Boardgame Geek Top 300 – Play or Played – #210-201

Can it really be?

Yes, this is the last post in the BGG Top 300 series, first begun back in February.

It’s been a long, hard year with COVID being alternately defeated and then making a rebound and forcing people to still try and keep separated from other people.

With the vaccines, it’s good that we can finally return to a bit of normalcy, with our game group finally able to start meeting again back in August.

We’re not out of the woods yet, but some of us who actually are willing to do the right thing can get back to a little bit of normal.

It’s been quite the journey, though, and I thank you for sharing it with me (you know, the one or two of you who did actually read all of these)

I value all of you!

Yes, the love is truly there.

As I’ve said before, this will be the last series like this I do. I mainly did it to be able to explore boardgames while I wasn’t able to play that many.

Now that I am playing games again, I hope to have other content instead of just lists.

Like more reviews!

Anyway, the list I’m taking these from was downloaded on February 8, so needless to say, there has been some movement.

I’ll make note of that in the post.

And away we go!

#210 – Seasons (Libellud) – 2012

Designer: Régis Bonnessée

Artists: Régis Bonnessée, Xavier Gueniffey Durin, Stéphane Gantiez

This is now #224. It obviously drafted the wrong cards!

Seasons is a game that I played on Boardgame Arena a few times, got it in a math trade, played it once with my wife, and promptly traded it again.

I’m not sure why that is, because I greatly enjoyed my BGA plays of it.

For some reason, when I got it on the table, I just decided I didn’t want to play it again.

I wouldn’t mind trying it on the table again, though, as there must have been something that grabbed me.

Let’s blurb it since it has been many years since I’ve played it.

Seasons is a tactical game of cards and dice which takes place in two phases:

The first phase “Prelude” consists of a card draft: the goal during this phase will be to establish your own 9-card deck for the main part of the game and with it the strategy.

Once the Prelude is complete, each player must separate their 9 cards into 3 packs of 3 cards. They will begin the second phase of the game with their first pack of three cards, then gradually as the game progresses, they will receive the other two packets of three cards.

Next comes the Tournament: at the beginning of each round a player will roll the seasons dice (dice = number of players +1).

After the dice are rolled, each player takes one die to harvest energy, convert energy into crystals, and other things like that.

The dice are different depending on the season that you’re in, which is actually quite the cool concept.

You can also play cards at some point.

The die that isn’t chosen advances the season marker by the number of steps on it.

It’s really an intriguing concept and I should probably play it again.

I probably also shouldn’t have traded it away without playing it at one of our game days.

Oops.

Maybe I will get to play it again at some point!

I hope so.

#209 – Samurai (Fantasy Flight Games) – 1998

Designer: Reiner Knizia

Artist: Franz Vohwinkel

This is now #223. Obviously some other Samurai was better than this one.

Now this is a game that not only haven’t I played, but I’ve never actually seen it in the wild at all.

You’d think I would have!

What do you mean, nobody’s playing it at a convention?

Is this a Knezia classic?

Or is it a forgotten stepchild because he’s designed, like 10,000 games?

Let’s blurb this since I have no idea what it is.

Samurai is set in medieval Japan. Players compete to gain the favor of three factions: samurai, peasants, and priests, which are represented by helmet, rice paddy, and Buddha figures scattered about the board, which features the islands of Japan. The competition is waged through the use of hexagonal tiles, each of which help curry favor of one of the three factions — or all three at once! Players can make lightning-quick strikes with horseback ronin and ships or approach their conquests more methodically. As each figure (helmets, rice paddies, and Buddhas) is surrounded, it is awarded to the player who has gained the most favor with the corresponding group.

Gameplay continues until all the symbols of one type have been removed from the board or four figures have been removed from play due to a tie for influence.

At the end of the game, players compare captured symbols of each type, competing for majorities in each of the three types. Ties are not uncommon and are broken based on the number of other, “non-majority” symbols each player has collected.

A tile-laying game!

I like tile-laying games.

Though I suck at them. (Editor – Is there a type of game you don’t suck at?)

It sounds kind of intriguing, but I’m thinking that the chances of me playing this are approaching nil (look at me, using that calculus I sucked at in college!)

Now watch, somebody will surprise me at my next convention, saying “hey, I read your post! Want to play some Samurai?”

That would…actually, make my day.

#208 – Dungeon Petz (Czech Games Edition) – 2011

Designer: Vlaada Chvátil

Artist: David Cochard

This is now #227, probably because they forgot to feed the dragon!

Dungeon Petz is another Czech Games Edition game that I’ve played on Boitejeux.net but haven’t played on the table, much like Dungeon Lords.

And it’s another one that I’ve bounced hard off of because of that.

I really need to actually see these games out on the table before making any decisions about them.

Because this game made no sense to me.

Of course, that’s not saying it’s a bad game! I can’t say that until I’ve had the pieces in my hot little hands.

Let’s blurb this one again because, you know, I like blurbing so much.

“Become the leader of an imp family that has just started a new business – breeding and selling petz. Sound simple and safe? Well, we forgot to mention that those petz are for Dungeon Lords. This means magical, playful, sometimes angry monsters that constantly desire attention and at the very moment you want them to demonstrate their qualities to buyers they are sick or they poop. Sometimes you are even glad that you got rid of them – but the profit is unbelievable.

Dungeon Petz is a standalone game set in the Dungeon Lords universe. The game consists of several rounds in which players use unusual worker placement mechanisms (players simultaneously prepare different sized groups of imps in order to play sooner than others) to prepare themselves for the uneasy task of raising creature cubs and pleasing their different needs (represented by cards) in order to sell them as grown and scary creatures to Dungeon Lords. In the meantime, they also attend various contests in which they show off their pets, scoring additional points.

It sounds so intriguing!!!

But without actually seeing it in front of me, I’m just terribly confused by the whole thing.

I need some kind soul to teach it, which considering it’s old (and maybe out of print), will probably have to happen at a convention (I could spend an entire convention playing these games if somebody would actually read these articles and bring the games!)

#207 – Imperial (Rio Grande Games) – 2006

Designer: Mac Gerdts

Artist: Matthias Catrein

This is now #225, most likely because somebody invested badly.

I talked about Imperial 2030 a couple of weeks ago, so I’m wondering how different this is?

Obviously this takes place in the past instead of the future, but other than that?

Mac Gerdts is getting some traffic on this blog, especially with the digital edition of Concordia coming out tomorrow.

Anyway, let’s blurb this because I have no idea what I’m talking about (Editor – So maybe this entire blog should be blurbed?)

“Europe in the age of imperialism. International investors try to achieve the greatest influence in Europe. With their bonds, they control the politics of the six imperial nations: Austria-Hungary, Italy, France, Great Britain, the German Empire, and Russia. The nations erect factories, build fleets, and deploy armies. The investors watch as their nations expand, wage wars, levy taxes, and collect the proceeds. Since the European nations are under the shifting influence of different investors, new strategic alliances and conflicts arise between them again and again!

Each player represents an international investor. Only he who succeeds in increasing his capital and gaining influence in the most powerful European nations will win the imperial competition.

Imperial is a varied strategy game without the luck of dice or cards. Two to six players, from about twelve years and up, take on the role of imperial investors. The duration of the game is about two to three hours.”

Doesn’t really seem up my alley, but I’d be willing to try it once.

Because, you know I’m a masochist.

(Insert inappropriate gif here)

You’ll be glad I didn’t actually do that.

What was I saying?

Oh yeah…next!!!

#206 – Bora Bora (Ravensburger) – 2013

Designer: Stefan Feld

Artist: Alexander Jung

This is now #221. Somebody probably got lost on that huge island!

I’m a Feld fan but I haven’t played a whole bunch of his games. I have my favourites, of course, but there are so many that I still haven’t played.

Bora Bora is one of those games.

Like many of Feld’s games, dice are involved but there are ways to mitigate things.

I have never even seen this game in the wild (though I think the option to play it may have come to one of our game days), so let’s blurb it instead (I totally promise to not use the word “blurb” for a while after these posts are done).

In Bora Bora, players use dice to perform a variety of actions using careful insight and tactical planning. The heart of the game is its action resolution system in which 5-7 actions are available each round, the exact number depending on the number of players. Each player rolls three dice at the start of the round, then they take turns placing one die at a time on one action. Place a high number on an action, and you’ll generally get a better version of that action: more places to build, more choices of people to take, better positioning on the temple track, and so on. Place a low number and you’ll get a worse action – but you’ll possibly block other players from taking the action at all as in order to take an action you must place a die on it with a lower number than any die already on the action.

Three task tiles on a player’s individual game board provide some direction as to what he might want to do, while god tiles allow for special actions and rule-breaking, as gods are wont to do. The player who best watches how the game develops and uses the most effective strategy will prevail.”

It sounds interesting, though it does sound like variations on other Feld games.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Who knows?

How about you tell me in the comments?

I know this game has fans.

#205 – Hanamikoji (Emperor S4) – 2013

Designer: Kota Nakayama

Artists: Maisherly, Mashiro Misaki

This is now #213, not as steep of a drop as others on this list.

That’s probably because this game is so good!

This is an excellent 2-player game! So excellent, in fact, that I did a review of it.

Hard fought battle for influence!

I love the give and take, the fact that you only have 4 actions in a round and you can only do each one once.

I love the artwork of all the geishas. The push and pull decisions are quite meaty in a quick game.

This is especially true because two of your four action options actually give something to your opponent. So even if you do want to do the action, you then have to decide what you want to give them along with your action.

It’s just such a juicy game!

You are vying for “control” of at least 4 of the 7 geishas (“control” just means that you’ve enticed them to come to your place of business instead of your opponent’s) so the game could be over in the first round or continue even further.

This is an amazing game. Not quite in my Top 25 I don’t think, but it’s a fun game for lunch times or as a 2-player filler between other games.

There’s an expansion to this which I haven’t even seen, much less played. I’d definitely be interested in it, though.

#204 – Power Grid Deluxe: Europe/North America (Rio Grande Games) – 2014

Designer: Friedemann Friese

Artist: Harald Lieske

This is now #220. I obviously miscalculated how much money I had to power cities.

Has it really been 7 years since the deluxe version of Power Grid came out?

I guess it has.

I’m mostly familiar with a couple of variant maps of Power Grid, though I did play the Deluxe Edition (which is a new version of the Europe and North America maps) once.

This is one of the few auction games that I don’t mind, though the game itself is so thinky and mathematical that it’s not my favourite.

I have willingly played it a few times though (6 times now) that it’s certainly not something I will avoid.

That being said, I haven’t played it since 2017, so maybe I am now? Or maybe it just hasn’t come out in my current game group (one of the downsides of only having one group).

I think this is a picture of the Deluxe Edition (it matches when my BG Stats said I played it), but I’m not 100% sure.

There isn’t a lot of difference between this edition and regular Power Grid, but one of the changes is a group of new power plants to buy.

The power plant auction is the really interesting part of this, because you have to decide how much money you have, how many cities you can power with the plants you have, and whether or not you need to buy a new plant.

The decisions in all of this make it really interesting.

It kind of burns my brain.

But if it’s offered and there’s nothing I’d rather play, I wouldn’t avoid this one!

#203 – Lewis & Clark: the Expedition (Ludonaute) – 2013

Designer: Cédrick Chaboussit

Artist: Vincent Dutrait

This is now #215. It obviously hit some rapids on the Missouri River. Or maybe it got stuck in the mountains.

There is some issue with this game and the portrayal of Native Americans, but overall this game is actually kind of fun.

It’s a race to get to the West Coast, and it also kind of burns my brain.

I’ve played this a few times (hence the pictures) and I’ve played it a few more times now that it’s on Boardgame Arena.

The game is interesting because you have to play cards in order to move your expedition along the Missouri River and then over the mountains, trying to find the Pacific Ocean.

I do enjoy the card play and how you have to power the cards with other cards (or other Native Americans who have joined your crew).

You do definitely have to build some kind of movement engine, especially because you have to change from water to mountain movement (and then back again) but it’s an interesting puzzle.

I’ve won a couple games on BGA but this is still a game that taxes my brain trying to play it optimally.

But that’s not a bad thing!

I’m getting old (51, but still…) so taxing my cognitive functions is not a bad thing!

#202 – 1960: The Making of a President (GMT Games) – 2007

Designers: Christian Leonhard, Jason Matthews

Artists: Josh Cappel, Donal Hegarty, Rodger B. MacGowan

This is now #216. Obviously there’s been some fraud in the rankings!!

This game made my #1 on my Top 10 games played in 2019 and it is a game that I would love to play more!

Will it make #1 on my Top 25 games of all time at the end of the year?

It’s very possible.

However, I have only played it twice and haven’t played it since 2019 because it’s a 2-player game that can take a while to play.

Game days are more for multiplayer games, unless we have a small number of people. I’ve brought it out a couple of times but then we have other games that fit the player count better.

But I love this game to death.

Not quite the end of the game, as I ultimately ended up losing California

It’s based on Twilight Struggle but I actually like it better because of the way it uses Momentum markers rather than automatically playing your opponent’s events if you play the card.

This is the close election from 1960 where John F. Kennedy faced off against Richard Nixon for the presidency.

Players are trying to get votes in the various states to win the Electoral College by “controlling” various states with enough Electoral Votes to total the required needed to win.

You can give up some states if you need to, but you do need to make sure you have enough control to do that.

Nixon’s in Maryland, surrounded by a lot of Democrats!

The card play is what is really interesting about this game.

Like Twilight Struggle, you may have a hand of cards where the events are your opponent’s. However, unlike that game, the event doesn’t automatically happen.

Instead, the other player needs to spend a Momentum token to activate the event.

If they don’t have one, or maybe they want to save it for a future event you need to play, then the event doesn’t happen.

Each card represents some aspect of the real election.

I love that! It adds so much more strategy than just “oh shit, I have a bunch of cards that are good for my opponent. I guess I have to play them.”

In this game, you can maybe bluff. Ok, you have a bunch of your opponent’s events, but they only have one Momentum token. Do you entice them to use it on an early, less-damaging event? Or in playing that event early and making them wait, are you sneaking through something good for you?

It’s just so juicy.

I love this game to death and if it weren’t a 2-3 hour game (my two games have been around 2), I would play this a lot more often.

I really need a table at work where I can leave a game set up.

Anyway, this is an awesome game and you should try it out!

#201 – Hero Realms (Wise Wizard Games) – 2016

Designers: Robert Dougherty, Darwin Kastle

Artists: Randy Delven, Vito Gesualdi, Antonis Papantoniou

This has fallen to #211, probably because nobody could figure out which colour did what after having played Star Realms.

First, I have to say that I don’t know why they changed from White Wizard Games to Wise Wizard Games. I know that there has been racial unrest over the last few years, but that doesn’t mean that “white” is a bad word. Especially when it’s not racial in nature!

But anyway…

I love the Star Realms app by the same company. I haven’t played it on the table, but I’ve played the app probably a couple of hundred times.

I’ve actually played Hero Realms on the table once.

Some ugly looking things in there…

And it’s a fun game!

But it did take some paying attention because the colours and what they do are tweaked from Star Realms. What a colour does in Star Realms, a different colour does that in Hero Realms!.

But it is a great game, a dueling deckbuilding game where you are acquiring cards to make your deck better (and maybe getting rid of some of your starting crap) and trying to reduce your opponent to zero health (or influence, or whatever it is, but it’s essentially health).

I have always liked deckbuilders, and the ones where you get “faction” bonuses for playing cards of the same colour just add to the fun.

I do like the addition of a couple of things, though.

The ability to “Stun” a Champion is nice, making it so you don’t have to kill the Champion before attacking the player. That was implemented in Crave (review coming!) as well, and it’s a nice addition.

This is another perfect lunch-time game, or filler before/after a regular game day.

Whether Star Realms is better, I can’t say because I’ve only played the app.

But I wouldn’t turn down either of them.

And there we have it.

I have finally completed the Top 300 games on Boardgame Geek!

Only 9 months later.

It’s really nice that I end with a post where I’m familiar with most of the games! I know that hasn’t been the case with a lot of these.

But posts like these got me through the pandemic (I know it’s still going on, but since I can go to game days, as far as this blog is concerned, it’s not as much of an issue as it could be). It gave me something to write about, even if it didn’t actually inspire to write through a lot of tough shit going on during the Summer months.

As I mentioned earlier, even though it was difficult to write sometimes, I did enjoy doing this series because it made me write about games that I otherwise wouldn’t be, either because I’ve never heard of them or just because I haven’t played them.

And it’s given me some goals for games to play if I ever manage to see them out in the wild.

What do you think about these? What do you think about this series in general?

Any that you love? Hate, are completely indifferent to?

Any you prefer the app version of?

Let me know in the comments.

And thank you for sticking with me!

Posts in this Series
#300-291
#290-281
#280-271
#261-270
#260-251

#250-241
#240-231
#230-221
#220-211
#210-201

21 Comments on “Boardgame Geek Top 300 – Play or Played – #210-201

  1. Pingback: Boardgame Geek Top 300 – Play or Played – #220-211 – Dude! Take Your Turn!

  2. Pingback: Boardgame Geek Top 300 – Play or Played – #230-221 – Dude! Take Your Turn!

  3. Pingback: Boardgame Geek Top 300 – Play or Played – #240 – 231 – Dude! Take Your Turn!

  4. Pingback: Boardgame Geek Top 300 – Play or Played – #250 – 241 – Dude! Take Your Turn!

  5. Pingback: Boardgame Geek Top 300 – Play or Played – #260-251 – Dude! Take Your Turn!

  6. Pingback: Boardgame Geek Top 300 – Play or Played – #270-261 – Dude! Take Your Turn!

  7. Pingback: Boardgame Geek Top 300 – Play or Played – #280 – 271 – Dude! Take Your Turn!

  8. Pingback: Boardgame Geek Top 300 – Play or Played – #290-281 – Dude! Take Your Turn!

  9. Pingback: Boardgame Geek Top 300 – Play or Played – #300-291 – Dude! Take Your Turn!

  10. I like Hero Realms more, mostly because of the optional character classes you can play, which change your starting hand and give you unique powers to use, plus a pretty fun co-op campaign. And I like the art more than Star Realms.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think Star Realms has added the optional character classes now. I don’t know about a campaign or co-op though.

      I’d be good with either one, to be honest. And of course when the app comes out fully, I’ll probably get it even though I already play the hell out of Star Realms. 🙂

      Like

  11. I’m pretty sad to see the end of this series; I’ve really enjoyed ‘playing’ along with you. Power Grid has seen a fair bit of play in our group and I mainly find it interesting at the start when it becomes clear whether people will play it ‘straight’ (by which I mean that they mostly focus on their own objectives) or ‘dirty’ (i.e. doing stuff like buying up fuel that you don’t particularly need purely to mess with other players).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I was kind of feeling like I was writing those posts for myself, so I’m glad that some people were enjoying them too.

      I don’t think 400 is a good idea, though. I just checked and I’ve only played 33 of the 100 games. It’s going to be a lot of blurbing 🙂

      Maybe one day though 🙂

      Like

  12. This time 2/10 but two very, very good titles: Imperial (this is one of the best games which shows what happens in a war – you invest into countries, but whenever goes something wrong, you change allegiances; this is a game about true masters of the world – painful as it is, this is very true) and Power Grid (so much math and calculating that I was put off after some plays)

    Liked by 1 person

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