Games you think everyone should know about

So this makes me curious - What game with very little buzz / circulation / pr / awareness do you wish everyone on this forum knew about?

Actually, this is probably an appropriate time to say Oi! @RogerBW! Fork me out a new thread!

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To elaborate:
Following on Z-Man’s, and then my/our, lament on how groupthink has dominated the marketing space and we all tend to have huge overlap in our game collections, and there is insufficient middle ground between breakout-hit-everyone-buys-your-game and a clearance bin, curious what are the games that you would say are really good and deserve better?

ObAliKerimBey: work, work, work… :slight_smile:

There are several games that I’ve only heard about because I was involved with demoing them; they’d clearly never be big hits, but it seems a shame that they’ve vanished so completely. (So I suppose I have to mention a potential commercial bias here in that I was being paid by Indie Boards & Cards to demo them back when they were available…)

  • Pirate 21, basically blackjack with special card powers. It doesn’t claim to be anything more than that, but it does that very well. (Also reasonably diverse card art, by one of my favourite boardgame artists Jarek Nocon.)
  • Witching Hour, set collection with inter-player attacks and odd scoring (more is always better but not always in an ascending way).
  • Senators, auctions and backstabbing in late Republican Rome. Everyone except the active player bids on each resource card they just turned over, and the active player then decides whether to take the money for the card or pay that money to take the card themselves; you want to make sets of resources. One day I will make an illicit TTS mod of this using art from The Resistance, Coup, etc., because this would have been a great fit for that loosely-defined universe.
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Empyreal: This one’s come up on here a few times. Such a good game, with a good balance of depth and accessibility. Also huge replayability. To be fair, this game is in its own way with its huge, huge box. Maybe in a few years there will be a second, small box edition and more people will try it out.

Babylonia: Somehow Yellow & Yangtze seems to come up regularly, but Babylonia does not. This would be the third of three in the Knizia, tile-laying trilogy remake/remix bin and the one that was supposed to reference Samurai.

Depending on how you approach it, though, it really draws on Tigris & Euphrates, Samurai, and Through the Desert. For T&E, you’ve got four types of tiles and lay two each turn, plus a river/land dynamic that shapes the board. For Samurai, you are trying to surround and capture cities by matching symbols. However, for Through the Desert, you score cities based on tiles that you can connect back to that city, so there is a chaining effect.

Whether it feels more like Samurai or TTD really comes down to how you approach it.

Every time I play it, I just keep thinking, “Oh. That’s interesting.” Also, true to Knizia, SO EASY to teach but got a lot of legs for playing and uncovering the nuances.

Last I’ll put here is Gladius. This is a new one, one of only three kickstarters I’ve backed. Hopefully it will hit retail? Just a small, simple but very well put together bluff/double bluff game. They put some real thought into a clever 2p mode which is rare for games of this type.

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I know I could have made my own thread but, to be honest, I wanted to harvest the traffic from the other thread by having them linked :wink:

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Matagot’s Room 25 from 2013.

It’s based (without the IP) on the horror movie “Cube”, where you wake up in a rotating prison of metal rooms, most of which contain deathtraps. You’re all looking for the way out… except that one or more of you might be traitors (prison guards) who are waiting to push the real prisoners into that fire pit / spike room / acid trap.

You have two moves per turn that you pre-program, and all the rooms start off face down, so it’s a good idea to use the “look” action before the “move into the next room” action, or… boom.

Who are the traitors and when will they give themselves away? Will it be when they use a “Push” action to shove another player into a bad room? The exit tile starts off hidden, and once you find it a countdown accelerates… will the guard(s) stand by the entrance and block it? If you peek at a face down tile, only you get to see it… so can you trust the player who tells you it’s safe? Or the one who uses the control action to shift the entire row of rooms up one square… were they moving the exit out of reach?

You can’t trust anyone! Which means you don’t really have time to proceed slowly and safely! Also, that player just moved closer to your character. Was it because they know there’s a good tile nearby, or are they getting ready to rush up and push you? You kinda need allies… but…

I played it just once in a pub when it was very new and really enjoyed it. Simple by today’s standards but huge fun.

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Just seen that it got an expansion and a re-release combined pack in 2016, so clearly people did hear about it!

Yeah, every so often someone will pop up and name this game but to be honest I know zero about it. Maybe I can grab a TTS mod one of these days!

And, btw, programmed movement sounds like a perfect mechanic for play by forum…

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Two expansions! There was a weird expansion that turned it into an escape room coop type thing? It didn’t look good.

EDIT: Oh, and there was a third mini-expansion too?! This is the game that keeps giving.

And strangely, the ‘ultimate edition’ only includes the first expansion… not very ultimate is it?

I couple of years ago I backed Whales Destroying the World on Kickstarter because it reminded me a little of Secrets, but had absolutely amazing cartoony art of anthropomorphized whales. There’s not much to the game; it has a fairly straight-forward hidden traitor element. I wish it had caught more buzz because it’s not amazing, but it is quite good.

I think most of my other obsessions (both major and minor) are brought up somewhat regularly here on the forums (18xx, crayon rails, etc)

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It already had co-op, competitive / traitor and solo modes (I only played traitor). And it’s on BGA apparently.

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This is a more literal ‘escape room’ with puzzles and stuff.

It seems a weird fit to make an existing game an escape room.

Ooh yeah. Played once so far and there seems like a lot of randomness, but as one learns the cards…

SUMMIT, a Cold War boardgame from 1961. I bought a copy many moons ago and found it to be an interesting light (VERY light) simulation of Cold War geopolitics. Area control with the goal of accumulating the most global power (represented by chips). It’s a neat little fun game that compares favorably to Risk and Diplomacy, probably its closest competitors at the time.

Here is a link to the BGG entry:

And a quick search resulted in finding a Milton Bradley version for sale for the princely sum of $15US

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I’ve talked about it before, but I’m surprised how little attention Aristeia! gets. It’s a delightful drafting sports game where attacking the opposing team or going deep into control are equally viable. It has the presentation style of Overwatch, and that is probably a fair shout as to its feel (not that I’ve played much Overwatch).

It has dice rolling, but the dice have several different symbols on each face (up to 3 or 4 different symbols on a face!!). There are 3 main dice types, with different combinations on each type. To pull off a particular move you need a combination of the correct symbols as denoted on the player card, and each character has a certain distribution of dice. It gives a really elegant way for the designers to modulate how easy each move is to pull off for each character without it being confusing for the player. It’s so much more fun than ‘roll 5+’.

It reminds me a little of Blitzbowl, but a lot more depth and far less randomness. Both of those factors were much needed in Blitzbowl IMO, which often came down to which challenge cards came out at the right time.

Marketing the game as a ‘simplified board game implementation of Infinity’ miraculously evades any kind of target audience. Infinity players see it as some weird side project that is yet another thing to buy when they’ve already spent so much on minis. And board gamers aren’t going to pay attention to anything derived from a miniatures game. It barely even registered in the board game reviewers radar (SVWAG is what triggered the purchase, and that’s the only time I’ve ever seen it mentioned).

And Dogs of War needs an obligatory mention on any thread like this. It’s been OOP for so long now. I use to think it wasn’t sufficiently obscure for these lists, but it’s got to the point where a lot of newer boardgamers aren’t aware it even exists. :cry:

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Is Y&Y decent? I’m ummimg and ashing over a reasonably priced copy given it’s going out of print

Loving the IP adjacent characters (my favourite is ‘I’m not Hellboy’ Bahadur) If I was more into this sort of stuff it looks like lots of fun for a low mini count game

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Dogs of War is fairly well known, but I wish it were well-loved enough to get some sort of reprint/re-release.

Cursed Court is a nice mix of auction game and social deduction game.

Real of Sand is kind of Patchwork and Splendor smashed together with a theme that doesn’t really have anything to do with the gameplay.

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Re: Gladius

Yeah, I like games that get better with repeat play and where the meta can always shift one step ahead of the old winning strategy (see: Coup). Gladius grows bigger as you start to learn what cards there are, how many help/sabotage type cards there are, what each person may have left, etc. And just when you figure out a person’s playstyle, they have the option to turn it on its head. OR NOT, because you’d expect them to change tactics? Or yes, because they know that you know that they know…

Yeah, that’s when it gets good.

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All reports suggest Yes. If you want a 30 minute discussion on Y&Y vs T&E, So Very Wrong About Games dedicated a podcast to the comparison. I have both. Both are available as apps, so there is also that.

Assuming you are familiar with T&E, the differences:

  • Hex board rather than squares
  • Each tile does something extra, like you can play any number of blue tiles for one action
  • Yellow tiles instead of yellow cubes; super valuable and more abundant
  • Pagodas, the new temples, are quickly built and often destroyed rather than being the game-long lightning rods that temples were
  • War is quick, always red tiles, and done by kingdom rather than by leader. So there is more of a sense of “my kingdom and your kingdom” than in Tigris. Also, less is decided so it is easier to enter war and less costly to lose.

All in all, it is shifted toward tactics and more forgiving than Tigris, but that is not to say easier.

Gah. It’s actually really hard to articulate. Knizia just shifted a few minor things that, upon reading the manual, make the game look like a reskin. Upon playing, you realize that those tiny shifts were to massive, weightbearing walls and the entire structure is moved.

If you are waffling, tie goes to getting it? You may not be able to later, and on the flip side, if you later change your mind it should be an easy one to sell?