Created by Reddit user /u/cbjking
001. Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 – 16 Plays – We did it guys. My number one game is Pandemic Legacy Season 1. The best gaming experience I have ever had was playing through this with my cousins and one of my best friends. I stated earlier that I thought Pandemic was a near perfect design already, but now each game has changes and surprises and discovery. The twist had me out of my chair. That was such a cool moment. We went 12-4 in our 16 plays, but every game was close. Yea, the story is pretty linear. Every person gets the same story at the same point in time, but that doesn’t matter. I was engaged with the story. Each added element every month gave us something new to work with. We had some great “pulled that out of your butthole” moves after conversing for 15 minutes when what we should do finally just clicked. I shadowboxed my copy and I look at it every day and think about the special moments that came from it. I loved Pandemic Legacy Season 1.
002. Scythe – 29 Plays – MY FLAIR ISN’T NUMBER 1!? WHAT A FRAUD! Look, I picked my flair when I first found this sub and I haven’t changed it. It’s still my number two. I think some people lost some money here though. I had been in the hobby for like 3 or 4 months when I bought Scythe. I wanted a big box, hyped game to finally break out of my “gateway game” phase. I actually got this on Prime Day in 2017 when there was glitch and I got this, Pandemic Legacy and Splendor for $60 total. I was so excited when it came, I instantly set up a 5 player game night for Scythe. After that first play, I was hooked. The setting and art was beautiful. The components were supreme. This felt like a board gamer’s board game. Pieces on a map that could fight, but that’s a red herring. You have to remember the time period of this game is post war. The people are sick of war. The goal is to be the most prosperous, which comes with running a well-organized and popular country. Don’t ignore battles completely though, you still have to prepared for any threat or be ready to go after someone that’s about to make a big move. I understand this game isn’t for everyone. It can be slow to start. It looks like a straight up war game when it isn’t. I’ve played this game multiple times with someone who hates it and those experiences have been awful. Scythe is so much more enjoyable when everyone embraces the theme and mechanics. If someone doesn’t, then you can pretty much ignore them and that’s not going to be fun for anyone. I’d rather not play Scythe, than play it with someone who doesn’t like it and they think they’re doing me a favor, because I know how fun it can be when all players like it. I played the Fenris campaign with 3 friends and it was some of the best board gaming ever because of how into it we were. I have completely upgrade Scythe. Legendary box, Broken Token insert, realistic resources, metal coins, painted minis, and every expansion besides the modular board. To summarize, everything about Scythe is great to me. The art, the components, the action efficiency, the subtle interactions, the not so subtle interactions, the scoring, the theme, the campaign#it’s all great. I love Scythe.
003. Terraforming Mars – 15 Plays – If I had a consensus ranking of my friends who have played games with me, I think Terraforming Mars would be number 1. No matter who I introduce it to, they love it instantly and have requested to play it again. I haven’t had it for very long and already have 15 plays. The game isn’t short either, which speaks to how well they like it because most people don’t want to play a three hour game. It doesn’t bother me, but I’m just saying most people. I did have to establish a “No Terraforming Mars after 10 PM” rule after we finished a game at 2:30 AM and I was waking up at 6 AM for work, and I still had dishes to do! The drafting is great for one distinct reason, you can hate draft and it doesn’t really hurt you. You keep the card from someone else, but you don’t have to buy it, you just discard it. Don’t tell me drafting is what prolongs the game either. It adds a few minutes every round sure, but everyone is handpicking their cards so their engines get going faster. I enjoy engine building and I enjoy drafting, so this hits home. It’s not without its flaws, but they’re fairly minor. The components are trash. I refused to play with the player boards. I had to order some wooden ones off Etsy before I was even willing to play. The expansions aren’t great, besides Prelude, Prelude is essential. The expansions are ok, but we rarely choose to play with them. We’re pretty much fine with the base game as it stands. It’s an elegant engine builder with as much interaction as your group decides it wants. I love Terraforming Mars.
004. Root – 5 Plays – The theme probably could’ve been anything, but I’m so glad its woodland creatures. I have so much fun explaining this game. The capitalist cats rule over everything, they’re the power player, but no one likes them. The birds are the previous regime, built on order and honor looking to return to previous glory. The mice, rabbits and foxes hate both parties. They’re the common man, looking to rise up and take back the forest for themselves. The raccoon doesn’t give a crap about anyone. He’s only looking for personal prosperity and will help whoever will help him, one of the great board game characters of all time. The otters are merchants, looking to make a quick buck off the war. And finally the lizards, the cult, and a faction that is hard to win with but harder not to have fun with. This game is super asymmetric and that can be hard to learn and teach and strategize for. Most factions follow the same basic rules for movement, fighting and crafting though. Everyone has the same goal in mind. Get to 30 points. Now the 30 points is going to be achieved differently by every faction, but the real problem is knowing how quickly each factions can get points and knowing when to stop them. That’s why I think Root is best with the same group as much as possible. I would suggest switching factions each game, so that you learn what makes each tick. Five plays in and I’m now starting to see the strategy of each faction. Example, it’s not a benefit to attack the raccoon because you can’t get points by doing it, but you have to. Someone has to. Or he’s going to leapfrog to victory. The game requires the players to balance themselves, which is hard to do without multiple plays. I’m looking forward to playing this in my monthly Root group and discovering all that it has to otter, I mean offer. I love Root.
005. Concordia Venus – 4 Plays – Another newer game to me and another game that was put on my radar by Shut Up and Sit Down. I don’t always agree with SUSD, but they’re so entertaining that I’ll watch everything, and I can usually tell if I’ll like a game whether they also like it or not. The next three games, they did not like very much. I feel like a broken record here, but Concordia delivers simple mechanics with strategic depth. The hand management is so awesome. You may want to hold on to cards until someone plays their Diplomat so they can’t copy your awesome card. But the awesome card is awesome and it’s always better to do something awesome than not do something awesome. I love that scoring doesn’t happen until the end. You think you’re doing well, but so does everyone else. I can’t wait to play the team version of this game, which is the reason I finally pulled the trigger. A euro game that is played in teams was so interesting. But I’m fine never playing the team game. I’ll play base Concordia any day. I love Concordia.
006. Clans of Caledonia – 13 Plays – The milk faction is overpowered. I did see it lose in the last game I played though in what I considered a weird victory for myself and the reason I love this game. This game is all about the money. You want to be taking as many actions as possible and actions cost money. You have to know what contracts to take, when to upgrade, when to buy and sell and when you should be putting out buildings or animals to produce instead of buying. You also need to focus on the end of round scoring, where others are placing their buildings so you can feed off them and end of game scoring. There’s a ton to focus on. The game is very easy to teach for the most part. Every action is simple and takes 10 seconds to execute. But let’s get back to my last play and what made it so bizarre. I got a lot of contracts early that mainly focused on meat, so I was filling those contracts when they were cheaper, but because I had to slaughter my cows and sheep, I really had nothing on the board come round 4 and 5. This is usually a huge issue for a multitude of reason. Nothing on the board means little production, which means little income, which means less actions and it means not having settlements (important for end game). I was set up the opposite of what I wanted. I thought I was going to be in last for sure. I was the first to pass and would sit there for 20 minutes waiting for the round to end and I had the fisherman clan, so my workers couldn’t be upgrade to make more money. I thought I was in a huge hole. But I wasn’t. I completed 5 or so contracts in the first 2, maybe 3 rounds. I finished with 6 contracts, which got me points for the most. I also mentioned all of my contracts had meat, which was one of the end round scorings. And finally, most of my contracts were of the rarest goods, which scores more than the other contracts of the other players. I won without having actions, or money, or land and that’s what I love about this game. Everything I thought was necessary for a viable strategy can be turned upside down. I love Clans of Caledonia.
007. Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game – 23 Plays – Let me be honest for a second. I mean, I haven’t been lying up to this point, that’d be a weird thing to do. But this is honest too, this game is in my top 10 strictly because it’s Marvel. I have the Core set, Paint the Town Red, Dark City, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man and Secret Wars Volume 1 currently and I will continue to get expansions because I want all the heroes and villains. This game is a semi co-op, but I strictly play it as co-op. We count up our points at the end, but we don’t play trying to be the ultimate winner, we play to win as a team. Spider-Man doesn’t care about being the best hero, he just wanted to be a part of the Avengers. I love all of the different mechanics that have been instituted. The millions of scheme and mastermind and hero combinations really provide a different experience each game. The strategy does usually remain the same#get stars early, get hits late, cull when possible. So, that’s a bit of a knock, but the schemes and masterminds can disrupt that a little bit. Some plays can be impossible to win and some can be impossible to lose. I just have a great time playing a game with my favorite characters of all time and discovering new villains and trying to stop them from whatever they’re up to. I’m not sure this game would be top 10 with another theme, but that’s ok, because it is Marvel and it’s great. I love Legendary: Marvel.
008. Raiders of the North Sea – 5 Plays – I was told in at least two of my past lists that I needed to play Raiders of the North Sea#I am a man of the people. This is my absolute favorite worker placement game. More interesting and less basic than Lords of Waterdeep. More streamlined and elegant than Architects of the West Kingdom. And plays into its theme more than Viticulture. You get one worker. One. Place that worker, take the action, pick up another worker, and take that action. That’s a super cool way for action allocation. Another worker placement game that doesn’t necessarily block out anything, but you can block the order which can be just as harmful and because different color workers do different things, you could hurt someone that way. If they need to draw cards and they need a gray worker for their next turn, but you put a black worker on the draw cards space, well, tough. I’ve added the Halls of Heroes expansion and it truly makes the game better. Some expansions can make a game too convoluted and some just add more of the same. I think Raiders’ expansions get it right. I love Raiders of the North Sea.
009. Azul – 19 Plays – This is my under an hour game of choice. I want to play this with gamers, family, coworkers, it doesn’t matter. This is the perfect game for non-gamers if they’re willing to play something and it’s the perfect filler for gamers. The rules are easy to teach and it’s not hard to do well on your first play, perfect for non-gamers. The drafting is interesting and mean if you want it to be. The tile placement creates tough decisions and deeper strategy than you first realize, perfect filler for gamers. I really like to see the depression on my friends face when he sees 5 red tiles coming his way in 3 turns and he has nowhere to put them but the floor of negative points. Hahahaha, suck it Alex. I love Azul.
010. Gloomhaven – 16 Plays – I wanted this game just to have it. BGG number 1, tons of hype, tons of stuff, and a genre I didn’t have or have had even played. The idea of just owning Gloomhaven appealed to me. I like playing games the most, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t also like curating a collection. I watched the review from Shut Up & Sit Down and the card play instantly intrigued me; it just seemed so simple. Pick two cards, play the top half of one and bottom of the other. This game looks like a bear, but if you have someone experienced playing who can handle the monster movement and all the little rules, you can teach this game very quickly. I get that it’s not for everyone. The setup can suck, the scenarios can take a long time, the scenarios are a tad repetitive because the goal is usually just “kill everything”, and it’s the f word#.fiddly. The experience is so rich though. I love the discussion of how to tackle the problem at hand. I love that your characters have certain traits that you have to adapt to and certain goals that may be beneficial for you, but not the team. The leveling up is so much fun, you get to make your character even better, you become more powerful, you’re watching it grow. I think the story has been a mess. Mainly, it’s because of the “choose your own path” that the plots get broken up. I read the scenario text to the party, but I’m not sure anyone listens or if anyone cares. It doesn’t matter, the game still feels like it has a narrative and purpose, if not to just fulfill characters missions and see them play out. I love Gloomhaven.
011. Blood Rage – 2 Plays – This is the newest game in my collection. I’ve had my eye on it for a year now, but never pulled the trigger until I saw it at my FLGS. I held off for a while because I thought it’d be too similar to Inis (dudes on a map game with card drafting), but I was wrong. They both are deserving to be in a collection. I think Blood Rage could end up in my top five. I’ve enjoyed the hell out of it. The coolest thing is that every faction starts out the same and the asymmetry comes from how you draft the cards. You’re not shoehorned into a strategy based on your faction, you decide your fate. You have to know what everyone does well, because you will have to hate-draft eventually, or you’ll have to stop them. I had a nice Clan and Ship Upgrade combo, where my ships (plural because I had the sea serpent) got 8 Glory for being destroyed and I doubled my Ragnarok glory. In the third age, I got 48 points alone from Ragnarok. My opponents shouldn’t have let that happen, but it was first play for one and second play for the other, so knowing that is difficult. This isn’t some lame flex, just more of a commentary of knowing the game will probably lead to more interesting plays because everyone will know what to draft and what and when to stop someone.
012. Arboretum – 4 Plays – Another game about trees that has been labeled as mean. Who would’ve thought? This is the best card game. I’m only counting small box card games, because I have a game in my top 10 that’s all cards, but I don’t qualify it as a card game, but others might. The scoring in the game can be a little confusing until you play it, but the scoring is what makes this game sing. You can only hold 7 cards. Draw two, play one, discard one. That’s it. But the depth that goes into where you place a card into the path and what do you discard making it available to your enemies and if you play a card, it’s no longer in your hand and you can only score if you have the highest sum of the type! Decisions! You want to hold onto cards that can help your opponents, but you’re only holding 7, and what the hell are you going to do with an oak? If you haven’t played this game, this is probably gibberish, so you should probably go buy a copy. It’s cheap. This is not a paid review from Renegade, but if Renegade is reading, I’m not against it.
013. Pipeline – 3 Plays – I’m a little worried that this game is solvable. I’m a little worried that I’m too stupid to solve it. Actions are tight, you only get 18*. Money is tight, you’ll never have any. No time and no money, it’s like real life. There are 10 actions, but 4 are pretty much the same, so the game is actually kind of easy to learn. How to utilize those actions is a different story. You’ve got to plan ahead and you’ve got to find a steady income. You can take a second action, but it’ll cost you $10. You can run machines which help make your oil better and you don’t have to waste and action, but it’ll cost you $15. And this is also a market game, so if you want cheap oil you better go to the market first. Then you’re missing out on upgrades! I haven’t even mentioned that tile placement into your personal tableau of building a maze of pipes for your oil that can make your head spin. Argh, this is a game I’ll think about my mistakes later into the night and wonder how I could’ve played better. That’s the mark of a good game.
014. Raccoon Tycoon – 3 Plays – When raccoons aren’t rummaging through garbage, they’re usually planning how to manipulate the stock exchange and lay down some railroads. I like that this game takes the stock market and auction mechanics and does it well in 60-90 minutes. The auctions can get strategic and cutthroat, as well as the selling of commodities to drive down the price someone else will get for theirs. But you’re never doomed. There’s some path for you to take whether it be with commodities, railroads, towns, or buildings. Economic games are one of my favorite genres and this is a quick, cute and simple version that hit all the right chords.
015. Clank! In! Space! – 1 Play – Only one play, but I know this is better than regular Clank! I’ve played enough of regular Clank to know and I’m pissed I have regular Clank over Space. Here’s what space does better. Space is cooler than medieval. The puns on the cards are more fun. I like you have to unlock gates to get to the depths. And my favorite thing space does is there are multiple exits and only one player can use each, possibly cutting off quicker paths for others. I had no issues with regular Clank and then I played Space Clank.
016. Res Arcana – 13 Plays – THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE WINGSPAN HYPE! It only has itself to blame though. Another generic fantasy game. We needed that like we needed another board game reviewer#self-burn. This is such a fun engine builder though and it’s so quick I’m fine playing either way, whether it be draft or just play with the 8 cards you got. Even though drafting is my favorite mechanic, I think I prefer the just play with what you’re given. Most cards can be worked together, it’s up to you to figure it out. It’s just a delight.
017. The Castles of Burgundy – 14 Plays – Design wise, this might be the best game I’ve ever played. The dice rolling gives it the randomness that I think some games need, but the randomness can be mitigated. Turning your two actions and making them into four or five actions is so rewarding. I love everything about the mechanics. It’s just so dull to look at. I care about art and components in games. It’s shallow, I’m shallow. Games that are pretty and tactile are just more enjoyable. It doesn’t hurt this one as much, I mean it’s still in my top 20, because the gameplay is just so well done. AP players can hurt this as well, but let’s face it, they hurt everything. Seriously, if you take forever on your turns (continuously, not once or twice), you’re selfish.
018. Roll Player – 7 Plays – I have never been a D&D player. I got this game because it reminded me more of creating a player on Madden or NBA2k. The ideas are the same. You need to make your stats as good as possible, but certain attributes may be harder for your character and you may not get what you need. The dice manipulation and placement is so cool and it’s oddly thematic. The human character board doesn’t get a +1 or -1 on any stat#humans are so boring. The way your backstory, attributes, class all have to intertwine is great to figure out. There’s not much in way of interaction outside of the market, but you do have to pay attention a little bit to what everyone else is doing. Usually, you’re so worried with all the stuff you still need to do and how you’ll do it, you’ll often stop caring about blocking other players.
019. Arkham Horror: The Card Game – 13 Plays – Two big issues with Arkham Horror: TCG to start. What’s a Cthulhu game without being draped in negativity right from the rip? First, the game can get pricey. I’m not one to play the scenarios more than once, at least not yet. Luckily, my playing partner and I have switched back and forth on who buys the next pack. Second, it’s a two player game mainly, which has been harder to get to the table in the past. My last three plays have been May 2018, December 2018 and January 2019. Pretty big gaps for a game that’s story driven and dependent on knowing the cards and your deck. This is not the games fault, but it does hurt the rating for me. But the game play is so much fun. Each scenario delivering something completely different, you don’t know what’s going to happen. Pulling the tokens for skill tests is so exciting, except you know it’s always going to be bad. My favorite rule from the game is that if you don’t know what a rule is or if there is ambiguity, then do whatever seems worse. It’s that kind of punishment that really makes you want to spend $15 per scenario.
020. Architects of the West Kingdom – 7 Plays – A truly unique worker placement experience. I love that most spaces can’t be blocked, but there’s a push/pull of putting all your workers in the same spot. Yea, you get to keep multiplying the resources you’re getting, but you’re also making that space ripe for the pickin’ for other players to snag your workers and put `em in the clink. I love that you can steal from the tax stand or take a trip to the black market to get more and more stuff, but if you keep sinning like that, there’s no helping with the Cathedral. The game has many mechanics and paths to victory and none of them have seemed over powered, and they tie in so well together. This game can be a bear to teach and you won’t be able to do everything available to you, so if that bothers you, leave this one be. For me though, it’s excellent.
021. High Society – 22 Plays – This might be my favorite game to teach. Everyone has the same cards that represent money. We’re going to be auctioning off other cards for points. There are a few bad cards, where we’ll be bidding to not take them. Ok, let’s start. Oh wait, one more thing. If you have the least amount of money at the end of the game, you lose. That’s it. I don’t care if you have all the points, you’re a loser, a fraud. I love it so much. It also doesn’t matter how much I hammer that point, someone will inevitably be spending like crazy and then they wonder why they lose.
022. Lords of Waterdeep – 14 Plays (more plays unrecorded) – My first love. My first favorite game in the hobby. It seemed so complex at the time, I could see what games could be. The Skullport expansion is now necessary for me, as I love the use of corruption. I’ve played a lot more game to this point and its fallen quite a bit since being my number one, but I have to say I still enjoy the design. I like worker placement, but for me to get excited about one it needs to have some kind of twist. I think that’s because Lords of Waterdeep already fills my standard, light weight worker placement. Not much more for me to say about it, because I can quite put a finger on what I like about it other than how much I loved it when I first go into the hobby and the fun is still there. We still do this for fun.
023. Inis – 10 Plays – This game has everything. Drafting, artwork, weird shaped tile map pieces, multiple win conditions, festivals#is that everything? I get the complaints about this game. It can be long, it can be built on metagaming, the cards can be unclear and it requires knowing the cards. All of that is totally valid. I’ve had these complaints as well. I really enjoy the multiple win conditions aspect. I think the best thing to do is set up two possible win scenarios, one obvious that people will try to block, and one that you can pounce on. You need to go for deeds as much as possible too. No one can stop a deed already in hand. I really like the drafting of the same 13 or 17 cards, because you learn them so much faster. You can’t let the geis get away, but do you really need it? The decision making in the draft is so crucial and it’s awesome. This game was higher for me at one point, but I couldn’t ignore the flaws completely. I’m excited to get the expansion, because it seems like a lot will be made better.
024. Deception: Murder in Hong Kong – 16 Plays – Oh, look, Bigfoot. This deduction game is so much fun and now you can lie! What’s really great is that you’re not just trying to figure out the person, but you need to figure out the exact weapon and exact clue the murderer left behind. The forensic scientist is only able to give delightfully, ambiguous clues that can help, but also hurt if they have nothing to do with what the murderer chose to use. I really like when you throw in the accomplice. Murderer can pick cards that are closely related to accomplice and try and pin it on him, while the accomplice points out everyone else. And when do you guess? You only get one, but you need to narrow stuff down. Just an excellent design.
025. Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure – 13 Plays – My favorite part of Clank! is everyone that said they would run and get the 5 point artifact and then run out to speed up the game. I like that because that person guarantees a loss. The game makes it so much more beneficial for you to push your luck and try to stay on the board as long as possible. The longer you’re out there, the more cards you get, the more cards, the more points. But when someone does get out#.oh boy#here comes the tension. You’re down to one life, but all you need is two boots to get out. 0 boots!? How is that possible? And now you’re dead with 0 points. Can’t take it with ya, folks.
026. Cryptid – 4 Plays – Now this is quick deduction. This is what I wanted from ONUW. This is a pretty game, albeit minimalistic. If everyone is into this, it’s an amazing experience. You can’t lie, but you can throw people off the scent. You’ll have the solution, you’re ready to guess, then Chance puts a cube on a desert space and its back to square one. I had a game a couple weeks ago where I was ready to guess, but it was guessed right before me and they were right. So I was right#except I didn’t have the other two clues correct. I was still able to deduce the spot with 2/3 clues being wrong. That’s an incredible feeling. Finding a deduction game as good as this is like finding Bigfoot himself.
027. Spirit Island – 9 Plays – The first game I’ve traded away. I liked this game a lot, but my group just didn’t. I think I was swept in the theme, because I get their point. There’s a lot of rules overhead and there are a lot of cards to read. It’s a co-op, that’s hard to be co-op because you can’t really discuss all the cards you have and what’s possible this turn without it taking 5 hours. I much preferred this game solo. The combos and planning was fun and it was cool to see your spirit get stronger. It was also just fun to play with. Beautiful components and art, I liked seeing it on the table. This is pretty high for a game I’ve since gotten rid of and don’t even really need to play again, but I would play it again. I did trade it for one of my groups favorite games though, so it was a good tradeoff.
028. T.I.M.E. Stories – 4 Plays – I need you, the people, to tell me something? Is it possible to beat a case on the first run? I just finished Asylum (took three runs) and started Marcy and we’re essentially treating run one as the trial. We go to as many locations and look at as many cards as we can, so that we’re set up better for run two. While, I appreciate the discovery and riddle solving, I can’t help but wish run one was more than just a recon session. This has been a blast to play, but I can see it falling based on what I’ve seen about the other expansions. I’m just really enjoying the mystery solving now.
029. Suburbia – 5 Plays – Vastly superior to Castles of Mad King Ludwig, as my rankings show. Suburbia is city building. You can make your city however you’d like, but there are other cities competing for the economy and more importantly the growth. The catch up mechanic is pretty blatant, but I appreciate how it ties into the theme. My favorite part of the game is how well the tiles relate to each other. Build a restaurant, that’s great, until that shiny new Krusty Burger is built in Shelbyville and your Krusty Burger takes a hit. Oh man, how good with this game be with a Simpsons IP!? Airports are important, but who wants to live next to one? When it’s all done you can take a look at your city and see you’ve accidentally built a white trash paradise filled with trailer parks and factories.
030. Viticulture Essential Edition – 18 Plays – This game should be soooo much higher. I want it to be higher. I just can’t do it. Why? Oh, I’ll feed you baby bird. Viticulture is all about making wine. Planting vines, aging grapes, turning the grapes into wine and using the wine to fill orders. Such a thematic experience. Until it isn’t. The goal is victory points, I’d prefer the goal to be cash. And a great way to get points is to avoid making wine for orders completely and just continually use visitor cards. I’ve seen someone win without filling a wine order. And money barely matters after round 2 or 3. The wine making is so much fun though. I love use of seasons and how workers can only do one thing, so you better allocate correctly. I’ve played Tuscany once, and I enjoyed it, specifically the specialty workers, but I don’t know it’s essential as much as people say. I would just prefer the goal to be most money, which is the whole point of a wine business, and for the wine order system to be the main way of scoring and not peripheral.
031. Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective – 4 Plays – I enjoy a good “whodunit” and I love the setting. The cases are very interesting to me and I like that the cases work in chronological order, so that the newspaper in case 1 may be helpful for case 4. The cases are hard. Even when you’re right, you’re probably not specific enough to be exactly right. The questions at the end of the case when you’re ready to solve are a challenge, because you don’t even know what the questions will pertain. Also, Sherlock is a liar. You solved the case in 4 stops? It took us 30, how is that possible!? I want to punch Sherlock.
032. Pandemic – 8 Plays (more plays unrecorded) – I’m pretty sure this was the first game introduced to me, in terms of modern board games. My friend told me it was cooperative and I was dumbfounded. It didn’t make sense that we weren’t trying to beat each other. I hated it the first time we played it. I didn’t want to work together. But I’ve matured and I think Pandemic is a design masterpiece. It’s inventive, balanced, and thematic. Good players are going to win more often than not, I understand that it’s been “solved” more or less. In my group though, it’s going to be a close win or a close loss, about every time. Exactly what I want in a cooperative game. I’m going to get comments (maybe not now) about the quarterbacking issues, but that’s not at the fault of the game. Your friends are turds.
033. Carcassonne – 14 Plays (more plays unrecorded) – I’m pretty good at teaching games. I make it a point to read rules multiple times and watch videos before teaching a new game. I like learning new games and I really enjoy teaching them. Farms in Carcassonne are the hardest thing to teach in board games. I just can’t explain them. It’s truly a humbling experience. Another classic that I love playing because almost everyone I know already knows how to play. There’s no rule refresher, no prolonged time between turns, it’s grab a Miller Lite and talk about the Columbus Blue Jackets type of game. It’s more than that though. It’s also a pretty deep game that can be cutthroat. Snaking someone’s farm or blocking their city from being completed is a necessary evil.
034. 7 Wonders Duel – 10 Plays – This is my favorite two-player specific game. The mechanics are simple, the choices are vast but at the same time slim, and there are multiple paths to victory. I love that you really only have like 1-3 cards available to you, but each card you take branches into many possibilities. It’s like Avengers Endgame with branching timelines. Science never seems like the preferred path, until suddenly, it is. You somehow have 4 different green cards and you’re getting crushed in points. Or you set yourself up to go military and build wonders that let you go again and all of a sudden your opponent is on the brink of losing that way and he sees nothing but red on the board. This is a test of wits and provides strategic and tactical depth.
035. Ticket to Ride – 11 Plays (more plays unrecorded) – I have a very loose house rule that if you draw a wild from the facedown deck you flaunt it and show everyone how lucky you are. Ticket to Ride is a certified classic, that’s not news to anyone. It can deliver so much tension, that’s why I prefer it at higher player counts. My favorite strategy is to draw and horde cards, but I could be cut out from the most efficient route doing this. I’ve played so much Ticket to Ride, that I don’t know if I’d ever pick to play it, but it will stay in my collection and I’ll have fun every time I do play it.
036. Barenpark – 8 Plays – I bought this game strictly because my favorite animal is the bear. I put off other games that use Tetris pieces waiting and waiting for the ones with bears on them. This is an excellent filler. The spatial puzzle is challenging and the game provides a bit of interaction, but not so much that you can’t chit chat while playing. There’s an expansion coming out soon, but I’ll be torn on whether to get it because the simplicity of this game is what lets it shine.
037. Unlock! – 1 Play – I’ve only played The Noside Story. I picked this one because it had a low difficulty and we did straight up awful. Three educated guys trying to solve a cartoon puzzle. Sometimes we needed hints, but sometimes we didn’t and figuring out the little riddles were so rewarding. I was pretty against trying these since they were one time plays, but this was a real treat. I bought an Exit the Game as well (yet to play), but I’m willing to bet I favor Unlock! Just because I can pass it along to other friends afterwards.
038. Mysterium – 13 Plays – Ahhh! Dixit, but with a game wrapped around it. The art is amazing, there’s no doubt about that. I really like the theming of this game, as it uses the bizarre cards that works thematically and mechanically. Looking at the cards and trying to make associations based on what you think your friend is giving you is a fun little puzzle based on your own personalities and how well you know each other. This game can get a little samey from play to play, but it’s one of my favorites if we have 5-7 players.
039. Great Western Trail – 1 Play – Same friend that brought Wingspan brought over Great Western Trail. I love how this game utilizes deck building. Money can be very tight, which is another aspect I like in games; and there are multiple paths you can take that are viable to win. This game is about 45 minutes too long though. Near the end of the game everyone is stopping at the same stops and you’re kind of doing the same thing. Of course this was only one play and it was a learning game, so I could be off base. This game had more positives than negatives for me.
040. Wingspan – 1 Play – I’m not too proud to admit this, but I am afraid of birds. This game soared to the top of my “want to play” because of it being Stonemaier and it being so hyped. I finally got to play a friends copy and it was good. It was good. It wasn’t pay $1,000 on a secondary market good. It was just good. A very pretty game with a refreshing theme, it’s a more fun version of Splendor. This game can be a little more random though. It’s all dependent on birds you draw and you can’t always make them work with your bonus cards. I really enjoyed my play of it and definitely want to play again. I can’t decide if it’s worth buying. Maybe on sale.
041. Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 – 16 Plays – How many season 2’s are better than season 1? The Office and Parks and Rec have incredible season 2’s. Sadly, Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 aligns more with Stranger Things Season 2. Yea, it was still fun, but so inferior to the first season. I got to a point where finishing this just felt like a chore. Partly because we played season 1 and 2 back to back, and partly because I didn’t have base Pandemic as a crutch to knowing the game. It took me so long to grasp the rules to season 2 that I didn’t feel like I was contributing much. With that said, we dominated season 2. It was almost too easy. Other people I’ve heard from had said there play of it was way too hard and they didn’t really have a chance. Pandemic is a great design because it’s a close win or a close loss almost every single time and this didn’t really deliver on that excitement. Hopefully Pandemic Legacy continues to follow Stranger Things and follows up with a very good third season.
042. Camel Up (2nd Edition) – 2 Plays – I’ve already said in this post that I love to gamble. This is gambling, alright. It’s hard to have a strategy in this game. So much is changing, so much is reliant on the dice rolls and the crazy camels, and you can’t plan for that. Everyone has a plan until the white camel takes your overall winner back to the start. This has stand up, “oh my gosh” moments because of the randomness, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
043. Power Grid – 1 Play – “I’ll keep it short and sweet. Family, religion, friendship. These are the three demons you must slay if wish to succeed in business.” This wisdom brought to you by Mr. Burns, and he knows a thing or two about running a power plant. This game checks a lot of boxes for me. I like the economics, I like the unique-ish theme, I like the auction, and I like the route building. You know what I don’t like? The end game. Oh my goodness, what a stupid way to end a game. I understand I only have one play, but I’ve watched videos too and I’ve discussed with friends, does everyone tie and it just comes down to money anyway? I feel like this game is so close, but I just didn’t like how the game ended.
044. Libertalia – 1 Play – I need to play this again. I had fun playing this when I did, but I also don’t think I understood it until about halfway through. The hook of this game is great. Every player has the same set of cards (that set is different every round) and it’s all about who plays that set the best. Do you play high initiative or do you play for the power or do you wait for everyone else to play that card so it’s even better when you play it? The decisions are so good. It’s a shame this game has kind of been lost in time, but I really want to try it again.
045. Catan – 12 Plays – The game of our generation. I honestly believe every collection should have Catan. It has meant so much to our hobby and gets far too much hate. The game is built on trading, but don’t get too far ahead or no one will trade with you. This game, like others that can lead to king-making, reminds me a lot of Survivor. It’s not just about playing the game strategically well or getting lucky, it’s about how you are interacting with the other players. Know when to block someone off, not being a turd to them for not trading with you, etc. You have to manipulate the social aspect. I have a friend that always complains me and someone else always trade and don’t trade with him, which isn’t true, but because he complains about it, I want to make it true. Also, like Survivor, you can play amazingly and still get unlucky. Poor Cirie.
046. Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization – 2 Plays (and a couple on the app) – I can’t believe this game is so highly rated on BGG, just because the length of time it takes to play. Seriously, all I ever hear is how people want quick games. “Best part of X is that it’s all this in 45 minutes!” Through the Ages is not quick. It’s more than long. I don’t even know if I’d want to play this with more than 2 players. Enough of the complaining, this game is very well designed. It’s very cool to build up your own civilization, using different leaders, focusing on different things than history did and your opponent is. The really interesting part comes with the military cards and events. I love knowing what I laid, but also knowing my opponent probably screwed me big time with whatever he played. This game is great, but like once or twice a year great.
047. Above and Below – 4 Plays – Ryan Laukat’s art is garbage. I didn’t mean that, I just didn’t want to be the one billionth guy to say how good his games look. His games look really good. The adventuring in this game is really what makes it, but mainly because I love the gamble. You could get a sweet adventure or a bad one, or you could pick the wrong situation, or you could roll really poorly. The gamble makes it exciting.
048. Steam Park – 8 Plays – Shit happens. I didn’t think robots would leave it everywhere, but lo and behold. I love the theming of this game, I love the real time dice rolling and racing, and I love the components. This game is a little repetitive from play to play, but I have never had a bad time playing it. Not every game needs to have strategic depth. Sometimes you just need to be knee deep in#ya know.
049. Dominion – 1 Play – Deck building is one of my favorite mechanics and this is the granddaddy of `em all. Simple mechanics, different card set ups, but no theme and can have sets with very little interaction. Dominion is another case where I think the variability does make the game more replayable, and there are a ton of different combinations. And Dominion is all about combinations. Who doesn’t love combos? Pizzeria pretzel are my favorite Combos.
050. Telestrations – 5 Plays – I don’t keep score in this game. I’m not even sure how scoring works. I think if you keep score in this game, you’re playing way wrong. This game is the very best party games in terms of laughs per minute and the worse you are at drawing, the better. I will play two ways. I’ll play the “roll the dice and do what it says on the card” and I’ll play “write whatever you want and let’s see where it goes.” Straight fun, homey.
051. Codenames – 13 Plays – I like feeling clever. Sometimes though, I feel clever and then I give my clue and boom, I’m a dummy. My friends make fun of me to this day for one specific clue. I don’t remember all the words I was trying to get them to guess, but I think one of them was pumpkin, one was kid and I know one of them was berry. My clue was “Frankenstein, 4”. I thought “oh, pumpkin and Frankenstein are a for sure match with Halloween; and Frankenstein’s monster killed a kid in the movie, they’ll get that.” Now, what’s the correlation between Frankenstein and berry? HELLO, FRANKENBERRIES. They give me so much crap for that association. Eh, maybe it was a stretch. Good memories.
052. Thanos Rising: Avengers Infinity War – 1 Play – Theme is right for me. I like that they added a big Thanos piece in there that doesn’t really effect game play. I love when stuff like that is in games, so they can charge $5 more. That sounds sarcastic, but I really do. Give me gaudy over Feld-style any day. I’ve only played once, but this game seems very hard. We came close to winning, so it’s not Robinson Crusoe or This War of Mine level difficulty, but you can definitely feel the power of Thanos. Dice rolling is fun and you can create some sweet combos. Most choices were obvious, but we did have some decent discussions on what to do on some turns. Thanos Rising, I hope they remember you.
053. Saboteur – 4 Plays – I want to play this game anytime I have 6 or more players. I don’t know why I like it so much because it definitely has its flaws. Flaws: more fun to be saboteur, hard to make a move without being noticed as saboteur, can be hard to get back in if you’re given a broken tool, really hard to win as saboteur. It’s just fun. And because you play 3 rounds, it’s ok to lose. Well, it’s always ok to lose, these are board games.
054. Santorini – 24 Plays – Holy crap, this is the 4th 2-player game in this 10. I really love this one, whether it be with god powers or without god powers. My wife likes to play without the god powers and its fun because we know we’ll be even. You don’t have to worry about balance, it’s just who can best the other. However, I always play with the god powers when playing against a friend. This is one example of where the variability makes it more replayable for me. I love anytime your opponent has a power it feels like they’re the one with the advantage even though they think the same thing about yours.
055. Keyforge – 9 Plays – I’m sure this game is still thriving in a lot of circles, but it has died for me quite a bit after the hype high. I was really into the Pokemon TCG in middle school, so this was interesting to me to have a dueling card game without having to build the decks. The unique decks and the fun names were an instant draw as they were for everyone. I ended up buying 5 decks and I was in one sealed tournament. But I haven’t played since January 25th and if I could I would trade my 5 decks for a $30 game right now. The game is fun, I have enjoyed my time playing, but I don’t see myself buying any more decks or playing in any more tournaments. I really like how this game works in terms of calling a house and that being the “cost.” My biggest issue is that the game can be way too long if the decks don’t have a lot of creatures and are just slow burn decks.
056. Jamaica – 1 Play – The easy joke was something to do with Cool Runnings, so I tried to pull something from the episode of The Office where Michael goes to Sandals with Jan, but I couldn’t connect it. I really let you guys down. This is a pretty light racing game. I had fun playing this game and I like the use of the dice with the cards. There are definitely decisions to be made, but luck can play a part. But this is a light racing game, I think the chance element gives it the excitement.
057. Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island – 8 Plays – Oh my God, this game. Do you like getting your teeth kicked in? This is somehow the more accessible and friendly version of This War of Mine. I say “somehow” because the rulebook is garbage. I’ve read the rulebook 3-4 times. I’ve watched the Watch It Played 3-4 times. Yet, I still feel like we’re doing something wrong, but I know we’re not. It’s just that hard. This is a pretty thematic game. If you crash on a deserted island, it’s going to be hard to survive. I feel like you could play as well as possible and still lose this game. I’ve only won once and I play with some pretty smart guys. Crusoe is a game I’m always excited to play and then the first turn happens and then I make the same joke every single time. “At least we’ll lose pretty quickly, so we can play the next game.”
058. The Fox in the Forest – 4 Plays – I believe I said it earlier, but I love trick taking game. A two player trick taking game seemed like a gimmick, but this game is truly great. If I played it more, it could be higher, I just haven’t been able to. The push and pull of wanting tricks, to not wanting tricks, to wanting them again is so good. The artwork is beautiful and the tactics are amazing. Is this game popular? I feel like it should be more popular.
059. Codenames: Duet – 6 Plays – The best duet since Darlene Madison and Dewey Cox in Walk Hard. I think if I were a marriage counselor I’d use this game for couples to help illustrate the beauty of knowing your partner. You have 9 rounds to guess 15 words, so I don’ t like that if you know it’s the last round, the number doesn’t matter much because your partner will know they have to guess them all and that’s assuming your side has already been guessed to completion. I’m being too hard on this game. It’s a fun 15 minute game that make you feel clever and it’s easier to use inside jokes for clues.
060. Welcome To… – 10 Plays – Welcome to staring at a sheet. Welcome To is a bit overrated by the community in my opinion. The epitome of multiplayer solitaire, Welcome To delivers an interesting puzzle but fails to deliver any sort of interaction. This is a fun game and I’m happy to play it when someone wants to, because I do like the mechanics and decisions it offers. I have played this and the app version of Ganz Schon Clever and I need to say I have zero interest in any “roll and write” going forward. They don’t do much for me. I’m fairly lucky to have a regular gaming group and play 1-3 times a week, but even with that it feels like my gaming time is too precious to spend on them.
061. Secret Hitler – 6 Plays – Is this the only time someone wants to be Hitler? This is a big problem with social deduction for me. It’s almost always more fun to be the bad guy, the murderer, the werewolf. It’s fun trying to pull one over on someone. It just feels off to me that in a game someone is having 30% more fun than the rest. Now, the games are quick, so there are chances to play multiple times and reallocate roles. My other issue with Secret Hitler is that sometimes you can’t help what’s passed. If you’re Fascist and you get all blues, there’s nothing you can do, and in a game where you kind of have to punt the first round to not make it too obvious, too quick, that leaves little room. This game can be a blast though. Not something I want to play every weekend, but its super fun with the right group.
062. Charterstone – 11 Plays – Ok, I had a group set up to play this let’s call them Alan, Justin and Austin. They all played games with me fairly frequently at the time. Here’s how our Charterstone campaign went down. Alan hated the game immediately. Subsequent games that he played, he’d just race to put down influence (is that what they’re called?) to end the game faster. Austin and Justin got girlfriends and stopped coming to play games altogether. I made it 4 games into the campaign with this group and I had to play the last 7 by myself. Alan loves when I tell that story. I probably like this game a little more if I had had a better group and experience with it.
063. Photosynthesis – 2 Plays – This is not the only game about trees that will show up on my list#that’s bonkers. An extremely thematic, abstract game that has been labeled as mean, but if you think this game is mean, you’re 10-ply, bud. Blocking someone from scoring is not mean and it’s a game. A game about trees. It’ll be ok. I don’t get to play this game as much as I might like to. My group doesn’t care for it as much. I love the look of it and the theme, but where to put the trees to score or to block others leaves (haha) a lot of decisions to be made. This will never be at the top of my want to play list, however, because it might be too light (haha). The last sentence was put in strictly for the second pun.
064. Splendor – 34 Plays – This is my wife’s favorite game. This is why I have 34 plays of it. She doesn’t really like board games, so if I can get her to play one, I’m in. This game is relatively crapped on these days, and I think the crapping is fair. Despite the immense overplay I have had of this game, it’s still good for what it is. A 30 minute engine builder that’s almost always tight in scoring.
065. Love Letter – 12 Plays – My biggest problem with Love Letter? We always think it’ll be a quick 20 minute game and it goes 45 minutes. Someone jumps to a lead, they’re inevitably picked on until everyone has 3 cubes. Love Letter is a good time though. Sniping someone with a guard without a leg to stand on is a euphoric feeling. But what the hell is this theme? We’re trying to get Love Letter’s to a Princess, but the Princess is also in the game? If someone could explain it to me, that’d be great.
066. Alhambra – 10 Plays – I bought this game because of Wil Wheaton’s TableTop. Man, that was such a good episode. I like this game more than most of my friends, but I think it’s best if you’re only taking it half way serious and making fun of every person’s move no matter how good it is. If someone ever overpays on their first action, they better hear about it. Some of our best inside jokes have come from playing Alhambra. I have resigned to the fact that I will never win Alhambra again. I don’t pay attention to what colors everyone has enough and my buddy knows how many of each color is where on the table and left in the bag. I’m just not going to compete with that.
067. Codenames: Marvel – 5 Plays – I think you have to be a Marvel Encyclopedia to be good at this game. I’m a pretty big Marvel fan (mostly the MCU, but I’ve dabbled in the comics) and it is pretty tough to make associations without it being a part of about 6 other cards that you don’t want. “Green, 3.” “Ok, um, Hulk?” “Ugh, no, why does every card have green!?” Now granted, that’s a horrendous clue, but I have had that exact experience in a round.
068. Yellow & Yangtze – 6 Plays – Let me preface this with I’ve never played Tigris and Euphrates. I think this game is great. It’s streamlined, it’s easy to teach, it’s pretty unique (outside of being like T&E), and it looks good. But I just don’t believe this game is for me and it won’t be in my collection much longer. It’s pretty high considering a game that I may not like that much, but it’s pretty low considering how good I consider the rule set and gameplay. Weird game.
069. This War of Mine – 4 Plays – You know that feeling you get when you’re running about 30 minutes late, but you’re still about 20 minutes from being completely ready? That’s about what turns feel like in This War of Mine. A game that’s depressingly thematic, it can be fun to try and solve, but I’ve gone into the scenarios after my first play with just no hope. Which is actually pretty cool if you think about it. That’s what this game wants to show you. This is more of an experience than an evening game with friends. Not going to be for everyone. I’m not even sure if it’s for me.
070. Roll for the Galaxy – 11 Plays – Sometimes I forget this is a spawn of Race for the Galaxy. You definitely have very limited amount of rounds before the game is over, and while I like what I’m doing during the game, it just never feels long enough. You could say I’m just not good at this game, that’d be valid. I usually like tight games where you can never do everything you want to, but I come out feeling like I’ve done nothing some games. Does anyone ever go “get points” produce/ship strategy? That seems like the wrong way to go a majority of games. This is a shoulder shrug game. “Eh, I’ll play it.”
071. King of Tokyo – 19 Plays (more plays unrecorded) – KoT also suffers from the fun thing not necessarily being the optimal thing. It’s almost always better to go for points than killing other monsters. Not always the case and I like that the cards you can buy can help you if you want to go on the punching spree. I bought the Power Up expansion, hoping it’d spice up the game. The expansion is cool and all, but didn’t help it get to the table anymore. It’s fun to dice chuck, there’s not much more to it than that.
072. The Mind – 26 Plays – I thought about leaving this post blank as a gag, but I wasn’t sure if that would land. This game (activity?) has given me some hilarious, fun filled nights. The drama that can come from just laying down cards is crazy. The group I usually play with kind of have it down though. We don’t count, we just have an idea of our cadence. And it takes longer than you think if you’re good. If I know we’d be playing The Mind for 40 minutes, I would’ve picked something else. This game just seems better if you’re continually playing with new people.
073. Sushi Go! – 7 Plays (more plays unrecorded) – Drafting is probably my favorite mechanic. I think this started with fantasy football, when the draft is the best part of the season only to see your team screw you over and over and over again after the fact. You’re really cool Leveon Bell, thanks for sitting last year. You know who doesn’t sit out?? Tempura. Unless you only get one tempura, then it sits out. Damn. I don’t have much bad to say about Sushi Go! I think it belongs in the collection as an excellent filler.
074. Sheriff of Nottingham – 5 Plays – Smuggling contraband and lying to your best friends seems super fun. It is super fun. There’s nothing better than getting those sweet, sweet forbidden (callback) apples through that pompous butthole sheriff’s hands. One problem, to win the game, you shouldn’t lie. Just don’t lie, you’ll be in okay shape. Completely punt contraband. I don’t like that the fun thing to do in the game is opposite of the optimal move. Maybe this is a lesson in temptation?
075. Pandemic: Rising Tide – 3 Plays – This is so GD fiddly, between the water cubes and dykes. And I don’t know how to say any of the regions. And I’m not sure what regions are adjacent, which is an issue. And I don’t know what regions have been pulled because I can’t pronounce them to help them stick and there are multiples of each in the deck, so my brain is just a mush of K’s and M’s, making it impossible to plan for the next epidemic. The theme is awesome. It’s the best theme in any Pandemic game in my opinion. I really want to like it more, I just don’t see how it get to the table very often.
076. ICECOOL2 – 2 Plays – Not Ice Cool#Ice Cool 2! The sequel is always better. Wait, it’s the same game? I love this country#make that money! I really did enjoy my plays of this game. Flicking penguins around cardboard rectangles was just fun. I did play this with my 10 and 14 year old nephews though, so it was straight domination. I’d like to see how this played with all adults.
077. Dead of Winter – 5 Plays – I liked The Walking Dead. Then it got bad. Then it got really bad. I don’t know how many days I discussed what I would do in a zombie apocalypse, as we all have, but now I couldn’t care less about zombies. I’d probably just let them eat me. Rip the Band-Aid off. Dead of Winter is semi-coop (gross) and zombie themed (gross), but this game has its merits. I like the deduction included in a board game, but I’m not quite sure out casting someone even matters? The mechanics are kind of tedious. The crossroads are a very neat idea though. Shame they couldn’t pair that with a more favorable game.
078. Gorus Maximus – 2 Plays – This is the first game I backed on Kickstarter. It was cheap ($20), it was going to arrive quickly, and it had neat stretch goals. I was always hesitant to back KS because of the wait time and cost to get the whole game, so this was a perfect game to dip my toe in. Growing up, I played a lot of Euchre. I have an affinity for trick taking games, but this just fell a little flat. I like the idea of it more than my plays have given me. Not all cards are worth getting, which is cool, but turn order matters so much. I could just need more plays because I could see turn order manipulation being more important than I realized then.
079. Forbidden Island – 8 Plays – To paraphrase Chief Wiggum, “What is your fascination with my forbidden island of mysteries?” There’s something about the word forbidden, that just makes whatever it is all the more enticing. Literally the second person on Earth couldn’t pass up an apple because it was a FORBIDDEN apple. Forbidden Island is a fine co-op game. I’m not the biggest co-op fan and this is a little easy, but I really like the tiles flooding and then going away. That’s just a cool, thematic way to alter the board. Excited to play this with the kids when they get older.
080. Castles of Mad King Ludwig – 1 Play (more on the app version) – You know what’s fun? Determining square footage. I see why people like this game a lot. You finish and you’ve made something and it’s unique. I just don’t like it. I like the different shapes and making those fit and the master builder market place is a decent mechanic, but I hate the scoring in the game so much. I can never tell if I’m doing well. I barely focus on what others are doing. I’m a mad King.
081. 12 Days – 12 Plays (that’s weird) – On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me#would you look at that? It’s#it’s another 11. Who would have thought? This is the 5th 11 I’ve been passed. I love Christmas. I’m like a 10 year old at Christmas. I like getting gifts, I like giving gifts, I like the songs, and I like the movies. And I do like playing 12 Days around the holidays. But the game ain’t great, folks. But its 15 minutes and it’s got a fun theme and it’s a little different than other stuff I’ve played. Five Tribes, you were beaten out by a card game that can be played 3 weeks out of the year.
082. Risk Legacy – 8 Plays – It ends faster? This is hurt because I played Pandemic Legacy before this game, but man, there’s not much to it. I expected story. I expected wholesale changes every game. This just doesn’t deliver. Only 7 more plays to go#oh my gosh#7 more plays.
083. Risk – 1 Play (recorded, but many more than that) – This is what I did in high school. My friends would come over every Saturday and we played Risk. I loved Risk so much. It felt like war. I don’t get the whole “I don’t like game X because it didn’t make me feel like a coal miner.” It’s a board game! You’re pushing around cardboard and plastic! But Risk did make me feel like a war strategist. It just doesn’t hold up now that I’ve played other games. It’s too long. It’s too luck dependent. It’s too king-making. And if anyone is going to be king-making, it’s going to be me (my last name is King and I’ve made 2 Kings).
084. Five Tribes – 8 Plays – I put this game in my 10×10 this year and due to this, Five Tribes has fallen about 50 spots. Players with AP kill this game#absolutely kills it. This game should’ve come with a sand timer. If you don’t make a move in 30 seconds, you lose a billion coins. You may remember from the last 10 that VARIABILITY DOES NOT EQUAL REPLAYABILITY. This is the poster child. Set up is always different, different djinns, market row#ton of variability. The optimal strategy stays the same though. Don’t bid high, something will be there for you. Go for green and set collect as much as possible. As soon as I’m finished with my 10×10, this game is going gone.
085. Smash Up – 1 Play – I played this game on the tail end of a decathalon (10 games in a day) and it was the only game that divulged into a quasi-argument. Possibly because it had been 14 hours with the same people, but that just left a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t get offended by being attacked in other games or take that, but something happened that game. I could see this game being fun. If I owned it, I bet it would rise up.
086. Covert – 2 Plays – Both these plays were at 2 players. I wonder if this would be better at more players. My friend bought this game, we learned it on the spot and he’s never brought it up again. He’s left all of his games at my house#except this one. Sometimes I wonder if this game is Covert is actually a spy and it’s ran off to do its next spy thing, but more than likely it’s in the trash can.
087. Dominion: Intrigue – 1 Play – This went over so well I don’t even remember playing it. I’ve played regular Dominion too (that’s obviously higher up). I must’ve just had a bad experience with these sets of cards. I dunno. Just play base Dominion
088. Blokus – 1 Play (recorded, but many more than that) – I’ve said “Don’t talk shit about Blokus” more than once to my friends. This game is fine, I’m actually probably more willing to play it than other games above it. It’s just not exciting. Blokus is green beans. There’s nothing offensive about it, but I’m never going choose put it on my plate. Please don’t @ me about green beans.
089. Meeple Circus – 1 Play – I played this at Origins this year. I had this game built up so much in my group as this game we had to get. I just never wanted to spend $50 on it. I would try and make bets where the loser had to buy Meeple Circus. I just had to stack an elephant meeple on a tiger on a strong man. But man, it was underwhelming. I think if I was given this game, I’d play it for stupid fun about once every 6 months, but this is definitely not worth spending money on.
090. Qwirkle – 1 Play (recorded, but many more than that) – I am bad at this game. My wife always crushes. It’s just shapes and colors? No. It’s crap and garbage. Now, this game isn’t low because I’m bad. I swear. I’m not THAT bitter. This game just doesn’t do anything for me. Is anyone ever excited to play Qwirkle? This game is now blocks for my daughter to build towers with. Congrats Qwirkle, you’ve staved off elimination with toddler immunity.
091. Ex Libris – 2 Plays – Another huge disappointment for me. A game I was looking forward to for a long time because of the really unique them. This game has so much going on for how light it is. The worker placement is annoying because you’re constantly needing to read new buildings, even though they’re all pretty much the same. Remember, variability does not equal replayability (that was fast). Every spot is get more cards or rearrange your shelf. I like the tableau building with the books, but that adds about 5 things to remember for scoring too. You have to think about tableau building which scores for 3-5 different things, 10 placement spots that are constantly revolving, variable player powers for different workers for each player. It’s just so much for such a light game.
092. Small World – 4 Plays (recorded) – One of my first favorite games. It reminded me a lot of my childhood favorite, Risk. I may say this more than once, I’m not sure, but VARIABILITY DOES NOT EQUAL REPLAYABILITY. The monster + power combos create variability, but they’re all pretty much the same. The area control is mundane and you really never have enough to hold on to anything. And I have to mention that you spend 1/3 of the game declining and not playing the game.
093. Tokaido – 9 Plays – Pretty game, cool theme, blah, blah, blah. This game is just kind of#boring. Others describe it as chill. The expansion makes it a tiny bit better, but the choices are so easy. Go to the closest spot always, get points for everything. This was a gift and looks good on my shelf, only reason it stays. Can someone please tell me why this game gets so much love?
094. Kingdom Builder – 1 Play – Dave Luza is correct. This game is literal trash.
095. Jenga – 4 Plays – The only way to play Jenga is to play Drinking Jenga. Put different tasks on each brick, when it’s pulled, whoever pulls it, does the task. My personal favorite block in my set is “Secret Terrorist”. The person who pulls it, writes down a word. If that word is said by any other player, they smack the tower as hard as they can.
096. One Night Ultimate Werewolf – 1 Play – 1 play was enough for me, but I’m sure I’ll get comments saying it requires multiple plays. I don’t like that it’s 10 minutes. It’s social deduction, but no way to deduce who’s good and who’s bad socially. It starts with a guess and then 2 minutes of pandering. I would play this in a group if someone reallllly wanted to, but it just doesn’t interest me.
097. Unicorn Glitterluck: Cloud Stacking – 4 Plays – In sentimental value, this game is top 10. I bought this for my 2 year old daughter at Origins this year and she was so excited I brought her a game home. She always likes playing with my pieces, but now she had one of her own. She made it a point that it had to be on daddy’s shelf. I’ll cherish my memories of that moment and my plays of it, but this is still a game for toddlers.
098. Holding On: The Troubled Life of Billy Kerr – 4 Plays – One of my biggest disappointments in my board gaming life. I’m a sucker for unique theme and thi:qs had such an interesting one for me. The mechanics, however, are absolute trash. This is a luck fest, and if you fail a mission, you have to do it over and over and over and over again until you beat it. The story did seem cool, but you’re looking at the same cards every game and it was such a slog to get through. This game is for sale, if you’d like to try it after this glowing review.
099. Monopoly Gamer – 1 Play – This is still Monopoly, people. I bought this for my nephew for Christmas, so of course I had to play a game with him. While, the theme is awesome, the components are awesome, this game has no decisions. At least it was quick.
100. Munchkin – 1 Play – I don’t know how a game this simple can have such a bad set of rules? I don’t know how a game with such a bad set of rules got so popular? I don’t know how a game this popular is so bad. I bought this game on a whim on vacation because it was early in my days in the hobby and thought, “all these people can’t be wrong.” I read the rules and instantly wondered what the point was. Munchkin will continue to print money and I’m happy for them, but this isn’t for me. I’ll refuse to play.