A Lifetime of Games....
Jason B. Hesse
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Middleton
Wisconsin
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I love top *whatever* lists. I just enjoy seeing people's insight into what they like and don't like. Reading other people's list gives me exposure to games I have yet to consider (or need to reconsider). Making lists of my own helps me to evaluate my collection, process what I like about games, and is overall just an enjoyable activity.

This list will feature my favorite game from every year of my life. It does a decent job of reflecting my journey into gaming as well.

My goal is to update this each year as I believe it gives a different type of insight than a straight up top 100 list might,

Enjoy, comment, thumb, or not .

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1. Board Game: Taboo [Average Rating:6.28 Overall Rank:1629]
Jason B. Hesse
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Middleton
Wisconsin
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1989

Literally the only game I have rated from 1989. Taboo is a wonderful party game, and one that my family played frequently growing up. I got really competative with this when I was little and was known to buzz people in a very obnoxious manner.
 
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2. Board Game: Guesstures [Average Rating:5.96 Overall Rank:3905]
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Middleton
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1990

Another year with only one game played. Geusstures is a solid enough game, one that I played a good bit with my family, but more so with friends in high school. Haven't played this in a long time, but generally would play this in the right situation.
 
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3. Board Game: Tichu [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:119]
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1991

Growing up in the midwest card games such as cribbage and euchre were very popular. When I came across Tichu I was immediatly intrigued. The game shows how different cultures utilize a deck of cards and is a wonderful card game.
 
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4. Board Game: The Uncanny X-Men Alert Adventure Game [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:5330]
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1992

This game is actually pretty bad. I would play it for nostolgia. The artwork and chunky plastic figures are great though .
 
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5. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:156] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
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1993

Magic the Gathering was a game I didnt actually play until college. I was always interested in playing but had no one to play with when I was younger. In college I realized how little I like constructing decks, but enjoy the game with a preconstructed deck well enough.

Honorable Mentions:
Beyond Balderdash
 
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6. Board Game: Kingdoms [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:1045]
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1994

The start of my Knizia run. My early gaming career was filled with Knizia games for some reason. I still like some of his games, but have moved on from a lot of them. Kingdoms is a game I have not played in a couple of years but it is a game that in college I played a lot of.

Honorable Mention:
UNO Hearts
 
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7. Board Game: Medici [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:442]
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1995

One of the my favorite auction games and one of my favorite Knizia. Medici is still a favorite of mine as the auction mechanics work just the right way for me.

Honorable Mentions:
High Society
 
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8. Board Game: Pokémon Trading Card Game [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:2499] [Average Rating:6.16 Unranked]
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1996

In 1996 I was in 2nd grade, and I was head deep into Pokemon cards. I was known to sell high valued duplicates on the playground and bus. I played the actual card game with my neighbor friend and remember it being fun for a gradeschooler.
 
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9. Board Game: Colossal Arena [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:752]
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1997

Likely my 2nd favorite Knizia as the tension and cut throat nature of the game is done in a way that I actually enjoy. One of the few confrontational games I like. Also, I think the theme works fairly decently.

Honorable Mentions:
Tigris & Euphrates
Bohnanza
 
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10. Board Game: Catan: Cities & Knights [Average Rating:7.47 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.47 Unranked]
Jason B. Hesse
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Middleton
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1998

Cities and Knights opened my eyes to a deeper level of games. The first time I played this my mind was blown almost the same way it was blown the first time I encountered the base game. It was also at this encounter my friend told me about BGG and that Catan was not even the #1 game (it was Agricola at the time). A whole new world was about to open up to me.
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11. Board Game: ZÈRTZ [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:478] [Average Rating:7.31 Unranked]
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1999

Zertz helped me explore abstract games more fully. It took me some time to admit I enjoy abstracts, mostly because I am bad at them .
 
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12. Board Game: Blokus [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:519]
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2000

One of my most played games. I havent played it in a few years but for a while this was all I wanted to play. I am not sure why I was so enamored with it, but it was a very satisfying game for me.

Honorable Mentions:
Carcassonne
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13. Board Game: Hive [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:205]
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2001

Another abstract I really haven't mastered but would gladly play anytime. Its a great coffee shop game as well.
 
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14. Board Game: Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:414]
Jason B. Hesse
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Middleton
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2002

I really love this game. It does a good job of playing out the story of LotR in 20-30 mins. I don't mind playing either side and it offers some really great tactical decisions.

Honorable Mentions:
Trias
Puerto Rico
 
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15. Board Game: Coloretto [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:481]
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2003e
Coloretto is simple enough to teach anyone but offers a good deal of tactical decisions. One of the best card games on the market.

Honorable Mentions:
YINSH
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16. Board Game: San Juan [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:228]
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2004

San Juan hits the right level of simplicity and thinkyness I want in an engine building game. I prefer it to Race for the Galaxy, though I enjoy both. I had a really boring job for a while and this game got played frequently because it was easy to squeeze in games between actually working...whistle.

Honorable Mentions:
Saint Petersburg
No Thanks!
Ticket to Ride
War of the Ring (First Edition)
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17. Board Game: Caylus [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:45]
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Middleton
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2005

I really love the interaction Caylus provides with the Provost. More importantly the game opened my eyes more widely to the idea of Worker Placement games (now my favorite genre of game).

Honorable Mentions:
Animal Upon Animal
Nexus Ops
Wits & Wagers
 
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18. Board Game: Neuroshima Hex! [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:212] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Jason B. Hesse
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Middleton
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2006

This was the worst year of gaming for me as this is the only game I remotely liked from the year. I like Neuroshima Hex in app form, but it really is just average to me...
 
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19. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:17]
Jason B. Hesse
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Middleton
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2007

Thankfully 2007 rebounded nicely with three amazing games. Agricola was my introduction to medium-heavy eurogames. Though I struggle to use my cards effectively at times, I just really enjoy the tension this game creates.

Galaxy Trucker

I am going to cheat here and pick two. I love Galaxy Trucker - it is the best real time game out there and it really opened my eyes to a different style of board game.

Honorable Mentions:
Race for the Galaxy
 
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20. Board Game: Le Havre [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:36]
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Middleton
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2008

Le Havre was everything I wanted Agricola to be. Primarily a game that lasted long enough to use the buildings I bought multiple times and to build a long term strategy around them. This is one of my favorite games of all time and the first heavier game I ever bought.

Honorable Mentions:
Stone Age
2 de Mayo
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21. Board Game: Small World [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:184] [Average Rating:7.33 Unranked]
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2009

Small World is my favorite area control game. I played it a lot in college and eventually went on to buy all of the expansions. I have since sold most of them off deciding the base game has enough value in of itself. This game is simple, but very chess like with only two players. Still a game I enjoy playing after many, many plays.

Honorable Mentions:
Hansa Teutonica
At the Gates of Loyang
Summoner Wars
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22. Board Game: Haggis [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:684]
Jason B. Hesse
United States
Middleton
Wisconsin
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2010

Haggis is a wonderful little 2 player card game. I am not sure there is a better 2 player trick taking game out there and that is where most of its value is. A good little game if you are into traditional style card games.

Honorable Mentions:
Ascension: Deckbuilding Game
 
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23. Board Game: Mage Knight Board Game [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:18]
Jason B. Hesse
United States
Middleton
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2011

I graduated college in May of 2010. So around 2011 I started earning more money and thus was able to afford more board games. Sadly, my time to play said board games has slowly dwinled in those years. However, from here on out the rate in which I play new games is much higher.

Mage Knight is a fantastical puzzle game wrapped in a dungeon crawl-esque skin. It is fairly punishing, but I always find it rewarding (though I am not that great at it). This was also one of the first exploration/combat games that really grabbed me - likely due to its more euro style.

Honorable Mentions:
The Castles of Burgundy
Eclipse
Rhino Hero
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24. Board Game: Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:176]
Jason B. Hesse
United States
Middleton
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2012

This is a packed year for me. All Creatures gets a ton of play in my house because my wife likes it. It takes some good parts of Agricola and turns it into a manageable 30-45 min game. In my busy life finding something deep in that time frame is much needed.

Honorable Mentions:
Keyflower
Smash Up
The Manhattan Project
Fleet
Morels
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25. Board Game: Concordia [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:23]
Jason B. Hesse
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Middleton
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2013

Concordia struck me out of no where. I had heard people talk about the game but largely dismissed it as a bland, gross looking euro. I was still admitting to myself that I was into that sort of thing... Anyway, this is a top 3 game for me now, I love the simple ruleset, fast turns, and yet very strategic gameplay. Not many games can offer this much depth in such a simple ruleset.

Honorable Mentions:
Caverna: The Cave Farmers
Rampage
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