We are getting close to the end of this 10-week opus, this look at the Boardgame Geek Top 100 games and which ones I’ve played.
This has actually been my favourite series to write so far in the 3+ years of this blog.
Mainly because it’s given me 9 (soon to be 10) weeks of guaranteed content, as well as some great interactions with my few fans. It’s been very interesting to see other people’s opinions of the games that we play.
And while there hasn’t been controversy, per se, there have been a few “oh, I love this game that you hate!” responses, which I also really like.
Nobody’s got on me for liking a game that they hate, which is a welcome change from most of the BGG forums. And they really haven’t gotten on me for hating a game they like. Just gentle nudges.
Sometimes reading the BGG forums for a game can be like facing off against the teeming hordes of people who disagree with you.
And sometimes you’re the only one on your side.
It can get quite tedious.
Not here, though! People who come here are all very nice.
I love you all.
And with that, let’s begin!
Designer: Elizabeth Hargrave
Artists: Ana Maria Martinez Jaramillo, Natalia Rojas, Beth Sobel
This is a phenomenal game, the tableau-building game designed by Elizabeth Hargrave (nice to see a woman designer with such a successful game! There should be more of that).
This is a game where you are playing birds to your habitats that will then have effects when you take the specific action that coincides with that habitat.
Green habitats will give you extra stuff when you get food. The yellow habitat will do things when you collect eggs, etc.
I love how your actions are affected by the number of birds you already have in that habitat, as well as the diminishing number of actions you get, since each round an action is spent on the “end or round” bonus from the previous round.
After four rounds, you’re going to be totaling up the victory points from your birds, your end-of-round scoring and your bonus cards and whoever has the most is the winner!
This game easily would have made my Top 25 games ever played if I hadn’t played it mere weeks after doing that post.
I love the tableau-building aspect of the game, the artwork is amazing and I just love the game play. It’s easy to get stuck if you don’t plan your plays well, and there is a bit of luck if you don’t draw birds that work with what you’re trying to do.
But overall it’s a greatly enjoyable game that I will own shortly.
And then we’ll see how it plays 2-player, as it’s another COVID purchase.
Designer: Nate French, Matthew Newman
Yes, this is my new obsession.
I said why on Monday’s “New to Me – June 2020” post but this is a game that I can’t stop following.
This is the card game version of Arkham Horror where the locations you are visiting are cards that are brought out by the scenario you are playing.
Each player has an investigator and as you’re going through the campaign, you will be improving your deck with better cards when you spend experience to get them.
The investigators all have different abilities which makes the game very replayable, even if the secrets of the scenarios themselves are known (in the first scenario, you know which investigator to send to the Attic and which one to the Cellar, for instance).
Who knows? Maybe one of these days I’ll be posting Arkham Horror: LCG strategy articles to this blog.
Nah, who am I kidding. I never know what I’m doing, even when I’ve played a game multiple times.
Still, this is a game that I will continue to revisit and I can’t wait to experience it.
Designer: Martin Wallace
Artists: Lina Cossette, Peter Dennis, David Forest, Eckhard Freytag, Damien Mammoliti
Brass: Lancashire is the recent Roxley re-working of the original Brass designed by Martin Wallace.
I have played both the original (with the horrendous artwork) as well as the new one, and this game is amazing.
And this is from somebody who doesn’t really care for economic games.
I am very bad at this game (which is where the “doesn’t really care for economic games” comes from) but it’s still a lot of fun.
In this case, you are building things like coal mines, iron mines, cotton manufacturing places, etc and trying to get a bunch of victory points from buildings that have been used. Buildings are used when you either ship cotton from them to a port (which also uses the port if its a player’s) or use all of the iron or coal from them.
The two phases are cool because you go through the deck once during the Canal phase, only able to build canal connections between the various cities.
Then, once you’re through the deck, you do the Rail phase where you’re building railroads instead of canals. You have to rebuild all of those connections because canals aren’t a thing anymore.
This is a game where you really have to plan ahead (something I’m not good at, which is why I suck) in order to convert your buildings at the right time and/or use the resources on it.
I like that you can also “develop” technologies, which removes them from play and makes your remaining stuff even more valuable. If you build Level 1 buildings, you will score them at the end of the Canal Phase, but then they will disappear.
However, if you build a Level 2 or above building in the Canal Phase, it will stick around and score points in both phases.
It’s a very intricate game.
As in most Wallace games, loans are quite prominent, but they’re not as punishing as in most other Wallace games.
Yes, your income will go down, but you can build that back up again with no problems. Unlike games like London where they just cost you end-game victory points if you haven’t paid them off.
Because it’s an economic game, it’s not something that I will request. However, it’s a game that I do like playing and will willingly play if it comes out to the table.
Designer: Mac Gerdts
Artists: Marina Fahrenbach, Mac Gerdts, Dominik Mayer
Concordia is a game that’s hard to describe. You are trading in the Mediterranean (sorry, Tom) but you are establishing trading posts in various cities around the map (depending on which map you use, it may not be the Mediterranean). You’re moving your traders (either ships or on-foot people) from city to city and paying for the right to put posts there.
Each map is divided into regions and you will be getting points depending on how many regions you are in.
The thing is, points are determined by the cards that you have and have bought. If you spread out among different regions, maybe you want to have a lot of cards that score based on regions.
But maybe you have a lot of cards that are based on how many cities you have that produce something other than bricks? Then you want a lot of cities and it doesn’t matter where they are.
That way, you are actually in control of how you score, but those cards are also your actions so if you limit yourself, you may not be able to do everything you want to do.
It’s quite intricate and I love how that all fits together.
This is another game that I’m not good at, though I did actually manage to win it once.
But all of the mechanisms just come together in a brilliant design that I’m more than happy to play when it comes to the table.
Designers: Antoine Bauza, Bruno Cathala
Artist: Miguel Coimbra
This is the 2-player version of the brilliant Cathala design 7 Wonders, where you aren’t drafting cards but instead taking them from the table where they are arranged in a certain pattern (based on which age you’re in).
This is a game that I played my friend’s copy and then I finally got a copy in a math trade and played it three more times.
On your turn, you will be taking a card from the center tableau and either adding it to yours, discarding it for money, or using it to build the Wonder that you have.
Thus, you’ll hopefully have resources that you can then use to build the buildings that you take (like the Apothecary above requires one glass resource).
You go through three ages of this, with varying layouts of more powerful cards in the 2nd and 3rd ages.
Instead of “winning wars” with military and getting points for those like in the original game, this 2-player version has almost a tug-of-war aspect to the military as it goes back and forth on the military track when players build a military building or wonder.
The only points for the military track are at the end, depending on where it ends up.
However, if you neglect military while your opponent goes strong in it, and the military marker ends up all the way on your side of the track, you immediately lose.
So watch out!
There is also a Science victory depending on whether you’ve built or achieved all of the science symbols. That too ends the game immediately.
Most of the time, though, you’re struggling back and forth for points and will get to the end of the 3rd Age so both players tally up their points.
This is a very fun 2-player version of 7 Wonders and, as the ranking indicates, it’s almost better just because it’s more interesting. You’re not having to keep track of 3-5 other players and what they’re doing (not that you can consider what the player 3 spaces away from you is doing when you draft a card, but still).
I’ve played with the Pantheon expansion once and it’s fine. I’d have to play it again to really have an opinion on it.
And supposedly there is another expansion coming soon as well.
I really do like this game and I’m happy I finally took the plunge and got it in the math trade. If it wasn’t left in the office when we all got told to immediately start working from home due to COVID, I’d be playing it with the wife right now!
Designer: Jens Drögemüller, Helge Ostertag
Artist: Dennis Lohausen
And now we come to Terra Mystica. This game is very interesting but also makes my brain hurt.
The game is fairly straightforward, but it also just breaks my head because there is literally no luck (except the order of the end-of-round scoring tiles). You choose your race, you choose your starting point on the map, and then you decide (along with all the other players) on what you’re doing, where you’re expanding, and what types of buildings that you’re going to put out on the board.
I find the energy mechanic really interesting, where if you build a building that’s next to other player’s buildings, they can spend victory points to get energy.
Energy is very important in this game which is why I’m really bad at it. I have trouble using my energy in the right way and getting it when it’s good to get. I find myself spending a lot of victory points to get the energy because I find other ways to get energy very restrictive.
A number of my friends are much better at this game so when I play it, it’s definitely in a “try to get better” mindset because there’s no way I’m going to win.
Then again, I haven’t played it on the table since 2015, so maybe that’s where the problem is?
I’ve played the app a few times, but my two plays of this were really in the early part of my game-playing career. Maybe I would be better at it if I played it again now, with a bit more experience under my belt.
I enjoy this game well enough. I’d like to try again now that I am more of a gamer, but we’ll see if that happens.
I also haven’t played with any of the expansions, so that would be cool as well!
I wouldn’t mind playing this again just to see how I feel about the game now that I have a bit more experience. Admittedly, my two plays were when I was pretty new and I had no idea what I was doing.
I’ve played the app a few times and also on Boardgame Arena, but that doesn’t really count.
Designer: Stefan Feld
Artists: Julien Delval, Harald Lieske
Ah, yes, the Feld classic game. Anybody who knows gaming is aware of this one, even if they don’t like it for some unknown reason (sure, they say why they don’t like it, but it doesn’t make any sense!).
I have a 3-player game of this going on Boiteajeux.net at all times with a couple of friends. We’ve played it 83 times now, plus any plays that I’ve had on the table, and it’s just a go-to game for me.
There’s something about rolling two dice and trying to figure out what to do with them. Do you get tiles off the board? Do you put tiles from your sheet to your player board? Do you sell stuff? Or maybe (if you’re unlucky and haven’t planned well) just use it to get more workers?
It has a nice dice mitigation option with workers, but if you use all of your workers quickly, you find yourself a bit stuck.
Yes, the artwork is bland and it’s an older game so some newer gamers may find it a bit boring to look at.
There’s a new edition out, but to me it looks more garish. I like the simplicity of the artwork in this version.
The mechanics, though, are just so cool. You roll two dice and then do stuff with them. If you have workers, you can adjust those dice, but otherwise you just try to fill your board and fill up full sections of your board. The victory points for full sections are dependent on what round it is as well as how many spaces are in that space.
It’s a Feld classic and it’s well worth that #14 ranking. In fact, I’d almost say it should be higher.
I should get it to the table more often rather than just online, though.
Designer: R. Eric Reuss
What a streak of games that I’ve played! This one I’ve played once, and I wasn’t a huge fan of it, but I’d play it again.
Basically in Spirit Island, players are “gods” of the natives of an island that is being colonized by a malevolent force that is trying to expand and force out the natives.
Yeah, this is definitely an anti-colonialism game.
In the game, each player represents the natives of this particular island trying to resist the colonial forces that are trying to spread their evil influence throughout it. Each player has a unique “god” power that will help you in doing that.
Each turn, you will be trying to eliminate colonists that are already on the island, or maybe strengthen your defenses before the colonists start their own expansion.
I actually enjoyed this game somewhat, but not enough to really try hard to play it again. The anti-colonialism aspect of the game is pretty cool, and the game itself is fine.
However, the app came out on Early Access on Steam and I really had no interest in trying it again.
It’s a fine game, but just not one that grabbed me as much as it has grabbed other people.
Designers: Roberto Di Meglio, Marco Maggi, Francesco Nepitello
Artists: John Howe, Fabio Maiorana
This is apparently a classic game that I’ve never seen.
Also pretty cool is that the art is by John Howe, who also did the art for the Lord of the Rings game, which is getting a cool new anniversary edition.
While the Reiner Knizia cooperative game is about the ring-bearer and the story from the book series, War of the Ring is about the war that’s shown in brief snippets in the books (and was shown more prominently in the film, because you obviously need lots of action and CGI in movies nowadays…but I digress).
This is the war between the Free Peoples of the land and the evil forces of Sauron (the Shadow Armies).
Let’s blurb this thing, because this post was starting to feel lonely with no blurbs.
“The game can be won by a military victory, if Sauron conquers a certain number of Free People cities and strongholds or vice versa. But the true hope of the Free Peoples lies with the quest of the Ringbearer: while the armies clash across Middle Earth, the Fellowship of the Ring is trying to get secretly to Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring. Sauron is not aware of the real intention of his enemies but is looking across Middle Earth for the precious Ring, so that the Fellowship is going to face numerous dangers, represented by the rules of The Hunt for the Ring. But the Companions can spur the Free Peoples to the fight against Sauron, so the Free People player must balance the need to protect the Ringbearer from harm, against the attempt to raise a proper defense against the armies of the Shadow, so that they do not overrun Middle Earth before the Ringbearer completes his quest.”
The cool-sounding thing about the game is that it does incorporate the quest to destroy the ring, just a bit more abstractly.
The game also reflects the reluctance of some of the Free Peoples to fight Sauron, with a political track that shows if a nation is ready for war. Of course, if Sauron up and attacks them, they’ll happily defend themselves (though maybe not effectively? I don’t know).
There are dice involved and the dice can effect what actions you can do, which is also pretty neat. Event cards come up that can change the course of the game, or at least what you have to respond to. These events are from the story and represent things that can’t really be done in the game system itself.
The game sounds really intriguing and I’d love to play it once to see what it’s like.
It says 2-4 players, but I’m not really sure how that works.
I’m sure if I watched a review I would see a bit more how it works and get a better idea of how 3-4 players would play (2 is obvious).
But where’s the fun in that?
If this ever comes up as a chance to play, you know I will be jumping on it.
Though the 2.5-3 hour stated play time is a bit intimidating.
Designer: Jamey Stegmaier
Artist: Jakub Rozalski
Scythe is the other big hit game that I haven’t actually played. I see it being played all the time at conventions but I just haven’t actually had the opportunity to play it.
It doesn’t come to game days, and most of the time the games I see at conventions are already starting.
Which is too bad, because it does sound like a very good game (with a few oddities, pointed out hilariously by the Shut Up & Sit Down review)
But it’s a game I want to play, just to see what it’s like for me.
Hey, another game I haven’t played, so another blurb!
“Scythe is an engine-building game set in an alternate-history 1920s period. It is a time of farming and war, broken hearts and rusted gears, innovation and valor. In Scythe, each player represents a character from one of five factions of Eastern Europe who are attempting to earn their fortune and claim their faction’s stake in the land around the mysterious Factory. Players conquer territory, enlist new recruits, reap resources, gain villagers, build structures, and activate monstrous mechs.
Each player begins the game with different resources (power, coins, combat acumen, and popularity), a different starting location, and a hidden goal. Starting positions are specially calibrated to contribute to each faction’s uniqueness and the asymmetrical nature of the game (each faction always starts in the same place).”
I did get into the Scythe beta when it first came out on Steam, but I couldn’t make heads nor tails of the game through the tutorial.
It’s now out on iOS and Android (at least in Canada), so maybe I’ll buy it there and see if I can muddle through it again?
Because I want to try this game.
I don’t know if I want to like it. We’ll see in time.
But I want to try it.
Since I’ve played everything up through Spirit Island, I haven’t had the chance to say this yet!
You know what I’m thinking. Let’s say it all together now.
“Maybe at a convention!”
So that’s it. Another week gone and only one week left! That’s the Top 10 games on Boardgame Geek. I wonder how many of those I will have played?
This week gives us 8 out of 10, with no digital-only games. That makes for a grand total so far of 47 out of 90.
I blasted through the 40-barrier!!!! Yay me!
It’s also frightening to think that I’ve most likely played at least 50 of the Top 100 games on Boardgame Geek.
Is there something wrong with me?
Let me know in the comments.
Wait, that should have been put after this: What do you think of these games? How many have you played? Anything you really want to play? Or hate with the passion of a fiery sun that would give everybody who forced you to play it with them a massive sunburn?
You know the drill.
Posts in this Series: