War of the Ring (Second Edition)
The War of the Ring is a grand strategy board game that allows its players to immerse themselves in the world of J.R.R Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and experience its epic action, dramatic conflict, and memorable characters.
As the Free Peoples player you command the proud hosts of the most important kingdoms of the Third Age. From the horse-lords of Rohan to the soldiers of Gondor and the Elven lords of Rivendell, you lead the defense of the last free realms of Middle-earth.
Face the evil minions of Sauron on the field of battle in a desperate attempt to delay their onslaught, while you lead the Fellowship of the Ring in the Quest for Mount Doom.
As the Shadow player you lead the hordes of the Dark Lord and his most powerful minions as they try to bring darkness to Middle-earth. Legions of Orcs, Trolls, Wolfriders, and the dreadful Ringwraiths await your command. Hunt the Ring-bearer and bring the precious Ring to his Master, or crush your enemies with your unstoppable armies.
This is your chance to forge the destiny of an age!
I've never actually created a Top 10 before, but I figured it was a good way to finish off this week's challenge. While this probably will change slightly each week these are mostly games I have played a bunch and consistently loved:
10) #The Defence of Procyon III - a game I have currently only played on TTS, however it is a gorgeous asymmetric skirmish game that feels so ambitious. I love it online and anticipate it leaping up the rankings once I get to try it in person.
9) #Nemesis - I have only played this game about 3 times but have never had a bad time with it. It is thematic and tense, it is a game that creates narratives and memories. While too pricey for me to buy I will never say no to a game.
8) #Architects of the West Kingdom - my favourite worker placement game, the eco-system that is created, the multiple paths to victory, the engine building, the moral track opening and closing opportunities. There are so many great mechanics at play. It also has more player interaction than a lot of worker placement games while feeling less mean at the same time. Also the art design is great.
7) #Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game - this has ended up on a number of lists this week. I think it is a wonderful hidden traitor game, I like how much ownership you feel for 'your characters' so people will try hard to prevent them dying and as such harm the collective whole. That combined with everyone having a secret mission means there are plenty of moments when someone does something'suspicious'. It has great discussion as you plan as a team and also question people's actions. The crossroads cards are a lot of fun when they come up, we always play without reading out the mechanical consequences so the team are just making a decision based on the 'story'.
6) #13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis - By far the smallest game on this list, but packs so much into that space. The mechanics are really beautifully integrated, with each action usually having consequences (good or bad) further down the line. I love the bluffing, the fact that you have to balance where and how you put down influence with your 'Defcon' otherwise you start a nuclear war and lose the game which creates a real flow to the game. The cards are all actual events that happened during the war which is pretty cool. Cannot recommend this enough as a dedicated 2P game.
5) #Cry Havoc - Such a tense asymmetric area control game, you only get 15 actions the whole game (which can be as straight forward as drawing a new card or activating scoring for the round) so evrything you do is meaningful. The dynamic set up by the asymmetry of the factions is brilliant but also gives player plenty of room within it to make strategic and tacical decisions. It also has one of the best combat systems I have ever come across in a game: there is no luck involved just a lot of preparation and maneuvering. Plus the fact that there are different objectives in a battle means that both players can get what they want out of a battle (or neither). Just a wonderful game.
4) #Great Western Trail - This game is one of the best examples I have seen of a integration of theme and mechanics in a more Euro style game; all the actions feel pretty intuitive and are interesting. Dubbed 'the cow game' by my friends, it has so many routes to victory, a couple of nice points of player interaction and is just wonderfully evocative as you walk down this path with a handful of cows, building as you go. There is a great sense of progression as the board fills up and you each specialise in certain ways, each of which feels exponentially powerful. It is a tonne of fun.
3) #War of the Ring (Second Edition) - Such an epic game, the best 2P experience I have had with a board game. It captures the feeling of the books so well: this unstoppable wave of evil sweeping across the land with just little pockets of resistance, with all hopes on this fellowship as it trudges relentlessly across the land. Both sides feel like they are up against it from the start which is excellent. The only real downside is how long it takes to play so you can only crack it out every so often.
2) #Archipelago - I rave about this game constantly. It is in my opinion the best game (that I have played) to get players to cut deals and negotiate and by being a big open 3X (no combat) game gives huge scope for how those negoitations can proceed. We've had some fascinating dynamics appear in the game as people monoploise a certain resource or go around nabbing 'other peoples' (no one owns anything which is cool) hexes with some sneaky town building. The semi-coop aspect is very cool, as it forces compromise or you all lose. Also, the secret scoring objectives that you each have one of but that all the players score at the end means you are all watching each other carefully to try and work out what they are (and that knowledge can also be traded). It's just excellent.
1) #Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 - Such an epic experience to plays through with a group of friends. It takes an already solid game and game on game changes it up in significant but understandable ways. While the story presented by the game is fairly minimal that is actually genius as it gives space for you as a group to create that narrative through your actions. You imbue your characters with personality and grow very attached to them (I'll never forget Horatio Peck or Gabriel Hanes). I won't spoil any of them but the games keeps you massively engaged throughout with twists and changes to how you play. If you can get a couple of friends to commit to playing it, it is such a worthwhile experience.
What do you guys think? What are your favourites?
So one of the best things about other people is that they also own board games which means I get to play all sorts of games I wouldn't chose for myself (I like people for other reasons too.... I guess).
Here is my list of games I have played and loved but don't currently own for one reason or another:
5) #The Ancient World (2nd Edition) - One of my favourite worker placement games, has some really enjoyable mechanics, the way armies function is brilliant and is just all round good fun. However, I have a number of games that fill fairly similar niches so don't think I will splash out for it, however, would recommend it if you are looking for one.
4) #Rising Sun - I really liked so much about this game: the baked in alliance mechanic, the fact that turtling wasn't an option as points are scored for controlling different territories throughout the game. The upgrades were fun although sometimes a little much to track for other players. And the combat was just brilliant as you are both trying to guess what the other actually wants out of the battle. However I probably won't ever buy this game for a couple of reasons: the miniatures are massive and in my view often unnecessary, this bumps the cost up significantly and I am unwilling to part with that much money. Secondly it has a lot of similarity to #cry havoc which I also love and I also want to get # :root at some point. Not sure I need so many asymmetrical area control games in my collection 😁
3) #Keyflower - Only played this once at a board game café but had such a good time. The sheer number of Meeples you are playing with is amazing. The option to either use a tile or bid on it for future use really interesting, the fact you get to use other people's tiles but then they get your meeples the next round is great. And it has such interesting engine building opportunities. It is such a solid game. The only negatives I have are that the artwork is a little bland and the houses you use to hide you meeples seem very flimsy. I think the main reason I may not buy this game is that it is a bit of a heavy game and not very thematic, so can imagine it falling flat with certain people as you really have to invest in it to get the best out of it.
2) #Nemesis - I have a lotnofmlive for Nemesis, it is a gloriously thematic, mechanically sprawling game. I feel like they threw everything they could think of into at and yet somehow it works. You run around partially working together to keep the ship from falling apart but mostly selfishly trying to achieve your own goals, at which point you can just jump ship and watch it explode if you like. The (unofficial) alien theme is great and really well captured and you are certainly on the run from them for the most part as the game rarely gives you an incentive to suicidally try to fight them. There is so much fun n this box, I highly recommend you giving it a try. It is pretty rules dense, and I know we have made a few errors in previous plays but it has in no way stopped the game being a blast! The main barrier to me for this game is price, it is very expensive but otherwise I would grab a copy without hesitation.
1) #War of the Ring (Second Edition) - an absolute gem of a game, it so captures the story from the books, a truly terrifying hoard of evil spilling across the land and a disorganised group of people's ill prepared to stop them. However, both sides feel very up against it, as the free people you have such limited defenses and as the shadow player you just don't have enough time to get your armies everywhere as the seemingly unstoppable fellowship races to mount Doom. This game is deep and nuanced, thematic and highly strategic. It takes half a day to play but the time absolutely flies as you are just so immersed in the world. The main reasons I don't currently own this game is that my friend already does and we make a point of trying to play it together semi-regularly. I don't have anyone else I would likely play it with as it has a huge learning curve. If I ever move to a new area and find someone who is keen I can imagine myself forking out for it (has quite a hefty price tag). Or I might decide to try #Star Wars: Rebellion instead as I have heard good things.
So I have a few games that I would love to play (and I think they'd be staples) but for a variety of reasons I don't think I'll ever get to play them. Mostly it is due to time constraints, but also due in large part to not having the right group that would like either the weight or the time.
#Dune - So much of what I've heard about this game makes me want to play it. Based on one of my favorite books of all time. Great at higher player counts. Lot of negative player interaction. The chance to backstab. I haven't done too much research because I don't think I'd ever play it, but what I know sounds awesome.
#Twilight Imperium 4th Edition - I still don't have a 4x SciFi game in my collection and I'd love to get one. This falls into the category of just not enough time. Seems like I'd love it though.
#Star Wars: Rebellion - Another game in a Universe I love (for the most part), but just seems like it'd be way to long.
#War of the Ring (Second Edition) - I could almost say the same thing as I did above. Middle Earth is the most fascinating literary world I've ever experienced. I just need, time, time and more time...
#Pax Pamir (Second Edition) - I think so much of this game looks awesome to me, and I think I'd really enjoy it. But I don't know if my gaming group(s) would. I also have no idea about time on this one. Maybe the solo mode by itself is worth it (@philryuh), but it's hard for me to consider picking up a game to basically solely (pun intended) play solo.
[Nemesis, Archipelago, Cry Havoc, War of the Ring (Second Edition), Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, Architects of the West Kingdom, 13 Days: The Cuban Missi...]
[Rising Sun, Nemesis, War of the Ring (Second Edition), Keyflower, The Ancient World (2nd Edition)]
[Twilight Imperium 4th Edition, Star Wars: Rebellion, War of the Ring (Second Edition), Dune, Pax Pamir (Second Edition)]
$10,333 / $500
A fast-paced, Deck-Building Fighting Card Game themed in the genre of tokusatsu (à la Power Rangers)! Nostalgia meets arcade fighting!
Ends nowSee Kickstarter
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