spelling. A read of my post will provide the reader with several examples of how not to construct sentences!


Ooops, I meant to say Doug. I will say that we have good group of entries here for Doug.
 
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Michael Jordal
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1. Heroscape - I know some look down on this game, but I can't get enough of it. It is a game that I can play with everyone in my family, from my old dad to my youngest siblings. Even my niece 2 year old niece has figured out a piece of the game (she takes the eliminated units and moves them while counting). Every game I play tends to have fun and amusing stories that we can bring up again and again to relive them. Also, I love just building with the terrain. My 7 year old Lego loving self gets to come back out and design amazing new things.

2. Red Dragon Inn - This one's appeal may wear off, but I think with expansions on the way, I will continue to love it. It is a light take that game, with a very fun theme. It isn't the game to break out for a brain buring session, but if you want to fill some time with drinking, roughousing and gampling in a fantasy bar, you can't go wrong here.

3. Star Wars CCG - This is probably the game that made me the gamer I am today. It was really the first game that I played beyond Monopoly. It is the game that got me going to gaming stores. It is a shame that the game had to fall the way it did, but I still enjoy playing it when I can, and with the cards being so cheap now, it is easy to get a group of friends together for a booster draft or sealed deck night.

4. Amun-Re - I really like the way this game combines the auction elements with the building elements. I also like the struggle over the offering phase and the guessing involved witht he blind bidding. The way that the old and new kindoms work together is also very clever I find this game is well recieved when I have the right crowd over.

5. Star Wars: Queen's Gambit - I think this game does a wonderful job of being assymetrical, yet keeping itself balanced. I really like the card driven order system and that this game gave some redeeming value to the prequels. If they had to be terrible, at least a couple of good games came out of them.

 
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Chris Norwood
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#1 - The Princes of Florence: PoF is just a work of pure genius. It creates such a tight economy of so many different resources, and rewards those who do long-range planning. I love how everything fits together so perfectly and is so well balanced. I love everythig about this game!
(Rating = 10)

#2 - Tigris & Euphrates: Pure confrontation in an elegant eurogame. What's not to like? From my first play, I've been totally impressed by how much depth it has, and it provides one of the most satisfying gaming experiences around for what is still a relatively short game.
(Rating = 10)

#3 - Struggle of Empires: Talk about satisfying game experiences! A great theme, streamlined gameplay, and elegant rules combine to make this a near-perfect game. It's only drawback is length and the need for 5-7 players to really make it work.
(Ratings = 9)

#4 - Shadows over Camelot: In addition to being a really great cooperative game, Shadows generates a real dramatic tension in its endgame more than any other game I've ever played. It has a fantastict, well-integrated theme, cool gameplay, an absolutely beautiful board and bits, and reasonable play-time.
(Rating = 9)

#5 - China: This has the strategic density of a game two or three times its length. I love how "organic" it feels, where all the scoring is determined by how many pieces are involved in that scoring. Simply brilliant!
(Rating = 9)

Runner-Up - Arkadia: Based on Doug and Shelley's recommendation, I picked this up and have loved it from the first play. It's a great game of spatial management, area control, and market manipulation. While a little dry, I still can't get enough of it!
(Rating = 9)
 
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Doug Garrett
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This week's podcast - Circus Flohcati, Pi Mal Pflaumen, and Pack O Games Set 2
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I promise not to correct anyone's spelling/grammar! That's not my job (unless asked) in the "real world."

Great responses so far, guys. Nice to see you're taking the time to reflect a bit.

D.
 
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mark coomey
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Hi Doug,

here's my top 5 list and a big shout out to your ***wonderful** podcasts...the best game podcasts out there so there!!!

(surely worth a few extra votes!!lol)

ok..here goes. A list of my top 5 games that are among (but not solely) my current games that I rate a 10/10. I could easily have listed my top 10 but them's not the rules right?

1. Settlers of Catan. My gateway game. Fond memories and a game I played many many times. So much so I OD'd on it and didn't play for several years but one I have now come back to and it's still a great game.

2. Princes of Florence. One of the games that drew me into playing more German games..in that 2000 era, where not only I got to play a few games that I had just started reading a little about on the internet and was intrigued, and there seemed just a plethora of *great* games in that year, that still in my mind sticks as one of the best gaming years still to date for classic games; It was also the beginning of some wonderful friendships with great people that I still to this day have the pleasure to game with.

3. Euphrate & Tigris ; the original German edition...beautiful game...it epitomizes Knizia at his best.

4. Adel Verphlechtet. Ok..I've only recently purchased this but have played this a fair bit now online as well. I just love the simultaneous card play. Games are always close, and it's sheer joy to second guess your opponents choices.

5. Lastly, another Knizia. I absolutely *have* to add this game to my list as a 2 player game. Since I have introduced a few games (rather successfully I might add) to a handful of work colleagues, I have played, so far this year (and last year was quite impressive as well) a total of 76 games, that's right..76!!! games of the Lord of the Rings: the confrontation. This game is a corker! and when you play evenly matched opponents, you're in for a great game every time. The number of games of Lotr:C has well exceeded settlers, and I have slowed in my games of it now, but it still is being selected occasionally to play.

Mark Coomey
aka wiz

 
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Mark Haberman
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#1 - Galaxy Trucker: No, really. I got a chance to play this three times at Great Lakes Games, and I love it! The building part is frantic stressful and interesting, and the racing part is pure fun, but not without choices. The production and thought that went into this game is second to none. Really excellent! As a side note, there is nothing in this game that you can't plan for. If your ship is getting blow to bits, then you aren't building it very well! There is plenty of room to keep improving, and the timer system ensures slower players will have at least a minimum amount of time to build.

#2 - Ra: Unique auction game where its not how much you bid, but when you bid. Simple rules, very unfiddly, but many difficult choices. Great scoring system.

#3 - Amun-Re: An economic game that isn't all about math. It's really hard to put a concrete value on anything because of the escalating price structure, and the ability to gain items through the sacrifice. The prisoner's dilemma situation created by the sacrifice is nice as well. After 60 plays, I'm still learning new things!

#4 - Web of Power: The quintessential 30 minute strategy game. I like the constrained choices presented by the cards, and the scoring system is the best I've ever seen in an area control game.

#5 - Time's Up!: The best party game out there. Tons of fun, and rewards thinking on your feet, and a good memory. I like the self-referential aspect of the game, and that it builds on itself as you play the three rounds. Excellent!
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Craig Kloosterman
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My top 5 games (the last couple were tough):

1) Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization: This is the only game I have rank a 10. I spent many happy hours with Sid Myer's Civilization on the computer, so I knew I had to have this one. I was lucky enough to score a copy from Funagain when they had those 50 copies for sale way back when and consider myself lucky my game group likes this game as much as I do. I like civilization games in general - building up your forces from a small insignificant country to a powerful civilization to be feared and admired! This game brings it all together in a well balanced, engaging and entertaining package. The four to five hours it takes to play to full game fly’s by very quickly!

2) Combat Commander: Europe: I also like light war games. This game has enough chaos to make the game different every time and enough depth to keep me coming back.

3) Struggle of Empires: I usually like Martin Wallace games and this is one of his best. I like the theme and time period, I like the innovative combat system and I especially like the huge variety of special powers you can acquire via the tiles.

4) Imperial: I loved Antike with the civilization theme and the innovative Rondel, but I was a bit hesitant to get Imperial. It was described to me as more of an economic investment game and sounded a bit dry. But I took a chance and now I like it better than Antike! There seems to be more decisions and more paths to victory than Antike.

5) Twilight Struggle: Love the theme and the relatively simple rules.
 
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#1 - Cosmic Encounter
I love the variable player powers, and the wild feeling you get when each game starts up and you are thinking about the way these aliens are going to interact. I also love how unbalanced it is, and yet it compensates with turn-by-turn alliances. The only game I rate a 10.

#2 - Magic: The Gathering
An oldie, but a goodie. My favorite 2-player game of all time. The collectibility ruined it well into it's life, but playing drafts has made the game more reasonable again. I don't spend hardly any money on this anymore, but the game design itself is totally inspired.

#3 - War Of The Ring
The best narrative wargame I've played. The multiple options you have to change the course of the story are highly entertaining. The game is richly thematic, and the gameplay itself is very tense. The last few steps up to the Crack Of Doom are some of the most exciting tile-draws in all of gaming.

#4 - Power Grid
My favorite Euro. I'm not generally fond of optimization games, and yet Power Grid is all about optimization. I think the fact that it boils in auctions, supply-and-demand resource pricing, and a non-trivial placement game on the map, really makes this game shine.

#5 - Command & Colors: Ancients
The best version of this innovative system (imho). The on-field leaders give it a strategic depth that the other versions of this game are lacking. The card deck here is also the best, and it doesn't have the relatively random "Lore" element of BattleLore. Plus, the blocks and stickers look a lot cooler than you might think.

-----

Thanks for running this contest, Doug. It's a good'n. I also played Galaxy Trucker a couple times at Great Lakes Games, and it was probably my favorite game of the weekend.
 
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