Time for my next chunk of favorite games of all time! Next is 60-51.
60. Carcassonne: South Seas
Designer: Klaus-Jürgen Wrede
Why it is on the list: Bethany’s (my course co-creator) favorite game is Carcassonne. She gets a ton of the versions to play. This one I think is the best of the group I’ve played so far. I really enjoyed South Seas. I clearly like tile laying and building games from this list so far.
Who may like it: Fans of Carcassonne naturally, but also people who enjoy a slightly different/possibly more strategic twist.
59. Shadows Over Camelot
Days of Wonder
Designer: Bruno Cathala, Serge Laget
Why it is on the list: I enjoy the theme. I enjoy the mechanics. I love the traitor. It would be MUCH higher on my list…except no game can do all of those things better than my number 1 game on my list. I really enjoy that there are a ton of different options you have for what you do next and people can be out on different missions. I love the traitor. I love the sword system for measuring success or failure. I would LOVE to play this more…if it wasn’t for I would rather play what I have at #1 and would play that 10/10 times if given the option between these two games.
Who may like it: Fans of variable player powers, traitors, King Arthur, or games where A LOT is going on but it is so simple everyone can understand.
58. Vast: The Crystal Caverns
Designer: Patrick Leder, David Somerville
Why it is on the list: Quite different than Shadows Over Camelot….there is a lot going on and it is easy to get lost and not understand what is happening at all in this game. The beauty of this game is also the problem with this game for many people. If you are playing a 4 player game of Vast, you are technically playing four different games all at once. Picture a band where one player is playing guitar, another is banging on a trash can, one has a kazoo and the other is reading a book and you will get a general idea of the chaos and disjointed nature of Vast. I like to play the cave. I only want to be the cave. This takes asynchronous game play and moves it to the maximum level. Every person is playing a different game with different mechanics and different win conditions. That is a lot for some people. I just enjoy being the cave.
Who may like it: Fans of total chaos and understanding 7 different things at once. Big multitasks.
57. Terra Mystica
Designer: Jens Drögemüller, Helge Ostertag
Why it is on the list: This was, for a long time, at the top of the BGG list of top games. It is still, at this time 14th….and that drop is largely because of Gaia Project. Variable player powers (I clearly like that.) Tile laying/building. Lots of things I like about games in this. I think if I got to play more this would be much higher on my list. I’ve played 5 times and the most recent was in 2016. I’ve never really come close to winning. But I have really enjoyed every time I’ve played.
Who may like it: Fans of Fantasy, DEEP strategic board games and planning ahead. In other words…this is a John game.
Fantasy Flight Games
Designer: Richard Garfield
Why it is on the list: I don’t know.
Ok…seriously…when Keyforge came out I played it 31 times from November 2018 to May 2019. That is a decent amount. Since May 2019 I haven’t played at all. I really like the game. But it was like a 6 month furry of playing and then…nothing. I have a few untouched decks. I think part of it was the constant rules changes and such…but I haven’t even taken my Keyforge stuff to a game night. Maybe I will play again soon. Or maybe Keyforge will drop out of my thoughts forever and leave the list. This one was hard….I know I like the game. Or liked. Who knows. I guess we will see when and if I ever play again…
Who may like it: First…in my mind this game is over the top. It ISN’T as serious as some people make it. With the no customizing decks this is GREAT for someone who wants to play a card game against others but DOESN’T like deck building. This game is actually the opposite of a deck builder…they were created for people who love building decks for CCG…this is for people who like PLAYING them but hate building the deck.
I really need to play again to see if I want to play again. I like it enough for it to be this high or higher…but it was the most difficult game to place….I considered everything from in the 10-20 range to not being on the list.
Bombyx / Matagot
Designer: Antoine Bauza
Why it is on the list: Cute pandas. Fun mechanics. Great strategy. Cute pandas. Fun expansion. Great theme. Cute Pandas.
For real the main thing is I really do like the mechanics of the game. The action selections and die to roll for abilities leads to a lot of fun.
Who may like it: Fans of cute themed properties. Honestly a ton of anime fans.
Designer: Adrian Adamescu, Daryl Andrews
Why it is on the list: I saw the game and thought “oh, Jennifer will love this game” (which she did) but what i didn’t know immediately was that it would be one of the best brain teaser games I’d played. So strategic, big puzzle to get what you need-this is a great game.
Who may like it: Fans of BEAUTIFUL games, stained glass windows…but more so of a good, AP inducing puzzle.
53. World’s Fair 1893
Designer: J. Alex Kevern
Why it is on the list: This is an area control/set collection game basically…with a theme on it that it is the World’s Fair. The game is super simple to teach (drop a cube, play famous people and do their action, take cards, refill cards. It is that simple. However the strategy to win and counter the moves of your opponents is great. Also, as someone who loves longer games (I almost always pick a 3-5 hour epic game over a 30 minute party game) this is a great good filler between bigger games.
Who may like it: Fans of a game with good strategy but virtually no stress. This game isn’t one that is going to cause many hard feelings or you to be stressed-you’ll have fun win or lose.
52. Caverna: The Cave Farmers
Designer: Uwe Rosenberg
Why it is on the list: This is easily the highest game I’ve only played once on the list…it is just that good and I remember loving it and wanting to play more. I really enjoy worker placement games and I didn’t want this one to end. I would love to play more. Maybe even this weekend…but I know this was a worker placement I really liked.
Who may like it: Fans of good looking worker placement games with a lot going on if I remember. I don’t know why this game sticks in my head as hard as it does but I really liked it.
51. Burger Up!
Designer: Matthew Parkes
Why it is on the list: Tom Vasel frequently says the most underdone theme in games is food. I tell Jennifer all the time “I’m big on hamburgers” and she points at my stomach and says “yes…I know.” This is a game where you are filling gourmet hamburger orders to have the best burger restaurant. It is as simple as that and I love it.
Who may like it: The Hamburgler. Or people who like the app based games where you are filling customer’s orders to have the best restaurant.
Finally, as we are not to the top 50, I want to add a brief interlude. Here are a few games I’ve played for the first time recently (after I created the list.) Who knows-if I do this again they could appear on the list:
Harry Potter Death Eaters Rising – I’ve added this on the list tied with Thanos Rising…you will see it very soon…not sure which I like better but mechanically there are just slight differences. More on this next time…
Resident Evil 2: The Board Game – I love Resident Evil and this year have played Resident Evil Zero Remake, Resident Evil Remake and am now on the Remake of RE2 to prepare for RE3 this spring. I really enjoy the board game and hope to get all the expansions and play through it all eventually.
Uno: Teen Titans – Uno with a slight twist (new Robin rule). Very colorful.
Point Salad – Just the name itself makes me smile but the game was surprisingly solid and I rather enjoyed it. Good filler game…that we played 3 times to lead off a game night because people kept wanting to play it.
Liguria – Good pick-up-and-deliver game. Not the best but it was good.
Captain Marvel: Secret Skrulls – Reskinned Bang: The Card Game with a few twists. Expect that you are playing Bang. Don’t expect to see Bang on my list, so…
Museum – I REALLY liked this game. Although…the game itself lasted 90 minutes and then the PRE-Scoring rearranging took another 30 minutes. I do like the game and want to play a lot more.
Welcome To… – As I believe I’ve mentioned we’ve been playing a lot of roll/draw and write games and as this is considered a top one now I had to give it a try. It was a lot of fun and I look forward to playing more to form a solid opinion.
Aeroplanes: Aviation Ascendant – Despite some rules confusions and mistakes we really enjoyed this Martin Wallace game (hint…you will see one of his games in the top 20) and am excited to play it more since I messed up and did HORRIBLY my first game.
Mapmaker: The Gerrymandering Game – This game was designed by a trio of siblings to explain the problems of Gerrymandering…and they did a tremendous job at doing so. We ended up playing 4 games (in a very short time) and John (who has co-taught the class) was SO MAD and loved the game so much. It was a great game. John’s political pet peeve is gerrymandering and this game demonstrates it amazingly well. John lost the first game and then said “Oh yeah….I need to be unethical and mean…” and went on to beat me the next three. “This game is so great….I hate this…it makes me SO ANGRY.” Great job to the designers.