With the close of the year 2021, I have actually played 422 games since I really started playing boardgames in 2012.
Since my “Top 25 Games Played of All Time” series in 2019 was predicated on my having played almost 300 games, I thought that 2022 would be a good time to update that list.
I’ve played over 100 new to me games since January 2019!
Thus, here is the first entry in the 2022 version of the Top 25 Games Played of All Time (played by me, of course, not just anybody).
How did I compile this list?
Using the wonderful Ranking Engine from Pubmeeple that takes all of our games on Boardgame Geek and let’s you compare them Tinder style (except instead of swiping left/right when a game comes up, it instead asks you to choose one game over the other when a pair of them come up).
You can compare games you’ve ranked, games in your collection, games you’ve played, whatever!
It’s invaluable (and incredibly long when you have a bunch of games, as I had to make around 2200 choices overall).
Some of the results even surprised me.
Just a note before you get outraged, though.
Even having played 422 games, there are a ton of games I haven’t played. Just look at the Top 400 Games on BGG series where there were so many I hadn’t even touched before!
Hell, I’ve barely played half of the Top 100.
So obviously those won’t appear on this list at all.
You Gloomhaven fans are just going to have to calm yourselves.
No you’re not. Go away.
The other thing to be aware of is that some of these games, I’ve only played once. So their rating could change a lot by the next time I do this.
These are just the games that appeal to me.
It’s a calm, gentle list.
Just in case you’re curious, my #422 game is Lucky Loop.
Wow, what a terrible game. I’m not very calm about that one.
With that being said, I hope you enjoy this and let me know where you would rank some of these games in your own personal rankings.
Designers: Shem Phillips, SJ MacDonald
Artist: Mihajlo Dimitrievski
2019 Rank: New (Hadn’t Played)
Because I love the intricacies of the actions that you can take and how they relate to the three scoring attributes that you are trying to increase. All the actions require a certain level in one attribute and it will give you some benefit as well as increasing a second attribute.
You can’t concentrate too much on one or two because then you won’t have enough of the third to take the actions required to help boost the other two.
It’s also neat how all of the action spaces for the workers you choose (except for a few in the last half of the game) are on your own board so you’re not competing for them.
But you are competing for other spaces on the main board where you are putting your pieces, earning bonuses based on where you end up placing them.
Your small deck of Paladins all have different bonuses, will give you different worker types, and give you different temporary attribute boosts to help do actions.
The mechanism where you draw three Paladins at the start of your turn, put one back on top of your deck, one on the bottom, and play the third one, is just great. It really makes you have to consider what actions you are going to prioritize this round (since you want to take advantage of the strengths of that Paladin).
It’s all ingenious!
Some knocks against the game are that it is a huge table hog (and I haven’t even tried it with the City of Crowns expansion yet) and it can take a long time to play.
That’s why I don’t get it to the table much.
Still, it’s in my Top 25 (barely) so you know it’s a great game!
Designer: Brian Train
Artists: Rodger B. MacGowan, Chechu Nieto
2019 Rank: New (Hadn’t Played)
Colonial Twilight is one of only two COIN games that I have played, and it really surprised me that it ended up this high.
I did enjoy it, but I didn’t realize it would be Top 25.
I’ve also played Cuba Libre and that’s far down on the list and I’m not sure how that happened either. I think because my one play of it was so abbreviated that I didn’t get to really dig deep into it.
That will hopefully change one day.
In the meantime, Colonial Twilight!
Colonial Twilight is a game about the French-Algerian war from 1954-62 and it’s the only (that I know of, anyway) 2-player COIN game, but it is just so interesting because of all that!
One player is the French and the Algerian government forces (both troops and police) while the other player is the insurgents fighting for Algerian independence.
My favourite thing about the COIN series of games is the assortment of event cards and how they relate with the actions you can take on your turn.
Of course, to make the 2-person game work, Train had to set up the intricate Initiative system where you can still inhibit what your opponent can do.
There’s just so much to like about this game. The area control, the back and forth with your opponent.
It’s only whetted my appetite for other COIN games, but unfortunately most of them are fairly long so they just haven’t gotten to the table.
It will rock even more when we play it correctly (we did make a lot of rules errors in our play).
Sadly, this hasn’t gotten to the table again since our one play, so hopefully we can rectify that soon.
And it’s #24 so you know that’s something!
Designers: Corey Konieczka, Nikki Valens
2019 Rank: #20
The first non-new entry in the Top 25 is that classic globe-spanning game of horror from the great beyond.
Eldritch Horror is just such a great game (though a nightmare if you hate shuffling cards).
Yes, it is a table hog.
Yes, it can take a while to play (basically our game days are devoted just to this game if we’re playing it).
And yes, you could cause the entire world to be eaten up by some horrible monster who seems to have an appetite for our reality.
But hey, sometimes shit happens.
Anyway, Eldritch Horror is a cooperative game where players take on an investigator role, choosing one of the many tons of them (ok, that may just be my perception).
You will all be starting somewhere in the world, and trying to make your way around it, collecting items and clues, encountering monsters and cult members (not my cult, but an actual monster cult).
You are ultimately trying to defeat the big monster that you chose at the beginning of the game.
After each player takes their actions each round, they have to draw an encounter card based on where they are. These encounters can end well and help you improve yourself, or end badly and horribly injure you.
If you make your way through the three mysteries (chosen at random at the start of the game) before the Ancient One emerges and destroys everything, you win!
Of course, this is usually incredibly difficult, but the fun in this game is playing it with people who really get into it with you.
When you do your encounter card, you have to read the encounter dramatically.
Some even have the player next to you read your encounter, and tell you what you need to do without you knowing what the result will be! (Hi, Clio).
I actually think that’s quite cool, but I’m not sure my group would go for it.
Anyway, you get wrapped up in the story. All the players groan when something bad happens to one of them. There’s also a lot of laughter (sometimes among the tears).
It’s just such a great game. And while it’s long, you don’t really notice the time go by because you’re immersed in the story.
Easily deserves a spot in my Top 25.
Designers: Mark Aasted, Jeremy White
Artists: Antonis Karidis, Mark Simonitch, Jeremy White
Players: 1-2 (though primarily solo)
2019 Rank: New (Hadn’t played)
If you’ve been following this blog at all, you’ll know how much I love Storm Above the Reich.
I’m 11 missions in (actually 13, but I’m only posting After Action Reports once a week) and things are going great!
There are a lot of charts to look at and sometimes it’s hard to remember which reference sheet the relevant information is on, but I’ve gotten used to it by now.
I know which ones I need to keep handy and which ones can be stowed away.
I love the almost RPG-like quality where you are keeping track of 18 pilots and trying to see how you can do as you try and defend the Fatherland.
Would I enjoy this it this much if I had Skies Above the Reich?
I don’t know, since I can’t get that one yet (but it’s on order!).
But I really do love Storm Above the Reich and I’m not surprised that it made my Top 25.
This is a great solo game (also 2-player if you want, but I don’t really see the need for that).
And I think I will probably be playing it for a long while (until another solo game that I can play on a lunch hour captures my attention, anyway).
If you’re interested in more about this game, just go to my Mission 1 & 2 AAR and then just keep clicking to the next mission to see how I’m doing and how the game works. I’m up to Mission 11 (as of right now, anyway)!
Designers: Sydney Engelstein, Jacob Fryxelius, Nick Little
2019 Rank: New (Hadn’t Played)
When I first saw that Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition was coming out, I was kind of excited, but I wasn’t sure exactly what it would give us. Especially once I started hearing about the Race for the Galaxy comparisons.
Once the lockdowns ended and in August I was able to get to some game days, a friend of mine who had ordered the game brought it and on one of our first outings, we played it.
And it was phenomenal!
Man, it was so good. It gave a bit of the feeling of Terraforming Mars but it was also its own game.
It played in about an hour, which made it easy to get to the table.
I loved it! We played it 3-4 times in just a couple of months.
So much so that I reviewed it (so I’m not going to go into detail on how to play).
The simultaneous actions make it really easy to play and to play quickly. There is some downtime when you can only do one thing and your opponents are doing multiple things, but ultimately it’s not that big of a deal.
I also love some of the differences that you have to keep in mind between it and its parent game.
How Event cards actually stay in your tableau and the tags can have some effect (depending on the other cards you have).
How your player board can keep track of all of your income increases so you don’t have to worry about what the card says.
Is it the equal of its parent?
Well, unless it fell completely off of the Top 25 from its former position in the Top 5, I would have to say no.
But it gives you a bit of a feel for the regular game and it takes less than half of the time.
How can that be bad?
So there’s the first entry in this 5-part series. What do you think of these games?
What’s in your Top 25 games played?
(No fair if your Tom Vasel and have played 1000s of games)
Let me know in the comments, and stay tuned for next week where #20-16 will be posted!
Top 25 Games Played of All Time – 2022 Edition (25-21) – You’re here!
Top 25 Games Played of All Time – 2022 Edition (20-16)
Top 25 Games Played of All Time – 2022 Edition (15-11)
Category: Board Games, Top 10Tags: Brian Train, Card Drafting, COIN Games, Colonial Twilight, Cooperative Games, Corey Konieczka, Eldritch Horror, Fantasy Flight Games, Garphill Games, GMT Games, Jacob Fryxelius, Jeremy White, Mark Aasted, Nick Little, Nikki Valens, Paladins of the West Kingdom, Renegade Games Studios, Shem Phillips, SJ MacDonald, Solo Games, Storm Above the Reich, Stronghold Games, Sydney Engelstein, Tableau-building, Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition, Tile-Laying Games, Worker Placement Games
This is a blog about board games, with the occasional other post for a bit of spice.