My Top 10 Games
Isaac Childres
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Indiana
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For anyone interested in my taste in games, I give you my top 10 all-time favorite games. It is somewhat Euro-centric, as I have an aversion to dice, but I do love a perfectly-crafted game, no matter the origin.

You can also find an updated version of this list on my website: http://www.cephalofair.com/2014/05/top-10-board-game-loves.h...
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1. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:17]
Isaac Childres
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I could go on and on about how much I love Agricola, but essentially it is the perfect worker placement game. There are so many different avenues to generate points and a great player must explore all of them. Developing a strategy for doing that, however, is a new experience every time based on your starting hand of occupations and minor improvements. The game challenges you to develop a truly unique strategy for victory every time you play, and I just love it.
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2. Board Game: Forge War [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:917]
Isaac Childres
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Admittedly, I am the designer of the game, so this is a very biased opinion. But the bottom line is that I developed my ideal game, and luckily I succeeded in my endeavor. I love this game more every time I play it. The spatial reasoning aspect of the mine is just plain fun and and when you've got all your resources perfectly chugging along in the quests, it just makes you feel smart, and that's a great feeling.

Do I love it more than Agricola? Well, it's a toss-up, but I guess I decided to reign in the self-promotion just a tad.
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3. Board Game: Legacy: Gears of Time [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:1499]
Isaac Childres
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The mechanical beauty of this game is unparalleled. The way simple decisions about how to spend your turn branch out into forming and influencing a complex technology tree that must be built in reverse - it is stunning. Yeah, there's a good amount of randomness to it in the fate cards and getting the prereqs for your high-point cards. But the randomness fades towards the end of the game and gives way to a very cut-throat, tactical game of influencing the right cards at the right time.
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4. Board Game: Caylus [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:45]
Isaac Childres
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Ah, Caylus, the shining beacon of pure non-random determinism. A game of such complexity and tactics, a 2-player session has been likened to chess - a game where knowing your own strategy and the strategy of your opponent are equally important.
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5. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:28]
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While the mechanics of the game are enjoyable and easily accessible, the real surprise about how awesome Power Grid is comes with the end game and the importance of predicting how everything will play out. I've lost this game in so many different ways, and it surprises me every time that the game was actually capable of doing that to me - relying too heavily on coal and running out on the last turn; preparing for a big push on the last turn and then have the game end early; losing to someone powering 19 and you're powering 18 because you couldn't get that 7 plant on the last turn...

You think it's a simple economic game, but you've always gotta watch out for that end game blind-side.
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6. Board Game: Mage Knight Board Game [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:18]
Isaac Childres
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I absolutely love Vlaada Chvatil. He is a true innovator of board game design, and nothing speaks more to this than Mage Knight, a game I wish I had more time to play. I love the way every hand of cards you draw is a puzzle - you know what you want to do on the board, but can you do it with what you have? And when the answer to that question is a very non-obvious "yes," well, that's just a superb feeling. And even if the answer is "no," that's okay, too, since your not forced to play your whole hand each turn. You can do something small and wait for those couple extra cards you need next turn.

And the fact that it plays so well even as a solo experience is just another testament to its power.
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7. Board Game: SET [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:1220]
Isaac Childres
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A definite outlier on this list, SET is the only fast-paced real-time card game I enjoy playing. I'm not good at thinking up strategies under pressure, but SET is about nothing but pure, undistilled brain power. Match cards as fast as you can. The only problem is that you have to play with people of a similar skill level or you will just crush them (or get crushed). But it's always a fun time, anyway.
 
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8. Board Game: Terra Mystica [Average Rating:8.24 Overall Rank:8]
Isaac Childres
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I suspect Terra Mystica would be even higher if I were able to play it more. As it is, I've only played it once and it has left that big of an impression. Seriously, everyone should stop playing Settlers and just play this instead. I guess it doesn't really scratch the same itch since there's no player-to-player trading, but I still think the world would be a happier place.
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9. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:15]
Isaac Childres
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I don't really play this game that much any more since I discovered the ideal strategy. It sort of loses its luster when you realize there's only one real path to victory. But still, this was like my intro into hobby board gaming and it will always hold a place in my heart. I had many wonderful, frustrating nights playing this game with my friends.
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10. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
Isaac Childres
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Another game that holds a special place in my heart, as I spent countless nights playing this with my wife, trying to come up with complex strategies to beat her method of just buying silver and gold no matter what cards were on the table. Sometimes I was successful and sometimes I wasn't, but it was always a good time.

Dominion has spawned a multitude of copycats, but none come even close to matching its grace and strategy, except maybe the recently released Trains, but I don't have a deep history with that.
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