Top 20! The games from here on out are games I will gladly play 90% of the time I get the option. This list has 3 games from my favorite Publisher which is interesting and I own 8/10 of them. Truly some great games that really the order of preference in this is the flip of a coin. Depending on the day my 19 could be my 11…so at this point it could go either way.
Designer: Jamey Stegmaier
Why it is on the list: There is a very good chance this is the first worker placement game I played and it blew me away. Not just the game, but also the production, the resources…everything. A friend of mine (one of the designers now of Malifaux (Third Edition) brought it to play and I am sure I was horrible but loved the idea of worker placement, as you can see throughout this list. Not sure what the next one I played was but was slightly disappointed at NOT using dice as my workers because that whole mechanic was amazing. (Of course I’ve since also played Alien Frontiers and other worker placement games, but this one is still one I love.
Who may like it: If you take the Board Games Motivation Profile test one of the areas is aesthetics. As with any Stonemaier Game…the aesthetics and components are top notch. Also fans of dystopian futures.
Designer: Elizabeth Hargrave
Why it is on the list: When Jamey Stegmaier announced he was publishing another game from a new designer I knew I would give it a chance but wasn’t sure what I would think. After one play of this engine builder I thought “I personally don’t care about the theme but love that it is a different theme…but the game is just so good I need to order.” It has quickly become a “easy-ish to learn, difficult to master” game for a number of people and has already transcended just modern game fans into greater society. Hopefully games like this: beautiful games with unique themes and with women design teams become more the standard that unique.
Who may like it: Bird enthusiasts, fans of extremely mechanically solid games, or…well…just about everyone.
18. Sid Meier’s Civilization (2010)
Fantasy Flight Games
Designer: Kevin Wilson
Why it is on the list: See: previous entry for A New Dawn. I have played more Sid Meier’s Civilization on computer than any other game. This game feels a lot like the computer game. Exploration, choice of the victory you go after, the tech tree, etc. This is a great Civilization game.
Who may like it: Fans of the computer game.
17. The Castles of Burgundy
Designer: Stefan Feld
Why it is on the list: This is one of Jennifer’s favorite games and is an excellent game. There are people who aren’t happy with the look of the game. However, this is an excellent tile placement game with a form of dice worker placement. There is a lot going on and (and I love this) you don’t always know who is going to win. I’ve had someone ahead by 40+ points when the game ends and they lose in final scoring. Jennifer enjoys playing most games…this game she plays to win and is unhappy when she doesn’t. In games she’s played with me…she does win, as she has won 57% of the games of this we’ve played.
Who may like it: Fans of building your own kingdom with a ton of options to get the points you need and tons of buildings with different abilities. We’ve played 24 times and I still have to look up what different buildings do.
16. Twilight Imperium (Fourth Edition)
Fantasy Flight Games
Designer: Dane Beltrami, Corey Konieczka, Christian T. Petersen
Why it is on the list: I played TI3 4 times. Four awesome, fun, LONG games. (Average play time: 9 hours, 22 minutes PER GAME.) A friend came to me who needed to run a playtest for a game and said “could you find people to help me playtest?” I said sure…what game? His response: “a new edition of a game called Twilight Imperium…you heard of it?” I was excited and jumped right back in as the Yssaril (who are not nearly as good in TI4 as they were in 3) and fell in love with the changes that totally fixed some of the problems I had with TI3…to the point that, while I won’t say I would NEVER go back I wouldn’t be nearly as likely to play TI3 again.
Since that time I’ve played 9 games of TI4 (average play time: 5:58…so much shorter than TI3) and have loved it. I even won a game…once. This game is epic in all of the right ways and is something that could easily be MUCH higher for me. It flows from top 20 to about here for me depending. The thing I constantly asked myself was “do you like this TI4 or a different game better?” As I played them I decided, given the choice, I would play the OTHER space epic game roughly 9/10 times given the option…so it is the higher of the two. How high? #7 on the list…though I have flipped things a few times in the top 10 since I started so it could be anywhere from 5-9 depending on the day and when I get there.
Who may like it: Space epic. Playing one game a quarter of a day. If those things appeal to you…let’s play TI4. If not…this game is NOT for you. This isn’t a fun casual sit-down with friends. This is a commitment you make.
Designer: Jamey Stegmaier
Why it is on the list: A bit about me: I have never drank, smoked, done drugs, etc. Many in my family have a problem with alcoholism and drug abuse and I decided at an early age that I could not get involved in any of that. So while I love Jamey Stegmaier’s games and heard great things I was slow to try this game because of theme. I won’t lie: I still don’t care about the theme…but this game is so good the theme really doesn’t matter. This is an amazing (one of the best ever) worker placement games, especially when you add Tuscany in.
Who may like it: Fans of wine, wine making…but more fans of an excellent, elegant worker placement game with a ton of options.
14. Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization
Designer: Vlaada Chvatil
Why it is on the list: I’ve talked twice about loving Sid Meier’s Civilization. THIS is the best civilization game on the market. It would probably be higher but I’ve only played it twice (with plans to play it a third time tomorrow.) That is how many times I’ve played the actual physical game. The app? I’ve probably played 100+ games of Through the Ages. Primary reason? The two plays I’ve had of the game have averaged 6 hours. One game on the app? 30 minutes. However, this is an awesome game…just with a lot of fiddly bits.
Who may like it: If you like civilization building, especially in something like Sid Meier’s Civilization video games…this is the game for you. It is, like a Civilization game SHOULD be an epic and you have to be prepared for that. Also…you can have Sid Meier as an Age III ruler.
13. Valeria Card Kingdoms
Daily Magic Games
Designer: Isaias Vallejo
Why it is on the list: I remember the first time I played Machi Koro. I was mesmerized and wanted to play again and again. I had to buy it immediately. Last year at Origins we needed to find a game to play to sit down and stumbled upon a company we had never heard of with a game we had never heard of but were like “we will try it.” Now (and I say this while near the end of a Machi Koro Legacy game) I never care if I play base Machi Koro again. This game does almost everything Machi Koro does…and does it all 100 times better.
Who may like it: Fans of Machi Koro (or other dice rolling engine builders) who don’t mind switching their game of choice to this excellent game.
12. Terraforming Mars
Designer: Jacob Fryxelius
Why it is on the list: This engine builder is currently the #3 game of all time on boardgamegeek.com. This is an amazing game that I fell in love with from play #1 and that hasn’t changed. I love the base game and though I own one of the expansions I have never played with any of them. And I’m not worried if I do. This is an excellent game.
Who may like it: This is the #3 game on BGG…a ton of people love it.
11. Star Wars: Imperial Assault
Fantasy Flight Games
Designer: Justin Kemppainen, Corey Konieczka, Jonathan Ying
Owned: Yes….some of it. But I really want the parts I don’t have.
Why it is on the list: Another Star Wars in a box game. Moreover: This is an excellent story-telling/campaign based game. I prefer it with the app over playing with a human overlord but both are fun. The minis are fantastic, the story they have developed is great and I enjoy going through the side missions and how the app handles everything.
Who may like it: Fans of Star Wars will love this, as will fans of narrative and storytelling.
As I prepare for my last list soon, a few interesting numbers:
Top Game companies:
Fantasy Flight Games: 9
Stonemaier Games: 8
Pandasaurus Games: 6
Jamey Stegmaier: 5
Corey Konieczka: 4
Highest Rated: Gloomhaven (1)
Lowest Rated: IT: Evil Below (10,193-mainly because of number of ratings)
Top 10 is all that is left. Hopefully I get to knock that out early next week. Most of them will have people nodding in agreement at the games…2 or 3 may surprise some people.