My Top 35!

Moderator Level 1

Around this time every year, I rework my Top 25. This year I decided to extend the list out to 35 games simply because I've played 406 unique games and picking 25 of these felt just a little too small. 50 felt like too many so I met myself kind of in the middle.

Anyway, my list has been posted for a couple days now if anyone is interested in checking it out! :D

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5 days ago

Since everyone seems to be ranking their games, I figured I might as well too. I've never actually sat down and thought about my favorite games and how they compare to each other, so creating this list required quite a bit of retrospection just to get 10 games.

My criteria probably isn't very unique. Which games would I never turn down? Which would I actively push people to play? Which do I feel are the most strategic? Which do I think give enough freedom that there are multiple paths to victory? All of these things factored into the rankings. So without further ado, here are my top 10:

10. #War Chest - One of the newest additions to my library but has already left an impact. My favorite abstract game that never plays the same way twice. I've barely had a taste of the expansions so this could potentially move up in the future.

9. #Mansions of Madness: Second Edition - Had this list been created a year ago, this might have been up higher. However, cooperative games rarely get played these days so it's fallen a bit. Still love this game and I love that the app changes the map and sometimes specific details about each scenario so that they can be replayed multiple times.

8. #It's a Wonderful World - Another newer addition that has quickly become one of my favorite straight tableau-builders. It's great to watch the table's frustration as they try to plan out their path to victory. This has bumped another drafting, tableau-builder off the list: #7 Wonders.

7. #Gloomhaven - I'm including #Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion as they're basically the same game. This is another game that has fallen a bit due to being cooperative. If you had asked me to list my games a year ago, this would have definitely been number 1. I still adore this game but it's been a while since it's been played. I love that it's basically a puzzle game disguised as a dungeon crawler.

6. #Race for the Galaxy - This has slowly been rising up in my opinion ever since I got #Race for the Galaxy: Expansion and Brinkmanship. It was always great, but the expansions add new and interesting layers to a pretty straightforward game. I've yet to add all of the content into the game so there's still plenty of opportunity for this to move up further.

5. #Roll Player - A bit of a grind to teach but always a great puzzle game. Dice have never been my friends but I get to choose the dice and manipulate them to my needs. I've mentioned elsewhere but I would never play this without #Roll Player: Monsters & Minions.

4. #Star Wars: Outer Rim - Quickly shot up after #Star Wars: Outer Rim - Unfinished Business released. It turned a great game into an amazing game. Love how thematic and strategic this is even though it's probably the only game in my collection that I have yet to win.

3. #Five Tribes - Such a unique game! Takes the mechanism from an old game, #Mancala, and puts a great modern spin to it. I have all of the major expansions but still prefer playing with just the base game, although the extra content is welcome.

2. #Scythe - Every play of this creates it's own story that gets talked about in my game group for days/weeks after. Tons of strategy, tons of player interaction, tons of fun! I have yet to play #Scythe: The Rise of Fenris but I'm sure I will love every second of it.

1. #Gaia Project - Disclaimer: I am not big on heavy euros. However, it's a bit ironic that my current favorite game is probably one of the heaviest of heavy euros. It just hits in all the right places. It's very strategic and every single move matters. There's plenty of player interaction although none of it is ever mean, and usually just comes down to removing options for other players. And it's very modular so every game will play out differently. My number 1 & 2 games were very close, but Gaia Project beat out Scythe simply because I feel that the factions in Gaia Project are more balanced than Scythe.

Honorable mentions. Just missing out my top 10 after much deliberation are: #Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale is probably my favorite flip/roll and write. It takes the polyomino mechanism that's in many other games and does it in the most basic yet most interesting and concise way. Meanwhile, #Suburbia takes the cake for tile laying games. It's a bit of a chore to teach though which is what prevented it from reaching the top 10. But there's plenty of strategy and player interaction once everyone gets it.

Moderator Level 15 days ago

Some good stuff there! Do you happen to play on Board Game Arena? I'd be down to play Gaia Project with you there if you do!

Moderator Level 19 days ago

Some great games on there! Every time I see something about #Concordia, I get a little bummed that I sold it, but then I remember that that's how I met my current gaming group, so it was 100% worth it, haha.

I was curious and looked at how many logged plays I have of your #1, and was surprised that I have 31 (and probably a few un-logged). Not too far off what you have! I would have guessed in the twenties, which I guess isn't that far from 31, but whatever.

I'd like to try #Terraforming Mars with Prelude. I've only ever played the base game, which I've found to be decently fun, but definitely too long.. My friend who owns it chose not to buy Prelude when he backed the big box, despite my advice, haha. How much time would you estimate that it saves per game?

Moderator Level 19 days ago

You sold it to someone in the group? If that's the case at least you can still play it!

I too have more plays than I've logged lol. And that goes for most of the first games I picked up when I got in the hobby. I didn't start logging plays until I think 4 months in. Then another year after that I started tracking scores. The scores bit I'm not too much of a stickler on when playing certain games or in certain crowds (aka new players). I only started it because Sarah claimed for the longest time that when she wins it's close whereas when I win it's by a lot lol. She's proven to be not that far off.

As for Terraforming Mars, it's hard to say for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I've only ever played maybe 5 times without the expansion as we quickly learned it took forever haha. They were our first few plays so part of that could have been attributed to still learning the game. On top of that, sometimes the game can lend itself to players not wanting to trigger the end game so that they can run their engine a few more times. I'd say for Sarah and myself, we usually wrap up the game around generation 13 with the Prelude. I feel like without it, we landed around generations 18-20. Hard to say how much time that actually took away from the game. If I had to guess, maybe an hour? I know the first time we ever played the game took 4 hours and it was WAYYY too much lol.

Moderator Level 19 days ago

I did, but I think he sold it again, haha. He turns over games a lot.

I've played TM games that took 5 hours -__-

Moderator Level 19 days ago

Hahaha well I guess you won't be playing it.

Oof. I think the last time I played when I was introducing it to my friend it probably took us 4. And that was of course with Prelude so no time saved. Of course he was just learning and I seem to remember we had to put the game on hold for at least some of that time for some reason. So even with that, faster than your games haha.

Premium User9 days ago

A good mix and quite a few games I didn't know about.  Some notes on the games:

  • #Karuba: This is one I've seen kicking around but didn't know what it is about.  I like bingo style games ( #Ecos: First Continent is my favourite in that style at the moment.) so it's worth checking out!
  • #Mystic Vale: I just played it recently and it is quite a fun game!  Waiting to try it again as I didn't quite get it the first time and got wipe off the map.
  • I own 5 of the games on your list and have played 14 of them.  
  • My top rated game on your list (that I have played) would be #Gaia Project and my lowest rated would be #PARKS.
  • For #Fantasy Realms use the app to score.  If you do get the expansion then you'll need to use their web site to score but either way it does a very good job and makes short work of it!

Thanks for the list!  

Moderator Level 19 days ago

Just got #Karuba to the table again yesterday actually! It's an interesting mix of a bingo style tile draw combined with racing across the map that you're constructing from those tiles. Everyone starts with the explorers and temples on the same locations so it's pretty fun to see how despite getting the same tiles in the same order how different people play them out differently. Never played #Ecos: First Continent but I've heard some good things. Other bingo like games we've enjoyed would be #Savannah Park and #Super Mega Lucky Box. I also picked up #Take It Easy! but Sarah hasn't played that one yet so it's firmly in the we'll see category.

Once again, we brought #Mystic Vale to the meetup event we went to last night but never played it haha. For some reason that keeps happening to that one.

Which 5 and which 14?

#Gaia Project would absolutely be higher up the list if it weren't so much to set up and if Sarah liked it. I think for her there's a time to play/complexity ratio going on with a "my enjoyment level" aspect thrown into that equation lol.

I should clarify my comments on #Fantasy Realms. I do use the app to score and that's the issue haha. I feel like it's a game where you have a general idea of how well you're doing based on the combos you have in your hand, but it's not easy to calculate your score. Scoring always ends up being anticlimatic when we're all just sitting around like okay so did you have any armies? No? Artifacts? etc lol

Premium User9 days ago

I own:

I have played all of the ones I own plus:

If Fantasy Realms was a longer game I would be less happy with it but considering the time it is interesting to see what you can come up with and the app makes scoring not take longer than the game itself!

Moderator Level 19 days ago

That is a very unique list and I am pleasantly surprised to see several games I have never heard of.  Cheating Moth at #1 caught my eye for sure!  I am quite curious about Lorenzo as I recently recieved it as a gift but haven't had a chance to play it yet.  

How did you compose the list on BGG?  Looks well laid out.  Given the unique variety of games, is there one in particular you'd argue is a hidden gem?  I tend to feel that way about #Heaven & Ale.  

Moderator Level 19 days ago

I see the reason for your confusion lol. When making a list like this on BGG they always order the posts numerically the way you input them. I wrote comments about the individual games where I also wrote out their rankings. The list goes in reverse order so Cheating Moth is actually 35th LOL.

For your other questions, the list is called a Geeklist over on BGG. You basically just go to where your geeklists are listed from your profile and they give the option to create a new list.

#Guillotine I think would classify as a hidden gem. Never heard anyone mention it save from a random article Sarah found when I first got into the hobby. There are actually a couple games I didn't include in my rankings on total accident that may have snuck their way onto the list if I remembered to rank them lol.#The Downfall of Pompeii is one of those and I would consider it to be fairly well hidden.

#Lorenzo il Magnifico is fun but the board gets very crowded at more than 2 players. I think the perceived meanness keeps Sarah and I away from it more than it should. It's my number 13 game, though it did slip a little from last years list.

Moderator Level 19 days ago

Ahhh, that makes sense!  I shall have to explore the Geeklist feature.  I've seen it but never used it.

Moderator Level 19 days ago

I rarely post over there. Just my yearly top 25/now 35. It is a pretty cool feature for stuff like that and, if I ever feel like I could handle packing that many boxes, maybe an auction someday lol.