Monday, March 28, 2011

Top 25 Games of All Time

I've now played over 400 different board games in my life time. Wow, I just realized that is like saying, I'm now a huge geek. Okay, I am. To make myself even geekier, I'm going to do a list of my top 25 Games of All Time, as of March 20, 2011. I'll try to put links of each game and perhaps a quick sentence or two about why I like them. For a game to get into my top 25 seems to me to be quite an accomplishment (if board games have accomplishments), since that is only about 1/16 of all the games I've ever played. So here they are:

25. Ra Starting the list off with Ra, an Egyptian auction game, that with 3 players especially is exactly right. It is also number one in the Alea Big Box series, which also gives me an extra reason to like it.

24. Tikal. I've owned this game since around 2000 and still enjoy it. With 4 players and using the auction variant in the game, there isn't a better area control game out there for that situation. The art is great as well.

23. San Marco. This game has a mechanic that is similar to what your mom would do to you and your brother when you were kids. He gets to cut the last piece of cake, but you get to choose which half you want. San Marco does this and added with area control (my favorite mechanic) makes for a very fun game.

22. R-Eco. The first of two Susuma Kawaski designs on this list. R-Eco plays very quick and very well for 2-5 players. I enjoy the tension of trying not to illegally dump (yeah, that is fun to say), while still trying to get all the cards you need.

21. Keythedral. I still remember the first time I played this "nice" Euro when a buddy of mine screwed me over by using one of the law cards. I have loved the game since. It has meanness in it that isn't in many Euros, since you can specifically target another player.

20. Traders of Carthage. Though this plays up to 4 players, two players is the way to go with this one. The cards are used for everything from money, to goods, to points, to barrels. Though the theme doesn't really have anything to it, the art of the cards and the board are beautiful.

19. Pillars of the Earth. This makes the list, but with one caveat, played with the expansion. Pillars is a great engine building game where each turn despite hiring a great Mason the previous turn, a even greater Mason comes up the next turn. The expansion adds not only more board, but the additional craftsmen make the game go from good to great.

18. Endeavor. The smoothest game ever. It just flows from one phase to the next seamlessly. The art is gives the feeling 17th or 18th century maps. The game itself has just enough screwage and player interaction. It is just a good game.

17. Gheos. The perfect mix of Carcassonne & Acquire, this game gives me the feeling of being a mean stock investor. It is one that will grow on you and with 3 players, is a very fine game.

16. Fairy Tale. Despite it's pink box and confusing icons, Fairy Tale makes for an awesome filler. Plays extremely quick, we're talking 10+ minutes, and for ages 8 and up. Put that with some fun decisions and you've got a real winner.

15. High Society. This game makes for some extremely tough decisions in a very short amount of time. Not only does it make you worry about not having the least amount of money, but since you can't make change on your bids, you have to be very careful with what denominations of money you use and when you use them.

14. Dungeon Lords. Sadly, this is a game I do not own, but I love it. You play an evil dungeon lord sending your minions out to gather gold and food and hire monsters to destroy the goody-two-shoes who come knocking on your dungeon door. Every time I play this game, I finish thinking, I could have done just a little bit better.

13. 7 Wonders. Just came out last fall, but quickly rising on my play and like list. This game uses drafting like Fairy Tale, but does it with up to 7 people and in 30 minutes. With great art and the quick play, 7 Wonders deserves a place in any collection.

12. Founding Fathers. Yes, it is a game about the Constitutional Convention, but it is great! Brings the card driven aspects that I enjoy so much to the multi-player format and does this in 75 minutes.

11. In the Year of the Dragon. A friend of mine once described this game as hitting your head with a hammer less than everyone else. I agree with him. This is basically a disaster management game, where you are doing everything you can to not lose people and buildings, but knowing that you will lose some people no matter how hard you try.

10. 1960: Making of the President. I love the ebb & flow of this game. Really makes me feel like I'm part of a presidential election. The very tough decisions of what cards to play and what cards to block your opponents from using is excellent.

9. Lord of the Rings: TCG. I used to play this game exclusively when it was still active. Now that people no longer play it though, I don't get the opportunity to play like I used to, but I still have 5 decks that I built and when the opportunity does come to play, I love it. I've played several TCG, CCG, LCG games and this one is without a doubt the best.

8. Small World. Everything is right up my ally about this game. Conflict? Check. Crazy Combinations? Check. Great bits? Check. I have a blast every time I play this one, whether it is a 2 player or 5 player gamer. Doesn't matter.

7. Shogun. It's good when you can be horrible at a game, which I am at Shogun, and still like it so much. The cube tower in this game, and all that it brings to the war element of the game, is what makes me come back for more.

6. El Grande. Sometimes in the gaming world, gamers use the word "elegant" to describe a game. El Grande is what I think of when I think of an elegant game. All the extra craziness has been sieved away, leaving pure simple goodness.

5. Dominion With out a doubt, my most played game of all time, probably even more than Risk from when I was a kid. This game is just addicting and is a game, which after introducing new players to it, I'm asked where they can buy it.

4. Agricola. Who would have thought farming would be so juicy? You have to plan several turns ahead in this game and understand what your opponents need, which for me makes this one a keeper. With the 300+ cards in the game, each game feels a bit different, with new and fun combos.

3. War of the Ring. This game is 3-4 hours of awesomeness for two players. It does an excellent job of making you feel like you are immersed in Tolkien's world, which for me is great.

2. Puerto Rico. The indirect conflict in this game makes me love it! You have to be sure to take the role each turn that will benefit you the most, while not helping your opponents. In other words, watch out for that Craftsman!

1. Railroad Tycoon. RRT is all about building your tracks and connecting cities to ship goods to cities before your opponents can do so. It has some great expansion maps as well and just never gets old for me.

If you've got this far, thanks for reading. If you haven't recently done so, grab a game, maybe one of these, and some friends and family and have a good time with each other!


  1. Adam,
    No version of Settlers of Catan? Not even Cities and Knights? I've only played a handful of games in your top 25, but I am intrigued. My board gaming has been somewhat limited since you moved away. Thanks for the list.

  2. Brian, I know I'm just now commenting, but yeah...Settlers has sorta fallen by the wayside for me. I'll still play it, but as you can see, there are a lot of other games I like.