Top 100 Games (of all time) 2023 Edition – 60 through 51
It’s time to wrap up the bottom half of the list. Last night on Malts and Meeples YouTube channel I streamed what my 60 through 51 were in my Top 100 Games (of all time) 2023 Edition. Three new to me this year games made the list. So join with me and see what games made the list this year and which are your favorites or the ones that you’d want to play.
Catch up on my Top 100 Games (of all Time) 2023 Edition:
Top 100 Games (of all time) 2023 Edition – 60 through 51
60. Five Tribes
Five Tribes is a classic game at this point. One of the Days of Wonder games that put them on the map and is my favorite of them. This has a mancala style mechanic of picking up meeples and dropping one on each tile you move to. Then you gather the ones that match the color of the last one you place out and that determines what you’re doing, which is basically always getting points.
That’s another feature of the game that is great. You are always getting money, or points (same thing) in this game. No matter what action you do, it is likely to help you. To add to that, the money that you get is also what you use to pay for your turn order. So if you see an amazing move, it be worth paying to go first, but will what you pay offset the points that you get? And that’s part of the puzzle of the game.
I doubt that Mesozooic will make many or possibly any other Top 100 Lists. Why, this is a light and silly little drafting real time game of making your own Jurassic Park. But it is one that I really like. And I like it because it is fast and silly but still a good time with a little bit of strategy as you draft cards.
You get parts to your monorail system or zoo pens for the dinosaurs as you draft. Then you put them in a four by three grid and because you have one empty spot, you draft 11 cards, it’s basically a sliding puzzle. You then get 45 seconds, I believe, to slide everything around and get it in the order that gives you the most points. Where ever you are at when that time runs out is the zoo you have. So it’s possible to get it perfect, but it’s not that much time, so when to call it good enough is a big part of the game.
58. Res Arcana
Next up is Res Arcana. Res Arcana is a much thinkier game than the last one, but still not extremely complex. In Res Arcana you are taking your hand of cards, I believe it’s 8 cards, and building a points engine out of them. And the game is basically as simple as that. You do actions each round and when you are done with them all or all you want to do, going turn to turn, you take a special power that will help you the next round of turns.
This game is just a fun puzzle. You can play with the starter decks. I like drafting the cards I get better so that I can try and build up a synergy and get an engine going faster. But either way is fun to play. And Res Arcana is not that long a game which is great as well, so you get your engine going quickly in the game. I like that because it’s like there is a little to no downtime of the engine.
One of the new games, I played this one for the first time at Gen Con and I had an absolute blast with it. It’s a Pandemic like cooperative game in some ways. There is more going on with it, though. The structure of do your turn and then a bad thing happens is very Pandemic like.
The basic “story” of the game is that this Tesseract, a cube of dice has come to Earth. And we’re scientists of different types trying to solve the puzzle of it before it explodes, or implodes I should say, and kills everyone. Our actions are to collect and manipulate dice to get runs and sets and be able to put dice onto tracks matching their color and number. That is how we win, the game wins if the cube is gone, if too many overflows happen (Pandemic outbreaks), and possibly another way, I forget. So it’s a race against time and using your abilities the best you can.
And the dice cube, really is a five by five, I believe, cube. I said four by four yesterday, but think about it, I think it’s five by five. And that dice cube/tower is on a rotating board so that everyone can just turn it to see the other sides. It’s a clever system.
56. Potion Explosion
Another game with a gimmick is Potion Explosion. Potion Explosion reminds me of an app game where you pop a bubble and it causes the column to drop down. If two (or more) like colors hit again, they pop and so on. That’s what Potion Explosion is, and it’s great with that toy factor. It has a nice dispenser for marbles, and then you’re doing what I said, removing one and letting matching colors hit.
But it adds to that by giving you potions that you can craft. Those potions are then special powers that you can use one time. That’s help you get more marble, ingredients for your potion, and let you brew even more potions. It’s a fun game of optimizing which marble you take out of the dispenser with the powers that you have. Great toy factor, again, but also just a great game.
55. Forest Shuffle
Another new one to the list, Forest Shuffle is another game that I got to play for the first time at Gen Con. It’s a nature tableau building game, which, that theme or idea is very popular right now. I like how this one works a lot, though because it’s simple. You play from a handful of cards and are using cards in your hand to pay for the cards you want to play. So each card is dual purpose that way.
But they are also mainly dual purpose (besides trees) in that they have two things on them. It’s part of your forests habitat and ecosystem on the cards. So you put those cards around the trees you have in your forest. And you will show one or the other side. But which one you pick means you miss out on the other for scoring.
The end game trigger is fun as well. Three winter cards are shuffled in to the bottom of the deck. When the third one comes out the game is done. So you might find one and have a bit of time, or it might be ending really quickly after that. So you need to determine when you just need to play out cards versus go digging or picking up cards that might just get stuck in your hand and give you no points.
54. Grove: A 9 card solitaire game
My most played solitaire (solo) game of the year. Grove is a great game that is a ton of fun as you are building up your grove or orange, lemon, and lime trees. You do this by layering cards and matching the fruit that you are overlapping. And you can’t just overlap any trees, you get one overlap that doesn’t match, and that gives you negative points.
This probably sounds a lot like Orchard another game in that series. And what I’ve described is pretty similar. Where Grove is different is that each game you are playing against a challenge. Or you can choose to do that, but I always choose to do it. You get two challenge cards, they give you bonus points. But they also provide a point total between the two cards that you need to win. So it’s not just beat your high score, it gives you a target, for that game, to beat it.
53. Century: Golem Edition
Century: Golem Edition is one that has stuck on my list for a long time. It’s not one that I play often, but when I get it played, it’s always a good time. Century: Golem Edition is a game of hand management where you are playing out cards to get gems and transform/trade gems into better gems. Then you use those to get Golems, most golem points wins.
But what I like so much about this game are the quick and snappy turns. My turn is basically one of four things. I play a card to manipulate the gems that I have, whether that’s get more or transform them, get a card from the market, pick back up my played cards into my hand, or get a golem. It’s one thing per turn and the game just flies along because of that, plus it has good decisions.
Arboretum is one of those nature themed games where it looks pretty, and it’s pretty mean. But that’s what makes the game one of my favorites. In Arboretum you are building an ascending order of trees. And you score routes of trees that start and end with the same type of tree, always ascending numerically. Plus if you start with a one and end on an eight, both of those give you bonus points.
The tricky, and where the mean comes in, is that you don’t get to score all of your trees. At least not automatically. You need to have the most, card value wise, of that type of tree to be able to score it. So you might have built up a beautifully high scoring line of maples, but if you have a greater value of maples in my hand than you have, they are worth no points to you. And that is mean, but so much fun and adds in a layer of strategy and depth.
51. Cthulhu: Death May Die
Finally, the last new one for this part of the list, Cthulhu: Death May Die. This is one that I got to play for the first time at CMON Expo, and I just fell in love with it. It’s such a fun game of investigating, trying to stop the ritual, or whatever is going on, but knowing eventually you’ll need to fight a great old one. And when you start, you are not in a position where that is going to be possible.
It only becomes possible as you become more insane. The more insane you are, the most powers you can unlock. There are points on the sanity track where it lets you unlock a new power. So you get to decide which of your three tracks you want to go up on. One is unique to each character, and the others are a combination of generic ones. Like the brawler ability, it might let you hit a whole room with an attack, if you level it up, but it’s always a choice of what to level.
Then, of course, you can still die from insanity. So if you die from what, because you leveled up too fast, you’re out of the game and that messes up things as well. So it’s a ton of fun how it lets you push your luck but not too much with that insanity. And it’s also fun to get more powerful as the game goes on the closer to death you are.
Let’s run through the stream structure like I normally do. You might already know the schedule but in case you don’t. Wednesday at 8 PM Central I stream either a campaign game, or with this time of year it’s my Top 100 Games (of all time) 2023 Edition. And join me next Wednesday for games 50 through 41, so hitting the half way point. It goes so fast, and now I have so many games that I want to play.
Then on Monday I stream at 9 PM Central time. It’s generally a solo game. Though I’ll also do pack openings for things, like I should have a Lord of the Rings Collectors box coming for the new cards. But normally it’s a solo game and a one off for the game like a roll and write, or sometimes a game like Under Falling Skies which was on the list today.
But the best way, if you want to know when I go live or a new video goes up (it’s basically always live), please consider subscribing. You can do that here. And click that notification bell on the channel and you’ll always know when I go live.