Boardgame Geek Top 200 – Play or Played – #160-151

Another week, another “wow, I haven’t played many games” post. It’s almost like I’m failing as a “gamer”.

Is that possible? Should I really feel bad that I haven’t played a bunch of games?

Maybe, if I’m actually writing about them.

Am I not fulfilling my blogging mandate as far as games posting?

Am I desperate for content because of COVID?

That may certainly be true.

But given the times, I don’t really care.

That’s been the weird thing about this COVID time where I’m working from home so I rarely leave the condo where I live.

I’m finding I don’t care about a lot of things.

But I do care about giving you some quality content, so I hope you enjoy this post even though I don’t have a lot to say about the games included.

In lieu of actual, you know, humour content, how about some dinosaurs?

Dinosaurs dancing to find a mate

Maybe next week will be better (I think it will? Not sure, actually)

Anyway, without further adieu, because it’s Friday and really, who cares anymore?

Oh, before I forget, this list is taken from the BGG Top 200 as of September 20 the order may have changed since I did this.

Let’s get started.

#160 – Aeon’s End: War Eternal (Indie Boards & Cards) – 2017

Designer: Kevin Riley

Artists: Stephanie Gustafsson, Scott Hartman, Daniel Solis

This game is actually #156 right at the moment.

Aeon’s End is a rather unique deck-builder because you don’t actually shuffle your cards.

How you discard your cards is very important because the order of your cards remains the same. Make sure you discard that one card that gives you something ahead of the card that doesn’t give you quite as much.

Yes, can you tell I haven’t played this before?

I have played base Aeon’s End on the app, but I haven’t really gotten into it very much.

Thus, I’ll count this as a “have not played” and thus you’ll get another blurb!

War Eternal is a standalone game compatible with the cooperative deck-building game Aeon’s End. Players struggle to defend Gravehold from The Nameless and their hordes using unique abilities, powerful spells, and an all-new cast of dynamic characters. Featuring a number of innovative mechanisms, including a variable turn order system that simulates the chaos of an attack and deck management rules that require careful planning, War Eternal can be played alone or combined with other Aeon’s End content for a game experience like no other.”

As the blurb says, this is a standalone expansion to Aeon’s End, so I actually really haven’t played it yet (not even in app form).

The game does seem interesting enough namely from the “no shuffle” mechanic. That, and it’s a cooperative deck-builder so each player is trying to help save the city/kingdom/whatever from the evils that are afflicting it.

What’s interesting about the base game (and I think about this too) is that turn-order is chosen by random draw. You could go last on a turn and then go first next time! Yay!

Or the bad guys could do the same. Boo!

I do like expansions that are standalone but can also be played with the base game.

I love Ascension, so how could I not?

This sounds cool and I wouldn’t mind playing it if somebody taught it to me.

#159 – Arcadia Quest (Cool Mini or Not) – 2014

Designers: Thiago Aranha, Guilherme Goulart, Eric M. Lang, Fred Perret

Artists: Andrea Cofrancesco, Mathieu Harlaut

Arcadia Quest is kind of the ultimate miniatures game, though the sister game Heroscape may actually be more along those lines.

It’s a campaign game, so be ready to keep track of your progress and try to further your capabilities.

Let’s blurb this (since again, I’ve never played it, or even see the chance to).

“Arcadia Quest is a campaign-based game for 2 to 4 players, where each player controls a guild of three unique heroes, facing off against the other players and the various monsters controlled by the game. Players need to accomplish a series of quests in order to win each scenario and choose where to go next in the campaign.

Players are able to choose the path their campaign takes, navigating through six out of eleven available scenarios, so each time the campaign is played it can have a different configuration of scenarios. As the campaign progresses, the heroes are able to acquire new weapons, equipment and abilities that give them powerful options to tackle the obstacles ahead. Furthermore, by fulfilling specific quests in a scenario, players unlock exclusive features in subsequent scenarios.”

This game is actually now #161 so it’s fallen a bit since I recorded these rankings.

I have a feeling that might change due to the recent reprint announcement from Hasbro as they do their over version of Kickstarter (without going to Kickstarter) to see if there’s enough demand for it.

If so, will its sister game (Heroscape) ever get a repring?

Tom Vasel can only hope.

As I’ve said before, I’m not really big on campaign games, so this one is probably a solid miss for me.

But those of you who have been waiting for a reprint for, like, ever, I’m really happy for you!

#158Tichu (Rio Grande Games) – 1991

Designer: Urs Hostettler

Artists: Lots!

This game is now at #159, so it’s moved a little bit. Something’s fallen behind it!

Anyway, this is a trick-taking card game but it’s also kind of team-building and some other stuff as well.

It’s also kind of a partnership game, so maybe your card-playing buddies who like playing “Pitch” or “500” or something like that may be interested.

So far no hits for me having played, so let’s blurb!

The deck is a standard 52-card pack with four special cards added: dog, phoenix, dragon and Mah Jong (1). When it’s your turn, you may either beat the current top card combination — single card, pair of cards, sequence of pairs, full house, etc. — or pass. If play passes all the way back to the player who laid the top cards, they win the trick, clears the cards, and can lead the next one. The card led determines the only combination of cards that can be played on that trick, so if a single card is led, then only single cards are played; if a straight of seven cards is led, then only straights of seven cards can be played, etc.

The last player out in a round gives all the cards they won to the player who exited first, and the last player’s unplayed cards are handed to the opposite team. Fives, tens and Kings are worth 5, 10 and 10 points, with each hand worth one hundred points without bonuses — but the bonuses are what drive the game. At the start of a round, each player can call “Tichu” prior to playing any card. This indicates that the player thinks they can empty their hand first this round; if they do so, their team scores 100 points, and if not, their team instead loses 100 points. Cards are dealt at the start of a round in a group of eight and a group of six; a player can call “Grand Tichu” after looking at only their first eight cards for a ±200 point bonus. If both players on a team exit a round prior to either player on the opposite team, then no points are scored for cards and the winning team earns 200 points (with Tichu/Grand Tichu bonuses and penalties being applied as normal).”

While I mention Rio Grande Games above, they actually don’t have it available right now.

I’m not sure who the current publisher is, or whether or not it’s still available.

That being said, this has always sounded like an interesting game and many of my Twitter boardgaming friends really love this game (like Jess and many others who I don’t remember off-hand)

I have to try it sometime.

All together now…because you know it’s coming…

“Maybe at the next convention…”

You all really should stop sounding like Stepford Children. I haven’t said it *that* much.

Ok, maybe I have…but for good reason!

#157 – Splendor (Space Cowboys) – 2014

Designer: Marc André

Artists: Abbas Amirabadi, Mahmoud Arasteh Nasab, Pascal Quidault

Finally something I’ve played!

This is a kind of fun filler, though it’s been taken over in my heart by games like Century: Spice Road and the like.

That being said, it is a fun game if you like quick, easy to explain filler games.

Basically, you have three rows of cards and you are collecting gems. On your turn, you can either take certain gems from the available pile, spend the gems you have to play cards to your tableau, or you can reserve a card that you will want to build later.

So that “2-point” white card in the 2nd row means you have to have 1 green gem, 4 red, and 2 black

As you build your tableau, you’ll have more gems to then build more cards (though you will always need to spend gems that you have instead).

Each card is worth a number of points in the top left corner (the white one in the foreground above is worth 2 points). The bottom row of cards typically doesn’t have much of a VP value but will give you more gems that you can then use to buy better cards).

Once a player has 15 points worth of cards (between gem cards and the “Nobles” that you can attract with the gems you already have), the end-game is triggered and the game will end at the end of the round.

Whoever has the most points is the winner! (and it may not be the person who triggered the end-game).

I do enjoy this game, even though I did say that Century: Spice Road does make it kind of redundant. I like that game much more as far as “tableau-builders where the cards you build help you get more cards.”

That being said, this one is a fun one and maybe the expansions (there are 4 that came in one box and are modular) help the game out?

I don’t know as I haven’t played them.

But while this isn’t a go-to filler for me anymore, I’ll never turn down a chance to play it if other people want to.

And that’s not a bad thing!

#156 – La Granja (Stronghold Games) – 2014

Designers: Michael Keller, Andreas “ode.” Odendahl

Artist: Harald Lieske

This one is now #158 on the list, but it’s still something that I haven’t played (there is little chance that I will play most of these any time soon unless they’re 2-player and something my wife would play…damn you, COVID).

La Granja is a classic area-control game that I wouldn’t mind trying one of these days.

It has to be a classic for a reason, right?

Let’s blurb this since I have no frame of reference whatsoever.

“In La Granja, players control small farms by the Alpich pond near the village of Esporles on the island of Mallorca. Over time, the players develop their farms and deliver goods to the village. Players are vying to earn the title of “La Granja” for their country estate!

Over the course of 6 game rounds, players will expand their farm by adding fields, farm extensions, market barrows, and helpers. They will earn VPs by delivering goods to the village of Esporles. It is important to observe the actions of other players, manipulate turn order, and adjust your strategy based on the dice and cards.”

I’ve heard that maybe it isn’t quite the classic that it seems to be. I seem to recall (and I didn’t watch the video, so maybe I’m misremembering what he said) that Edward from Heavy Cardboard played it on a stream relatively recently and discovered that it isn’t all that.

That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to try it!

Because really, it must be considered a classic for a reason, right?

Or maybe I’m way off base on that too. (you probably shouldn’t listen to everything that you read on the Internet).

That being said, I’m not going to say no!

Though I can say that I did not really enjoy La Granja: No Siesta.

#155 – Magic: the Gathering (Wizards of the Coast) – 1993

Designer: Richard Garfield

Artists: Way too many to name

The deck-building game that started it all, if you’re talking about games where you are supposed to build your deck before playing, anyway.

I actually did kind of get into this back in the 1990s when it first started. I had a friend who was into it and I bought a bunch of packs for the game. I never really got that many good cards and I sold everything I owned before I moved from Chicago to Seattle. I probably had a bunch of crap cards but also probably undersold some of my rarer cards, but it doesn’t matter.

I’ve only played the game once since then, at a V-Con convention back in 2012 or 2013, where I was in the game room looking for somebody to play something with and one of the guys there had his Magic decks ready to play.

I did miserably, of course.

Essentially you are playing cards in front of you in order to bring your opponent down to zero health. You play “lands” which will give you mana each turn and then you play cards that you can use that mana for in order to either do an event or play creatures in front of you. Those creatures can attack your opponent (or attack your opponent’s creatures to kill them) and thus hopefully you’ll bring them down to zero before they do the same to you.

I don’t like CCGs (Collectible Card Games) where you are just basically buying random packs of cards to try and get the best cards you can for your decks. It seems like a money and time sink to me, but I know the game has tons of fans.

Through the years, Wizards of the Coast have released new expansion cards as well as having gone to the trouble of nerfing some cards because they became too powerful.

This is a living system that you can jump into the deep end right now if you want to.

But I have no interest in it.

Yes, they have “starter” decks that you can buy and use straight out of the box, but this is not the lifestyle that I want to pursue.

Still, the fans that love it seem to be having fun, so maybe it’s just not for everyone.

It’s certainly not for me.

#154 – Sekigahara: the Unification of Japan (GMT Games) – 2011

Designer: Matt Calkins

Artists: Rodger B. MacGowan, Mark Mahaffey

Sekigahara is a block wargame that apparently is a good introductory block wargame.

In fact, I know Clio and Boardgame Chronicle are probably going to comment on this one.

Sadly, I don’t have a second player that would be willing to try this, because otherwise I probably would want to give this one a go.

I know others can say more about this one in the comments, but let’s blurb it since I don’t have any background on it.

Sekigahara is a 3-hour block game based on the Japanese campaign waged in 1600. The 7-week war, fought along Japan’s two major highways and in scattered sieges and backcountry skirmishes, elevated Tokugawa Ieyasu to Shogun and unified Japan for 265 years.

Sekigahara is designed to offer an historically authentic experience within an intuitive game mechanic that can be played in one sitting. Great effort has been taken to preserve a clean game mechanism. (Despite a healthy amount of historical detail, the ruleset is a brief 6 pages.) Chance takes the form of uncertainty and not luck.

No dice are used; combat is decided with cards. Blocks = armies and cards = motivation. The combination of army and motivation produces impact on the battlefield. Armies without matching cards don’t fight. Battles resolve quickly, but with suspense, tactical participation, and a wide range of possible outcomes.”

This game sounds so cool and it has made it on a number of people’s “Top 10 in whatever” lists (I think I should probably make a list like that too), but sadly I have no inkling of it whatsoever.

Maybe I’ll eventually buy it from GMT Games if it goes on a reprint because hell, I’ve been buying a bunch of GMT P500 games where, when thinking about it, I really don’t have an opponent for it (Caesar: Rome vs Gaul, anybody?).

In the meantime, listen to the other folks who will chime in. This game is apparently the bee’s knees (as opposed to Boards & Bees, where I don’t know what he would think of this game)

#153 – Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries (Days of Wonder) – 2007

Designer: Alan R. Moon

Artists: Cyrille Daujean, Julien Delval

A standalone expansion to Ticket to Ride, this one covers Norway, Sweden and maybe Finland (what, you actually want me to go check?). Oh, also Denmark!

This expansion is designed for 2-3 players and has some interesting new twists, such as ferries (using locomotive cards).

While I’ve played the app version of this once or twice (it’s one of the newer expansions so I haven’t played it as much as some of the older ones), I’ve never played it on the table.

Seriously, my Ticket to Ride on the table days are long past. I don’t know any of my friends who would really play any of these other than maybe the brand new hotness (like when the Old West expansion had just come out and I had a game night at our local FLGS).

But you never know?

This isn’t a bad one, unless you just hate Ticket to Ride in general (Clio, I’m calling you out again!)

That being said, I wouldn’t be averse to trying it out.

#152 – Codenames: Duet (Czech Games Edition) – 2017

Designers: Vlaada Chvátil, Scot Eaton

Artist: Tomáš Kučerovský

I’ve played the original Codenames once or twice, but I’ve never actually played this 2-person edition of the game.

In the original game, you have a tableau of words and only some of them are your teams’ words. Some others are the opponents’. And then there’s one bad one that will end the game immediately.

There are two teams with one clue-giver on each trying to hint at that team’s words with the other players trying to guess.

How does the 2-player game work?

It does sound intriguing.

Let’s blurb it (wow, some of these posts are writing themselves…)

“To set up play, lay out 25 word cards in a 5×5 grid. Place a key card in the holder so that each player sees one side of the card. Each player sees a 5×5 grid on the card, with nine of the squares colored green (representing your agents) and three squares colored black (representing assassins). Three of the nine squares on each side are also green on the other side, one assassin is black on both sides, one is green on the other side and the other is an innocent bystander on the other side.

Collectively, you need to reveal all fifteen agents — without revealing an assassin — before time runs out in order to win the game. Either player can decide to give the first one-word clue to the other player, along with a number. Whoever receives the clue places a finger on a card to identify that agent. If correct, they can attempt to identify another one. If they identify a bystander, then their guessing time ends. If they identify an assassin, you both lose! Unlike regular Codenames, they can keep guessing as long as they keep identifying an agent each time; this is useful for going back to previous clues and finding ones they missed earlier. After the first clue is given, players alternate giving clues.”

The original Codenames is a fun party word game though it didn’t really draw me in like it did a whole ton of people when it first came out.

It’s fine, but not a “wow, this is awesome!” type of game.

Codenames: Duet does sound like it might be a cool game, but I’d have to try it first.

Yet another game I haven’t played (this is beginning to sound like a broken record, like the scream from The Who’s “Who Are You” going non-stop).

Maybe one day!

Or maybe this should be a COVID purchase to play with the wife?

Let’s play some of these other COVID purchases first, though.

#151 – Sagrada (Floodgate Games) – 2017

Designers: Adrian Adamescu, Daryl Andrews

Artist: Peter Wocken

Finally, a game I’ve played!

Played so much, in fact, that I’ve written a review of it.

This one is also now #150 on the list, but we won’t go there…

Sagrada is an awesome dice-drafting game where you are building colourful stained-glass windows with the dice that you choose.

Notice all of the errors in this one? I still lost this game.

Each round, a number of dice equal to the number of players plus one is rolled.

Then, in turn order, you’ll be drafting a die to put in your window. Once you get to the last player, that player gets to draft two dice and then it goes in reverse order.

You are trying to fill your window with colourful dice, though you have to follow certain rules.

First, you can’t put dice of the same number next to each other (orthogonally, you can still do so diagonally). Secondly, the same can be said of colours. Red can’t be next to red, etc.

Basically, each round you will be drafting two dice (assuming you can place them, which sometimes you can’t! Especially in later rounds) and filling up your window.

Some of those goals are harder than others

You will be scoring end-game points based on your goal as well as points based on the public goals that are out.

You are also given tools that you can use to modify dice or do something special (like re-roll the dice that are still available, and things like that). This can help mitigate the dice that you have to place during your turn.

Whoever has the most points wins!

I really love this game. It’s fast, easy to teach, perfect for lunch, and just a ton of fun to play. Newbies will have no problem playing it!

There’s also a brilliant app put out by Dire Wolf Digital games that is perfect for playing it online.

You can’t go wrong with Sagrada and I really would like to try the expansions and see what they add to it.

Sadly, I haven’t had the chance to do that yet.

But one day I will!

So there you have it.

Another piss-poor week of games as far as games I’ve played.

Not saying the games themselves are piss-poor. Just the fact that I don’t really have a lot to say about them because I haven’t played them.

Hopefully next week will be better!

That’s three games I’ve played, six that I haven’t, and one that I’ve only played digitally.

What do you think of these?

Are there some Tichu fans who would really like me to try it someday?

Would you teach me?

Really, if you’re advocating for a game, you really should volunteer for that.

Anyway, let me know what you think of these in the comments.

I’m really looking forward to this one, actually.

Posts in this Series


19 Comments on “Boardgame Geek Top 200 – Play or Played – #160-151

  1. Pingback: Boardgame Geek Top 200 – Play or Played – #170-161 – Dude! Take Your Turn!

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  5. Surprisingly good week for me: 6/10 (Splendor, La Granja, Sekigahara, Ticket to Ride, Codenames, Sagrada). And one of my favorite, all time best thematic wargames – Sekigahara. If you have not played, just see here: The game is gorgeous.

    PS. I am glad you keep with your posts. It is really great way to – at least for a moment – escape not so nice reality outside…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Yeah, it’s probably good that I keep going at this stuff.

      Good week for you! I knew you really went in for Sekigahara. If I had somebody to play it with, I’d love to try it.


  6. I have been summoned?
    I haven’t played Sekigahara – but I certainly would! It seems like a good mix of interesting setting, elegant rules, and playable scale. With that as a basis (and the good ratings), maybe GMT does a digital version?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nice article, as always.

    I really like Splendor, though we did add a minor house rule to reduce the first player advantage. I think that one of the big draws of Splendor is that it’s straightforward enough to be played with non-gamer family, while still being entertaining for those of us who do play a lot of games.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, it would be fitting if you stole it, since I stole it too! 😛

      I’d like to play each version of TtR at least once, just to say I did.


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