30-21. Wow. In this list we hit the top quarter of my list of games. In this segment are some amazing games….two of the top 10 games of all time according to boardgamegeek.com. Another game each from two of my favorite designers. Possibly the most fun pirate themed game ever made. Looking-this chunk of games is REALLY good. And seeing as there are 20 higher on the list than this…this is an impressive list of games.
30. Dead of Winter
Plaid Hat Games
Designer: Jonathan Gilmour, Isaac Vega
Why it is on the list: I love the Crossroads system. While the mechanics of this game are great, the Crossroads system is what makes it standout. While I haven’t played Gen7 (another Crossroads game) The system where the person to your right has a card and if something on it triggers they stop you and an event happens-that is awesome. I love events that change the game and this is one of the better ways to implement it. This game would actually be a lot higher if it wasn’t for what is my #1, which I will play every time given the choice between the two games. Also-while I love a horror theme zombies have never been a top monster to me. When I get the two expansions this may jump higher…I really want to try warring colonies.
Who may like it: Do you like The Walking Dead? Or zombies in general? This is the game for you. Also…there is sparky. And you want to play as Sparky.
Designer: Isaac Childres
Why it is on the list: I have started this game twice with the same group of people-one of the groups I most enjoy playing with. However, the first time we started I hated the experience. There was a ton of quarterbacking and things that stopped me from playing how I play. I like to experiment, explore, and do weird things. There was a lot of “don’t do that…it isn’t an optimal play and we will fail.” Just made me not enjoy the game. The second time was much better-a ton of fun discussions and a chance to just enjoy the game. I really want to play this as a solo game also as it seems like a ton of fun.
Who may like it: This is a story driven campaign based game. It is also really tough with a high likelihood that you WILL fail.
Designer: Jamey Stegmaier
Why it is on the list: I’ve only had the opportunity to play Tapestry four times but have fun playing an experimenting in this game. Haven’t had a chance to play since October, but really enjoy this game and want to play more. It is a civilization style game. It also has a bit of chaos which I love. There are times you can potentially break parts of the game.
Who may like it: People who enjoy civilization building games but are find with chaos and unbalanced combos being possible. Things can happen that may swing the game heavily in one direction…you just have to smile and congratulate someone for finding a fun combo.
27. Dice Masters
Designer: Eric Lang, Mike Elliott
Why it is on the list: I can easily be sucked into collectible games (I do have one MUCH higher on the list) and enjoy how this one allows for some fun combinations of characters. Would you like to form a team with Iron Man, Nightwing, a bard, and Seth Rollins? This is the game for you. It is much more than just a collectible card game-the dice add something and the mechanics are extremely solid.
Who may like it: I don’t like Smash Up….but in a way with the different IPs ahtat are part of this game this is sort of smash-up for different IPs in a collectible game.
26. Shadow Hunters
Designer: Yasutaka Ikeda
Why it is on the list: As I’ve mentioned party games aren’t my favorite…and while I LOVE hidden role games I hate some of them like The Resistance because i just don’t get to play…people just don’t trust me. This is, at heart, a hidden role party level game that is actually a lot of fun. It has generated a ton of memories and stories and is one of those games where players have a lot of options and different ways they can approach the game.
Who may like it: Artistically this game is interesting and definitely anime inspired. It is a relatively short game that features player elimination and you have to be ok with that.
Designer: Prospero Hall
Why it is on the list: Take the Scythe action selection mechanic, add in a Disney theme and allow the players be the villain trying to live out their evil scheme. Make it fully asynchronous with not only different abilities, different card decks, different win conditions…that makes this game fun. The base game gives six top tier villains. The expansions have one and two lesser known/lower villains. Next up: Marvel Villainous…which sounds exciting until you realize Marvel’s villains are kind of bad, especially compared to DC’s villains.
Who may like it: Are you a fan of Disney, and in particular the evil side of Disney? In this game you can be Prince John trying to get money…or Jafar trying to get the lamp…or Cruella de Ville trying to kill and skin puppies. Wait…what?? But Disney (and soon Marvel) fans LOVE this game.
Designer: Paolo Mori
Why it is on the list: Everyone starts with an identical hand of cards. Each turn someone plays a card and actions happen based on the cards in the order of numbers on the cards you play. After several rounds of this you all draw the same new cards…but you no longer have the same cards as different people chose to play different cards through every early round. Now suddenly things are slowly changing. This make for, while not the most authentic pirate experience in a game, what may be the BEST pirate themed game.
Who may like it: Everyone. I’ve never had anyone who doesn’t enjoy this game. This is a weird one where EVERYONE who has played it loves it but only one person I know owns it.
23. Star Wars: Rebellion
Fantasy Flight Games
Designer: Corey Konieczka
Why it is on the list: The Empire JUST needs to find the Rebels secret base and wipe it out to end the “threat” of the Rebels to restore their rule. However, operatives from both sides are doing missions, completing objectives and working against the other side. This game is the closest you can get to retelling the story of the original Star Wars trilogy. Important note: DO NOT play the game without the expansion. It fixes the main issue (combat) that was a problem in the base game.
Who may like it: Do you like Star Wars, especially Rogue One and the original trilogy? This is the game for you. This is Star Wars in a box and is always a close, engaging game.
22. Discworld: Ankh-Morpork
Designer: Martin Wallace
Why it is on the list: Rincewind. The Librarian. DEATH. All here as you visit the chaos and comedy that is Ankh-Morpork. While I’ve heard Martin Wallace has released this game with a new theme since the license is gone…I don’t want that. This game is Discworld (or at least the Ankh-Morpork part) and I love it for that.
Who may like it: Fans of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series would love it…if they could get their hands on it. The problem with games based on IPs….and this list is full of them…is that once a license expires the game is gone.
21. Sid Meier’s Civilization: A New Dawn
Fantasy Flight Games
Designer: James Kniffen
Why it is on the list: Sid Meier’s Civilization is my favorite and most played computer game of all time. 2, 4, 5, and 6 I have played 1500+ hours each. So a Sid Meier’s Civilization board game is right up my alley. I received the opportunity to playtest the beta of this a few years ago and gave my feedback…which was that it didn’t feel like a Sid Meier’s Civilization game. It felt like civilization game, just not a Civilization game. However, over the past 6-8 months with some new plays and some new experiences, this game has climbed on my list and will, likely, climb a bit higher soon.
Who may like it: Fans of civilization building games who aren’t expecting the full computer experience.
One thing I’m working on now-which designers and which companies appear most frequently in games I list. One of the top companies/designers will come as no suprirse to people who know me/have followed the list.