Dear Secret Santa!
Thanks for Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries! The winter theme is just perfect for the upcoming holidays plus this is one of the few top-rated games that actually has Estonia on the map!
[Previous hints to Secret Santa]
I've tried to add comments to everything in my wishlist to ease the choice. If you're interested, you can also check out my collection to see what I already have and like. In general I am partial to games with close to zero downtime, multiple paths to victory, beautiful presentation and art, easy to teach to non-gamers, yet also satisfying for gamers and which play in under an hour. My absolute top favourites are "Race for the Galaxy" and "7 Wonders", both of which tick all these boxes. I also love tactical battles ("Neuroshima Hex", "Nexus Ops", "Heroscape"), economic simulations and auctions ("Modern Art", "Acquire", "Container") and hidden roles ("Sabouteur 1-2", "Resistance / Avalon").
Also a few words about what I don't like. Even though I absolutely love tableau building ("Race for the Galaxy", "7 Wonders"), I cannot wrap my head around the randomness of deck-building ("Dominion" and its ilk). I know I have deck-building games in my wishlist but that is because I love comic book art and I am hoping I will be able to overlook their deck-building aspect.
Co-op games are not quite my thing either. I am quite competitive and confrontational, so I feel a bit bored playing a co-op game. I keep a "Forbidden Island" around just because all my non-gaming friends love it so much but I am not that excited about it myself.
Neither am I overly excited about abstract cube-pushing eurogames. I need theme and beautiful presentation to both hook myself and my non-gaming friends that I keep converting into boardgamers, but bland cubes and themeless abstraction just don't cut it.
Also, no matter how good the game, if it takes over three hours, I am starting to lose my patience. Games that run under an hour are perfect in the sense that even if you are losing, you could still play a few more games in a couple of hours and have more chances to win. But even if I am winning a 5 hour game, the last few hours are usually spent trying to fend off the thoughts of "I wish I was doing something else right now".
So I like my games to be easy to grasp, hard to master, beautiful to look at, quick to play, without much downtime to speak of and competitive.