Windmillfighter's top 50 games of all time... as of right now (2017)
Ben Bishop
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I did a list like this last year (Windmillfighter's top 20 games of all time... as of right now (2016) and it is a good idea to keep track of the changes in my play likes and style.

I used the www.pubmeeple.com/board-game-ranking-engine to do the sort this time and there were some drastic changes:
First, I could target my top 50 instead of just 20.
Second, there have been some upsets in the games I like and play more.
Finally, there have a lot of new games released this past year and/or expansions that updated how I think of them.

My gaming style: I do like more thematic games but still like strategy and tactics. My main gaming partner is my wife but when my kids get old enough they will be inducted into the hobby. I do play games during my work lunch hours and in a monthly gaming group that is hosted by my wife and I.
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1. Board Game: BattleLore (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:130]
Ben Bishop
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# 50

Down 49 spots from last year.

What I said then: A fantasy Command and Colors game that has plastic pieces, tons of them! Different scenarios combined together to produce a game that never has the same setup, plus combined with all the unit combinations is sure to have this game hit the table lots of times with my wife.

What I think now: A great game with lots of variability, it just has not hit the table as much as it did before. I am thinking this is because there are 2 "evil" sides and only 1 "good" side so that limits who my wife wants to play as. Yes, we are both 'goody-too-shoes' players. Also, it appears as though this game may no longer be supported with new expansions although I hope I am wrong with that.
 
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2. Board Game: 7 Wonders Duel [Average Rating:8.15 Overall Rank:10]
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# 49

New for me in 2017!

7 wonders for 2. Wife and I play this game because of the fast set-up and gameplay. Not as good as the original due to the forcing of the other person to take certain cards but fun in its own way. The Pantheon expansion adds many more options but it still feels scripted in a way that the original 7 wonders does not.
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3. Board Game: Le Fantôme de l'Opéra [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:1442]
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# 48

In my opinion this it the best Mr. Jack game out there as one can adjust (handicap) the better player. The Mr. Jack games are process of elimination 2-player deduction games. One player tries to hide as the mysterious Phantom and the other player tries to figure out who they are. Both players can move any the pieces (chosen each round) of which each have a special ability.
 
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4. Board Game: Telestrations: 12 Player Party Pack [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:562]
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# 47

Not really a game, but more of a "let's get some friends together and laugh at this game of telephone but instead of whispers instead it is people laughing so hard they cry". If you are a bad artist like me, this is a great game to have/play as bad art is the whole point of trying to guessing a phrase from an sketch and visa-versa (or at least for me). Nothing like hearing groans when a sit by someone when we play this game...
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5. Board Game: Onirim (second edition) [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:457]
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# 46

Love the free (!) app but the feeling of this solo card game (that can play 2 cooperatively) in your own hands is a good one. Searching for the doors by laying down cards in the same color but different symbols while trying to figure out if one should save the special key cards, use them as a symbol or discard them for their special power is a good puzzle. Plus the box comes with 7 expansions!
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6. Board Game: Escape: The Curse of the Temple [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:421]
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# 45

Down 34 spots from last year

What I said then: A 10 minute game based off of that opening scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark - but if everyone had to survive. Put in the CD, and have a real-time game where hearts start racing, people start yelling about rescuing them from having their dice locked, and cheering as everyone makes it out (or not). Whatever happens the soundtrack/timer will raise the heartbeats and blood pressure of the players.

What I think now: I want to play with all the new expansion tiles, characters, curses, and mechanisms but we have not played that often to move to those more challenging options. To me the base game is too easy but we need to be graceful to any new players - hence the drop. Still a great game to be stressed over.
 
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7. Board Game: Survive: Escape from Atlantis! [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:232]
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# 44

This is one of the most friendly cutthroat games out there in my opinion. It really shines with the overcrowded variant with the 5-6 player expansion. Send your people to safety as the land crumbles beneath their feet, hungry sharks patrol the water, and the only way to do well is to trust the other players... but you can't!

This is my in-laws favorite game. They must enjoy sending my people to the bottom of the sea, or something.
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8. Board Game: Two Rooms and a Boom [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:748]
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# 43

A social dedication game like no other - it promotes team building rather than pure betrayal. No moderator needed, and lasts only about 15 minutes. Great fun with a large group of people.
 
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9. Board Game: Dungeon Fighter [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:767]
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# 42

Down 16 spots from last year

What I said then: One of the few purely cooperative dexterity games out there. Best way to play - let people think it's just yet another dungeon crawl game as you slowly unpack the game from the box. Then tell them they have to throw the dice at the target. Then later when they ask about the symbol on the room card tell them the room says they have to do it under their leg at the target. Then tell them the monster makes them have to do in under their leg backwards while jumping in the air at the target. Hilarity ensues.

What I think now: Still love this game. It just has outgrown it's britches with all the expansions. For new players there is a lot to figure out. The dice throwing is still fun but there is a lot of small pieces and cardboard to play this with toddlers about.
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10. Board Game: Dixit: Odyssey [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:163] [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
Ben Bishop
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# 41

Get rid of apples to apples and get this game instead. The art strangely draws you in like an eldritch god and you must accept your fate by having most but not all people except their doom by choosing it as well to get points to win. Don't be fooled by the rabbit scoring tokens - it's beyond the mind's comprehension, we only mask that horror and see it as cute.

That being said, this is a great gateway game to play with those who don't normally play games or don't like intense games. The best version is this one as it goes to 12 players!
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11. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:294]
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# 40

This classic two player game is a bread and butter game for my wife and I because sometimes you need something quick, easy, and a bit mathy. Good game to play when eating out and want to play something too.

The tug between waiting for the correct cards but having to discard something every round that may help the other player is a good tension.
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12. Board Game: Reef Encounter [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:486]
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# 39

Got this for my wife on our first date. She said she liked games and so I took her to a game store on our first "official" date. This is the game she picked out.

Took a while to wrap our heads around the gameplay, but once we got it this is one of the few pure (little to zero luck) Euros we enjoy even today. Could be the memories of our first "official date" but it still is a good game.
 
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13. Board Game: Shadowrift [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1474]
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# 38

Down 24 spots from last year

What I said then: A cooperative deck-builder! A bit fiddly but if each person playing takes a duty in the monster/village prep stage that issue is mitigated. Need to play more as the satisfaction of sealing the gates through the power of teamwork satisfies an itch that I have for a good high-fiving cooperative experience. I kickstarted the 2nd edition so I am waiting to see how that makes it even better.

What I think now: The kickstarted 2nd edition is great! The art is better and most of the issues I have with it have been fixed. However, there are more cooperative deckbuilders now that are less fiddly like Aeons End (that I need to play more to see where it will place).
 
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14. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:73]
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# 37

The classic cooperative. This is one of the first cooperative games I really enjoyed (Reiner Knizia's Lord of the rings game was my first). I have the first edition and the on the brink expansion. I stopped there because I did not want to upgrade. This game is a bit dry for me personally but a good introduction to the genera. Some friends have Season 1 of the Legacy version of this that we are waiting to play together.
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15. Board Game: Castle Panic [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:811]
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# 36

A great cooperative game for families. A bit easy with just the base game (gamers just cycled the deck quickly to get the barbarian/scavenge combo to clear out the big monsters). The 1st expansion made harder and gave more card options. The 2nd expansion added even harder bosses and even more options the 3rd expansion added a new aspect to create traps to the game. Could be a bit anti-climatic near the end, but there are great moments of panic (and cheering for the lucky boulder rolls).
 
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16. Board Game: Shadow Hunters [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:721]
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# 35

A team werewolf/mafia with no moderator like game with real deduction. There are black and white backed cards that give you more power/weapons but the green hermit cards make turn this game from guessing and checking type of game into a struggle of knowledge and revelation. The moment when you choose to reveal your role to activate its power that changes the game ... or when you play as 'unknown' and can lie (when people do not know about that card) are priceless.
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17. Board Game: Ultimate Werewolf: Ultimate Edition [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:668] [Average Rating:7.10 Unranked]
Ben Bishop
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# 34

Down 21 spots from last year

What I said then: The classic deduction party game of Werewolf in ultimate form. Put the cards in closable business card wallets, have people walk around during the day and make personal alliances, and put on thematic music for day/voting/night gives a story for players that they will never forget. Also needs a good moderator who can create the perfect village and story. When in doubt have people claim to be certain stereotypes/roles/actors/or characters - the village of movie villains is a good choice. For example in one of my villain villages, Darth Vader lynched Scar from the Lion King in the first round, HAL 9000 was the Seer, and the lone werewolf who won was a raptor from Jurassic Park.

What I think now: This is a once a year event for us. We host a giant night and project on the TV the roles in the village. We also play with the ghost variant (first one dead becomes a ghost but the starting role is not revealed) and with the mayor variant (elect a mayor whose vote counts twice). While this is a memorable event to run and play this dropped because of player elimination issues.
 
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18. Board Game: Tiny Epic Galaxies [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:233]
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# 33

Like San Juan (more on that later) but with dice (and random goal planets, secret missions, and super galactic weapons!). The expansion adds so much more to the game; specialized pilots, ships, and even a press-your-luck element!

I am enjoying the official solo variant as well. So much game in a little box, and we have not even opened the micro expansions.
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19. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:139] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Ben Bishop
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# 32

Often imitated, but none like this tile laying and scoring game. Be careful not to buy too many expansions as now the homemade draw bag made to hold the tiles is now titled 'the bag of doom' for those who have had it thrown at them. (I said I was sorry).

This is one of the few games we will bring out to new people (in that case we draw a tile at the end of a turn rather than the beginning and explain any special symbols on it)
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20. Board Game: King of Tokyo [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:226]
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# 31

Yahtzee meets Godzilla. Best game for those evenings where you need to roll dice and take names. If people want more complex they can buy the power cards with energy, but you can still will by just smacking others around or just rolling numbers. Just remember you cannot heal with dice in Toyko (just like in real life).

The power-up expansion adds specific powers for each monster and makes hearts in Toyko mean something (just like in real life).
 
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21. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
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# 30

A deckbuilder we can play with the in-laws over Skype. They have the same cards that we have and we trash the cards on our side that they buy (and visa-versa). Works well!

This is a quick game for those who have played a few times and my wife and I can play 3 to 4 games in a flash. Sometimes you need to go back to the game the 'started it all'.
 
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22. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Europe [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:91] [Average Rating:7.58 Unranked]
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# 29

My parent's favorite game, and my wife plays "speed trains" with her friends - and almost needs a chess clock. Scary!

This is the standard go to game for new gamers and still holds up to those who play games as a hobby. There are plenty of maps and options to make this fresh. Also, the Alvin and Dexter expansion makes any map better as aliens and dinosaurs do (just as in real life).
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23. Board Game: Specter Ops [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:384] [Average Rating:7.34 Unranked]
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# 28

Down 10 spots from last year

What I said then: As a kid I played a lot of Scotland Yard with my family. After a while I started to doubt London's budget to their finest by only giving them a certain number of taxi/bus/underground passes! This game by Plaid Hat seems to fix that and also adds unique player powers and guns! A tension filled experience for both sides in this hidden movement game.

What I think now: Game is still fun but needs some fresh life into it as the same agent power cards are chosen and we would like more characters.
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24. Board Game: Ca$h 'n Guns (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:502]
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# 27

It's like playing a Mobster movie, but with laughing! The 2nd edition add new elements that add more game to the gun... like more buck for your bang! The expansions add more meaning to your choice and even team play!
 
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25. Board Game: BANG! The Dice Game [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:462]
Ben Bishop
United States
Boise
Idaho
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# 26

Bang! but better, faster, less wonky, and dice. The Indian arrows mechanic is a very good and unique mechanism of tension unless you are the Sheriff and kill yourself on the very first roll because you keep rolling arrows on every dice. It happens...

The Saloon expansion makes this game much more interesting and deductive with new characters, new dice to choose from, and roles you can reveal for a power.
 
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