It’s no secret that I’ve been in a bit of blog doldrums over the last couple of weeks. The social isolation and not playing many games (none until last weekend, actually) except the apps that I do asynchronously, plus getting really busy at work (not that I’m complaining about that because at least I have a job that I can do remotely) has caused the number of posts on this blog to plummet.
But then I started trying to catch up on some of the blogs that I follow but haven’t been reading as much as I should have, and I happened upon a post at the Boards & Bees blog by Asutbone (Jesse Hickle on Twitter).
(By the way, he runs a great blog and you should check it out).
The series of posts in question consist of Jesse going through the BGG Top 100 games and talking about the ones that he hasn’t played yet.
Because I take inspiration from wherever I can get it, and because I’m nothing if not original (Editor: *cough* *cough*), I thought I would expand on that idea and use it to get me through what has become a tried and true funk.
Why don’t I go through the Top 100 games on BGG and comment on all of them? The ones I’ve played, the ones I haven’t, the ones that I may want to play some day and the ones that I have absolutely no interest in?
And, just to avoid looking like a copycat, I’ll be original and count down from #100 rather than counting up from #1.
Because that’s how I roll.
So with all of that being said, let’s get this show started!
After I’ve had my nap.
Designer: Paul Dennan
Artists: Rayph Beisner, Raul Ramos, Rastislav Le, Nate Storm, Franz Vohwinkel
Clank in Space is a deck-building game where you are trying to sneak into Lord Eradikus’ throne room area on his huge space ship and steal one of his priceless artifacts.
I love the cards that you can buy, and how so many of them are parodies of well-known science fiction movies and TV shows. I love the way you have to weigh building up your deck and getting points versus how many wounds you’re going to take doing it because if you die, you might not get any points.
It’s almost a push your luck game because if you go for the high-point artifact, you just might not make it out. Or you could do a smash and grab and get fewer points but make sure you get out.
Congratulations for breaking the Top 100! And for giving me something easy to talk about for my first entry in this series.
And I think I used up all of my links for this post in that entry, because I don’t know if I’ll be linking any more of my blog posts for the rest of other 9 entries in this post (I don’t know yet because that would require…oh, what is that word? Oh yeah, planning.)
Designer: Jonathan Gilmour, Isaac Vega
Artists: David Richards, Fernanda Suárez, Peter Wocken
My two plays of this game were in 2015, so I don’t have a whole lot to say about it.
I do remember liking the whole zombie thing, the possible hidden traitor that will win even when everybody else loses, and that kind of thing.
And I love the Crossroads mechanic.
Basically, this is a cooperative zombie survival game except that it’s possible that one of your fellow players actually wants everybody to lose the game, as long as they can fulfill their victory condition.
Each player has their own victory condition which, if they satisfy, then they actually are among the winners as long as the colony survives (unless you’re a traitor, of course). You may need to hoard food, so even though you don’t want the colony to die, you may just hold on to that food card instead of contributing it to the rest of the colony.
The best thing is the Crossroads cards, though. On your turn, another player draws a Crossroads card. That card will come into effect if you do a certain action or if you go to a certain place (or maybe other circumstances, but it’s been a while).
If you trigger the Crossroads card, then you have a choice to make depending on what the situation on the card is. Ideally (in my view), you have to make the choice not knowing what the consequences are. But some people play it where you read the whole thing and then let the player decide.
Where’s the fun in that?
I like how each player is a number of different characters and if one of them dies, you draw a new one. It keeps everybody engaged in the game until the bitter end (or not so bitter, if you like bitter endings!).
I haven’t played this since 2015 because nobody I know has it and I’m not sure how much it would get played if I did go ahead and buy it.
But I would never say no to playing it again.
Designer: Daniel Clark, Corey Konieczka, Adam Sadler, Kevin Wilson
Artists: way too many to mention
This is a dungeon-crawl game that I’ve never played.
It’s a one-versus-many game, where all but one of the players are adventurers trying to embark on some heroic quests while the other player (the Overlord) runs the game and is opposed to them.
It is a campaign game, so you have to record everything and keep your stats and other things from scenario to scenario, but I’m a bit unclear whether the Overlord is actively trying to defeat you or they are similar to a Gamemaster in a role-playing game and just facilitating (from my experience with Imperial Assault, probably coming up on this list at some point, I’m guessing they are trying to defeat you).
Anyway, this isn’t a game that I’m really interested in trying because campaign games are really difficult for me to play due to time constraints and the fact that when we get together for our weekly game days (which will hopefully come back soon!), we don’t want to be playing the same game each time.
Combine that with the possibility that it’s hard to find a lot of the stuff for this game (correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s just an impression) and it’s just not something I will ever play.
Maybe a scenario if somebody’s playing it at a con, but I’m not holding my breath.
Designer: Matúš Kotry
Artist: David Cochard
Alchemists is a game of, well, alchemy, where each player is trying to become the best brewer of potions in the land.
Unlike Quacks of Quedlinburg, though, you are not charlatans. You really are brewing potions.
You just may not know what these potions do.
Potions take ingredients, and you don’t know what the combinations of two of each of the ingredients will do to you, or to some unsuspecting student that you badgered into helping you (or maybe you’ll have to pay them) until you test them.
There are 8 ingredients in total and you’ll be experimenting to figure out just what chemical properties each has.
There are various other ways to earn prestige, including buying artifacts that give you some automatically. But ultimately the test will be publishing your theories about each ingredient type and being right about it.
I have never actually played this game on the table, but it’s a mainstay for me on Boiteajeux.net with three of my friends from back east (one of the three great places to play games online).
It took me a while to actually grok what was happening, mainly because I learn better when I can fiddle with the pieces and stuff, but it’s a really fun game of deduction (how cool it is to see that word without the word “social” in front of it) and trying to figure out the best way to do things.
On the table, you use an app to set the game up. The app will determine what alchemical each ingredient has and when you test a potion, you will input the two ingredients and it will give you the result which you will record on your secret game board (uh-oh, I hope Bob doesn’t look at this post!).
I really do like the game, but I’m a little bit scared of it on the table. I don’t mind games that use an app, but for some reason I’m just nervous that I’ll input something wrong and kablooey! The game that we just spent the last 90 minutes playing will go up in smoke.
Anyway, I’d definitely be up for trying it!
If it ever shows up at a game day or convention.
Designer: Bernd Brunnhofer
Artist: Michael Menzel
Stone Age is a game I have only played in app form and on Boadgame Arena.
Maybe that’s why I never took to it. It’s supposed to be a fairly simple worker placement game (some have even called it introductory worker placement), but I’ve never really been enamored with it at all.
I’ve played the app and on BGA many times, so I won’t avoid it, but it’s a game that wears out its welcome quickly for me, and I never do well.
You are essentially a stone age family vying for resources to feed your family as well as trying to build buildings and achieve technologies for points.
It does have an interesting worker placement mechanism where players take turns placing their workers, but don’t actually activate them until all workers are placed. If you place workers in the resource areas (food, wood, stone, gold), you can place multiple workers at once. There is a limit, though (except food), so you can be blocked out if you need more of that resource.
When you activate the resource areas, you roll dice (depending on how many workers you have there) and then based on how many pips you need for each resource (gold needs 3 while wood needs 1, for example), you get that much of it.
Other places will let you expand your family, build tools that will help with resource gathering, build farms, welcome incoming boats with technologies or resources or end-game victory points, and build buildings.
It’s ok, and maybe if I played it on the table once I would like it better. I’d like to try it once just to see.
But for me, it’s a meh experience.
Designers: Samuel Bailey, James Kniffen, Corey Konieczka
This is a game set in the Warhammer 40K universe that Fantasy Flight Games recently lost the license to when Games Workshop took it back (RIP Blood Bowl: Team Manager *sniff*).
I don’t know much about this game at all, though I do know that many people do love it to death. It can be kind of long (the play time on BGG is 2-3 hours, anybody know how accurate that is?).
In the game, players are one of four factions with asymmetric factions that have “unique armies and play styles” (thank you BGG) and you are trying to capture various objectives around the board.
This is a game of war, where you are developing your armies and trying to spread and conquer.
So the ultimate take-that game, am I right euro-gamers?
It sounds like an intriguing game, but since it’s no longer being produced I will probably never get a chance to play it. Maybe at a convention.
Designer: Flaminia Brasini, Virginio Gigli, Simone Luciani
Artists: Klemens Franz, Andrea Kattnig, Andreas Resch
This is a game that, while I haven’t played it yet, I know I will at some point (if we can ever start getting together again). A friend in the game group has it and he has brought it many times. Usually there’s either something I’ve been dying to play on offer or I’m just in the mood for something else.
But soon, this game will get played.
What’s it about? Let’s blurb…
“In Lorenzo il Magnifico, each player takes the role of the head of a noble family in a city during the Italian Renaissance to gain more prestige and fame — that is, victory points (VP) — than anyone else. To do so, you send your family members to different areas of town, where they can obtain many achievements. In one location, they get useful resources; in another development cards that represent newly conquered territories, sponsored buildings, influenced characters, or encouraged ventures; and somewhere else they activate the effects of their cards.”
It looks really interesting, and there is a digital version of it out but I haven’t bought it yet.
One day, and maybe sometime relatively soon, Lorenzo will show up in a “New to Me Games” monthly post.
And then he will be able to die feeling that he’s finally accomplished something.
Designer: Hisashi Hayashi
Artists: Hisashi Hayashi, Adam P. McIver, Ryo Nyamo
Ah, Yokohama. I definitely really enjoyed this game the one time I played it last year.
This is Istanbul but much more interesting.
In Yokohama, each player is a merchant in the emerging harbour city at the beginning of the Meiji era as Japan opened itself to foreign markets. You are trying to become the most prestigious merchant in the area by building stores, satisfying orders, and building new technologies.
The city locations are randomized and you are going to be moving your merchant from location to location in order to take that location’s actions. The power of the action is based on how many assistant cubes that you’ve previously placed there (including on the current turn). Instead of shedding assistants as you travel, you get to plan your travel by placing assistants ahead of you.
It’s a much more intricate system and one that I enjoy a lot more.
It helps that I won my only play of it.
It doesn’t really mean anything that I haven’t played it again since. The guy in our game group who owns it has moved away and it just hasn’t come up again.
I’d definitely like to try this one again.
Designer: Ole Steiness
Artists: Jose David Lanza Cebrian, Víctor Pérez Corbella
This is a game that I’ve desperately wanted to play but haven’t had the chance to.
The one time it came to our game day, I was involved with something else so didn’t get the chance.
Apparently it’s quite the table hog and it barely fit on the table at the restaurant where we game.
But one day, I will play it. I guarantee that.
Worker placement with dice rolling! How can you go wrong with that?
Players are leaders of Viking clans who are trying to score points by helping defend the Viking homeland or going on mythical quests to slay horrible monsters. All of this to gain glory and the favour of the gods!
I’ve heard that the game gets much better with at least one of the two expansions, so when I do play it I hope to do that.
But we’ll see.
This is definitely on the “want to play” list.
Designers: Virginio Gigli, Simone Luciani
Artist: Klemens Franz
To round off the first 10 games on the list, there’s this classic game (that’s two entries for Simone Luciani already, and twice for Virginio Gigli as well!) that occasionally comes to the table but I’ve always seemed to miss it.
I’m not sure why, exactly. I haven’t been avoiding it. In fact, I’d like to play it. But for some reason it just hasn’t happened.
“In the thick of the Viennese modern age, exquisite cafés are competing for customers. Inspiring artists, important politicians, and tourists from all over the world are populating Vienna and in need of a hotel room. This is your opportunity to turn your little café into a world famous hotel. Hire staff, fulfill the wishes of your guests, and gain the emperor’s favor. Only then will your café become the Grand Austria Hotel.”
It seems like a nice combination of dice rolling and action selection, and I know at least one friend who loves the game so I really want to get it played.
Another goal for the post-pandemic world.
So that’s three games played out of 10, with two others played in electronic form only.
Will the next round have more or less?
So what do you think of these 10 games? Any favourites? Anything you want to play, or don’t want to play? Any hatred?
And what do you think of this idea for blog posts? If you hate it, please tell me now before I waste all of that time and effort.
(Unless you hate me and want me to work needlessly, in which case…ok, I’ll give you that).
Let me know what you think in the comments!
Posts in this Series:
Category: Board Games, Top 10Tags: Action Selection, Adam Sadler, Alchemists, App-related, Bernd Brunnhofer, Champions of Midgard, Clank in Space, Clank in Space: Apocalypse, Clank in Space: Cyber Station 11, Cooperative Games, Corey Konieczka, Cranio Creations, Crossroads, Czech Games Edition, Daniel Clark, Dead of Winter, Deckbuilders, Descent: Journeys into the Dark (2nd Edition), Dice-rolling, Dire Wolf Digital, Dungeon Crawl, Fantasy Flight Games, Flaminia Brasini, Forbidden Stars, Grand Austria Hotel, Grey Fox Games, Hisashi Hayashi, Isaac Vega, James Kniffen, Jonathan Gilmour, Kevin Wilson, Lookout Games, Lorenzo il Magnifico, Matúš Kotry, Ole Steiness, One vs Many, Paul Dennen, Plaid Hat Games, Renegade Games Studios, Samuel Bailey, Simone Luciani, Stone Age, Tasty Minstrel Grames, Virginio Gigli, Worker Placement Games, Yokohama, Zman Games
This is a blog about board games, with the occasional other post for a bit of spice.