Paul's Top 100 Tabletop Games - 2017
Paul Orosz
United States
Wickliffe
Ohio
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A list of 100 of my favorite modern tabletop games that I've played (so far).

I'm a lover of board games, every sort of game. From the heaviest game to the lightest, from the driest to the most thematic, Euros and "Ameritrash", longest and shortest, and so on.


(Modern board games only, so no Chess, Go, Backgammon, Shogi, etc.)
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1. Board Game: Star Wars: Rebellion [Average Rating:8.49 Overall Rank:6]
Paul Orosz
United States
Wickliffe
Ohio
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The must have board game for Star Wars fans. Game play is incredibly tense, tight, and engaging. An asymmetrical cat and mouse game across the galaxy. Empire will expand across the cosmos, searching for the rebel base. The Rebels plan brave missions and try to stay hidden. Nothing like seeing the Death Star inch closer and closer to your base as you try to hold off and misdirect the Empire as long as possible.

Take the characters from the beginning of A New Hope and try your hand at controlling how the cosmic battle unfolds. Does Luke go and train with Yoda? Does Vader encase Han in carbonite or someone else? Does the Death Star blow up Alderaan or another planet? Game really is Star Wars in a box. Leaves you with many stories and memories after each game.

2016 - #2
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2. Board Game: Mage Knight Board Game [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:18]
Paul Orosz
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Wickliffe
Ohio
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If Elder Scrolls made a board game. Every game of Mage Knight feels like an epic adventure. Take control of a powerful Mage Knight and send him through the countryside to take over armed towers, keeps, and cities. Battle wild monsters and dragons along the way. I love the hand management in this game, every turn feels like a puzzle to maximize your turn. Add powerful spells, abilities, and allies to your arsenal. My favorite game to solo; also co-operative or competitive, depending on your tastes.

My previous #1 game, just narrowly passed. Vlaada Chvátil is a master of game design, every game feels so different than the next.


2016 - #1
 
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3. Board Game: War of the Ring (Second Edition) [Average Rating:8.39 Overall Rank:12]
Paul Orosz
United States
Wickliffe
Ohio
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This is Lord of the Rings in a box. Game is just so impressively cinematic. Game starts off after the Council of Elrond, after that you decide how the story unfolds! Every turn you're on edge, and the suspense mounts after every turn. A game full of critical decisions and memorable moments.

Asymmetrical game where Sauron's minions are many and never ending and the Free People's forces are few and when they die, they are out of the game. Sauron needs to overwhelm the Free People's armies or find the One Ring. For the Free People's, the Fellowship needs to deliver the ring to Mount Doom or have their armies capture enough strategic locations (if they're brave enough). Will the heroes of Middle Earth resist and prevail? Play me and find out!

2016 - #14
 
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4. Board Game: Five Tribes [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:51]
Paul Orosz
United States
Wickliffe
Ohio
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Bruno Cathala's masterpiece and my favorite Euro game. Five Tribes is a game with 5 tribes! Assassins, Elders, Builders, Merchants, and Viziers, each one with a different ability and each location with a different power. Every turn you pick up a group of workers and drop them off till you get to your desired location, then you will activate the ability of the tribe and the location. There's also powerful Djinns you can obtain to aid you.

Five Tribes takes the mancala mechanism and perfects it. Every turn feels so interesting, so many options to think through. Not sure if there's a more tactical game out there. A truly beautiful to look at on the table.

2016 - #5
 
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5. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:105]
Paul Orosz
United States
Wickliffe
Ohio
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Two Lord of the Rings games in the top five?! Where War of the Ring features the full scope of the conflict, Lord of the Rings: The Card Game focuses on individual scenarios and missions. Pre-build your deck(s) and select your heroes for the adventure on hand. Battle the forces of evil as you make your way through the scenario, while resisting Sauron's corruption. There's so much content for this game it never gets old!

Tough and gripping, this is a fantastic co-operative game. Drips of the Lord of the Rings theme. Really feels like they drop you yourself in the battles. This game gives you the feel for the expanded Tolkien universe as well.


2016 - #4
 
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6. Board Game: Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization [Average Rating:8.63 Overall Rank:3]
Paul Orosz
United States
Wickliffe
Ohio
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I love my civilization builders, and Through the Ages sets the standard. The one who manages their resources the best will be the one with the greatest civilization. To build your empire you will need to feed your people, build bigger and better buildings, develop new scientific discoveries, have your people create culture, and make sure you build a formidable army to defend your land. Your balance of these and the cards that you draft will determine your fate. No board game captures the building of a civilization as well as this one. Another job well done, Vlaada! Contender for the title of best designed board game ever.

The fantastic app lets me play this way more often, finally I can enjoy a game I love a lot more!

2016 - #29
 
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7. Board Game: Thunderstone [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:528] [Average Rating:6.99 Unranked]
Paul Orosz
United States
Wickliffe
Ohio
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Thunderstone earns the title of the best deck-builder on my list. Takes influence from Dominion and adds a ton of fantasy theme on it. Add your traditional fantasy heroes in a deck, arm them with various weapons and spells, then go dungeon delving to slay all kinds of mythical monsters, dragons, and dark beings. Just don't forget to bring some light! Love all the battles with different monsters, each posing all sorts of challenges for the adventurers.

With the sequel Thunderstone Quest coming to my doorstep early next year, we'll see where the new version propels this great game.


2016 - #6
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8. Board Game: Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:35]
Paul Orosz
United States
Wickliffe
Ohio
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You're stranded on a deserted island and you must find a way to survive. Build shelter, build tools and weapons, protect yourself from the wild animals and weather, all while trying to achieve the goal of the scenario. Every game throws something different at you, every card turn you'll feel on edge. This game can be punishing and unforgiving if the wrong card comes up at the wrong time.

I have many scenarios for this game, and each one makes it feel like a different game. No matter what, it's always a struggle to survive. This is one of the toughest co-op/solo games around.

All sorts of thematic scenarios: building a large fire in hopes of rescue, perform exorcisms on a cursed island, treasure hunt on a volcanic island, find and rescue a stranded survivor, or bunker down and start a family on the island. I have the expansion where you assist Charles Darwin on his notorious journey every step of the way. Also scenarios for King Kong, Doctor Livingstone, taking down poachers, and many fan-made expansions! Makes this game have tons of replayability.

2016 - #11
 
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9. Family: Dice Masters
Paul Orosz
United States
Wickliffe
Ohio
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Dice Masters is the new highest rated collectable game on my list. I love the strategy and fun in building teams, pulling from the hundreds of DC, Marvel, X-Men, D&D, Yu-Gi-Oh, and TMNT characters they've come out with. Each character with their own stats and thematic abilities. Take your team of 8 and pit them head-to-head against your opponent's. A lot of fun taking a fist full of your favorite comic book characters in dice form and chucking them out on the table. Only in this game can you see Batman side-by-side with the likes of the Jubilee, a Blue-Eyes White Dragon, and some pizza-loving Turtles.

2016 - #13
 
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10. Board Game: Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:61] [Average Rating:7.83 Unranked]
Paul Orosz
United States
Wickliffe
Ohio
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What's better than having a Star Wars game that replicates a dogfight in space!? Having awesome looking collectable ships as game pieces of course! Gameplay is just fun, fun, FUN! A collectable game you don't feel too bad pouring money into because of the iconic ships that look great on your shelf.

Grab a few ships, select your pilots and upgrades, and go head-to-head with your opponent. Plenty of strategy in building your team and lots of tactics once you engage your enemy! Doesn't get a whole lot better for Star Wars fans than flying out Luke in an X-Wing, Han and Chewie in the Falcon, Vader in his TIE Advanced, and so on.

2016 - #3
 
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11. Board Game: Champions of Midgard [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:118]
Paul Orosz
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Wickliffe
Ohio
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One of my most favorite worker placement games. Gather resources and viking warriors to go out and defeat trolls, draugr, and other mythological Norse beasts. Battle for glory and the title of Jarl!

Champions of Midgard is such a tight and smooth game, very well designed. The expansions add even more depth and theme (especially Valhalla).

2016 - N/A
*New to the list, first played this year.
 
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12. Board Game: Macao [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:243]
Paul Orosz
United States
Wickliffe
Ohio
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Does a game about being a 17th century Portuguese trader in the Chinese city of Macao tickle your fancy? No? Well it should! Macao is my favorite game of master game designer, Stefan Feld. The wind rose had me entranced the first time I played this game, it makes Macao special.

You'll take on jobs and need to be able to fulfill them by utilizing the game's wind rose. You use 2 of the 6 colored dice to gather resource cubes, but do you take low numbers to be able to use them sooner or high numbers to get a lot of the colored resource but unable to use them for many turns. Managing this is the key to the game. If your tableau fills up your business reputation will suffer. Use cubes to activate cards, buy buildings in the city, collect goods, sale to European cities to deliver goods, acquire money, and so forth. Careful planning and a little luck with the dice will go a long way!

2016 - #8
 
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13. Board Game: Sentinels of the Multiverse [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:268] [Average Rating:7.31 Unranked]
Paul Orosz
United States
Wickliffe
Ohio
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Who needs DC and Marvel super heroes when you have the Sentinels of the Multiverse! A terrific co-op card game where a team of heroes take on a super villain and their minions in a volatile environment.

Each hero feels unique to play and each villain brings new challenges to overcome. With all the expansions, you'll never tire of this game.

Only minus is it can be a bit fiddly at times with several statuses, constant abilities, and tokens to keep track of. The app will take care of all that for you, which makes it great for solo play especially!

2016 - #10
 
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14. Board Game: DC Comics Deck-Building Game [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:701] [Average Rating:7.01 Unranked]
Paul Orosz
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Wickliffe
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My second favorite deck building game goes to the DC DBG. More fun than it is thematic, but every game is a blast to play. I love how the player powers for each DC hero makes you play differently each time. Add all kinds of heroes, equipment, superpowers, and even villains to your side before you take down the big super-villains. Captures the imagination of comics, where anything can happen. Batman with heat vision and a power ring? Yes, please! (I'm a sucker for the DC Universe.)

For a fully cooperative (and more thematic) experience, play with a Crisis expansion! The Crisis expansions bring some of DC's biggest and best storylines into the game.

2016 - #7
 
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15. Board Game: Kemet [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:77]
Paul Orosz
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Wickliffe
Ohio
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The battle for ancient Egypt is on! One of my favorite area control games, there is a lot to love about this one. I love the theme. I love all the power tiles you have to choose from. I love the card based combat system. I love taking control of the mythical creatures for battle. I love how you have to hit the ground running in this game, no matter what strategy you use. I love the flow and playtime of the game as well. Good luck finding a more symmetrical war game; little to no luck in this one, the best player on the day will likely win.

2016 - #15
 
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16. Board Game: Blood Rage [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:21]
Paul Orosz
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Wickliffe
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The hype was real around this game! There's a lot more to Blood Rage than the gorgeous viking and monster miniatures. Card draft your strategy and use your tactics to gain glory in battle! Do you win with raw power, completing quests, surprising your foe(s), or use Loki's tricky tactics? No matter the strategy, you'll be sending your viking warriors into battle for death and glory!


2016 - #24
 
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17. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:70]
Paul Orosz
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Wickliffe
Ohio
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Tigris & Euphrates is one of the very best designed board games and Dr. Reiner Knizia's masterpiece. So elegant and brilliant. Knizia is the master when it comes to games short on rules, but deep on strategy. Tigris & Euphrates is an abstract strategy tile laying game where you try to build the greatest civilization. Score points with your four types of leaders: agriculture, commerce, religion, and government. Every tile placement feels so critical, one wrong move or clever move by an opponent can see your civilization ravaged by war or revolt. Tensions are high when other civilizations get close, managing when to engage in conflicts is critical. Only by playing this game can you start to grasp all the depth it offers, only by playing this game many times can you be actually be good at it. A true gamer's game.


2016 - #48
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18. Board Game: Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:76]
Paul Orosz
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Wickliffe
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Descent set the standard for dungeon crawlers, and is still one of the best around. Customize your fantasy hero of choice and brave a dangerous quest; battle your way through all sorts of dark beings and beasts. Originally you had an all vs 1 battle, with one person acting as the evil Overlord; now the fantastic app gives you the option of playing completely cooperatively.

Descent is a fun and thrilling adventure, you never know what will meet you behind every door.


2016 - N/A
*New to the list, first played this year.
 
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19. Board Game: Yamataï [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:559]
Paul Orosz
United States
Wickliffe
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Bruno Cathala's follow-up to Five Tribes, and one of the newest games to appear on the list. Yamatai borrows some from Five Tribes, yet still makes itself feel unique from any other game. Yamatai is a pattern recognition and route building game, the board is always in flux. In this game Specialists have a bit more influence on the game than the Djinns of Five Tribes, so be sure to nab one to help with your strategy of choice. Like Five Tribes, very high on tactics!


2016 - N/A
*New release
 
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20. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:156] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
Paul Orosz
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Wickliffe
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The game on this list that I've played the longest (15 years now). Many fond memories of Magic the Gathering, still one of the best out there. There's nothing like building your own deck out of thousands of cards and battling it out with friends. So many possibilities for deck creations, it's impossible to list them all. The most important modern game, as it kept many game stores across the nation alive and well. Friday nights were for Magic!

2016 - #12
 
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21. Board Game: Shadows over Camelot [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:319]
Paul Orosz
United States
Wickliffe
Ohio
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Shadows over Camelot brought us the semi-cooperative game, and it has yet to be surpassed in my book. Every game is a blast, every game hangs on the edge of a knife. The deduction of a possible traitor amongst your friends and the tough nature of the game (even without a traitor) fills every play with an exhilarating anxiety. Watching every move, waiting for the traitor to either slip up or deal a devastating blow at your weakest moment... If a traitor is even in the game at all! Fantastic balance between good and evil makes every game great and a real struggle. One of the best games to go up to 7 players, and it put Bruno Cathala on the map!

2016 - #18
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22. Board Game: Colosseum [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:351]
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Wickliffe
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Underrated classic from Wolfgang Kramer. Love the unique theme of being a Roman impresario trying to make my way to the great Colosseum. Ancient Rome is one of those themes I'm a sucker for, and this is such a fun game. Use auctions, set collecting, and a bit of negotiating to put on the greatest show Rome has ever seen! Keep an eye on the competition though, many things can be in flux in this one. The highest rated auction game on my list.


2016 - N/A
*New to the list, first played this year.
 
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23. Board Game: Trajan [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:71]
Paul Orosz
United States
Wickliffe
Ohio
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Combine Stefan Feld, an ancient Rome theme, and the mancala mechanism and you have a hit game for me! You play as Emperor Trajan as you try to gain the most glory for Rome as you can. Several avenues to do this, building up Rome, military conquests, political power, and so forth. The aspect of the game that really makes this shine is the mancala that you use to decide your actions. To do well in the game you have to bend the mancala to your will. A great brain burner, and Feld's heaviest game that I've played.

2016 - #23
 
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24. Board Game: The Gallerist [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:69]
Paul Orosz
United States
Wickliffe
Ohio
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The Gallerist is just a great worker placement game with a unique theme, running an art gallery. There's so much to do and plan for in the game, yet nothing feels unnecessary or tacked on. Discover artists, buy/sell art, promote, attract visitors, build a global reputation, and so forth. A great example of a heavy Euro game with true theme.


2016 - N/A
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25. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:41]
Paul Orosz
United States
Wickliffe
Ohio
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The game that made card drafting popular (sorry, Fairy Tale). 7 Wonders is a great gateway game. Can play 3 to 7, with no additional downtime, a rare feat. Build your civilization through 3 ages, multiple ways to build and score victory points. Will that card you need make it around again? Will you take a card you need or one to stop your neighbor's plan? Fast, easy, always engaging.

2016 - #9
 
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