Posted on June 24, 2020 by whovian223
Another week, another look at the BGG Top 100.
I’m really loving the response to these posts. It really heartens me and makes me want to keep going (even though this is the first post since the last Top 100 post, which isn’t necessarily a good thing).
One thing this whole project has instilled in me, though, is the desire to try new things.
And the big one for me is actually buying a Living Card Game and seeing if it’s something that I might enjoy.
Who knows? By the time we get to Arkham Horror: the Card Game, I might actually have played it since I bought the core set and we’re going to see how we like it.
That’s what gaming at home with the wife does: try new things and see what lands!
So many of the campaigns for the game are between printings or whatever that it’s hard to know where we’re going to go next with it (if it happens). People always suggest getting the whole campaign before you start it, which is the expansion itself and then a bunch of Mythos packs that will end the campaign.
Are we up for it?
I will report back when we know.
But I’m psyched!
Yes, I know this gif is all over Twitter, but it’s the first time I’ve used it, so who cares!
Let’s get on to the next 10.
#40 – Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization (Czech Games Edition) – 2006
Designer: Vlaada Chvátil
Artist: Richard Cortes, Paul Niemeyer
This is the original civilization-building game (as opposed to the “New Story” which I’m sure is further up the list). It’s big, it’s fiddly, there are lots of little tokens all over the place, and it was intimidating as hell the one time I played it.
Then I played it on Boardgame Arena and it just kind of clicked with the computer doing all of the bookkeeping for me. It kept track of how much food I had, how many resources, my happiness and military.
What’s amazing about this game is that it’s a civilization game without any kind of board. You have your player boards that are keeping track of resources and stuff, but otherwise that’s it.
It’s all cards.
The game goes through 4 ages (Ancient and then Age 1-3) with cards and technologies getting more expensive to build or to discover, and wonders requiring many more resources to build than the Ancient ones.
In addition to all that, your level of government is going to affect what you can build and how many of them, as you start out with a puny number of actions. New technologies or new governments can give you more actions, which you’re most likely going to need.
Don’t neglect your military! You don’t have to be a warmonger, but if you let your military slide while your opponents are increasing theirs, you are going to be on the receiving end of a lot of hurt.
I really liked this game but didn’t like playing it on the table. That might change since it was kind of my first time playing it (in 2014). Now I have a lot more experience with it, it may not be quite as intimidating.
There’s still a lot of bookkeeping, though.
Even so, with the “New Story” version out now, I doubt I would ever play this version again.
#39 – Star Wars: Imperial Assault (Fantasy Flight Games) – 2014
Designers: Justin Kemppainen, Corey Konieczka, Jonathan Ying
Artists: A lot!!!!
A Star Wars One vs Many version of Descent, also from FFG, where you are the heroes playing against the dastardly Imperial forces through a campaign where one of the players is controlling every Imperial out there (you get to control just your character and maybe a few allies).
You can play this as either a campaign or set scenarios (though really, where’s the fun in that?). There are tons of expansions, with new miniatures, new characters, new villains and allies, a lot of stuff to work with.
Each mission has your characters trying to do something, like destroy an Imperial base or perhaps rescue Princess Leia or things like that.
You’ll be facing off against stormtroopers, other officers, perhaps even bounty hunters!
And of course there could be vehicles as well.
The game is really cool if you’re into campaign games.
However, our group really wasn’t and while we did end up getting 4 scenarios in, it ended up dying pretty quickly and we never went back to it.
It’s a cool system, as so many of the other FFG games are, but I doubt this one will hit the table again.
Is it out of print?
Something tells me it is, but I could be totally mistaken on that one.
Still, I was happy to play what we did of it. And if I had group dedicated to playing it, I wouldn’t mind doing it as an alternate night (I enjoy playing different games each week so I think that’s why it didn’t work for us: playing the same game every week got a bit old).
#38 – Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar (Czech Games Edition) – 2012
Designers: Simone Luciani, Daniele Tascini
Artist: Milan Vavroň
Ah, Tzolk’in, that “game with the cool gears”
That’s pretty much how we know it, unfortunately.
This is a game that I played once back at V-Con in 2014 and haven’t gone back to, though I have played it a ton on Boiteajeux.net. In fact, so much so that I wouldn’t mind getting it to the table again if I could.
It looks beautiful on the table.
It’s also intricate as hell, so even with all of my BJX plays, I’m still not very good at it (though I win my share of games thankfully).
Because those gears turn after every round and you put your people on the first space (or you have to pay corn to put them further out if the first spaces are already taken), you have to try and plan where the people are going to be when you finally want to take them off.
Oh, damn! My worker isn’t going to make it to the Gold resource before my other workers gets to where it can build something.
Now it’s going to take me 2 turns in a row to do something.
This game really hurts my brain sometimes, and it definitely did during my one play on the table back in 2014.
It’s still fun, though, and even better with the Tribes & Prophecies expansion, which gives players asymmetrical powers as well as goals to shoot for in every age (and to get penalized for if you fail to achieve them).
I’d definitely play this one again if I had the opportunity.
Maybe it would make sense now that I’ve played it digitally.
Or maybe I would just be too captivated by the gears.
That’s a possibility.
#37 – Mechs vs Minions (Riot Games) – 2016
Designers: Chris Cantrell, Rick Ernst, Stone Librande, Prashant Saraswat, Nathan Tiras
Artists: Danny Beck, Tysen Henderson
After three games that I’ve played (even if it was very long ago in game terms), we finally hit one that I have no idea about.
This was all the rage when it first came out in 2016, partially because it was made by a video game company and partially because it just seemed to be a very cool cooperative game.
As with many of these “I have no idea how to describe this” entries, how about a blurb? For Father’s Day last Sunday?
Don’t say I never get you anything.
“Mechs vs. Minions is a cooperative tabletop campaign for 2-4 players. Set in the world of Runeterra, players take on the roles of four intrepid Yordles: Corki, Tristana, Heimerdinger, and Ziggs, who must join forces and pilot their newly-crafted mechs against an army of marauding minions. With modular boards, programmatic command lines, and a story-driven campaign, each mission will be unique, putting your teamwork, programming, and piloting skills to the test.”
There are 10 missions in the campaign (oooo a campaign! Cool!)
I know nothing about this game and it never even came close to appearing at my game group.
That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love to try a scenario and see what all the hype was about.
All together now… “Maybe at a convention?”
Yep, that’s right. Here, have a cookie.
#36 – Power Grid (Rio Grande Games) – 2004
Designer: Friedemann Friese
Artists: Domonkos Bence, Antonio Dessi, Lars-Arne “Maura” Kalusky, Prapach Lapamnuaysap, Harald Lieske
Power Grid is one of the games that I played earlier when I started my “game days” in 2013-2014.
I’ve played the game 5 times in various ways (different maps mainly) between 2013 and 2017, but I haven’t played it since then.
However, it’s a fun game if you like a lot of math.
You’re buying power plants and then also paying to place your plants in various cities depending on which map you’re using.
There is a lot of math in this game, where you are totaling up all of the money that you have and which cities you want to put your “houses” in, and many turns you will be trying to min/max all of that.
There are three “phases” that affect where you can put your houses. In the first phase, only one person can be in a city. Second phase, a second person can be but it’s more expensive.
Third phase, a third person can be in a city but it becomes very expensive to place a house in a city then if there are two more.
It’s all a balance of money and how much it will cost to do everything you want to do.
Each turn, power plants go on sale so you have to decide whether you want to replace any plants that you currently have because they’re outdated, or perhaps whether you need another plant to power all of the houses that you have.
That’s the thing. Once you have houses built, you still need to power them up and that depends on the plants you have and the resources that you buy. You have to buy resources (or have bought them and kept them unused on a previous turn) in order to power them.
It’s an intricate dance, and one that I find kind of interesting but I also find my brain hurting from all the math involved.
I actually almost won a game, once. I lost on the tiebreaker (which is most money left), but it was fun!
But ultimately, if you don’t like adding up your money and how much you’re going to have to spend, you won’t like this game.
I do like that there are tons of different maps and each map has different things about it (like the European map has bans on nuclear power plants in certain areas). That really makes the game replayable because each map has different aspects about it.
I wouldn’t mind playing this again, but I’m not sure if it’s going to come out in our game group because nobody has it anymore.
Maybe at a convention? Which was where my last play was (though it was with a couple of friends).
#35 – Kingdom Death Monster (Kingdom Death) – 2015
Designer: Adam Poots
Artists: Zeen Chin, Lokman Lam, Lorinda Tomko
And now we get into games that I have no familiarity with.
This was a big thing when the Kickstarter came out, and every time they have a new Kickstarter, it becomes even a bigger thing.
But it’s not something that I’ve ever actually had a chance to play and I’m not sure if I ever would.
“Kingdom Death: Monster is a fully cooperative tabletop hobby game experience. Set in a unique nightmarish world devoid of most natural resources, you control a settlement at the dawn of its existence. Fight monsters, craft weapons and gear, and develop your settlement to ensure your survival from generation to generation.”
This is, once again, a fully cooperative game that was a big hit.
I have no idea about this game at all, but would I play it?
I’m moderately intrigued.
It apparently has a campaign aspect, which we’ve already established is kind of a no-go for our group, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad game.
It’s just a game that I haven’t played.
Would I play it?
Sure, if it was presented as a scenario thing and I didn’t have anything else going on.
I’m always open to anything (other than dexterity games. Those I avoid with passion).
#34 – Root (Leder Games) – 2018
Designer: Cole Wehrle
Artist: Kyle Ferrin
I’ve only played Root one time, but Wehrle can do no wrong in my book. I loved his Pax Pamir and Root easily made it into my top 25 games ever played even with only the one play.
Root is the wargame for non-wargamers, with asymmetrical player powers that make the game extremely interesting.
It’s extremely interesting because each faction has its own way of playing and you really have to try it more than once to get an idea of how each one plays.
I love how it’s a bunch of woodland creatures effectively fighting for supremacy in the forest. The cats are the old guard, trying to maintain what they have had. The Aerie is the faction I was in our only game of it and it’s very intriguing because you have to plan ahead a lot in order not to break down.
For the Aerie, you have an agenda that you have to keep building on, and you have to fulfill the actions of that agenda even as it builds up higher and higher. If you don’t, you’ll fall into chaos and have to start over.
I managed not to do that, falling apart on my last turn just as I crossed the 30-point threshold. If you let yourself fall in the middle of the game, that can cost you victory points depending on the cards you’ve used to build up your agenda
The other factions are also really interesting. The Woodland creatures that never really control anything but they get points by stealing stuff and aiding other factions are really intriguing. I’d love to try them (though I’m sure I would suck at them.
Wehrle loves his asymmetry and it shows in Root and that is why it’s such a great game.
Would I play this again?
In a heartbeat! I just haven’t had the chance again since that first play
One of these days.
#33 – Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 (Z-Man Games) – 2017
Designers: Rob Daviau, Matt Leacock
Artists: Atha Kanaani, Chris Quilliams
Another Pandemic! It’s almost like the Top 100 knows something about 2020 that we didn’t know.
Actually, this is a legacy game of Pandemic and it’s Season 2 (will Season 1 be on here somewhere? Probably).
I know a lot of people rave about this game, and even some of my friends have played through (or tried to, anyway).
Basically, it’s a game of Pandemic that you play 12 times (12 months, basically) but the conditions carry forward from month to month in some way. What you do in January, how well you succeed (or fail) will have repercussions for February and so on.
From what I’ve heard, you don’t have to have played Season 1 in order to play Season 2.
Am I up for that?
Again, a legacy game or a campaign game is going to be a tough sell for me given my normal gaming situation.
Maybe one day we’ll sit there and binge all of the legacy games, but for now it’s kind of a non-starter.
Though I’ve heard it’s great!
#32 – Blood Rage (CMON) – 2015
Designer: Eric M. Lang
Artists: Henning Ludvigsen, Mike McVey, Adrian Smith
Much like Rising Sun, this is a game that I’ve just never really been that interested in.
But at least it (I think) doesn’t have negotiation in it!
The app version of this just came out but it’s expensive and with usual Asmodee Digital asynchronous multiplayer problems, it’s not an app that I will be getting any time soon either.
However, the game itself could be intriguing if I ever do get the opportunity to play it.
Hey, how about a blurb?
“In Blood Rage, each player controls their own Viking clan’s warriors, leader, and ship. Ragnarök has come, and it’s the end of the world! It’s the Vikings’ last chance to go down in a blaze of glory and secure their place in Valhalla at Odin’s side! For a Viking there are many pathways to glory. You can invade and pillage the land for its rewards, crush your opponents in epic battles, fulfill quests, increase your clan’s stats, or even die gloriously either in battle or from Ragnarök, the ultimate inescapable doom.
Most player strategies are guided by the cards drafted at the beginning of each of the three game rounds (or Ages). These “Gods’ Gifts” grant you numerous boons for your clan including: increased Viking strength and devious battle strategies, upgrades to your clan, or even the aid of legendary creatures from Norse mythology. They may also include various quests, from dominating specific provinces, to having lots of your Vikings sent to Valhalla. Most of these cards are aligned with one of the Norse gods, hinting at the kind of strategy they support. For example, Thor gives more glory for victory in battle, Heimdall grants you foresight and surprises, Tyr strengthens you in battle, while the trickster Loki actually rewards you for losing battles, or punishes the winner.”
That does sound kind of neat.
There is a lot of attacking other players in this game. That alone says that it probably won’t come out at my game days, though I wouldn’t be averse to playing it if it did.
The only times I used to see it on the table were at a different game night (before I stopped going) where it was often being played by these four guys who were really cliquish and not really inclusive…of anybody. They generally didn’t play games with anybody else, just themselves.
So no opportunity there.
Anyway, one day! One day I’d love to see what all the fuss is about.
#31 – Nemesis (Awaken Realms) – 2018
Designer: Adam Kwapiński
Artists: a lot!
And speaking of fuss, how about a massive Kickstarter success?
Yes, the recent Kickstarter for the expansion to this game, Nemesis: Lockdown, raised over 5 million pounds in its campaign.
Did the original do a similar amount?
It only raised over 3 million.
What is Nemesis?
Other than it being a survival horror game, I have no idea.
So let’s get a blurb! Why not end this post on a blurb?
“Nemesis is a semi-cooperative game in which you and your crewmates must survive on a ship infested with hostile organisms. To win the game, you have to complete one of the two objectives dealt to you at the start of the game and get back to Earth in one piece. You will find many obstacles on your way: swarms of Intruders (the name given to the alien organisms by the ship AI), the poor physical condition of the ship, agendas held by your fellow players, and sometimes just cruel fate.”
Apparently, the longer the game goes on, the tougher it gets.
Each player gets their own role and deck of cards in the game. The scientist is great at…Charades? No, you numskull! Science! But sucks at fighting.
So on and so forth.
Being a semi-cooperative, there’s always the possibility of a traitor in the works.
This game does sound seriously cool and I would really like to try it once.
I haven’t played too many hidden traitor games, and this one sounds very intense.
It’s obviously popular!
Who knows when I might get a chance to play this?
We’ll have to see, but I would love to.
So there’s another week gone by and we only have 3 weeks to go!
This week I’ve played 5 out of 10 games played with no “online only” games (though there are two games where I would prefer to play online, but I have played them one).
That makes us at 32 out of 70 with 30 to go. I have a feeling I will definitely reach 40 played games at this point.
But who knows?
Have you played any of these games? What do you think of them? Anything that you would hate to foist on your worst enemy? Like my editor?
Let me know in the comments.
Posts in this Series:
Category: Board Games, Top 10Tags: Adam Kwapiński, Adam Poots, Ameritrash, Awaken Realms, Blood Rage, Chris Cantrell, Civilization Building, CMON, Cole Wehrle, Corey Konieczka, Czech Games Edition, Daniele Tascini, Eric Lang, Fantasy Flight Games, Friedemann Friese, Jonathan Ying, Justin Kemppainen, Kingdom Death, Kingdom Death Monster, Leder Games, Matt Leacock, Mechs vs Minions, Miniatures, Nathan Tiras, Nemesis, Pandemic Legacy: Season 2, Power Grid, Prashant Saraswat, Rick Ernst, Rio Grande Games, Riot Games, Rob Daviau, Root, Simone Luciani, Star Wars: Imperial Assault, Stone Librande, Through the Ages, Tzolkin: the Mayan Calendar, Vlaada Chvátil
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This is a blog about board games, with the occasional other post for a bit of spice.
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5/5 for me (Root, Tzolkin, Blood Rage, Civilization and Power Grid). Root with all expansions and Civ are one of my favorite games I ever played. Civ has also fantastic app.
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Civ? You mean Through the Ages? LOL Yeah, the app is fantastic (I will link to the app review when the second edition shows up on this list).
And I’d love to play Root again with the new expansion too. I did enjoy watching the two factions from the first expansion.
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Sorry for my mental abbreviation. When Through the Ages appeared I could not notice similarity in some aspects to computer Civilization.
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3 for me this week, though none of them “winners” in my personal book of Games I Like by Biff Pow (TM).
I played Through the Ages a few times many years ago, and it was…a lot. I should try online, because the tracking all the stuff aspect of the game is, I think, what got me feeling brain-fried by the end. And I don’t like that feeling!
I do not understand the appeal of Power Grid. I mean, I don’t like math, so I take your point in that regard, but aside from that, it just feels like a more strategic version of Monopoly to me. That’s a harsh comment; it’s just how it feels. I don’t need to ever play it again. I mean, I won’t not-play it, but I will do my best to steer preferences elsewhere.
Imperial Assault seemed like something I would really like, but I just didn’t connect with it. I think I wanted it to be more campaign-narrative driven, and it’s just battles. The Star Wars aspect of it felt like a skin to me. Although I also am aware that my interest in Star Wars has waned a lot in the last 10 or so years.
I really want to play Root! But my group has never seemed interested, despite the theme, so I haven’t added it to the collection. Like you, I’m quite intrigued by the Woodland faction.
Some of these games, I’m starting to wonder how they are so high on this list. Nemesis? I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who’s played that. It was a huge KS thing, so people know what it is, but that’s it.
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Yeah, I hear you with the Power Grid. While I said I wouldn’t mind playing it again, it’s definitely not high up on my wants and I would choose something else over it.
Some of these games that are big hits, I don’t get it either. One of the guys in my group gets almost everything and I don’t think he bought that (I could be wrong, though, and maybe it just never came out to our specific game day).
Imperial Assault is mainly battles, missions that will end up with you shooting everybody, so fair point there. 🙂
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I was pretty entranced about Power Grid and Root when I played them, and I think they are both very good games, but I feel neither of them would keep me interested in playing it over and over again. Am I spoiled? Very likely. Ah, to live in this golden age of board games…
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Ha! We are spoiled, aren’t we? Then again, you do like playing games a bunch of times, so if a certain game won’t hold that for you, that doesn’t mean you’re spoiled.
I’m surprised at Root, though, since there are so many possibilities with that.
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Surely lots of possibilities and faction combinations in Root, but I feel like the sense of wonder in discovery might get lost. Then it’s just a good, very cut-throat game. Then again, I’ve played it exactly once so far, so what do I know 🙂
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LOL hard to say, Clio! I’ve only played it once too.
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