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Odd Duck Games


odd duck (plural odd ducks)

  1. (idiomatic) An unusual person, especially an individual with an idiosyncratic personality or peculiar behavioral characteristics.

(Wiktionary, 2018)

I do not think I have used the term Odd Duck to refer to a person before but I do use the term to refer to a selection of games that I really enjoy but do not seem, either in actuality or in my perception, to get the buzz or love from the larger gaming community. I might consider them to be Odd Duck games because they have one or more of the following:

  • Have a unique or odd theme
  • Difficult to get to the table on a gameday
  • Never had or had limited popularity in the gaming community
  • Small, relatively unheard of
  • Odd mechanisms or play style

I know these classifications are completely subjective and each person will have their own idea of what games are obscure enough to fit this category. But I think the more interesting conversation is what games do we each individually love that may not be shared by the majority? Especially in our current state with the internet and many many reviewers who put out opinions on the newest games – what happens when the majority reviewers give a negative review of a game and what might that do for the consumer? I for one have had bias build up because of board game reviews which caused me to avoid certain games. For all I know… one of those games could qualify as an Odd Duck for me.

A notable example is AquaSphere designed by Stefan Feld. When it first came out, I saw mediocre review after mediocre review portraying this game as not living up to the legacy of Feld games. I was finally convinced to try it out and when I played AquaSphere for the first time, I was blown away by the two distinct parts of the game that happen on separate boards: programming actions and taking actions. I really liked how the game forces players to plan ahead while also limiting the actions that can be programmed and taken. Quickly, this game became a favorite of mine and I am glad I tried it despite having seen and read all those less than stellar reviews.

Here is my Geeklist tracking my Odd Duck games: 


My list includes:

  • Antarctica
  • AquaSphere
  • Brew Crafters
  • Captains of Industry
  • Chimera
  • Fish Cook
  • Five Cucumbers
  • High Treason: The Trial of Louis Riel
  • IKI
  • Linko!
  • Matcha
  • Tessen
  • Valley of the Kings
  • VivaJava: The Coffee Game: The Dice Game


What ‘Odd Duck’ games do you love and why?


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