I went through many iterations when making this list. I at one point had 3 or 4 different lists for different criteria. Solo only, games for my group, games for my family, etc. I eventually came up with a better idea. When ranking my games I went with the "assuming ideal player counts and conditions" slant. This way I was able to eliminate all of those different categories and just rank my top 10 games. Except there are so many good ones I couldn't stop at 10. There are some REALY good games even outside my Top 20. So. Here are my 20 favorite games to play right now. Solo, multiplayer, whatever all mixed together.
20.#Star Wars: Outer Rim. This game for some reason seems to be continually underrated by many. It's a really good, really thematic Star Wars game. It's a lot of fun. Lots of different paths to take and lots of cool Star Wars-ness. Great solo, great with friends. Definitely needs an expansion though. A lot of Mandalorian content would fit nicely in this game.
19.#Empires of the Void II. One of the most beautiful games in my collection. A 4X style game that doesn't take all day to play. If only there was a solo mode for this one. Maybe I should check BGG?
18.#Aeon's End: Legacy. A great deck builder with an awesome legacy campaign. Only problem is now that I've finished the game I don't know what to do with it. Sure, it's similar to a base set with an expansion mixed in but after the campaign concluded I don't know how useful that really is. It was a great time playing it though.
17.#The City of Kings. This is a great game that I just haven't spend enough time with. I really love the randomly generated enemy abilities and the combination of dungeon crawler with worker placement is really unique and interesting.
16.#Scythe. This is a great game. And I'm surprised to see it way down here. I still love it to bits and would gladly play it whenever. Unfortunately it's just gotten pushed down the list by other games that I love even more.
15.#Root. We are in the middle of a group of games that are beloved on the forum here that all have surprisingly dropped out of my top 10. This game is phenomenal and the art is incredible. I love this game to bits as well but again it's just getting pushed down the list. This stretch of games is why I expanded this to Top 20 instead of just Top 10.
14.#Everdell. Oof. Yet another in this grouping of forum darlings that are just outside my Top 10. This game is beautiful. Fun. And relatively fast. I have high hopes to eventually introduce this to my wife and children. The art and theme should hopefully help to draw them in. And the card play and worker placement should help them stay and learn.
13.#Maracaibo. This is where the decisions really started becoming agonizing. Pub Meeple kept matching this one with so many tough questions. How could I pick this over some of the games that are higher up? This. Is. A. Great. Game. Like... really great. Amazing mechanics. Amazing solo mode. Wow.
12.#Nemo's War (Second Edition). I've written at length about this game recently. It's a unique game in my collection and it's definitely a unique experience. The story elements are amazing. The simple dice roll mechanics are superb. What a great game. (Seems like I can't say anything else but that going forwards)
11.#Paladins of the West Kingdom. Mmmm. This game is: Crunchy. Interconnected. Sublime. This game is phenomenal. And it has a superb solo AI. A game with evocative art and a theme that is stronger than it first appears. Just missed out being in the Top 10.
10.#First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet. Surprised to see this up here? I was too. But it makes sense. So much about my interests beyond board games involve space exploration and Mars in particular that it just fits that I'd love a game like this. Yes, it had some criticism when it first game out. But time has been very kind to this game which is really thematic and challenging. A lot of the bugs in the app and the difficult rulebook have been smoothed over. This is definitely a diamond in the rough.
9.#Underwater Cities. This game is tight. You have 30 actions to accomplish all of your goals. And you somehow manage to get there. Or at least pretty close. This game creates such a delicious feeling of accomplishment as you progress your engine from start to finish. The last few turns are explosions of activity as you race to the end. A decent solo mode too, with a subtle AI opponent that just manages to get in your way enough. Definitely worthy of its position here.
8.#Circadians: First Light. The most recent addition to my collection smashes its way all the way up here, driven by an excellent solo mode and clever mechanics tied up in a quick playtime. Give the box art a chance and I think you'll be very pleasantly surprised with how all strong this game is.
7.#Terraforming Mars. This game features a huge variety of cards with which you will set out to build an engine and terraform Mars. Sure, the art can be a little uneven. But honestly you won't notice as soon as you are engrossed in this game. Amazing solo. Amazing with a group. Fantastic game.
6. #A Feast For Odin. With#A Feast For Odin: The Norwegians. This game has it all. Mild engine building. Worker placement. Tile laying. And it's just so good! There are so many options - but it's not overwhelming. It's empowering. The game gives you a chance to try a multitude of strategies. Want to go all in on raiding? Or breed horses? Or colonize new lands? Or craft fine goods? Or any other of a huge variety of approaches that fit your plan. The solo mode is so simple yet so clever where you block yourself every round. You'll frequently be cursing the other color for blocking that spot only to remember it was you that blocked it last round! This is such a great game.
5.#Star Wars Imperial Assault. The Top 5. The best of the best. And we are starting off with a bang with this one. Star Wars theme just pours out of this game. It's so much fun. The characters are awesome and the miniatures even more so. The campaigns are great and the app is awesome. Even better is a solo mode that the fans have developed allowing you to play even more campaigns on your own. This game is fun and amazing and awesome and I love it so much.
4.#Gloomhaven. Yes it's big. Yes it's awesome. Yes it absolutely deserves its spot in the BGG rankings. No, don't be scared by this game. Absolutely, it's the best value game. For a measly $120 you get months worth of content and fun. It's incredible. The card play. The tense moments. The huge hits. The agonizing misses. This is a remarkable accomplishment.
3.#Gaia Project. This game is so thinky and awesome and amazing and I just want to go play it now. Best solo AI that I have played against so far. Challenging. Huge variety. So much fun. Great theme.
2.#Mage Knight: Ultimate Edition. The best solo game out there. Don't listen to the people who think#Spirit Island is better. It's not. MK is so much fun. And it's challenging. And it's different every game. And with the expansions from the Ultimate Edition you have so many different scenarios to explore. The ultimate deck builder, RPG style, fantasy themed game. So much fun. Love it to bits.
1.#Star Wars: Rebellion. Anyone surprised? I've talked about this one so much so I won't do much more here. But it's good. It's Star Wars. It's the best Game of all time.
Wingspan at 21, Trajan at 22, and Empires of the North at 23. These are all wonderful games that just couldn't quite reach the top 20.
Race for the Galaxy at 30. Due to a recent development this one could be on the rise. Stay tuned for more information!
New games on the way that could shake up this list next year:
Thank you to all for reading!