We’re getting down to it, getting close to the Top 10 games, only a few more of these lists. It’s been a blast as always putting these out and I’m glad that people are enjoying them. I’d be very curious to know what your top …
Tag: Party Game
We’re back with the next ten, a bullet point of what I said in the first part (which you can find here): These are my favorite, you want what people consider best, see the Board Game Geek Top 100 If a game you love isn’t …
It’s that time of year again, and I’m going to talk a little bit about what I’m doing and when I’m going to try and consistently do it from here on out. We’re doing my Top 100 Board Games of ALL TIME!
Now, this is my top 100 games, not the 100 objectively best games, these are my 100 favorite games. To get this list, I go through all the games that I’ve ranked on BGG, minus a few, which I’ll get to in a second, and then using PubMeeple.com’s ranking engine, I go through and do the one versus one comparisons on the games until they are all sorted. This gives you a one to one comparison between the games and in my case was something around 1000 different comparisons. I could have done only my top ranked games, but this gives a chance for a game that I maybe haven’t rerated recently to show up on the list, even if I’ve rated it lower. So, I said this was minus a few games, and I don’t mean ones like Monopoly or Cards Against Humanity that I don’t like, those I actually rated, I’m talking about actually things like ICECOOL 2, Dice Throne Season 2, or Star Wars Destiny Two Player, because I have ICECOOL, Dice Throne Season One, and Destiny that I counted for those.
Next, when I do these lists, if the game sounds interesting to you, I want to give you a chance to pick it up. I always, and especially this year, recommend you order from your FLGS, but some of you might not have a local game store, some of them might be closed due to Covid, some local game stores aren’t friendly, and I fully recognize that sometimes you need a game, funds are tight, and online is cheaper, so don’t feel like you can use your local store, I hope you do pick them up online, more games to play, more fun options to introduce people to, no matter where they come from is great. I’m going to be linking to either CoolStuffInc or Amazon for where you can pick up the games immediately if you want.
Finally, this is obviously just my opinion. There are some games that you’ll hate that I love, almost guaranteed for some of you in my Top 10 even, and there will be some games that you love that won’t make my list, they were obviously my number 101 (all of them). And if it was on the list last year, I’m going to try and put down the number it was at before, just to see which ones move up and which ones move down and what new games have hit the list.
But, without further ado, here’s my list starting with 100 through 91.
100. Lazer Ryderz
Lazer Ryderz is a game of goofy fun as it’s basically light bikes like you see in Tron and you are racing them around, leaving your path behind you hoping someone else will run into it, and trying to get goals. You basically have to go off of feel because you decide where you start at the edge of the table with your eyes closes, when laying down your track route, once you pick up a piece and put it over the top of the table, you’re committing to it. And it’s all in 80’s neon glory looking like a big four pack of VHS. So it has that goofy feel to go with what’s a very goofy game. Good one for when you want something pretty fast and very casual to play.
Last Year: 100
This game is interesting as it’s bidding, it’s set collection and it’s push your luck. I like the bidding mechanic in it a lot as you bid you put that number into the middle if you win the bid and take the number that was there, so it’s possible late in a round to hold onto a low number in order to be able to grab a high number from the middle and change your fate for a future round. There’s also some interesting push your luck because when you’re the last person who can bid, you can always draw more and more tiles, but if you get the wrong tiles you’ll bust. The game maybe plays a touch long for me for what it does, but I like the strategy in it, and I like the bidding in it.
Last Year: Not Ranked
We’ll see a game very similar to this coming up, but this is one that I wish I had in my collection, but I want to find used. I like it for the theme a lot. I enjoy the cyberpunk setting that it’s in, and the idea of going on these runs, missions, to take down the evil corporations. It’s something that is very interesting. Plus it’s deck building, so you can specialize, but that might not always be the best because you don’t know who you’ll have to face off against next and that might not work with your skill set. But other people can help you some as well, which makes it interesting to see how that works. And it’s scenario building as well which is fun as well.
Last Year: 91
97. Legends of Andor
This is a dungeon crawl, kind of, really Legends of Andor is more of a scenario based puzzle as you try and rush to get everything done before the time runs out. And you can kill monsters, but that advances the timer, so you need to understand that is happening and figure out how to balance out killing monsters while trying to complete the mission while trying not to let the story advance too quickly so that you run out of time to complete it. The game does one thing I really like and that’s having both the male and female version of the heroes so people don’t feel like they are locked in playing a certain character because of the sex of that character. I think the one thing that might confuse people about this game is that it looks like it should be a big fight the monsters adventure, but really it’s a very tightly made puzzle where every decision really matters.
Last Year: 86
96. The Lord of the Rings: Journey to Mordor
So, first off, no link for this, it’s out of print from what I can tell and I couldn’t find it even on Amazon which is saying something. This is a little push your luck roll and write game where you are trying to get the ring to Mount Doom and by the first to throw it in. Thematically it doesn’t make sense because you can’t have one ring to rule them all and then four different groups each having the one ring, but as a roll and write, it was pretty solid fun. There are definitely others that I like better but this one was a good time and it plays fast. There is some take that to it which can be a negative thing, but it didn’t seem like there was too much and the game didn’t overstay it’s welcome to make the take that a big deal.
Last Year: Not Ranked
This game is a really cute game. Takenoko has adorable little panda figure, and you are stacking up different colors of bamboo. There’s really just a lot of fun stuff in this game. You are growing the bamboo, moving the panda and having him eat it, putting out and irrigating more tiles to grow even more bamboo all to complete different scoring base off of bamboo growth, title placement, or what the panda has eaten and you’re seeing how many you can get done before all the turns run out. This is a game that has an amazing table presence with the bamboo growing up and the panda and gardener figures, and it’s a very enjoyable game to boot without being too complex.
Last Year: 97
So this is the game that is based off of the game system as Shadowrun: Crossfire. Whereas Shadowrun is a future cyberpunk setting, Dragonfire is classic Dungeons and Dragons setting where you are taking on monsters, fighting through scenarios, leveling up your characters and doing it all over again. I think that this game has worked out some of the kinks from the original and it has definitely gotten more support with a lot of scenario packs having come out for it. This just allows you to build into more and more game play and pick the scenarios that look interesting to you. Plus, deck building is always a plus in a game for me.
Last Year: 93
Second roll and write on the list, and this is the original roll and write. I still enjoy Yahtzee today because everyone understands how it works and the rules are simple. In fact we’ll see other games on the list that use a similar mechanic to Yahtzee. But what I like is that I kind of have it down, now that doesn’t mean that I roll a Yahtzee always, but it means that I can look and see what I might want to be doing, what I’ll want to keep, what the odds are of me getting what I need, when it’s worth it to push for a large straight, when it isn’t and so on. Plus, I can play it with my parents and it isn’t as much of a game that plays itself like a lot of the more classic games that we’d play such as Uno or Skip-Bo, which are number 101 in case you were wondering.
Last Year: Not Ranked
Last year this was a fair amount higher on my list, but it’s dropped some just because of having played Legacy Season 1 twice and Season 2 once, and Season 0 is coming out soon-ish. Base Pandemic is still a good game, it just feels like the introductory cooperative game that it is. It’s easy to teach, it’s easy to play, but it can be fairly hard to win, depending on how things come up. The game is a classic game for a reason and it is one that I won’t turn down playing, though, I’m not sure it’s one I’d immediately pull off the shelf myself when it comes to introductory games at this point. I think that it really highlights, beyond being a cooperative game, is how every players part of the game can be different with the variable player powers, and I think for new players that is something that is cool and uinique.
Last Year: 50
This one also slipped for me because in some ways I’ve played it too much now. I think that this is a fun group game, and I think it’s one of a few games that plays fast and plays a large number but it isn’t just another party game. In this you are trying to be the last person on the board but you must follow the path that you lay out in front of you. And you have to be concerned about the other players as well. If you get to close, you could have to follow a path that someone else lays down, and that might run you off the board, in which case you’re out of the game, or it might hit another players pawn, in which case both of you are knocked out. So there’s some strategic avoidance but you also don’t want to stick yourself in a corner with no way out. It’s a fun game, just one that I’ve played a lot.
Last Year: 61
So we have a few movers in this section with three previously not in the Top 100 games, and two dropping a ways. Oddly enough, the very first game on the list, Number 100 was Number 100 the year before, good job Lazer Ryderz in being consistent.
Looking at this list, are there any of the games that stand out to you as ones that you want to play? If you’ve played any of the games, which is your favorite on this section of the list? Let me know in the comments on on Twitter.
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When it comes to party games, there are only a very few I like. I have talked about it recently with the TableTopTakes of Stipulation, but there are a few different types of party games, and a lot of them have a limited shelf life, so how about Wits & Wagers, is that a game that can hold up as a party game over a long period of time?
Wits & Wagers as it’s heart is a trivia game. This is normally not a genre of game that I like, because in most trivia games, I’m looking at you Cranium and Trivial Pursuit, you either know the answer to the question or you don’t, and you don’t get anything if you don’t know. But that means that some people are inherently better at the game, because they have more of that trivia style knowledge floating around their head. Some people have the capacity for that, and I know some trivia pretty well, but generally, I’m not great at it. In Wits & Wagers, all the answers are numbers, so it could be a question such as “How many goals did Pele score in his pro career?” Now, you might know nothing about soccer, and I know some about soccer. What you know is that soccer is low scoring, so you put down 80, since a lot of soccer matches can end 1-0, so maybe he didn’t score that many goals. Knowing a bit more about soccer, I know that he is one of the best all time and was known for scoring goals, so I put down 300. Someone else puts down 800, 50, 120, and 2 (the last person really didn’t know soccer). The actual answer is 650. So we’re looking to see who is the closest without going cover, and my 300 was. Before the answer is revealed, however, we can all bet on who had the closest answer without going over. You get more money back if you guess further away from the middle, but fairly often the middle is correct. In this case, though, the middle number is 80/120, depending on which say you shift it, so by betting on 300, you could get back 3-1 odds. Then, once people have collected their winnings, you repeat as long as you want, or until the rules say stop, however you want to play, and most money wins.
That’s a lengthy explanation of a pretty simple game. You write down a number for the question, you bid, and you repeat, the person with the most money wins. But I wanted to give the example that I did, because it’s a real life example, and also because, it demonstrates a bit of a strategy of the game. Whereas in a lot of trivia games there can be that one person who knows trivia and is going to win basically no matter what, in Wits & Wagers, you have a way to keep up with them, because you could always just bet on their number. In my example above, the people in the group knew that I knew more about soccer than a number of them. So they were able to bid with me, and fairly often you can figure out who might know the most. It adds a nice strategy to what would otherwise be a fairly normal trivia game and adds in some depth. And maybe you’re very confident about what you know, but you can also play the people of the game. If I’d wanted to, I could have put down 800 for how many goals Pele scored knowing that was likely too high and let people go with my pick while hedging my bets to the number below to try and throw people off, but if you do that all the time, it wouldn’t be fun, and people would know not to bid on your answer.
I also like, and I know it’s the only way that the game can work, is that all the answers are numbers. If it’s just general knowledge trivia, you can guess and be completely wrong, and technically the same is true with numbers, but you’re always going to at least be somewhat close or in the write realm. It is possible in other trivia to completely not know it and not have any guess or have a guess that is completely wrong, like guessing something is a constellation when it’s a city in New Jersey or something like that. That’s a silly example, but when it’s a number, you always have a starting spot for you guess and fairly often can guess if it’s small, medium or large for the number so you won’t be amazingly wrong. And, in the previous paragraph I talked about how you could put down a number to throw people off if they think you know the answer, but there’s also pride in being the closest and especially if you can get really close. I’ve seen people get it dead on with a lucky guess, and I have gotten that once as well. It’s exciting to get the right answer.
One final thing that I enjoy about this game is that you can really play with any player number count without changing up the speed of the game. Everyone is answering at the same time so that doesn’t stretch out the game, and you can possibly overthink it if you want when placing your bets, but that shouldn’t happen too much because the game is just a good time party game. There’s no sitting around waiting for someone else to guess trivia, there’s no feeling stuck that way, and I appreciate that about Wits & Wagers.
Overall, this is a party game that I enjoy every time that I play. I also like the that game scales well, so that you can even play with a great number than suggested, which we do often. I’ve heard of doing team play for it as well and that can be fun. Wits & Wagers fixes a lot of issues that I have with trivia games, and even though, sure someone who knows trivia well can still do better, possibly, it has nice catch-up mechanisms where you can make big bets to get back into it as long as the leader isn’t as well. I also like that this game works well with families or basically any group.
Overall Grade: B+
Gamer Grade: C+
Casual Grade: A
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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 some options that you can give as a gift to hopefully add even more good times to your holidays.
Most of these games are going to be pretty simple and easy to play with a range of ages and are often called introductory games. While, if you are a seasoned gamer, these might be a little bit lighter than you’d want to play all the time, but it’s a good compromise with family who might only want to play very light games or “classic” games like Uno and Monopoly.
Carcassonne – This game can actually be a bit more challenging for new players when it comes to placing out their meeples. When do they do it, where should they do it, how do farmers even work? But the tile playing piece is something that is very easy for people to pick up on and fun for people to do. It’s a fun game for that tile laying aspect, and once they have down the basics of the scoring, and scoring at least towns and monasteries are easy to understand, Carcassonne is a good game for the whole family.
Castle Panic – This game skews a little bit younger, but maybe you have a younger sibling or niece of nephew who you want to get into gaming or a grand child. Whatever the relationship might be, Castle Panic is a fun game. It’s simple as to how it works, it’s cooperative, so you can all plan out things together and that makes it easier to teach as well. Definitely, once they start to get the idea of the game hang back and let them take the lead, but this tower defense card game is a lot of fun, and easy for younger kids to pick up. There is also My First Castle Panic for even younger kids.
Century: Golem Edition – I picked this one over the normal version, Century: Spice Road, because the gems in this game are cooler than cubes in Spice Road. It’s a pretty simple game of collecting gems, getting cards, using those cards to get other types of gems, and turning in gems for golems. This game has a bit more going on to it, but the turns are very fast, and since you can only do one action per turn, it makes it easier for people to figure it out as they go along. The table appeal is great for this game as well.
Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger – Now, this one is completely different and might be too silly for some people in your family. But in Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger, you are going through chapters of this story, making choices and rolling dice once in a while to see if you can complete a challenge. This is really a story telling game, and it would be an easy one to play just sitting around a living room without needing a table. This game is light, easy and cooperative.
Dice Throne Season 1 – This game is just silly in a very different way than Choose Your Own Adventure. This one is also about the opposite of a cooperative game as you’re having different contestants fight against each other in a dice chucking game. But it is also familiar because it’s yahtzee style rolling, just with more added onto it. It would be a fun one to face off different characters against each other and see who can do the best. The games also play fast, so you could do a small tournament if you wanted and had the right group. The art in the game is also fun, and the dice are great. I’d recommend the first season of the game though, as the second season has more complicated characters.
Draftosaurous – Draftosaurous is a game that I’ve only played once, but it was a ton of fun when I did. In it, you are drafting dinosaur and scoring them in different ways. The ways are simple and you can easily explain them as often as you want in your game without slowing down the game. Plus, the dinosaurs are meeples, which look amazing. So it has a cute factor going for it as well. The game also plays very quickly, so you might end up playing a few in a row. But the game isn’t so simple that people will get board with it fast.
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – People will be drawn to games with an intellectual property (IP) that they recognize. And Harry Potter is a very popular IP that most people are at least familiar with, even if they haven’t seen all the movies or read all the books. This is a deck building game, so it has a little bit to teach with deck building if people aren’t familiar with it, but the first few games, which have bad guys from the first few books, keep the game simple so that people can understand it. Eventually you get more complex things, but by then, people should be familiar with deck building enough that more won’t complicate it for them. It’s a good fun game, and has a little bit more than some other games.
ICECOOL – This one, if you’ve followed my top 100 and my thoughts on the game, shouldn’t be a surprise to you. Icecool is a great family game that anyone can play. Even younger kids can play with only possibly needing to make the rules simpler just for scoring, and go with more of a tournament rule style. This game is just about flicking penguins around and having a silly good time. If you want to play it on a table, you can, if you want to play it on the floor you can. Adults might find it a bit too simple, but it is meant to be silly fun more than a strategic match.
Just One – Yes, it showed up on the stocking stuffer list, but it works well here also. It’s a cooperative party game, and instead of just pulling out the old ones at your parents or grandparents place, Just One offers something new. The game play is easy and the components are nice. The concept of the game is also easy to teach. This game should work well in most settings and with a wide age range, from Grandma and Grandpa to your 10 year old cousin.
Lost Expedition – Another cooperative game, but I really think that for family weight games, cooperative games are great. They are good introductory level and for people who might not like conflict in games, they work well. Lost Expedition is all about going and trying to find the lost city of Z. However, there are plenty of challenges you have to get through each morning and evening as you hike. If you don’t ration out your resources, you might die before they get there, but with some clever path construction, you can rush to the end before you run out of resources. The game is quite easy to explain and the artwork is nice. This game also helps keep alpha players from running the table.
Machi Koro – I’m not going to suggest any Machi Koro in particular, but if you think people will like the game, I recommend the legacy version. For me, that game seemed to play faster than the base game and being able to make the game unique to the person who is getting it, that’s something that is cool and most games don’t do. This is a tableau building game, but you can more easily explain it that you are trying to build up the best town by getting buildings and building monuments. Turns are pretty fast in Machi Koro, especially when people start to become familiar with the cards. And the cards are pretty simple, so it shouldn’t take too long. While not my favorite game, it’s a good one that is easy to teach to a lot of different levels of players.
Pandemic – I’m sure you expected this one to be on the list, but it’s a good and straightforward cooperative game. It’s also one that even if people aren’t gamers, they might have seen before. It’s also challenging enough that the person you give it to won’t get bored with it or beat it too often right away. And when they start to, there are expansions that can be added to change up the game to make it more challenging. This game of player powers and curing diseases also has a theme that people will be able to understand quickly, even if the game is fairly abstract.
Potion Explosion – The toy factor to this game is high with all the marbles in it, but the game itself is pretty simple. You are collecting marbles to complete potions to help you get more marbles. The game play is simple just pulling out a marble, if like colored marbles hit, you get those marbles, and it can cascade onward. These marbles you then use to complete potions, and the potions give you more things that you can do to get more marbles. But the game is really about pulling out those marbles and letting them hit and getting a whole bunch of marbles when they keep on doing that. Turns are pretty fast, and the concept is easy to grasp, especially with so many app games doing something similar.
Sagrada – A game about making stained glass windows, this looks great on the table with translucent dice that actually help make it look like stained glass. Another drafting game, this one you are taking dice that match specific colors or numbers to try and fill in your stained glass windows. The scoring for the game is pretty simple, and while there are some powers that are a bit tricky, there are plenty of simple ones you can start with, and I often choose those for the first game. The concepts are simple, like numbers and colors can’t go next to each other orthogonally (in rows and columns), and you have to place the die you drafted next to another one, diagonally or orthogonally. Definitely one that most people will pick up on fast.
Second Chance – Another one from the stocking stuffer list, but this is my roll and write (or flip and write as the case might be) for the list. Second Chance just works well because of the Tetris like shapes and people understand trying to fill in an area as much as possible. It is pretty solitaire as what other people are doing won’t affect you, but the game is pretty when it’s completed and a fast game to play. Generally I don’t see people only playing a single game of it, you at least play two, one for each side of your sheet before being done.
Small World – Another classic modern game, Small World is an area control game where you get points for all the areas that you have and other scoring, such as what type of area you are in. It’s a silly game that can be a bit mean, but the nice thing about how this game can be mean is that if you are almost kicked off the board, you can go into decline, get a new race next turn and go onto the board. That’s the only tricky part about the game, in my opinion, knowing when to go into decline and understanding that it is your whole turn. The combinations of races and powers are what then make the game stand out, because who doesn’t want flying halflings or maybe seafaring dwarves. You never know what combination you might get or want.
Sushi Go Party! – Now, this is a bit more complex than just normal Sushi Go, but because of that complexity, if offers variability which will keep it coming to the table longer. In the game you are drafting different types of foods to create the best meal and scoring points over three rounds. Depending on what type of food it is, it’ll score you points in various ways. Maybe you want three sashimi to get 10 points, but will get three of them, whereas tofu scores you points for two of them, but if you get a third, you don’t get any points, because you don’t want to fill up on tofu. The game can take a little bit to get into, but if you play a pretty basic set-up to start, people will catch on fast.
Ticket to Ride – The Train Game, as a lot of people call it, is a classic family weight game where you’re trying to complete various routes. This game has a little bit of strategy in it, mainly in picking your routes to help create the longest route, but beyond that, it’s collecting sets of cards and building your train routes. What works well in this game is that the rules are simple and you only do one thing on your turn. This helps people not be bogged down by all the options available. While this game doesn’t have a ton of variety in the base box, there are other maps you can get for it that’ll change up how the game works once you’ve played through the base game enough. But this one is a good one to add to parents or grand parents collection and play once or twice a year around the holidays.
Wits & Wagers – Final game on the list, and other party game. This one is my favorite trivia style party game, because you don’t need to be great at trivia. You just have to know, who in the group, might know the answer or be closest to the answer, without going over. All the questions have answers that are numbers, so you put down your answer and then bet on what answer you think is right. If you are correct, you get your money back plus some, depending on how close to the middle it was, so you can bet on your answer, if you think you are right, or you can go with the person who you think might know more about it than you do. It’s a fun and sometimes funny game that is good for a whole family and because of how it works, can play with younger kids.
Now, there are so many more family games out there. I left some off the list that I like, simply because I had something similar on the list. Dice Throne could have easily been left off the list for King of Tokyo that has a similar mechanic, but I also wanted to provide some different options as well. Hopefully you can play some of these with family or friends over the holidays, and maybe give them to them as a gift so that they can introduce them to their friends and grow the board gaming hobby.
What are some of your favorites from my list? Is there a game that you’ve found works well as a gift?
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Alright, this whole week and probably for a little bit longer, but let’s talk about those things you can get for the nerdy people you have in your life. Or things that you can suggest that people get for you, since you’re the nerdy person …