Casualgod's Next 10 Best Games of All Time
David Debien
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The other night I decided to write a top 10 games list. I thought I was done with that, but a number of poeple enjoyed it and I also got a lot out of verbalizing why I like the games I like, so I have decided to continue this little exercise and publish my 11-20th best games for no reason other than I have the time and I think it may be fun. Most people publish a list from least to greatest, but I seem to be doing it in the other direction. Sue me.

For my top 10 list go here:

Casualgod's Top 10 Games Of All Time
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1. Board Game: Shogun [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:129]
David Debien
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Game # 20: Shogun.

All hail the mighty cube tower!

I have not played the game this is based on: Wallenstein (first edition), so I am not saying that Shogun is better than Wallenstein.

However, if Wallenstein is anything like Shogun (and if I am not mistaken, it's pretty similar), then it's a pretty fricken cool game.

The fact that you have to program each round's actions in advance make the planning phases in this game very tough. Once you have locked those in, the rest of the round is just a roller coaster ride as you see how your planned actions work out in tandem with everyone else's. Make no mistake, your game can go pretty far off the rails if you plan poorly! So, every move counts and this adds a very tense edge to your game play, as you can certainly lose the game with poor planning at any time.

Throw in the afore mentioned cube tower, which replaces dice in combat in an innovative way - introducing a luck quotient that is mostly guaranteed to swing back around to help or alterntely hinder each player in turn by the end of the game - and you get a war/euro game that throws everything into the box and comes out the other end offering an experience quite unlike anyhting else my game library has to offer.
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2. Board Game: The Resistance [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:181]
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Game # 19: The Resistance

This is werewolf without player elimination. The only thing werewolf does better is allow more than 10 players, which has yet to be an issue for me. In fact, I think 8 is the most players I have had for The Resistance.

Sure, the spies win more than their fair share of this game, but the plot cards make an attempt to balance this out.

Also, as one of the loudest players at the table, no one ever trusts me and I lose way more than I win, but oh well.

The fun in this one comes not from the winning so much as from the shouting, accusations, and general crazyness. This is a social game that can be brought out during a social gathering or a game day alike.

Toss in the fact that The Resistance is extremely portable and plays 5-10 in a about 15 minutes and you have a great game that you can drop down just about anywhere, anytime.
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3. Board Game: Innovation [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:279]
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Game # 18: Innovation.

The first time I played Innovation, I hated it.

Second time was hardly better.

Third game, I was losing by quite a bit and got a card in the late game that said if I got 20 light bulbs in my display, I instantly won. I spent a round or two working towards my goal and made my move with no time to lose, I knew the player to my left (the next player) would win on his turn. I did my thing and started counting my light bulbs. 19. I was crushed, but I was also standing up from the table shaking my fists and shouting my frustration. Damn! I was hooked. Turns out, I liked Innovation after all.

With tree ways to win the game (each very different from the others), and supporting 2-4 players equally well in a tiny very portable box, you never know how a game of Innovation is going to play out. It is amazing what the deisgner of this game has done with a few cards.
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4. Board Game: Eclipse [Average Rating:7.97 Overall Rank:33]
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Game # 17: Eclipse.

Eclipse came out about the same time as another favorite of mine: Space Empires: 4X (which made an appearance in my top 10 list) and both feature the same theme.

Space Empires wins out for me due to the win condition: crush your enemies. While, in Eclipse, the player with the most victory points at the end wins. Yawn.

Still, Eclipse does several things better than SE4X: exploration, the bits, defined playtime and player counts.

This is a very cool space exploration and exploitation game that shines with 4+ while SE4X is primarily a 2 player game for me. Throw in multiple paths to victory, a pretty nice (and innovative) tech tree and you got me hooked.

As long as you have 4+ to play, I am down for a game of Eclipse.
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5. Board Game: Mr. Jack [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:414]
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Game #16: Mr Jack.


I love deduction games. I also love games with shorter play times. Finally, it is nice to have 2 player game options on the shelf for when you need something to plug a hole with the early gamer arrival.

As such, Mr Jack sees a lot of play in my house. I also like to take it along with me when I go to gaming days in case I find my self with another gamer, waiting for another group to finish whatever they are playing.

A common complaint for this game is that it is really hard to win as Jack, but that works great for me because I find myself teaching it to new players a lot, and then I get to play as Jack and let the new player be the investigator giving them a more than fair shot to win the game. I also tend to shoot from the hip rather than over think my moves, so this one moves along fairly quickly and can be knocked out in about a half hour.

I recently added the Mr Jack Extension, but I have not yet had a chance to bring in the new characters, but I am confident that the variety offered by this will keep this one coming to my table for years to come.
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6. Board Game: Acquire [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:210]
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Game # 15: Acquire

I frequently have problems with games that offer a ton of chrome on top of very little game play (e.g. THIS). When I look at a game, I tend to strip away all of the trappings and inspect the game lurking underneath. Acquire is a game with no chrome and all gameplay. The board is ugly, the pieces are utilitarian, and the game play is drop dead simple: on their turn a player plays a tile, buys 0-3 shares and draws a new tile. Done.

The strategy behind this tile laying economic game can make this a real brain burner. The fact that it is 40 years old adds immensely to the charm.

Acquire is a true classic that belongs in every gamers library.
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7. Board Game: El Grande [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:57]
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Game # 14: El Grande.

The go to 5 player game in my house.

El Grande is the grand daddy of Area Control. You are never not paying attention to this game as it is played. The lobbying for what each person should do on their turn with their chosen action makes El Grande the most interactive and boisterous Euro style game I have ever played.

The take that play and give and take of this game make this one interesting from turn one until the final scoring phase. Evey turn is tense, every players moves counts. Multi-player solitaire is not a perjorative you will hear applied to El Grande. This is most certainly not a JASE (just another soulles euro). El Grande has SOUL!

Wow. Just wow.

The fact that it only really shines with 5 is what keeps El Grande from getting a lot more play, and from appearing much higher in this list.
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8. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:17]
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Game #13: Agricola.

Rules as written, I have a couple of issues with Agricola (referring to the regular game here, not family). I feel that playing without some type of card drafting mechanic will lead to some very uneven play. Additionally, sitting to the left of that one player who always has to have the first player marker gives one a decided advantage.

That said, I house rule a drafting phase at game start and use Cylus style play order rules (you never move up in play order until you take the first player action). With these additionas, Agricola is a fine game and plays 2-4 players extremely well.

The replay value afforded by the cards, along with multiple paths to victory, the constant pressure to feed your family and the long term planning bested by few other games, makes Agricola a favorite that has been coming back to my table year after year.
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9. Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:62]
David Debien
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Game # 12: Battlestar Galactica.

No, you're a frackin' Cylon!!!

Man I hate love this game. There are so many reasons why I should dislike it.

1: It's all chrome with barely a game underneath.

2: It's 3 plus hours long.

3: It's semi-co-op.

4: I never win.

Despite all of the above, I have never not enjoyed myself at this game. It's just fun. From turn one, knowing (as a human) that the odds are against you and others at the table are actively out to destroy you make the delicious tension in BSG rival anything out there. On the flip side, knowing you are a cylon makes it that much more interesting as you bust at the seems, wanting to shout out to the world (and your best friends) that you are a Traitor - suck it Bitches!

The shouting, accusations, tough deicsions, double crossing, and gorgeous look of BSG all add up to an experience that transcends your average board game session.

Win or lose, everyone at this table is a winner. Every time.
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10. Board Game: Dungeon Lords [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:189]
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Game #11: Dungeon Lords.


It must be said that the theme for this one helps it out a lot. I am not a theme junkie, but growing up playing Dungeons and Dragons, mostly as a Dungeon Master, put Dungeon Lords pretty close to my heart.

The fact that it is a very tight resource collection, puzzle, and worker placement game along with a good deal of humour and great bits makes Dungeon Lords one of the more unique games you are ever likely to play.

Make no mistake, this game hates you and will punish you severely for your mistakes.

Throw in the fact that I am terrible at Dungeon Lords. I play this game not so much to win as to watch my Dungeon get wrecked by the adventurers, not once but twice in a single game session. Add alcohol and a twist of lime and I am in heaven for two and a half hours.

The only reason why Dungeon Lords is not higher on my list:

1: It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to teach correctly.

2: It has a ton of bits and its fiddly factor is moderately high.

3: Did I mention I am terrible at Dungeon Lords?
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