Tag: Century

Holiday List: Games for the Casual Gamer

Holiday List: Games for the Casual Gamer

When buying gifts, sometimes I do that to try and improve someone’s collection of games, and by that, I mean to move beyond the likes of the Monopoly, Clue, Scrabble, Chutes and Ladders, and Candyland that most househoulds have had, and take those people who 

Back or Brick: Project L: Finesse

Back or Brick: Project L: Finesse

This polymino game has you filling in spaces on cards, trying to get the most points in a light engine building game. Pros Established company Engine Building Expansion and base game Good price Quality components Cons No base game only level The Page I like 

MY TOP 100 BOARD GAMES 2020 EDITION – 50 THROUGH 41

MY TOP 100 BOARD GAMES 2020 EDITION – 50 THROUGH 41

We’re onto the top half of my Top 100 games. We’ve seen a number of games drop out of the top 50 so far, that means we’re either going to have new games or games that have rise, you’ll have to find out. You can find links to the previous parts below:

100 to 91

90 to 81

80 to 71

70 to 61

60 to 51

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: Z-Man

50. Onirim

I think this is the purely solo game on the list and it’s dropped a little bit, but I’m still enjoying it a lot. The app is great for playing this game, but I do like the physical one as well. In this game you are trapped in a nightmare and trying to escape, to do this you are trying to find eight doors. This is done by playing down cards in a row where you are trying to get three cards of the same color in a row, when you do you find a door. But there are nightmares in the deck that are trying to stop you, you have a few different ways you can deal with them. I think that’s where the game really is interesting, because there are powerful key cards that can just get a door in without any hassle, but they are also be used to deal with a nightmare. Or you could discard cards off the top of the deck, but that might get rid of a key. Or you can discard your hand or put a door back into a deck. There’s a good amount of strategy in what seems like a small and random card game.

Last Year: 36

Image Source: Board Game Geek

49. Stipulations

One of my top party games, this is one that I’m glad I backed on Kickstarter, but glad that I didn’t back the “adult” version of it. In this game a person picks from four different categories, you might have a superpower, an occupation, lifetime supply of something, or a fulfilled dream, but then, everyone writes a stipulation for it, and you pick your favorite. This game works really well because you can tailor it for your group. If it’s a bunch of college friends drinking, you can make it as adult or dirty as you want, if it’s Christmas with your great aunt and 10 year old cousin, you can make it clean. And it can just get silly, like most party games and eventually people end up writing down weird stuff or reoccurring jokes. It’s really the same concept as a Cards Against Humanity or Apples to Apples, but it’s much more replayable because you aren’t using cards to answer/fulfill the prompt, which means you can change up your answer for a stipulation for the superpower of flight from “But only when you fart” to “But never more than 6 inches off the ground.” and the prompt will feel different when you play.

Last Year: 42

Image Source: Bezier Games

48. Silver

This one wasn’t ranked last year because I hadn’t played it much, it was just one time at GenCon where I kind of got the rules. But I’ve played it a lot since, I’ve probably played the physical game 10-15 times this year, and Silver Bullet expansion 3 times, and the app who knows how many times, but a lot. I am really enjoying this game now and the standalone expansion(s) – I have two, but only played one. In this game you are trying to get your village of 5 cards down to the fewest points possible. The trick is your cards are face down and you only know at the start of a round what two of them are. Cards have values from 0 to 12 and each card has a special power. You can use them for a power, or you can swap out cards with what you’ve drawn or is on top of the deck. If you have two of the same number you can trade in those two for one card, which allows you to get down in cards and lower the number of points you can possibly have. There’s some luck with the game for sure, but overall it’s a very fast and fun game that is a bit mean with a bunch of take that cards, especially in the Silver Bullet expansion, but still a lot of fun.

Last Year: Not Ranked

Image Source: Board Game Geek

47. Wits & Wagers

Another party game on the list, this time it’s Wits & Wagers which is a classic party game at this point. In Wits and Wagers you are putting down a best guess or a random number, so some trivia question, it might be something like “How many goals did Pele have in his professional career?” Everyone writes down a number, you sort the numbers and then you bet on who you think was the closest without going over. If you’re right you get more chips to bet or to save because however much money you have at the end is your score. This game works well because you don’t need to know anything about soccer. I know a fair amount, so if you’re playing with me and know that, you can bet on my guess even if you guessed either 10 or 10 million for your number. So you get to play the people and think about who might know an answer, or at least have a better clue than you. The answer, by the way, is over 1,000 for goals by Pele, just in case you get that question sometime.

Last Year: 68

Image Source; Geek Alert

46. Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game

This one has dropped a bit for me as you can see. I do really enjoy this game a lot, and I would gladly play it, the only reason I don’t play it more is because it’s a bit of a longer game. This is a game about surviving the zombie apocalypse, for a scenario, with everyone having their own goals, and potentially having a traitor in your midst. This is one of those semi-cooperative games where it tries to make everyone look guilty to help hide the traitor. That is one slightly issue that I have with the game, if you beat the scenario, and a lot of them are hard just purely cooperative, you still don’t win unless you get your secret objective. But the rest of the game works really well, and I consider it a half win if you beat the the scenario. This game also has a thing called Crossroads cards, which is why it has crossroads in the name. These cards offer you tough choices that you’ll have to make during the game and are one of the highlights of the game. We have a house rule for them where instead of drawing one and seeing if it happens on someone’s turn, you draw two and if one of them happens, you do the crossroads event. It just highlights that fun part of the game more. Overall, a really enjoyable game that is just tricky to get to the table all the time because of it’s length.

Last Year: 18

Image Source: Board Game Geek

45. Ascension: Deckbuilding Game

For a lot of people Dominion is their gateway or introduction to deckbuilding, but I don’t like Dominion, so for me, Ascension is the one that I’d use. This is a pure deck building game where you are getting cards and adding them to your deck to buy more cards and fight monsters. Why I like this one so much better than Dominion is that Dominion has a fixed Market, so if someone can spot the ideal combo before the game starts, they’ve probably already won. Whereas Ascension has an ever changing market. Whenever a card is bought or a monster is killed in the market row, a new card is flipped out, and it might be the perfect card for you, or it might be another monster, or who knows what. So you have to be able to adjust a bit more on the fly and you can pick some really good strategies and just stick with them, but depending on how the cards come out, you might have to still adjust even if you have you ideal strategy started. For me, that’s what I like in a game and why I am less of a Euro gamer and more of a Amerithrash gamer, which Ascension feels like compared to Dominion.

Last Year: 46

Image Source: Portal Games

44. Cry Havoc

Cry Havoc is an asymmetrical game where the players have different ways of building up their point totals. And it’s also a unique game with a bit of deck building and some really interesting combat. I like this game as it has some area control, some diceless combat, and really different strategies for the different factions. In this game you’re trying to control crystals which will give you points at the end of a round, to do that you need to take over areas, battling for the crystals there. The combat is diceless as I said, but it has an interesting flow to it, first the attacker will place their troops on the area majority, kill, or capture spots. Then the defender will, and it basically goes along the lines of, check majority, check kills, check captures, and if you kill someone who would capture one of your pieces that won’t happen. But you have cards in your hand that you use both to do actions, but that can influence combat as well. So maybe it’s a close fight and we’re tied for majority in area control, I could play a card to move someone up there if I’m the attacker so I can take the area, but maybe my opponent will do something to change that. The combat is different but really enjoyable.

Last Year: 52

Image Source: Plan B Games

43. Century: Golem Edition

This, for me, is a Splendor killer, though, I still have both in my collection. Century: Golem Edition, is a fun hand building game where you are trying to create an engine of cards that is going to get your gems, and trade gems in such a way that you can score golem cards. The first person to five golems triggers end game. But where the game works, besides the amazing components and artwork, is the card play. You can build up a combo that might start by giving you three yellows, which you can turn into two greens, which maybe you can turn into a pink, which can be turned into a blue and two greens, and you can really find interesting ways to manipulate the gems that you have. The game plays extremely fast with either playing a card and doing it’s action, getting a golem, or picking back up your hand of cards being all that you do on a turn. It really does have a good amount of strategy to it, but it’s still easy to teach and to score so it might be just slightly too much for a complete game novice, but someone who has something like Ticket to Ride or Catan under their belt will be able to learn it.

Last Year: 33

Image Source: Geek Attitude Games

42. Not Alone

There have been a number of party games on the list thus far, and while Not Alone isn’t a party game, it is one that can play a larger player count. This is a one versus all game where the all are playing crew of a spaceship who have crashed onto a planet and are waiting rescue. However, the planet and the monster on the planet are not happy that they are there. So the planet is trying to take everyone out before the rescue ship can get there. It’s an interesting game of cat and mouse, because the crew can strategize amongst themselves as much as they want, but they have to do it so that the monster can listen. So do they try and send him down a false path, or can they split things up in such a way to be able to do most of what they want. This is another hand management style game for the crew as they have various locations that they can go to, but they discard it to their own, visible, discard pile and the monster has powers that it can use throughout the game. The game has basically always been close when we play it, and it’s a pretty easy game to play, but one that has a nice tension. Probably, actually, a pretty good Halloween game as it has some horror elements to it.

Last Year: 41

Image Source: Blue Orange

41. Cross Clues

This apparently was the party game section. Not ranked last year because it came out this year, Cross Clues is a fun and challenging party game where people are giving clues so that other players can determine the intersection point between two things. To put this better, you have a spread sheet that is 5 by 5, each row and column has a header of a word, so A might be stick and 1 might be wind. If I have the card that has A1 denoted on it, I have to give a clue that will get the other players to guess A1, maybe I go with something like Kite. But maybe C is tail, now kites have tails as well as sticks as structure on them, so which do I mean. So maybe that’s not the best clue, maybe for rustle, but maybe D is cattle, so wind and cattle might make sense for that. So you have to be clever with your clues, and you are trying to get as many done in five minutes as you can, or since we’ve played it across Zoom, just seeing how many out of the 25 on a 5 by 5 grid or 16 for a medium challenge, we can get and score that. It’s a clever game that works really well, and I’m not sure how many word cards there are, but depending on how they intersect the game has a ton of replayability. Definitely a party game that everyone should checkout, in my opinion, and probably one that’d be really popular now, if it wasn’t for the pandemic.

Last Year: Not Ranked

So what from this part of the list, the beginning of the Top 50, looks most interesting to you? Any you’d put higher in your own Top 100?

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Building a Board Game Collection

Building a Board Game Collection

I will say that if you’re looking for a board game to buy, you can check out my articles (Part 1 and Part 2) because there will be some overlap, but in this case, I’m talking about building that collection when you want to play 

Top 10 – Feel Good Games

Top 10 – Feel Good Games

So, after over a week off, though 10 Minute Marvel podcast still came out, for a little bit of a vacation and a chance to reset my brain during Covid-19 and protests, I wanted to come back with a Top 10 list that is a 

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 most unique themes that I can find in the games that I’ve played. I’m going with the former, these are the top 10 games that I like, have in my top 100-150 games, and that I feel like I don’t see the theme of all that often. I’m hoping that this’ll lead to an interesting list as right now, I’m not sure which games will be getting picked, but a lot of my favorites will be getting skipped.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

10 – Marrying Mr. Darcy
As I was creating the list, I was surprised to see this game make the list. It’s down a ways in my top 100, no spoilers for this fall when I do my top 100 again, but it is really an interesting theme. First, there’s the Pride and Prejudice theme, I’m actually a little bit surprised that we don’t have more games based off of Jane Austen, I’m not sure how they’d work, but I’m surprised. Then it’s a game about marriage, now there are some party games about marriage, but this one isn’t about guessing trivia between married couples, it’s about marrying off your character from Pride and Prejudice to your most preferred suitor. It’s a light hearted game that is pretty simple but enjoyable and pretty good at not going too long.

9 – Hanabi
Hanabi has an interesting them of fireworks. That’s not one that you really see in board games, but beyond that it is a fun game because it has some really interesting mechanics. You are trying to create lines of fireworks by color going from one to five. But you can’t see your cards in your hand, they are facing away from you, using clues, you have to work together to discard the right cards, to get more clues, put down the correct number on the correct color, and give clues. The trick is giving good clues because your clues need to be either pointing out all the cards in someone’s hand of a color or of a number and hope that they infer the right order. It’s a fast game, but it’s very challenging.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

8 – Photosynthesis
Now, some would argue that this isn’t a completely unique theme, there are other games out there that are about trees, but it’s still a pretty uncommon theme. And how it handles trees is really interesting and the pieces are cool and board is amazing. In Photosynthesis, you are trying to grow trees to harvest to get points. The theme is fairly abstract, but it works, because there is a sun that rotates around the board. So you get light points to spend to plan seeds, grow trees, and score points, and how you get points if based off of how many of your trees are getting sunlight and the size of those trees, because if you have a larger tree behind a smaller tree, both trees get sunlight, but smaller tree or same size tree, they can be blocked in the shadow and not get you any light points. It’s an interesting strategy game that offers a lot of tough choices and has a bit of a cutthroat element as you try and position your trees to get light and block off other people. Really fun, easy to teach, and has a lot of depth.

7 – Hats
The hat part of the game Hats is what gives it a more unique theme. There is also an Alice in Wonderland theme on it with the Madd Hatter’s tea party, but that’s a pretty common theme in games. But the idea of hats and which hats are on the table scoring points is unique. It’s also very clever. In most card games, you are using your hand of cards either to give yourself points if they are good or your opponent points if they are bad. Here there’s a middle step. When you play a card, you are putting it onto the table in one of six spots and taking the card that was already put there and placing it in front of you for scoring. So you’re giving your opponent a potential card for scoring, but it’ll only score if there is a card of that color out on the Madd Hatter’s table. So you have to think about how your opponent can use the cards that you have to set-up their scoring and hopefully play them in such a way that the table ends up favoring you at the end. A lot of strategy in this game, though some luck especially at higher player counts. It is really quite abstract, but it works for a theme because of the Madd Hatter and hats.

6 – Cartographers
So there are a lot of games out there where you’re building a world or a city. Something like Carcassone pops into my head or a game like Suburbia where you are building a city. In Cartographers, you are making a map, not to build out a land and score points by putting people on it like Carcassone, but because you are mapping the far off reaches of the land. How it works is interesting as well, this is a flip and write game where each player is filling out their own map, so at the end it looks different for everyone. But you are either given one type of land with one of two shapes to put it in, or two types of land with one shape to put one of those two land types in. Or, there are monsters. Filling in the land is pretty normal, it has a Second Chance vibe to it, but monsters are very different as one of your opponents will decide where the monster goes on your board. It’s very clever that way, and the scoring is good as well. You score two things each season and it rotates, so in Winter you’re scoring one thing that you scored at the beginning of the game in spring. Not the only game to do this, but does it well, and the map making theme is great.

5 – Century: Golem Edition
This one was interesting to put on the list, mainly because Century: Spice Road, exists, and that has the most generic theme of moving cubes around and trading spices, this literally 90% of Euro games right there. All Century: Golem Edition is, is a retheme of that game. So it goes from a very generic theme to a unique theme about golems just by a retheme. In this game you are going out and mining gems and then trading gems around various market places (all by playing cards from your hand), in order to get certain combinations of gems to be able to power up golems and get points. The game is really simple and slick to play. It’s like Splendor in some ways but a step up in complexity. You are doing one of a few things on your turn, you can play a card to get or swap gems, you can get more cards for your hand, you can take all your played cards back into your hand, or you can get a golem. The game ends when someone has 5 golems, and everyone adds up their points, and most points wins. The art and the gems just make this pop on hte table though.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

4 – Homebrewers
There are a few games out there about brewing, but it’s a very small number, so I picked the one that I have had a lot of fun with. Homebrewers is all about brewing your best beer so when it comes to Summerfest and Oktoberfest, you are ready to wow the judges and take home the gold, and get the most points. To do this, you’re rolling dice to take actions. What really makes this game so much fun to play, though is brewing the beer. You could brew a generic beer and it wouldn’t do that much for you, but you can add in flavors to make your beer better and that might give you more points, more money, or even help help improve the quality of another beer with the techniques that you’ve learned. But, as a player, would you really want to drink a nutmeg and cherry IPA? So it’s always fun to see what weird beer you can make. This game is also a lot of fun because it’s a good engine building game, but it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome.

3 – Sagrada
Stained glass windows, seems like there wouldn’t be many games out there on this, and there aren’t, but there is another. Sagrada is my preferred one, though as it just pops on the table and offers a good puzzle as you try and draft the right dice in order to be able complete your stained glass window. Each round someone draws two times the number of players, plus one, dice and rolls them, then going around, you draft dice and put them into your window. However, there are rules as to how they can be placed, you can’t have the same number orthogonally adjacent to the same number (up down, left right) nor can you do that with color. Beyond that, there are certain spots where you have to put a color or a number, so you have to think about that as well. Sagrada looks amazing on the table and is actually really easy to teach and play. I’ve had great success with this game with all sorts of groups of people.

2 – Hanamikoji
Hanamikoji was one of the first games I thought of when doing this list. Mainly, there aren’t many games that would dare handle a theme such as Geisha. But Hanamikoji does, and even though this a very abstract game, it handles it well. Hanamikoji is all about the winning the favor of various Geisha by giving them gifts. To do that, you and your opponent each have a had of cards and have four actions per round you can take. You can either save a hidden card for winning favor at the end, you can discard two cards that won’t be used to win favor, you give your opponent the choice of three cards, and they pick one to place on their side for winning favor and you play the other two, or you create two sets of two cards and your opponent picks one of those for their side to win favor and you get the other. This game really is all about making your opponent make tough decisions for you so that you are able to manipulate the cards you can see to win the favor of the Geisha. You either want to win the favor of 11 points worth of Geisha or of four Geisha. The game is really fast, very thinking, and it forces a lot of tough decisions. I’d highly recommend this game as a two player game.

Image Source: Me!

1 – Icecool
Penguin High School, I dare anyone to find a game that has that theme on it, besides Icecool 2. In this game you are flicking around student penguins who are skipping class in order to get fish to eat. Each round, someone is also the hall monitor. If the hall monitor catches, runs into, a student who is skipping class, that student has to give the hall monitor their hall pass, which gives the hall monitor points. But for each fish that the student gets they get a point as well. A round ends when either the hall monitor has caught all the students or a student has gotten their three fish. Then after every person has been the hall monitor once you count up your points, most points wins. It’s fun though because of the silly theme, but also because you’re flicking around little penguins, and not only that, you can jump them over walls if you flick them right, or spin them and ricochet through multiple doors, if you line it up right, there are just lots of fun things you can do.

So, this list dug further into my top 100 than most. I like a lot of games that have a fantasy or sci-fi theme, but even games like Lost Expedition which is about exploring or Point Salad which is about food, those are themes that are done pretty often. I think with that I did a solid job of finding games that have out there themes. If you’re not a big sci-fi or fantasy fan, these games might tick that theme box for you. What are some interesting, unique, themes that you’ve found? Are there any from the list that you want to try?

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Top 10 – Gateway Games

Top 10 – Gateway Games

First, what’s a gateway game, before I get into my list? These can also be call introductory games or family weight games. Basically, these are games that you can pull out and play with mom and dad or your cousins or anyone who isn’t that 

Christmas Ideas – Family Board Games

Christmas Ideas – Family Board Games

Sometimes going to visit family can be a lot around the holidays. If you want to find something you can do together, board games are often a fun option, though not for every family. If you think your family would like board games, here are 

Gaming at the Holidays

Gaming at the Holidays

It’s almost Thanksgiving, and with Thanksgiving being so late this year, it’ll almost be Christmas then. That means lots of time with family, so before I talk about what you might want to pick up for that new gamer or that person you want to get into gaming on your shopping list, let’s talk about the games that you can play with your family.

There are a few requirements that I put on these games. They have to be a theme that people will generally enjoy, that probably means not that much theme really. Because there will be some people who don’t like fantasy or sci-fi or horror or romance or whatever the theme might be. The games also have to look nice or have some interesting pieces to them. That attracts people to the games. The games also have to be family weight games and easy to teach. If it’s too complex, you probably won’t play it.

Image Source: Board Game Geeks

So let’s hop into some games that I think will work well in most groups:

Ticket to Ride: It’s a classic, but there’s enough game to it that it’ll be palatable for someone who considers themselves a serious gamer. But it’s also simple enough that when you play it, you can probably teach a grandparent or a younger cousin how to play it. The little train pieces are fun to play around with as well, so it looks good. This is probably the game that people will be most apt to have played as well.

Century: Golem Edition: Yes, you can do spice road, but that is just more bland. This version has more toy factor with the gems and the art work is very cute and looks good on the table. This is a bit more complex, but what you’re going to be doing on your turn is still simple and limited to one thing. That means that people, while they will have to strategize, won’t be swamped by too many things to do.

Pandemic: If you need a cooperative game, I’d recommend the classic. Pandemic has nice playability and it’s a bit more complex than some other cooperative games that I could recommend. The cubes and the player powers are going to be things that people enjoy. And because it’s cooperative, if you have someone in your family who gets too competitive, you’re all working on the same team.

Sagrada: This game is just beautiful as you are drafting dice to create stained glass windows. If you are worried about some of the tools being too complex, you can pick and choose to get the right level of difficulty. This game looks amazing on the table and it’ll draw people over so that they can join in and play.

Image Source: Shut Up and Sit Down

Sushi Go Party: I actually considered putting down just plain vanilla Sushi Go, because that game is simpler, but Sushi Go Party offers more variety and people will probably want to play it again, so you can change stuff up. It’s a good fast and simple card drafting and set collection game.

Second Change: This is the game that you can pull out instead of Yahtzee, which I still recommend, but if you want to introduce something different in that drawing on paper. This one you’re putting together tetris types of shapes to see who can fill in most of the area. It’s a concept that people will understand easily and one that you’ll play again and again and again. Plus, you get to doodle.

Just One: Another cooperative game, and this one in the party style. I am personally sick of games like Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity that get pulled out around the holidays, and Just One is different than that. The cooperative nature is great, and the little bit of a Scattergories feel is a lot of fun, plus, trying to come up with a clue that will help, but that no one else will put down is a fun challenge.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

Letter Jam: Even more cooperative game play, this time with a word game. Instead of pulling out Scrabble, teach people Letter Jam where you are all trying to figure out your own word and give clues. What this helps with is a runaway winner problem that games like Scrabble can have if someone understands game play better than other people do.

Splendor: I debated between Machi Koro and Splendor but either are good here. It’s all about building your engine in a simple way to get more things. These games look nice and are easy to play. Splendor gets the nod because that’s the one that has the poker ships that everyone loves.

Image Source: Me!

Ice Cool: Sometimes you have young kids in the group. While they might be able to get games like Ticket to Ride, if they aren’t familiar with games at all, you can still play Ice Cool, and I’d recommend getting Ice Cool 2 for the holidays so you can play a massive 8 player game. This is just a simple and silly 8 player game that you can play with young kids or likely have fun with aunts and uncles who are up for a silly good time.

Now, that’s only 10 games, there are so many games out there. But I wanted to give a variety. What I like is that Ice Cool with Ice Cool 2 and games like Letter Jam, Just One, Second Chance, and Sushi Go Party!, they are all able to handle a larger player count. That means if you want to get everyone involved you can.

What are some games that have been pulled out at family holidays? Are there some that you never want to see again? Are there some family favorites that get played every year? What would you introduce your family to this year.

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My Top 100 Board Games – 40 to 31

My Top 100 Board Games – 40 to 31

Starting the week off again with even more board games in my top 100 list. I only got to play one board game this weekend, my #96, Qwirkle. It was fun to play that game again. Definitely has some good things about it still and