Welcome to this week’s edition of BGG’s Top 200 games! The series where I look at those games in the BGG rankings from #200-101, ten games at a time.
Two weeks in a row?
That’s gotta be a record.
Things are actually looking pretty good so far. I even actually have a review of an ACTUAL BOARDGAME in the hopper (along with a boardgame app review and other stuff).
That would be the first one since the beginning of 2020, I think.
I know I’m not the only one who’s astonished.
Also, if any of you were worried about me regarding the beginning of last week’s “New to Me: October 2020” post, hopefully this one will be a sign that I’m doing better.
There’s actually humour in this one!
Well, things that are supposed to be funny, anyway.
Your mileage may vary.
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. I’ve made note of the changes.
So let’s begin!
Designers: Przemysław Rymer, Ignacy Trzewiczek, Jakub Łapot
Artists: Aga Jakimiec, Ewa Kostorz, Rafał Szyma
This one has fallen one spot to #141 since September.
There was a big thing in 2018 (and 2019 a bit) in games regarding being a detective and solving cases.
Almost like a return to the old days of Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective!
In these games, there are a number of cases to solve and then maybe you can buy an expansion or so that has more cases (at least some day?).
“In Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game you are going to solve FIVE different cases and find out what connects them, you are going to BREAK THE 4th WALL by using every resource you can, you are going to browse the game’s DEDICATED DATABASE simulating your agency’s resources, you will enter a city maze of old mysteries and fresh CRIME, and you will be able to COOPERATE with other agents or solve the mystery on your own.“
I’m not sure why there are so many words in capital letters in this paragraph.
Is it some kind of code? Maybe a meta-game?
Oh boy! I think I’ve solved it!
Ok, maybe not…
Anyway, Detective, along with others in the genre, are making use of that newfangled technology called “apps” (Editor – “Get off your lawn, right?”) to help guide the game.
I’m not sure whether it’s a great idea or not to tell people all of the cases are connected. Maybe that’s part of the marketing scheme, though, and it’s a popular game so I guess it worked.
I’m horrible at deduction games (just look at my upcoming review of the Fury of Dracula app) so I’m sure I wouldn’t be very good at this game either.
But with the right group, it might be fun!
As you can probably guess, I’ve never played this one.
It does seem perfect for a convention, though.
And this is kind of cool too:
“In 2020 Game of the Year special edition of Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game was published. Thanks to the overwhelmingly great response for the game and a worldwide success Portal Games was able to improve the basic game and add an additional component to the box. The new edition includes a set of 30 photos of character portraits, which the players can use during their investigation to make a mind map. The pictures show the suspects met throughout the game, and bring an amazing immersion to the gameplay. The set was previously available for purchase only as an additional promo item at the Portal Games store and during conventions. With the Game of the Year edition of Detective, now all players will be able to enjoy this great tool.”
Good on Portal for including it in the new box! Hopefully the price didn’t go up by the price of the promo, though.
I’d definitely do this one if it were presented to me. Five cases isn’t too much of a campaign. It’s not like you’re playing 10+ games when you only have game day once a week and you’d like to play some other stuff too.
Designers: Bill Eberle, Jack Kittredge, Bill Norton, Peter Olotka, Kevin Wilson
This is Tom Vasel’s favourite game, almost, and also high up on Quinns’ list from Shut Up & Sit Down.
And it’s managed to stay in its spot! Good for it.
This game has always looked intriguing when I’ve heard about it and sounds like it’s tons of fun.
Almost zany, with a lot of laughter involved.
But enough about my normal gaming wardrobe.
The game sounds fun too!
Since I’ve never played it, though, let’s do a blurb:
“In Cosmic Encounter, each player is the leader of an alien race. On a player’s turn, he or she becomes the offense. The offense encounters another player on a planet by moving a group of his or her ships through the hyperspace gate to that planet. The offense draws from the destiny deck which contains colors, wilds and specials. He or she then takes the hyperspace gate and points at one planet in the system indicated by the drawn destiny card. The offense vs. the defenses ships are in the encounter and both sides are able to invite allies, play an encounter card as well as special cards to try and tip the encounter in their favor.
The object of the game is to establish colonies in other players’ planetary systems. Players take turns trying to establish colonies. The winner(s) are the first player(s) to have five colonies on any planets outside his or her home system. A player does not need to have colonies in all of the systems, just colonies on five planets outside his or her home system. These colonies may all be in one system or scattered over multiple systems. The players must use force, cunning, and diplomacy to ensure their victory.”
There appears to be a lot of backstabbing in the game, but it’s all in good fun (unlike Diplomacy, which has ended friendships and family relationships, with my 3rd Aunt on my mother’s side glaring at me to this day because I reneged on our deal regarding Trieste…hey, it was Thanksgiving and I’d had too much turkey!).
If this game comes up at the next convention I go to (which will probably be in 2022 or 2023 the way people are keeping themselves apart during the recent COVID resurgence…and yes, that was sarcasm), I will definitely give it a shot.
I have to see what all the fuss is about!
Designer: Ted Alspach
Artists: Ted Alspach, Klemens Franz, Ollin Timm
This game has fallen to #140 since I made this list, but it’s still one of my faves.
This was one of the first boardgames I ever bought after my re-entry into the hobby back in 2012.
Sure, the art work wasn’t super-snazzy, but it was cool, it was a tile-laying game that made you have to keep an eye on everybody else’s suburb, and it was just generally fun.
In the game, there’s a real estate market of tiles that you can purchase and then place into your suburb. You are trying to gain income, gain reputation, and gain population (points) as you do so. However, money can be tight and if you gain population too fast, your income and reputation will go down (because you’re having to pay for all of these people!)
Thus, it’s a tricky balance and this is one of the few games I’ve seen where you can actually get stuck so much in a rut that there’s no way to get out of it and actually be successful.
I have done that early in my career, gaining reputation so fast, which gains you population, which brings your income crashing down. I wasn’t able to buy any more tiles for the rest of the game, at least very few.
Ultimately, this game will always hold a dear place in my heart and it’s a game that I will always play.
Though I haven’t tried the Deluxe Edition yet.
That thing intimidates the shit out of me.
But one day!
Designer: Wolfgang Warsch
Artist: Leon Schiffer
This one has jumped a lot since I did my list. It’s up to #133!
It’s easy to see why, as this is a really cool roll and write game that can be played solo very easily, or can be played with multiple players.
It’s very simple, though scoring can be a bit of a chore to try and teach (don’t even get me started on its sequel).
The game goes over a number of rounds depending on the player count. Each round you’ll be rolling six dice to start, choosing one die to assign to your sheet (marking off the appropriate box) and then sidelining any dice that were lower than the one you chose.
Those can’t be rerolled. The rest can, however, and you do this a second time, and then a third with any remaining dice.
After you’re done, the other players can use any one of the dice that you sidelined to score on their own sheet.
It’s really not hard, though trying to explain the sequel to my wife made my head hurt. I was confusing myself when I did it!
This one doesn’t seem quite as bad, but since I’ve only played it once (my learning game) and don’t actually own a copy, I can’t really say.
I can say it was a fun experience!
And one I’d love to try again.
Designer: Richard Borg
Artists: Cyrille Daujean, Julien Delval, Don Perrin, Claude Rica
This one has moved up to #135!
A Days of Wonder wargame. Who would have thunk it?
Well, considering how old the game is and how well-liked it is (with tons of expansions), I guess a lot of people thunked it!
Memoir ’44 is based on Borg’s classic Command & Colors games, which I also have never played (I think I said that once before? Or will say it in the future? Time travel (and not reading ahead) is confusing).
Wow, nested parentheses! That will open a hole in the space-time continuum, won’t it?
Anyway, since I’ve never played it, let’s blurb:
“Memoir ’44 includes over 15 different battle scenarios and features a double-sided hex game board for both beach landings and countryside combat. Each scenario mimics the historical terrain, troop placements and objectives of each army. Commanders deploy troops through Command and Tactic cards, applying the unique skills of his units — infantry, paratrooper, tank, artillery, and even resistance fighters — to their greatest strength.
“By design, the game is not overly complex”, says Memoir ’44 designer, Richard Borg. “The game mechanics, although simple, still require strategic card play, timely dice rolling and an aggressive yet flexible battle plan to achieve victory.” In addition to the large, double-sided gameboard, Memoir ’44 includes 144 amazingly detailed army miniatures – including historically accurate infantry, tanks and artillery; 36 Obstacle pieces, 60 illustrated Command cards, 44 Special Terrain tiles, and 8 Custom Wooden dice.”
The game looks really entertaining, but sadly I don’t have anybody to play wargames with right now so sadly it will probably never see the table.
Except…all together now…
“Maybe at a convention!”
At this rate, I will never play an old game at a convention.
Oh well, that means more “new to me” games!
Designer: Andreas Steding
Artist: Dennis Lohausen
This one has sadly fallen to #136, in a brutal swap where the American army invaded all of these medieval trading houses and forced them to switch places.
However, this game I’ve played!
That’s a rarity right now, unfortunately.
In Hansa Teutonica, players are traders setting up a network throughout medieval Germany. You can establish trading posts in various cities when you link them together with your agents. You may even be able to upgrade them!
You can also earn bonus markers if you connect the right roads. These markers can let you do cool things (like bonus markers usually do…I think it’s in their contracts).
Connecting certain other cities will allow you to improve your network, maybe giving you more agents or more actions on a turn, or maybe even letting you build better offices.
Improving your network will also give you endgame points, of course.
Interestingly, the game is played to a certain number of victory points (I think it’s 20?) but then you do all of the other scoring and thus you get scores in the 60s (or, like me, in the 20s…*sad face*)
That’s really all there is to it, though obviously there are more details involved.
Details that I had trouble absorbing in my two plays (hence the crack about scores in the 20s).
It’s an interesting game, and I did really enjoy the Heavy Cardboard playthrough of it. I watched that after my first game (where I wasn’t that thrilled with it) and that made me want to try it again.
Then I played it as the last game of the first convention night in 2019 at SHUX and I had a splitting headache at the time.
Not conducive to good gaming.
One more try should cement whether this is a game for me or not. But I can definitely see why some people enjoy it.
#134 – Commands & Colors: Ancients (GMT Games) – 2006
Designer: Richard Borg
Artist: Rodger B. MacGowan
Sadly, this one has now fallen to #137, but it’s still pretty high up there!
I’d love to give this one a try one day. It looks so interesting. In fact, this entire series looks interesting (hey, I just realized that I did travel in time up above!)
Here’s an image from the Boardgame Chronicle’s latest post on his Solo Challenge:
I want to try this. Just once at least. Maybe I’ll fall in love with it like he has? Maybe I won’t. I don’t know.
But it’s worth a try.
Oh, I guess I should tell you a little bit about the game, eh?
“Commands & Colors: Ancients depicts warfare from the Dawn of Military History (3000 BC) to the opening of the Middle Ages (400 AD). Quite an ambitious undertaking for one game, yet Commands & Colors by design is a unique historical game system which allows players to effectively portray stylized battles from this time in history. The 15 battles, showcased in the scenario booklet, although stylized, focus on important terrain features and the historical deployment of forces in scale with the game system. The battles include Bagradas, Cannae, and Zama.”
I see pictures of these lines of blocks representing the troops, and then see them run up to each other and start bashing each others’ heads in.
I know it’s more nuanced than that, but that’s what it looks like to an outsider.
Maybe one day.
I won’t say it…
On to the next one!
Designer: Sébastien Pauchon
Artists: Vincent Dutrait, Alexandre Roche
This one has moved up a space to #132. It must have traded that in the Market Bazaar or something.
Jaipur is a 2009 game that I heard a lot about for the longest time but never really got it played.
I then played the app a few times when it came out on iOS and enjoyed it. It’s a game without async play, but maybe that’s not a bad thing?
When COVID hit and I started my splurge of boardgame buying (I should write a post about that but adding up the numbers scares me), Jaipur is one of the games I bought because it’s pretty friendly for non-gamers and it’s a total 2-player game experience.
What is the game?
Both players are the best traders in Jaipur who are vying for a seat at the Maharaja’s court as the best trader.
How do you prove yourself?
By trading a lot of the six different types of goods like a horse trader.
The six goods are Diamonds, Gold, Silver, Cloth, Spice, and Leather.
Your turn is simple. You either take a goods card from the market, you take all the camels, or you can sell sets of goods from your hand.
You can sell any number of goods and take that many tokens from the correct stack on the left side of the table. If you sell 3 or more, then you will also get a bonus token.
Once all the tokens are gone from three stacks, or if all the cards are gone, the round ends and you total up your score.
Then you play another one, best two out of three!
Whoever wins two rounds is the winner of the game and will become the chief trader for the Maharaja.
Probably has to go to Cleveland or something. (You fans in Cleveland can pretend I put Peoria there)
I enjoyed this game, though I could see how it could become a bit samey sometimes.
But we haven’t played it nearly enough to hit that level (only once!)
I’m sure it will get played even more as the days go forward.
Designer: Uwe Rosenberg
Artist: Klemens Franz
This one has fallen to #134, sadly. I guess the fields went a little too fallow or something. (Wait, that’s some of Rosenberg’s other games, not this one)
Yes, another Rosenberg/Franz collaboration that has a bunch of people (at least Rosenberg fans) clamoring.
In Ora et Labora, players are monks instead of farmers and you’re trying to build your monastery up to be the best in the land! Or at least the most prestigious.
I haven’t played this one, unfortunately (or maybe fortunately? Do you have to feed your people?), so let’s blurb it.
“Ora et Labora, Uwe Rosenberg’s fifth “big” game, has game play mechanisms similar to his Le Havre, such as two-sided resource tiles that can be upgraded from a basic item to something more useful. Instead of adding resources to the board turn by turn as in Agricola and Le Havre, Ora et Labora uses a numbered rondel to show how many of each resource is available at any time. At the beginning of each round, players turn the rondel by one segment, adjusting the counts of all resources at the same time.
Each player has a personal game board. New buildings enter the game from time to time, and players can construct them on their game boards with the building materials they gather, with some terrain restrictions on what can be built where. Some spaces start with trees or moors on them, as in Agricola: Farmers of the Moor, so they hinder development until a player clears the land, but they provide resources when they are removed. Clever building on your personal game board will impact your final score, and players can buy additional terrain during the game, if needed.“
Oh my God…I don’t see any mention of feeding! Even Le Havre has you feeding!
Maybe it’s just assumed…
The rondel aspect of the game does sound intriguing. I’m not much for maximizing my points through resource allocation (Editor: “And you call yourself a gamer”) but this one might be cool.
I’d like to try it once if I could, just to see what the fuss is about.
Maybe one day.
Designer: Nate French
Artists: Lots! (like 60 of them)
This game has jumped into the next episode! It’s now #129.
Lord of the Rings: the Card Game is a living card game in the same sense as Arkham Horror: the Card Game. Basically you have a game where the cards in every box are the same (so it’s no collectible card game) but you build your decks before you go through the scenarios.
As with most living card games, adventure packs are released regularly (or were…is this out of print? I’m not sure) and you get more cards to use for your decks. Again, these aren’t random packs but the same cards in each one.
While I’ve played Arkham, I’ve never played this one so let’s blurb it:
“The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is a cooperative adventure game in which the players attempt to complete a scenario, each with three heroes of their choice and a deck of allies, events and attachments to support them. Each round, players send their heroes and allies to quest or to fight with enemies that engage them. However, as the heroes and allies exhaust after questing, defending, or attacking, the players’ options are typically insufficient to deal with everything at once. Therefore, players need to determine whether it is more urgent to quest and make progress in the scenario while the enemy forces gain power, or to take down enemies while making no progress, not knowing what will come next.
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is the base game of a Living Card Game for which new adventure packs are released monthly. The base game contains three scenarios, twelve famous characters from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien (including Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Denethor and Eowyn), and four pre-constructed player decks. Players can either use one of these decks or construct their own deck to increase their chances to be successful in the more challenging scenarios. The monthly adventure packs contain a new scenario, a new hero, and new player cards to be used in their deck. The base game is for 1-2 players, but with an additional base game the scenarios can be played with up to four players.“
Apparently the scenarios aren’t from the books or the movies, but take place before Frodo left the Shire on the quest with the Ring.
This would be an interesting one to try out, though as with most living card games, it’s probably best to play an entire cycle.
Or maybe not?
There’s really no mention of cycles in the description, so who knows?
So much for another week where I haven’t played too many of the games.
Four out of ten! Not too bad, I guess. I’ve seen worse.
Are any of these your faves? Or would you rather throw one of them into the lava of Mount Doom?
Anything you want to try?
Let me know in the comments.
Posts in this Series
Category: Board Games, Top 10Tags: Andreas Steding, Area Control, Bezier Games, Bill Eberle, Bill Norton, Card Games, Commands & Colors: Ancients, Cosmic Encounter, Days of Wonder, Deduction, Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game, Dice-rolling, Fantasy Flight Games, GMT Games, Hansa Teutonica, Ignacy Trzewiczek, Jack Kittredge, Jaipur, Jakub Łapot, Kevin Wilson, Lookout Games, Lunch Time Games, Memoir '44, Nate French, Ora et Labora, Peter Olotka, Portal Games, Przemysław Rymer, Richard Borg, Roll and Write Games, Sebastien Pauchon, Space Cowboys, Stronghold Games, Suburbia, Ted Alspach, That's Pretty Clever, The Lord of the Rings: the Card Game, Tile-Laying Games, Uwe Rosenberg, Wargames, Wolfgang Warsch, Worker Placement Games, Z-Man Games
This is a blog about board games, with the occasional other post for a bit of spice.