This is it, the penultimate list in my Top 100 games. What will have risen, what might have dropped out of my Top 10, you’ll have to see. If you need to catch-up, I have links below. 100 to 91 90 to 81 80 to …
Tag: Arkham Horror
So Monday was a Holiday, so my top 10 list has been delayed a day. Today we’re going with Top 10 card games. Now, these games are going to be card driven games, if there’s a big part of the game, set-up, pieces, whatever it might be, that isn’t cards, it won’t be on the list. So Gloomhaven, while the core mechanics are card driven as of what you play for your actions and the modifiers for your attacks, it still has a large table presence.
Here’s the list:
10 – Onirim
You are in a world of dreams in this solo game. You are trying to find some dream doors and avoid nightmares before your deck runs out. This is a solo abstract game, but one that plays pretty quickly and is a lot of fun. The biggest challenge of the game is figuring out how to deal with the nightmares. You have four different ways, you could use a key, but those are valuable resources because of what they can do and how unique they are, you could trash your hand, you could discard five cards from the deck, or you could get rid of a door. All of them are bad for you though, because they will cost you more cards. The game has a lot of shuffling, but it’s a lot of fun. A good solo game that can technically be played with two, but it’s mainly meant to be played solo.
9 – Not Alone
You are part of a crew who has crash landed on a planet. It would be fine, but one person is a monster on the island and that monster is out there trying to pick off the crew. So you have to plan out your turns in such a way that you don’t end up getting killed off and lose too much crew before the rescue ship can arrive. It’s a fun game of cat and mouse and one versus all as the crew can discuss strategy, but they have to do that so the monster and hear and understand. But the players could try and mislead, but if they go to a few spots to get the ship there faster, that could end up with them not using their turns that effectively, since those can only be done once per round. A lot of fun, and a good high tension game.
8 – Say Bye to the Villains
This is one of the hardest cooperative games that I’ve played. We’ve gotten close to winning several times, but we’ve never won. In this game, you and the other players are a group of samurai who are trying to take down a group of villains. You have ten days to play your attacks, increase your speed, and get more health. Because you need to defeat the villain that you’re facing off against. But with that, you also need to figure out what the villains are doing. it might be that they are going to be very fast and hit hard, but might not have much health, so if you can go faster than them, you don’t need to worry too much about damage or health because you’ll first. Or do you try and take the blow, but you can never find out everything you want, so you hope that you’ve planned it out well enough. It’s a slower game for being so small, but it’s a really fun challenge.
7 – The Lost Expedition
This cooperative game intentionally tries to take on the idea of alpha gaming by limiting your communication, but still has a lot of depth to the game play as compared to some that limit your communication. You’re trying to get to the lost city of Z, but to do that, you are playing down cards for a walk both in the morning and evening so that you can progress. But most cards have something bad on them. The trick is playing down these cards, you can’t discuss what you’re playing down or what would be best from the cards in your hand. You have to do that yourself and how you do that changes from morning to evening. And with the things that you have on the cards, most of them are not going to be good things, so can you balance your resources dwindling as well. A fun and fast cooperative game.
6 – Sushi Go Party!
First of back to back food related games, in this game, you’re drafting your best meal. This might be getting sashimi or nigiri or maybe you’re going after green tea ice cream. The game is played over three rounds, and whomever has the most points at the end of three rounds wins. What makes this game a ton of fun is that you change it up, so that might mean that you can create a lower scoring meaner version of the game where you’re worried about not getting that 3rd tofu and making your tofu worthless. Or maybe you’ll do on that gives everyone a ton of points, so there are lots of options to change it up. And once you’ve played one round, the game moves extremely fast and is a lot of fun.
5 – Point Salad
A quick little card game, a point salad game is one where you get points for basically everything that you do. Point Salad, the game, takes that concept and makes it about salad. So now you’re not just getting points, you are making a salad. To do this, you are either drafting two cards of vegetables, or picking up a scoring card. The game is very simple and limited number of cards so that it plays fast at most player counts. But it has a surprising amount of depth and variability because you have to know when to grab a scoring card or if you take a veggie it’ll change up the scoring cards, so you can block an opponent from getting what they might want for scoring? And do you diversify your veggies to scoring in a lot of ways across the board, or are you going to really target scoring for a couple of vegetables?
4 – Hanamikoji
In Hanamikoji you’re trying to win the favor of Geisha by giving them gifts. You do this by playing cards in a very interesting and clever way. Each round, each player has four different actions that they can take. But they can only take each action once. Some of them are simple, such as playing a gift face down that you’ll use to win favor at the end of the round, or discarding two face down. But some are much tougher to figure out, and add in so much depth to the game. Playing two groups of two cards and your opponent selects one of them, or playing three and your opponent gets one of them. It makes a lot of very difficult decisions in the game and what you’re trying to do so often is let your opponent make the tough decisions in place of you. The game also plays very fast, so it’s a great challenge to play a few times in a sitting.
3 – Arkham Horror: The Card Game
First of two living card game, Arkham Horror allows you to investigate strange goings on around Arkham and other locations. It’s based off of the Lovecraftian mythos, but while there are horror elements and monsters, it’s more about how good an investigator that you can be, can you fight off these monsters and investigate and solve the case. I really like that they can use the cards to create such different scenarios. Out of the base box, one of them has you fighting more monsters while you investigate in a house, the other has you out in the town looking for cultists, and they can do even more with it. The only things in this that aren’t cards are a few tokens that you use, which can be used to adjust how difficult the game is, so you can play it for the story, or you can make it nightmarishly hard depending on how you want to play.
2 – Aeon’s End: War Eternal
Another deckbuilding game, this one has a limited number of things that aren’t cards, and it’s basically just player boards and a few counters as you take your team of mages who fight against a monster that is coming through and attacking the city of Gravehold where you are from. It’s a good deck building game that does one very clever thing there you don’t ever shuffle your deck, so you can try and set-up how cards go into your discard pile and set-up future hands of cards to get the most optimal damage or buying power to build up your deck further. And with the number of different mages it works well and gives you a lot of variety as you take different mages up against different nemesis.
1 – Marvel Champions
This living card game allows you to play as your favorite superheroes, though that might be eventually. You build your deck of cards to create your hero and then take them up against some villain. You could fight as Spider-man against Rhino or Captain Marvel versus Ultron out of the base game. What I really love about the game is the way that you can flip back and forth between your alter-ego and super hero side of things. It feels like the comics in that while Spider-Man isn’t around the villains are out there scheming away, but when he’s there, they are going to be fighting him. It feels thematic and there are more and more villains and heroes out there that Fantasy Flight can add to the game, which means that the game will never feel tired.
There are a lot of great card games out there. Especially if you want to go down the deckbuilding route. There are games like Clank! In! Space! is another one that could have made the list, but has too much else going on. But games like Ascension or Dominion, for some that would make a lot of sense for checking out card games as well.
What is your favorite card game? Any from off my list you want to checkout?
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We’ve all seen Simpsons Monopoly and Monopoly for a specific football team or baseball team, national parks, or city. Those are all IP’s put onto Monopoly, intellectual properties. Those aren’t going to make this list, I’m looking at my top 10 favorite games that are …
What, another order already? This one I did in particular because I want to help support my local game stores, and Chronicles of Crime is a game that I’ve heard a lot about. If you are in the Minneapolis area and want delivery (and are close enough) All Systems Go is a great shop that does delivery and they were delivering my Ms Marvel – Marvel Champions pack to me, so I decided to add to my delivery and support them.
Why did I pick Chronicles of Crime?
There are multiple reasons, first, I really like games that have some sort of puzzle or deduction to them. Escape room games like Unlock or Exit are good examples, Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition or Arkham Horror The Card Game even have elements of them. So I like detective style games as well, even Clue, the classic, I still enjoy because of the puzzle of figuring out information as efficiently as possible.
The other thing is that is has an interesting app integration piece. Now, that’s going to disappoint some people, but I really find it interesting, though it can’t be played without the app. The app scans QR codes allowing you to interact with people and ask them about clues or other people you might have found during you investigation. But that’s not the coolest piece of the app in my opinion. Instead, there is a video component that you can use basically as VR if you want, where you can look all around and see the crime scene. While you’re doing that, you’re telling the other players what you see and they’re grabbing what might be useful clues for you to use later in your investigation.
The other thing that’s really cool about this for me is that there is a community aspect to it. It’s not just the company making scenarios, you can go out and get scenarios that other people have created and put together so maybe someone did a dog napping or there was a grisly murder, you don’t know. But there can be an ever increasing amount of story just from the base game. Plus there are expansions, there is a Noir expansion that looks cool, but I’m more excited for the Redview expansion which is a kids on bikes, almost RPG like version of the game, so it doesn’t have to just be crime, you can do wildly different things with it.
So hopefully that explains why I was interested in the game and picked it up. Does it sound like a game that would be cool? Maybe see if your FLGS (Friendly Local Game Store) and get it ordered in for you and help them during these times.
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If you’ve been keeping up with my Top 10 List, you’ll have seen a number of the same games on there over and over again, some of my favorites, and it gives you an idea of how they fall into various categories and mechanics, but I wanted to do one that’s going to hit a number of different games, and that is going to be small(er) box games. Now, I’m not going with Micro Games, so it doesn’t have to fit in a mint tin, pack of gum, or be a regular old deck of cards, but games that are in a box that’s smaller than a Carcassone box.
10 – Second Chance
The first of several roll (flip) and write games on the list. They just work really well for packing a punch in a small box. In Second Chance, you’re trying to fill in as much of a grid as you possibly can with a bunch of Tetris like shapes. The trick is that the next shape you add, from two cards flipped, must touch one of your previous shapes somewhere. Now, smaller shapes would generally be ideal because you can fill it in more solidly, but there are a limited number of one or two square cards in the deck, so you have to hope that they come up at a time that you can use it. If you eventually can’t use either of the two shapes flipped, you then get a second chance, a card that only you can use, however, if you can’t use that, you’re out of the game and you count up the empty squares and that’s your points, the person with the fewest empty squares wins. It works really well because you don’t have down time since everyone is using the same cards, just with a different starting card.
9 – Criss Cross
Smallest game on the list, it’s barely larger than a deck of cards, but it offers a whole ton of fun. In this game, you are rolling dice and placing those dice on a 5×5 grid, trying to get like symbols next to each other to score points in both the rows and columns. The tricky bit is that you need to put those two dice faces for a round next to each other, orthogonally, or like a domino would fit into a grid. Adding to that, the fact that it’s scoring both rows and columns means that you need to think hard about getting points both ways, because while more like symbols in a row gives you more points, being able to score in more directions might be better. Plus, you can put the dice faces anywhere, so you have to worry about not giving yourself two single spaces not next to each other, because that means you can fill in the last roll. A lot of fun and plays fast with no downtime.
8 – Say Bye to the Villains
A really tough game for the list, one that you’ll lose way more often than you win. In Say Bye to the Villains, you are Samurai who are going to be taking on various villains and you have ten days to prepare. That can be done by increasing your stats or by figuring out a villains cards and how tough a villain will be or by giving someone else a card. However, all of these things cost time, and the better ones might cost multiple days, and you only have ten days to prepare. So while the game is cooperative, you always feel like you haven’t prepared your stats well enough or that you haven’t figured out enough for a villain so you just need to try at the the end and hope it works. Thus far in around ten plays, I have yet to win the game, but in the vast majority of them, we’ve been really close, so one of these days it’ll happen. The game can overstay it’s welcome just a tiny bit if someone spends their time really fast they then have to sit around, and in a higher player count, that could be a little bit.
7 – Just One
This party game works perfectly on this list because it packs a punch for a small package. First, it’s a fully cooperative party game, which is pretty rare, but it’s also clever, borrowing some from Scattergories and Taboo and other older party games that maybe don’t hold up as well. One person is “it” and they flip over a card and show it to everyone else and pick a number from 1 to 5, that corresponds with a word, then the other players write down a one word clue for that word. However, then the players have to compare their words, and any duplicate clues aren’t shown to the person who is it. The clues are then revealed and that person needs to guess what word it was, if they get it, you get a point. If not, you lose a card, limiting how many points you can get. Now, it is a party game, so scoring is optional, in my opinion, but the game itself is a really fun time.
6 – The Lost Expedition
This one has shown up on the adventure list, but it’s a small box game that’s a lot of fun. In this game you’re trying to navigate from the start of the trail all the way to the Lost City of Z. However, there are creatures, native tribes, rivers, and more that need to be traversed to be able to get there. So as a group you’re playing down cards that will allow you travel further down the trail, but they’re going to cost resources and you have a limited supply of those, so you have to balance wanting to push ahead as fast as possible with gathering more resources as well. The game does a nice thing as it’s a cooperative game, it helps alleviate a situation where there is an alpha player who wants to tell everyone what to do because when playing down cards for the morning or evening walk, you can’t discuss the cards in your hand, so the biggest decision can’t be alpha gamed.
5 – Sushi Go Party!
I really like this game because of the variability to it. In regular Sushi Go, you have a fixed pool of cards, but in the Party version, you can swap out your appetizers, desserts, and specials, and more so that it is a different combo most of the times. You can make it as challenging or as easy as you want to score points. And the game is just a really good drafting game that doesn’t give you down time. You’re mainly just trying to draft sets, but some of them offer a lot more points if you get a large number of them, whereas, others you can split into smaller sets, or others will give you negative points if you have to many of them. The artwork is very cute in the game as well, which helps it hit the table with a wider variety of players.
4 – Point Salad
So there’s a joke about games where they can be a point salad, meaning that they give you a million different ways to score in the game, like you can put a million toppings onto a salad. In Point Salad, it gives you a million ways to score, but you have to decide which ones you want to take, and which veggies you take to build up your salad. The game is great because it plays fast, it offers interesting decisions and its tongue in cheek naming. Overall, it’s a pretty simple game, but offers good replayability and you can’t have the same strategy every game because the scoring cards you can draft will vary based off of what cards are actually being used and what pile those cards might be in. A fun and fast game.
3 – Welcome To…
The highest roll (flip) and write game on the list, as it’s my favorite that I’ve played thus far. In the game you’re building your perfect Stepford neighborhood, with it’s white picket fences, parks, and pools. Will you be the best at developing your neighborhood. The great thing about this one is that you can play basically an infinite number of people because everyone is using the same three pairs of cards each round, well, picking one of them to use. It’s a challenging game as you’re trying to complete specific neighborhood layouts but also focusing more on one of the things, parks or pools, can net you more points, but you’ll also be missing out on points as well. The game plays fast and everyone is involved in the whole game, so a lot of fun, and one that if people have access to a printer to print the sheet or has the game, works really well online.
2 – Hanamikoji
A great small box card game where you are trying to win the favor of various Geisha. To do that, you need to give them gifts, one might want a comb, while another might want a flute, it depends on the Geisha. To get them those gifts, you and your opponent, it’s only a 2 player game, are going to take turns doing one of four actions. Each person can do each action once per round. It might be that you discard a card face down that won’t be a gift for any of the Geisha. Or you play two face down that you’ll use as gifts later, or there is a play three face up, your opponent picks one and you get the other two, or two groups of two face up, your opponent picks one and you get the other. It offers a lot of strategy, but there’s enough hidden information to keep the game challenging every time you play it.
1 – Arkham Horror: The Card Game
When I was thinking of this list, I kind of forgot that this would apply, but it’s probably my favorite “small box” game. I put it in quotes, because the more expansions that you get, the larger a box you’ll need, but if you just get the base game, and that’s all you’d need for a while, it comes in a small box. And it gives you a bigger gaming experience than some as you’re playing through scenarios in a greater story just using cards and a few tokens. The downside to that scenario based story is that once you’ve played it once or twice, you’ll know the story, then you’ll want to get the cheap expansion packs, and eventually it’s not that small a game anymore. Still, you can get a lot from that small box.
I have a lot more small box games that pack a lot of punch that just missed the list. Things like Hats, Letter Jam, Homebrewers, Century: Golem Edition, Not Alone, Onirim and more just missed the list, and I think when boar dame night in person starts up again, some of them will go higher up the list, because a lot of smaller box games play faster and are easier to pick up on.
What are some of your favorite games that come in a small box?
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