Casualgod's Top 10 Games Of All Time
David Debien
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Tom Vasel does a top 100 games of all time every year which I enjoy immensely despite the fact that I disagree with a lot of his choices. Looking at how many games Tom has rated, I noticed that I have rated about a tenth as many games as he has. That got me to thinking that his top 100 games are about the same as my top 10 games, relative to the number of games we have each played and rated. So, I figured, what the heck, the internet won't be harmed by one more top 10 list. Will it?
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1. Board Game: Steel Driver [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:979]
David Debien
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Game #10: Steel Driver.

This the only Wallace game to make this list and indeed I have not played many of his greatest games, Brass among them. So, I have some pretty big holes to fill, but as I have mentioned, I have only played about one tenth the amount of games as someone like Tom Vasel.

Why do I like Steel Driver so much? Well, it plays very well from 3-6 in about 75-90 minutes regardless of the number of players. It also features some of my favorite mechanics: auctions, route building, and stock speculation. The neat little set collection mini-game that comes at the end is also very cool.

Final scores in Steel Driver are always close and everyone I have taught this to has seemed to like it.
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2. Board Game: Caylus [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:46]
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Game # 9: Caylus.

Caylus is still the grand daddy of all worker placement games in my mind. I do like Agricola, but the cards in that game, while adding a lot of replay value, also add a lot of uneven play, which can be mitigated via house rules such as drafting. Also the turn order mechanic in Gric needs some tweaking for my taste. I also like the option to directly attack other players in Caylus and the various under handed ways to get favors. Almost no luck and multiple paths to victory round out this true classic.
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3. Board Game: Twilight Struggle [Average Rating:8.34 Overall Rank:5]
David Debien
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Game #8: Twilight Struggle.

First, the theme. Most of us lived the Cold War. Growing up, my father was in the Army. I remember lining up at our base Gym (ready to evacuate, suitcases in hand) in Bamberg, Germany in case World War III broke out as a result of Reagan bombing Libya. The cold war touched us all, some more than others, but this is a theme that is real to me in a very big way.

If this game played 3-4 players in under 2 hours it would most likely be #1 on my list. The delicious tension created by the tug of war action throughout this 3 hour brain burner is hard to beat. TS is a game that gets more fun with each play as you begin to get a feel for the rhythm of the game. Learning how to play a poor hand can be as satisfying as executing a strong one. The constant worry over Defcon makes it so that there is not a casual move played through the entire game. TS leaves one playing on the edge of their seat from start to finish.
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4. Board Game: Tammany Hall [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:587]
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Game # 7: Tammany Hall.

I have had this game on my radar for quite some time. The fact that roughly 500 copies exist have kept it out of my collection. I missed the kick starter only because I hadn't played it yet. I fixed that recently at BGG.CON, where I checked it out from the library and taught myself how to play. I played 2 games at the con, a 3 player and a 5 player games, losing both times. But they were the 2 best games I played all con.

I adore this game. Why? Well, it played well 3 and 5 players, which is a great bonus considering the play count is 3-5. It plays in about and hour and the rules are about 5 pages long. I like short play times and simple rules. Check and check.

I also love auctions, and the blind auctions where all bids are lost make the decisions in Tammany Hall brutally tough and this is what made me fall in love with this game.

In short, quick play time, good at all player counts, tough decisions that are never obvious and simple elegant play.

Can't wait to own my copy.
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5. Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:12]
David Debien
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Game #6: Castles of Burgundy

This one is just fun. The first four games on this list can be considered brain burners, and while the strategy in CoB is by no means light or obvious, this game is very approachable by less experienced gamers. I have successfully taught CoB to non-gamers who enjoyed it quite a bit. It may be a stretch to call CoB a gateway game, but it is about as gateway as I usually want to play.

The central mechanic of using 2 dice actions at a time on your turn mixed with the tile drafting mechanic gives Castles of Burgundy a nice mix of long term strategy and short term tactics.

Also, the sense of satisfaction one gets after carefully setting up a nice cascade of actions yielding a super turn makes this one a lot of fun. Mix in a fair number of different player boards for replay value and you get one of Stefan Feld's best designs.
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6. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:31]
David Debien
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Game # 5: Power Grid

Hmm, let's see.
Route building: check.
Resource management: check.
Auctions: check.

Three of my favorite design elements in a game. The resource track in PG is pure dead brilliant. The way you can see ahead in the auctions to plan ahead combined with the route building choices give PG a heady melange of differently flavored choices all brought together by a unique victory condition: power the most cities in the final turn. After all your machinations, this is the only thing that matters and what everything boils down to.

Brilliant game.
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7. Board Game: Space Empires: 4X [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:438] [Average Rating:7.62 Unranked]
David Debien
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Game #4: Space Empires 4x

If you count Twilight Struggle as a war game (which I do), this is the only other war game on this list, and by extension the best war game I have ever played. Now, I have a big hole here as well, having played ASL a little in the past along with a smattering of block war games, so take this statement with a grain of salt.

That said, I do like hex and counter type war games and this is one of them.

SE4X plays 1-4 and I did enjoy the solo scenarios when I first got it in order to teach myself the game. I have also played several 3 and 4 player games of this and those were enjoyable. But, 2 player is where this one shines and you can set up a small scenario which can very much be played in 90 minutes or a monster game lasting all day. The choice is up to the players. Strategies will then vary according to the size of the map, giving gobs of replay value.

I also like exploration, tech trees, economic engines, bluffing, and secret unit deployment. The sci-fi theme wraps this up nicely.

Oh, and there is an expansion around the corner. In fact, I should go check my mail now...
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8. Board Game: Macao [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:243]
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Game #3: Macao

I have made my love of Macao no secret on the forums and geeklists of BGG, loudly declaring my fondness as often as possible.

There are higher rated Feld games but I hold Macao above them because:

1: I love super turns. I mentioned this in Castles of Burgundy, which also features super turns, but the super turn you can pull off in Macao make any from CoB pale in comparison.

2: Many complain about the luck in Macao. I think most people who lodge this complaint play it once or twice and don't fare well with the dice. However, familiarity with the game will uncover the many ways you can speculate the dice colors in your game. You can look ahead to office cards as well as play common colors together. You can also see what city quarters you will want to buy. It just feels great when your color speculations pay off in this game and again familiarity pays off here, so the replay value you get from playing well due to this familiarity keeps this one coming back to the table.

#3: Engine building. Once you get a head of steam in Macao, you can do some really amazing things combining your card affects. The sheer variety of these cards and the combinations you can make with them again contribute to an already over the top replay value.

#4: Final scoring is always close making Macao tense to the very last moment.
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9. Board Game: Goa [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:111]
David Debien
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Game #2: Goa

My favorite mechanic is auction/bidding.
My favorite game design element is technology trees.

Goa heavily features both. Drool...

Throw in a neat little spacial element to control what gets auctioned and when. Add in spice-eeples(!) along with a tight little resource economy and you have a game that almost tops my #1 game of all time.

Finally, a fixed number of rounds which ends the game just as it is really to starting to get rolling keeps them coming back for more Goa!
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10. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:16]
David Debien
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Game #1: Puerto Rico

Ah, Puerto Rico. I have to admit a lot of my love for PR is sentimental. It was the first game I acquired after Catan, which got me started in this crazy hobby. Sure, I had played AH Civilization, Republic of Rome, Starfleet Battles, ASL, etc before the current designer board game craze, but none of those games made me turn away from my primary gaming hobby: RPG's. In the past 4 years or so, I have made the switch from primarily playing RPG's to primarily playing board games and PR played a huge role in that transition (followed closely by Caylus).

Puerto Rico hits my playtime sweet spot at about 90 mintues, and plays really well with 3-4. I do not like the 5 player game as it seems to downplay the significance of the Governor and lengthens downtime to an unacceptable degree for me.

Puerto Rico may or may not have invented the role selection mechanic, but when I see it in other games, I can't help but think how PR does it better.

PR is such an elegant game, offering almost perfect information to the players. Due to this, PR is played almost entirely in the players heads rather than on the board (if that makes any sense). Maneuvering your opponents into positions where they do what you want them to for your benefit is what makes PR shine for me.

Also, PR is a great engine building game which is fairly limited in the base game but gets blown wide open by the inclusion of the expansion buildings. Add in multiple paths to victory and you have what I consider the greatest board game of all time.
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