It’s that time again!
Yes, it’s another installment of my Top 25 Games Played of All Time – 2022 edition, all because I’ve now played over 400 games. The last edition was 3 years ago, so there are a bunch of new games in here as well as some movement from those that were on it before.
Some majorly dropped off (like Gizmos, which fell from #9 to #56 for some reason that I can’t really determine).
Other new games jumped very high up onto the list, like some Olympic athlete.
(I swear I’m not getting paid to post John Belushi gifs…)
Anyway, usual disclaimer. I have only played 420 games or so and it’s very possible your favourite classic game won’t be on here because I haven’t played it yet.
So don’t get pissed off that Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 isn’t on here.
I’ll get to it, ok?
With that out of the way, did you want to see the next installment?
What, you don’t?
Then why are you here?
20) Blood Bowl: Team Manager (2011 – Fantasy Flight Games)
Designer: Jason Little
2019 Rank: 17
Blood Bowl: Team Manager was one of the first games I bought when I got back into gaming.
Back in high school, I had played Blood Bowl with a friend of mine. Since my reintroduction to gaming started off with Ascension, it was only natural that this game attracted my attention because of the deck-building aspects and nostalgia.
And it still does, even though I don’t play it that often (last time was a couple of years ago, in 2019).
Blood Bowl: Team Manager is a game of, well, managing your Blood Bowl team. Adding star players to your team at the end of each season and maybe getting rid of some of your basic players.
It’s a deck-building game only in the sense that 5 times during the game, you may be able to recruit one or more star players to your team. But it does have some other features of deck-building games: wanting to cycle through your deck and discard the crap, possibly looking through your deck to get rid of a card and then shuffling it, that kind of thing.
Instead of playing one game of Blood Bowl, each round is a season that has a number of “matchups” where two players can play the players from their hand. There is also (usually, though not always) a tournament where everybody can play. Each matchup has rewards based on which side of the matchup you play on, plus rewards in the center for whoever has the highest strength at the end of it.
Each round is a season and you gain the rewards for each matchup/tournament at the end of the season. These can be star players, team upgrades, staff upgrades, etc. The upgrades may give you end-game victory points or they may give you an ability that you can use once per season.
The team upgrades are specific to your team and take advantage of their strengths (like Dwarves specialize in bashing the other team) but staff upgrades are more generic. They may give you a skill you can use that maybe your players don’t have, or something like that.
I love this game though I am terrible at it.
Writing this, I really want to get this to the table again. My “once every three years” play of it.
It’s one of the games my wife enjoyed when we did play some games a few years ago.
It’s too bad Fantasy Flight has lost the license because I would love more expansions. The two that I have (Foul Play and Sudden Death) added some great teams and interesting new rules (though the Fouling rules aren’t the greatest and I’m lukewarm on the “corrupt referee”).
All in all, this is a great game and worth trying out if you can ever find somebody who has it.
Hey, come to Vancouver and I’ll play it with you!
That’s why it’s still on my Top 25 three years later (though it’s fallen slightly).
19) Roll Player (2016 – Thunderworks Games)
Designer: Keith Matejka
Artists: JJ Ariosa, Luis Francisco
2019 Rank: New (Not in the Top 25)
I believe Roll Player is one of only two games that are new to the list that I had actually played before I did the 2019 list. All the other new games this time are games I hadn’t played before.
There’s a reason it’s moved up in my estimation, though.
I actually got to play it a bunch.
Last time, I had played it once a year or two before and it was fine but not that memorable.
But then, as I explained in my review of it (so I’m not going to go into great detail on how to play), the pandemic lockdowns hit and I bought it to play with my wife since she was the only person I was seeing.
And we played it. And loved it! And she liked it too.
And we played it…and played it…and played it.
One thing I really want to do, though, is take it to game day and play it with friends so I can play it at 3-4 players.
It would be nice to get that experience too.
Anyway, Roll Player is a game where you are basically rolling up an RPG (role-playing game for those of you not aware of that, but that may be one or two of you maybe?) character. Each character class you choose has certain goals for each attribute you are rolling up and you get points by making them. You also get points for matching your backstory and your alignment, along with a lot of other things.
You can buy cards from the market that give you skills, attributes (end-game scoring) and equipment to use to get you even more points!
The game has two great expansions that give you a purpose for your character: you’re preparing to fight the main monster, and you have to deal with its minions before that!
Monsters & Minions and Fiends & Familiars add some really cool stuff, though I’m more of a fan of the first one than the latter.
This game helped to get me through the lockdown depression, so how could it not be in my Top 25 now?
Thanks, Keith, for a wonderful game.
18) Root (2018 – Leder Games)
Designer: Cole Wehrle
Artist: Kyle Ferrin
Players 2-4 (though there is a solo bot in one of the expansions and with expansions it can play 6)
2019 Rank: 7
Even though I’ve still only played Root once (on the table, as I’ve played the wonderful app for it asynchronously a bunch), it’s still in my Top 25 because it is just so good.
Ok, maybe the app plays helped keep it fresh in my mind.
Root takes the idea of asymmetrical powers to its ultimate level, with asymmetrical goals as well!
Each faction (there’s the Vagabond, the Eyrie, the Marquise de Cat and the Woodland Alliance) has its own abilities, but they also have their own way to gain victory points.
On the table I’ve only played the Eyrie but I have played the other factions on the app, and all of them are interesting to play.
Each faction is vying for control of the various areas of the woodland, and they will be attacking other players, or perhaps even having the Vagabond help them. The Woodland Alliance will be fomenting unrest throughout the woodland, never mind who’s actually controlling the area.
I love each faction’s ability and goal and how you join together with other players to make sure somebody doesn’t run away with it.
The cards are cool, the artwork on the board is great.
It’s just an all-around great game that I’d love to actually play on the table again.
It’s fallen a bit, but I think that’s mainly due to the lack of exposure I’ve had to it since then (and because I’ve played so many other great games too) but it’s certainly deserving of a place on this list.
17) Teotihuacan: City of Gods (2018 – Board & Dice)
Designer: Daniele Tascini
Artist: Odysseas Stamoglou
2019 Rank: 13
Teotihuacan is a bit of a brain-burner for me as there are multiple avenues of approach to winning and I’m never good at trying to figure out one way to do things.
It’s also a game that uses dice in interesting ways where you don’t roll them. Instead, they are workers that continually “level up” to a higher number until they reach six and are reincarnated back to a one (that’s how I like to picture their ascension, anyway).
This is a game of building the great pyramid in the Aztec city of Teotihuacan.
Your workers are dice and will be travelling around the city, landing on certain spaces that will give you resources, special abilities, let you build buildings or even contribute to building the pyramid!
You can also worship at the various temples as well.
This is a game that my wife would call “very busy” and I can’t disagree. But it still makes a bunch of sense when you sit down and put your mind to it.
If you spread yourself too thin and don’t concentrate on one or two avenues to gain VP, you will lose because you will get a little bit of everything but not a lot of anything.
I haven’t played it on the table in a little while, though Boardgame Arena does have a really good implementation of it that I’ve played a few times.
But Teotihuacan pushes a lot of my “this is a great game” buttons even though it’s another game I suck at.
I’ve also bought all of the expansions except for the first one, but I haven’t had a chance to play them yet.
16) Fantastic Factories (2019 – Deep Water Games)
Designers: Joseph Z Chen, Justin Faulkner
Artist: Joseph Z Chen
2019 Rank: New (Not in the Top 25)
Here we have the other game that I had played before I did my 2019 list but that didn’t make the earlier list.
When I first met Joseph Chen at Dragonflight 2018 and tried out Fantastic Factories, I thought it was a really good game. It wasn’t in my Top 25, but I really enjoyed it.
Part of that was probably the company.
But then I played it at OrcaCon 2020 and at Dice Tower West with my wife (a total of three more times) and for some reason I was just gobsmacked at how amazing the game is.
Players are essentially building factories to create goods that will ultimately win them the game.
This is done using rolled dice that you will then place on either your headquarters to collect resources or on some of your built factories to give you even more great stuff.
The factories will give you points at the end of the game, but so also will the goods you’ve produced. Just because you ended the game by hitting the goods limit doesn’t mean you will win if another player has better factories than you do.
I really like how you have to manage your hand of cards because when you build a factory, you have to discard a card of the same type along with the resources that the card requires. There’s something about the “discard a card of a type to do something” that I really like. Makes the decisions a bit more meaty than just having to have the resources.
You have to actually decide whether you want to build that factory or use it to build another factory.
I backed the Kickstarter for the Manufactions and Subterfuge expansions and also bought the base game with it because I wanted it all. After Dice Tower West, I was sorry I didn’t have the game to actually play at home.
They are actually on their way as I type this!
Can’t wait to get this to the table more and do a proper review of it.
So there you have it, numbers 20-16 in my Top 25 games of all time.
Have you played any of these? What did you think? Where are they in your personal ranking?
Anything you hate?
Am I out to lunch? (Editor – I don’t think you want the answer to that)
Let me know in the comments!
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