R0land's Top 100 Games (Let's debate!)

Premium User

Hi all,

None of you have any reason to really care about my top 100 games.  But since things have quieted down a bit around here since Christmas I figured a good top 100 list could stir up some conversation. 

I have played around 340 unique games which is small for some but a fair amount so hopefully my list is useful.  But maybe not!

So poke, prod, and pummel my list to your hearts content.  I won't mind!

My personal rating criteria is, generally, the following:

  • Is it fun?  This is a combination of does it get me laughing and/or does it get me thinking hard in a way I find fulfilling. 
  • Does it give me good enjoyment for the time commitment to the game?   I'd rather play a really excellent short game than a just fine longer game any day of the week.
  • Was the experience memorable in some way?  I like interesting and unusual mechanisms or genres.  However, amazing components and art will also show up here too.
  • Generally how does the game feel overall during and after play.  This is sort of that hard to pin down magic that some games have.

To come up with this list I first organized my games in to 3 groups.  10's (amazing), 8.5's (great), and 7's (good) games.  I then put each set through the Ranking Engine (pubmeeple.com) and then combined the lists. 

Why did I do this?  I am not really sure.  I felt like I had been adding game scores in willy nilly lately and I wanted to do a reset.  I felt that #Feierabend was a perfect 7 game and it made me want to rebalance around that.  

One last note.  For many of these games I have played them once so further plays will definitely adjust their positions.

Let's look at the list in chunks of 10 with my comments and see if anything interesting comes out of this!

 

Rank Game
100 DC Comics Deck-Building Game 
99 Streets 
98 Star Wars: Rebellion 
97 The Quest for El Dorado 
96 War of the Ring: Second Edition 
95 AuZtralia 
94 Gugong
93 Trickerion: Legends of Illusion 
92 Tawantinsuyu: The Inca Empire 
91 Key Flow 

I am a bit surprised that #AuZtralia didn't go higher since I recently played it and it is quite an unusual game.  But in general it is a good game behind the quirkiness but not a great game.

#Star Wars: Rebellion & #War of the Ring: Second Edition fell prey to my "enjoyment for the time commitment" criteria.  They are both really good games that I enjoy playing but they are LOOONG games too.  Depending on my mood they could go higher on the list but the time commitment was important to me when I made this list. 

#Tawantinsuyu: The Inca Empire, a T game on the bottom of the list?  Well it's still the top third of all the games I have ever played but I definitely think this is my least favourite of the T games at this point.  More plays are needed though.

Rank Game
90 Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North 
89 Wingspan 
88 The Castles of Tuscany 
87 Ecos: First Continent 
86 Zona: The Secret of Chernobyl 
85 Azul 
84 Cockroach Poker 
83 Naramata 
82 Love Letter 
81 Imhotep 

#Love Letter (2019 Edition) is the edition here.  It benefits with good enjoyment in a short play time much like #Cockroach Poker

I suspect more plays of #The Castles of Tuscany will move it up the list.  

#Zona: The Secret of Chernobyl feels a bit low to me.  Mechanically it's not perfect but it feels good around the table and is based on a genre I REALLY enjoy.

Rank Game
80 Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game 
79 Le Havre 
78 Ethnos 
77 Pipeline 
76 The Castles of Burgundy 
75 Dice Throne: Season One 
74 Root 
73 Clans of Caledonia 
72 DOOM: The Board Game 
71 Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia 

The surprises for me here is that #The Castles of Burgundy and #DOOM: The Board Game are not higher.  They have definitely been higher on my lists before but it could just be my current mood and the vagaries of how I did the comparison.

Rank Game
70 Paladins of the West Kingdom 
69 Five Tribes 
68 Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure 
67 Inis 
66 Istanbul 
65 6 nimmt! 
64 Everdell 
63 Imperial Settlers 
62 Battle for Rokugan 
61 A Feast for Odin 

All good games.  No real surprises here.  Somehow I have #6 Nimmt! and #Take 5 + Take a Number on the list.  They are basically the same game but I guess I played two different versions.  

#Battle for Rokugan is definitely in the unusual game mechanic.  I really like the way this game plays with the bluffing, double bluffing and just the general groans and cheers around the table.

Rank Game
60 Altiplano 
59 51st State: Master Set 
58 Caylus 
57 Big Trouble in Little China: The Game 
56 Yellow & Yangtze 
55 Coimbra 
54 Power Grid 
53 The Search for Planet X 
52 Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar 
51 The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire 

#Big Trouble in Little China: The Game - Deluxe Edition is also a bit low.  Much like Zona mechanically it's not perfect but it's a genre I hugely enjoy.  But there it is for now.

#Power Grid has dropped a fair amount in the last year.  The last game I had was kind of meh and I see some flaws in it.  It's still a great game mind you, just not top 10 for me anymore.

50 Lorenzo il Magnifico 
49 Blood Rage 
48 Caverna: The Cave Farmers 
47 Kemet 
46 Mechs vs. Minions 
45 Hadara 
44 Village 
43 The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine 
42 Clank! In! Space!: A Deck-Building Adventure 
41 Yokohama 

Cracking the top 50.  Not much to say here.  These games all feel like they are in the right spot.

Rank Game
40 Civilization: A New Dawn 
39 Heroes of Land, Air & Sea 
38 Cacao
37 Mansions of Madness: Second Edition
36 Imperial 2030
35 Anachrony
34 Condottiere
33 Villagers
32 Tiny Towns
31 Western Legends

#Anachrony took a ranking hit after the last game I played didn't go so well.  Definitely wasnt enjoyment value for the time in that game!

#Condottiere, #Villagers, and #Tiny Towns all benefit from being really fun games with quite reasonable play times.

Rank Game
30 Viscounts of the West Kingdom
29 Heaven & Ale
28 Race for the Galaxy
27 Maracaibo
26 Lords of Hellas
25 Architects of the West Kingdom
24 Cartographers
23 Underwater Cities
22 Cyclades
21 Spirit Island

No surprises to me here.  These are all great games that I really enjoy.

Rank Game
20 Russian Railroads
19 Keyflower
18 Terraforming Mars
17 Eclipse: Second Dawn for the Galaxy
16 Champions of Midgard
15 Orleans
14 Viticulture Essential Edition
13 Tekhenu: Obelisk of the Sun
12 Forbidden Stars
11 Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game

10 more amazing games. 

I think #Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game benefits from me loving Civ IV the most but also having acquired it for such a great price (with expansions to boot!) and then having some great games with my board game group.  It's not a perfect game but it's the most complete civ experience you can get for the time commitment.#Civilization: A New Dawn is good, especially with the #Civilization: A New Dawn - Terra Incognita expansion but it's not quite as comprehensive

Rank Game
10 Concordia
9 Great Western Trail
8 Gloomhaven
7 Marvel Champions: The Card Game
6 Gaia Project
5 Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated
4 Brass: Lancashire
3 Teotihuacan: City of Gods
2 Brass: Birmingham
1 Scythe

I usually don't include both versions of Brass but I decided I should this time for some reason.  These 10 games are definitely the top games I've played.  

#Concordia has the smoothest game play and great enjoyment for the time commitment.

#Great Western Trail is just super crunchy but has a variety of systems that mesh together so well.

#Gloomhaven takes an amazing system and melds it with a super ambitious campaign in a box that actually works. 

#Marvel Champions: The Card Game is deckbuilding done differently.  Sure the marvel genre is a part of the enjoyment but there is a great game here which has just started to explore the design space it has.  

#Gaia Project is a crunchy euro with a lot of ways to win.  I still haven't quite comprehended all of the ways to approach the game or how to see the best path with a given setup but I enjoy each play through anyway.

#Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated is my #1 legacy experience combined with one of my favourite deck building games.

#Brass: Lancashire & #Brass: Birmingham have the amazing interconnection between players.  The best actions for you often benefit other players as well and weaving your way through the game to make sure you benefit just a bit more than anyone else is just delicious.  And the art work on these versions.  Wow!  Birmingham is just a bit more tighter and cleaner putting it up higher.  

#Teotihuacan: City of Gods is by far my favourite T game.  The build up of dice power, ascension, the tightness of cacao, that very cool pyramid you are building all add up to a great game.

#Scythe has been in my top games since the day I bought it.  I've expanded it and blinged it out but the core game play is still what I enjoy the most.  It's an action selection, engine building, cold war, territory control game.  Plus more.  And all of the mechanisms work well together.  With amazing art that really draws you in to the world.

I hope you enjoyed my list!  Any comments?  Any surprises? What would your list look like?

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Owner14 days ago

I don't know about others, but I love looking at lists!

So you went through all of these games and assigned them to the three different score categories?? It would take forever for me to make up my mind 😆

I have interest in a lot of the games you mentioned and in particular, your Top 20 has a number of games that I've thought about buying in the future:

Edit: Oh and no complaints here, but I'm waiting for 's reaction :D

Premium User13 days ago

Initially looking at ranking all the games just seemed crazy.  Comparing 340 games would have meant a couple thousand comparisons at least if not more.  

It was pretty easy to break the games up in to the three categories because let's face it, in 340 games many of them are going to be "just fine".  Were there some errors?  Sure, I suppose, but that's ok because when I do this list again in a year or two I am sure it will change a lot anyway!

I really enjoy Keyflower and it's been in my top 10 before.  There is just something about the way the auctions work, the way you can use other peoples locations, and of course building up your own little village that I absolutely love. 

Eclipse will for sure be longer than many other games although not as long as you think.  It's definitely shorter than #War of the Ring: Second Edition or #Star Wars: Rebellion with a 4 player count which is the highest I've played it at.  It's mile better than #Twilight Imperium: Fourth Edition which I will never ever play a long game of again. Sure, twilight imperium has more gameplay and more stuff going on but I don't feel the enjoyment per hour is nearly as good as Eclipse where I think the time is mostly well spent.. It's not as "enjoyment value packed" as #Condottiere for example but it's pretty good.

When it comes to theme I feel like it has a good one.  There are definitely some things that are "gamey" about it but I can let those go and enjoy it for what it is.

I highly recommend #Great Western Trail.  There are quite a few similarities to #Maracaibo but I feel that GWT is a tighter game and for whatever reason in this game style I definitely prefer it.  I'm fine to have both as I do like the solo mode in Maracaibo quite a bit but I can't see it surpassing GWT for me.  (And #Great Western Trail: Rails to the North is an amazing expansion.)

Finally Gaia Project.  I recently picked it up for a great price.  It has a really good solo mode but the thing that grabs me about this game is the puzzle of figuring out what is going to do well depending on the games starting parameters.  I find it's a real challenge to pick a path and try to accomplish your goals because the game is tight and you need to make sure that you do the right things this turn to score points but also leave yourself in a position to do something on the next turn.  It's just a fantastic puzzle.

Edit: You went through ALL those games!  Wow!  Thanks is all I can say. :)

Owner11 days ago

Thanks for all of the details! Really need to try out Keyflower at some point :)

Premium User11 days ago

They have it on Tabletop Simulator.  Not sure about the other ones.

Supporter14 days ago

No arguments here. I do have several questions/observations.

Have you played any historical games? I am talking pretty specifically historical games like a game centered around a specific war or time period instead of just a broadly themed civ games. 

Also, I am curious what size group you normally play with.

Great choice for your number 1. Scythe was my number 1 for a several years.

Premium User14 days ago

I played #Axis & Allies (the original version) many many times in high school. (And I still own my copy!) I played a game of #Rise and Decline of the Third Reich around the same time (and still own it too!), #shogun, and #Red Storm Rising.

On PC I've played many, many war games of various types.  (Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin probably being my favourite of all time.)

When it comes to board games I have no one in my house who is a gamer and I honestly don't really feel like playing a 3600 hour game any more. :)

I would play a game like that online if it was turn based though.  

I normally play with 3 or 4 players.  Rarely 2 and rarely more than 4.  

 

Supporter14 days ago

I think you could get into some good historical games and really enjoy them. I was especially wondering about a game like #Pax Pamir (Second Edition).

Premium User14 days ago

I've tried Pax a couple of times.  It didn't wow me to be honest.  It's in my "more plays needed" category as I know people tend to really like it.

I'm not sure I would call Pax a historical game to be honest.  Sure, it's a historical situation but so abstracted that I would consider Brass more historically detailed than Pax.

That's the tricky question, what constitues a game being historical?  For me it's a game that has me thinking like someone in that situation would think and taking specific actions that someone in that situation could take.  Wargames are the only thing I can think of that qualify for that. 

However, I'd be happy to hear about a non-wargame that has those qualities as I do enjoy history!

Supporter13 days ago

It is interesting how you and I have a different feel about the Pax games. I do consider them to be fairly historical. I haven't played a lot of historical games, especially that aren't war games. But, I would think about something along the lines of:

#Freedom: The Underground Railroad

#John Company

#Navajo Wars really isn't a wargame, and it is great.

I also own, and haven't played yet, #Conquest of Paradise

There are a number of hollandspiele titles that could potentially fit into this:

#This Guilty Land

#The Vote: Suffrage and Suppression in America

#An Infamous Traffic

I actually feel like some of the 18xx games could do this. I do think that they do embody the whole "crooked robber baron" wheeling and dealing that embodied the early railroad history.

I am curious why you want to stay away from wargames? Do you want to avoid conflict? Do you want to avoid the reputation for long games? 

 

 

Premium User13 days ago

Those all look like they might be historical non-war games for sure.  I haven't played any of them.  Hmmm, maybe I am the issue!

For Pax I guess it's that the alliances (probably the wrong term, I haven't played in a while) could and would be changed simply because it got you more points.  There is no in game reason for it, you just swap to the Russians because you get more points.  For me I'd like to know it's because they have better supported you, or the people love them, or something other than "it gets me more points".  That's not to say that it's a problem with the game.  It's a problem to my view if I am trying to look at it as historical. 

I am fine with games like Root, Heroes of Land Air & Sea or the many dudes on a map games I have.  What I don't want is to get involved in a 3600 hour game of moving NATO marked chits around a board anymore.  I've done it and it's no longer my thing.

If maybe I had someone in my house that was in to it and we could set it up on a table and play a turn a night or something I might be in for it slowly over time but otherwise it's not for me.  I'd play an online turn game like that though.

So maybe the issue is that no longer want to sit around a board for hours and hours all the time.  We played #Twilight Imperium: Fourth Edition a while ago with 6 players.  I didn't know they wanted to play the long game.  So 14 hours later we're finished and frankly I felt like crap and while there was some enjoyable moments it wasn't worth 14 hours and the crappy feeling afterwards.

Oh no.  Maybe I'm just too old!!!!!

Edited to add: My group is talking about playing #Cuba Libre.  Historical hopefully but a war game.  But only 4 hours (supposedly).  

Supporter11 days ago

Well, I don't recomend the cure for being too old. Dying young is just overrated. 

about the alliances in PP2e. I have read the vp's as represent the influence you have in the said faction, and the liklihood you will be favored if the said faction "wins." Think of the way some small countries would bounce back and forth between comunism and capitalism during the cold war. They knew that whatever happened they were going to lose, they were basically just switching ideologies to benefit themselves when the the conflict was finally over.

Premium User11 days ago

Took a look at those games you mentioned.  Man, some of them are super pricey!

Still some interesting options there and they don't shy away from real history which is great.

Navajo Wars is the only one under $200 that is in stock. It has a one player mode too which is good.  (I don't get a lot of two player games played.)  I'll add it to my wishlist!

Edit: Nevermind, it's out of stock now.  I'll still keep it on the list!

 

 

Supporter8 days ago

#John Company (Second Edition) should be hitting kickstarter early this year.

#An Infamous Traffic will supposedly be reprinted after a bit.

#This Guilty Land is in stock for $55 from https://hollandspiele.com/ 

#The Vote: Suffrage and Suppression in America, I think, should be in stock again at hollendspiele before too long.

Premium User7 days ago

I'll check it out.  Shipping to Canada is often killer though so I try to find it local.

Premium User11 days ago

I always say getting older is better than the alternative!

I hear what you are saying about the points.  It makes sense as to what you are doing in general but to me every individual switch seems very contextless. 

I don't think it's ahistorical.  It's just not quite what I think about when I think a historical game.  It seems more in line with #Imperial 2030.  It's an abstraction of a realistic situation.

I'll definitely take a look at the other games you mentioned earlier too.

Supporter10 days ago

Well, I own about 20 games and haven't played many more than that, so... it's hard to argue with a top 100, haha.

Premium User10 days ago

It’s all very subjective anyway.  Sometimes it’s just fun to seewhat is out there!

i used to game with people who had a 600 game collection which is where I got a lot of exposure to different games. Now the core of my gaming group tends to buy a lot so I end up playing a lot of different games!

Supporter10 days ago

Oh for sure.  But what's so offensive to me is how low #Root is, haha!  Obviously I'm sort of kidding...

There are two types of board gamers...

1. Those who have #Root solidly in their top 5 and 2. those who are wrong, chuckle.

Premium User10 days ago

I like it but it doesn't work as well for the people I play with.  I'm glad you enjoy it!

Supporter10 days ago

Oh for sure.  But what's so offensive to me is how low #Root is, haha!  Obviously I'm sort of kidding...

There are two types of board gamers...

1. Those who have #Root solidly in their top 5 and 2. those who are wrong, chuckle.

Premium User10 days ago

You like it so much. You said it twice!

Supporter10 days ago

Supporter10 days ago

13 days ago

Some of those games you mentioned were lower than you'd expect aren't surprising because of PubMeeple. While it's certinly a useful tool, it suffers from the problem of that initial face off dividing it into top half and bottom half and nothign moves from that position after that. It depends heavily on what it was matched against. Still, looks like a solid list except for all the card games. XD I kid. Card games aren't my jam. I agree on a lot of your top games though. 

Premium User13 days ago

You are definitely right about th ranking algorithm. I don’t know the proper name for it but it is definitely very coarse. On the other hand, if it wasn’t there would be a LOT more comparisons needed!

I might spend some time smoothing it out but maybe not. It’s not THAT important!

 

 

13 days ago

Oh, this was fun to read! I have six games in your top 100, including your #1 which just arrived last week and is awaiting the right opportunity to let my wife know I bought it on sale so I can finally pull it out of it's hiding spot and play it solo.  There are another six games on my want list, and another six or so on my 'want to do more research and play' list.