Board games come with all kinds of different conclusions, but one of my favorites has got to be ones where you look down on the table and feel a sense of accomplishment. For me, this often comes from "building" type games where you start from scratch but by the end of the game, you see a tapestry of your work that tells a sense of progression (I recently got #Tapestry by the way).
Games like these tend to have the following mechanisms (and more):
- Area control
- Tile placement or pattern building (e.g. Azul, Tiny Towns)
So, what are your favorite games that give you this sense of accomplishment and why? (I'm excluding campaign type games in this post to focus more specifically on building-"X" type games, whether its an engine, route, tile, map presence, etc).
Here are my examples with some commentary:
- #Wingspan - You end with a tableau of beautiful birds with unique powers. With 170 unique birds in the game, you'll have a very different board every single time. I should add though, that while the end result looks great, I don't feel as much of that satisfaction in comparison to the other games below, for three reasons. (1) I've only had three or so plays so I'm inexperienced, but find that I'm usually left wanting just 1 or 2 more turns to finish a cool engine. I end up opting for actions in my last turn that will net me the most points instead--just feels way less cool. (2) I feel like I don't have as much of a say or control in building the engine to the degree that I have in other more satisfying games. But again, this likely comes from my inexperience. Lastly, (3) Wingspan requires you to be efficient because you lose a worker in each round. I like this because it really tests your engine's quality . BUT, in comparison to games where you continue to ramp up in "power" until the end of the game, I feel like Wingspan sometimes ends anti-climatically. Regardless, it's the most elegant engine-builder I've played and I'll have fun with it every time someone bring it to the table.
- #Viticulture: Essential Edition - You look down on your board and it's all there--the different structures built in your vineyard, your army of workers, the fields you sold off for money, variety of vines, grapes, and wines produced, and the orders you managed to fulfill. You see the progression, the story, the accomplishments. It's certainly not an exciting story, but one that works for me and my wife.
- #Root - War in the Woodland. There's always a story that you can trace by looking at the board, although you might not like how the story ended :D
- #Clans of Caledonia - This is currently my most satisfying game in regard to end game results. It has a lot of the parts behind what makes Viticulture's ending satisfying, except better. This is because the progression and story of the game is told via what you've built on a map vs. other players, and not just your own player board. Plus, they did a fantastic job in the look of the game. The map is simple in its graphics and in color, which helps communicate important landscape info without being busy. The colors of the player tokens "pop" off the board and look very nice as the map gets populated with little animals, laborers, barrels, cheese, etc :)
- #Tapestry - I can see this game fitting into this category very well. With zero real plays in though, I can't help but feel that the story of each civilization can feel... "forced". The idea is that each player starts with a unique civilization which will develop in the span of multiple Eras, where the course of each Era will be determined by Tapestry cards you acquire and play such as "Militarism," "Dystopia," "Academia," "Oil Magnate," etc. For example, the Entertainers (think clowns) will start the first Era with "Maker of Fire" (like all other civs), and then go through an Era of "Oil Magnate," then "Dystopia," etc, depending on the benefits/tracks that a player wants to focus on. I get the game's intent and the brilliance of it, but the execution isn't quite convincing enough to me yet, because its requiring a level of creativity from a player to picture a convincing story (again, this is my first impression without any real plays in).