Another Top 20 of all time (for now) list
Matthias Pseudonym
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Hello folks!

It's that time of the year, where dice tower people put up videos of their Top 100 games of all time, which in turn means that it's that time of the year where less prolific gamers put up humble geek ists about their top 20 games of all time.

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Ryan James
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's lead, I present mine here.

Inclusion criteria are mostly the ease of bringing the game to the table and the average amount of fun when playing. Also, snobbishness demanded that no party-ish game should be number 1 or 2. I also considered the game's goodness as the goodness when played with the right number of people, and the right people of people.

So, without further ado, wordiness or beating around the metaphorical bush, here are my top 20 games of all time (as of right now)!
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1. Board Game: Walnut Grove [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:928]
Matthias Pseudonym
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We'll start with one of the first resource-y Euros I seeked out.

This is a very smart, quick, fun game that plays from 1 to 4, and that plays very differently depending on the player number. Solo play is a nice and relaxing exercise in forward planning and optimisation, while a game with four players is one big blockish mess (and I love that!).

The game lasts 8 years, four friendly-ish years followed by four tough-without-ish years, where you draw tiles to grow your farm landin the spring, place workers to get resources from these landsin the summer, do something with those resources in the vilage (which is where the blocking occurs) during autumn and hope you have enough food and wood to warm and feed your workers in winter.

Easy to teach, kind of mean, very fun, it's my number 20.
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2. Board Game: Grimoire [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:2106]
Matthias Pseudonym
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Number 19 is the kind of game you will see a few times more in this list: The "Simultaneous action selection" kind of game.

This game goes over a fixed number of rounds, during which you choose spells from your spell book (and the spell books are wonderfully produced in the German version). In the beginning, you have five to six spells to choose from, but every round, another spell gets unlocked. You can cast spells to (using the German version's nomenclature) grab money or treasures, rob another player's character cards or money, defend yourself against such attacks, and so on.

Turn order depends on the spell you cast (weaker spells mean going earlier) as well as whether or not someone else cast the same spell (in which case all of these players go late). On your turn, you do what the spell says you can do, maybe use some character cards in front of you, and take one of the cards from the display that get refreshed each turn.

Simple mechanics, nice double-think when choosing spells (especially if you have more than three people playing it), and overall cool game.
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3. Board Game: Friday [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:305]
Matthias Pseudonym
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Number 18 is a game that can only be played solo, and one of the first two deck builders I ever got.

This may just be deck building at its purest: During the whole game, you're trying to make the deck become better and better at dealing with challenges, as these challenges get harder and harder to master. Beating challenges means you add good cards to your deck, losing against challenges means you can get rid of bad cards -but this also means losing health, and health is a resource that will always become critical.

Also, other any other deck builder I know, you don't know what your cards are at the beginning of your turn when you make your choice about what you want to do - you turn the cards from your deck over one by one, hoping that your deck (not your hand) is good enough to be able to what you intended. This is pretty neat, and the fact that there aare always bad cards in your you don't even really know gives each turn in the game a lot of tension.

If you are unsure about whether or not solo gaming is for you, this might just be *the* game to find out.
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4. Board Game: Cyclades [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:130]
Matthias Pseudonym
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What an elegant game! Too bad about the many small rule3s you are prone to miss ... Played it twice now, and am ooking forward to the day I'll play it with all of the rules intact.

This is an auction-war game, and while I normally dislike both of these genres, they work beautifully together here: The players are tribes or nations spread across a couple of islands, all trying to get two metropolises (and keep them till the end of the round). You get a metroplis from having four different buildings, or from having four philosophers. In the first phase of each round, players bid for gods' favours, which determines the actions they may take:

If you bid highest on Ares you may invade islands, if you bid highest on Poseidon you can do stuff with ships, Athena helps you to get metroplises in the non-confrontational way with the philosophers and Zeus gives you discounts when bidding on gods' favours or summoning creatures, who give you cool one time effects.

The action phase goes very smoothly and quickly, which I absolutely love, and there seem to be quite a few different ways towards winning. Great game, highly recommended, number 17.
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5. Board Game: Mousquetaires du Roy [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:1875]
Matthias Pseudonym
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I LOVE this game! I really really do! But you need it to play with other players who know how this game works, rule wise and strategy wise, so ... Yeah, I play this one mostly solo.

But what a cool game this is, solo or otherwise: You control the four musketeers trying to foil Milady de Winter's plans to dishonour the Queen of France. You have to make it through four different quest stages where you will need attacking power as well as panache, nobility, erudition and charme, all represented through cards.

You will also need all of that to deal with Milady's machinations in Paris, her intrigues in the Louvre and at the siege of La Rochelle. And Milady herself will make trouble (either being an AI or played by one of the players), forcing you to face off against Rochefort.

Very cool game with simple but great combat system, I highly recommended this game and would have put it far higher up this list had I a regular gaming group to play this with.
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6. Board Game: Rune Age [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:867]
Matthias Pseudonym
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Rune Age, together with its expansion, is a clever deck building game with different factions, which can be played in six different ways.

I prefer playing solo or cooperative (two of the scenarios), followed by the one-vs-many mode (with me being the evil one the other players want to defeat), and the race to kill one boss monster is also fun.

It's easy to get into, plays quickly, has many different ways of playing it (six factions, six scenarios), and all of that makes it a winner in my book.
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7. Board Game: Ghost Stories [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:192]
Matthias Pseudonym
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I like this as a solo game or with four players, anything else feels a little ... unnatural, I guess?

This cooperative game of running around and killing ghosts is a brilliant design: The actions you can take are quite basic, but the strategy required to survive, defeat the ghosts trying to invade a village and finally exorcise the incarnation of the evil Hell-Lord Wu Feng is far from obvious, and has to be readjusted depending on the game state.

I really like the way the health (or Qi) points work: Fighting doesn't lose you Qi points, but if you aren't able to get a free space on the next player's board, she will lose Qi. A really neat way of ensuring that in this game, it's not just everyone playing for themselves, but everyone looking out for one another.
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8. Board Game: Get Bit! [Average Rating:6.19 Overall Rank:1898]
Matthias Pseudonym
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This is another "simultaneous action selection" game in my list, and possibly the simplest: Each turn, players choose a card to put on the table from their hand, everyone reveals at the same time,players move their figures forward if no one else chose their number, and the player who's stays in the rear loses a limb to a shark.

The shark looks cool, the figures with their detachable limbs are awesome, and the gameplay is easy and fun and a great supplier of schadenfreude. Always a good time (as long as you have four or more people)!
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9. Board Game: Galaxy Trucker [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:129]
Matthias Pseudonym
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And speaking of schadenfreude, here is game number 12: Galaxy Trucker, the game of putting together junk to build a spaceship, and then have cards turned over that destroy your spaceship bit by bit.

This is so much fun! It's fun to see the spaceship you designed withstand all the slings, arrows and meteors space throws at you to be the first to get to the destination, laden with precious resources - and it's fun to see it smashed to pieces, because one tiny meteor flew into the one weak spot and broke your ship in half.

Cute components, timed puzzle phase plus chaotic destruction is a great way for a game to find a place in my heart.
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10. Board Game: Dungeon Fighter [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:772]
Matthias Pseudonym
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You and your friends (this part is important, you need more than two people, the more, the merrier) are in a dungean, facing scary monsters like the goblin red riding hood or the annoying drunk. But you have special abilities, and you can gather loot and buy weapons and equipment before facing the boss monster.

And you have to fight by throwing dice on a table such that they land on a dart board. Sometimes with your eyes closed. Or standing two steps away from the table. Or with the die hitting your forehead before hitting the table. Or all at once.

This is the best "fight monsters by precisely throwing dice while suffering from one to many often silly handicaps" game that you can imagine. Of course, if "throwing dice while striking a silly pose" isn't your idea of awesome, this is not the game for you, but if you feel even slightly intrigued by this concept, Dungeon Fighter is a game to check out.
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11. Board Game: Castle Panic [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:808]
Matthias Pseudonym
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And another light fantasy cooperative game: You draw cards, then trade cards with other players, then use those cards to bash up monsters before the reach the caste and knock down towers. Then, you draw some more monsters.

This game just works with non-gamers who like cartoony fantasy stuff. It plays quickly, it is easy to teach, it goes up to six and is even challenging when playing without walls in the beginning.

A very fun game at number 10.
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12. Board Game: Kamisado [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:1102]
Matthias Pseudonym
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I even like some abstracts, and this one of the most appealing to me: You have an 8 times 8 board in 8 colours. On your turn, you move one of your towers (which has one of those 8 colours) forward, either in a straight or diagonal line. The next player then has to move her tower of the same colour as the space your tower landed on.

First player to put a tower on the other player's base line wins.

Played this quite a bit live and lots of it online; it is extremely easy to understand the rules, but offers a lot of strategic space to explore, expecially when playing to more than one point, which is when sumo-towers get into play, that change the game quite a bit.

This is my abstract two player game of choice.
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13. Board Game: Hanabi [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:276]
Matthias Pseudonym
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This is a very unique cooperative game. It has very simple rules, comes in a very small package, it abolishes the alpha player syndrome and it is pure logic.

Each player has a hand of cards *facing outwards*, meaning that all the other players see what's in your hand, but you yourself do not. Then, when it's your turn, you can spend a clue token to give another player a clue what they have in their hand, discard a card to get a clue token back or try to play a card (without seeing it).

If you play a card (say, the blue 3 (not that you necessarily know beforehand)) and it fits (which means that the highest blue card that has been played before is the blue 2), you put the card on that suit's pile; else, it gets discarded and you get one storm token. Once you have three storm tokens, you lose, else you play until the draw pile is empty and count the number of cards on the table; the more cards there are, the better.

It's just fascinating how well this game works, considering how mathematical and abstract it is. It's a worthy winner of the 2013 Spiel des Jahres, and suitable for all gaming groups that are open for something new and unique.
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14. Board Game: Fearsome Floors [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:917]
Matthias Pseudonym
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Putting the concept of programming as found in games like RoboRally on its head, we have Fearsome Floors at number 7.

What the players can do is pretty straight forward: Move your pawns as many spaces as stated on the pawn to get to the exit, then turn your pawn over for the next round when he or she has a different number of spaces to move. But after all pawns have been moved, Furunkulus the monster moves according to a simple programming, eating pawns who were foolish enough to get in his way.

Which means that you not only try to get to the exit as fast as possible, but also influence Furnukulus in a way that he chases your enemies' pawns instead of your own. In other words: Where in games like RoboRally the players are messing with the instructions of their own moving pieces, they mess with the input for the programmed monster unit in Fearsome Floors, resulting in a clever and fun game like no other I know.
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15. Board Game: Legends of Andor [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:288] [Average Rating:7.30 Unranked]
Matthias Pseudonym
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Michael Menzel does fantasy illustrations for his own game, and it looks beautiful and awesome!

This is a "running around, slaying monsters" cooperative game that is extremely easy to teach (thanks to the introductory legends), has great variability and replayability (thanks to the very variable Legend 3), and has more minigames and neat mechanical twists than you realize at first:

You need to defend a castle (which means killing monsters)!
You need to become stronger (which means killing monsters)!
You also usually should explore the fog around the river, gather mystical stones, lead peasants to the castles while avoiding monsters, and have some other task to be looked after.

It's not just about killing monsters (the game even punishes you for killing too many enemies, so you need to think which ones really do need to be killed), it's also about the logistics of getting this here and that somewhere else. Combined with one extremely good Legend in the Sternenschild expansion that makes the heroes take care of even more non-killing-related stuff, another expansionthat introduces more heroes and an upcoming seafaring expansions, this is a great accessible game you can play with pretty much everyone.
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16. Board Game: River Dragons [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:1558]
Matthias Pseudonym
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And entering the Top 5, we get River Dragons, the friendlier, less fiddly brother of RoboRally.

Players want to get from their island to the island on the opposite site, having to cross a delta full of dragons. Each round, all of the players programm their moves: putting out stones, connecting stones with planks, moving from island to plank to plank to island, taking away a stone or a plank or blocking another player's action by playing the river dragon in that player's color.

Each stone can only carry three planks, which provides another neat way of foiling other players' plans, apart from the obvious dragons and the taking away of stones and planks. It's always fun to play (as long as you have three or more players), it's easily explained and people readily understand how it works. It's a lot of leader bashing in this game, which I don't mind in a game this light, and it's never clear who's going to win until the very end.

This is a game with a huge "cool" factor, it's mean, cute and nasty, so, what's not to like?
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17. Board Game: Mage Knight Board Game [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:18]
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This game is as epic as I can stand, and I don't know if I would like its epicness with another theme. But running around a continent, exploring the land, fighting orcs and dragons and monsters and golems and people, and having a lot of ways to develop my character during a game - I just love it.

This is a deck building driven board game of going from weakling to demigod of destruction (or failing miserably at this task), which it has in common with Friday, but the scope is eons beyond that of the little solo game. This is a game you can play solo, cooperatively or competitively with lots of different scenarios ... even though I have only played solo conquests and two two player blitz conquests. Still, even that limited exposure to everything this game has to offer puts it at number 4 of my all time favourites.
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18. Board Game: Coup [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:375]
Matthias Pseudonym
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Another game that just simply works when playing with a group of friends.

Like (Texas Hold 'em) poker, you have two cards in your hand nobody else knows. Like Poker, a good hand will get you far. Like poker, you always have the possibility of pretending to have a better hand than you actually do. Unike poker, this game is confrontational as all get out.

You want to be the last player not eliminated. A player gets eliminated once he loses his two influence, represented by the two cards in his hand. To eliminate other players, you typically need coins which you get by taking the income action on your turn or through the use of your cards.

However, if you use your cards, you don't have to show them. Just say you've got the Duke, for example, and take three coins. You only have to show the card if another player doubts you've got the card you claimed, in which case a) you show him the card shuffle it into the draw pile and draw another one (and laugh all the time at the doubter for losing one influence), or b) you lose one influence yourself because you actually don't really have the card.

Bluffing and calling bluffs and being driven to desperation and winning against the odds because guess what, I *did* have that last Contessa is what this game is all about, and it does it all expertly with only 18 cards.
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19. Board Game: Keyflower [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:43]
Matthias Pseudonym
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And we're almost at number 1, but before that, we have Keyflower, the game about worker auction set collection placement.

The rules are simple: You are building your village during four seasons, and can use workers to bid on tiles for your village or use workers to activate a tile. At the end of the season, you get all workers on tiles in village.

The artwork is gorgeous in this game: All tiles show a non-updated version of the building on one side and another updated version on the other side.(Too bad the beautiful artwork gets overshadowed by huge icons that show what the tiles do, but that's lucidity for you, ruining everything). The rules are quite intuitive, and the allow very nasty game play.

You see, workers come in four colours, and during each season, all workers used to activate or bid on a tile have to be of the same colour. If I have lots of blue workers, all tiles that got in touch with blue workers will be mine for the taking/activation. If I have few yellow workers, I can use them to raise the bidding on all tiles other players have bid on with yellow workers.

Also, the tiles I activate don't have to be in my village: They might be up for bidding, or be in another player's village, which leads to interesting and involved planning in this game, especially when it comes to upgrading tiles in your village (as the other players may use that upgraded tile before you get the chance, which might make you angry, but also would give you lots of workers for the next season - should there be one).

All in all, this is one neat game that appeals to the village builder in me more than any other game of its kind.
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20. Board Game: Lewis & Clark [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:135]
Matthias Pseudonym
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Number 1 is Lewis & Clark.

This game ... ah, damn it, I don't want to write about it, I want to play it. Now.

Fastest solo game I know, great with up to 3 people, good with 4 people if no one is too AP and there is at least someone at the table who won't need about 60 turns to reach the finish line.

Get a double engine going (an engine that works to move through ater as well as through mountains), leech of your neighbours resource symbols (this one of the very few games where it profits you to go for the same resources your right neighbour is going for) and reach Fort Clatsop before anyone else does.

Great game, many different awesome combos possible, and I'm still unvanquished after 10 games

At the moment, this is my favourite game of all time!
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21. Board Game: Sorry! [Average Rating:4.50 Overall Rank:15432]
Matthias Pseudonym
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I apologize to the following games for not including them, it was a tough competition:

Hellas, from Franz-Benno Delonge: Kind of like a twoplayer Cyclades, with fun exploration and conquering gameplay.
Hey, that's my fish: Classic abstract about being jerky penguins.
Ricochet Robots: Being faster at finding ways to get those darned robots to where they should be than the other players - not much laughter, but so so satisfying if you find a cool route.
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