Hello to all! Is that wonderful time of year again when one has an opportunity to sit back and reflect and make board game lists! Last year I did a Top 20 but this year my collection has grown to the point where I can now confidently do a Top 50 list. Where possible I'll note how games have shifted from last year and at the end I'll discuss a few games that I haven't played yet that probably could push their way into the top 50. I'll do this list from great to most great.
50.#Everdell (Last year 14) Fun game, but for various reasons I traded this one away.
49.#Kingdom Builder Fast playing, lighter game that I enjoy playing with my daughters.
48.#Aeon's End: Legacy (Last year 18) Was a great experience but as a true legacy game there isn't much use for the box at this point. Yes, I guess I could play one off games with the legacy content but too many games, too little time.
47.#7 Wonders Duel A fun and surprisingly crunchy 2 player game. I just recently traded this one away as it unfortunately just never hit my table.
46.#CloudAge A good not great Pfister with a really cool theme and some cool ideas but manages to somehow not last long enough and yet is also too long at the same time.
45.#Dwellings of Eldervale I had enormous hopes for this one. And while it does have some awesome ideas, and is a pretty good solo game, at the end of the day it is less than the sum of its parts. Used this one as trade fodder and picked up some good value for trading it away.
44.#Trajan (last year 22) A fun Feld game with some cool mechanics that just doesn't hit the table as much as I'd like. I'm a sucker for Roman history so even though the theme is hardly there I seem to give it a bit of extra credit for that theme.
43.#Dominion A classic game that languishes at the bottom of my Kallax. Would play it a lot more if it had a solo mode or something.
42.#High Frontier 4 All I acquired this game shortly after Christmas last year and was so so excited to get it. There is so much good in this box. I love the map - it's an absolutely stunning depiction of our solar system. I love the simulation of orbital mechanics. I love the usage of realistic future tech. But as a game? It just doesn't quite all add up. I ended up using my copy as part of trade.
41.#Scythe (last year 16) A fantastic production with fantastic components and all kinds of fun in the box. But after loads of plays I ended up feeling like I was done with this game. The campaign from Rise of Fenris was fantastic. Ended up trading this one for Dwellings which then got traded for a bunch of other games.
40.#The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth Another fantastic box of fun with great components. I wanted to like this one more than I did. Lots of cool in this package but at the end of the day it just had enough nagging little problems that I felt confident enough to trade it away. I think my biggest problem with this one is that the campaign didn't allow you enough time to explore all these cool locations. Lots of pressure to always push forward faster and faster. Also constantly shuffling those little cards got a bit old.
39.#Dune: Imperium This is a great game! It's a deck builder combined with a worker placement and area conflict game! And... I wish it focused more on one single mechanism. The deck building is fun, but the game is too short to really dig into the deck building. The worker placement is cool - but there isn't enough meat there. The area conflict is exciting! But there is only one space to fight over. I ended up trading this one away for great value.
38.#Underwater Cities (last year 9) Huge drop for this one. It's still a great game with an awesome theme. I would gladly play this any time. But I ended up getting a similar game from the same designer that pushed this one down.
37.#Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition Recent addition to my collection. It's an interesting combination of regular TM and Race for the Galaxy. Right now I still like both "parent" games more but this one is one to watch. I definitely appreciate the high component quality in this one.
36.#Empires of the Void II (last year 19) A fantastic game with some of the most beautiful artwork in my collection. This one is pushed down a bit simply because I just don't get it to the table very often. It's very good though.
35.#Maracaibo (last year 13) A fantastic Pfister that got pushed down by a different Pfister game that you'll see further up on the list. A lot to love in this game, especially the cool legacy style story, but also quite fiddly to set up.
34.#Neom: Create the City of Tomorrow.A fun and light city building game that I never hear anyone talk about. Some cool ideas in a nice package.
33.#Civilization: A New Dawn I absolutely love the Civ PC games and this is a surprising cool board game adaptation. I love the action selection mechanism in this one which is surprisingly underutilized across the hobby. I really would like to grab the expansion for this one.
32.#Viscounts of the West KingdomRelatively new add to my collection and I'm still getting into this one. I love the deck building and interesting decisions in this one. Fantastic solo mode too. Look for this one to climb in the future with additional plays.
31.#Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile Picked this one up over the summer. It's definitely unique and has lots of cool ideas. It's a beast to learn but is incredibly thematic and intense. Not sure if I should keep it in my collection as it's not really a solo game and I doubt I can get my game group to play it. It's fantastic though.
30.#First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet (last year 10) I love the theme in this one and it tells cool stories. Just haven't played it as much in the last year and it's been pushed down by other games.
29.#SpaceCorp One of the 3 big "build a space program games" - the other two being High frontier and Stellar Horizons- and SpaceCorps is easily the most euro-style of those games. Definitely more of an abstracted game than High Frontier and probably more fun because of that fact. But also less realistic.
28.#Root (Last year 15) This one has been pushed down because I simply hadn't gotten it to the table very much. However I recently acquired the#Root: The Clockwork Expansion which makes me much more likely to play this game. I'm looking forward to playing this one a lot more this coming year.
27.#Black Angel Absolutely gorgeous game - artwork by Ian O'Toole - with some really interesting dice placement mechanics. I haven't played this one as much as I would like.
26.#Circadians: First Light (last year 8) Really great game that has simply been pushed down the list by even greater games. Has a phenomenal solo mode. I really should play this one more.
25.#Wingspan (last year 21) Beautiful game with a unique theme. Really enjoy playing this one with my daughter. Decent solo mode, phenomenal components.
24.#Hallertau A really strong Uwe game with great card play. Lighter than some other Uwe games and has a nice beat your own solo mode. Great for a lazy Sunday afternoon.
23.#Xia: Legends of a Drift System A grail game of mine for a long time and I can't believe it isn't in the top 10. Just haven't played it enough to push some of the other games down. Really fun space exploration game with all kinds of cool ships and is extremely thematic.
21.#Tawantinsuyu: The Inca Empire The first of many games that features a David Turzci solo design. This game is just a wonderful euro game with crunchy decisions to make every single turn. A little more thematic than you'd expect, but not really.
20.#Paladins of the West Kingdom(last year 11) - my current favorite of the West Kingdom games. Love the interconnected tracks and the various buildings and round goals. Very fun. Strong solo mode.
19.#Tapestry As "So Very Wrong About Games" so appropriately described: this game is tracks on tracks on tracks and it really speaks to me and my game group. A small amount of theme but surprisingly fun with a great solo mode to boot. Wish the miniatures looked better though.
18.#Barrage A cutthroat Euro Game about water management with a fantastic solo AI and some really cool mechanics. File this one under "game I need to play more".
17.#Tekhenu: Obelisk of the SunOne of the mighty "T" games with a delicious solo mode from David Turzci. Cool theme with this game and I enjoy the multiple mechanisms in this one.
16.#Leaving Earth Absolutely love this game. A realistic space game with involved mission planning and lots of brain burning decisions. The expansions really add a lot to this game and wow it's fun.
Wow! This is by far the best Pfister I've ever played. It blows Maracaibo and CloudAge out of the water. Meaningful deck building with amazing components and a unique theme. Amazing.
14.#Kanban EV. Starting to hit some really amazing games here. Phenomenal components, beautiful artwork, awesome theme, and a fantastic David Turzci solo mode.
13.#Middara: Unintentional Malum – Act 1. Woah. This is a game. Tons and tons of content, incredibly flexible and open ended character development. Lots and lots of dice. Great story. Haven't finished the campaign yet and had to pack it away to make some space to play other games.
One of the only roll and writes I've ever played and what a game. I love all the interconnection between the various parts. It's an amazing solo game and really gives you a fantastic since of progress.
An incredibly thematic deck-builder with a crazy variety of play styles to pick from. Particularly great solo mode designed by - who else - David Turzci. Lots to explore in this game and I feel like I've barely scratched the surface.
Last year this was ranked number 5. Still one of my most favorite games of all time. Suffers from a lack of recent play time but really enjoy everything about this one. Really great Star Wars flavor and a ton of content. Great solo too, either with the app or using a fan-made variant.
Huge, sprawling, deep. Complex. Phenomenal. It's OK solo but really shined with my game group. We had a blast and can't wait to table it again.
Deep, but not complex. Huge variety, but not overwhelming. A quick playing solo game with endless amounts of variety. I have finally introduced it to my game group too so I'm looking forward to many more plays multiplayer. Gathering Storm expansion is very high up on my "required" expansions list.
Last year this was #4. I still love this to bits but it's been a while since I tabled it. I did play the digital adaptation which is amazing with my friends a couple of times and the card play is simply unmatched with this one. Truly a great box of fun.
Last year this was also ranked in the 6 spot. I haven't played all of Mr. Rosenberg's games but this is by far my favorite. The wide-open action board combines so beautifully with the polyomino system. The mild dice roll elements add just a little bit of randomness to the game. I doubt I will ever get to play this game enough to see all of the cards. Truly a great game.
Last year this was ranked number 3 overall. I still love this game so so much. The engine building and asymmetric factions combine for almost endless combinations of strategy. Also features one of the best non-David Turzci solo modes I've seen. Simple yet challenging. A great game all around.
Last year this was ranked 7th overall. I did get a fair few plays of this one this year, including adding in Venus Next, Colonies, and very recently Turmoil expansions. There is so much to love in this game, especially once you get used to the uneven card art and average component quality. I know it is a bit much asking folks to get past the art but if you ever find it within yourself to give this one a try I know you won't be disappointed.
Last year this was ranked 2nd overall. I really need to play this one again. So many games, not enough time. This is an epic, amazing game. I can't say enough good things about this game. Still my absolute favorite solo game, even though it hasn't hit the table recently. I also honestly don't think the rule book is that terrible. Is it great? No, but there are so many other aids to help you learn the game at this point that rule book complaints shouldn't be used as excuses any more.
Shocker! My number one game has been dethroned. I love love love this game but it is a beast to table. My good friend who plays this with me every year has been unable to come out to Minnesota for the last 2 years due to Covid restrictions and I have been sorely missing my plays of this great game. Really love everything about this game though.
A game great enough to unseat Rebellion. I initially picked up just the essentials edition of this game and fell in love immediately. After my first solo play I knew that I had to get all of the content for this game. I managed to snag the Infinity Box and WOW is this game great. An unbelievable solo AI designed by, of course, David Turzci, crazy amounts of modules to add in or take out, and incredibly thematic euro-style gameplay. What more can I say about this one? It's incredible.
So that's my list! 50 great games. I do have quite the list of games that I need to play (listed in no particular order):
Quite possibly more that I can't think of right now.
Thanks for reading my list! Merry Christmas and happy gaming!