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These would be my picks…

Scott Almes: I have played a few of his Tiny Epic Games, but I would have to go with #Claim. This trick-taker keeps the player on their toes due to each suit (race) having a different ability. With each expansion/standalone the variety and replay ability increases.

Ted Alspach: I would go with #Castles of Mad King Ludwig (#Suburbia is second for me). Nothing like bidding on the next crazy addition of this work in progress castle. I’m sure I am not alone when I say I can’t wait for a deluxe version of this.

Antoine Bauza: #Ghost Stories. My favorite co-op. Love the theme and its brutal difficulty. Damn those hopping vampires.

Bernd Brunnhofer: probably best known for #Stone Age, but for my pick I would have to go with the engine/tableau builder #St. Petersburg. The last time this was reprinted by ZMAN which added some extras (like the market), but I would have loved to have picked up the older version with the artwork that was closer ascetically to the time period when the game was set.

Richard Borg: Honestly, I haven’t played many from Borg. I owned and played the rummy variant #Wyatt Earp and #Thunder & Lightning. I no longer own either.

Inka & Markus Brand: Lots of admiration goes to this power couple. For my money, #Village is their best. What other game allows you to kill off your workers? People say Euros are not thematic, I say check out Village.

Tony Boydell: #Snowdonia hands down. It is one of the few games where the dummy player is not limited to two players. Plus the weather mechanic is nifty. I admit I wanted to like #Guilds of London, but the iconography made it a bear to learn and teach.

Richard Breese: Can’t think of a standout here.

Bruno Cathala: Strangely I feel that this designer does his best work with others. For my pick it would have to be #Abyss which was co-designed with Charles Chevallier. Aside from the artwork, the game does have a lot of neat mechanisms attached to it (press your luck, hand management, and set collection). I will say the game needs the #Abyss: Leviathan to cover what I feel is its weakest points (monster track).

Matthias Cramer: #Rococo which Kind of cheating because it was a co-design with Stephan and Louis Malz. Deckbuilding with area majority. My masculinity is not threatened by dress making. I kinda of regret getting rid of my first printing, but grad school is expensive and I have kids to feed. I did pick up the deluxe version.

Carl Chudyk: I feel like every one of his designs attempts to be like #Glory To Rome. Glory to Rome was the first game after playing CCG/TCG that got me hooked. Every card in this game seems overpowered and the lead follow mechanism is brilliant.

John Clowdus: Known for his small card games, which often seem a bit too similar in my opinion. I will have pick #Omen: A Reign of War. Game is a tug of war race that feels close to a CCG/TCG.

John D. Clair: I’ve played two of his designs: #Mystic Vale and #Space Base. I played a lot of vale via app. I did think it was a gimmicky deck builder at first (card crafting), but the press your luck aspect of corruption is quite fun. I will say that Space Base fixes what I hated about Machi Koro.

Rüdiger Dorn: #Istanbul (not Constantinople). Pick up and deliver mixed with wheelbarrow racing. Favorite aspect is the family member that is constantly incarcerated.

Stefan Dorra: Probably best known #For Sale. For my pick I’ll go with the abstract #Medina (second edition). Basically the most interesting thing about this is how each player plays a game of chicken regarding claiming parts of the city.

Phil Eklund: Haven’t played a ton from him, but I do like #Pax Porfiriana. The Eklunds have a knack for building games that can make a historian swoon.

Steve Finn: King of the fillers. #Biblios is my favorite here. Mix drafting and an auction and you get this game. Will note that is the first game I played with my (now) wife before we started going out. This game also made me realize that I am terrible at teaching rules.

Stephan Feld: I am a stickler for multi-use card games like #Bruges, but for this I have to go with #The Castles of Burgundy. Probably my favorite dice placement game and the very definition of point salad. Genius of how every aspect is so integrated.

Friedemann Friese: To be honest, I was not a huge fan of #Power Grid. Maybe because I was tired the first time I played it, maybe it was the people I played with. Played #Friday quite a bit. Honestly, I don’t think I ever won a game.

Jacob Fryxelius: n/a

Mac Gerdts: #Concordia. Honestly when this pandemic is over with I can’t wait to play this and Ra.

Hisashi Hayashi: Only played a few, but will have to say #Yokohama is our favorite. It is kinda like worker placement mixed with a mancala.

Steve Jackson: #Munchkin. I haven’t played a game of it in years, but I will say that #Munchkin Cthulhu is the best because of its alternate win/end condition. Game does have the tendency to go on like a bad rash.

Wolfgang Kramer: #El Grande. Pound for pound the best area control game. Needs 4 people to be playable.

Reiner Knizia: #Ra. Such a clever auction game with press your luck and set collection. This is a hard one for me as Knizia has a bunch of great designs.

Michael Kiesling: One of my grail games is #The Palaces of Carrara btw. I haven’t played #Azul enough, so my pick would be #Vikings. Haven’t played it in a bit, but how the auction wheel will move as tiles/Vikings are bought.

Richard Launius: I’ve played #Elder Sign a lot, but nothing else from him. Part of the appeal is the Lovecraftian lore (I am from RI after all). Co-op #Yahtzee is what this is. Game does need either the omen expansions like #Elder Sign: Omens of the Pharaoh Expansion or the #Elder Sign: Gates of Arkham Expansion to shine. Probably the only games we house rule as well. Game is technically over when all of the investigators die. Yeah, not doing that…

Scott Lang: Haven’t played enough to pick here.

Vital Lacerda: I own #Vinhos Deluxe, but have yet to play it. Mainly bought one of his titles due to Portuguese pride to be honest.

Daniele Tascini & Simone Luciani: #Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar. I was ready to chalk up the gears as a gimmick, but they are really an ingenious way to plan when and what a worker will get.

Thomas Lehmann: Much like Chudyk, I feel like most of his games are tableau builders like #Race for the Galaxy. I will say that this game works best with 2 and requires a bit of a commitment to get good at (I’ve played this over a 1000 times and I still suck at it). Common complaint about this one is its iconography.

Paulo Mori: #Via Magica/ #Rise of Augustus. Bingo with a little extras. First game I was able to play with our 2.5 year old.

Corné van Moorsel: Will have to go with #Habitats. Probably his best known title to begin with. Honestly it is an easy tile laying game that requires a little planning. Who does like building their very own ecosystem? Also. If you have the 1st printing, you have those cute handmade ceramic animals as well… or you can do what I did and buy some Red Rose Tea figurines.

Shem Phillips: I own #Raiders of Scythia, but haven’t played it yet. Can’t pick a favorite here.

Alexander Pfister: #Port Royal since I haven’t played #Great Western Trail trail yet. Port Royal is a simple card game with press your luck.

Uwe Rosenberg: Hard choice here as well. #At the Gates of Loyang followed by #Caverna: The Cave Farmers / #Agricola (Revised Edition).

Vladimír Suchý: What I love about this designer is that he rarely designs expansions. I haven’t played #Underwater Cities enough to say that it is his best. I have played #Last Will will a few times and will say that the theme and gameplay are unlike anything else. The entire premise is to blow all of your money to win and the ways that you can part with that cash is outlandish.

Andreas Schmidt: Own #Heaven & Ale, but haven’t played it yet aside from solo. N/A

Reiner Stockhausen: #Orléans. Not sure if this was the first “bag builder”. Orleans is kinda point salad. Probably favorite aspect of this is the travel aspect that reminds me of another favorite, #Village. One expansion can also make this a solo or co-op game as well.

Jamey Stegmaier: #Viticulture: Essential Edition w/  #Tuscany: Essential Edition. Very simple and streamlined worker placement. I used to help my grandpa (Avo) make wine so this always reminds me of him and that time. Lovely production quality.

Ignacy Trzewiczek: I would pick the #51st State: Master Set over #Imperial Settlers. They are similar, mainly because both were modeled after the original #51st State. I think where state has the edge is how the game will end at a set point value. Almost every game of Settlers ends with a blowout and has a set amount of turns.

Justin De Witt: The only game I really played from him is #Castle Panic. The game is akin to those tower defensive games. Simple co-op that is a great entry point into the genre. The game does feel like the #Castle Panic: The Wizard's Tower expansion should have been included from the start. Was curious about the failed kickstarter that was going to be a deluxe version.

Martin Wallace: Only played a few from him, but I would pick #London Second Edition.

Cole Wehrle: N/a

Interest level; through the roof. Love the art, really enjoy hand management games, really love area control. 


I would say 3-6 smaller, i just enjoy variety. but im also pretending brass birmingham is a small game. 


no clue. 


1) I have a pretty high interest #Inis and like merged mechanic games - so hand management with area control sounds like a nice #Mythotopia / #Chaos in the Old World slice of pie 


2) I would probably drop my $200 on an expensive title - some mini-hoard vomit with 12 expansions I missed out on Kickstarter - #Tsukuyumi: Full Moon Down would be a good one - (well if it ever comes out :P )


3) I didn't really see any grail games on the previous list that wouldn't be well loved - and isn't #Gaia Project pretty hard to find also - I'd want that lol. The only miss for me is #Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game as I already own and love it so if that came my way I would have to find a deserving owner or turn it into EBAY Gold so I could get the one expansion I missed :(



Rulebook is out now, apparently is has variable starting card setup, hand management and card action selection player elimination and no team vs team like the original. Interesting!

It's an asymmetric hand management tableau builder with a lot of negative interaction.

1. I am definitely a solo gamer. I started solo gaming just to prove to my wife that I do play all those games in my collection. Surprisingly, almost every game I own has a solo mode. The more that I’ve played solo games the more I’ve come to enjoy it. So after starting out just to show that I do use all those games I’ve come to the realization that solo gaming is awesome. Now when I’m looking to acquire new games I consider the solo mode first, then look at the multiplayer options. 

2. My best games to solo are:

A. #Gloomhaven - absolutely sublime dungeon crawler /hand management game. Is co-op to begin which makes the solo mode easier to implement. Amazing solo experience.

B. #Star Wars Imperial Assault - fun and incredible Star Wars dungeon crawler. The app is fun to solo against but when using a PnP solo system called RAIV the game really comes alive. Tons of fun.

C. #Terraforming Mars - one of the best engine builders/tableau builders for solo out there. The incredible variety of cards makes every game unique and different. Solo rules are more of a beat your own score but the variables in set up and game play are fantastic.

D. #Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North - a beautiful and elegant game that seems made for solo play. A scenario-based best your own score style game that has a fantastic decision space. Quick to set up and quick to play.

E. #A Feast For Odin - one of the absolute best solo worker placement games. Massive amount of decisions to make and one of the most unique solo mechanisms- you block yourself as you play so it makes your strategies really interesting. Another best your own score solo mode. 

E. #Underwater Cities - Another engine builder in the same vein as #Terraforming Mars but with worker placement elements. A really tight experience where every single move counts and can literally be the difference between victory or defeat. 

F. #Scythe - one of the finest AI opponents in solo gaming. Once you learn the rules an absolute pleasure to play that accurately mimics the experience against humans.   

3. A great solo game needs to replicate in some fashion the experience that you get when playing against real opponents. The best solo games approach this from different angles- some utilize AI systems while others use clever/unique blocking mechanisms. And some a straight up beat your own score. On my opinion the best solo games are the ones which more closely replicate the experience of playing multiplayer.

Another aspect of great solo gaming is the ability to give the player an experience that they couldn’t get as easily in a group setting. Gloomhaven is a great example of this for me. My group cannot meet often enough to fully enjoy the campaign in this game. We would be playing for literally 5 years at our current pace. But playing solo allows me to play and see all that this game has to offer without the struggles of gathering your group. 

Other solo games I play are perhaps more complex than my group normally plays and the fact that I can play them solo lets me challenge myself and have fun playing board games. 

4. The biggest jumper will definitely be #Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North. This beautiful game is awesome solo. 

#Obsession! One of my favorites!

It's a neat blend of worker placement, hand management, tableau building, and deck building. But most of all, the theme is awesome! It's one of the rare games where the theme really appeals to my wife. And even when you're losing, you can enjoy the little biographies of the cads and American heiresses you're inviting to your events. :)

Tough question.  Outside of #Dominion: Second Edition I haven't played the games listed.  I have a hard time saying #Dominion: Second Edition is best because while I enjoy it I am not sure it's the best.  I'm going to go with #Lewis & Clark with #Fort and #Viscounts of the West Kingdom being in consideration.  I think Viscounts has several things going on that make it a great game and Fort is too new for me to fully assess.  Lewis and Clark has several things going for it.  The cards have a variety of action choices and you can use them to pay for new cards.  

I've played several games now and I love the hand management requirements and trying to get your camp past the last space and avoid losing the game because you had too many cards left in your hand.  The first few games we played we would end up with a hand size of 20 cards!  

Going back to Dominion, a few things I don't like about it:

1. The point cards do nothing for you.  I think a great deck-builder allows every card to do something

2. Trashing cards doesn't feel as helpful at first.  This is certainly an opinion but I like it when I can trash a card for help.  I didn't include #The Taverns of Tiefenthal for this reason.  WHen you trash a card in Viscounts or "spend" one in Lewis & Clark, you get something in return. 

I think #Founders of Gloomhaven is underrated.  I like the game and would like to see it hit the table more.  It's heavy and that makes it a bit challenging but the gameplay is fun and I like the hand management aspect.

Oh my goodness... depending on the price it's gonna be hard for me to not support this project (admittedly this is an initial reaction) but so many things look like they would hit the mark for me.  4x, Negative Player Interaction, Hand Management, Area Control, Resource Management, Sandbox.  Plus, I love alternate history and Steampunk.

The player count is not problematic for me as I almost never play at 2P.

Is the artwork the same artist that has done the North Sea and West Kingdom games?