Tag: Cartographers

Top 10: Roll and Write Games

Top 10: Roll and Write Games

I couldn’t have done this list a year ago but now I’ve played over 10 of them, and I have even more on my shelf that I need to play. Roll and Write games (or flip and write or flick and write) are a very 

Top 10 – Kickstarters I backed in 2020

Top 10 – Kickstarters I backed in 2020

So last night, GloryHoundd and DrGloryHogg did stream for their Top 10 Kickstarters of 2020. Turns out, unknown to me, that they were doing their Top 10 that they played in 2020, either from being fulfilled. So they asked for people to chime in, so 

The Collection A to Z – I C You There

The Collection A to Z – I C You There

We’re onto the letter C, and I was surprised with the number of games I had with the letter C. I thought that it might be one of the lower letters, but instead it is one of the higher numbers in terms of how many games I have in it, so let’s get started.

Numbers

A’sB’s

C’s

Calico

This is a game that I kickstarted last year after seeing it, not really demoing it though, at GenCon. The creator had a very little table set-up that was piggybacking off of another booth, and this game was there and it just looked so cute. In this game you are drafting tiles and playing tiles onto your quilt. If you get certain color or patterns you score points, there are some that are shared objectives, like different cats will want different patterns by each other, and if you can do that, you’ll attract that cat, or there are ways to get buttons which give points as well. The game should be a really good puzzle but not a game that you have a ton of rules to teach.

Status: To Be Played

Camel Up

I’ve wanted a racing game for a while, and while I do have another one that will show up in a little bit, that one is a longer and bigger game, I wanted one that could handle a number of players and play fast and silly, and Camel Up does that. You are betting on what camel is going to be in the lead on various legs of the race. What makes it even sillier is that the camels stack. So you don’t have a particular camel that is yours but you are petting on the camel you want to win. If you for example, roll the red die and the red camel has the blue camel on top of it, so you roll a two, that red camel will move with the blue camel on it two spaces forward. And the camel on top is in the lead. Once in a while I’ve seen this game fall flat, but more often than not it is that silly stand-up moment of what die will come out, what camel will move forward, because the more you win on your bets, the more points that you’ll have.

Status: To Be Played

Captain Sonar

This is another big group game, but it pits two teams against each other in submarine warfare in real time. You have tow teams with a captain a sonar operator, first mate, and engineer. Each of them is doing something different. The sonar operator is listening to the other teams captain to try and map out their path and figure out where they are on the board, the engineer is keeping the ship running the best that they can, and the first mate is prepping systems to be ready for use. If you figure out where a ship is and are close enough you can fire off a torpedo to try and hit them. The game is interesting, it has more strategy and the fact you can play it with eight and it’s not just a party game is so much fun.

Status: Played

Carcassonne

This is one of those classic gateway games up there with the likes of Ticket to Ride and Catan that people might have heard of. It’s on the shelves in Target with them. This is a tile placement game as you build out a board collectively building farm area, roads, and towns. You score points for placing out meeples into roads, but you only have a limited supply of them, and most of the time you can get them back, but you might not be able to, so you have hold some meeples back. When a meeple comes off the board for a completed town or a completed road, you get points, at the end of the game you get points for them if things aren’t completed as well, so you are trying to have enough meeples to put them down to score if you need, but not too many so you don’t end up with leftover meeples at the end of the game. It’s easy to teach and play.

Status: Played

Cartographers

Another game in that roll or flip and write category. In this one you are making a map set in the fantasy world of Roll Player games. You’ve been sent out to be a royal cartographer, and are mapping the villages, farm lands, rivers, and forest while also mapping out where the monsters are. The big thing that this game does, which I really like, is that you score things by season. So if I were scoring in the first season I’d score cards A and B, next season B and C, and then in the fourth season D and A again. So you have to balance your scoring and think about what will help you now and help in the future, or what doesn’t matter, because after the second season you won’t score B again. The game is fast and fun, and I’m excited for more stuff that I have coming from their latest Kickstarter.

Status: Played

Castle Panic

This one I’m a little bit surprised it’s still on my shelf and that I haven’t sold it, but it is such a good and simple cooperative game. I like that everything is played open, you have very simple zones for everything and where damage can be done. I don’t play this one often anymore, but I’m keeping it around because when the toddler is older it’ll be a nice simple game to play with them and something that we can play as a whole family, but I’ve had fun with it before, and there is a nice little bit of tension too it though you win more often than you lose.

Status: Played

Cat Cafe

This one is a true roll and write game, with a little bit of dice drafting. In this you are trying to make your best cat cafe. And you are scoring points off of certain things that the cats like, such as food dishes or toy mice. You also score points by filling up cat trees, the first person to get one filled in scores more points than the next person. There is some strategy in the dice drafting and the game works well. The game has a cute theme which was the big selling point, and some of the worst dice I’ve seen, but I replaced them with dice with cats on it, so it’s all better. Definitely a fun one that I need to play again.

Status: Played

Century Golem Edition

If I were to have a go to engine building game, Century: Golem Edition would probably be it. This is a fast and fun game where you are getting gems to collect golems. You do that by either taking a card to add to your hand on your turn, playing a card to get gems or upgrade gems, spending gems to get a golem, or picking back up all your cards. The game is simple and fast, but you can create some really powerful engines that will turn out a lot of gems fast if you can, and the game has great components, a great carrier for the gems, the gems themselves are cool, overall, such a fun and fast engine builder with a table presence that really sells the game.

Status: Played

Champions of Hara

I picked this one up after watching a playthrough on the Gloryhoundd YouTube channel. This seems like a fun game with a lot of depth of story to it without really being a story game. And the game components just look amazing. The modular board is cool, the areas of the world are very interesting, and the fact that you upgrade your character as you go throughout the game also helps sell it for me. Finally, the aesthetic of this game is just amazing, really a huge selling point when a game looks good and looks good.

Status: To Be Played

Charterstone

I still need to finish this one, there were several children that were born which derailed the game, and I think we have one or two games left of it, we’ll see if we get back to it, or I might buy a refresh pack and play it with another group. This is a simple worker placement legacy game that builds over time. It pretends like it has some story, but really it’s just a fun worker placement game, and I’m not always the biggest fan of worker placement. The rules do grow into more, but there are a lot of nice things about the game, and you won’t really be able to have a runaway leader through the game since it is competitive with how it’s balanced. Overall, this game is slipping for me a little bit, just because I can’t play it until we’ve finished it or I spend money to refresh it, and I need to group to play with then.

Status: Played

Image Source: Stonemaier Games

Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger

If you liked the goofy Choose Your Own Adventure books growing up, this game fits that perfectly. It’s a light silly and fun game, which doesn’t have you start over when you die thankfully. If you want something that feels like nostalgia, this is a good one, and I think that it goes over well with most groups. Definitely more of an experience than a game, but that’s what I waned from a game with Choose Your Own Adventure in the title.

Status: Played

Chronicles of Crime

Another one that I got to demo a little bit at GenCon in 2019, this one is an interesting tech assisted crime game. You use that feels like VR on your phone to look around a crime scene, you scan QR codes to investigate things, question people, take stuff to the lab and more all as you try and solve the case. I love the idea of this game as I really do love deduction games (keep in mind I said deduction not social deduction). This one is a bit lighter and simpler than some deduction games that might show up in different letters, but still such a good concept and excution from what I saw.

Status: To Be Played

Clank! In! Space! and Clank Legacy

I like deck building games, that’s why I have multiple versions of Clank. I don’t have the original version though where it is dungeon delving in a fantasy setting. Instead I went with the space version which has a lot of fun and silly sci-fi references sprinkles across the cards. And I knew when Clank! Legacy was announced with an Acquisitions Inc theme on it I was going to get that as well. The space game does enough more than just deck building to make it an interesting challenge and I like the push your luck in the game, even if I don’t always do the best at it.

Clank! In! Space! Status: Played
Clank! Legacy Status: To Be Played

Clue

A classic, but a good one. This is another simple deduction game that I mainly keep on my shelf because it is such a classic. I think that my copy of the game has been played maybe twice in about a decade. It does have roll and move which generally I don’t like in a game and only kind of works in this game because you basically always want to make an guess on something to see what information you can get. But if you already know everything you want from one room and roll poorly, you might just be stuck out in the middle. Still for a simple deduction game, it isn’t bad at all.

Status: Played

Codinca

This is an abstract game that I picked up a while ago. It’s all about manipulating/flipping tiles in order to try and complete patterns on cards. The first person to complete a certain number wins. I like the simple concept of the game, though the round cards are a bit weird. It falls into that category of a game that is simple to teach but could have some turns where you really have to think about what you’re going to do.

Status: To Be Played

Conan

This was a game that I bought because it was 50% off, I wasn’t sure when I’d get to play it I know that the rule book is very bad. But I liked the idea of this game. In it you are taking Conan and some other characters up against another person who is running the bad guys for the scenario. What is so interesting is the gaining and spending of energy and activating certain troops might be what you want to do, but when you do, you push them further down the river so it’ll cost more to do so again as the person playing the bad guys. Definitely a really interesting concept with a lot of cool looking minis and a Conan theme that is pretty fun.

Status: To Be Played

Cosmic Encounter

This is an old board game that plays a lot like a new board game. In Cosmic you are a wheeling and dealing alien race who is trying to colonize a certain number of planets. Now, you do that by on you turn picking what planet you’re going after, how many ship you’re sending, and then the fun starts. You can recruit other people to help you and you also spend cards to improve your total. You can negotiate with the person you’re going against to maybe go for a draw and getting something else in return besides knocking them off the planet, it’s a really fun idea. This game does depend on the group some, but when I have played it, I like it. Oh, and the alien powers can mess everything up.

Status: Played

Cowboy Bebop: Boardgame Boogie

This game caught my eye as Cowboy Bebop is one of my favorite anime, so I thought I’d give the game a whirl. Another one that I saw and purchased at GenCon. This is a cooperative game where you play as crew members and work your way through their story arcs, dealing with obstacles, having to bring in bounties and things like that. I like the theme and the game play while it doesn’t seem complex definitely seems like it should be thematic fun.

Status: To Be Played

The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine

This game has been on fire, figuratively, this year. It’s a trick taking game oddly enough, but it is a cooperative trick taking game where you are trying to get certain players to take certain tricks to get a card of a certain color or number, or someone might not want to win a trick, otherwise you’ll lose that level. It limits communication like most trick taking games do, but just seems like such a fun game and one that you can sit down, set-up a mission, play, and do another mission if you want or two even and be done within an hour at most.

Status: To Be Played

Image Source: Fantasy Flight

Cribbage

A classic game for a reason, I like Cribbage quite well, especially as a bar game. It’s so small you can pull it out at a brewery, throw it onto the table and play a few games while having some beers, it works really well. I like the card play and the scoring for it that you’re always thinking about. It’s a classic, don’t need to say much more than that.

Status: Played

Criss Cross

Another roll and write on the list, the smallest roll and write that I have. I really like this one because of how fast and tricky it is. Now this one has more luck than some because guessing right on what die face might randomly show up, is helpful, but how you place in the dice faces on your sheet is even more important. And how you place the dice is interesting. You need to use them almost as a domino so that they are touching, you can orient them however you want, but they need to be touching like the two halves of a domino. Then you score both vertical and horizontal by how many adjacent symbols you have in the row or column. Good, little, and fast.

Status: Played (a lot)

Cross Clues

I picked this one up for playing on digital board game nights. Cross Clues is a fun game where you have a grid. You might have in row A the word stick, and in column 4 the word witch. So if you have the A4 card in your hand, you have to give a clue to get people to guess it, it might be something like broom. Broom handles are sticks and witches ride on brooms. But if the word in row B was clean, now that clue isn’t as good. So you’re trying to find that clue that works for that one right spot for the card you have. You can play it with a timer, which I think would work well in person, but digitally we play without.

Status: Played

Cry Havoc

This is a game that I really do want to play more. It’s an interesting area control and fighting game all at the same time. Like Blood Rage, but also really not like Blood Rage in a lot of other ways. You are coming to an alien planet to get a resource, it’s a very classic movie trope, and there are natives there. What is really interesting is how the different factions play. There are mechs, humans, pilgrims, and the natives, and the natives start out with the best board presence and will score more gems, the pilgrims are trying to just collect gems and create their own pool of scoring that no one can take away, humans and mechs need to spread out and win more battles. The combat is interesting as well with how you allocate your troops to different areas of majority control, killing, and capturing.

Status: Played

Image Source: Portal Games

Cthulhu Fluxx

If you want to find a version of Fluxx on any topic, IP, anything, you basically can. Fluxx is what you hope will be a fast little filler card game where you are trying to get the right set-up of cards in front of you to win the game. And the rules are always changing. The game can be a bit of a mess to keep track of the rules, but that’s part of the silly fun of it. Definitely doesn’t get played all that often, because while it should be a short filler it can sometimes run long.

Status: Played

Cyclades

Final one that starts with the letter C, Cyclades is another area control, influence game where you are fighting to build and control a number of a cities. All of this while bidding for your power and turn order as to what god will shine their face on you that round and what actions you can take. It’s an interesting idea and I think one that I’d really enjoy, however, it hasn’t hit the table after quite some time. I’m not ready to get rid of it though because it does seem like a really good game.

Status: To Be Played

That was a lot of C’s, what is your favorite game that starts with the Letter C? Is there one based off of my list thus far of what I own that you think I should get for hte letter C?

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TableTopTakes: Ganz Schon Clever

TableTopTakes: Ganz Schon Clever

It’s been a while since I’ve done a board game review. I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of Point of Order articles come up and go in that time because I can buy games, but I can’t play all that many of them. But one 

Holiday List – Stuff the Stockings with Board Games

Holiday List – Stuff the Stockings with Board Games

Yesterday I talked about games that would work well for that just slightly too competitive person in your life. You still want to get them board games, but which ones, today I’m looking at smaller games. These are the games that are going to be 

MY TOP 100 BOARD GAMES 2020 EDITION – 40 THROUGH 31

MY TOP 100 BOARD GAMES 2020 EDITION – 40 THROUGH 31

Getting close to the end, the top 100 are all games that I really do love and would want to play basically whenever someone asks but as we get higher in the list, and I think about and write up about these games, I always want to play them again immediately, if I could, which generally, for some odd reason, I can’t play them immediately.

100 to 91

90 to 81

80 to 71

70 to 61

60 to 51

50 to 41

Plus a few notes on how I’ve put together the list:

  • These are my favorite, you want what people consider best, see the Board Game Geek Top 100
  • If a game you love isn’t on the list, it might be be coming, I might not have played it, and if I have, it’s 101
  • If a game looks cool, I have links to buy it from CoolStuffInc or Amazon, or you can grab most at your FLGS
  • There are a few games, Destiny 2 Player versus regular Destiny where if they are basically the same thing, I only do one of them
Image Source: Stronghold Games

40. Second Chance

Dropping a ways on the list, I still really like Second Chance, and it’s such a peaceful game to play and easy game to teach that I’ve played it quite a lot. And that’s probably the reason for it dropping, just wanting a bit more variety in what I’m doing. In Second Chance you are using Tetris like shape, polyomino shapes, to fill in a grid. Every turn you have two different ones you can choose from and you goal is just to fill in as much as you can. if there are ever shapes flipped that you can’t put on your board, because the shapes are just wrong for you, you then get a second chance. That is a single card flipped, just for you, to keep you in the game. The game is very simple, very fast to play, but is a very calming game to play as well. It’s also fun to doodle in the shapes so that you end up with a unique looking board.

Last Year: 15

Image Source: Evil Hat

39. The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game

I can’t really say why this one has dropped so much, I’ve even played it a number of times recently. I still really enjoy the game, I think that this is one that actually works pretty well over Zoom, especially if both players have the game. The best way to describe this game is that you are trying to beat the puzzle that is a Dresden Files book. You are trying to solve more cases than you have bad guys left standing at the end. That means you might need to beat down a lot of villains or you might need to focus on cases, plus there are obstacles to overcome and advantages to grab. The game is a lot of fun if you know the series well, and I think with the exception of the last two books, the last one which just came out, I’ve read all of them at least twice. The story is really interesting and really good, and this game doesn’t have a ton of theme, but if you know the books, you give it theme as you play through the books with the characters.

Last Year: 14

38. Cartographers

Another roll and write on the list, and one that I just recently talked about because there is a standalone expansion for it on Kickstarter. This game is all, as the name suggests, about making maps. You are score points depending different scoring cards, two for each season. You are filling in polyomino shapes again, and trying to get those to match up with the scoring. There are four different land types, villages, forest, fields, or water and they will all score in a different way, depending on what the scoring is. Plus, there are monster cards, and this is something unique for a flip and write or roll and write, where you pass your sheet to the player to the left or right and let them fill in the monster on the worst spot possible. The game has a lot of interesting elements to it with the monsters and with the scoring of the seasons, so A and B scoring cards in spring, but then it comes back around to A again in Winter, so you score it at the start and end. Not complex, but a few interesting things to keep track of and a theme that works well.

Last Year: 39

Image Source: Fantasy Flight Games

37. Star Wars: Rebellion

Dropping down the list is Star Wars: Rebellion, and that’s mainly because I haven’t gotten to play it in a long time. This is a great game and a big game. It’s “Star Wars in a box” as Sam Healy used to say on The Dice Tower. In this game one team is the empire trying to track down and hidden rebel base, all the while, the rebels are trying to cause unrest and complete missions in the Imperial systems. It’s an interesting game of cat and mouse between the two and makes a really fun time. This is a big game, and it take a long time to play, probably 3 hours, but it is very immersive and time flies by. For some people there’ll be a negative of dice combat, but there’s an expansion that helps with the randomness of that, and I don’t mind it at all, personally. Really good game, and if you are a Star Wars fan and a gamer, you’ll probably like this game.

Last Year: 11

Image Source: Thunderworks Games

36. Roll Player

Second Roll Player game on this chunk of the list, technically. The other being Cartographers. Roll Player is interesting because I’ve enjoyed the game every time I play it and the dice drafting aspect is a lot of fun. With that said, I always want a little bit more from the game. I know that I’m going to be getting that with Roll Player Adventures when that comes out, so I’m excited for that, and there are expansions that add more to Roll Player itself that I need to try. But in this game you are drafting dice and using them to create a D&D/RPG character. You have your stats, you are getting them from when you have place three dice, so it’s really D&D like. And for me, making characters is a lot of fun, you gear them up nicely and then you score points off of skills you have, where your stats are at, and where certain dice are placed for your background. It’s not a complex game and a fun way to do drafting.

Last Year: 57

Image Source: Druid City Games/Skybound Games

35. The Grimm Masquerade

Now, I don’t like social deduction games for the most part. The Grimm Masquerade is a combination of social deduction and deduction that I like quite well. In this game you are all going to a fancy masquerade ball and you are Grimm fairy tale characters in disguise. You are trying to figure out who everyone else is. You are doing this by trying to either bust a player by giving them a card that they don’t want, or through process of elimination guess who someone is. All the time you are trying to collect the gift that you want. They make this work in an interesting way because on your turn, you can do a special action if you want or have the cards to do one, but mainly you are drawing a card and giving it away or keeping it and then doing the other thing with the other card. So you might accidentally bust yourself if you aren’t careful, or you might pass something away that you wanted because you have to, but can you keep a poker face while doing that? It’s a clever little game and the special powers that you can play with make the game feel different each time you play it.

Last Year: Not Ranked

Image Source: Grimlord Games

34. Village Attacks

A GenCon play for me last year, this one has maintained a pretty high spot on my list while I wait for my copy to come from their most recent Kickstarter. In this game instead of playing the villagers or “heroes” standing up against the monsters, you are playing the monsters as the villagers ruin their peaceful evening in their lair by kicking down the door and trying to kill you, kill your lair, or complete some other objective. This is a cooperative game of tower defense where you are killing villagers, leveling up, killing more, and hoping you can survive the onslaught. Overall, it’s a dark game, look wise, and the monsters are monstrous, but it feels and plays pretty light. The theme somehow feels more goofy than it does dark, and it really just works well. The dice use for determining actions works well so that you can’t plan everything, and the leveling up is fun to do in game. I like also that it is scenario based, but not campaign based so you can pick it up and play easily.

Last Year: 29

Image Source: Gamewright

33. Sushi Go Party!

This is one of my favorite big group filler style games. This is a card drafting set collection game where everyone is going at the same time, picking a card from their hand, building up their collection, passing their cards, and then once all the cards have been drafted scoring them and doing it all over again. The concept of the game is simple, but it works well because how the sets score are different and because you can mix in a variety of special ability cards that can change up how you draft cards or help you complete sets. There is a basic version of this game with out the variability of being able to switch up your cards, but Sushi Go Party! is really cheap so I recommend it instead. I think that variability is what keeps it so high on my list because it is a filler game, but for something that plays a large number of people, it is better than a lot of filler or group style games.

Last Year: 31

Image Source: Board Game Geek

32. Draftosaurus

Another filler game, but this one with a lower player count. But that works because it is another fun drafting game, three on this section of the top 10. In Draftosaurus you are building you best dino park, you do that by drafting dino meeples and placing them into your park. However, there is a die rolled each turn and that determines where you have to place the dino, unless you were the one to roll the die in which case you can put it anywhere. You have a number of different pens and each scores differently. One will give you more points for each different type of dino you have in the pen, others will score you points for pairs of dinos. The game is super fast and super cute because of the dinosaur meeples, and while you are drafting from a hidden hand, the game is so fast that it really doesn’t matter if others see what dinos you have. This is one that when people see the box or see it on the table, even if they aren’t gamers, they’ll want to try it.

Last Year: Not Ranked

Image Source: Board Game Geek

31. Tokyo Highway

Another one that I got at GenCon but didn’t get it to the table until after I ranked for last years list. This game is an amazingly beautiful production, and the same company that is doing Crash Octopus which I did a Back or Brick on. In this game you are building out the Tokyo Highways system. Roads going every which way, and you are stacking and balancing them. This isn’t that precarious, but when you cross over or under another road you can balance a car on your section of road, because the goal is to get your cars out as fast as possible, but you don’t want to knock over the other roads because that can cost you your pylons which you use to get your road over or under the other ones. I think that really makes this game more than just your normal simple dexterity game is the beauty of it. This looks so amazing on the table, it really is an art piece almost when you are done. And the rules and concept are simple so it’s not a convoluted game, but there’s enough going on that it’s not just a stacking game like Jenga. Overall a lovely game.

Last Year: Not Ranked

So there were a number of games in this section that I hadn’t played last year when I did my list, which is kind of fun to see all the new and fun games that are coming out. It’s interesting to see what games have moved up and down even for myself and I plan on seeing which ones have fallen off when I do a retrospective on my list at the end of this. As always, I do want to ask, what one sounds the most interesting or is your favorite in this 10?

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Back or Brick: Cartographers Heroes

Back or Brick: Cartographers Heroes

Make a map of the lands in this flip and write game based off in the Roll Player world by Thunderworks Games. Pros Established company Established Game Good Price and Great Shipping (to US) No Stretch Goals Cons No Stretch Goals Pseudo Kickstarter Exclusive Content 

Board Game Mechanics – Roll/Flip and Write

Board Game Mechanics – Roll/Flip and Write

This is a mechanic that more people are going to be familiar with because we have a game that has been in this mechanic for a long time, and that is the game Yahtzee. But Yahtzee only really covers the roll part, so how are 

Top 10 – Games with Unique Mechanics

Top 10 – Games with Unique Mechanics

There are a lot of games out there that are based off of other games that feel pretty similar to them. Ascension and Dominion are both Deck Building games, and they really don’t do that much mechanically unique from a lot of other deck building games. But every now and again, there are games that do something different, something that makes them fell mechanically unique. I already did a list of unique themes that you can find here. Let’s see what I can find for unique mechanics.

10 – Potion Explosion
Now, Potion Explosion is not that unique in terms of video games, but for a mechanic in a board game it has something very cool. You are taking/collecting marbles to mix together in your potion. That piece is pretty standard set collection fare that you see in a lot of games, but it has a mechanic where, because you are pulling marbles from a tray and then more marbles drop in, that if you pull a marble and then like colored marbles hit, you take those marbles, and if more like colored marbles hit, you can take those, so you can set-up a big chain reaction of marbles to use on your potions. It’s a simple mechanic to add into the game, but they execute it well with the tray that holds the marbles and allows them to roll. There’s also more strategy than it feels like there would be, but is still a simple game to teach.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

9 – Captain Sonar
This one is interesting to have on the list, because I don’t know that it has a single completely unique mechanic, but the combination of trying to figure out hidden movement, breaking down and repairing systems, and navigating all at the same time, and getting systems loaded, there’s just a lot going on in this hectic game. But they work together extremely well. You get that pressure of trying to hunt down the enemy sub and figure out where they are and what they are up to. And if things go poorly and you need to resurface, all of a sudden they have a chance to find you. This game is also interesting because it’s a big group game but doesn’t have a party game feel.

8 – Dice Forge
I believe that there are a couple other games that have done this, but none, in my opinion, as successfully as Dice Forge, and that is dice customization. In this game, which is basically just a seeing who can get the most victory points over a few rounds, you are swapping out the faces on your dice so that you can get more of several different resources, whether it’s to purchase more and better cards that give you points, or if it’s money that you can spend to get more points, or maybe even just more points. The game gives you a number of strategies for it. But the most fun part is popping off the side of a die and replacing it with something better which really then allows you to customize your strategy going forward.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

7 – Hats
Hats is an interesting one to put on the list because it’s just a very small card game and all you’re doing in it is collecting hats in front of you and trying to keep what you want for scoring on the table at the Madd Hatter’s tea party. But how it works is interesting because the cards you get for scoring are from the table. So if you aren’t careful, you could set it up that a color of hat you’ve been collecting might not be able to be scored anymore. So it’s a give and take of collecting a variety of hats but also keeping a lot of scoring options open. It can be pretty thinky at two players. Just the play of the table and how you get cards in front of you feels different and unique to me. So many games you use your own hand for scoring, but in Hats, what you have in your hand, you might not use for scoring at all.

6 – Photosynthesis
First the theme is quite unique, growing trees is not that common a theme, but it has one really interesting and cool mechanic and that’s the sun. In this game the sun rotates around the board and there are games that do that with the moon as well, but the sun rotating can determine if you’re tree is going to get any sunlight and give you points to grow your trees more so and eventually remove your biggest tree which will get you points. But the game is played a certain number of rotations of the sun, and there are a number of spots it can be, but the taller the tree is, the more shade it casts, so it’s a balancing act of blocking your opponents trees at times while getting your own to get the sun in a lot of situations or consistently getting energy to use from the sunlight.

Image Source; Geek Alert

5 – Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game
Not the most unique mechanic anymore, because they’ve come out with two more Crossroads games, though only one of them has been well received. But Dead of Winter is a zombie survival game where you have a main objective, personal objectives, and possibly a traitor, but what makes it unique is that there are Crossroads cards. These cards will only get triggered in certain situations, maybe if you take a certain action or go to a certain place or have a certain character. But that’ll immediately interrupt your turn and you’ll be given a little bit of story and then have to make a decision, it can be something that might help the colony, but most of the time it isn’t and you’ll have to choose between a couple of bad options. It’s a fun mechanic that adds more theme into the game and makes a pretty tough game considerably harder.

4 – Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension
You’ve been sucked through a wormhole and are being pulled into a black hole, so you really need to get out of the 9th Dimension. Fortunately you have a bunch of random elements on the ship that you can use for fuel, unfortunately you’re not sure how well they’ll work. What makes this unique is that the elements do different things, they’re all going to move someone, but some might move you towards the nearest ship, some might push you away, or some might pull ships towards you. And when your ship fires off is completely dependent upon the element that you’re using. The elements fire in alphabetical order, so you might have a card that’ll move you a long ways but it’s later in the alphabet, so you need to use that when you’re confident that it’ll pull you towards a ship that’s ahead of you, and not the wrong way. It’s a simple mechanic but one that works well and causes a lot of tough decisions to be made.

Image Source: Renegade Games

3 – Cartographers
This flip and write does a fair number of things that other flip or roll and write games have done before, or even other board games with the scoring set-up. And combined those by themselves are pretty unique, but there’s one very unique thing that this game does. It causes you to pass your sheet and someone else will write on it. As you are creating your map, monsters might show up, and when they do, you pass your sheet either left or right and that other player puts the monster in the least useful spot possible. And you get negative points if you can’t completely the map around the monsters. Just that screwing over of your fellow players is very interesting and normally roll and writes can be a bit solitaire so this adds in some more interactions.

2 – Xenoshyft: Onslaught
So, in the introduction I gave an example of how a lot of deck building games aren’t that unique. I think that Xenoshyft: Onslaught does something unique in how you can use the cards. In most deck building games, even cooperative ones like Aeon’s End, there are certain steps that you have to do to help the other players at the table. In Xenoshyft, however, you can simply pass them a card while you are setting up your defenses. This means that the person in charge of the armory who can get weapons cheaper can pass the medic a weapon, or maybe someone has six troops in their hand, they can pass an extra to another player to add to their line of troops. Compared to other cooperative deck building games, and actually many cooperative games in general, this one allows you to cooperate and collaborate more on what you are doing.

Image Source: CMON

1 – Betrayal at House on the Hill
Now, this one I’m putting here because of the two halves on the game. There are other games that have multiple distinct parts, Galaxy Trucker for example, but with Betrayal at House on the Hill, you go from a tense cooperative game of exploring a house, mainly tense because you don’t want someone to get too much stuff or too powerful, to a game where it is one versus all as someone becomes the traitor. It does a good job, in my opinion of balancing the tension. There’s less to say on this one, because the mechanic is pretty simple, find enough omens, have a bad enough roll and bad things will happen.

Now, I’m sure I’m missing some that I’ve played and many that I haven’t played that could be unique or do a twist on some more common mechanic. What are some of your favorite games with unique mechanics?

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Top 10 Unique Theme Games

Top 10 Unique Theme Games

I saw someone suggest this on the Dice Tower Facebook group thinking that it’d be an interesting idea. Now, there are two ways to go about this. It could be my top 10 games that I like that have unique themes, or the top 10