Around this time last year, we finished our series of Top 50 games of all time on the podcast as a celebration of hitting 100 episodes. This year, we decided to do an update but instead of doing a long series again, we are only talking about our Top 10 list. Therefore, I figured I'd use the blog to talk about the rest of my favorite games.
This year, I decided to use the ranking tool from Pubmeeple, and limit the games to those that I had rated on BGG at 7 or better. Last year, I think I used 6 as my filter, and looking back at the list, outside of the Top 10, I wasn't fully satisfied with the list. This year, however, I am extremely happy with how the list turned out. Also, you'll note there are a couple of newer games on the list, and since I am a very "cult of the new" type of gamer, that's to be expected. We'll see how many of these games stick until next year....
Last Year: Lords of Waterdeep from Wizards of the Coast
Looking at 41-50 of last year's list compared to this year, I can say that there's only one of last year's games that I have actually played since that list was made. Lords of Waterdeep is a game that I have never owned, but played a bunch on the app. I just haven't played a lot of it recently, which is a problem that I should correct.
This Year: Tyrants of the Underdark from Gale Force Nine
I didn't plan for it to be this way, but D&D finds its way into the #50 slot once again. Currently this is the only deck builder on my Top 50 list, and the combination of the D&D theme and the board usage is what makes it one of my favorites. Clank and Clank in Space made stabs at this last year, but I excluded them from the list since I only played each of those games once. The game falls from #37 last year as I really haven't played it that much over the past year. Also, at some point I imagine the DC Deckbuilding Game may make a play for the title of "favorite deck building game", but I need to find more people that like playing that game before that happens.
Last Year: The Resistance from Indie Boards & Cards
The Resistance (and last year's #48) is a prime example of what I meant when I said I wasn't too happy at last year's list. Some of these later spots felt like they were just there because I hadn't played enough games. I do enjoy playing The Resistance, but at this point I'm kind of burnt out playing these social deduction style games. There still is one higher up on this list, but for reasons that will be apparent when we get there.
This Year: Patchwork from Mayfair Games
Patchwork, however, is probably the only Uwe Rosenberg game that will ever be on my lists. I haven't played all of these tetris/polominoes/etc inspired games that have come out recently, but this is one trend I'm okay with. I'll get around to trying the rest of them at some point, but Patchwork is just right on the complexity/simplicity that I'm fairly positive it will still be my favorite. Plus, the app for this game is just fantastic. You should add me and challenge me to a game (ChrisTheProf). The game was #31 last year, and like Tyrants, suffers from not getting to the table as much as before. Also, I need to upgrade my physical copy of this game with actual buttons.
Last Year: Trains from AEG
Trains at one point in time was my favorite deckbuilding game, as I loved how the addition of the board helped drive the deckbuilding component. Now, however, so many other games have done that concept to better effect (such as Tyrants of the Underdark, Clank, etc.), that the bland theme of Trains was not worth pulling off the shelf anymore. In fact, this game is no longer even in the collection.
This Year: Purrrlock Holmes: Furriarty's Trail from IDW Games
On a similar note, Purrrlock Holmes is a game that might also be on its way out of the collection as well. I still love the game, as it’s a regular style deduction game that I enjoyed in 2017 and coming out of Origins that year. In 2018, it was number 19 on my Top 50 list. However, a game that I played shortly after that list came out shot Purrrlock Holmes in the heart as it does what I like about Holmes better and is easier to get to the table as people don't let out a groan when I mention the name of the game. Still....kitties....
Last Year: King of New York from Iello Games
This reasoning is pretty simple: King of Tokyo is better, and I realized there was not a big enough reason to keep both in the collection. Anytime I'd want to pull out New York, I'd just grab Tokyo instead as it is more open to people and easier to teach. I liked what New York did differently, but if I want a more complicated game like this, there are so many other games I'd rather play.
This Year: Cat Tower from IDW Games
Also, speaking of cats, Cat Tower is another game that stays on the list purely because of the kitty theme. While other people might prefer other dexterity stacking games like Rhino Hero, the fact that these little foldable cats look so much like my own cats is reason enough to keep this game on the list. It has fallen quite a bit from the #21 place it held last year, but that is due to the fact I haven't played it as much with the family.
Last Year: Boss Monster from Brotherwise Games
As is common on this section of the list, Boss Monster is one of those "I really need to play this more" but never get it to the table sort of games. In it, you play cards to build a 80's video game style dungeon to attract heroes. The box is such a small footprint that I really should just throw it in my bag more for game days. At that point, there's a good chance it will resurge up higher on the list, as it is a quick and easy game to teach/play. Plus the retro design & theme really draws people in.
This Year: Junk Art from Plan B Games
Junk Art, better known as "Junk Yard Dogs" by my family, is a game about using wooden pieces to accomplish various dexterity based tasks. My parents love playing this game, which is why it is above Cat Tower as far as stacking dexterity based games go. Just about every time I visit my parents we try and pull out this game to play, as it is bound to be a joyous time.
Last Year: Carcassonne from Z-Man Games
Another gateway game falls off the list in Carcassonne, the tile laying city building game. This was one of the first modern games I introduced my parents to, and while I haven't played the physical version in a while, this is a game that has become digital-only to me for the most part. I talked about the Nintendo Switch version in a recent episode of the podcast. When it comes to playing with my parents when I'm with them, Junk Art and a couple of other games have filled in the role that used to be just Carcassonne, so we bid adieu to that game from my Top 50.
This Year: Founders of Gloomhaven from Cephlofair Games
The first 2018 release to hit the Top 50 this year, Founders of Gloomhaven impressed me from the moment I opened up the game. As I mentioned in our review, I think the words "of Gloomhaven" in the title set everyone's expectations too high for this game, which is why you don't hear too many people talking about it. For me, having not played Gloomhaven yet, this is a good heavy (to me) weight Euro-style game about building up the city of Gloomhaven and using the map layout and your hand of cards to try and get the most points you can. Plus, the artwork and components in the game are stellar, which gives the game a giant leg up for me.
Last Year: Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition from Fantasy Flight Games
Let's be honest: Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition is higher on this list. The first time I made this, it was still pretty new to me, thus the lower place on this list. We'll come back to this game eventually.
This Year: Star Wars: X-wing Miniatures Game from Fantasy Flight Games
Star Wars: X-wing Miniatures Game was one of the first minis games I fully obsessed with, and for good reason. It's a wonderful game that really gives you the feel of dogfighting in the Star Wars universe. I fell out of the game as A) I suck at it so so bad and B) I couldn't keep up with the competitive metagame scene, which started to become too tedious to me. It came in at #37 last year, but I sold off my stuff when Second Edition was announced as I figured someone else would enjoy the game more. At this point, I think X-wing is holding a spot in my list warm for Star Wars Legion, which I think I haven't played enough to give a solid ranking of the game. I'm also scared that this could easily be an obsession that I fall back into if I'm not paying attention.
Last Year: The Grizzled from CMON
I went hog wild for The Grizzled when I first got it, and again when I got the expansion. Playing as WWI soldiers, you try and go on missions to get rid of bad cards without getting sacked with too many injuries. However, for reasons I can't really explain it just hasn't come back to the table. If I had to guess, I would say it was due to the WWI theme, as that's one that's never really appealed to me. The puzzle in the game is what made the game intriguing, and there are a couple of other games that fill that niche.
This Year: Starship Samurai from Plaid Hat Games
Cry Havoc almost made the list in this spot, however I have to give the edge to Starship Samurai. One of several "Minis on a map" style games that you will see on this list, Starship samurai gets the edge on Cry Havoc purely on the theme. I've been a big fan of the Gundam-style anime of giant mechas fighting each other, and this game gives you a piece of that experience. Plus, unlike some of the other games on this list, this game is easier to teach and quicker to play. One negative of the game is that the minis scream to be painted and I haven't gotten around to doing that yet!
Last Year: Quadropolis from Days of Wonder
Quadropolis was a game that I sold off last year, as while I stared at it several times going "I should really play that again", any time an opportunity came up to play the game I always picked other games. Even when I got the game, it only got played once or twice before it started collecting dust on the shelf. So while it was enjoyable enough to make it on the Top 50 list last year, there was nothing special keeping the game on the list.
This Year: Kung Fu Zoo from Wizkids
If I had made this list 5 months ago, Kung Fu Zoo would have been several spaces higher on it. Basically, the game is simply "Dice Billiards", with players flicking dice at other dice and trying to knock them in the corner pockets. However, I've found that the game really works best at the 2 player level, as the modified rules for 3-4 players gets a little fiddly. Also, another simple dice game I've played recently has taken a higher spot on the list and works great at higher player counts, thus Kung Fu Zoo ends up at #42. The game is still worth having just for playing with Chloe 1 on 1.
Last Year: Tsuro from Caliope Games
Tsuro is the only game in this section of the list that I have in fact played since last year. It's been a longtime favorite, and slid up a few slots this year, meaning you might be seeing it again in the near future...
This year: T.I.M.E Stories from Space Cowboys
The first draft I made of my Top 50 in 2017, T.I.M.E Stories rated at #9 on that last. By the time we got to that section on the podcast, I had made a revision to the list and removed the game from the list altogether. Basically, I had sold off my TIME Stories stuff to a friend and used that money to purchase Mansions of Madness Second Edition. At the time (har har), it was too hard for me to get a consistent group going to where I could get all the scenarios played. However, since our disastrous Seafall experience, we've been using the time (har har again) that we allocated to Seafall to get through other campaign games, one of which being TIME Stories since one of our Seafall players is the guy I sold TIME Stories too. Thus, why the game reappears on the list in some form.
Whew, first part down. Stay tuned for my #40-31 games of all time!