My Top 100 Games of All Time (2017 Edition)
Michael W
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Texas
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I got into board games about 5 years ago, and to be honest, I don't remember how. I think these last few years of completely enveloping myself into the hobby has blurred together, and the following list is the best representation I can come up with of my favorites from my adventure thus far.

This is my first list for my top 100, and I hope to make a new one each year. I think it'll be fascinating to see how my preferences change from year to year, and if my true favorites stay that way!

Enjoy!
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1. Board Game: Welcome to the Dungeon [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:790] [Average Rating:6.72 Unranked]
Michael W
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#100

Welcome to the Dungeon is a great starter to most game nights. While the group is figuring out what to play, I love to put Welcome to the Dungeon on the table and have a casual round or two.

This doesn't mean there isn't any tension in the game, because there is! When the dungeon stack is starting to rise, you really have to think if you want to push your luck.

I really love this game because I think there are so many ways to play this game, from bluffing to push your luck to passing at just the right time and seeing the look of despair on your opponent's face, it's just great.
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2. Board Game: Among the Stars [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:426] [Average Rating:7.19 Unranked]
Michael W
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#99

Among the Stars is a game that really scratches the itch when I want a low key drafting and card placement game. In the game, you are the architect of a space station, and each turn you have a certain amount of money you can spend on buying cards that you draft.

I think the card placement is definitely the most interesting part. Some cards will require energy and will need to be in close proximity to your main generator, while others require you to surround it by complementing cards.

By the end of the game, it is just fun to look at everyone's space station and see the variety. Bonus points for having individual player powers!
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3. Board Game: Neuroshima Hex! [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:212] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Michael W
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#98

Neuroshima Hex! is a puzzle-like game where you place tokens in a hex grid board that represent your post apocalyptic faction's units. Although the game verges on an abstract, I'm the kind of person who can easily get sucked into the driest of games. The individuality between factions really solidifies this.

I will say Neuroshima Hex! can get mathy at times, especially when the board is filled with units pointing in all directions with so many different effects, but once resolved and the battlefield is cleared, it is an amazing experience.
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4. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:124] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Michael W
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#97

Ticket to Ride! If you've played board games, you've probably played Ticket to Ride. Although it's regarded as a great gateway game, I purchased it only recently, and for the express purpose to play a 'real' board game with family members who have never gone beyond Uno or Scrabble.

And I think that's why this game is included on my list-- it's a game I can play with ALL of my family, not just my friends. Trains! Tickets! Set collection! It's so simple, intuitive, fun at a family get-together.
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5. Board Game: Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:151]
Michael W
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Texas
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#96

Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King, is a tile placement game that has mostly replaced Carcassonne for me. In the game, you're building your own personal kingdom by placing tiles with connection terrain.

What really sets it apart from other tile placement games for me is the various scoring tiles that come out each game and the way you actually acquire tiles by buying them from other players. It's a real challenge on putting the price on your tiles-- too high and no one will buy it and you'll lose your cash, too low and you've just given your opponent an advantage!

Honestly, not a very thinky game, but satisfying decisions, and I always love a game where at the end you can look over the table at what you've built. In games like this, even if you don't win, the sight of your work is worth being proud of.
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6. Board Game: Pandemic: The Cure [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:259]
Michael W
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#95

Pandemic: The Cure is the dice version game of Pandemic. Similar to Pandemic, in this game you'll be rolling dice, going from region to region, curing diseases, using special powers, and watching it all fall apart when chain reactions destroy all the work you've done!

Dice counting in this game is important-- you want to know how many red or green dice are left in the bag or on the board, and sometimes you might treat a region just to get some more colors in the bag.

Great game and interesting choices, and always tense when you pull those dice out of the bag and see what happens!
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7. Board Game: Tail Feathers [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:2283] [Average Rating:7.35 Unranked]
Michael W
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Texas
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#94

Tail Feathers is a strategic miniatures based combat game where you take controls of mice riding birds! I don't play many 'measure distance, trace movement path, move groups of units' type of games (in fact, I think this is the only one), but this is one I do enjoy, and mostly because of theme.

Based on the Mice & Mystics dungeon crawl game, the theme is practically pouring out of everything you do in this game. Tilting your bird to change trajectory, riding leaves across tree branches, getting into a death spiral when two birds collide, it is all so real as it plays out in front of you. That said, there is some fiddly-ness in this game, and every time I play I have the rulebook open and ready.

One of my favorite films from childhood is Secret of Nimh, and I love the book series Redwall-- something about fantastical mice call out to me (and probably why I should play more Mice & Mystics), and you can't get much closer to those than this game of flying action combat. Don't forget to stock up on cheese!
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8. Board Game: Kingsburg [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:266]
Michael W
United States
Texas
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#93

In Kingsburg, you roll dice, and use those dice to influence advisers of the King, all in hopes of building and facing an invading army.

There's a simple reason why I like Kingsburg, and unlike the previous entry, has nothing to do with the theme. Though I do like medieval fantasy type games, the dice placement in this game is just fun. Put any theme on it, give me any game where I get to roll dice and mix and match them on places that do efficient stuff, and I'm in.

I haven't tried the expansions, but I hear they make the game even better, so this may move up on my list!

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9. Board Game: Helios [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:1345]
Michael W
United States
Texas
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#92

In Helios, you take control of a civilization that worship the sun, and most of what they do is for the sun. In the game, you take tiles that you place on your own personal board, spreading across the land to get bonuses. You can also move your sun, which will replenish some of your land.

I enjoy the number of buildings each player can build. For a cost, the building will allow you to move your sun or gain mana or resources.

This is the first euro style game on the list (oh-- there will be more), and you can't get much euroy than this. Low player interaction, a paper thin theme, but satisfying.
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10. Board Game: Century: Spice Road [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:219] [Average Rating:7.47 Unranked]
Michael W
United States
Texas
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#91

Century: Spice Road is a set collection, economic game with a widely overused theme-- trading spice. The theme here doesn't matter. It's the game play that makes this game perhaps my favorite new gateway game for new gamers, and that is a marvelous achievement.

In the game, you gain cards (theme: merchants) that you can play to gain colored resources (theme:spice)--which you can use to gain different cards to get different combinations of upgraded spice. And you do all this to play a bunch of spice to claim cards that gain you points.

This game flows so smoothly and every card is fun to play, making it a great addition to my list.

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11. Board Game: Keyflower [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:42]
Michael W
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Texas
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#90

Keyflower is another tile placement game (I have a few of those--more to come). In this game, you're settlers in a new land, and you'll be using colored meeples in a bidding fashion to gain new tiles you can add to your tableau. These meeples can also be used as workers for actions that are outlined on the tiles.

I find the bidding part of the game almost as fun as the rest. It's always an interesting decision on how many meeples to bid and where to place them. I love thee way that I can gain meeples other players place in my area-- you never have a set number of workers.

Near the end of the game, you can move resources from one tile to another to generation victory points, and it is that visceral, real feel of seeing your tiles working together that makes the process really fun. Another great tile laying game that I need to play more!
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12. Board Game: FUSE [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:542]
Michael W
United States
Texas
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#89

FUSE is a dice rolling game where the goal is defuse a deck of bomb cards. Man, if dictionaries listed board games, FUSE would be right next to stress. I've never played a co-op game where my blood has been pumping so much!

The key to the stress in this game is that you have to get through a deck of cards in ONLY ten minutes, every time. There's a great thematic app that counts down for you, and all the while you're pulling dice out of a bag, rolling them, and splitting them among the players, placing them on bomb cards in very specific ways to try and defuses the bomb.

Some cards will require you to place dice of certain colors or numbers, some will require stacking, some pyramid shapes, but always stressful.

I've only won this game once in a four player game, and we were down to the VERY last second. It's moments like these that really cement a game on a list like this.
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13. Board Game: Potion Explosion [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:420]
Michael W
United States
Texas
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#88

Potion Explosion reminds me of that old PC game Zuma, where you shoot colored orbs into a line or orbs, matching colors to make them pop and disappear.

That's what Potion Explosion essentially is. You take groups of colored marbles to make more groups clack together, and you take those too! You can then use these marbles on a variety of potions that give you points and special powers.

This is another game that looks great on the table and fun too.
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14. Board Game: Colt Express [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:298]
Michael W
United States
Texas
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#87

In Colt Express, you play a bandit trying to get the most loot they can on a moving train. This isn't the typical board game with a flat piece of cardboard on a table-- the train is represented as a 3D model that you can move through. Visuals alone, top notch!

The gameplay is fun too, though I will admit I'm terrible at it. You take turns placing cards that represent your actions into a collective face down (sometimes face up, sometimes varying) pile. When all players are done, the cards are flipped and the actions carried out, leading to hilarious outcomes where a bandit (mostly my bandit) jumps on top of the train only to come back down again, only to jump up again and get shot.

Amazing.
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15. Board Game: Onitama [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:177]
Michael W
United States
Texas
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#86

Onitama is like chess, but better. Maybe (chess isn't on this list). I'm not going to go down that route, but I will say that if you like chess, but want something perhaps quicker and maybe a bit less thinky, try Onitama.

You can win two ways in Onitama: move your Master across the board, or take the opponents Master with one of your pieces. The way you move your pieces is based on cards that you have in front of you.

The catch is, after you use a card to move a piece, you replace that card with 1 in the reserve. Then, at the end of your opponent's turn, they'll take that card. This makes it so you always have to consider what move you're giving your opponent, and honestly, the only way you'll lose this game is by giving your opponent exactly what they need.
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16. Board Game: Tales of the Arabian Nights [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:311]
Michael W
United States
Texas
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#85

Tales of the Arabian Nights is a story telling game, and if you go into it thinking it is anything more, you may be disappointed.

The game is simple: Move and encounter some crazy thing, from beggars, to jinn, to princesses, who knows! You're then given the chance to interact with that character. For example, you could choose to beat up the beggar, or assist him. Most anything you can think of, you can do.

As the game progresses, you'll gain new skills, wealth, go on wild adventures, and hopefully achieve your goal. The game can go on a little longer than I prefer (there are variants to help keep the game manageable), but the stories that come out of it, however nonsensical, are always memorable.
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17. Board Game: Forbidden Desert [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:263]
Michael W
United States
Texas
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#84

Forbidden Desert follows in the same vein as Pandemic (which you may see later in the list, maybe). You get actions that you spend moving on a board to get rid of bad stuff that builds up.

In this game, you're in a desert trying to find ancient pieces to a flying machine and escape. You do this by moving through the desert which is represented as a grid of sand tiles. As you remove these sand tiles, you discover clues as to where the flying machine pieces are located. Collect them all and go back to start, and you win!

This game isn't easy-- keeping control of the sand and making sure everyone has water is a challenge, but when you're done and you have a cool little toy completely built, it's super fun!
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18. Board Game: XenoShyft: Onslaught [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:798] [Average Rating:7.07 Unranked]
Michael W
United States
Texas
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#83

Xenoshyft: Onslaught is a cooperative deck building game taken right out of the classic Starship Troopers. Big guns, lots of bugs, extremely difficult!

In the game, you have two tracks: one where you place your cards, and the other representing the never ending flood of terrible bug aliens that will kill you (they will). You then reveal these cards, and do your best to make it through the line of bugs in one piece (you won't).

A lot of co-op games don't have as much player interaction as I'd like, but not in Xenoshyft. The ability to play cards on other player's turns to help them out, to give them that one push they need, is very satisfying.
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19. Board Game: My Village [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:924]
Michael W
United States
Texas
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#82

My Village is the dice version of the worker placement game Village. In some crazy order of events, I haven't played Village yet, and by most accounts, its superior to My Village, but until I play it, My Village will remain on this list.

In My Village, you take dice from a communal collection and use them to do actions: be it sell things at your stores, explore new lands, build your church, or just go farming. Everything you do will get you points, and the better you use your dice, the more points you can get.

The track of death is what really makes this game great. With every passing turn, death continues to move ever closer, and when it arrives, you have to ax off one of your main guys, be it the farmer or the head of the church-- and when that happens you can no longer add cards to that section or use their powers till you get a new one!
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20. Board Game: Dungeon Petz [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:137]
Michael W
United States
Texas
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#81

Dungeon Petz is a strategic worker placement game where the goal is to raise and breed bizarre monster pets! I'll admit, the theme sold me on the game, and the gameplay makes it one of my favorites.

I play is almost solely two player (admittedly, not the best), and I play pretty casually. This game reminds me of times when tamagotchi were everywhere. Everyone had to raise their own personal pet. In this game, you'll do much the same, feeding them, cleaning the poop out of their cages (really), and watching them grow till they throw tantrums and break out.
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21. Board Game: XCOM: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:481]
Michael W
United States
Texas
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#80

XCOM: The Board Game is a cooperative game where players take administrative roles, protecting earth from the ever increasing number of alien invaders.

What I love about this game is that every role is so different, but they are all vital. The player in charge of the military has to strategically use their units to protect both the base and work towards missions (the way to win the game). Another player has to control the budget, always checking in with others to make sure they can pay for everything. Another has to watch the skies and set up satellites. The scientist has to keep the engine going by providing better powers for the other players as the alien threat grows worse.

Great co-op fun!
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22. Board Game: Elysium [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:313]
Michael W
United States
Texas
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#79

Elysium is a card selection game where you're essentially building legends that will be told for all time (or at least until you pack up the game).

Each player has four differently colored pillars which they will use to claim cards from a central pool and place in front of them. These cards will provide bonuses to players, but they aren't worth any points until they're retired-- until they are made into a legend.

When they're made into a legend (based on number or color of the card), their powers no longer work, but they will score points. The real balance in this game is when to retire a card, when do you no longer need that power. Lots of interesting choices makes for a great card game.
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23. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:41]
Michael W
United States
Texas
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#78

7 Wonders is a classic at this point. Simple card drafting at its most fun.

In 7 Wonders, you take control of a civilization, drafting cards that provide you resources which you can use to build, well, wonders! You always have to keep track of what other players are building towards and make sure you're not giving them the win while also choosing the card that will most benefit you.

After three ages, the player with the greatest civilization wins!
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24. Board Game: Mysterium [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:152]
Michael W
United States
Texas
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#77

Mysterium is a party style deduction game where players will receive information from a silent ghost in the form of cards in order for players to try and determine how they were murdered.

The key in this game are the cards. In addition to the fantastic, beautiful artwork, they are all very unique, bizarre, and can be interpreted in so many ways. You'll use the cards the ghost gives you in order to try to find out the person, location, and object you were murdered with.

This game has essentially replaced Dixit for me. I enjoy Dixit, but Mysterium just makes it even more of a game.
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25. Board Game: Sentinels of the Multiverse [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:268] [Average Rating:7.31 Unranked]
Michael W
United States
Texas
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#76

In Sentinels of the Multiverse you take the role of a hero and with your friends try to overcome both the environment and the big bad that's threatening, well, the world.

Sentinels of the Multiverse isn't a deck builder, but a deck chooser. Each hero has its own custom deck filled with thematic (kinda) cards. These cards will allow you to do damage (mostly) to the enemy and his minions. There isn't a whole lot of interaction between the heroes as they fight, nor a lot of difficult choices to make, but I still find it enjoyable to take the roll as a hero and fight off the bad guys.
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