Wow, has it been 2 months since I last posted an entry in this series looking at the top-ranked games on BGG, #300-201?
Yes, yes it has.
A lot of personal stuff has been going on and I just didn’t feel up to blogging during June and July.
I did some reblogging of Combat Commander posts from Michal, which gave this blog a little bit of activity.
But actively writing something?
It was beyond me.
Thankfully, that’s all changed now, at least for the most part.
While COVID is not over, it is possible to get together with fellow vaccinated friends and actually get some games in.
In fact, I’ll be writing a “New to Me Games” post for August, the first one in a couple of months!
Really, people. With the Delta Variant running rampant, get the shot!
Don’t be a loser.
I want to go to conventions again, and this current situation ain’t helping!
But that’s not the point of this post.
We are looking at the Top 300 games on BGG, counting down from #300 to #201, and we are finally half-way done.
It’s only taken 3 or 4 months.
Yes, the list I’m basing this on was downloaded on February 8, 2021 and it’s really outdated!
Especially with our first entry.
So let’s get started before all of these game move even further away from what I’m actually talking about.
Designer: Paul Dennen
Artists: Clay Brooks, Raul Ramos, Nate Storm
Dune: Imperium is the poster child for why you shouldn’t download a list of Top whatever games and then wait 7 months to actually do all of the posts for it.
This one has jumped all the way to #34 because a lot of people just love the hell out of this game.
I actually own this game, but due to COVID (and not wanting to try and force this onto my wife), I haven’t played it yet.
It looks really intriguing, though. A combination deck-builder and some worker placement, this game has the Paul Denning seal on it. I love his Clank series (especially Clank in Space) and this seems to be a game along the same lines (though worker placement is a bit new).
Since I haven’t played it, let’s blurb it so I don’t mislead you about what the game is.
“You start with a unique leader card, as well as deck identical to those of your opponents. As you acquire cards and build your deck, your choices will define your strengths and weaknesses. Cards allow you to send your Agents to certain spaces on the game board, so how your deck evolves affects your strategy. You might become more powerful militarily, able to deploy more troops than your opponents. Or you might acquire cards that give you an edge with the four political factions represented in the game: the Emperor, the Spacing Guild, the Bene Gesserit, and the Fremen.
Unlike many deck-building games, you don’t play your entire hand in one turn. Instead, you draw a hand of cards at the start of every round and alternate with other players, taking one Agent turn at a time (playing one card to send one of your Agents to the game board). When it’s your turn and you have no more Agents to place, you’ll take a Reveal turn, revealing the rest of your cards, which will provide Persuasion and Swords. Persuasion is used to acquire more cards, and Swords help your troops fight for the current round’s rewards as shown on the revealed Conflict card.”
This all sounds really neat. The description, plus Dan Thurot’s review of the game, made me buy it during the heart of the pandemic.
I’ve always liked the “end of turn combat round,” similar to Arctic Scavengers, and it sounds like Dennan put it to good use.
I’ve opened the box, paged through the cards, looked through the rule book, and salivated some (don’t worry, not on the cards themselves).
I really want to get this one to the table.
Designer: Stefan Feld
Artist: Michael Menzel
This one has fallen to #272, probably because people are getting tired of random Europeans on the cover of a game looking like they’re uncomfortable being on the cover of a game. (I know I’d love to be on the cover of a game, but I guess I’m not as proud as they are)
Bruges has always intrigued me.
I’m a Feld fan, but I admit that some of his games don’t sound as interesting to me as others. I also have to admit (because I have multiple sides, not just two) that I haven’t played a Feld game that I haven’t at least enjoyed, even I don’t necessarily want to play it again (I’m looking at you, Carpe Diem).
That’s, like, way too many sides. I really am wishy-washy, aren’t I?
Anyway, Bruges has always sounded neat but I’ve never had the opportunity to play it.
However, since I haven’t played it, let’s blurb (why did it take me so long to write the next one of these when it’s nothing but blurbs?)
“In Bruges (a.k.a. Brugge or Brügge depending on the country in which you live), players assume the role of merchants who must maintain their relationships with those in power in the city while competing against one another for influence, power, and status. Dramatic events cast their shadows over the city, with players needing to worry about threats to their prosperity from more than just their opponents…
The game includes 165 character cards, with each card having one of five colors. On a turn, a player chooses one of his cards and performs an action, with six different actions being available: Take workers, take money, mitigate a threat, build a canal, build a house, or hire the character depicted on the card. In principle, every card can be used for every action – but the color of the card determines in which areas the actions can be used or the strength of the chosen action, e.g., blue cards provide blue workers and red cards help mitigate red threats. All of the action is geared toward the gathering of prestige, with the most prestigious merchant winning in the end.”
I’ve heard a lot of good things about this one, so I definitely would like to try it.
I don’t think any of my friends have this game, though, so I guess this will have to wait for a convention at some point.
This has fallen to #265, probably because somebody saw my drawing ability.
Uncredited does some great work!
Remember that game (they actually did make a board game out of it, but it was a game even before that) where you passed along a piece of gossip to the person next to you, then they passed it to the person next to them, and so on until it came back to you totally different from what you originally said?
Telestrations is the Pictionary version of that.
“Each player begins by sketching a TELESTRATIONS word dictated by the roll of a die. The old fashioned sand timer may limit the amount of time they get to execute their sketch, but it certainly doesn’t limit creativity! Time’s up! All players, all at the same time, pass their sketch to the next player, who must guess what’s been drawn. Players then simultaneously pass their guess — which hopefully matches the original word (or does it??) — to the next player who must try to draw the word they see — and so on.”
I’m having trouble picturing some of it, though obviously if I read the rules or played the game (which I haven’t), it would make a lot more sense to me.
But it does sound like an intriguing party game unless you have an insane fear of having your “drawings” (the air quotes are appropriate for mine, at least) seen by other people.
This is a really popular game that I’ve never even seen, much less played.
It does sound like a lot of fun, though! (though maybe I should just watch?)
Not much more to say about it, but I’d definitely (almost) be up for giving it a try one day.
Designer: Kevin Wilson
Artist: Henning Ludvigsen
This is now #274, probably because the Greeks invaded my area and I had to fight them off. You can’t build when you’re fighting!
This is a game inspired by Sid Meier’s classic Civilization video game series, as opposed to the 2002 board game of the same name which…was the boardgame version of the video game (or at least the editions of the video game that were out at the time).
Is anybody else confused?
Anyway, I haven’t had a chance to play this one (and probably never will), but let’s blurb it so maybe it might sound like I know what I’m talking about…
I mean…let me describe in all of my own words what the game is about because I am a professional:
“In Civilization: The Board Game, 2-4 players take on the roles of famous leaders in charge of historical civilizations, each with their own abilities. Players will be able to explore a module game board, build cities and buildings, fight battles, research powerful technology, and attract great people by advancing their culture. No matter what your play style is, there is a civilization for you!
Fans of Sid Meier’s classic video game franchise will find familiar footing in Civilization: The Board Game. Staying true to the foundations of its video game predecessor while creating a new and unique way to play, Civilization: The Board Game captures the spirit and grandeur of carving out a magnificent empire from modest beginnings.
Players start off with a single city, one army figure, and one scout, and from these meager origins you must forge through the ages and become the greatest civilization in the world.”
I actually almost played this once at a Sunday game day before it got packed up and we played something else (or maybe I was the odd player out and I ended up playing something else, something like that).
I know nothing about how this game plays other than the board is a series of face-down tiles that you will be exploring (hey, just like the video game!) as you try to build your civilization to be the best there is.
I wouldn’t mind playing this one. I almost did! But I doubt I will see it in the wild because the guy who brought it doesn’t come to our game days any more.
Besides, if people nowadays want the Civilization fix, they play Civilization: a New Dawn.
Maybe that one I’ll play some day!
Designer: Vlaada Chvátil
Artist: David Cochard
This has fallen to #268, probably because that imp didn’t do what I told him to do. You have to get the marketing flyers out in the town square! What is wrong with you?
Finally a game I’ve played!
I played a few games on Boiteajeux.net and really couldn’t make heads nor tails of it (I wonder where that expression came from?).
I think I definitely need to play this on the table sometime as I think I would be able to get it at that point.
I wouldn’t be any good at it, but I would get it.
In Dungeon Lords, you are an evil mastermind trying to create the best dungeon out there.
But those annoying heroes keep getting in the way!
“Have you ever ventured with party of heroes to conquer dungeons, gain pride, experiences and of course rich treasure? And has it ever occurred to you how hard it actually is to build and manage such underground complex filled with corridors and creatures? No? Well now you can try. Put yourself in role of the master of underground, summon your servants, dig complex of tunnels and rooms, set traps, hire creatures and try to stop filthy heroes from conquering and plundering your precious creation. We can guarantee you will look on dark corners, lairs and their inhabitant from completely different perspective!
Each turn, players use a hand of cards to choose where to place their worker. Actions vary from mining gold, hiring monsters, buying traps etc. Each action has three spots available – with each spot having different effects (e.g. mining gold lets you mine more gold in each spot).
When using the cards, two cards will become locked and will not be able to be used next turn.
There are 4 turns to place actions for each game “year” and two game years in a whole game.
Each turn is identified as a “season”. Each season, players will get to see the heroes and events to come in the following season. Thus allowing them to prepare.
At the end of each season (after the first), heroes will be allocated to each player according to their level of evil. Heroes range from mighty heroes to sneaky thieves. Each hero has their own power for which the player needs to prepare for.
Finally, at the end of each year, the heroes will travel down into the dungeon to fight.
Scoring in the game is based upon what you have built, the monsters you have hired and the heroes you have captured.”
This game fascinated me when I heard about it, and the plays of it online were fun. But I just couldn’t wrap my head around the mechanics and how everything worked together. My mind boggled and every time my turn came up, I ended up doing something that just seemed kind of good because I had no idea if it was good or not.
Needless to say I lost badly in all of my plays.
Will some kind soul teach this to me at a convention?
I would appreciate it!
Designers: Nick Little, Kevin Riley
Artist: Daniel Solis
This has jumped all the way to #229! I have no idea why that is, except maybe it’s because I’m not actually in charge of defending the city. (I don’t even know what that means).
Aeon’s End is a deck-builder that is also a cooperative game where you are trying to defeat the evil thing that is attacking the village.
I have played the Steam version of it a couple of times but for some reason just never really got into it to keep playing.
Yet it’s very popular!
Here we have the Legacy version.
Is it better or worse?
I don’t know!
The BGG blurb is not helpful at all (just a bit of story and nothing about game play), so I can’t even blurb it!
Are you safeguarding the same town you are in the base game (or its many expansions)?
I don’t know! Why do you keep asking me things I don’t know?
I’m getting a complex.
Anyway, this could very well be a good game, and an excellent legacy game, but I have no idea.
I’m clueless (Editor – “You really shouldn’t give your readers ammunition like that.)
Designers: Oleksandr Nevskiy, Oleg Sidorenko
Artists: Igor Burlakov, Xavier Collette, Oleksandr Nevskiy, Oleg Sidorenko
This has fallen to #273, which must be because I suck at artistic interpretation. I go to an art gallery and all of the works look like paint randomly splotched on the canvas.
Finally! A game I’ve played!
Only once, but still…
And of course I didn’t take any pictures of it!
It was back in 2016, though.
Mysterium is a game where somebody was murdered and that person’s ghost is trying to give you clues to determine who did it.
One player is the ghost, giving out clues but they can’t speak. Instead, they have to put cards out with interesting pictures to indicate who might have done it.
The artwork in this game is amazing, almost Dixit like in its whimsy (though it also can be a bit eerie).
Let’s blurb this since my last play was over 5 years ago.
“In Mysterium, a reworking of the game system present in Tajemnicze Domostwo, one player takes the role of ghost while everyone else represents a medium. To solve the crime, the ghost must first recall (with the aid of the mediums) all of the suspects present on the night of the murder. A number of suspect, location and murder weapon cards are placed on the table, and the ghost randomly assigns one of each of these in secret to a medium.
Each hour (i.e., game turn), the ghost hands one or more vision cards face up to each medium, refilling their hand to seven each time they share vision cards. These vision cards present dreamlike images to the mediums, with each medium first needing to deduce which suspect corresponds to the vision cards received. Once the ghost has handed cards to the final medium, they start a two-minute sandtimer. Once a medium has placed their token on a suspect, they may also place clairvoyancy tokens on the guesses made by other mediums to show whether they agree or disagree with those guesses.
After time runs out, the ghost reveals to each medium whether the guesses were correct or not. Mediums who guessed correctly move on to guess the location of the crime (and then the murder weapon), while those who didn’t keep their vision cards and receive new ones next hour corresponding to the same suspect. Once a medium has correctly guessed the suspect, location and weapon, they move their token to the epilogue board and receive one clairvoyancy point for each hour remaining on the clock. They can still use their remaining clairvoyancy tokens to score additional points.
If one or more mediums fail to identify their proper suspect, location and weapon before the end of the seventh hour, then the ghost has failed and dissipates, leaving the mystery unsolved. If, however, they have all succeeded, then the ghost has recovered enough of its memory to identify the culprit.”
Of course, my ability to interpret weird artwork and decide what clues they could be representing is pretty dismal, so I really sucked at this game.
I thought for sure I’ve played this more than once, but I think it came out a couple of times and then for some reason we decided not to play it.
Anyway, this is one that I would definitely be willing to play again, though I’m sure I would still suck at it.
Interpreting artwork is not really in my wheelhouse.
That doesn’t mean it’s a bad game, though! It’s actually pretty cool.
Designer: Philippe Keyaerts
Artists: Miguel Coimbra, Cyrille Daujean
This has fallen to #266, obviously because I went into Decline too early.
Small World is a game of empire building, kind of.
Each player starts out choosing a race and an ability and then places their pieces out on the board that represents a land with a couple of lakes and some mountains.
Both of my plays of this game are from 2013, so I have no pictures and it’s been a long time since I’ve done it.
Even my plays of the app (which is pretty cool except it has the annoying Asmodee Digital thing of not letting players other than the one who ended the game see the final position) were from a long time ago.
The cool thing about the game is that you can choose a race (the available races are put out in order so if you want to skip one or two of them, they get victory points put on them to encourage others to choose them) and the combination ability that you can use when you put them out on the board.
You will be expanding your empire on the board, getting victory points for the areas that you control, until you reach the point where you can’t do much more. Then you spend a turn putting your race into Decline, which means they all flip over, still occupying the areas where they are, and giving you the opportunity next turn to choose another race and ability.
You still score points for areas your Declined races control until they are all wiped out, but you can’t do anything with them.
Let’s blurb this since it’s been over 8 years since I’ve played it.
“Picking the right combination from the 14 different fantasy races and 20 unique special powers, players rush to expand their empires – often at the expense of weaker neighbors. Yet they must also know when to push their own over-extended civilization into decline and ride a new one to victory!
On each turn, you either use the multiple tiles of your chosen race (type of creatures) to occupy adjacent (normally) territories – possibly defeating weaker enemy races along the way, or you give up on your race letting it go “into decline”. A race in decline is designated by flipping the tiles over to their black-and-white side.
At the end of your turn, you score one point (coin) for each territory your races occupy. You may have one active race and one race in decline on the board at the same time. Your occupation total can vary depending on the special abilities of your race and the territories they occupy. After the final round, the player with the most coins wins.”
It’s an interesting game but my couple of plays of it made it seem very fiddly out on the table. Maybe I’m wrong about that, and I’d love to play it again.
The app is actually pretty cool but I haven’t dived into it for quite a while.
Which is too bad because I think all of the expansions are on it!
Maybe I should try it again.
Designer: Dan Cassar
Artists: Philippe Guérin, Chris Quilliams, Beth Sobel
This has fallen to #269, probably because people read my review. Even though it was positive! I have that effect on people.
Finally a game that I’ve not only played, but I’ve played it multiple times!
Arboretum was originally published by Z-Man Games, and I think I played their version once or twice.
However, I own the Renegade Game Studios edition and I really love the artwork for that one.
I love it so much that I actually reviewed the game!
It’s such a beautiful game with luscious cards and everything, so it’s weird that it’s such a cutthroat game that can end marriages and stuff like that.
In the game, you are trying to build the best arboretum with high-value cards of different kinds of trees.
The thing is, at the end of the game, only those who are holding the highest total value of cards of a particular tree will be able to score that tree in their arboretum.
It doesn’t matter if you have a long run of cards in your display. If somebody else has the 7 while you only have the 6, that great run won’t score diddly.
The scoring in the game can be a little opaque. I know one of my friends played the game with us and the scoring just turned her off. She had no idea what she was doing and had no interest in learning it. She scored 0 points (or maybe a couple) and did not have a fun time with it.
People seem to have a hard time with the “only the player with the most points of that tree get to score it,” but in my experience (with that one exception), after the first play it makes sense to them.
I love the game and think it’s a great filler (or lunch time game) because it has thinky decisions and yet doesn’t take that long to play.
Designer: Chris Taylor
Artist: Ian O’Toole
This has fallen to #262. Maybe it’s too waterlogged? (get it? Under the sea…oh, never mind)
Nemo’s War is a game that I’ve never even heard of, or if I have, it’s just been in a kind of background sense.
Which is sad because it sounds really intriguing!
The game takes place in the universe of the Jules Verne novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and the player (yes, this is a solitaire game) is Captain Nemo and the crew of his illustrious vessel.
Let’s blurb this because I have no idea what this game is like.
“Set in year 1870, you set sail in this amazing electric-powered submarine, assuming the role and motive of Captain Nemo as you travel across the seas on missions of science, exploration, anti-Imperialism, and War!”
That doesn’t really say a lot!
But apparently it is a solid solitaire experience and it sounds like it could be really cool.
I would say “maybe at a convention,” but since it’s a solitaire game (though with rules that apparently allow 2-4 players to play), I guess that’s not really possible. Maybe it will be in the library and I can try it out myself?
Being at a convention, that just sounds kind of pathetic.
But I would be interested in it!
And the Ian O’Toole artwork looks gorgeous.
So there you have it. Another (finally) edition in the Top 300 games of all time on BGG.
Lots of movement since this list was downloaded in February.
But that’s what happens when you have a blog lull and wait 9 months to post something.
What do you think of these games? Have you played them? If so, what do you think of them!
Let me know in the comments.