Picking My Top 20 Solo Games (in time for the People's Choice Top 100)
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Now that the summer is over my thoughts turn towards Christmas the People's Choice Top 100 Solo Games.

This was definitely one my highlights of 2014 and the best thing that happened in December (gaming related anyway).

There are now only about three month's until the deadline for submitting my top 20 solo games (which are used along with everyone else's to compile the list) for this year's Top 100.

Last year my top 20 were as follows:


1 Mage Knight Board Game
2 Pathfinder Adventure Card Game
3 Race for the Galaxy (using the robot from the Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm)
4 Gears of War: The Board Game
5 Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game
6 Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island
7 Friday
8 Conquest of Planet Earth: The Space Alien Game
9 Ascension: Apprentice Edition
10 Infection: Humanity's Last Gasp
11 Zulus on the Ramparts! *
12 Myth
13 Thunderstone Advance *
14 Star Realms
15 Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) *
16 Onirim
17 Lord of the Rings
18 Rune Age *
19 Urbion
20 Dungeons and Dragons Adventure System Board Games *

* No longer in my collection.

However, I was never happy with how I worked out that list and this year want to spend a bit more time deciding on my Top 20.

I was also inspired by the way Mo, Ryan, Kevin E, Dave, Kevin S and Suzy are exploring their collections and wanted to do a bit of that too.

How do I pick 20 from all these?

To give me a starting point I used the following tool to give me a new Top 20: http://gimli.morningside.edu/~tra001/sites/BracketSort.html

There are a few issues with the tool and the results it gives but it is just to give me something to start with. Those 20 games are the first 20 items on this geeklist.

I will add the other 30 or so games I own that it didn't rank in the top 20 to this geeklist as I play them over the next 3 months.

HOW THIS IS GOING TO WORK (I HOPE)

I will aim to play each game in my collection a minimum of 5 times between 1st Sept - 30th Nov 2015 so that there are enough recent plays available to help make the new rankings accurate(ish).

Some longer games may not fulfill this requirement and that will be taken in to account if necessary.

All games will need to have at least 5 plays in total to be ranked in the top 20 though and at least 1 of those plays must occur between 1st Sept - 30th Nov 2015.

I will aim to play each game a minimum of 5 times in that period though so that all 5 plays used to rank it are reasonably fresh. Some longer games may not fulfill this requirement and that will be taken in to account if necessary.

After I have completed 5 plays for a game, reach a point where I know that will not happen or decide I don't need any more plays to rank them (this will be mainly for games that won't make the final top 20 no matter how many times I play them) then I will move them up or down the list

This means that some games will move several times throughout the process.

That's enough preamble, I need to start playing.

I hope some of you follow along for the ride, I hope it's at least a bit fun and feel free to get involved and by making suggestions, comments, etc.
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1. Board Game: Mage Knight Board Game [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:18]
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Last Year's Ranking: 1

Ranking according to the Gimli tool: 1

No. of Plays up to 31 Aug: 16

Last Play: October 2015

Expectations: I will probably only be able to get in one play before the end of November but I can pretty much guarantee that this game won't move it's position in the rankings.

No. of Plays in Sep-Nov:

Thoughts after 5 plays: TBD
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2. Board Game: Viticulture [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:120]
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Last Year's Ranking: n/a

Ranking according to the Gimli tool: 5

No. of Plays up to 31 Aug: 20

Last Play: October 2015

Expectations: I should be able to get in five plays before the end of November and I expect that this game will move up the rankings a little. #5 is lower than I believe it should be ranked. I have even gone on record and said it's my #2 game. Only a big surprise will prevent that being the case.

No. of Plays in Sep-Nov:

Thoughts after 5 plays: As expected 5 plays of this just confirmed it's high standing in my mind. An excellent game that offers a lot of options and too few actions to do them. It also allows you to mess up the odd turn and still manage to correct things and grab victory (or defeat). The Automa works really well too and I don't feel like I'm missing out on any of the experience. I've still got a few expansions to add in too so more to come from this wonderful game.

Ranking after 5 plays: N #2 - Works my brain a lot more than Legendary Encounters and requires less set up. Thematically not as interesting but still a very strong link between theme and mechanics. It's better than everything below it so it was never moving down. Best new game (to me anyway) in 2015. (6 Oct)

Ranking changes due to other games movement: N #4 (3 Sep)
N #3 (22 Sep)
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3. Board Game: Shadowrun: Crossfire [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:622]
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Last Year's Ranking: n/a

Ranking according to the Gimli tool: n/a

No. of Plays up to 31 Aug: 0

Last Play: October 2015

Expectations: I should be able to get in five plays before the end of November but I have no idea where it will end up. It's new so I'm predicting nothing. Maybe a little too new to crack the top 20.

No. of Plays in Sep-Nov: + d10-2d10-3 extra plays

Thoughts after 5 plays: It's taken me 5 games to grasp what this game is all about and I can safely say that I really enjoy it. Mage Knight like turns, hand management, great theme, leveling up between games and my brain gets a work out. This could continue to go up and up.

Ranking after 5 plays: N #17 - In the top 20 after just five games is impressive. This has the potential to go higher if I get in more plays over the next few weeks but for now my three recent games of Gears of War mean that I can safely say that that is the better game..... for now. (11 Sep)

Ranking changes due to other games movement: S #18 (18 Sep)
N #14 (22 Sep)
N #9 (6 Oct)

Ranking changes after extra plays and reflection: N #3 (23 Nov)
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4. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:50]
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Last Year's Ranking: 3

Ranking according to the Gimli tool: 11

No. of Plays up to 31 Aug: 23

Last Play: November 2015

Expectations: I should be able to get in five plays before the end of November and I expect that this game will move up the rankings quite a bit. #11 is too low but not sure this will reach the heights of #3 either. Top 5 is possible though.

No. of Plays in Sep-Nov: + d10-1 extra play

Thoughts after 5 plays: Just a great experience playing this... most of the time. When this game is at it's best it is hard to beat. Creating combos between cards and use of actions to gain points is the sign of just how well this is put together. However, the occasional awful card draw or successive x2 Consume rolls for the AI can destroy you and make a game unwinnable no matter how well you play. For that ability to swing a game and in some cases ruin it as an experience early on it loses out to a couple of games for now.

Ranking after 5 plays: N #3 - Better than everything but Mage Knight and Viticulture. Neither of those feel like they have the swing factor of this so it stops just beneath them. However, when the AI remains reachable and it stays a contest throughout (irrespective of whether I win or lose) this is easily as good as Viticulture and nearly as good as Mage Knight. (6 Oct)

Ranking changes due to other games movement: N #10 (11 Sep)
S #4 (23 Nov)

Ranking changes after extra plays and reflection: W #4 (30 Nov)
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5. Board Game: Gears of War: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:350]
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Last Year's Ranking: 4

Ranking according to the Gimli tool: 14

No. of Plays up to 31 Aug: 13

Last Play: September 2015

Expectations: Not sure if I will get in five plays before the end of November but that shouldn't be a problem as every time I get this out it reminds me how awesome it is. This game should move back up the rankings and easily be a top 10 game, top 5 might be a stretch though. #14 is probably just due to the amount of time since I've played it.

No. of Plays in Sep-Nov:

Thoughts after 5 plays: This game is awesome. It uses mechanics to drive the game that I really like, has great components and is always tense and tough. This makes it a brilliant solo experience. The theme is good too but I have no point of reference as I never played the video game. Every solo gamer should try this and the fact that its OOP is a travesty. The only downer for me is that the dice rolls can sometimes leave a bad taste in the mouth.

Ranking after 5 plays: N #11 - I always knew this would be heading up and finally it can. It's a better game than everything in spots #11-16, even Sentinels of the Multiverse. It just offers a really fun gaming experience using great mechanics. The randomness of the dice and the fact it's a little less thinky are what stops it going above RftG. However, that game is only going up once it has 5 plays and I expect GoW to follow it up the list.

Ranking changes due to other games movement: S #15 (5 Sep)
S #16 (6 Sep)
S #17 (18 Sep)
N #4 (6 Oct)
S #5 (23 Nov)
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6. Board Game: Field Commander: Napoleon [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:1208]
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Last Year's Ranking: n/a

Ranking according to the Gimli tool: 7

No. of Plays up to 31 Aug: 3

Last Play: November 2015

Expectations: I should be able to get in five plays before the end of November (but I will definitely play it 2 more times so it qualifies) and I expect that this game will be here or hereabouts. My first 3 plays of this make me feel like it's a top 10 game.

No. of Plays in Sep-Nov: + d10-1 extra play

Thoughts after 5 plays: Just an all round brilliant game that has won me over in a way I thought no historically themed game could. I love the decision making this offers on the campaign map and in the battles. I like how the campaigns are different. I love how simple the rules are for something I thought would be quite heavy. I like how this has tension, excitement, disappointment and above all fun. I still wonder about replayability and difficulty but another amazing find in 2015 for me. Top class.

Ranking after 5 plays: N #4 - It is definitely a better and more in depth experience than Friday so going down was never on the cards. It involves more brain action that PACG so goes above that but Viticulture equals it on decisions, seems more replayable, has lots of expansions to vary thinks up and doesn't require several different boards to play it. (2 Oct)

Ranking changes due to other games movement: N #6 (3 Sep)
N #5 (22 Sep)
S #6 (6 Oct)
S #7 (23 Nov)

Ranking changes after extra plays and reflection: N #6 (26 Nov)
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Last Year's Ranking: 2

Ranking according to the Gimli tool: 6

No. of Plays up to 31 Aug: 89

Last Play: September 2015

Expectations: I will be able to get in five plays before the end of November and I expect that this game will probably end roughly where it is now. #6 isn't too far off where I think it should be, top 10 is guaranteed and it may crack the top 5.

No. of Plays in Sep-Nov:

Thoughts after 5 plays: Skull & Shackles is a great continuation of the PACG system. A few nice additions but totally accessible to newcomers too. I still really enjoy this game even if it isn't too tough (so far I've won all 7 scenarios I've played in S&S at the first attempt and I have a 90% win ratio overall) and the decisions aren't AP inducing. The leveling up, story and theme just win me over and I love seeing my characters progress. Replayability will be zero again when I finish the adventure path but I will just move on to Wrath of the Righteous.

Ranking after 5 plays: N #7 - Deserves to go above Legendary Alien due to the story and character progression this has. Thematically strong too. Field Commander: Napoleon offers slightly more decisions and is also slightly tougher so it can't go above that but it was close. (30 Nov)

Ranking changes due to other games movement: N #5 (3 Sep)
N #4 (22 Sep)
S #5 (2 Oct)
S #7 (6 Oct)
S #8 (23 Nov)
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8. Board Game: Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:88] [Average Rating:7.82 Unranked]
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Last Year's Ranking: n/a

Ranking according to the Gimli tool: 3

No. of Plays up to 31 Aug: 11

Last Play: September 2015

Expectations: I should be able to get in five plays before the end of November and I expect that this game will move down the rankings a little. #3 is higher than I think it will be placed but top 10 should be expected.

No. of Plays in Sep-Nov:

Thoughts after 5 plays: I'm going to keep this brief. The best deck builder I own by some way and the most thematic game I own too. Sheer brilliance. If you like deck builders this is a must buy.

Ranking after 5 plays: W #2 - This is going nowhere for now. It's just so much more thematic than Walnut Grove so it was never going down the list. However, Mage Knight beats it on decisions and how much that works my brain. The fact I have to tweak a few things for single handed solo play also keeps it from going up. (15 Sep)

Ranking changes due to other games movement: N #2 (3 Sep)
S #5 (6 Oct)
S #6 (23 Nov)
S #7 (30 Nov)
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9. Board Game: At the Gates of Loyang [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:239]
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Last Year's Ranking: n/a

Ranking according to the Gimli tool: 9

No. of Plays up to 31 Aug: 5

Last Play: November 2015

Expectations: I'm surprised by how long it's been since I played this and I should be able to get in five plays before the end of November. I was initially very positive about it but not sure now where it will end up. #9 might be too high or too low. Like Walnut Grove this could end up anywhere.

No. of Plays in Sep-Nov:

Thoughts after 5 plays: Just a really tough mental challenge that pushes me to the limit. Tough choices throughout with very little margin for error. The theme is still a bit meh but the gameplay more than makes up for that. The only other complaints are that I only want to play this once per session as it does leave me a bit done in mentally and I always want to play something lighter afterwards and if you mess up you can see that you will never reach 17.

Ranking after 5 plays: N #10 - A worthy top 10 game that delivers the kind of mental challenge I want from my solo games. If anything it is a little too unrelenting which sometimes makes it a bit less fun than some of the others in the top 10 and Shadowrun Crossfire beats it hands down on theme and also delivers a great mental challenge. (4 Nov)

Ranking changes due to other games movement: S #15 (6 Oct)
N #9 (23 Nov)
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10. Board Game: Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:124] [Average Rating:7.62 Unranked]
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Last Year's Ranking: 5

Ranking according to the Gimli tool: 20

No. of Plays up to 31 Aug: 53

Last Play: October 2015

Expectations: I should be able to get in five plays before the end of November and I expect that this game will move up the rankings. This has suffered a bit over the last year but it doesn't feel like it's dropped 15 places. Top 15 minimum with the top 10 a possibility.

No. of Plays in Sep-Nov: + d10-9 extra plays

Thoughts after 5 plays: Just as expected I had a good time playing these 5 games but I was also reminded why it probably won't end up as high as last year. If the decks have cards in clumps then some games can be over before you've even got started. However, when that doesn't happen this is a fantastic deck builder and the theme does come through.

Ranking after 5 plays: N #12 - It's definitely better than all the games in spots #15-19 and it also goes above Gears of War (as I haven't played that recently enough), Forge War (as I haven't played that enough) and Dunqeonquest (because it has more decisions than it). However, Race for the Galaxy is a better card game and the bot is always a great challenge and the game never ends quickly so that's where the rise stops. (5 Sep)

Ranking changes due to other games movement: N #11 (11 Sep)
S #12 (18 Sep)
S #13 (22 Sep)
N #10 (6 Oct)
S #11 (4 Nov)
N #10 (23 Nov)
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11. Board Game: Merchants & Marauders [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:201]
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Last Year's Ranking: n/a

Ranking according to the Gimli tool: n/a

No. of Plays up to 31 Aug: 5

Last Play: November 2015

Expectations: I should be able to get in five plays before the end of November and I expect that this game will move up the rankings a lot. I was actually surprised the Gimli tool didn't rank this in the top 20. I've enjoyed every play and the expansion modules (which I'm gradually introducing) are just adding to the experience. I think this will easily make the top 10.

No. of Plays in Sep-Nov: + d10-1 extra play

Thoughts after 5 plays: A marvelous, marvelous game. This generates a great story every time, even if sometimes its the story of my own ineptitude. So much quicker to set up and play than some games I own that I think rival it for story (Fortune and Glory, A Touch of Evil) and it feels less random than Conquest of Planet Earth (this has a better balancing of luck across the game).

Ranking after 5 plays: N #15 - For now this is stopped from going any higher by Shadowrun Crossfire. That game is better than this due to the mechanics (I love the card play and the puzzle it presents) but this nearly tops it on story alone. Another close call. I expect this to rise a few more places before the end of this process. (25 Sep)

Ranking changes due to other games movement: N #11 (6 Oct)
S #12 (4 Nov)
N #11 (23 Nov)

Ranking changes after extra plays and reflection: W #11 (27 Nov)
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12. Board Game: Baseball Highlights: 2045 [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:365]
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Last Year's Ranking: n/a

Ranking according to the Gimli tool: n/a

No. of Plays up to 31 Aug: 0

Last Play: November 2015

Expectations: Who knows? I've wanted this for so long it might not live up to my over the top expectations (Hoplomachus I'm talking about you). It definitely has a shot at the top 20.

No. of Plays in Sep-Nov: + d10-2 extra plays

Thoughts after 5 plays: Fun. Just a pleasure to play and I wanted to continue on for another 5 series. Delivered on it's theme by being just like sports (full of great moments, epic fails, strategies paying off, others not, great endings, superb starts, etc). I expected to like it but I love it so far. 6 expansions to explore too. Negatives are that the AI is a bit random sometimes and will it still hold the same excitement after 25-30 plays, is it deep enough?

Ranking after 5 plays: N #13 - Just a joy to play and so full of punch the air and bang the table moments that it jumps above many other great games on this list. Not the most thinky of games but I smiled continuously and it had that just one more go feel. Merchants and Marauders tells a better story though and feels more different from game to game so it stops there. (6 Nov)

Ranking changes due to other games movement: N #12 (23 Nov)
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13. Board Game: Friday [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:305]
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Last Year's Ranking: 7

Ranking according to the Gimli tool: 8

No. of Plays up to 31 Aug: 63

Last Play: September 2015

Expectations: I will be able to get in five plays before the end of November and this game may move down the rankings. #8 is comparable to last year but I think a few games have entered my collection that are better than it.

No. of Plays in Sep-Nov:

Thoughts after 5 plays: I was wrong about this game. Star Realms isn't better than it. Although the theme and art of Star Realms is excellent this offers such a better gaming experience. There is more to think about and it's a deck builder which offers you more choices than normal.

Ranking after 5 plays: N #7 - This goes above Star Realms because it is a much richer gaming experience. The decisions and the planning ahead for future phases and the pirates raises it above that game. It doesn't offer the greater decisions of and experience of FC: Napoleon so it moves up just one place. (18 Sep)

Ranking changes due to other games movement: N #6 (22 Sep)
S #12 (6 Oct)
S #13 (4 Nov)
S #14 (6 Nov)
N #13 (23 Nov)
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14. Board Game: Walnut Grove [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:931]
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Last Year's Ranking: n/a

Ranking according to the Gimli tool: 4

No. of Plays up to 31 Aug: 4

Last Play: September 2015

Expectations: I will be able to get in five plays before the end of November and I think that this game will move down the rankings a bit. #4 seems high but this is a brilliant game and I need a few more plays to really know where it would be ranked. This could end up anywhere.

No. of Plays in Sep-Nov:

Thoughts after 5 plays: Definitely a great and quick euro with a interesting blend of tile laying and worker placement. Not as deep or thematic as a lot of my other games (the theme here is only just realised) so for those reasons it won't stay at #3 on this list. It plays quickly though and probably will see the table quite a bit because of it and it still offers a good challenge and interesting decisions. A very good game that I'm glad I own.

Ranking after 5 plays: S #7 - It was never going to be a more thematic and exciting experience than Legendary Encounters so it was either staying out or going down. Viticulture is a similar experience but much deeper with more decisions, PACG is more fun and the story and character development make it a more all round experience, FC: Napoleon has more tough decisions and is a better experience, finally Friday just shades it on the fun and theme (it's more integrated in to the mechanics of Friday). It shades Star Realms because of the tougher decisions but only just.

Ranking changes due to other games movement: N #3 (3 Sep)
S #13 (6 Oct)
S #14 (4 Nov)
S #15 (6 Nov)
N #14 (23 Nov)
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15. Board Game: Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:66] [Average Rating:7.82 Unranked]
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Last Year's Ranking: n/a

Ranking according to the Gimli tool: n/a

No. of Plays up to 31 Aug: 1

Last Play: October 2015

Expectations: I was really glad to win this through the solo chain of generosity and my one game of it in July was fun. I am going to break my rules for this one though. I'm only going to play it twice for the rankings as there are only 10 cases included and once played they aren't replayable. So this means it also won't have a minimum of 5 plays either but I want to savor this one. I expect this to have a really good crack at the top 20.

No. of Plays in Sep-Nov:

Thoughts after 5 plays: As stated above I only played this twice. I really enjoy it. No real set up, just read and go. Works my mind and I can play it anywhere. The replayability is limited without a Men in Black mindwipe gizmo and it feels a bit more like reading a good crime novel than playing a game but other than that it's top notch. It has exposed how bad a detective I would be though.

Ranking after 5 plays: N #15 - For the quality of it's mental puzzle and the ease to learn and play it races in to the top 15. It just doesn't feel like a game enough for me and for that reason I prefer Walnut Grove which is a good mental challenge and feels like a game. (5 Nov)

Ranking changes due to other games movement: S #16 (6 Nov)
N #15 (23 Nov)
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16. Board Game: Legendary Encounters: A Predator Deck Building Game [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:557] [Average Rating:7.59 Unranked]
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Last Year's Ranking: n/a

Ranking according to the Gimli tool: n/a

No. of Plays up to 31 Aug: 0

Last Play: November 2015

Expectations: I hope this can live up to the greatness of the Alien game but as it has only half the films and part of the game (playing as the Predators) doesn't work solo I think this might struggle to go as high.

No. of Plays in Sep-Nov: + d10-3 extra plays

Thoughts after 5 plays: This is really after 6 plays and it was the 6th play using the Predator rules that convinced me to rank this separately to the Alien version. The Predator rules are brilliant. They are actually more thematic and although it could just be a high score game (it is competitively) it also has a simple win condition too - kill the ultimate prey before the prey deck runs out. Playing that way I can play both films as the Predator. I might even mix it with the Alien set and hunt Aliens at some point. Awesome. Also, Jack's Predator Golf Challenges will add extra mileage. Playing the films as the humans is good - maybe a top 25 game. However, playing as the predator makes this a top 20 game easy and you don't have to house rule co-ordinate abilities, etc either.

Ranking after 5 plays: N #16 - A really fun and thematic experience. Perhaps not quite as soloable as the Alien or Marvel versions so it can't reach their heights. I would definitely choose to play this over all the games it has risen above due to the theme mainly. Loyang is just as fun and works my brain more so stays above it, although the Predator game wins my a country mile on theme. (22 Oct)

Ranking changes due to other games movement: N #15 (4 Nov)
S #16 (5 Nov)
S #17 (6 Nov)
N #16 (23 Nov)


Ranking changes after extra plays and reflection: W #16 (27 Nov)
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17. Board Game: Adventure of D [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:6124]
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Last Year's Ranking: n/a

Ranking according to the Gimli tool: 17

No. of Plays up to 31 Aug: 13

Last Play: October 2015

Expectations: I will be able to get in five plays before the end of November and I have no idea if this game will move up, down or stay the same. Does a lot with a little so who knows. I've said that this is my favourite quick game (15-20 mins) and I still believe that.

No. of Plays in Sep-Nov:

Thoughts after 5 plays: 5 plays of this reminded me why it is so good for such a small package. Thinking through each turn so you maximise what you do with the cards in your hand because there is little room for error or wasted turns. Trying to level up ASAP and using the different ways to do that. A great little adventure. If only the art wasn't so poor.

Ranking after 5 plays: N #16 - This is going up above all of the the other shorter games because it challenges me more in the same time frame and above Forge War as I haven't formalised my opinion on that yet. Merchants and Marauders tells better stories and feels more varied so this stops just below it. (2 Oct)

Ranking changes due to other games movement: S #18 (5 Sep)
S #19 (11 Sep)
S #20 (18 Sep)
S #21 (25 Sep)
S #22 (1 Oct)
S #17 (22 Oct)
N #16 (4 Nov)
S #17 (5 Nov)
S #18 (6 Nov)
N #17 (23 Nov)
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18. Board Game: Castle Panic [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:811]
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Last Year's Ranking: n/a

Ranking according to the Gimli tool: n/a

No. of Plays up to 31 Aug: 7

Last Play: October 2015

Expectations: I should be able to get in five plays before the end of November and I think this game has a chance of making the top 20. I really enjoy the fact that your actions are determined by a hand of cards and I like the simplicity of the tower defence system. Takes a bit longer to play than I always expect.

No. of Plays in Sep-Nov:

Thoughts after 5 plays: This is a fun game and now I'm using both expansions it's a real challenge too. My last two games (using the level 3 titan) went right to the wire. I had no monster tokens left to draw but was unable to save my final tower from destruction. In the last game the only remaining monster token finished me off. I still enjoy my actions being driven by how I manage my cards. I always feel I could have played them better. I definitely recommend both expansions if you are going to play this solo.

Ranking after 5 plays: N #18 - The best tower defence game I own (and have played so far). Rises into the top 20 on the back of 2 essential expansions but Adventure of D asks my brain more difficult questions and is just as fun so it's rise stops there. (23 Oct)

Ranking changes due to other games movement: N #17 (4 Nov)
S #18 (5 Nov)
S #19 (6 Nov)
N #18 (23 Nov)
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19. Board Game: Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:728]
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Last Year's Ranking: n/a

Ranking according to the Gimli tool: n/a

No. of Plays up to 31 Aug: 2

Last Play: November 2015

Expectations:

No. of Plays in Sep-Nov:

Thoughts after 5 plays: A fun and a little stupid story telling adventure rollercoaster of a game. Lots of problems - dangers don't make sense with each other or the location (car chase in a temple!?!), why does getting X fortune thwart the evil organisations, it's a dice fest, tons of little rules to remember (or in my case forget), uneventful turns, the largest box known to man - but just such a rollicking laugh that I forget about all the issues. A game that is more than the some of it's parts. I also like that you aren't building up for a final confrontation that you might lose (like in AToE) and you just need fortune to win (this is also why I love Merchants & Maruders). This will never be my #1 or in my top 10 but it will always have a place in my collection. Where else can I fight nazis, then fly a plane, dodge quicksand and make a temple collapse all in the same turn?

Ranking after 5 plays: N #19 - For sheer unadulterated bonkerness this makes it in to the top 20. Like a longer and more complex Dungeonquest without the instadeath. Park your brain and jump on, this rollercoaster is taking us up, down and all around. (25 Nov)

Ranking changes due to other games movement: n/a
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20. Board Game: Limes [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:1764]
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Last Year's Ranking: n/a

Ranking according to the Gimli tool: 15

No. of Plays up to 31 Aug: 27

Last Play: November 2015

Expectations: I will be able to get in five plays before the end of November and this game probably won't go any higher. More likely to slip a few places. I'm having fun with it and although I think it's a top 25 game I'm not sure if it's top 20.

No. of Plays in Sep-Nov: + d10-1 extra play

Thoughts after 5 plays: I'm wrong. This is a top 20 game. I expect it to hang on in there and just about make my top 20. It is a great little puzzle and after playing 5 games of it using a few of the variants I have to say that replayability is good too. I've stated that Adventure of D is my favourite 15-20 minute game but I may be wrong. It's just a high score game which I normally dislike but this continues to make me forget that. Box could be smaller though.

Ranking after 5 plays: N #13 - Controversially I'm moving it above Gears of War, Forge War and Dunqeonquest for all the same reasons I moved Legendary up that far. However, Legendary Marvel's theme, replayability and win condition stop it going up any further. A year ago I would have considered Legendary an easy winner, not today though. It is better but not by as much as I thought. (6 Sep)

Ranking changes due to other games movement: S #16 (5 Sep)
N #12 (11 Sep)
S #13 (18 Sep)
S #15 (22 Sep)
S #16 (25 Sep)
S #17 (2 Oct)
S #18 (19 Oct)
S #19 (22 Oct)
S #20 (23 Oct)

Ranking changes after extra plays and reflection: N #20 (30 Nov)
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21. Board Game: Star Realms [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:87] [Average Rating:7.63 Unranked]
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Last Year's Ranking: 14

Ranking according to the Gimli tool: 2

No. of Plays up to 31 Aug: 114

Last Play: September 2015

Expectations: I will definitely get in five plays before the end of November and I can pretty much guarantee that this game will move down the rankings. #14 was too low last year but #2 is far too high this year. I expect it to end either just inside or outside the top 10.

No. of Plays in Sep-Nov:

Thoughts after 5 plays: This is fun. For a 15-20 minute deck builder you aren't going to find any better for solo play IMO. However, it isn't as good as some of my other deck builders for variety and theme. I can play this several times in the time it takes me to set up and play them once though.

Ranking after 5 plays: S #7 - It's not better than Mage Knight so going up was never an option. Not as thematic as Legendary Encounters, not as many decisions as Walnut Grove/Viticulture/FC: Napoleon and lacks the story and character development of PACG. However, if I had to choose between it or Friday to save from a burning building I would save this so the slide stops there for now. (3 Sep)


Ranking changes due to other games movement: S #8 (18 Sep)
S #14 (6 Oct)
S #18 (4 Nov)
S #19 (5 Nov)
S #20 (6 Nov)
N #19 (23 Nov)
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22. Board Game: Hoplomachus: The Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:2199] [Average Rating:7.92 Unranked]
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Last Year's Ranking: n/a

Ranking according to the Gimli tool: n/a

No. of Plays up to 31 Aug: 8

Last Play: October 2015

Expectations: This was my must buy game of 2014 and 2015 until I managed to get it off a fellow 1PG member in May. I have just about all the stuff for it and went in for Origins too. Although, I have enjoyed every play of this it hasn't really lived up to what I hoped. I probably built it up too much in my head and made it in to something it isn't. I will get in 5 plays before the end of November and I do expect this to make the top 20 but I don't expect it to be too high.

No. of Plays in Sep-Nov:

Thoughts after 5 plays: My 5 plays have been fun and there is a fair bit of tactical planning needed. The gameplay is quick and tight. The rules are relatively simple. Suffers a bit from keywords to learn and remember but more plays will help with that. I'm lumping both base games together on this list but if I had to pick one then I think Rise of Rome shades it as the Titans seem a bit more interesting to play against. I think this may go up the list with further plays and Origins might change it up again. At the moment it's interesting and nothing else is similar in my collection but it hasn't blown my mind.

Ranking after 5 plays: N #17 - A solid and interesting tactical battle game that works well in solo. Not quite the game I hoped for (I think I expected too much) but a very good game. Adventure of D asks my brain more questions and so at the moment this is as high as it goes. More interestingly themed to me than Limes but it was close. (19 Oct)

Ranking changes due to other games movement: S #31 (16 Oct)
S #18 (22 Oct)
S #19 (23 Oct)
N #20 (23 Nov)
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23. Board Game: Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:36]
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Last Year's Ranking: 6

Ranking according to the Gimli tool: n/a

No. of Plays up to 31 Aug: 14

Last Play: February 2015

Expectations: A top 10 game last year and up until the early part of this year it was one of my favourites. A bad gaming session with it has meant I just haven't felt any love for it since. Thanks to everyone voting for it I will be playing this soon. I'm eager to play it again and see how I really feel about it. This has as much chance of going as high as last year as it does of being traded.

No. of Plays in Sep-Nov:

Thoughts after 5 plays: After 5 plays this is probably the game I am least sure of. I enjoyed every play but they didn't dazzle me like they did last year. The brutality of the game also left me feeling a little turned off. Hard is fine (GoW, RftG, Loyang are all hard) but this just feels unnecessarily so. I don't mind dying but I want to go out with a fight, this just doesn't give you that feeling. It reminds me of my first draft of the Heroes Unite solo variant I worked on. Judy told me it was just nasty and I went back and found a better balance. This one feels like it was decided that super hard was the way to go and left at that. I did get better on the scenario during my last 3 plays though, dying in later rounds each time. I have the expansion and when I have a space to leave that campaign set up, I'm hoping that will boost this further up the ranking. A very good game that just doesn't sparkle enough to be a top 20 game anymore.

Ranking after 5 plays: N #22 - Just not as much fun as all the games in the top 21 spots and its difficulty feels a bit arbitrary to me. The theme, story telling and the mechanics mean that it remains in my collection but it's facing tougher competition these days and my tastes are a little different now too. (25 Nov)

Ranking changes due to other games movement: n/a
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24. Board Game: Nations: The Dice Game [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:720]
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Last Year's Ranking: n/a

Ranking according to the Gimli tool: n/a

No. of Plays up to 31 Aug: 12

Last Play: October 2015

Expectations: I expect this to rank the highest of all my dice driven games. It just feels like a bit more of a mental work out than my other ones.

No. of Plays in Sep-Nov:

Thoughts after 5 plays: It works my brain, every decision can affect your success and it forces you in to tough decisions on how to use your dice and tokens. As expected it is my favourite dice driven game. It isn't without it's issues though. The number of tiles seems very limited, there is no win condition and sometimes (as with all dice games) no matter what you do the dice are against you.

Ranking after 5 plays: N #19 - Works my brain more than all my other dice games so had to place higher than them. It's also more thinky than Dungeonquest. Limes beats it due to the fact that if I score badly in Limes it's all down to me. If I score badly in this it can be due to me (probably mostly due to me) but sometimes the dice just frustrate you. (21 Oct)

Ranking changes due to other games movement: S #20 (22 Oct)
S #21 (23 Oct)
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25. Board Game: DungeonQuest Revised Edition [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:1374]
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Last Year's Ranking: n/a

Ranking according to the Gimli tool: 12

No. of Plays up to 31 Aug: 29

Last Play: October 2015

Expectations: I will be able to get in five plays before the end of November and I have no idea where this will end up. It's tons of fun but is it a top 20 game? Is it even a game?

No. of Plays in Sep-Nov:

Thoughts after 5 plays: This is a fun experience. Is it a game though? Just about but there are very few decisions to make and luck is a major deciding factor in how each game plays out. However, if I want to switch off and just enjoy the ride then this is the #1 choice for me. I always play this with a smile on my face and this is one of the few games that can make me laugh out loud. I hope it stays in the top 20.

Ranking after 5 plays: N #18 - More fun than Infection and Onirim put together this goes above them. Limes is just as fun though, offers more of a brain workout and is even easier to set up and play so that stops Dungeonquest moving any further. (6 Oct)

Ranking changes due to other games movement: S #13 (5 Sep)
S #14 (6 Sep)
S #15 (18 Sep)
S #17 (22 Sep)
S #18 (25 Sep)
S #19 (1 Oct)
S #20 (2 Oct)
S #19 (19 Oct)
S #20 (21 Oct)
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