We’re almost to the end of my Top 25 games played of all time, 2022 edition, and there may have been a few surprises.
I know there have been some new games, and some games have fallen drastically from their 2019 ranking.
I feel bad about that somewhat, but one thing I think I did in 2019 is over-estimate some of the newer games that I had played at the time.
Or maybe I just hadn’t played that many awesome games?
Still, I’m glad to see that a bunch of them have stayed in the Top 25, even if they have fallen somewhat. That means that they are still great games that I would love to keep playing.
I’m kind of mellow about all of that.
One game that really took a plunge is London, by Martin Wallace.
I really did enjoy my two plays of this game and I want to play it again.
But I haven’t played it since 2017 and maybe part of the problem is lack of exposure.
Or maybe there are just a bunch of games ahead of it (I really wish I had kept my 2019 total list to see).
It fell from #15 to #113 and I’m not quite sure why.
I have to put my usual disclaimer in here (in case this is the first post you’re seeing). I’ve only played around 420 games, so there are a bunch of top-ranked games that I haven’t played.
So you Everdell fans, maybe I’ll be able to join you when the app comes out!
Until then, don’t get pissy at me that your game isn’t ranked.
On that note, let’s begin!
Designer: Gil Hova
Artist: Travis Kinchy
2019 Rank – #5
The Networks was one of the first games I ever Kickstarted and I am forever glad I did.
Basically, The Networks is a game where you are the head of a fledgling television network trying to bring shows and viewers to your network. You are trying to get more viewers than any of the other networks out there.
You do this by buying shows and putting them into the evening time slots (8-10 pm). Some shows prefer a time slot and you get more viewers if you put the show in that slot.
As shows age, they will gain reduced viewers, so you’re going to want to change them up with new shows. For the next season, they will still get you a certain number of viewers as reruns.
You can attach Ads to shows to get money, Stars to shows to increase their viewership, and maybe Network cards to let you do some outrageous thing you might not have thought of!
Like cancel all of your opponents’ shows so they don’t get any viewers that year!
(Ok, none of the Network cards are that good, but they still let you get some cool bonuses)
The game goes over 5 seasons but one of the interesting things about the game that you have to keep in mind is that your shows age one final time before final scoring.
So you have to plan for that and replace shows so that your lineup doesn’t get bottom-of-the-barrel ratings in the final scoring phase.
The Executives expansion brings new shows to the game as well as asymmetric player powers based on the Executive that you choose (you get a choice out of two you are dealt).
I haven’t played this expansion enough to review it yet, but I do have to say that after my two plays, I can’t imagine playing the game without it.
We could use the old shows, but these powers and Mogul abilities (if you can earn them) really bring the game to a whole new level.
After 10 or so plays of the base game, it was getting a bit samey, but the expansion brings new life into it and keeps the game in my Top 10.
This game is amazing and I really want to get it to the table again this year.
It’s been too long.
Designers: Shem Phillips, S J Macdonald
Artist: Mihajlo Dimitrievski
2019 Rank – New (hadn’t played)
The final game of the West Kingdom trilogy and for me it’s the middle of the pack.
Paladins of the West Kingdom was further back on this list, so I guess this is a bit of a spoiler.
But I don’t care!
I’m not sure if Viscounts of the West Kingdom will move up with subsequent plays or not, but to be firmly in the Top 10 after just two plays says something about this design.
I got this game as a Kickstarter but it arrived a few days before the COVID lockdowns hit, so I didn’t get a chance to play it until this past Fall.
And I fell in love with it after two plays (one 3-player and one 2-player). You can see my “New to Me” post where I first talked about it if you want a more detailed “how do you play this?” so I’ll just highlight some cool things here.
I love how Shem Philips and SJ MacDonald take basic gaming tropes and do interesting things with them.
For example, this is kind of a deckbuilder game. You will have a deck of cards and you will be adding townspeople to it. You will also perhaps be trashing your beginning cards and other cards that you don’t need anymore to make a slimmer and more enticing deck.
The twist is that you are placing a card from your hand on your board, forcing another card off the end of your track. The card that falls off into your discard pile may have an ability that triggers when it drops off, or maybe it was an ongoing effect. Or maybe it was an effect that happened when you played it?
There are numerous avenues to scoring that you can use, and you can try to concentrate on a couple and score pretty well.
When you play your card, your Viscount on the main board moves that many spaces. Where he lands will allow you to do one of four actions: build, market, put people in the castle, or transcribe manuscripts. All of these can be lucrative, as long as you don’t try to spread out and do a bunch of them.
The end game is also pretty interesting, with a pile of deeds and debts being the “timer” for the game. However, whichever runs out first, you will actually score based on the other one.
So you have to balance things!
This game is wonderful and I can’t wait to play it again.
It was also my #6 game played in 2021 if I was doing that post.
Give this one a try if you get a chance.
And if I get one or two more plays in, I’ll end up doing a review for it.
Designer: Jacob Fryxelius
Artist: Isaac Fryxelius
2019 Rank – #6
Back when I was talking about Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition, I did say that it doesn’t replace the original game, so you knew this was coming at some point.
It was #6 last time and only fell a couple of spots, so you know it’s got some staying power!
The only thing that hinders Terraforming Mars for me is the play time. It’s so variable! We’ve played a 3-player game with people who know the game and finished in 90 minutes.
We’ve played a 4-5 player game with people who know the game (or maybe one person doesn’t) and it’s taken 3+ hours.
It’s hard to predict!
But if it’s the first game mentioned at our game day, when we know we have a bunch of time, I’ll never turn it down unless there’s something new being offered that I would like to try instead.
In Terraforming Mars you are, well, terraforming Mars.
Each player is a corporation that has an interesting asymmetric ability (unless you’re playing the basic game) and you are playing cards either to your tableau or as Events to try and increase one of the three global parameters: Oxygen, Heat, or Oceans.
Each one of those gets you a Terraforming Rating which will be points at the end of the game but also money income during the game.
You are also using these cards (or perhaps just paying outright) to put things down on the surface of Mars. Greeneries that will add to the Oxygen level and give you points, or maybe Oceans or Cities, or maybe even something else that the card you just paid for says!
The game ends when all of the global parameters have been maximized and then points for a bunch of different things are totaled up and added to your Terraforming Rating.
Some cards have points on them. There are Milestones and Awards that may have been funded, things like that.
The artwork on the cards is quite varied and some of it isn’t very good, but I don’t let that bother me.
There’s also a Big Box edition that has been completely blinged out as far as what you put on Mars goes.
And it’s fabulous!
But it’s also huge and if you bring it to game day, you’d better be playing it.
This was the #5 game I played in 2021, and it was one of the first games we played when game days resumed in August 2021.
Terraforming Mars, oh how I’ve missed you…
Designers: Peter Lee, Rodney Thompson, Andrew Veen
2019 Rank – #2
This is a game that I’m sad that it’s been since 2019 that I’ve played it.
It was #2 last time I did this list and it’s still really high up there, though others have moved past it some.
It’s a deck-building game with area control as well and it is simply wonderful.
So much so that there’s even a 2nd edition of it! This one without the little plastic miniatures that were probably the main complaint I had with the game (though if the tokens are the same colours as the miniatures were, then I’m still thinking they are too similar).
I mentioned that in my review of the game.
I love the deckbuilding aspect of this game, where you take two of the four (or six if you include the expansion) factions of cards and shuffle them all together into a market deck.
You use the cards to place troops on the board, eliminate other players’s troops (or perhaps the white neutral ones), place spies, and possibly promote the cards to be worth more points than they are in your deck (though they are no longer of use to you during the game).
I love this game so much, though not so much as a 2-player game. It does scale well, with parts of the board out of play depending on how many players you have (both sides if 2-player, one of the two sides if 3-player and then all of the board in play if 4-player) but still I prefer to have the entire board in play.
It really is a great game. Some of the factions do go well together, some maybe not quite as much.
But the cards are cool and the only downside (and I don’t know if it’s fixed in the 2nd edition, great) is that the artwork is very dark. It’s very good artwork, but it’s sometimes hard to see.
The area control aspect is very cool. You have to have influence in a space to put a troop there, but spies give you influence and spies can go anywhere. This lets you spread your presence anywhere on the board if you have cards that let you put spies out.
It’s very cool!
I really would like to play this one again. Even after 3 years of not playing it, it’s pretty high on my list because it is so good.
Hopefully this year it will get played!
Designer: Paul Dennen
Artists: Rayph Beisner, Raul Ramos, Rastislav Le, Nate Storm, Franz Vohwinkel
2019 Rank – #3
I haven’t had the chance to play this since the pandemic lockdowns ended and we were able to get game days happening again.
Which is sad, because I love this game!
I played the base game at Dice Tower West right before the lockdowns, but I have multiple expansions that I would like to get to the table! Including the PulseArcade expansion that’s a review copy that I need to get to the table.
I also need to review the Cyber Station 11 expansion which I’ve only played once.
So needless to say, this needs some plays!
Clank in Space (sorry, no more exclamation points from me) is another deckbuilding game with more than just the cards. In this case, you are trying to race to the other side of the board and steal an artifact and then try to get off the ship from the Cargo Bay.
While I like deckbuilders, I’m really a fan of games that give deckbuilding mechanisms along with other things. This game does that in spades.
The modular aspect of the game where you can place different modules in different spots (and then use modules from multiple expansions) does add some
Clank in Space is a sequel to the original Clank, which I’ve played once and I vastly prefer this one as long as I have the time for it.
You’re looking at 90-120 minutes for Clank in Space while the original can be played in about an hour.
But if I have the time, I vastly prefer Clank in Space. I love the deckbuilding, the faction bonuses (where if you have multiple cards of the same faction, you can get bonuses).
This is just a superb game.
Easily deserving of my #6 ranking.
And there you have it. We’re almost done with the Top 25 games of all time and I’m sure there haven’t been many surprises.
Or maybe there have?
Let me know in the comments what you think of these games, or what you would put there instead.
I hope you’re enjoying these and if I’ve tagged you on Twitter when you didn’t want to be tagged, please let me know that as well.
I enjoy sharing all of this stuff and if you’re on this list, I want you to know about it!
But I don’t want to be annoying.
So please let me know!
Top 25 Games Played of All Time – 2022 Edition (25-21)
Top 25 Games Played of All Time – 2022 Edition (20-16)
Top 25 Games Played of All Time – 2022 Edition (15-11)
Top 25 Games Played of All Time – 2022 Edition (10-6) – You’re here!
Top 25 Games Played of All Time – 2022 Edition (5-1)
Category: Board Games, Top 10Tags: Andrew Veen, Area Control, Card Drafting, Clank in Space, Clank in Space: Apocalypse, Deckbuilders, Formal Ferret Games, Fryx Games, Gale Force 9, Garphill Games, Gil Hova, Hand Management, Jacob Fryxelius, Paul Dennen, Peter Lee, Renegade Games Studios, Rodney Thompson, Set Collection Games, Shem Phillips, SJ MacDonald, Stronghold Games, Terraforming Mars, The Networks, The Networks: the Executives, Tile-Laying Games, Tyrants of the Underdark, Viscounts of the West Kingdom
This is a blog about board games, with the occasional other post for a bit of spice.