Games That Deserve a Reprint: #20 to #16

Games go in and out of print.  In today’s marketplace, where thousands of titles are released each year, most releases get one printing, then they’re done.  Of course, many of us are also constantly clearing shelf space, so the secondary market tends to be robust, and even the one-and-done titles aren’t that hard to find.

There’s a maxim in the hobby that good games will always be reprinted.  That’s sometimes true: two of the games that had enough votes to make this list (Key Market and Dune) have had reprints announced in recent weeks.  But it isn’t always true: below are some real gems that remain scarce.

The reasons for the scarcity are numerous.  Many of the games below have a hard-to-get (or expensive) intellectual property license behind them.  Some have been embroiled in legal disputes. Others yet have enough of a following to drive up secondary market prices but probably not enough of a demand to justify a new printing.  

Whatever the reason, below are 20 games that we think deserve a reprint.  To make the list, we had 17 Opinionated Gamers vote, with precisely 50 games receiving votes.  Most of the people voting have played thousands and thousands of games, and as a group, we’ve written thousands of reviews over the past couple of decades (or longer in some cases).

Due to the length of the series, we decided to write about our findings in four articles, discussing the top twenty games.  This article will discuss #20 to #16. We have an additional article coming every day this week, plus a recap at the end with some interesting statistics and a “what we missed” discussion.

The Methodology

For purposes of this project, I defined out-of-print games as those that have been out of print for at least a couple of years.  I simply asked everybody to vote for games they think deserve to be reprinted, only adding that ideally the nominated are games that are hard to find on the secondary market.

Each member of the OG was offered the chance to vote for up to 15 games.  They could give one game a 20, one game a 19, one game an 18, all the way down to giving one game a 6.  We all put our votes into a spreadsheet. Any OG writer could add games, provided that they were willing to give it a vote.  

We then added up the points for each game and picked the top 20.  

To get on the list took a minimum of three writers rating the game decently well.  That wasn’t a rule, but rather how the breakdown naturally worked out. There’s actually great consensus towards the top of our list, where it took decent ratings from several of us to make the cut.  

Without further ado, here are the games that we think deserve a reprint.  

— Chris Wray, March 2019

#20:  OREGON

Designed by Henrik Berg & Åse Berg, Released 2007

Mini Review by Brandon Kempf

Oregon is at its heart a tile laying Euro with area control mixed in with a myriad ways to score points. Truly though, this is an abstract with the westward expansion theme layered on top of it. You are using hand management to get buildings on to the board that in theory, will best help you activate your farmers that you are placing out and expanding. The farmers will collect gold and coal next to the mines. They collect points next to the post office. You even have some extra action tiles that can help you do all these things in a limited time frame, but be careful, you can only re-activate them by having a farmer next to the correct building.

A touch of area control, mixed with some tile laying and hand management all wrapped up in that magical sixty minute time frame have always made Oregon stand out to me as a wonderful gateway-plus title. Plus, who doesn’t love Meeples wearing cowboy hats? While not terribly difficult to find, expect to pay a bit higher than today’s prices for this wonderful title from 2007.

Oregon – Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers

  • I love it!  Brandon Kempf
  • I like it.  Tery Noseworthy, Larry, Craig M.
  • Neutral.  John P
  • Not for me. Mark Jackson

#19:  WITNESS

Designed by Dominique Bodin, Released 2014

Mini Review by James Nathan

Witness is an audaciously creative and simple puzzle game: what if 4 players enjoyed an otherwise straightforward logic puzzle, but rather than giving any of them complete information, each is given a quarter of the information, and then through a game of telephone, they whisper into each other’s ears the information they know, and once everyone has whispered and listened and whispered and listened, the players answer questions about the, uh, crime (It’s usually a crime).

That’s what it is!  Really. It’s a real treat and I should play it more.

Witness – Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers

  • I love it!  Erik Arneson, James Nathan
  • I like it.  Chris Wray
  • Neutral.  
  • Not for me… Mark Jackson

#18:  PALA

Designed by Jeffrey D. Allers, Released 2012

Mini Review by Chris Wray

Most trick taking games have a theme, but in general, the theming is nominal at best.  The theme in Pala — that you’re art students mixing pigment to make new colors — works in a beautiful way, as you’ll actually combine cards of different colors to have the same effect as what they’d mix to form.  Plus, there are two different ways to play — Pointillism (a trick bidding game) and Impressionism (a trick avoidance game) — and both are excellent.

I just find the gameplay exceptionally clever.  Trick taking games tend to be variants on a few different rules, but designer Jeff Allers (who writes for this blog) worked in some fresh mechanics I hadn’t seen before.

The publisher didn’t get many copies out the door before closing shop, so this is now hard to find.

Pala – Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers

  • I love it!  Chris Wray
  • I like it.  Tery Noseworthy, James Nathan, John P
  • Neutral.  Larry
  • Not for me…

#17:  THE PALACES OF CARRARA

Designed by Michael Kiesling & Wolfgang Kramer, Released 2012

Mini Review by Larry Levy

Palaces of Carrara is a typical Kramer/Kiesling design.  Once again, players are constructing buildings in a picturesque location from the past.  There’s a clever central mechanism–in this case, a wheel which automatically controls the pricing of six types of building blocks and is controlled by the players.  There are challenging restrictions that determine which cities the players can build in. There’s sharp, but indirect, player interaction. There’s also plenty of variety, thanks to multiple scoring objectives, only a few of which are used each game.  Finally, like so many K&K games, it’s very good. The rules are straightforward, so it seems like a middleweight, but it packs the punch of a meatier design. Many different approaches can be successful. It plays quickly, but the decisions are tough ones.  It’s probably my favorite K&K design of the past 15 years and consistently provides players with a challenging, but enjoyable experience. These two old pros have been creating excellent games for over two decades and this is one of their best; needless to say, it deserves to be in print again.

The Palaces of Carrara – Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers

  • I love it!  Michael Weston
  • I like it.  Tery Noseworthy, Larry, Craig M.
  • Neutral.  James Nathan, Brandon Kempf, John P, Mark Jackson
  • Not for me…

#16:  GINKGOPOLIS

Designed by Xavier Georges, Released 2012

Mini Review by Brandon Kempf

What is it with the year 2012 and games being out of print that need to be in print?!?

Ginkgopolis is from Xavier Georges and it brings to the table a myriad of gaming mechanisms all mashed into a wonderful area control game. The theme is kind of silly, sometime in the far future, resources are depleted and humans take their building inspiration from the Ginkgo Biloba tree and are building with nature. Through a mix of card drafting and tile placement you are going to build the city and hopefully build the districts that best score you points at the end of the game. All while doing this your tableau is building an engine of sorts that can churn out resources for you, or even victory points as you take certain actions. Absolutely a beautiful game on the table with the city growing up and out, and it has wonderfully balanced game play to go along with it.

We’ve heard rumors of a reprint coming in the future, but those have been vague and somewhat unreliable as we’ve not seen anything yet. Prices are kind of crazy on Ginkgopolis at the moment, although you can still find a pretty decent deal if you keep an eye open.

Ginkgopolis – Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers

  • I love it! Brandon Kempf
  • I like it.  Chris Wray, Tery Noseworthy
  • Neutral.  James Nathan, Craig M.
  • Not for me…  Michael Weston, Larry
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2 Responses to Games That Deserve a Reprint: #20 to #16

  1. Martin Griffiths says:

    I really enjoy Oregon, Witness and Carrara. I had Pala too but didn’t really get it and moved it on.

  2. Will Plante says:

    I was curious to see if Carrara would make this list, it’s definitely my favorite K&K design. It takes a couple of plays to grasp the nuances of the game, but it’s well worth the effort. I still have success getting this one played with my local group in large part because it plays so quickly and still offers a meaty experience.

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