It’s that time of year, with Black Friday and Holiday Shopping nearly upon us. That means that people are starting to think about the gifts that they’ll be getting for others or what they might want to ask for themselves. This list is basically the…
Tag: Dead of Winter
Normally, this would be another Halloween article, because I’ve been doing those every Wednesday, tomorrow, since it is actually Halloween will be my Halloween themed article. Instead, you are getting more of my top 100 board games, which will wrap up on Friday. ***Disclaimer***These rankings…
We’re back again, now time for the disclaimer text.
These rankings are the opinion of yours truly, and if you don’t like them, that’s okay. We all have different tastes in games and that is great. There are some games that I’ve only played as a demo, and I felt like I got enough of a feel to put them on the list, thanks GenCon for all the demos. These are living rankings so next year I’m sure that things will change, so I’ll probably be doing another one next year. Thanks to Board Game Geek for letting me enter/rate my collection and games I’ve played. Thanks to Pub Meeple for creating a tool that pulls in those games that I’ve rated and creating a ranking tool. Again, the numbers and names will be linked to Cool Stuff Inc and Amazon if you’re interested in the games.
90 – Carcassonne
First classic game on the list, I’d say. This is a tile laying game that has been around for a long time, though, not as long as games like Clue and Monopoly that didn’t make my top 100. In Carcassone, you are trying to connect roads together and build cities, monasteries, and farms. All of these things give you points and when all the tiles have been played you tally up any final scoring and the person with the most points wins. What’s interesting about this game is that as you complete cities and roads where you have placed a knight or a robber, which are just meeples, you get those meeples back, so you are trying to balance getting a lot of points in a single road or city, and not having all your meeples on the board so you miss scoring.
89 – Dead of Winter: The Long Night
So, this is technically an expansion. But it’s also technically stand alone, so I’m placing it on my list because you don’t need Dead of Winter to play it. In this game, like Dead of Winter, you are protecting your base against zombies, however, they add in a few things, like a bandit module, a building module, and a Umbrella Corporation, I mean Raxxon, expansion. This game adds more to a game that already has a bunch of stuff going on in it, hence why it’s a bunch lower than the original, plus, it’s just hard to beat the original. I’d definitely play with any of the expansions though.
88 – Splendor
We’re going away from a more thematic game and going into a game that is purely tableau building. The “theme” of this game is that you are a gem merchant who is buying single use gems to get other gems that you have all the time, okay, that doesn’t make sense. But that’s what you’re doing in the game. Some of the gem cards that you’ll buy will have points on them, and the first person to 15 points wins. This is a great introductory tableau game that looks nice on the table. The game comes with a bunch of cards but what most people notice are the power chips that represent the single use gems that you’ll be getting early in the game. They are nice and weighty and give the game a good tactile feel. This is game that I’ll always play and have a good time with, there are other games higher on the list that fit a similar niche that I prefer though.
87 – Stuffed Fables
Your girl has had her favorite blanket stolen, and as her fearless stuffed animals, you are going to go into the depths of the world under the bed to get back that blanket without waking up the girl. This is a very cute game with cute stuffed animal minis. It’s what is known as a storybook game where you flip to different pages in the book, depending on what you do, and play through different chapters of an adventure by playing through the little scene that is in the book. Stuffed Fables definitely is focused for children, though feels like it’s a bit too complex for most younger children that the story targets more so. The game looks great though, and because it’s cooperative, you can work together as a group, which would be how you can get younger gamers to play and understand what is going on. Eventually this will be something that I play through with our baby.
86 – Legends of Andor
We’re into one of the first story driven fantasy games on the list. I’ve played this one a few times, and what is interesting about this game is that killing monsters causes the story to progress faster. Each round advances, and eventually you run out of turns, and you’d lose the game, but if too many monsters get to the castle, you lose the game, if you kill too many monsters and use up the rounds, you lose the game. This is a fun fantasy puzzle story game, because beating the monsters isn’t always hard, but knowing when to beat the monsters and when to focus on story elements, it’s a challenge. There are a bunch of different scenarios in the game, all of which seem interesting, and there are a bunch of expansions for it. It’s a big fantasy game, but at the same time, it’s not a complex fantasy game, so it’s a good introductory one for younger gamers.
85 – Lord of the Rings
This is the classic Fantasy Flight game where you play as up to five Hobbits traveling to Mount Doom to throw the one ring in. Yes, you read that correctly up to five Hobbits. If you have five players, one person can play as Fatty Bolger. Who is Fatty Bolger, he’s the hobbit who they invite along after add in Merry and Pippin but who declines, if you’ve read the books you’re apt to remember him. This game feels fairly thematic, but mainly feels like a puzzle as you try and play combinations of cards to advance through different locations before time runs out. It’s not a very heavy game, but there are interesting choices, and anyone can hold the ring, so Sam does, always, because he’s steadfast and hard to move. They made a lot of expansions for it as well. If you don’t want a big card game or a big minis game for Lord of the Rings, this is a fun option.
84 – Pandemic Legacy Season 2
We’ll see Season 1 higher on the list, but I did enjoy my playthrough, just not as much as the first season. I won’t go into spoilers, because this is a legacy game, but Pandemic Legacy Season 2 has a bit less direction while having a few clear things to do as well. It’s confusing with how I wrote it, but it still tells a good story. I feel like with the story, though, you’re waiting for the twist to happen like there was at some point in time in season one. What is cool about this one is that the mechanics are different, but they still feel like Pandemic. I’ll be playing through this at some point in time on Malts and Meeples, so if you want spoilers, that’s where it’ll be. Even though it’s a story driven legacy game, I feel like there’s plenty that you can play again with it after a bit of time. Downside is that to do that, you need a new version of the game.
83 – Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game
This is a massively bloated game at this point with 20000000000000 different expansions, and that is only using half the characters that Marvel has. In this game there is a villain whom a group of players with hero cards are going to attempt to defeat. It’s pretty standard in how you deck build with a changing market, but it gives you some interesting things like trying to build up enough damage to take out the villain enough times, while also trying to keep a handle on the different henchmen that are coming out. What makes this game tricky is that there are literally too many options now for the game. If you just pick what Marvel superheroes you like, you might end up with a group of heroes that don’t synergize at all, and then the game is going to take way longer than it should be build up the combos that you’re generally looking for in deck building games. However, if you just have the base game, you have enough to keep yourself busy for a while. This is a game that I’ve grown to like more as I’ve played more deck building games.
82 – Arkham Horror 2nd Edition
Yes, this is not the new edition, in fact, the new edition that I’m stoked to try, it’s not on my list, because I haven’t tried it yet. It’s sitting on my shelf just waiting to get played. But this is the massive older version where you are going around Arkham and adventuring and closing gates, fighting monsters, and then probably losing for up to six hours. Like I said, it’s a massive game and that’s without any of the expansions. I’ve really only played this once, and not even my copy, but it was blast, it’s just hard to carve out that much time. I am probably going to keep this game, because it’s the first massive epic game I bought, but also because it seems different enough from the 3rd edition that I probably have room on my self for both. If you like that older grind of a game, this one still holds up well, and there are tons of expansions for it, but you’ll also need a giant table for it.
81 – Dead Men Tell No Tales
I was hoping that this game would replace Pandemic in some ways or be another cooperative option, and I think that it almost does that, but you’ll see where Pandemic falls on my list. In Dead Men Tell No Tales, you are a group of pirates who are going onto a ship that is haunted by ghosts, on fire, and has a skeleton crew, but you’re willing to brave all of that, because the captain will make you walk the plank, and there’s treasure on this burning ship. You take your turn, dealing with fire, taking out those skeletons, trying to build up so you can fight the ghosts, but doing all of that while the ship continues to burn, and you hope that it doesn’t get too bad so that you can’t get to where you need to. It’s like Pandemic in that you have a ton of things that you can do and you never feel like you have enough actions. Or that your actions won’t do anything, and that’s one cool thing about the game, if you only have two useful actions out of your four or five, you can pass your unused ones to the next player so that they can get more done. If you want something that’s cooperative and the theme seems more interesting than Pandemic, I think you’d enjoy Dead Men Tell No Tales.
We’re through another ten, I’m planning that next week, besides Wednesday which will be Halloween focused, I’m going to continue going through my top 100, otherwise it could take a while.
What game from this section looks the most interesting to you? Is there one that you’ve wanted to play? Is there one that would be higher on your own list?
Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!
Oh yeah, it’s Halloween time again. I think last year I did a few Halloween themed articles, this year, I’m going to do top five lists every Wednesday on different Halloween themed things in various mediums. Not sure which all topics will be covered, but…
Now, last time it was basically games that only played two players. With three players, it isn’t often that you find a game that just plays three players. Most of the time games say 2-4 or 2-5 players, because that sells a whole lot better than a game that needs a very specific number of players. So these are going to be games that I’ve played that I like with three players best.
5. Dead Men Tell No Tales
A cooperative game on the list, this one you are trying to rescue treasure from a pirate ship, dealing with ghosts, skeleton crew (all puns intended), and fires breaking out on the ship. If you have three players you have a nice range of powers, and the ship expands fast enough that you feel like your running around and it’s less contained. This is a tough cooperative game, but it’s a lot of fun, and you get that kind of Pirates of the Caribbean feeling with it. Definitely a game to check out for cooperative game fans, and it has some interesting mechanics with it that I’ve talked about on the action point list.
4. Lord of the Rings
Now, this isn’t the LCG (Living Card Game), this is the old board game. I do think it plays well with four as well as three. But I like it for it’s fast turns, and with three players you feel like you have enough players to have a shot, but it isn’t too long between turns. You’re going to see this come up later as well, the amount of times between turns. Keeping it moving fast is important in games because no one gets distracted or forgets what they are trying to do. I know it’s an older game so it isn’t always the easiest to find, but for someone who is a huge fan of Lord of the Rings, the game does have that travelling feel, and I guess the advantage of playing with five is someone can play as Fatty Bolger.
3. Ticket to Ride
Now, this one is good at any player count, but at three players the board is going to be the most open. So that is going to be the friendliest way to introduce someone to a game that can end up being a little cut throat with routes being blocked. Ticket to Ride, the North American map, is going to play very open and free flowing with three players and is likely going to get another non-gamer to like the train game if played that way. If played with five, or two, the map becomes quite tight and they couldn’t have fun if they get routes stolen before they can get to them just because of card draws. There might still end up being some of that, but it’s going to be less.
2. Dead of Winter
Now, this game can be played with a higher number, but I like it around that 3-4 player range. With two players, I don’t feel like you should play with the betrayer, with four players, the game can drag out a little bit long. With three players there is only one turn out of the three players turns you don’t have something to do. Either your taking your turn, or you at least get to check to see if the player triggers a Crossroads card. Even if you know immediately that the Crossroads card won’t be triggered, sitting through two turns while waiting for yours isn’t too long. Also, the more people there are, the harder it is to coordinate and actually win tough scenarios even if there isn’t a betrayer trying to screw you over.
I think I’ve said this before, but as my favorite game, I have to say I like it at my favorite player count. The reason I like it at three is that with Gloomhaven if it’s only two, you can probably spend more time figuring out the logic of what is going to happen when and really plan it out. With three players, you have to plan what you want to do and try and puzzle it out, but you also need a contingency so that your whole turn isn’t a waste. It forces you to not always do the best move but instead what might be the most versatile move. I also think that with four, it’s going to push that randomness too far out and you are going to have a number of wasted turns, especially if you have a character who isn’t that fast. For that reason Gloomhaven takes the top spot on my 3 player list.
Now, these are my person opinions, you’ll see on Board Game Geek that they disagree with me some (the community there), but these should all be enjoyable at the three player count.
What are some of your favorite games that you think really work the best at three players?
Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!
I’ve talked a lot about theme in board game before and how I like board games with a good theme on them. Instead of talking so much about why I like themes in board games, I think I’ve covered that decently well, I’m going to talk about some of my favorite themes in board games and why I like them.
Now, that could be less exciting, because there are a lot of generic themes out there, and a lot of games that are using themes over and over again. Especially now with copyrights not being extended to kingdom come, there are more works that are now public domain. A few years ago Sherlock Holmes became public domain and HP Lovecrafts work some time before that.
So what are some of my favorite themes on board games?
Epic Fantasy –
Super generic, but I really do enjoy a good fantasy game. Especially since a lot of them have a better developed story than most. Now it helps that I’m a big fantasy fan, so I can quickly understand what is going on with the various fantasy tropes and it allows me to get quickly into the story being told. Games like Gloomhaven and Legends of Andor do a good job of baking story into the actual game play themselves. I think what I like about the fantasy theme on board games is that it gives me a bit of that feeling of playing an RPG in a lot of the games and I can make my decisions like I am that hero. In a lot of ways it scratches my itch to play an RPG when I can’t be in a game as a player or as the GM.
I did a big board game battle post about all of the Fantasy Flight games that I’ve played with the HP Lovecraft world theme on them. I’m a bit surprised with how main stream Lovecraft is in board games, but it works in most of the cases. I will say that it gets slapped onto a lot of games that don’t need it. Like in Unspeakable Words, you’re just doing a pretty standard word game, but it has the Lovecraftian theme and cute Lovecraftian artwork on it. Now, that’s fine because it takes a game that wouldn’t have artistic direction and gives it some, but it’s kind of silly. Then there are games like Arkham Horror, Mansions of Madness, and Arkham Horror LCG that are just steeped in theme. Those games seek to make you feel like an investigator of some background who is really going through this world, dealing with the monsters, progressing the story, looking for clues, and sometimes dealing with the events of the normal world. It also does a good job of setting an aesthetic that is generally pleasing to play in but also being a horror focused game. It really doesn’t rely on blood and guts like some horror games would.
Another super generic option, like epic fantasy, but I figured I should say more than just Star Wars. While the Star Wars games are great that I’ve played, Imperial Assault and Star Wars: Rebellion, there are other sci-fi games out there that I’ve liked as well. It’s interesting because you have a wide variety of scope with games in the Sci-Fi genre. Games like Star Wars: Rebellion, Battlestar Galactica, and Cosmic Encounters are planet level Sci-Fi games. And while Cosmic Encounters doesn’t feel like quire as grand a scope as Rebellion, it’s still a bigger game in some ways. Compare that to Imperial Assault and Clank! In! Space!, those games have a focus that is much more on a smaller part of the world. You’re on a planet or in a space ship dealing with things, but you aren’t as worried about the whole cosmos. Having that variety is what makes Sci-Fi such a strong genre to me.
Now, there are so many more genres out there, but you’re not going to have that much issue finding games in these genres, and I tend to gravitate towards them. There is one that I want to see more of though.
Weird West –
I really enjoy the weird west setting. Some might say that it’s a bit Lovecraft mixed with the wild west, and that’s probably pretty accurate. But when people say a Lovecraft game, that’s generally meaning 1920’s and Arkham area. Weird west can be a lot more than just that, and I like Shadows of Brimstone for that, though I’ve only gotten it to the table once. I need to go back and fix the monsters and hopefully stream that game at some point in time so I can actually play it some more. But the game is interesting and has some cool big moments to it.
Now, some might say this is part of fantasy, but I think I would qualify it differently than “Epic Fantasy”. Theming of games like Lords of Hellas, which I haven’t played or Santorini which is really an abstract game, but has the Greek mythology added to it, that’s a theme that I can get behind. What makes it generally pretty thematic is that all the deities have their own powers which really do track with the mythology that you’re in. Even if you aren’t going the standard Greek, there are now a lot of games with Norse Mythology. Blood Rage on the cards you draft does a really good job of creating that mythological feel for each deity that you can draft cards from. In fact, those cards are where you really get the theme of Norse Mythology in Blood Rage.
I could go on talking about more themes in board games. There are games with a heavily influenced theme by Japan and/or Anime. There are games t hat have cool adventuring themes that give you the Indiana Jones feel. There are a few themes that I’ll generally avoid though. If a game has the “trading in the Mediterranean” theme, that’s a hard pass for me. I’m also kind of done with the zombie theme at this point. I do like Dead of Winter, so I’m not opposed to it, but a zombie themed game isn’t all that interesting to me most of the time.
What are some themes you like in board games. What are themes that you want to see more of in board games?
Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!