Posted on May 20, 2020 by whovian223
With the previous post in this series doing so well, I guess I should do more of them and finish the job, eh?
Last week’s post was a lot of fun and I got some great feedback. Thanks to those of you who stopped by and left your thoughts.
This week (assuming I don’t do two posts a week) we’re going to be looking at #90-81 of the Boardgame Geek Top 100 and we’ll see just how many of them I’ve played before.
And how many I just don’t want to play.
Spoiler: there’s a couple in this one!
In the comments last week, I said that I thought I’ve played 40 of the Top 100 games. Anyone want to hazard a guess whether that’s a low or a high estimate?
Lay your bets! Lay your bets, but don’t bet on red…
Now that you’ve blown all of your money on me, let’s get started.
#90 – Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Games (Fantasy Flight Games) – 2012
Designer: Jason Little
Artists: a bunch!
It took until the second post of the series, but we finally hit a game that I have absolutely no interest in playing.
This miniatures game simulates ship-to-ship combat in the Star Wars universe, mainly consisting of small one-person fighters (I’m going by memory, but I guess the bigger ships like the Millennium Falcon and stuff like that are expansion ships and the base game is all X-Wings & TIE Fighters).
It uses a kind of programmed movement based on individual ship dials that have different abilities depending on the ship, and you use these and some kind of measuring device to see how far a ship goes in a period of time, maybe what the arc of the ship is on a turn, that sort of thing.
I don’t really understand it (so fans of the game, please bear with me and just correct me in the comments) and whenever I’ve sat and watched people play it at a convention, I realize that it’s just not for me.
Not to say it’s a bad game (or system, really, as new ships got released by the buttload for a while). I’m sure it’s earned it’s spot in the Top 100.
It’s just not something I have any interest in actually spending time on.
#89 – Kemet (Matagot Games) – 2012
Designers: Jacques Bariot, Guillaume Montiage
Artists: Dimitri Bielak, Emile Denis, Nicolas Fructus
This classic game of epic battles between players in the Egyptian mythos actually has a revised edition (called Kemet: Blood & Sand) coming out in 2021 (apparently it is coming to Kickstarter on May 26…news post upcoming maybe?).
I don’t know if it’s going to get played then, either. A friend of mine does seem to buy a lot of Kickstarters, so maybe that will be a thing.
Anyway, as you can probably guess, I’ve never played this one, but it’s not for lack of desire. It’s more “one friend has it but nobody else is really interested in a game where you are actually attacking other players to gain advantage” (that should be a slogan on our t-shirts).
“In Kemet, players each deploy the troops of an Egyptian tribe and use the mystical powers of the gods of ancient Egypt – along with their powerful armies – to score points in glorious battles or through invasion of rich territories. A game is typically played to 8 or 10 victory points, which may be accrued through winning attacks, controlling temples, controlling fully-developed pyramids, sacrificing to the gods, and wielding particular magical powers.”
It sounds really interesting and I’d love to get it to the table and see what it’s like. I know it’s one of Tom Vasel’s favourite games (I’m not sure how high it is, but it’s up there).
I know what you’re thinking.
You’re thinking “Dave, you really need to stop wearing flannel. It looks hideous on you.” And you’re right.
But you’re also thinking “Dave, you need to find a game group that plays these types of games.”
And you’re not wrong there either!
One day, my friends. One day.
#88 – Pandemic: Iberia (Z-Man Games) – 2016
Designers: Jesús Torres Castro, Matt Leacock
Artists: Atha Kanaani, Chris Quilliams
The first of probably many Pandemic games on this list (what was that I said in the last post about planning ahead? I don’t know what’s coming up and I like it that way).
This one takes place in 1848 on the Iberian peninsula (that’s Spain and Portugal for you Trump voters out there) and it apparently has some interesting twists on the whole Pandemic game play.
I say “apparently” because once again it’s a game I’ve never played.
This one actually names the four diseases you’re trying to cure (malaria, typhus, yellow fever, and cholera). I don’t think any of the other ones do, do they?
Anyway, it’s 1848 and trains are just now coming to the peninsula, just in time to try and ferry health care workers around the country to do their part in curbing the spread of these diseases, if not outright curing them.
It looks interesting and I like how they continue to add little twists to the whole formula. I’m sure it makes it feel different, and I’ve even heard some people say it’s their favourite version of Pandemic.
Will I ever get to try this?
Maybe. I don’t think any of my friends own this, but it’s been at the local game store and played a couple of times there.
If I ever get back there…
One day, this will get played.
#87 – Pandemic (Z-Man Games) – 2008
Designer: Matt Leacock
Artists: Josh Cappel, Christian Hanisch, Régis Moulun, Chris Quilliams, Tom Thiel
What was that I said about more coming?
Anyway, this is the original game.
And I’ve played it once, many years ago. I have the app but haven’t played it much since there’s no online multiplayer.
Anyway, in this game you take on a role and are trying to cure humanity of four different viruses (hmmm….this sounds familiar).
This is a global pandemic, though, so it is different (and yet, sadly, so familiar right now).
You’re going around the world, treating infected people, trying to collect cards of the same colour so that you can then turn them in to cure the same colour disease. Epidemic cards mixed into the deck will cause outbreaks that can spread rapidly around the world in adjacent cities.
So watch out!
Keep that social distance!
As for the game itself, I’m kind of meh about the whole thing. I wouldn’t mind playing it again (my only play of it was back in 2013) but it’s not something I’m actively seeking out.
I do (or used to, anyway) play the dice game, Pandemic: the Cure, a lot.
Is that on the list?
Haven’t you been listening? I’m not looking ahead!
Sorry, Zee, but this one just isn’t really my thing!
#86 – Dominion (Rio Grande Games) – 2008
Designer: Donald X. Vaccarino
Artists: a bunch!
This is the father of all deckbuilder games.
And I really don’t like it.
Cue the pitchforks!!!!
I’m not sure what it is about this game. Maybe it’s because I played (and loved) Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer before I had a chance to play this one?
I don’t know.
I’m a bigger fan of deckbuilding games with a card row of random cards to choose from, even as I know that this does leave you susceptible to the randomness of the draw.
In Dominion, you have a set number of stacks of cards that you can buy from on your turn. You start your turn by playing one Action card (a card that says…wait for it…”Action.”). Some Action cards will give you bonus actions and you can chain these together into nice combos.
Then you can buy one card from the stacks (or perhaps more if you played an Action card that gives you additional buys).
You’re trying to accumulate victory points from Victory cards you buy (Estates, Duchies, and Provinces). These cards clog up your deck when you’re actually playing, as they are useless. But they are worth points at the end of the game.
I think the second time I played this had some expansion cards but I couldn’t tell you what they were or what the expansion was. The first time I played was 2-player basic Dominion, and neither time did I really have much fun.
I just found the whole thing very dry.
And I don’t mind “buy cards from various stacks” games like Trains (which has been called “Dominion with a board” because you are putting cubes on a board in addition to building your deck). I also really like Arctic Scavengers.
For some reason, I just bounced off this one hard. (I was so bored I didn’t even take a picture of it)
Maybe I’ll try it again one day, but I’m not really feeling it.
Come at me, Dominion-lovers!!!
#85 – Raiders of the North Sea (Renegade Games Studios/Garphill Games) – 2015
Designer: Shem Phillips
Artist: Mihajlo Dimitrievski
Now this is more like it!
This game is in my Top 15 games played of all time (at least as of February 2019) and it’s still one I love a lot.
I even enjoy playing the digital version (yes, another app review that I really should get to).
Another viking game, in this one you are building up viking crewmen and provisions and then going raiding onto the mainland.
It has a rather unique (at least at the time) “place one worker, then take one worker” mechanic when you are gathering stuff in the town and preparing to raid. You first place one of your workers, get the resource or do the action, and then you take another worker from a different spot.
Sometimes (way too often in my case) you wish you could do the reverse!
Getting plunder from raiding will let you contribute offerings to get more points, or the plunder is worth points by itself too.
I still really love this game, and I haven’t even played either expansion yet (though I do have them, bought right before the lock-down). I’ve heard the expansions make the game even better, so I’m chomping at the bit to get them to the table.
This one’s a hit for me!
#84 – Trajan (Renegade Games Studios among others) – 2011
Designer: Stefan Feld
Artist: Jo Hartwig
I know Renegade didn’t originally publish this classic Stefan Feld game, but they just recently put out a new edition that really looks nice.
It’s use of the mancala mechanic is very good. You have six bowls with coloured pieces in them. On your turn, you pick up one bowl’s worth and then distribute them one at a time in the next bowls in a clockwise order. Each bowl represents an action and wherever you end up after placing the last piece is the action that you take.
It requires a lot of planning (which is why I’m not very good at it).
You’re attempting to spread influence, achieve military victories, and gain victory points throughout the Roman Empire during the time of…wait, I think it’s coming to me…oh yeah, Emperor Trajan.
This is a game that I have never played on the table, though I used to play the occasional game on Boiteajeux.net. They have a great implementation of the game which you should really check out during these pandemic times.
I do enjoy this game, but it hurts my brain a bit and I think I might like it more if I played it on the table and could fiddle with the pieces.
In a sign that digital can sometimes warp our assumptions about hard copies of games, I cannot express my disappointment when I saw that the “bowls” in the game are actually just drawn onto a player mat.
I want my bowls, dammit!!!!!
Still, I’d love to play this on the table once.
#83 – Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases (Space Cowboys) – 1981
Designers: Raymond Edwards, Suzanne Goldberg, Gary Grady
Artists: Too many to name
The idea behind this game really intrigues me, but I have never actually seen this game in the wild at all.
“In Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, you are presented with a mystery to solve, and it is then up to you to trace the threads of evidence through the byways and mansions of nineteenth century London. You will interview suspects, search the newspapers for clues, and put together the facts to reach a solution.
Why were two lions murdered in Hyde Park? Who is responsible for the missing paintings from the National Gallery? Who murdered Oswald Mason and why? These are just a few of the cases that will challenge your ingenuity and deductive abilities.”
I love this, though I know I would suck at it. Deductive reasoning is not my forte. Matching wits with the other players?
But it would definitely be fun doing it, and immersing myself in that Victorian London feeling.
I’d probably end up arresting Mrs. Hudson by accident.
#82 – The Quacks of Quedlinburg (North Star Games) – 2018
Designer: Wolfgang Warsch
Artists: Dennis Lohausen, Wolfgang Warsch
Who knew when I referenced Quacks last week that I would actually be talking about it?
In this game of potion-making, you aren’t actually making viable potions. You’re mixing potions that could explode on you if you’re not careful.
It’s a really cool push-your-luck draw things out of a bag game where you have a bag of ingredients that you pull one at a time from your bag and place them on the track depending on the number on the chip.
The white chips are cherry bombs, and if you draw cherry bombs equal to or greater than 7, then your potion explodes! You have to decide when to stop before that happens.
If you don’t explode, you get points and money based on where you stop. The points are…well, points. But the money will help you buy more and better ingredient chips.
This game is so much fun and there’s always a lot of laughter when you’re playing (or at least when I’m playing…maybe you’re a sourpuss, I don’t know).
It’s agonizing when you’re at 5 cherry bomb points but you know your 3-point chip is still in there, and maybe a 2-point chip as well. Do you draw? Or do you stand pat even though you’re not gaining much?
If you explode, you can take either points or coins but not both.
I really enjoyed this game and wouldn’t mind getting a copy of it to play with my wife.
At Dice Tower West, I got a game in with a really nice couple from Texas (I think), but when I wanted to introduce my wife to the game, it was constantly checked out of the library.
This will definitely get played again.
#81 – Tigris & Euphrates (Z-Man Games) – 1997
Designer: Reiner Knizia
Artists: Bascu, Christine Conrad, Doris Matthäus, Tom Thiel, Ricarda Thiel, Stephen Graham Walsh
This is the beautiful new edition of the Knizia classic that came out from Z-man Games last year (I originally had put Fantasy Flight Games, which makes sense considering it has the frigging FF logo on the box still!!!).
This game I know I’ve played before, but it must have been before I started recording plays because it’s not in the app.
Anyway, it is an interesting game that’s a bit hard to explain to new players.
Let’s blurb this…
“Regarded by many as Reiner Knizia‘s masterpiece, Tigris & Euphrates is set in the ancient fertile crescent with players building civilizations through tile placement. Players are given four different leaders: farming, trading, religion, and government. The leaders are used to collect victory points in these same categories. However, your score at the end of the game is the number of points in your weakest category, which encourages players not to get overly specialized. Conflict arises when civilizations connect on the board, i.e., external conflicts, with only one leader of each type surviving such a conflict. Leaders can also be replaced within a civilization through internal conflicts.”
Yes, that scoring system sounds interesting: the lowest score is your score. Of course, it’s no longer the only game with that type of system. Prodigals Club, to name one, uses it in reverse because you want a low score and your final score is the highest of multiple options.
The rules for wars, internal and external conflicts when you end up placing a tile connecting two civilizations never really made sense to me.
That’s why I sucked at it, and really suck at Yellow & Yangtze (a bit of a simpler version that came out in 2018) when I play it on the app: I just can’t fathom the conflict rules.
Still, it’s an interesting game and I can see why it’s considered a classic.
There’s also a really nice app version for iOS that you can try out for a lot cheaper than the game, if you want to see if it’s your kind of thing.
I should probably break that out again one of these days.
So there you have it.
The second ten in this list of 100 games. I’ve officially played 4 of them though I know I’ve played 5 actually. And there’s one game that I’ve played digitally but not on the table.
That makes 7 of the bottom 20 so far that I’ve “officially” played.
That’s officially 35%
Will that percentage go up or down next time?
I guess you’ll just have to come back and find out, won’t you?
What do you think of these 10? Have you played them? Do you hate them? Do you love them?
Are you ambivalent like my cat is to me?
Let me know in the comments.
Posts in this Series:
Category: Board Games, Top 10Tags: Deckbuilders, Deduction, Dominion, Donald X. Vaccarino, Fantasy Flight Games, Garphill Games, Guillaume Montiage, Jacques Bariot, Jason Little, Jesús Torres Castro, Kemet, Mancala games, Matagot, Matt Leacock, Miniatures, North Star Games, Pandemic, Pandemic: Iberia, Point to Point Movement, Push Your Luck Games, Raiders of the North Sea, Reiner Knizia, Renegade Games Studios, Rio Grande Games, Shem Phillips, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases, Space Cowboys, Star Wars: X-Wing, Stefan Feld, Take-That games, The Quacks of Quedlinburg, Tigris & Euphrates, Tile-Laying Games, Trajan, Wolfgang Warsch, Worker Placement Games, Zman Games
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This is a blog about board games, with the occasional other post for a bit of spice.
Out of above, played X-Wing and Dominion. As ancient Rome fan I am still considering getting Trajan.
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Yeah, Trajan is a thinker, that’s for sure. My ability to “think ahead” and plan where all the little bits are going to end up is not the greatest, so I’m not very good at it.
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I played Dominion before Ascension, but didn’t gel with the Ascension theme (or art). The difference though is Dominon decks are built from a starting pool set (though variable) as in the Paperback db, whereas in Ascension, cards are bought from a river (ala Hardback db).
Dominion-base game is too simple I agree, but mix in a (pricey) expansion such as Seaside, Intrigue, Dark Ages, Adventurers, etc and you’ve got a much expanded game system with huge card pool variability each game.
Dominion has quick 30m games which I feel is more about strategy. You need to look at the available cards on offer and then attempt to craft your deck as efficiently as possible with what is available. Choices and combos are important, so what works in one game will not work in the second (due to differing cards being available). In Ascension (or DC db or Star/Hero Realms) it seemed to be more a case of just buying the best on offer and whether or not to trash. Most cards usually come out at some point, but not so with Dominion.
With Dominion, there’s still the ‘race’ to inflict damage to the province deck, as that’s the game timer. Just they now these clog up your deck! So there’s a trade-off of inflicting hits (e.g. buying VP cards) or improving one’s deck. Perhaps this is annoying? Turns with no options are, but it’s a card game so your turn quickly reverts back. I think the DC db/Cryptozoic system has this to some degree (can’t recall on Ascension). There is also some minor attacking in Dominion with the curse cards (which granted may not be in all games) or forcing discards.
The Dominion expansions incorporate almost all features of subsequent db games. Legacy cards, vp attacks, banked victory cards, dual-use cards (e.g. split VP/coins), trashing bonuses, variable currency cards, new currencies (i.e. potions), unique player effects, constant effects, one-off effects, trap cards, etc. I know there are several Ascension expansions, but am unfamiliar with them.
Of Dominion’s expansions, Seaside is one of my few 10 out of 10s and Intrigue and Dark Ages are probably both 9s. I won’t place Dominion-base again except with newbies and my recommendation would be to skip it and just buy the stand-alone Dominion Intrigue.
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Thanks for the very detailed Dominion response, Steve! I was hoping somebody would do something like that.
I should probably give it another try. I do like other games with that mechanic, so maybe with a good expansion as well it might be better.
I really appreciate you stopping by and taking the time do to that!
Ok, I’ve actually played some of these this week!
I agree with pretty much everything Steve said about Dominion. If you want to give it another try, add one of the expansions he mentioned. Dominion is one of the games I’ve played most in my life–top 5 in terms of how many times I’ve played it. The variety of the expansions makes it never feel old to me.
I feel just as you do about Pandemic. I’ve had it for years and played it maybe 3 or 4 times. I just don’t care for it (and I usually like co-ops a lot). I’ve even tried expansions, and they just don’t add much. I won’t not-play it if that’s what someone really wants to play, but I’ll never chose it myself.
Quacks feels to much like a randomish betting game to me. That one did not hit any buttons for me and I have no plans to ever play it again.
Sherlock HCD is not for everyone. I and my group love mysteries, so that one works for us (though the cases are not always as satisfying as I wish), and the expansions make it better at times.
Look forward to next week’s!
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Glad that you have some experience with this week’s group!
I don’t know why I love Quacks so much. It’s just fun for me.
If I get the opportunity, I promise to try Dominion again with one of those expansions.
Or it could eventually come out on digital?
Don’t keel over laughing now…
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Board games, whatever. Played Pandemic (3x, always at board game cafés) and Raiders of the North Sea (1x, at a friend’s), liked both.
But the important part: You have a cat?
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Yeah, I don’t think I’ve mentioned her before. 😛
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She’s beautiful! …and not only because she looks like ours 😉
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