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Gen Con Recap Part 4 – Top 10 Games

So yesterday I went through everything that I played. I realized I wasn’t sure if I needed to do a Top 10 Games list, but I think it’s worthwhile talking about the games I liked best at Gen Con. Mainly because, which ones do I recommend checking out and why do I like them so much. Hopefully you’ll find some games on the list to checkout. You can read about everything here.

Top 10 Games at Gen Con

10 – Dwellings of Eldervale

Dwellings of Eldervale has been on my shelf for a while. And I even own the fancy version with the monster bases that make noise and all the nice tokens for it. But I never got around to playing it. This is one of those games that I grabbed a spot so I could learn how to play the game versus because I was interested in the game. I knew I was already interested int.

And the game did not disappoint. I enjoy the worker placement in it. And I like how each person starts out a little bit differently with their plans. The game has a good amount going on to it. And you need to think about everything that you are doing. But it doesn’t feel overwhelming. I got through a decent chunk of a game, probably 4 rounds, but we still weren’t near the end of it. I want to get it to the table and play it again. And I want to try some of the other factions out there to see how they are.

Dwellings of Eldervale
Image Source: Breaking Games

9 – Twilight Inscription

I signed up for this event late. Learn how to play probably the biggest roll and write game out there. And set in the world and style of something like Twilight Imperium, it should be the biggest. It was a learning event, which I think is worth noting for this game. I suspect it will move higher the more I play it.

Twilight Inscription has you doing a bit of everything. And it has you mainly focused on your own board. It is interesting and I appreciate that there is a little interaction. It comes in the form of combat where you compare against the players next to you. But it also comes in the form of racing to the capitol planet and goals. So a few points of interaction that takes a mainly solitaire game and turns it into something more.

This roll and write won’t be for everyone. It is two hours and it is huge. But if you are looking for a hefty game, I think that Twilight Inscription could work for you.

8 – Village Rails

Village Rails, not really a follow-up to Village Green, but feels a bit like it. I think, after one play, I slightly prefer Village Rails. Village Green does an interesting thing where you need to think about rows and columns. With Village Rails you think about how you complete train routes. That is a bit simpler in what you are doing.

But the game isn’t too simple. You need to balance placing train tracks down to get routes that score well with placing down engines to score points. It gives you enough to think about without locking you in as much as Village Green does. I think that’s the big difference. Village Rails feels less restrictive in what you are doing.

7 – Long Shot: The Dice Game

Another roll and write game, but the last one on the list. And I do think that as I play Long Shot: The Dice Game, it could move higher on the list. Long Shot: The Dice Game is a horse racing and betting game. At the end of the game, you want to have the most money, pretty simple.

But how it works is interesting. You roll two dice and that determines which horse moves forward. But on each horse card, it can activate other horses to move them around the track as well. So while one horse could run away with it, you still are moving horses racing for 2nd and 3rd. And then you have the concessions stand where you can fill in. And there you can manipulate horses, pushing some further back or others further ahead. It works nicely and is simple to get a grasp of.

Lost Ruins of Arnak
Image Source: CGE

6 – Lost Ruins of Arnak

Another one, like Dwellings of Eldervale, I own this one. But I hadn’t gotten around to playing it. There is something about learning euro games without playing them that is a bit harder. Probably just means that as I learn I should mess around with the board. Because Lost Ruins of Arnak is not a hard game to learn, and it’s a game with great decisions in it and a lot of fun.

I like how Lost Ruins of Arnak blends a few things. You have your worker placement that’s about exploring, fighting monsters, but really about getting resources to move up a research track. Then you have your deck building. You want to get cards that help with resources and fun moves to let you get more points. Finally, you have that research track which you go up to get even more resources, but generally to help you in your exploration. And the adventure theme works well.

5 – Batman: Everybody Lies

It’s hard to rank Batman: Everybody Lies, especially only off of the prologue. I now have played case one as well, and that was fun as well. So it could move up, but also when I do my Top 100 you’ll never see it. This is basically Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game, with a few differences, and it’ll get lumped with that. But here, it gets it’s own spot.

Like I said, this is basically Detective. You still read cards, look up files and investigate everything that is going on. But with Batman: Everybody Lies, you are also having personal objectives that you need to think about. And information that you might find out as Catwoman that you need to decide if you share or not. I don’t find it that big a twist or one that you need to lean into. It’s a solid twist and the Batman theme works well in the system.

4 – First Rat

First Rat is the type of game that I wouldn’t try normally. See my comments about not learning Euro games easily. First Rat is a euro game where you are trying to build your rocket, score points and get rats to the cheese moon.

The game works better than that sounds, though. And that sounds very cute. So when I say the game works better, I mean it’s very good. Mainly because you have multiple of your rats climbing up this ladder or path. You can move one up further by itself, up to 5 spaces. Or you can move slower and move two rats, ending them on spots that are the same color to basically take both of those actions. There is more going on, but the game is that balance of simple actions but tough decisions when taking those actions.

Oathsworn Into the Deepwood
Image Source: Shadowborne Games

3 – Oathsworn: Into the Deep Woods

Another one that I own. But I don’t blame myself for not getting this one to the table before. It came on the Tuesday before I left for Gen Con, so I had less than half a day with it around. And it is nice to learn a game from people who know it, granted, we only learned half of the game at Gen Con.

Oathsworn is a big adventure boss battling game. In Oathsworn you first do an investigation and story phase. Then once that is done, you dive into combat. This combat might be harder or easier depending on how you did in the previous part. I got to try out the combat and it is fun. I always talk about it, but being able to pick cards that remember that has been flipped before, or rolling dice, or a combination of both, makes the game feel different. I do wish I’d gotten the minis for the bosses now though.

2 – Ready Set Bet

Then we have Ready Set Bet. I actually suspect as I play more of these games most often, this one might drop. That isn’t to say that the game will get worse. But Ready Set Bet is easy to understand and get into right away when you play it. It is a real time racing game where one person is calling a horse race. They roll dice and move horses forward. Everyone else is betting in real time.

The fun of the game comes with the excitement of seeing how horses are doing. Trying to grab spots early that could pay out well, or maybe waiting longer and getting worse spots. Or when the long shots, the horses that move on a 2 and 3 or 11 and 12 start moving up and all of a sudden they are in the mix. I expect a good caller makes it more exciting but no matter what it should be a fun party game.

1 – Paint the Roses

Paint the Roses
Image: North Star Games

Paint the Roses takes my top spot. This game is maybe harder to explain without the board than some of the more complex games. Basically it is a deduction game. Each person has their own card. The easy ones are all about color combos. The harder ones could be shapes or really hard ones shapes and colors combined.

On your turn you put down a tile from your four choices. You do so in a way to try and give the best clue possible about the card that you have. For example, if I had two red roses, I could put a red rose tile next to two other red rose tiles. I then put two cubes on it because I’ve made two matches that work for my card. And anyone else can put cubes on it as well if it works for their card. Then you guess, and you have to, about someone’s card and hopefully you can figure out the right answer.

Whatever you do the queen will move as she tries and catch you. And you better hope you get it right because that’ll move your forward at least keeping pace with her. If you get it wrong, she’s going to start catching you, and with an Alice in Wonderland theme, if she catches you, it’s off with your heads.

Final Thoughts

I think that the Top 10 do stand out. Through some of the ones that just missed, Meadow, Fit to Print, and Flamecraft, they could end up pushing into that list if I got to play a full game of them. Probably the closest to being the list that surprised me for missing it was Hero Realms as I got in a full game play. It again could move up, I want to play it more because it is such a simple game but I love deck building. And the fantasy theme works for me.

Overall, I played a lot of fun games. I think down through my 21 (which includes three games I’d already played), I’d happily play them again. Even my 22 is not bad, but I’d consider owning all the ones above it. The 22, Let’s Dig for Treasure, it one that I’d gladly play if someone plopped it on the table at a bar. But that’s where I see that game.

If you could play one of my Top 10 games, which one would it be?

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