The Ones That Got Away: Mark Jackson
Entdecker (older version)
Supposedly a part of the original monster prototype that birthed Settlers & Lowenherz, Entdecker has always received less admiration than it's brothers. Which, frankly, is a crying shame, as it's a fast-moving game of exploration with gorgeous production and simple game play. I play using the Manu variants (for slightly more gamer friendliness)... but I've recently found that the published rules work great with my 4 & a half year old son.
And don't get me started about the hack job Teuber did to his own game with the second release of Entdecker... he took a clean, simple yet not simplistic 30-60 minute exploration game and turned it into an unnecessarily messy 75-120 minute game with less exploration (what's with the goal mountains?) and a twinky hut/scout system that actually adds MORE luck to the game. I still can't understand why people think this is the more gamer-y of the two versions, except that it's more complicated!
Fast Food Franchise
Tom Lehmann took the basic mechanisms of Monopoly (roll'n'move, own properties that people land on and pay rent, chance cards that affect the game, and so on) and grafted on others (the "map" of the USA in the middle of the board, advertising, the asymetrical nature of the different companies) to create a minor masterpiece. Loved by gamers & non-gamers alike, Fast Food Franchise is worth tracking down.
Labels: The Ones That Got Away