The State of Games, Episode 51 – The BGG Top 20 and Future of Unpub

Thanks to most of you, dear listeners, The State of Games has thrived for over 50 episodes. This episode marks the turning point for the state of The State of Games for the next year, for sure – not only in terms of participants, but also in terms of scope and vision. This podcast will most assuredly be a haven for unpublished games news, as well as the spot to hear about the coolest new games to hit the table, both in a refined published view and those that have yet to find a publisher!

Links to important things mentioned on the podcast:

fireflySeptikon: Uranium Wars

Belle of the Ball

Brew Crafters

Pay Dirt

Firefly: The Board Game


Car Wars


Alien Frontiers


Stone Age


Lords of Waterdeep


Magic: The Gathering


T’zolkin: The Mayan Calendar

Twilight Struggle


The Resistance




The Great Heartland Hauling Co. (All copies have been hauled away – but we’re hoping to get more!)

VivaJava: The Coffee Game (Almost sold out!)

Carnival (Currently sold out – but we’re hoping to get more!)


And, finally:

The Dice Hate Me Games Newsletter! Sign up for the best in behind-the-scenes goodness from our hearts to yours.

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Related posts:

  1. The State of Games, Episode 40 – The One About Unpub 3
  2. The State of Games, Episode 50 – The One About GenCon 2013
  3. The State of Games, Episode 43 – The One About 20 Questions
  4. The State of Games, Episode 23 – The One About the Unpublished Masses
  5. The State of Games, Episode 31 – The One About Origins, Chemistry and The Big Blue Noodle
15 Responses to “The State of Games, Episode 51 – The BGG Top 20 and Future of Unpub”
  1. Bjรถrn Bohman says:

    What is that guitarsong playing in the intro?? It was sublime!!

  2. shigadeyo says:

    +1 to Chris for Yspahan.
    +2 to TC for Tzolkin and TtR:E.

    However, the best gateway game ever is FINCA. The bright, chunky wooden fruit automatically capture players. Then the simple rondel mechanism paired with several strategic options makes the game so approachable. If it had better cover art, then it would be known and played by A LOT more people and probably available in Target too.

  3. shigadeyo says:

    I forgot to post my Top 5 [published] games:

    5. Finca
    4. Legacy: Gears of Time
    3. Innovation
    2. The Castles of Burgundy
    1. Troyes

    Also, let me know if there is anything I can do from afar to help with UNPUB. You have my contact info.

  4. Matt Riddle says:

    Yspahan? Huh, never heard of it…

  5. Eric Lucero says:

    -1 for dismissing Dominion: Intrigue and not even knowing enough about it to know it doesn’t require Dominion.
    -1 for dismissing Netrunner and then having Magic (which is not even the 3rd best CCG designed by Richard Garfield) be #1 on one of your lists.
    -1 for dismissing Agricola then picking Stone Age as a top 5 game.
    +1 for having the balls to put your own choices out there.
    -1 for not realizing after hearing your own subjective top choices that the BGG top list clearly does mean something after all.
    +1 for The Resistance (even if Avalon is not “Better Resistance”).
    +1 for making me aware of Yspahan (a game I now have to check out).
    +/-? Car Wars???

  6. Chris Schreiber says:

    Nice episode and big congrats on the Unpub gig and potential. As for the games: +1 Stone Age, +1 Alien Frontiers, +1 Finca, +1 Yshaphan, but as someone who played and enjoyed the original Car Wars — really? Car Wars? Is was fun but so fiddly. [nostalgia distortion field detected]

    5. Jungle Speed / Loop’n Louie
    4. Ticket to Ride (the original — Nordic for 2/3)
    3. Stone Age
    2. Adel Verpflichtet
    1. Hanabi

    @Chris, loved the “haiku”/high Coup pun.

  7. dicehateme says:

    Eric – You’ll never see me personally promoting Dominion. And the reason I didn’t immediately recognize Intrigue as the one you play standalone is because I can’t keep up with all those darn expansion names. ๐Ÿ™‚

    +1 for getting out there and checking out Yspahan. Totally worth it.

    And I figured no one would know what to think of my Car Wars pick. I just like mixing things up a little – and proving how darn old I am.

  8. dicehateme says:

    Chris – Yep, Car Wars. Really. Fiddly or not, the system is fairly realistic, totally brutal, and always exciting. You also have to take into account the Car Wars universe. Back in the day when Autoduel Quarterly was coming out, nothing could touch Car Wars, and that’s a fact, Jack!

    And Hanabi for #1? Cult of the New, man… Cult of the New. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Cult of the Old!!! WOOOO!

  9. dicehateme says:

    Craig – I really need to play Finca. I’ve heard such great things about it.

  10. Chris Schreiber says:

    Chris, Hanabi is only Cult of the New here in the US. I’m playing first edition French version fro two years ago and called the SdJ victory loudly and proudly immediately upon its nomination—when the rest of the crowd was cheering for bingo. Note: I actually really enjoy Augustus. [But I’m aiming here for some gaming hipster points of course]

    Or I’m just so excited for Deluxe Hanabi — ๐Ÿ™‚

    @Car Wars: I enjoyed my share of Autoduel Quarterly & Uncle Albert’s Catalog from Hell and even tried to think through adding Car Wars to my Gamma World campaigns. Maybe I’m just still smarting from learning many years ago that my motorcycle team couldn’t all have anti-tank guns. It was cool. But now—I’d rather play it in a digital format where at the end we could animate the scene in 3D and set-up cameras to capture the excitement. THAT would be cool, but for a board game now… ?

  11. dicehateme says:

    Chris – Hah! You definitely get super hipster points for Hanabi. I can remember you proclaiming that Hanabi was the Big Bad at GenCon last year, and I hate I didn’t get to try it out with you before the con was over.

    As for Car Wars, I just feel like playing Car Wars takes me back to a different time in gaming, back when the best graphics in home computing was a blocky guy swinging across some square alligators on a pixellated vine. We had to use something called our “imagination” back then – and it was totally awesome. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Wolff says:

    Glad TC is there to be the voice of reason on the show.

    Darrell’s contribution to the discussion of BGG ratings consists of calling them “elitist”, “dumb”, “doesn’t make sense”, “don’t understand how it works”, “it sucks for the little man” and “means nothing”.

    Why not a little respect for the thousands of hobbyists who rank games and have them averaged out and why is this so confusing to understand? You’ll find the same trend with anything with passionate devotees. Go to Beer Advocate and check out their top 20 beers that wonโ€™t be found in 7-Eleven. Is this really a surprise?

    I donโ€™t mind passionate opinion or disagreement but when itโ€™s ignorant of lazy, it can be annoying.

  13. dicehateme says:

    Wolff – Hahaha, calling TC the “voice of reason” is like calling a badger “even-tempered.” TC revels in his underground sensibilities and loves nothing more than to argue a counter-culture point (which is, quite often, a sidestep from mine and Darrell’s takes). Of course, that’s exactly why it’s awesome to have him on the show.

    As for the BGG ratings system, I think what would have been helpful to ground this discussion is if we defined a set of parameters with which to gauge the debate. All three of us brought a different viewpoint and opinionated bias which resulted in a wide range of arguments for and against the list. I think Darrell’s take was summed up in the fear of someone finding the list while just getting into boardgaming, trying out the top few and then running for the hills – and in a seeming lack of support for more approachable, representative titles (a mission, obviously, of which the BGG list was never intended). Overall, though, I think we all agreed that the BGG top games list has merit for the hobby regardless of our personal views, and I don’t see any of our comments as disrespectful to boardgame enthusiasts. If anything, we’re challenging other gamers to get out there and try the top games so they can debate! That’s half the fun.

    The inclusion of our personal top 5s was mainly to inject some personality. Obviously none of our top fives are meant to supplant the ratings on BGG. I realize how insane my naming of Car Wars as number one would be relative to the average gamer, but it was fun to put together as a means to foster discussion amongst ourselves and as talking points with the listeners.

    On a final note, your point about Beer Advocate is valid – but only so far. I consider myself a beer enthusiast, but I have probably had only about 35% of the top 50 beers. Does it make it wrong that I still hold every beer I ever drink up to the quality of a Murphy’s Irish Stout? After all, that’s my all-time favorite. Besides, looking at their top 250, La Fin du Monde comes in at #100. That’s just criminal, and I’ll debate that as heavily as Tzolk’in being in the top games list. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Wolff says:

    Thanks for responding. I do agree that seeing the top 20 as a newbie can be a shocker but my hunch is that people who seek out BGG are more intrigued than turned off. Presumably, they are looking to branch out from mainstream games or perhaps played something contemporary and want to know more. People who suddenly become interested in and passionate about a hobby want to know what other enthusiasts consider the best whether it is games, alcohol, books, music, movies, etc. BGGโ€™s rating system may be flawed but there was no discussion on why or how it could be made better. IMO, it seems pretty ideal the way it is now and I doubt there is another formula that would drastically alter the results based on the thousands of ratings that exist. Heck, none of my favorite games are in the top 20; I just find dismissive rants uninformative. Still enjoy the show. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Brian Frahm says:

    I have “contextual” top five lists:

    Gaming with my daughter (primary gaming partner):

    5. Kingsburg
    4. Alien Frontiers
    3. Targi
    2. San Juan
    1. At the Gates of Loyang

    Gaming with my gamer buddies:

    5. Keyflower
    4. Terra Mystica
    3. Agricola
    2. Dominant Species
    1. Ora Et Labora

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