Great Triumphs in Your Board Gaming History
Mike Bonet
United States
MOUNT KISCO
NY
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The Great Disappointment threads and geeklists seem to garner a lot of thumbs and responses, but those thumbs and responses are predicated on disparaging often popular games because of bad experiences. Let's see if a list about Great Triumphs can turn the tide against the disappointed feelings.

This list should focus on games you thought were going to be bland or horrible but turned out to be a fun time had by all. The game does not have had to become your top game of all time, just one you now enjoy playing.
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1. Board Game: Penguin Party [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:2957]
Board Game: Penguin Party
Mike Bonet
United States
MOUNT KISCO
NY
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The artwork is cheesy and goofy. The pinguins seem hokey (not hockey), and remind me of mid to late 90s craze of "cool" anthropomorphic animals as mascots for sports teams and consumer products (didn't Gogurt have a penguin or something?). Played this game with a friend a while ago, and despite the theme, the game is fun and cutthroat. We make a "dying pinguin" sound for when a color can no longer be added to the pyramid. The game plays quickly, which is another bonus to the game.

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2. Board Game: Dixit [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:257] [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked]
Board Game: Dixit
Mike Bonet
United States
MOUNT KISCO
NY
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Apples To Apples with pictures? Next.

Fine, fine, we will try it first.

Apples To Apples with pictures you can interpret in whatever way you see fit? A scoring system that doesn't rely on "defending the best choice?" This game rules! To be fair, I don't play it often, but that is because I am not always with a group large enough and party enough to bother. Other than that, this game worked so much better than I had thought it would. The fact that I can interpret my own cards and that I am punished or rewarded via scoring based on that interpretation makes the choices meaningful and fun. My friends and I played Apples To Apples once where we added a "computer" player (random pile of cards). The fake player almost won.
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3. Board Game: Cartagena [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:1039]
Board Game: Cartagena
Mike Bonet
United States
MOUNT KISCO
NY
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My girlfriend bought this for me for my birthday one year. She knew nothing about it and neither did I. My first play was horrific due to poor strategizing. Now the game is one of my favorite quick and easy games to fill time or teach new players. The dinghy token is unnecessary, but I appreciate the map shaped like the board in the bottom of the boat token.
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4. Board Game: Rat-a-Tat Cat [Average Rating:6.22 Overall Rank:2737]
Board Game: Rat-a-Tat Cat
Chris Talmadge
United States
Clinton
CT
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Luck of the draw. A tiny bit of strategy. Just the right amount of memory. Plays quick ~ 5-10 minutes per round. Loving it right now with 2 or 3 players!

Edit: $1.99 at the thrift store, so expectations were on the low end.
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5. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:53]
Board Game: Race for the Galaxy
Brian Boyle
New Zealand
Queenstown
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Bought this quite early on in my Boardgaming re-awakening.

Not sure why - wasn't a big card game player and the theme was not particularly compelling.

First couple of plays and I was struggling. Didn't understand it. With my inefficiencies in hand management it seemed more like crawl for the galaxy. Then it clicked - for both me and my kids.

Over 100 games later and - despite having jumped the shark with the Brink of War - it is still a great game that rewards both flexibility and long-term planning.

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6. Board Game: Battling Tops [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:6421]
Board Game: Battling Tops
Yeah, it seems like a silly kids game with a low ceiling. But when you play for money, and you name your top like a gladiator....this game goes to ELEVEN.

Then I turn around and find that the appeal crosses over to casual home play in multiple circumstances. I wouldn't have guessed it, but its a blast.
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7. Board Game: Ligretto [Average Rating:6.19 Overall Rank:2749] [Average Rating:6.19 Unranked]
Board Game: Ligretto
Kim Williams
United Kingdom
St Just
Cornwall
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I only bought this because I found it brand new and very cheap in a charity shop, and I was hoping it would provide enough cards to play Hanabi.

It turns out it would be a little bit of a stretch to use it for Hanabi, so we (myself, and my children) actually played the intended game and found it to be really good fun.

It's kind of a competitive simultaneous game of Patience, where you're all trying to get rid of your cards onto communal piles. You're all constantly dealing out cards as you search your decks while trying to keep an eye on what's been played, whilst elbowing each other out the way as everyone tries to place their blue three on top of the blue two at the same moment.

I often end up just stopping and laughing at the insanity off it all - which might explain why everyone manages to beat me so frequently
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8. Board Game: Cardcassonne [Average Rating:6.27 Overall Rank:3315]
Board Game: Cardcassonne
TheBruce Mac
United States
Arizona
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I got this at a clearance sale fulling expecting mediocrity. However I have been pleasantly surprised by how much I have enjoyed this little card game (by little I mean both the time it takes to play and the actual size of the cards).
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