(Edit – Now check out the Top 5!)
It’s been a while since I’ve done a true Top 10 list.
Last year’s Top 10 was rolled into my Top 25 Games Played of All Time.
I didn’t play enough in 2020 to do a Top 10, so it was a Top 5 instead.
We have to go back to 2019 since there was a Top 10 list!
I know you’ve missed it, haven’t you?
You know you have.
As I mentioned in my Blog in Review post, I played 111 unique games in 2022, definitely enough to get a Top 10 list going.
As I was putting together the list, I realized that I left off a game that I thought would be on it.
Underwater Cities, played for the first time this year (and twice in the same month!), is a phenomenal game.
When I realized I left it off the list, I went looking to see what it would replace…and decided it wouldn’t replace any of them.
I would definitely say that it’s my #11, though.
It could move up in the future, especially if I play it some more.
With that all being said, let’s get into the first half of the Top 10 Games Played in 2022 list.
You know, so you can get on with your day.
Designer: Jacob Fryxelius
Artist: Isaac Fryxelius
Terraforming Mars is still one of my favourite games, and I did get it played twice in 2022.
However, it has fallen a bit, and I’m not sure why.
I think part of it might be the playtime, which can get to 2.5-3 hours depending on who you are playing it with (though my November play was just over 2).
It also doesn’t come out as much with James having the Big Box. It’s just a bitch to carry it around, so you have to plan on playing it that day or why bring it?
Anyway, I do still love this game and I have an ongoing game on the app version with a friend (and a periodic 5-player game on the app as well).
There’s just something about the card play and tile-laying that gets me, even more so with the 3-D tiles! (though actually I’m fine with the regular ones).
For the card play, I think it’s the tags and the combos that get me, along with the corporations guiding you to what you might want to aim for. You may have to adjust if you don’t get the cards, though!
This is still a solid game and even though it may drop out of my Top 10 in the next “Best Games Played of All Time” list (probably in 2024-25), I think it will always make the list.
Designer: Richard Borg
Artists: Rodger B. MacGowan, Chechu Nieto
Gee, a GMT Games game on my Top 10 list.
I know, right!
Anyway, I said a lot about this game in my November “New to Me” wrap-up so I won’t say a whole lot.
I will say that between watching many Commands & Colors videos as well as now having played a couple, I really love this system and I see why my friend Michal does!
It’s a block wargame but it’s not a secret what you have. The tiles are two-faced (though it’s usually the dice that betray you) and it’s a tactical gem with the card play and activating your units.
It’s not a hard game to learn, with the hardest thing being remembering which unit uses how many dice and how far they can move, which the player aid sheet tells you really well!
When I first saw the game way back when, it just seemed like mindless moving and dice-chucking, but enough people loved the game that I knew I had to be wrong about it.
Yep, I was.
Once I get a play in of Ancients and Samurai Battles, we’ll have to see which one is my favourite. Right now, this is the only one I’ve played.
And it’s in my Top 10 of the year.
Designer: Paul Dennen
Artists: Rayph Beisner, Raul Ramos, Rastislav Le, Nate Storm, Franz Vohwinkel
What is there to be said about Clank in Space (sorry, no more exclamation marks from me…the keyboard’s broken!)?
What is there that wasn’t said in my review of the base game, Apocalypse expansion or Pulsarcade expansion? (I will be reviewing the Cyber Station 11 expansion once I’ve played it a couple more times).
This is just an awesome deckbuilder/adventure game and I think it will always be up near the top for me.
Sure, it may take 2 hours to play, and for some people that will outstay its welcome.
Sure, if you die before you get to the Hangar Bay, you won’t get any points.
But it’s still a blast to play and the expansions bring enough differences that it always feels fresh to me.
I love the sense of humor on the cards.
I love the choice between getting in quickly and getting out or moving around to get a bunch more stuff but possibly dying. Especially because you can’t move too fast since you have to hack data terminals in two modules.
I love moving around the board, with the modular board making every play different (especially with the expansion modules added to the mix!)
The Apocalypse expansion adds stuff to do with the black cubes that you drew from the bag instead of letting them sit there lonely because they nothing to do.
Then there’s the drama of whether or not Lord Eradikus will attack or not and whether your cubes will be pulled from the bag when it happens.
It all comes together into a classic game that will likely remain high on my list.
Designer: Vladimír Suchý
Artist: Tomáš Kučerovský
Until this year, Prodigals Club sat unplayed for almost four years.
Well, it didn’t “sit” as I don’t own it. A friend does.
But I’m sure it was sitting on her shelf unplayed!
Then I got it to the table twice this year.
And oh what a masterpiece.
Even unplayed for four years, it only dropped a few spaces on my “Top 25 Games Played of All Time” list
It’s a modular game, so you can play with only two of the modules or all three.
You are essentially trying to lose all of your money/political prestige/social standing by acting like a cad, throwing wild parties, selling possessions and then spending the money on frivolous stuff, or making terrible speeches in the town square.
Until this year, I had only played with two modules because I thought three would be too taxing and take too long.
But both times this year were with all three modules and it really shined!
The action selection and card play in this game is simply wonderful.
I especially love the social standing track, where you have two female and two male friends and you are trying to lower your status with them to negative numbers.
It’s quite an accomplishment, but there are cards that let you leapfrog multiple times, having one of your friendships plummet to the bottom with just one action!
You have to work to set it up, but when it does…
Yep, that’s how I feel.
This is one of those rare games that I just kind of get. Even if I don’t win, I do well enough at it that I don’t feel disappointed.
Even better is because during the game I don’t feel like I’m doing that well.
It kind of sneaks up on you.
One of these days I’ll review it, but since it consistently sits up in my Top 25, is any review going to be a surprise?
Designers: Sydney Engelstein, Jacob Fryxelius, Nick Little
Yes, the elephant in the room, especially given my #10!
In my Top 25 Games Played of All Time last January, I put Terraforming Mars at #8 while Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition was at #21.
Both made the list, so that’s something.
But after one year and multiple plays of both games (2 plays of Terraforming Mars and 7 plays of Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition), I find that I just simply like this game more.
It’s quick, it’s easy to set up, it’s something that you can say “we have an hour before I have to go…let’s pull out Ares Expedition!”
I love the way the tags work in Ares Expedition even more than in the original game. Event tags matter now!
The phase selection that works just like Race for the Galaxy works really well here, with you getting a bonus in whichever phase you choose even though you get to act in all of the chosen phases on that turn.
The end game is kind of fussy with players having to fudge maxing out the Global Parameters (“there’s only one Oxygen step left. Who’s raising Oxygen this phase? Ok, everybody who is gets one Terraforming Rating.”) but overall the system is clean.
And the artwork is great! It’s fairly consistent rather than the hodge-podge of the original game.
This is a game that I will play any time it’s on offer (unless there’s something else that I’ve wanted to play for a long time, or maybe a new to me game and I need some new to me games).
I won’t say much more about it because I reviewed it!
That’s it for this time. The first five of my Top 10 games played in 2022.
What do you predict will be in the Top 5?
I’m sure you can guess a couple of them.
But where will they be?
Maybe I didn’t play the one you’re thinking of in 2022!
Anyway, let me know in the comments, along with what your Top 5-10 games played would be.
Category: Board Games, Top 10Tags: 2-Player Games, Action Selection, Block Wargames, Card Games, Clank in Space, Commands & Colors: Medieval, Deckbuilders, Dire Wolf Digital, GMT Games, Hand Management, Jacob Fryxelius, Nick Little, Prodigals Club, Renegade Games Studios, Richard Borg, Stronghold Games, Sydney Engelstein, Terraforming Mars, Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition, Tile-Laying Games, Vladimír Suchý, Wargames, Worker Placement Games
This is a blog about board games, with the occasional other post for a bit of spice.