It’s another week and another look at the BGG Top 100 games and which ones I’ve played (or may want to play).
It’s interesting, but when I started this series with #100-91, I didn’t really think about how much movement there could be within the various ranges.
Sure, a couple of times I had to change the order of a couple of titles because they switched after I did the “mechanical” work of listing them all (before I actually write the important parts of the post).
But looking at the Top 100 now and the first batch of games, three of the games I talked about are no longer there. There are three new games in their stead, and there’s been a bunch of movement.
Not so much in the other ranges, which is nice.
But these lists are a snapshot in time so even though three games are no longer “relevant” to that post, it’s still nice to see what was going on when I actually did write it.
It’s funny, because at least one of the new entries (Paladins of the West Kingdom) I would have loved talking about, but it wasn’t in the Top 100 when I did that.
Oh well, you can’t have everything.
Just like my Top 25 games ever played was probably outdated as soon as I wrote it!
That’s the life of a blogger, though, and it is what it is.
Anyway, let’s start the first part of the Top 50 now, with a wonderful drafting card game that would probably make no sense to those who are not true gamers.
(Two pictures above the fold? Yes, I have been drinking…)
Designer: Antoine Bauza
Artists: Antoine Bauza, Miguel Coimbra
7 Wonders was one of the first games I ever played (when I came back to gaming, of course) or at least I think it was. It’s hard to remember back to 2012 and 2013, but I know I played it early in my career, even before I started recording plays.
It’s one of those rare games that plays pretty much the same with 3-4 players as it plays with 7 (or 8 if you have one of the expansions).
It’s basically a quick civilization building game with cards that you draft and add to your empire if you have the resources. You also have a Wonder that you can build (hence the “7 Wonders” name).
There are three eras and you will have a hand of cards. You will take one card and then pass the rest to one of your neighbours (depending on the era, it will go clockwise or counterclockwise).
Once everyone has chosen, cards are revealed and placed in your civilization (or discarded for money or used to build a stage of your Wonder if you have the resources).
You can build military to get victory points from having a higher military than your neighbours. You can build science cards and go for a high science victory. You’re definitely going to be wanting to put resources out as well, as if you don’t have them, you either can’t build cards or have to pay your neighbours to use theirs.
Near the end of the game, your empire may look like this.
At the end of three eras, total up your victory points and whoever has the most is the winner!
I really do like this game because it’s quick to play no matter how many players you have (unless, like my last play at CascadeCon in January, you have a few players who just for the life of them can’t pick up the game and agonize over every decision, in which case the game could take an hour).
It’s easy to teach, but the iconography is hard to remember at times for new players, especially how the science works.
It will take a few games to get all of that together.
But since it’s fast, who cares?
I’m always willing to play this one.
Designers: Richard Garfield, Lukas Litzsinger
Artists: A lot!
I’ve heard a bunch of good things about Android: Netrunner, but it’s almost seemed like so much of a lifestyle game that I’ve never really wanted to try it out.
I know Quinns at Shut Up & Sit Down used to talk about it a lot, though I can’t remember now if he’s kind of over it or if it’s still one of his favourite games.
I’m also pretty sure that Fantasy Flight Games isn’t supporting this game any more so it and its additions are probably out of print (this is where I find out I’m dead wrong, right?).
First, it’s another living card game (and while I now own Arkham Horror: the Card Game, I still haven’t got up the nerve to actually open the box more than to just punch the cardboard). It’s also a 2-player living card game, so maybe that would have been right up my alley?
Let’s blurb this so you can get an idea of what it is:
“Android: Netrunner is an asymmetrical Living Card Game for two players. Set in the cyberpunk future of Android and Infiltration, the game pits a megacorporation and its massive resources against the subversive talents of lone runners.
Corporations seek to score agendas by advancing them. Doing so takes time and credits. To buy the time and earn the credits they need, they must secure their servers and data forts with “ice”. These security programs come in different varieties, from simple barriers, to code gates and aggressive sentries. They serve as the corporation’s virtual eyes, ears, and machine guns on the sprawling information superhighways of the network.
In turn, runners need to spend their time and credits acquiring a sufficient wealth of resources, purchasing the necessary hardware, and developing suitably powerful ice-breaker programs to hack past corporate security measures. Their jobs are always a little desperate, driven by tight timelines, and shrouded in mystery. When a runner jacks-in and starts a run at a corporate server, he risks having his best programs trashed or being caught by a trace program and left vulnerable to corporate countermeasures. It’s not uncommon for an unprepared runner to fail to bypass a nasty sentry and suffer massive brain damage as a result. Even if a runner gets through a data fort’s defenses, there’s no telling what it holds. Sometimes, the runner finds something of value. Sometimes, the best he can do is work to trash whatever the corporation was developing.”
That does sound kind of intriguing.
Intriguing enough for me to try it out?
Sure, if somebody offered it to me.
I think it’s still too much of a “system” for me to actively seek out myself.
Especially if it’s out of print.
It still has a pretty active community on BGG, so maybe I am wrong.
Or maybe they’re just really fans.
Anyway, if you are a fan and want to “sell” it to me, hit me up at a convention (once we can go to one) and I’ll definitely give it a try.
Designer: Dávid Turczi, Richard Amann, Viktor Peter
Artist: Villő Farkas, László Fejes, Laslo Forgach, Márton Gyula Kiss, Péter Meszlényi
Anachrony is another Dávid Turczi design (I’m becoming a big fan of his), but this game has not made it to the table at our game group.
I think maybe one of the people in my game group has it and it came out once a long time ago, or maybe not.
Maybe I could go back in time and try it out!
Yes, this game has some time travel in it.
I know! In a boardgame!
It also sounds seriously complicated, though maybe that’s just how it sounds.
Here you go, a blurb:
“Anachrony features a unique two-tiered worker placement system. To travel to the Capital or venture out to the devastated areas for resources, players need not only various specialists (Engineers, Scientists, Administrators, and Geniuses) but also Exosuits to protect and enhance them — and both are in short supply.
The game is played in 4-7 turns, depending on the time when the looming cataclysm occurs — unless, of course, it is averted! The elapsed turns are measured on a dynamic timeline. By powering up the Time Rifts, players can reach back to earlier turns to supply their past “self” with resources. Each Path has a vastly different objective that rewards it with a massive amount of victory points when achieved. The Paths’ settlements will survive the impact, but the Capital will not. Whichever Path manages to collect most points will be the new seat for the Capital, thus the most important force left on the planet…”
Yeah, that sounds like a piece of cake!
Then again, Turzi does not design simple games (or at least none I’ve played). Yet they’re always rewarding.
The 2-hour playtime sounds inviting (and if disaster strikes it could even be just 30 minutes!). Any of you who have played it can tell me if that’s accurate?
I love the idea of the time mechanic where you can adjust resources based on time (I have no idea how that works).
It sounds really intricate, and if I get a chance to play this at any time, I really do want to give it a try.
Designer: Ignacy Trzewiczek
Artists: A lot!
Yet another game on this list that I haven’t played. This one has a punishing reputation from what I gather, as it is a cooperative game where players are trapped on an island (Yes, I figured that out from the title!) trying to survive.
“Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island is a game created by Ignacy Trzewiczek, the author of Stronghold. This time Trzewiczek takes the players to a deserted island, where they’ll play the parts of shipwreck survivors confronted by an extraordinary adventure. They’ll be faced with the challenges of building a shelter, finding food, fighting wild beasts, and protecting themselves from weather changes. Building walls around their homes, animal domestication, constructing weapons and tools from what they find and much more awaits them on the island. The players decide in which direction the game will unfold and – after several in-game weeks of hard work – how their settlement will look. Will they manage to discover the secret of the island in the meantime? Will they find a pirate treasure, or an abandoned village? Will they discover an underground city or a cursed temple at the bottom of a volcano? Answers to these questions lie in hundreds of event cards and hundreds of object and structure cards that can be used during the game…”
Apparently this game is quite difficult and also very fiddly with lots of cards and pieces to shuffle up and sort and all of that.
Then again, I like Firefly so I should definitely not complain about having to shuffle decks of cards.
The game’s also divided into scenarios (so I gather from reading through the BGG forums for the game) so maybe some of them are easier than others?
As you can see, I know next to nothing about this game (Editor: Yet he keeps blathering on about it).
But I wouldn’t mind giving it a try someday!
Designers: Simone Luciani, Daniele Tascini
Artists: Dennis Lohausen
Finally! Something I’ve played!
In this game, players take a character (it could be Marco and his brother or it could be various other ones) and are travelling across Asia selling goods and establishing trading posts in various cities.
One of the major ways to get points and money is to fulfill contracts (a number of them are at the bottom of the board in the picture above).
Travelling to cities can be expensive (you’ll use up a lot of camels and possibly money) but establishing those trading posts is how you get even more action options to do on your turn.
I do like the dice-rolling mechanic in this game. You roll all of your dice at the beginning of your turn and then you will be assigning these dice (plus perhaps some black dice that you can earn or buy) to do certain actions or get resources.
The game goes over 5 rounds and then whoever has the most victory points is the winner.
I really do like this game but the travel part of it can be really punishing. It takes a lot of money and camels, as well as locking up two of your dice each time. The sequel helps with that somewhat, making travel a bit more attractive.
However, this game is still a winner and I’d play it if the sequel wasn’t available.
Designers: James A. Wilson
Artists: Andrew Bosley, Cody Jones, Dann May
And we’re back to me being a boring sod and not having played a game.
I have heard good things about Everdell, though, and I would really like to try it.
I know next to nothing about the game (other than the fantasy theme).
I know! Let’s blurb this thing.
“Within the charming valley of Everdell, beneath the boughs of towering trees, among meandering streams and mossy hollows, a civilization of forest critters is thriving and expanding. From Everfrost to Bellsong, many a year have come and gone, but the time has come for new territories to be settled and new cities established. You will be the leader of a group of critters intent on just such a task. There are buildings to construct, lively characters to meet, events to host—you have a busy year ahead of yourself. Will the sun shine brightest on your city before the winter moon rises?
Everdell is a game of dynamic tableau building and worker placement.”
On your turn you can place a worker or play a card, or you can stop and prepare for the next season (whatever that means).
The game goes from Winter to Winter (so 4 rounds? Or are there more than 4 seasons?) and then players will add up their points and determine the winner.
The thing that jumps out at me the most about seeing this game on various tables at conventions is the big tree that’s placed at one side of the board.
I have no idea if those are worker spaces or something else, but it definitely catches the eye and makes you want to come over and watch.
It seems like a visually stunning game for that and other reasons (the artwork looks pretty cool too).
Another on my list of “love to play but haven’t had the opportunity yet” games.
This is becoming a habit.
Designer: Uwe Rosenberg
Artist: Klemens Franz
I know this is one of Tom Vasel’s favourite games, and I can’t say I blame him even though this one isn’t super-high up on my list of must-play games.
Another Rosenberg economic game where, again, you have to feed your people at the end of the round. However, it’s not as punishing as games like Agricola or anything like that.
Instead, you’re taking what’s on offer as far as things like fish, wood, clay, coal, etc and then using those resources to create stuff, build buildings, improve buildings, or even build ships that will get you points.
The mechanic in the game is interesting as each round you’re only going to get a couple of turns to do stuff, depending on the turn order.
Ultimately, it’s all about who has made the most money at the end of the game, both in actual coins as well as the value of the buildings you’ve built. Hell, you can even use an opponent’s building to do the action there as long as you are willing to pay for it.
My first (and only) game of this was against somebody who also loves the game. The scores were 296-195-175 (I had the 195, not bad for a first game I guess!).
I wouldn’t mind playing this one again to see how I like it, though it has been almost 3 years so I’ll probably be back at square one in playing it well.
It also has a decent app version (iOS only, I think) that I tried a couple of times ages ago.
It’s actually not bad.
James, bring it out again and we’ll see how we do!
It did take 2.5 hours, though, so we’ll have to keep that in mind.
Designer: Michael Kiesling
Artists: Philippe Guérin, Chris Quilliams
Azul is almost the perfect filler game, because it barely takes any time yet it has some interesting decisions (and some randomness)
I love this game so much that I actually did a review of it.
This is a game where you’re designing a Portuguese king’s bathroom tiles (ok, that joke is probably getting old).
You are selecting sets of tiles and putting them on your board, but the interesting thing is that when you take tiles off of a circle (you have to take all of the same colour), the rest go into the center. The first person who takes from the center will lose a point but be first player next round.
Tiles pile up in the center, so if you wait too long, you may have to take a bunch of the same colour (remember, you have to take all of them) and maybe you can only use three of them? The rest go into waste and will lose you points.
So be careful!
At the end of the round, after collecting tiles and putting them on the left side of your board (only one type of tile per row), you move them over to
the bathroom wall castle (or wherever the hell the King is asking you to tile) and you are trying to place the tiles so that you score maximum points.
The more tiles you already have adjacent when you move a tile to your board, the more points you get.
It’s all very intricate, and it’s a game that I’m not very good at. I suck at pattern-making.
But it’s still a hell of a lot of fun.
I think (even though I’ve only played it once) that the second game, Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra, is the more fun game, but this one will definitely do in a pinch.
Who knew you could have so much fun with bathroom tiles? (I promise that’s the last time…until the next Azul post, anyway).
This is a game that I will play any time it comes out. I don’t know yet if I would suggest it (Unless it was one of several options and this one was the best), but it’s definitely a game I will play again and again as necessary.
Designer: Touko Tahkokallio
Artists: Ossi Hiekkala, Sampo Sikiö
I played this game once, in a long time ago in a galaxy far far away (i.e. September 2013) and it was…fine.
It’s an epic space game, but like Twilight Imperium on sedatives.
In the game, you are a massive space-faring civilization competing with other civilizations to colonize various parts of the galaxy.
And this colonization, as you bump up against the other players and conflict may ensue.
Since this is so long ago, let’s blurb this thing:
“A game of Eclipse places you in control of a vast interstellar civilization, competing for success with its rivals. You will explore new star systems, research technologies, and build spaceships with which to wage war. There are many potential paths to victory, so you need to plan your strategy according to the strengths and weaknesses of your species, while paying attention to the other civilizations’ endeavors.”
I really love how you are essentially creating the universe by “exploring” and getting new space tiles to place next to other ones that are out on the board. For some reason, I love the “draw a tile and decide where you want to put it and this builds your world” games. Hell, Takenoko even does that (though it’s not quite as fun).
It’s neat to see if a new civilization or new ancient artifact will show up on a tile, just ripe for the picking.
And as civilizations grow, they will inevitably get into conflict.
The combat rules are kind of fun too, rolling a bunch of dice to try and destroy ships. The game even gives you “neutral” ships to fight against and dominate, so even if you don’t like attacking other players you get to chuck some attacking dice.
This play is so old that I don’t even have any pictures (my pictures begin in 2014 and this play was in 2013).
It’s kind of a fun game, but it’s a really long one and if my first and only experience with it was with a guy who was an idiot.
I’m sorry, I don’t like to badmouth people in general, but this guy was. He said he wanted to play Eclipse, but then he wasn’t paying any attention at all. When it was his turn, he was like “uhh…..what should I do?” And the other players helped him.
It was a tortuous experience.
I’d love to play it again without all of that baggage.
However, nobody in my current game group owns the game, so that’s probably not going to happen.
I know this is becoming a common refrain in this series, but…and you all say it with me now…”maybe at a convention?”
You all really know me well now, don’t you?
Designer: Juma Al-JouJou
Artist: Klemens Franz
Finally, we have the game that a friend of mine calls “the Scottish Terra Mystica.” And it kind of is, as there are many similarities.
This is a mid to heavy economic game about distilling whiskey and selling it on the open market. As Scotland becomes more industrialized, the actual production of goods like whiskey becomes more important.
Each player represents a Scottish clan as they are trying to become economic powerhouses in medieval Scotland.
You’re not just making whiskey, but you’re also making linens and other trade goods as well.
The more people you have out there working for you, the more income you get as their spaces on your player board are vacated.
Money is very important in this game as each action usually involves spending a bit of money to actually do it.
And I really love the modular board that comes with it, even though it sometimes makes some of the end of round (or end of game) scoring bonuses a bit easy to get.
Each player is going to be spreading across the map, creating meadows for their cattle or factories for their cheese or (of course) their whiskey. Only one player can control a hex, so you better get spreading while the spreading’s good (that sounds vaguely dirty…sorry about that).
Anyway, much like Terra Mystica, you are spreading across the map, getting buildings or other things out on the board to free up space on your player board so that you get income from the spaces that are missing (the more people are off your board, the more money you get, for instance).
All in all, it’s a pretty intricate game and I enjoyed the one play I had.
Sadly, the guy who had the game in our game group has left so I don’t know if I’ll get a chance to play it again any time soon (assuming we can actually meet up with people soon anyway).
My friend really likes the game, though he doesn’t appear to be interested in actually buying it.
But we’ll see!
I actually find this a lot more playable than Terra Mystica so if it ever does come out again, I’d be there in a heartbeat.
I’d suck at it, but I’d be there.
So if you want an easy win, hit me up at a convention!
And there we go. We only have 40 games left to talk about!
I played 6 out of the 10 this week, and none of the other games have any online plays (I’ve played Marco Polo online a few times but I’ve also played it on the table so it doesn’t count).
That makes 27 played out of the 60 games I’ve talked about. That’s almost half!
I wonder if that will keep up?
Anyway, what do you think of these 10 games? Any of them that you’ve played and love? Or hate? Or massive indifference?
How about any you want to play?
Let me know in the comments.
And be back next week (hopefully on time) for the next ten!
Posts in this Series: