Monthly Archives: February 2020

Top 100 Games of All Time (40-31)

Time for my next chunk of favorite games of all time! Next is 80-71. This year I have played two of my top 10 all-time games once each…including the number one game…well, technically earlier today. We played until almost 7am…Anyway…to the list!

Also-worth reminding the last list number 81 was Between Two Cities. I may have a reason that is worth mentioning.

40. Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle
Designer: Forrest-Pruzan Creative, Kami Mandell, Andrew Wolf
Owned: Yes

Why it is on the list:  A well done, campaign style deck builder with a Harry Potter theme. There is no part of that sentence I dislike. This is an excellent deck builder where you play through each book of the series (and four more chapters in the expansion.) It is a solid deck builder (although it took to the expansion for the ability to add a “destroy cards” mechanic.) Solid, difficult-this is a great cooperative deck builder.

Who may like it:  Fans of Harry Potter will adore this game. Add in people who have a regular small group who can play through-this is extremely well done for many people.

39. Alien Frontiers
Game Salute
Designer: Tory Niemann
Owned: Yes

Why it is on the list: I played this after Euphoria but the concept of a dice/worker placement game is still not the most common and is extremely well done. I enjoy worker placement as a mechanic (side note for those who have been reading regularly…I have played Caverna again now and it is as good or better than I remember) and the concept that the number you roll impacts what you can do is good. I have discovered I DISLIKE this game at 2 players (it is really mean at two) but overall I really enjoy this game.

Who may like it:  Fans of space theme, cool components and worker placement. Of note…Starting with my second list I started wishing i hadn’t put this part (who may like it) because… is pointless. However…I started, I finish.

38. Burgle Bros
Fowers Games
Designer: Tim Fowers
Owned: NO

Why it is on the list: A friend who now designs games for Wyrd Games pulled this one out and it kind of blew me away. The concept of the modular rooms, the cooperative Ocean’s-esque heist, the variable player powers, the awesome mechanics…this game was a home run for me from the start. Since that time I’ve played the physical game a handful of times and the app version of the game dozens of time and have a great time. This IS a co-op I think I fully prefer to play solo, however. It is fun with others…but I just enjoy this one by myself.

Who may like it:  Have you ever wanted to pull off the heist of the century and escape with all the loot? This game is for you.

A multi-story game of Burgle Bros. Image from

37. Tiny Epic Galaxies
Gamelyn Games
Designer: Scott Almes
Owned: NO

Why it is on the list: I mentioned I think Quest is second and Kingdoms is third…anyone who knows the Tiny Epic games knew this would be the best. Universally praised as the best of the series this space colonization game has been great every time I have played. Keeping all of the Tiny Epic trademarks (following others actions, etc.) this game feels good while playing even if you don’t win.

Who may like it:  Fans of good, solid mechanics and space colonization.

36. T.I.M.E. Stories
Space Cowboy
Designer: Peggy Chassenet, Manuel Rozoy
Owned: NO

Why it is on the list: Quantum Leap, the board game. NOTE: I have NOT finished this campaign style game; we have only played through the first four cases. However, the concept of Quantum Leaping back in to bodies to solve a mystery in a limited amount of time is awesome. I would say more about why I like this game, but SPOILERS.

Who may like it:  Fans of time travel, campaign games, and AWESOME narrative.

35. Wasteland Express Delivery Service
Pandasaurus Games
Designer: Jonathan Gilmour, Ben Pinchback, Matt Riddle
Owned: Yes

Why it is on the list: The last game was Quantum Leap…this one is Mad Max the game. This post-apocalyptic pick-up-and-deliver is over the top in an amazing way. We sat down at Origins to demo and I was very impressed with the fun mechanics, asynchronous drivers, varying missions to get points…and was sold when I learned the game trays come WITH the game. Game Trays (and anything that helps with quick set-up and great storage) are a bonus and this game has it all.

Who may like it: This game is over the top but with strong strategy…and dice that can make or break your game. For real one player was ahead and kept getting stopped by the dice to deliver a nuke and it cost him the game…so your fate isn’t always in your hands.

34. Alchemists
Designer: Matúš Kotry
Owned: Yes

Why it is on the list: When I was in elementary school I was put in the gifted program. It was, for the most part, pointless. We played Oregon Trail and did Logic Problems. The thing I take from the program…I really enjoy logic problems. They are fun to figure out. While a lot of the games I mention (including in this list) are “this IP, the board game” Alchemists is “logic problems: the board game.” That is what this game boils down to. The theme is fun (but not as important) but this is a good game of logic and deduction.

Who may like it:  Do you like to think A LOT and sit while people figure things out? This is the game for you! For real-this may be the most thinky game on the entire list.

33. Five Tribes
Days of Wonder
Designer: Bruno Cathala
Owned: Yes

Why it is on the list: Five Tribes is the 4 player game with six Tribes. None of that necessarily makes a ton of sense but the game is excellent, strategic…and one of the games where you stare at the board, have a plan…only to get it ruined by your opponents. The AP is real in this game but it also an amazing mancala game with a fun theme on top.

Who may like it:  Fans of having a strategy, planning ahead…and then adapting on the fly when your strategy is utterly wrecked by others.

32. Seasons
Designer: Régis Bonnessée
Owned: Yes

Why it is on the list: I remember the first time Jennifer and I played this. It was at a monthly game night and Chris Beeman taught us. It was rather late (1 or 2 am) and he was…a bit intoxicated. The draft didn’t go well for Jennifer or I as we knew nothing but quickly the draft, the dice rolling, the resource gathering…every aspect of this game just clicks. We need the expansions because we now know the cards we want, the cards we hate and what to ignore. And the dice are so chunky.

Who may like it:  This game has BEAUTIFUL artwork that lures people in and, with the 3 years/4 seasons approach a good chance to plan early but change things on the fly.

A game of Seasons in progress. Image from

31. Shakespeare
Ystari Games
Designer: Herve Rigal
Owned: Yes

Why it is on the list: I was a theatre minor and love going to the theatre. Shakespeare is awesome. So this action point based game of putting on the best play is right down my alley. I enjoy the theme, the game is fun, the references are great-all around just a wonderful experience to play.

Who may like it:  Fans of the theatre and in particular of Shakespeare who will get the references on the cards.

Game of the Week: Survive! Escape from Atlantis

Yesterday in Tabletop games and Leadership, we played Survive! Escape from Atlantis. We had the complete expansion set, but opted out of using the Octopus expansion. This game was interesting. It was a game different than anything I played before. This game is in the combat game genre and the only other specifically combat game I played before was King of Tokyo, but it had extremely different game mechanics.

For Survivie! Escape from Atlantis, you were given several meeple with several different values from 1-6. They are placed on the mixed tiles in the middle of the board representing Atlantis and you must board a boat and sail safely to the corners of the board to land. There are sea monsters that can move and destroy your boat and kill your meeple. Other players have the opportunity to control these monsters and target you. The end of the game is decided by a volcano tile and you count the values of the meeple you saved.

The hard part about this game is the helplessness I felt while playing. There were so many opportunities for players to kill your people before it was your turn again and sometimes they weren’t even the cause. I lost both games while playing in class and I lost by a giant margin compared to everyone else. I was told this game doesn’t cause much anger when meeple are killed, but when I lost all my meeple except 1 in the second game, I couldn’t help but feel a bit upset. It was so hard to avoid death for me or even get my meeple off the island. At the end though, I feel like I have to narrow it down to the luck of the tiles I chose to put my meeple on and the tiles I chose to sink.

Leadership in the game I believe is in the cooperation you must do in this game despite it being a combat game where it is player versus player. When a player boards your boat you must make a pact to work together to get out alive. When a player has the opportunity to kill your meeple, you must convince them why they should not. Leadership cannot work without cooperation and teamwork even when you don’t want to work with the others on your team. I’ve learned from a different class about the difference between teams and groups. Groups split up the work and never discuss together and at the end, the project is a thrown together Frankenstein of several different approaches to the problem. Teams constantly meet and there is a leader who brings people together to work on the problem and create a seamless product. Teams are the better option and this game shows that you cannot win without a little bit of teamwork with others you are competing with.

Even though I already know he loves this game, I would have definitely recommended this game to my friend Jeremy. He was the one who showed me the game King of Tokyo and always wants to compete in games. He has expressed how much he hates cooperation in games and wants to do everything himself. I also saw this when playing Bohnanza with him. He barely traded at all and ended up losing. He did not want to help others even when it was hurting him. He would love to kill meeple in Survive and quickly escape by himself.

I would love to try this game again and hope for better luck.

This Week in Game Design

For This Week in Game Design, I decided to investigate virtual reality. I chose this because it is an emerging technology and can be applicable in both video games and in the real world. For example, my mother sometimes volunteers at a school for the blind. They have a state-of-the-art VR room for people who are seeing to give them a chance to see what it is like being blind or visually impaired. In addition to putting on headsets and wearing headphones to further enhance the experience, this room also has different textures on the floor and walls to offer a fully interactive space. For example, you can “be” a person with glaucoma crossing a busy road or at the grocery store. While virtual reality can help people understand other’s positions, it is also really cool and offers a unique gaming experience. When considering the capabilities of VR, there are three areas in which I believe VR should be further explored: VR in relation to stress, VR as a means of training first responders, and the effects of VR in the field of medicine.

Virtual reality could be a way to reduce stress in teenagers and adults. According to an article by Jessica Lofgren for the Carrick Institute, VR can be used for different types of stress relief. The first method of stress relief is relaxing. By using VR to relax, you can do things like meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and yoga. Additionally, people are shown different environments to make the experience as personal and calming as possible. Another form of stress-relief from VR is engaging. People can interact with things virtually and the environment is customizable to help people relax in an active way that they prefer. For example, there are fight games if someone is angry and needs to smash a plate or two. The final one is personalized. This is a newer development, but it is developed on distinctive features derived from the users’ memory. This would probably include artificial intelligence, which could provide an experience that lets a person take a walk down memory lane. Since so many people are extremely stressed all the time, using VR could be an interesting way to unwind. It can be as involved or as uninvolved as the user wants. Personally, I would use relaxation VR and do something calming, like walking on trails or sitting on a nice beach. 

Another area of research in training first responders. The Shenandoah Center for Immersive Learning created simulators to present at a public safety open house. Using VR to train first responders is a smart use of the technology because it allows people in training to be put into a simulated situation where they can apply the skills they were taught and see how one course of action could have a different outcome, either for better or worse. The director of the Emergency Preparedness Instructional Center agreed, saying that he is more prepared to handle real-world tasks than before due to the additional training. This is a direct link to show that virtual reality can help keep our neighborhoods safer because our first responders feel better equipped to handle certain situations. Additionally, using VR to train could open the possibilities of making it easier to deal with cybercrime. Understanding the technology behind virtual reality forces everyone in the unit to be more familiar with current technology, which can lead to improvement in tracking and preventing online crimes. It seems like Shenandoah first responders had a positive experience with this training and I firmly believe that other departments, especially those in large cities, can benefit from VR training. 

The final area of research to investigate regarding VR is in the field of medicine. Like the first responders, using VR in a hospital could help surgeons train before performing surgery. Additionally, it allows for practice and means that more skilled specialists could be available in the workforce. Already, there have been some visible advantages to VR in the healthcare industry. VR can be used to treat chronic pain because it forces the brain to not focus on the pain. This also shortens the duration that people will need to stay in a hospital. VR has proven effective in fighting memory loss. Through VR, memories of Alzheimer’s patients can be jogged by helping them to recall past experiences through associations, places, or images. Having a family member with severe memory loss can be a strain on a person, but being able to see them have a breakthrough or remember something significant could be a huge comfort.  Virtual reality has a place in medicine and can be used to improve the overall health of the population through trainings and treatments. 

Virtual reality and other video games can be seen as “pointless” or as “time-wasters.” However, virtual reality has the potential to improve everyone’s lives. As of now, most virtual reality headsets are marketed towards people who play video games, and thus, is labeled as a video game. This is a major issue, because as expressed, there are several different areas in which VR can be used to improve the world. In the future, it would be very interesting to see how VR becomes a part of our daily routines because of the convenience and flexibility it offers.

Game of the Week: Mysterium

Last week I got the chance to play the game Mysterium in Tabletop Games and Leadership. Several times since coming to college I heard of this game and how I should play it because of my obsession with Betrayal at the House on the Hill and Clue. As much as Clue holds a dear place in my heart from my childhood, this game blew it out of the water. Mysterium contains intrigue, cooperation, and creative thinking.

Mysterium is a game with a team of detectives and a ghost who are all working together to solve the ghost’s murder. The ghost may not speak and will give the detectives dreams to hint towards the person, place and weapon. The detectives discuss their dreams with the other detectives and they try to uncover what it means. Once everyone finds their own stories, the ghost will give a final hint to the players on what is the true story of their demise.

I have not played Mysterium before this class and it was easy to pick up and figure out. However, there is some difficulty in deciding what each dream means. There are usually several unique aspects to each card and it is hard to distinguish which aspect the ghost was aiming for. The advantage a returning team of players have is memories associated with certain cards. Friends who play this game can develop a very specific meaning to a card which any one of them could understand immediately when given this card. As difficult as it is to be a new player to the game, the randomness of the cards and the fact you are working together compensates for this.

The Tabletop games and Leadership course gives you a new perspective on games every week because you start to decide what about the game could tie back to leadership. There are many things in this game that could teach leadership, but one of these is the ghost’s position. The ghost of the game has no say in what the dream they gave meant. They chose based on their own ideas and associations with the card. However, they are able to listen to and view the thought process of the detectives. The ghost must reach an understanding of where everyone’s ideas are at and what they focus on. Through this observation, they can change the entire game’s direction toward everyone’s success. This relates a lot back to leadership because you cannot lead without your followers. Leaders must understand their followers’ needs in order to successfully lead and keep their followers from wandering. I did not play the role of the ghost, but I would love the opportunity to lead the detectives in their mystery.

I love the game Mysterium, but I know of someone else who would also love to play this. My sister-in-law Claire. Claire and my brother, Shane, are major board game nerds and would always invite their friends over to play during college. Claire is intelligent and precise, but her personality is very easy going. She is cooperative because she would always trade with me during our games of Catan and listen to my ideas on how to overthrow my brother from his board game throne. Shane is very competitive and will do whatever it takes to win. I know from growing up with him I would try to avoid being on a team against him. I’m sure Claire would love a game where it is fun and cooperative to avoid my brother’s boasting or sulking at the game’s end.

Overall, this was a fantastic game for week 4 of this course. I can’t wait for week 5!

Game of the Week: Mysterium

This week in class, we played Mysterium. Like every single game in this class, I had no idea how to play when I got to class, even though I read all the instructions and watched the video. However, I was pleased to experience that game play was much more simple than I was anticipating. I know a lot of people around me said this, but Mysterium was like a more advanced version of Clue.

There were four players and one “ghost.” The ghost was recently killed and is trying to avenge their murderer. To do this, the ghost hands a photo card to each player. The photo card is meant to give some indication to the player about who the murderer was, the location in which it happened, and the murder item. Each player has their own scenario but can share information on their cards to see who has what scenario. When a person decides on a person, place, or thing, they move their player to that card and people can vote if they think that person is right or wrong. The ghost provides feedback about who is right or wrong and whoever is right proceeds to the next level. When everyone figures out all the pieces to their puzzle, the ghost reveals a few more images to show who the killer is. Each player then votes on the scenario they think is right. If the majority guess right, everyone wins.

The ghost is, without a doubt, the leader in this game. They provide the proper images for each scenario and guide each player into correctly figuring out who the murderer is. The ghost is unable to talk, so they can only communicate through the image cards. This takes an immense amount of leadership because the ghost has to be able to figure out everyone’s communication styles quickly and silently to point them in the right direction.

This game was really fun and I am considering getting it for personal use. My cousin Elsa is 10, and I recently introduced her to Clue, which she quickly fell in love with. The thing with Clue is that is does not have as many options as Mysterium and we both quickly got bored. I will show her this game if I purchase it when I get home.

RECON Reflection

On February 21th, 2020, I did something I have never done before and something I thought I would never do: attend a video game conference. Under any normal circumstance, I would not have attended. I did not know anyone there and I have no clue how to play video games. However, there was an exception: Ultimate Werewolf. We played Ultimate Werewolf on the first day of class and it was so much fun that I just had to go to RECON to play it again. 

Since I did not want to go to RECON alone, I decided to bring my boyfriend with me. He plays more video games than I do and actually had some semblance as to what was happening. We arrived shortly before midnight, pumped to play Ultimate Werewolf. It was his first time playing and since I enjoyed it so much, he figured that he would try his hand at the game too.

This version of Werewolf was much different than what we played in class. This was the “legacy” mode, where instead of Werewolves versus Villagers, it was Werewolves versus Villagers versus the British versus the person who had to guess what team would end up dying (I forgot his character name). Upon receiving my card, I realized that I was the Diseased and had Coronavirus (defined by the Moderator). This meant that if I died, the Werewolves could not kill anyone that night either, since they also had Coronavirus. I was amused to be the Diseased since my role protected my fellow villagers for another night. In a way, my role reminded me of the “medic” but in a more broad way, as they saved the entire village for a night. I was looking forward to learning the dynamic of the group and becoming more involved as the game continued, but unfortunately, I was killed on the first night. I ended up being okay with this since my boyfriend was still in the game and I could watch him try to live until the last possible second. Surprisingly, he made it nearly to the end and his team, the Brits, were the victors of the game.

The Legacy version of this game was quite interesting and very bloody. It seemed like as someone died, they were able to also kill another person or two along with them. For example, everytime one of the Brits died, they had to take out someone to either their left or their right in addition to them. There was also the unique role of the Leprechaun who had the power to shift the wolves’ target either one to the left or the right.  As I watched, I saw that the Leprechaun saved a few people on the Villager team a few times. I also saw how my boyfriend was supposed to be killed twice, but because of the Leprechaun, he made it out alive. 

This version of Ultimate Werewolf was less fun than the way we played in class on Week 1. Part of that has to do with the fact that no one knew anyone during Week 1, whereas everyone playing at RECON seemed to know each other and quite well, too. When I entered the Armstrong Pavilion at around midnight, I was immediately stressed and a bit anxious. Usually, whenever I walk into a room at Miami, I am able to recognize a handful of people and approach them for conversation and guidance. This was not the case with RECON. I only knew myself and my boyfriend, and I tend to get extremely introverted in situations when I do not know people. As a result, I mostly people-watched and did not interact with many individuals. I think I would have had more fun at this event if I knew more people or if everyone was a stranger. 

After leaving from Armstrong, my boyfriend made an observation to me. I am a business student and spend most of my time in Farmer, so I know so many people who are involved within the business community. When I walk into a room full of business students, it is not weird, awkward, or stressful because I know a handful of people in each room. However, someone like my biology major boyfriend walks into a room full of business students and is stressed because he does not know anyone or what is going on, so he likes to stand back and people-watch.  Me walking into RECON resembled him walking into a gathering with business students. I was simply at an event where I knew no one, so I kept to myself. 

Although I only saw about two hours worth of RECON, it looked like it was a blast for people who enjoy gaming. There were screens everywhere and video games of all kinds were being played. I had another friend who ended up going to RECON for a different event and he had a phenomenal time. I would not be surprised if I found myself here again next year to people-watch and try my hand at some non-video games. Had it not been for EDL290, I would have never known that RECON existed and I never would have had a chance to see a gaming event on Miami’s campus. It is a goal of mine to try to attend as many things outside of my scope of interests while I am in school, and this ticked off another thing on the list for me. I will say that I did enjoy RECON more than anticipated and look forward to possibly attending other gaming events on campus.

The Actual Game of Life

Funnily enough, in most situations that require a leader aren’t the same situations that one would regard as lighthearted and fun as a game. However, if you break a game down to its core components and mechanics, leadership and games are one and the same. 

Let’s start first with the simplest idea: choosing a character. Although many games don’t have named characters/factions/races/whatever, all games give each player some identifiable aspect. In some games it is a single character, in others you get assigned a color, and in video games you are assigned a player number. In leadership, your followers need to have a way to identify you. Are you known as approachable? Do you use fear tactics? Do you dress in some unique way that can be clearly described as you? In this way, we can also describe leadership as filling out a character sheet for a role playing game, like DnD or Starfinder. Based on your class or leadership platform, you have to figure out how to best allocate your stats and how to build up different skills. Just like bards, leaders need to be charismatic, but how do you know whether charisma is more important than wisdom when you’re standing on the spot in front of hundreds of watching eyes in what may be a life threatening situation? In real life, you don’t have to be stuck maintaining a consistent character different than yourself like you do in an RPG, but is it something that has to be considered at a podium? Unfortunately, in real life leadership, we don’t get a character sheet that clearly lays out our different skills; it’s something we have to figure out for ourselves. Luckily for us, however, we also do not have to make skill check rolls and can save ourselves from potential critical failures. 

Win conditions are also a key part in any game. Technically, there’s no solid way to win at leadership, but there are multiple checklists a person can go through to make sure they are leading effectively. This can include anything from how much food is stocked to how many people smiled at you that day. In games you collect victory points and in leadership you can gain influence by picking up more followers. The key difference in games and leadership in this aspect is that the win conditions of leadership don’t trigger the end of the “game”; you have to continue on or your cause will fail. Leadership win conditions are rather turned into checkpoints. When a player hits a checkpoint, they may save the game and exit, or can choose to follow on to the next checkpoint. As a leader, do you stop once your petition has over a thousand signatures and keep it as a good resume, or do you continue on to college to pursue a degree in political science for a chance to run for senate? Even a preschool teacher must ask himself these questions. He can either simply cover the basics of what his toddler students need to know, or take the time to install a passion for learning inside of them. He then creates followers in his cause of education that may grow up to be leaders of their own. He completes his checkpoint of passing the torch. 

Unfortunately, both games and leadership leave players with setbacks. These setbacks can be caused by other players, a bad hand, or even the environment. Most setbacks are unpredictable and can have dire consequences. Setbacks, especially in games, typically require on your feet thinking. You can choose to get back at the player, redraw your hand or attempt to manipulate the environment for your benefit. Depending on your leadership style and platform, these may not necessarily be viable options. A loving mother shouldn’t hit her child for using Sharpie to color the walls, but she may still feel the need to retaliate through punishment. In a game, these “uh oh” moments are simple, easy and quick to resolve, but it doesn’t work that way in real life. If a parent lashes out and does hit their child, the child doesn’t just lose some gold; they potentially gain lifelong trauma and a lesson that it’s okay to use violence as means of punishment. Your reaction to the setback may act as a catalyst to a whole bunch of other setbacks, which are not so easily resolved in real life.

Strategic players are great at being able to look at the game and see where they will be five turns from now. It’s an amazing skill to have as a leader. If you are able to plan for where you’re headed, it’ll make your path a lot easier.  If you want to become an effective leader, no matter what your platform or essence, you must start by choosing your character. Then, create a win checklist to go through and create a plan for dealing with setbacks. Leadership is a tough game to learn and it’s full of twists and turns, but it’s a damn good one to learn.

Game of the Week Reflection 2- Hanabi

In the second week of EDL290, we played two games: Mental Blocks and Hanabi. This reflection will focus on Hanabi, which is a collaborative card game about creating a firework show. Mechanically, this manifests itself in a way similar to Solitaire- The players must arrange the firework cards both by color suit and in ascending order (in this case 1-5). The more cards you can lay down before running through the deck, the more points you get, and the better your fictional firework show is. The twist is that you must hold your hand facing outward so that everyone but you can see it. You then must rely on the other players to give you hints about which cards you should play. This requires some memorization on your part- You want to remember the hints other players have given you, because the whole table has a shared, finite pool of hints and lives (the former of which can be replenished, and the latter cannot). Primarily though, the outcome of the game relies much more on communication and collaboration between teammates than any one player’s memory skills. It is important to anticipate the other players’ moves and give them hints that will be immediately useful, rather than wasting hint tokens to try and give them a picture of every card in their hand. People who like the puzzle aspect of Solitaire but always found it too, well- solitary- will like this game. I like it, and I think many of my close friends would as well.

The hardest part of Hanabi and its themes of leadership are one and the same. The game hinges on your ability to guide individual teammates as well as communicate effectively with the group as a whole. As our table got the hang of the game, we found ourselves having conversations about what the next several people should do on their turns. For example, ‘This person needs to be given a hint, but we need to replenish tokens first so someone before them should discard a card…’. This became easier to do once we worked out a system for giving and understanding each other’s hints. This required a good amount of nonverbal communication (since hints can only be specific kinds of phrases) as well as trust between our players. Understandably, this took the first several turns of the game to build, especially because we didn’t know each other that well yet. Despite this, we ultimately completed the game with a decent (but far from perfect) score. Everyone at the table was ready to jump right back in and play again- We were sure we could do even better the second time after having figured out how to work together. Unfortunately, we did not have time. But this is a game I would absolutely consider picking up with almost any group, especially if we did have time to play two or three games of it so that we can perfect our team’s own, unique leadership and communication strategies.

-Sam Hartzell

Top 100 Games of All Time (50-41)

We’ve made it to the top 50! Well…the first chunk of the top 50, anyway.

Also-worth reminding the last list number 81 was Between Two Cities. I may have a reason that is worth mentioning.

50. Death Eaters Rising / Thanos Rising
Designer: Death Eaters: Patrick Marino/Andrew Wolf Thanos: Andrew Wolf
Owned: Yes

Why it is on the list:  So…I am NOT cheating. First…this is virtually the exact same game with a different theme. Second…I’m not saying they are definitely BOTH here. I just haven’t determined which I liker better. They had to change one small mechanic for the theme switch but really they are the same game. This is a card drafting/dice rolling co-op where you are trying to match symbols to recruit heroes or defeat villains. Fun co-op. Just depends: do you prefer the Harry Potter or Marvel theme?

Who may like it:  Fans of the two properties. People who want a simple but occasionally challenging co-op. People who are ok with the level of chance of incorporating both dice AND cards to add those elements into games.

49. IT: Evil Below
Designer: Sean Fletcher
Owned: Yes

Why it is on the list: You’ll float down here. YOU’LL ALL FLOAT! Also…two co-ops to start this part of the list? WHO AM I? There will be even more in this part of the list…not sure what is happening! Regardless, on to the game. A well-made game based on my favorite book of all time (more accurately: made on a movie made about my favorite game of all time if you want to be technical) this is another dice rolling/get symbols/defeat the baddie game. Wow….until typing this I didn’t realize this is ALMOST another version of the last games…but with a lot more mechanics and twist. But at the core…role the dice, defeat the villain. So…

Who may like it:  Not Jennifer….that is for sure. Well…Mechanically she would but she will not play this. So next to that…There is a very good Stephen King game out. Any fans of his (or co-ops or evil clowns) should give this one a go.

The cover the IT: Evil Below from

48. Ascension: Deckbuilding Game
Stone Blade Entertainment
Designer: John Fiorillo, Justin Gary, Brian M. Kibler
Owned: NO

Why it is on the list: Star Realms, as I think I mentioned, was the first deck builder I played. This was also very early and there are a ton of things I like about this one. I like having both buy and attack power (which is different than my favorite deck builder.) I like the VP pieces with the game. I like the various things (many from expansions) such as events. I like the “you always have this one guy to beat on.” Overall just a solid deckbuilder.

Who may like it:  Fans of deckbuilding games that are a bit more complex.

47. Tiny Epic Quest
Gamelyn Games
Designer: Scott Almes
Owned: Yes

Why it is on the list: What I think is the second best Tiny Epic game. This game can be boiled down to “The Legend of Zelda: The Board game” in the simplest sense. It has all of the Tiny Epic hallmarks (following actions, oversized cards to make the board, meeples of some sort (Itemeeples introduced here) and more. At the center of the whole thing: it just feels like playing an 8-bit Zelda game.

Who may like it:  Fans of the old school Legend of Zelda (or other adventure/RPG) games or just that basic concept as a whole. (Going on quests)

46. Azul
Plan B Games
Designer: Michael Kiesling
Owned: No

Why it is on the list: I held off on playing Azul for a while…the main reason being everyone played it quickly and it ended up with always 3 experienced players offering me a spot in the game. I didn’t want to slow them down to only have to teach me-so I always said no. Finally I grabbed a copy and had Jennifer just teach me the game. Tile placement laying/figuring out a puzzle/pattern-I believe all things I have mentioned I like in games. I am NOT good at all at this game.

Who may like it:  Fans of aesthetics in game who don’t really care about theme. Realistically the theme, in as much as there is one, is pasted on. Theme isn’t what brings you to Azul.

45. Suburbia
Bezier Games
Designer: Ted Alspach
Owned: Yes

Why it is on the list: However the theme is strong and great with this one. Continuing to boil it down to something similar: this game can most closely be compared to SimCity in some ways. You are trying to build the city with the largest population. Tile placement & building games are things I’ve mentioned a lot (and listed several games) and this (especially the anniversary edition) is one of the absolute best ever.

Who may like it:  Urban planners. People who can keep track of 17 things at once.

The components of the Suburbia: Collector’s edition. Image from

44. The Networks
Formal Ferret Games
Designer: Gil Hova
Owned: Yes

Why it is on the list: Let’s see…what is on TV tonight? The Wacky TSA Agent? Who stars in that? That guy who dies in everything? I have to watch that! In The Networks you are a top Network Executive taking over a horrible TV station and trying to get the most viewers for your network. This game is really a genius game of managing a tv station. For as deep and strategic as the game is it also has amazing humor.

Who may like it:  I knew Jennifer would enjoy this game because of her love for TV. Humor and TV fans will enjoy this game.

43. Dinosaur Island
Pandasaurus Games
Designer: Jonathan Gilmour, Brian Lewis
Owned: Yes

Why it is on the list: Basically Jurassic Park the board game with no license. this dice rolling rile placement worker placement game is a ton of fun. You are trying to build the best (and maybe safest dinosaur theme park. Balancing money, DNA, and more to have the most exciting and best park while minimizing the number of eaten visitors and avoiding the hooligans.

Who may like it:  RAWR. (And fans of Jurassic Park and all things retro.)

Some of the Dinosaur Island dino-meeples. Image from

42. Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island
Portal Games
Designer: Ignacy Trzewiczek
Owned: NO

Why it is on the list: Extremely difficult co-op. Amazing solo experience. Fun theme. Very tense. This isn’t really a campaign game…it comes with a lot of scenarios you can play and suggests you play in order but they aren’t tied to each other or part of a continuing story. However, this is an excellent cooperative experience. It also includes exploration and a TON for you to do in the game. I love exploration.

Who may like it:  Fans of classic literature. Fans of major challenge in games.

41. Betrayal Legacy
Avalon-Hill Games
Designer: Rob Daviau, Noah Cohen, JR Honeycutt, Ryan Miller, Brian Neff, Andrew Veen
Owned: Yes

Why it is on the list: I’m about halfway through. This is one of my favorite Legacy experiences yet. I don’t want to say much here but the group we have is amazing and the story and mechanics are very well done. There are some cool things and some stories are better than others but this is an excellent legacy game and a must if you enjoy Betrayal. NOTE: This game is limited to 5 players, not 6 like all other Betrayal games.

Who may like it:  Fans of Betrayal at House on the Hill as well as fans of horror or haunted houses.

Game of the Week: Betrayal

In class this past week, we played Betrayal at House on the Hill. I had never heard of this game (I have not heard of most games that we will play in class), but I read the instructions and prepared for class as usual. After reviewing the instructions a handful of times and watching instructional videos, I still did not get the gist of the game, but figured I would probably pick up on it when we started playing in groups.

The two other people at my table were very helpful in explaining how to play the game, but I still did not understand the objective. They held my hand and led me through proper game instruction as we progressed. All I know is that one of the players became the Traitor and battled me twice, killed me off (twice) and that is how he won. The turn-to-turn game interaction was fun and gave me ideas for my own board game that I need to design.

Each of us chose a character that had different stats and advantages. As we drew cards, our stats could improve or we could get injured, thus leaving us with some form of disadvantages. We could draw omens that would harm the group, items to help us improve, and events that made our character do something. There are several different endings to this game that are determined by rolling the die and reading that number in a little booklet. Our ending involved some dead bride who ended up doubly killing me when I was trying to get the corpse to the attic in time for the wedding.

Throughout the game, the two other players demonstrated a high level of leadership. They both guided me before and during game play, ensuring that I also had fun. It was a kind thing for them to do, considering they were both familiar with the game and I was brand new. Additionally, both of them displayed leadership when we understood who the Traitor was. They both led the team and made decision strategies for their “teams” (would be more applicable if there were more players to form teams) on how to win the game. Ultimately, my team lost due to two poor rolls of dice.

This game was fun, but given the opportunity, I do not think I would play this again. However, I think my dad would enjoy this game. He likes games that are intricate and involve different endings because they “add adventure to the games.” I will have to introduce Betrayal to him.

-Alexandra Bartkoske