Top 14 games in the States I am most looking forward to playing.


This is a complicated list title, and you deserve some explanation for it.

Many of you know that I live in rural El Salvador. There is quite a bit of diversified and beautiful scenery and culture in this tiny little country, but there is a definite paucity of game stores and mail delivery. I can get games shipped here. But, it tends to costs 40-80 dollars a game, depending on the size of the games. I am, generally speaking, not willing to pay those prices. So, what I do is, I buy games online, and ship them to my house in the states. I have a an arrangment with my renter that he sticks them in my storage until one of two things happens.

  1. Friends, families, or associates come from that area and have luggage space and bring me some of my games. This happens sometimes, and if they are friends or family, they are generally wanting to bring stuff down for us.
  2. I have somewhat various reasons to go to the US. And, I can pick up games when I go up, and bring them back with me.

However, Covid, has wreaked a certain amount of chaos on the amount of travel that I, and my friends and associates, are able to engage in. I had a trip to the states planned for April, and another one for August, both of those have need to be cancelled. I have another trip planned for September/October, but I fully expect to not be able to make it. As a result I have more than the usual amount of games waiting for me in the states. I am ranking those games.

There are 14 games in total, and, you deserve a bit of a disclaimer. This does include a few kickstarters that have not delivered yet. But, the way the course of the world looks, it looks like they are likely to deliver before I can pick up the non KS stuff.

  1. #Pax Pamir (Second Edition) Beautiful production, fascinating game play, game design philosophy that I love, wonderful solo mode, great interaction, highly tactical. This may be my platonic ideal of a board game. 
  2. #Pendragon: The Fall of Roman Britain This is a big, meaty, and very heavy COIN game from GMT. It is often regarded as the heaviest COIN game they have produced. I am a COIN novice, and so that really sort of scares me. But, I have watched a solo playthrough or two, and I think I can manage it. I love the time period this is set in. And that is what won me over.
  3. #High Frontier 4 All I am super excited for this. I am also super nervous. It is weighted at 4.81 on the BGG weight scale. And, this is a game I will probably only ever play solo. So, I have to learn it by myself. But, I watched a playthrough on the Heavy Cardboard channel. And, I fell in love with watching how all the systems worked together. That almost conviced me.... but, then I read and this sealed my interest in it.
  4. #Root This is from a BGG GAW win the first part of the year, maybe Janurary??? I love assymetry in games, and this looks very assymetric in a fairly approachable package.
  5. #Gaia Project More assymetry. I love the Automata Factory, and this is broadly regarded as being one of their best AI's. Couple that with the fact that this is a very prestigous Euro game, which is a reimagining of another hugely well regarded Euro. I am really looking forward to trying it.
  6. #1862: Railway Mania in the Eastern Counties This is another BGA GAW win. This will be my first 1862, and it is chosen because of what seems to be a pretty interesting solo mode. I am a bit intimidated in thinking about it, but, I am also tremendously excited. Also, Heavy Cardboard has two solo playthroughs on their channel. I only watched the first one, but it looks like it will be great fun.
  7. #Pax Renaissance 2nd edition The first edition was one of the highest regarded of the Pax games. I love the theme. I love the opportunistic nature in most of the Pax games. And, I generally who you as a player are playing, even if I don't think it is necessarily historically accurate.
  8. #Pax Porfiriana More Pax, more theme I love. 
  9. #Pax Viking the newest Pax. I really like the map movement aspects of this. And, it still seems to be a Pax game.
  10. #Navajo Wars. This is primarily a solitair war(ish) game designed by Joel Toppen and put out by GMT. It is one of those games where you are playing as the Navajo, but you never really win. You just try to hold on as long as you can. I do like that style of game, where you are slowly losing, and are fighting to stay as effective as you can with what you have.
  11. #Pax Emancipation This looks like it will be the best Pax for solo play. This I also love the idea of the theme, the players are working together to make slavery illegal worldwide.
  12. #Conquest of Paradise 2nd Edition This is a historical 4x game put out by GMT. You are set as Polynesions exploring, conquering, and settling the part of the world we now know as Polynesia. I love the theme. I love the idea of a 4x that you can solo, and this one does have a dedicated solo mode. I am a little worried that it might get a little stale solo, but this is light enough I expect I can get others to play it with me.
  13. #Greenland (Third Edition) I bought this only for solo play. It is basically a heavy dice game. I really like the idea of the amount of levers you can pull in this game, and this is also supposed to be a hard game, a game a little like #Navajo Wars in that you will often be losing the whole time through no fault of your own. I look forward to exploring that space.
  14. #Porta Nigra This is a midweight euro designed by Kramer and Kiesling. The reviews are slightly mixed, but I got it on a Gamenerdz sale for $5.99 or something like that, and I thought it looked interesting enough for that. I am very interested in you assemble buildings on the board, and I think that the table presence might be enough to draw some of my friends in.

I as you may have noticed, I have a number of Pax games on my list. and I didn't go into much detail about them. All pax games contain as their heart, a tableu building game. But, it is a highly interactive tableu. Tableu building is my favorite mechanism, and when you mix it with historical periods that I love, it is not a great wonder that I am interested in them.But, another element of the typical Pax game is that they tend to be tugs of war. You are typically not fighting for points. You are trying to be uppermost in some sphere or other, so that you can buy and activate a card that gives you the win.You have to be planning for these cards, so it isn't really a "luck of the draw" sort of thing, And, the card that helps you win may be useless to your opponent. But, those special cards that can help you win are seeded throughout the deck, and when they are drawn, there is usually a sort of "day of reckoning" and the game state gets a little shaken up.


So, are there any of these games you would like to play?

Are there any you have played that you think should go up or down on the excitometer...?


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3 months ago

Mannnnn that list is better than my actual collection lol. You have some really good stuff in there! I obviously want to play Pax Pamir, Ren and Viking are interesting to me too.

I cannot wait for you to play Gaia Project! It is a game that really delivers on the brain burning!

Supporter3 months ago

I'm looking quite forward to Gaia myself. 

3 months ago

I watched the same play through of High Frontier and was super overwhelmed...I felt like I needed to be an astro-physicist to play the game. It sounds like you are intimidated too, what is your plan to learn the game?

Supporter3 months ago

There are several things that make me hopeful.

The heavy cardboard playthrough was using #High Frontier 3rd Edition components. It does look like symbology has been markedly improved in #High Frontier 4 All. So, I hope that it will be slightly easier to parse.

In addition, #High Frontier 4 All is highly modular. And it does have one or two introductory scenarios to help introduce you to the mechanics. This does make me a little more hopeful as well. 

Also, Sierra Madre is not the only one responsible for the rulebooks for this addtion. And, the rulebooks actually look pretty good in this edition. So, I am hopeful that they will be helpful.

But, mostly, I expect that I will have to have a lot of learning games, and ask a lot of question online..... 

3 months ago

Did they change the composition of the cards? I feel that was the most confusing aspect for me. The board will not change aside from aesthetics I am assuming.

I do like that there is some escalation rather than just jumping right into the beast of a game it is. It is good that they recognized the need for that. 

Lol Sierra Madre typically has some odd rule books from what I have heard!

Supporter3 months ago

They changed the composition some. I don't feel like the composition is hugely different, but it does look like something that I can parse more easily. 

3 months ago

Just took a look at the kickstarter for it and the cards do look a little more stream lined and not as cluttered upon a quick glance! good news there. 

Supporter3 months ago

I don't think I would have considered it if it weren't for the cleaner cards and the introductory game scenarios. 

3 months ago

totally valid. Do you find space to be fascinating? I feel like that is a pre-requisite for this game lol. 

Supporter3 months ago

I find the challenges of space travel quite interesting. But I have no real desire to go to space or anything like that.

3 months ago

Lol I think that is the standard response! I love the idea of space but the reality of it is terrifying!

Supporter3 months ago

Wow that's a real "heavy" collection of games right there--Pax, 18xx, Sierra Madre, GMT... I really should check out what they're about some time. It's an entire genre of games I have no clue about (except for #Pax Pamir (Second Edition))

And I'm biased, but #Pax Pamir (Second Edition) looks great where it's currently placed ;)

In general, what's the biggest difference across all of the Pax games? Are they quite similar in core concept but just come with a twist? (is it kind of like the North Sea and West Kingdom series from Garphill in that there's a slight resemblance but it's quite different in their mechanics?)

Supporter3 months ago

The Pax games are, generally a lot closer mechanically speaking. But, they tend to stretch the limits of what a "card game" can do. Generally speaking though, the are all tableu builders, but the things you manipulate with your tablues are often different. Also, you are usually some sort of "middle man" instead of a king or something like that. 

Supporter3 months ago

Both of your descriptions make a lot of sense now that I've played #Pax Pamir (Second Edition). I really liked the idea of how spies can move around the tableau and how the number of movement is dependent on the distance between the cards. It's abstracted, but it's very easy to make the thematic connections and those little details really set this game apart. Oh, and I absolutely love playing with the blocks!

Supporter3 months ago

I'm looking forward to mine.... 

3 months ago

Wow, that is a heck of a list. I'd be interested to play several of those Pax games. Gaia Project as well. The rest of the games are all new to me (aside from Root, which I have played).

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