Friday, 22 August 2014

Steve's Top 10 Board Games

People often ask me what my top 10 games are, and I really struggle with this question because I've never thought about it in great detail. There are a lot of games I love and some I'm convinced would be in my top 10, but I've never gone ahead and actually worked out the list. So that's what I'm going to do now. I like a wide variety of games, and I can't say I love a 20 minute filler more or less that a 4 hour epic strategy game: they're just different. I've tried to represent the different types of games I enjoy in the top. The other thing is that this top 10 list isn't in any kind of order, that would be just too difficult!

  1. Game of Thrones (2nd edition) - This is probably my favourite game that I don't actually own. Why not? It's best with 5 or 6 players and most of the people I'd play it with already own the game. It is based on the Game of Thrones books, and is a strategic, area control, negotiation game. Players each take on one of the seven ruling houses of Westeros, and fight for control of the Iron Throne. This is a brilliant, fantastic game, however you need at least 5 players for a good game, and it will go on for a good 3-4 hours or more.
  2. King of Tokyo - This is a great, push your luck dice rolling game. Lovely chunky dice, great cards to collect, lots of messing your opponents up. Really fun game. One of the expansions, Power Up!, is a really good addition, and I'm looking forward to King of New York which could be even better.
  3. Cosmic Encounter - This is a space based conquest game where you try to establish colonies on other players planets. There's a certain amount of luck, quite a bit a big chaos factor, a lot of negotiation and a bit of strategy thrown in. There's lots of special race powers which makes the game really interesting and leads to a lot of replay value.
  4. Le Havre - This is a worker placement/resource collecting/building game from Uwe Roseberg. It is a meaty game that takes a good 2-3 hours to play. It is for 2-5 players, and is good with all numbers (though 5 can take a long time and quite a bit of time between turns). I really enjoy it with 2-4, and two player is our game of choice if we have 2+ hours to play with.
  5. Castles of Burgundy - This is a Stefan Feld game, where you collect settlement tiles from the game board, and place them in your own princedom (player area). You roll dice to determine what you can do on your turn, but there are so many ways to mitigate the dice rolls that there is very little luck in the game. This is for 2-4 players, but I think is ideal with two (unusually), as it takes rather a long time with 4.
  6. Hanabi - This is a co-operative card game for 2-5 players, where have to help each other to play down cards. There are five suits of cards and together you've got to play down 1-10 in order for each suit. The catch is that you can't see the cards in your hand, only the other players can. A clever, puzzle-y game, and very different from any other co-op game I've played.
  7. Eclipse - This is a space-based game of strategy, negotiation, war and civilisation building. You need a lot of table space and a good 2-3 hours to play this game, but it is fantastic. This is the other game on my list which I don't own, but I really probably should.
  8. Lords of Waterdeep - On the worker placement front, it was a tough choice between this and Village. Both great games, and Village is the slightly more innovative of the two, but this year Lords of Waterdeep seems to be our game of choice at home so I went for that one. It's fairly simple, place your workers, collect cubes, use them to complete quests or build buildings. Great game.
  9. Las Vegas - This is a simple, dice rolling auction type game. Roll your dice, sort in to each number (twos, threes etc), then place all of one number on that number casino to 'bid' on the money on that casino. Play goes round in turn until you've used all your dice. The neutral white dice which each player has turns this from a fun little game to a really great filler.

    There's lots of variants you can try, and there's an expansion if you want even more fun.
  10. Concordia - with only one slot left, this was a tough one with several possible candidates but I've been really enjoying Concordia this year. Runner up for the Kennerspiele De Jahres (the gamer's game of the year) I think it is a great game. You've got a great map of the Roman Empire (or Roman Italy - it is a double sided board), and you've got to choose a role each turn to build colonies, buy cards, collect resources etc. I don't know what it is, I just really like this game.
So that's it. Games that just misssed out include the perennial Ticket to Ride which I continue to enjoy a lot, and Fungi, a really good two player card game about collecting mushrooms and cooking them! Hope to do more top 10s for different types of games soon, and my fellow contributors will hopefully do their own top 10s too!

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