Top 10! Wow. A lot of things on the list so far could easily flow up-or-down 20 spots based on my feelings today. The top 10, for the most part, are solid. Especially the higher you go up the list. I own all but one of them and the only reason I don’t own it is the main place I play it has a copy…though it is on my list to buy first. On Facebook I do a semesterly “most wanted games” list to share with people which games I am most interested in acquiring at that particular time…the game I don’t own stays in the top 10 and will eventually be purchased.
The other thing about this list…My #1 will surprise no one. However, I would guess a lot of games on this part of the list may be surprises to some people as I would guess, if you asked a thousand regular tabletop games to list their 10 favorite games there are at least a few of these that would not show up on any one’s list. I could be wrong but…there are some here (and especially one) that are, to some, off the wall choices.
Before I get to the list, however…I want to update the list of new games I’ve played since I started creating the list with comments on those games.
Machi Koro Legacy – This was easily the quickest, shortest legacy game I’ve played. We played the 10 games in 3 sessions (3, 3, & 4 games) with a total playtime of five hours and 14 minutes. I’ve played Risk Legacy, Pandemic Legacy Season 1, Charterstone (twice), Seafall, and am currently in Gloomhaven and Betrayal Legacy games. While I enjoyed the people I played MK Legacy with…I would actually rank this one last as far as my ranking of legacy games.
The Shining – I got it because I’m a huge Stephen King fan but I’ll admit-I didn’t expect much. I do enjoy Prospero Hall so knew there was a chance it was good. I was pleasantly surprised. This hidden traitor game won’t take the place of the larger, bigger ones (BSG, Dead of Winter, Shadows over Camelot) but is fun, quick (30-45 minutes), and SIMPLE. This is one of the better games to teach hidden traitor games. Simple but fun.
Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons – Theme had me knowing I wanted the game. One key mechanic made me think I would enjoy it. This is a cooperative game (which I’m not a huge fan of) that doesn’t allow quarterbacking (which is my biggest problem with co-ops.) This is a cooperative programming game…however, you have limited information for discussion and get more info when it is time to program so plans get thrown out and you can’t have one person running the table. Really fun game.
How to Rob a Bank – Third straight mention of a Prospero Hall game and I played them all in the same day. This is a 1 vs all robbery game…think smaller, one floor Burgle Bros. Fun game but I’d play Burgle Bros 10/10 times between the two. That doesn’t mean this isn’t a good game (it is) or that I wouldn’t play this again (I gladly will.)
Wavelength – This is a party game that was a play-and-win for RECON donated by Meeple People Comedy. It was a party game. A lot of people love it and it is the hotness in party games right now. But I rarely choose to play a party game given the choice and this will fall in that category. It would be a good one to own for people to play if they come over…but not one I would ever suggest.
Dungeon Academy – This is a roll-and-draw (though you don’t really ROLL the dice) dungeon crawl. It was good but not one I would choose over the others I have played.
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – We purchased this for a friend and finally got to play it. Was a ton of fun (and kind of made me want to try Marvel Champions. Really enjoyed this game and will gladly play more.
Designer: Michael Schacht
Times Played: 14
Why it is on the list: I get to build my own zoo? And try to choose what goes in said zoo? I can have monkeys and cheetahs and all the animals of my choosing? Sold. This super cute, amazingly simple game is a ton of fun. Most of the time the game is very laid back and fun but with the opportunity to have a bit of take that.
Who may like it: Do you like the zoo? Do you like cute animals? This is definitely the game for you!
9. Lords of Vegas
Designer: James Ernest, Mike Selinker
Owned: No. Eventually.
Time Played: 15
Why it is on the list: This game has been exciting every time I’ve played whether I lost by a lot or came close to winning. (I have actually won 3 of the plays.) There is a lot to do in this game and just like with Vegas a lot of luck needed but this game has fun area control mechanics where you can challenge the owner of certain casinos and depending on a dice roll take over…or lose it all. There is a lot of fun mechanics to this game.
Who may like it: Do you like gambling, casinos, or simply area control? This may be the game for you. Simple to learn but a bit more complex to be good.
8. Great Western Trail
Designer: Alexander Pfister
Times Played: 6
Why it is on the list: Want to be a rootin’ tootin’ cowboy trying to be the most successful in the Old West? This is a lot in this game and now I never want to play without the expansion (though I would) this is a great game with a lot of options and a fun theme. Makes me want to try Maracaibo as well.
Who may like it: Fans of westerns.
7. Xia: Legends of a Drift System
Far Off Games
Designer: Cody Miller
Times Played: 11
Why it is on the list: For a while I said “I’m not sure which I like more…Twilight Imperium or Xia.” The more I played, the more I realized it was Xia hands down. Not that they are the same game at all. They are both space epics where you need the most points to win…that is where the comparisons end. This is a much more variable exploration game with tons of paths to victory and different play styles that let you experiment with how you want to proceed for possible victory. Do you want to play a pick-up-and deliver game? Explore as much as possible? Do you like combat? Do you like to do different missions? This game has so many options for things you can do and ways you can play the game. It is also the game that proved a roll-and-move game can be a great game.
Who may like it: If you like space and exploration-this is easily the game for you.
6. Batman: Gotham City Chronicles
Designer: Frederic Henry
Times Played: 16
Why it is on the list: This 1-versus-all miniatures game lets you play as Batman, his ally’s or his rogues gallery in a series of missions. With support such as an upcoming create-a-mission editor and excellent mechanics based on the Conan “river” system this game is an awesome scenario based game. I enjoy being the overlord but also have fun when I’m one of the heroes and working to take the villains down. It is worth noting: most scenarios are hard for the heroes to win…especially as the overlord is typically the more experienced player.
Who may like it: This is Batman in a box. You feel like you are the characters in Batman working on different situations as they happen in Batman. You like Batman and don’t mind some complexity? This is the game for you.
5. Ticket to Ride
Days of Wonder
Designer: Alan R. Moon
Owned: Yes-to US, 1910, and Europe, at least
Times Played: 24
Why it is on the list: I love this game. The 24 listed don’t include the hundreds I’ve played on my iPad or PC. This is a great game and one of the new classics and one of what I think are the two best gateway games to get into modern gaming (the other being Carcassonne.) This is a very simple game but a lot of fun and one I enjoy getting the opportunity to play.
Who may like it: Do you like trains? Route-building? This is the game for you.
Designer: Jamey Stegmaier
Times Played: 31
Why it is on the list: This area influence game is amazing. I know at least one person (hi Chris!) that thinks this and Terraforming Mars and…well…a lot of the top ranked games in BGG are overrated but this is an awesome game. Variable Player Powers. Different options to win. A campaign. AMAZING components. BEAUTIFUL aesthetics. AWESOME mechanics. This is a great game. Truly a work of art as far as a board game goes-all around fantastic.
Who may like it: Fans of the cold war…as this is NOT a war game, despite the mechs. While there will be skirmishes this isn’t a war game. People who want an immersive experience in their game.
3. WWE Raw Deal
Designer: Mike Foley, Barron Vangor Toth
Owned: Yes. Not everything but a lot of it, yes.
Times Played: Hundreds, but most were before I had BG Stats to keep track
Why it is on the list: A friend convinced me we HAD to get this new CCG he found back in 2000. I tried to refuse as I know that CCGs are money pits…but we decided to buy a deck each (Chris Jericho for me, The Rock for him) and just play. And, well…it didn’t stop. I have literally 10s of thousands of cards and would still play this daily if I had people to play with. I want to buy all the things I don’t have for this long out-of-print CCG as well.
Who may like it: Wrestling fans who want an awesome experience.
2. DC Comics Deck Building Game
Designer: Matt Hyra, Ben Stoll, Nathaniel Yamaguchi
Times Played: 309
Why it is on the list: DC Comics is my choice over Marvel any day…but that wouldn’t lead to this being SO FAR above Legendary on the list. I love the system. I love the variants of game play. (Would you like to play Rebirth or Confrontations or Crisis or standard or…). I love the characters. I love the mechanics. This is a game I just love playing at all times. There have been times I’ve played this more than any other in a given time period and I’ve never gotten tired of it.
Who may like it: Fans of DC Comics and fans of deck builders with simple but elegant mechanics. Fans of variety.
1. Battlestar Galactica
Fantasy Flight Games
Designer: Corey Konieczka
Times Played: 32
Why it is on the list: I love a game where you can tell stories after. I have many of the games of BSG I remember well and I can tell stories of “this happened this time I played BSG.” The experience playing this game is always fantastic. This was the last game I ran at SGC this semester knowing that we were about to close down and have no student gatherings. The theme is fantastic. No other game comes close to how well this is done with the hidden traitor. It is, for me, basically a perfect game. As you’ve seen from other games I love epic games…and this game is the most epic.
Who may like it: That said I’ll admit a sometimes 4-5 hour epic where from the start of the game you are miserable and know you are going to lose experience…where it only gets more draining from there…isn’t for everyone. However, for me this is everything I want in a game.
So! That is it! As of Spring 2020 my top 100 games of all time list! I’d love to hear your comments and maybe what your top 10 are!