My personal top 10 games at the end of 2020


So, I have made my top ten lists for the end of the year. This was, at least partially in response to 's call for top "x" lists. I made two lists, my first list was a "top 10 of all time" as of right now. And the second one was my current top ten solo games. I have decided to share them as forum posts, with some commentary. In this post I will briefly explore my top ten games as of right now. If you wish to see my list, that can be found here. 

So, I made this list with Pubmeeple's ranking engine. This is a interesting engine, and one that I appreciate, but, I am still not 100% sure that it is the best way to rank my games. I should also state that I have not played all of these games at all player counts. But, I am assuming that for any of these games I am playing at the my favorite, so far, player count. Anyways, without further ado, here's my list.


Coming in at number 10 we have #Innovation. Last year this came in at number 6. This is a great game. It is very much a game that can feel swingy, chaotic, and unpredictable. But, when one has played it sufficiently one can start seeing the order in the chaos. One can start seeing how even the most depraved strategies can be blocked. This is a game that seems to break many many rules of good game design, and shines, partly because of that. I will say, that I do like it much much better at 2 than at 3 or 4.

At number 9 we find #Root. This is the darling of the forums. And, has been a darling in the greater boardgame community ever since it came out. I only recently got it, and so it is new to the list. I should also say, I have only played it solo, with the better bot project pnp solo mode. I honestly do like it. And at this moment it does come in at number 9. However I feel like I don't have quite enough experience with it, and it could easily go up or down quite a bit in next years list.

My number 8 is #Race for the Galaxy. This fell from the number 4 spot last year. This is a absolutely brilliant tableau building game. Add to that the fact that it is blisteringly fast, especially as a two player game, this is a game that I don't think will ever leave my collection. I do really stink at it, and I still love it. I like it at all player counts, but two is my favorite player count.

Number 7 is #Spirit Island. It was number 2 on last years list. I really like this game, and for a brief period of time I think it was maybe my number 1. Newer games, however, have come along and bumped it down. But, there is a deeper issue. This is a brilliant game, but it sometimes feels too coldly mechanical. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised to see it continue to slip downwards. However, it is still a very solid number 7. I have only played it solo, my favorite way to play it is with 3 spirits. But, I enjoy it with every spirit count.

Coming in at the number 6 slot is #Scythe. This was my number 1 for several years. Last year it was still at number 1. This is a good game. In many ways this is sort of a perfect game for me. It's fast, it's strategic, it's tactical, it's fun, it's just great. I think that it slipped for two reasons. Lack of playtime in the last year, and the fact that I have acquired other games I simply enjoy more. I enjoy it at all player counts, but my favorite is 4 players.

My number 5 is #Star Trek: Frontiers. This is a reskin of #Mage Knight, and I have only ever played it solo, nor do I have any desire to play it with anybody else. Last year this came in at number 3, so it is close to the same spot as last year. This is just a wonderfully big, meaty, deckbuilding, puzzly game, and it is richly rewarding to play. The setup is a bit annoying, and that keeps it from hitting the table more.

At number 4 we find #Pax Porfiriana. This is new to this years list. I have only ever played this game solo using Ricky Royals's improved solo variant. I love the period of the mexican revolution, and the stories that this game tells are truly wonderful. The cardplay is clever and engaging. The interaction is off of the charts. The art is a bit "messy" but I honestly like it.

My number 3 is #Pax Pamir (Second Edition). This is also new to the list. I love this game, but I honestly didn't know if this or Pax Porf would score higher. I have had a lot higher highs with Pax Porf, but I have had lower lows as well. However, every play I have had with Pamir has been a huge success. Also, as a solo player, and I have only played this solo, the solo opponent in Pamir is much more engaging. I can also not ignore the pure tactile delight that this game offers in comparison to Porf.

My number 2 is another game that is new to the list. This game is #1862: Railway Mania in the Eastern Counties.  This is another game I have only played solo. And, it has a bunch of things that I don't think I generally enjoy quite as much, I am not a big fan of the theme, I don't like "beat your own score variants" and that is basically what this is, The setup is very fiddly, etc.... But the puzzle that this offers is really really engaging. This has been my biggest surpise of the year. I got it as a gamble, and I honestly expected to enjoy it, but I didn't expect it to be in my top 10. But, here it is at number 2.

And now, my current number 1 game of all time, #Navajo Wars. This is a solitaire wargame. It has one of the most engaging enemy A.I.'s that I have ever seen. The theme is beautifully realized. I love the theme. The cardplay is wonderful. The feeling of struggling to maintain your own distinctive culture in the face of overwhelming colonisation. All of this is hugely rewarding. I also like that the them is a bit subversive. It is a about the colonial period in the american southwest, but it is told from the perspective of those that suffered from the european influence. This is a brilliant game. 


So, what fell off my list from last year?

  • #Agricola (Revised Edition) was number 7 last year. This year it came in at number 14. The main reason for the fall is new games.
  • #Fief: France 1429 was number 5 last year. This year it came in at number 11. The only reason it fell off was because of new games. I also haven't played it in the last year, so I think it would have fallen some anyways, though it  would have stayed in the top ten.
  • #Power Grid came in at number 8 last year. This year it was at number 12. New games is the reason it fell.
  • #Dominion: Second Edition came in at 9 last year. This year it was number 13. It too is the victim of new games.
  • #Acquire was my number 10 last year. This year it came in at number 19. It too suffered from the new game syndrom. But, there were some other games, like #Power Grid and #Deep Space D-6 that rose in comparison to this old classic.


Predictions for the next year. 

I have a lot of games in the states that I haven't gotten a chance to play yet. I also have a number of games that I have preordered or kickstarted that have a potential for entering my top ten. I don't know what my top ten list for next year will look like, but I do expect to see a lot of change. Just to let you know the games that I have, or have coming, I will make a list here. I full expect to see 1 or more of these in my top 10 next year.

#High Frontier 4 All

#Pax Emancipation

#Pax Viking

#Pax Renaissance: 2nd edition

#Pendragon: The Fall of Roman Britain

#Conquest of Paradise

#Imperial Struggle

#Gaia Project

#Underwater Cities

#Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island


#The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth

#Porta Nigra

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Owner6 months ago

Wow your list is going to drastically change next year. By the way, are most of the Pax games tableau builders? It just seems interesting how only Transhumanity and Pamir are in the solo guild's Top 200 list. I suppose the fact that not as many people own the other Pax games plays into it.

Supporter6 months ago

All of the PAX games are built around a tableau building engine.

Yes, I do think I have a lot of potential for change, LOL.


Premium User6 months ago

Wow, great post! I feel like I've learned of a lot of different games I wouldn't have otherwise because of you!

Cool to see #Innovation up there, as I just received it as a Christmas gift! Haven't gotten it played yet, but hopefully I will soon!

Supporter6 months ago

I feel like it is a bit of a love it or hate it game, and it is a game that took a few plays for me before I started seeing the beauty, but it is a good one.

Premium User6 months ago

Yes it definitely seems kinda crazy. I'll be a bit surprised if my wife ends up liking it, but we'll see how it goes.

Supporter6 months ago

Great list Chris! I don't think you lost anything on the games that fell off your top 10. These are really solid games you have here. Can't wait to see how it changes once you have a chance to try all those other games. 

Supporter6 months ago

I really don't feel like I lost anything. Neither do I really feel, generally speaking, like I like the ones that fell off less. They have just slid down because of other games that I like even better.

Supporter6 months ago

Well said!

Owner6 months ago

Ok ok, I need to read later again in more detail, but just leaving a o0o face for now after seeing where #Pax Pamir is :)

Supporter6 months ago

It's a good one.

Supporter6 months ago

Where does it rank on your list Phil?

Owner6 months ago

I'm withholding judgment until I've played #Nemo's War, #Obsession, and #Star Wars: Rebellion! And I'll also be making two lists, with one of them focused on solo play.

Supporter6 months ago

You are so thoughtful and careful. How long does it take to put a list together?

Supporter6 months ago

And, , adding to 's question, do you expect to use Pubmeeple, or just rank them yourself?

Supporter6 months ago

I'll be waiting for your list.

Premium User6 months ago

Nice list ! Quick question about it overall. How did you rank them? I know you said on pubmeeple but what I mean is - did you look at it like which you'd rather play now or something else? I ask because as I've said posting about my top 10, I generally favor new to me games because that's usually my thought process. Games I'm itching to play more of climb up higher than they would.

Can't wait to hear your thoughts on Underwater Cities some day as I think you'll like it

Supporter6 months ago

I am hoping I do.

6 months ago

I appreciate the commentary you've put into each game and their position movement on your list! Thinking about this, it suddenly dawned on me that I probably haven't even played ten games this year... although I have been fortunate enough to play quite a few games of #Scythe Digital Edition with friends and randos.

If you're at all concerned with not having played as much Scythe this past year, I encourage you to check out the Digital Edition (PC or mobile). The UI will probably take some getting used-to but it's got a solid player base and the competitive scene is actually growing.

Online 4 player games frequently take 60-90 minutes (sometimes less) depending on the game owner's settings, and you also have the option for asynchronous play (less common with strangers). 

Supporter6 months ago

Thanks for that.

I appreciate your suggestion, however, I admit that I am sorta with on this one. I would rather mess around with board games, especially of that size and weight, rather than with a screen. I do play RFTG some on a screen. But those are games I can whip out in 5 minutes.

Supporter6 months ago

I have a hard time playing board games on digital. It just loses so much of what makes board games great. 

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