My Top 50
Brandon Kempf
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So, it was brought to my attention that via the Pub Meeple website, you could use a tool and it would help you sort through your games and find your "definitive" Top whatever games. So me, being the person with seemingly endless free time(it took about 2 1/2 hrs) I set forth to ranking the games that I own, that I have played in order to see what was truly, my Top 294 games of all time, right now, as of yesterday.

It was relatively difficult for me to pick between a lot of games, which is how the tool works, it puts two games head to head and asks which game you think is better. Some games I couldn't get better around in my head, so my criteria ended up being, which game would you pick to play if both were set up on the table and you had the appropriate amount of players to play it properly.

Just as a reminder, these are games that I have played, and that I actually own, currently. If I don't own them, they won't be on the list.

So, what I am going to do is this, I am going to try to write a little bit about one of these games each day, give my thoughts on why it ended up in the place that it did. Also, if I play any of these games over the next year, I will try to update with play thoughts after playing.

So be sure to subscribe and join in the conversation!! Tell me I am wrong, tell me I am crazy, tell me I am spot on, up to you, we'll just have some fun with this through the year. Maybe next year I'll redo the list and see where we end up.

Link to: Pub Meeple Website http://www.pubmeeple.com/

By the way, you can blame Adrian from Mile High Game Guys: Boardgaming Podcast for this.

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1. Board Game: Legends of Andor [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:266] [Average Rating:7.32 Unranked]
Brandon Kempf
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#50

Legends of Andor is kind of an odd one in here. I've played only 3 of the Adventures in the main box, simply because we go so long in between plays that I forget the game play so we go back and do the first one or two again and never get past that third one. That's not because the game is bad, the game is really a good game, but there is something about it that makes it so we never push past those first three adventures.

So, this was a discovery at Geekway as well, probably my first or second Geekway I think. Same one where I discovered Ginkgopolis I believe. Andor is really unique, or at least it was when it came out, in that you don't just sit and read the rule book in order to play, you jump right into that first scenario and learn as you go, video game style, it was, and still is, refreshing for me to learn a game this way, Mechs vs. Minions did the same thing.

But ultimately what Andor is, is a cooperative adventure game for 1-4 players. It has a unique narrative and ultimately is a beautiful puzzle each time you play it.

Another really cool thing about Legends of Andor is that it is from Michael Menzel, yes, the artist Michael Menzel, this is his design and his artwork all over it and it is really beautiful to see.

I picked up the Legends of Andor: Journey to the North expansion off the Ding and Dent wall at Miniature Market in hopes that it would spur some activity on the game, it hasn't yet, but I haven't forgotten about this great, wonderful, family style co-op adventure.
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2. Board Game: Order of the Gilded Compass [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:2397]
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#49

This one is kind of a mystery to me as I've played it twice now and I don't remember it being Top 50 material, especially considering that Firenze is at 71 and I absolutely love Firenze. But here it is, the remake of Alea Iacta Est.

Order of the Gilded Compass is a dice rolling, dice allocation, area influence game. The thing that really sells it over it's predecessor though is the theme, which really doesn't come through all that well, but it is there and it's a fantastic theme. You see, you are treasure hunters and you are scouring all over the globe, trying to get the most treasure. You do this by assigning the archaeologist dice to different areas. You can hunt for treasure maps to help you find the treasures, you can hire specialists to help along the way, you can go diving for the treasures or even visit the auction houses. Oh, and there is the Illuminati!!! So beware.

There are modular boards to set up the game, so you don't have to play the same game each time you play, you can mix it up a bit.

Now, while at the beginning of this I may sound a bit down that this is in my Top 50, I'm not really, just curious how it lands in here and others didn't. Maybe that has something to do with my pull to the cult of the new, where I would rather play a newer game than one that I have already played more than a few times, I don't know, but the short version is, this is a quality game, with a theme that is far better than it's predecessor. My only real qualm with it is, what the heck were they thinking with that custom insert?
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3. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:23]
Brandon Kempf
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#48

So, Power Grid is actually a fairly easy one to start with as I have only played it twice and both times were last year at Geekway(2016). First play was a 4 player game that I somehow managed to win and the second time was with the nice new Deluxe version at like 3 in the morning with 4 once again and I did not do nearly as well, but I still loved it. Power Grid is in my collection, my copy has never been played though. I took it to game night a couple years ago and folks decided to play it, but I backed off and let the experts go at it and I watched from the sidelines while playing another game or two. Their mathing of everything out in those last couple rounds really put me off of the game and made me really not care if I played it or not, but the further away from that scene I got, the more I thought it really looked like an interesting Auction/Bidding game. I regret only having two plays of it honestly and I should try to get it to the table more often, it just doesn't play as well with 2 I'm afraid, but who knows.

So a big thanks goes out to Charles Hasegawa for teaching me Power Grid at Geekway, and Bill Corey Jr for giving me the opportunity to play it again later in the weekend. Sucky thing is, neither of these two are going to be at Geekway this year, so I won't be able to play again with them and possibly get them to play together.
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4. Board Game: Dungeon Petz [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:122]
Brandon Kempf
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#47

Welp, since apparently I didn't post this last night and Lazarus didn't save anything for me after my kids shut the PC down, I'm gonna try to do this one, one more time.

Dungeon Petz, Dungeon Petz, we're on our way!


I wish I played Dungeon Petz more often, only 12 plays, it really is everything a thematic Euro should be. A really fun spread sheet game with a fun quirky theme that could really be about anything, but this works wonderfully. This one is a spiritual successor to Dungeon Lords, which, surprise surprise, I have never played. In Dungeon Petz you are an imp family and your sole purpose in life is to breed and sell petz to the Lords. Sometimes those pets are magical, sometimes they are angry and sometimes they get sick and poop everywhere if you don't manage their needs well enough, and no dungeon lord worth his salt is going to buy a sick poopy pet. The pets are cute, in that weird dungeon pet way and this game was my introduction to the quirkiness that is CGE games and Vlaada Chvatil.

Underneath that theme is really just a spreadsheet, and you are trying your best to manage the numbers, keep the pets fed, keep their cage cleaned, assign imps to play with the playful ones and imps to clean up after the poopy ones.

This game also holds the honor of being the one game that I've pissed someone off enough in that I got hit in the forehead with an imp for taking the spot that they wanted. I loved every minute of it.
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5. Board Game: Patchwork [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:46]
Brandon Kempf
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#46

I can't believe I never did a review of Patchwork. There really isn't much for me to say about this 2 player Tetris-y game that Kerensa just absolutely owns me in and despite my complete lack of spatial reasoning, I really do enjoy Patchwork. That is probably mostly because it's something that Kerensa absolutely enjoys playing it.

It's a simple game really, where you are piecing together a patchwork quilt and all around the board are these little Tetris like tiles that you can purchase and put in your quilt, but sometimes, people are mean and they buy things or don't buy things, knowing that you can't afford what's available to purchase or you don't want any of what is available. No really, this is a nice relaxing quilting game, there's none of that spiteful buying, noooooooo.

FYI, this game blows Cottage Garden out of the water, there seems to be a complete lack of tension in Cottage Garden when we have played it, and I think, even if you are just looking for a good 2 player game to play with your significant other or anyone in general, you want a bit of tension in your gaming, right?
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6. Board Game: Ra [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:125]
Brandon Kempf
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#45

Rah Rah Ree, Kick 'em in the knee!

Ooops, wrong Rah, this one is RAAAAAAAAAA! And that's exactly how you should yell it while playing.

Why do I like Ra, well let's see, it's Knizia & it's an auction. But honestly, when I own a copy of Modern Art I have a feeling Ra will get a bit less love, which hasn't been played since..............You guessed it, Geekway, last year. I've taken this to my game group probably 10 of the last 12 monthly meetups, but it never gets any attention.

Ra is an auction game where you are doing set collection and yes, it is an ancient Egyptian theme. What makes Ra unique and interesting to me is the way bidding is done with those Sun Tiles. I believe these tiles are numbered from 1-16, but someone will correct me if I am incorrect here. Each player starts the game with 3 of them, the starting three are determined by a chart in the book based on the player count. The trick with Ra though, boils down to when do you call for that auction to take place or allow it to take place. You see, you'll be drawing tiles from a bag, these tiles will be what you are collecting in various set, but mixed among those tiles are Ra tiles and whenever a Ra tile is pulled, an auction takes place, the player who pulled the Ra tile or called RAAAAAA to start the auction takes the Ra token and will be the final bidder in the auction. You bid then using a sun tile of whatever value you think is worth using for that auction, if you win the auction, you exchange your Sun token with the one in the middle of the board and flip it upside down as you can no longer use it this Epoch, you see, you can only win 3 auctions in an epoch. You do this for three rounds and the most points win. These points are based on the different tiles that you have collected and I think the highest sun total gets points as well as the least sun points lose 5 points.

Ra is just fun, it's just fun. It uses a simple auction mechanic and turns it on it's head with the sun tokens.

Once again, this one, like most every auction game, suffers at lower player counts, so that explains why it doesn't get played much here at home where our player counts are predominately 2 or 3 players. But if you have 5 players who really dig auction games, this is the one to reach for.

Knizia really is a master at game design, and while his output has suffered recently, these auction games he brought to the table in his prime, Ra, Medici, Modern Art and even Amun-Re deserve their place in the pantheon of great games.
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7. Board Game: Haspelknecht [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:974]
Brandon Kempf
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#44
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8. Board Game: The King Is Dead [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:1158]
Brandon Kempf
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#43
 
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9. Board Game: Coal Baron [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:453]
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#42
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10. Board Game: Village [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:103]
Brandon Kempf
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#41
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11. Board Game: Mombasa [Average Rating:7.98 Overall Rank:57]
Brandon Kempf
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#40
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12. Board Game: Last Will [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:301] [Average Rating:7.26 Unranked]
Brandon Kempf
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#39
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13. Board Game: Cacao [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:496]
Brandon Kempf
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#38
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14. Board Game: Targi [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:135]
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#37
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15. Board Game: Expedition: Northwest Passage [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:1030]
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#36
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16. Board Game: Fabled Fruit [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:675]
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#35
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17. Board Game: Captain Sonar [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:91]
Brandon Kempf
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#34
 
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18. Board Game: Blood Rage [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:17]
Brandon Kempf
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#33
 
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19. Board Game: Potion Explosion [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:437]
Brandon Kempf
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#32
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20. Board Game: Crokinole [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:66]
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#31
 
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21. Board Game: Akrotiri [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:570]
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#30
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22. Board Game: Seasons [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:139]
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#29
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23. Board Game: Kingdom Builder [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:428]
Brandon Kempf
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#28
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24. Board Game: PitchCar [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:307]
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#27

So, I'm not really feeling all that creative with my writing today so I am going to take the easy way out and cover PitchCar.

I have two flicking games on my list, this and Crokinole, and we really enjoy flicking games in our household. But what really puts PitchCar into the Top 50 is just the amazing tracks that can be built to test your flicking skills, mine aren't that good, just as an FYI.

Geekway has a fantastic, or at least had we'll see this year, a wonderful PitchCar tournament with some of the most maddening tracks known to man, seriously, it's a bit of self-torture to play on the final's track, but always in good fun.

PitchCar also holds the honor of being the ONLY game that requires expansions and those expansions always make it more fun.

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25. Board Game: Lanterns: The Harvest Festival [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:560]
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
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