TWENTY years - FORTY games (a “decade in review” copycat Geeklist) - with polls!
Charlie Sundt
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I've been playing games pretty obsessively over the last couple of decades. I've rated about 500 games on BGG.

These are the winners.

Thanks to all the others who've done a similar list for inspiration.

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1. Board Game: Mapmaker: The Gerrymandering Game [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:6077]
Board Game: Mapmaker: The Gerrymandering Game
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2019

It's tricky to pick a canonical favourite from 2019, because the games are still so new - I don't know which will last and which will fade. I'm enjoying Wavelength and Jetpack Joyride and Tiny Towns, but will I still be playing them in ten years' time?

My winner is this obscure Kickstarter game that delightfully exceeded expectations.

Past me wrote:
This game totally delivers on its promises. The rules are super straightforward, the gameplay is really challenging, and there are plenty of opportunities to look past a good move to find a brilliant one. The theme is spot on. The components are delightfully over-produced. But beware analysis paralysis!

It echoes real-life gerrymandering so well that it was triggering some fun political bunfight roleplaying.
Runner Up: Handsome

Board Game: Handsome


I love what Button Shy Games are doing, putting out wallet games that punch way above their weight. One of the most successful for me is this one. Who would have thought that you could fit such a fun and satisfying word game that works equally well with 2-6 players, on just 18 cards?

Poll
What do you think of Button Shy Games?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
Never heard of them/never played any.
55.9% 38
I don't like them.
0.0% 0
Some of them are good, some rubbish.
27.9% 19
They're amazing! Circle the Wagons! Sprawlopolis! How could you not love them!
16.2% 11
Voters 68
This poll is now closed.   68 answers
Poll created by getareaction
Closes: Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:00 am

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2. Board Game: Just One [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:207]
Board Game: Just One
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2018

Many reviewers have commented on the feeling that this game was not designed but discovered. The idea is so simple that you can teach it to any group without actually having to teach it at all - just start playing and fill in the details later. Yet the gameplay is endlessly compelling, and peppered with laugh-out-loud moments. This has quickly risen to the top of my casual dinner party game pile. A masterpiece.

Runner Up: Blue Lagoon

Board Game: Blue Lagoon


This one is super accessible and yet can get surprisingly intense. Turns are really quick, you just put one thing down each time, but the quiet little sneaks and blocks, temporary alliances and betrayals, are very satisfying. (My kids call this the Moana game because of the box!)

Poll
Best Knizia game of the last 20 years?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
* 2000 Lord of the Rings
3.1% 3
* 2000 Battle Line
17.7% 17
* 2000 Taj Mahal
7.3% 7
* 2001 Winner's Circle
3.1% 3
* 2002 Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation
2.1% 2
* 2003 Amun-Re
6.2% 6
* 2004 Blue Moon
4.2% 4
* 2004 Ingenious
8.3% 8
* 2005 Pickomino
5.2% 5
* 2006 Blue Moon City
4.2% 4
* 2008 Keltis
0.0% 0
* 2012 Indigo
0.0% 0
* 2012 Qin
1.0% 1
* 2015 Mmm!
0.0% 0
* 2017 The Quest for El Dorado
17.7% 17
* 2018 Yellow & Yangtze
4.2% 4
* 2018 Blue Lagoon
2.1% 2
* 2019 L.L.A.M.A.
1.0% 1
* 2019 Babylonia
0.0% 0
Something else
12.5% 12
Voters 96
This poll is now closed.   96 answers
Poll created by getareaction
Closes: Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:00 am
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3. Board Game: Topiary [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:2328]
Board Game: Topiary
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2017

This one came out of the blue. I tried it randomly at a convention, and it ended up being one of my most played games of that year. It's still a go-to game for casual audiences, or a cut-throat quick filler for fellow gamers. The best game you'll ever play about admiring hedges. I was delighted to discover that this game shares a designer with another of my faves from 2017: Circle the Wagons.

Runner Up: Q.E.

Board Game: Q.E.


Another one that came out of the blue for me. A gaming friend of mine gifted me a copy of the wooden Kickstarter edition, and I was super-sceptical because I'd never heard of it. But it's a beautifully pure auction game - another design masterpiece. I'm glad it's now seeing a wider audience with the 2019 reprint.

Past me wrote:
This is such a smart design. An auction game in which money is unlimited - sounds like it shouldn't work, but it does, brilliantly. Because of the simple twist that whoever spends the most money can't win, the game is self-regulating and escalates organically. You can bid anything from a dollar to a billion, yet you're agonising over setting your bid a few bucks this way or that.

I was thrilled to discover that it works almost as well with 3 players as it does with 4 (although I'm convinced it would be no good with 2).

And all this with just one page of rules. Not to mention beautifully overproduced wooden components. This is now one of my favourite auction games, along with Modern Art and Container.
Poll
Best "pure"(ish) auction/bidding game?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
Amun-Re
1.1% 1
Biblios
4.3% 4
Container
4.3% 4
Dream Factory/Hollywood Blockbuster
0.0% 0
Estates/Neue Heimat
2.2% 2
For Sale
6.5% 6
Goa
5.4% 5
High Society
2.2% 2
Medici
6.5% 6
Modern Art
21.7% 20
No Thanks
3.3% 3
Power Grid
13.0% 12
Priests of Ra
0.0% 0
Ra
23.9% 22
Taj Mahal
0.0% 0
Something else
3.3% 3
I hate auction games
2.2% 2
Voters 92
This poll is now closed.   92 answers
Poll created by getareaction
Closes: Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:00 am
 
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4. Board Game: Kingdomino [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:215] [Average Rating:7.36 Unranked]
Board Game: Kingdomino
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2016

First time I played this, I was underwhelmed. But no game has grown on me like this one has. A good small box filler game with satisfyingly chunky components (although the castles are pointless), that I can't help but come back to again and again. I've zero interest in the various expansions and sequels - its simplicity is its charm.

Runner Up: Santorini

Board Game: Santorini


Yes, yes, I know Santorini was originally published in 2004, but the theming of the reboot makes a world of difference and elevates this to hallowed status. The perfect hobbyist's abstract: beautiful, simple, deep, and - thanks to the gods - a huge amount of variability that will keep it fresh for a long time to come.

Poll
Best Bruno Cathala game?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
*2005 Shadows over Camelot
6.2% 6
*2006 Mr. Jack
5.2% 5
*2006 Cleopatra and the Society of Architects
2.1% 2
*2006 Wicked Witches Way
0.0% 0
*2007 Jamaica
3.1% 3
*2008 Senji
1.0% 1
*2008 Mow
0.0% 0
*2009 Dice Town
4.2% 4
*2009 Cyclades
9.4% 9
*2014 Five Tribes
20.8% 20
*2014 Abyss
5.2% 5
*2015 7 Wonders Duel
19.8% 19
*2016 Kanagawa
1.0% 1
*2016 Kingdomino
16.7% 16
*2017 Crazy Mistigri
0.0% 0
*2017 Yamataï
2.1% 2
*2017 Queendomino
1.0% 1
*2017 Oliver Twist
0.0% 0
*2018 Imaginarium
0.0% 0
*2019 Ishtar: Gardens of Babylon
0.0% 0
Something else
2.1% 2
Voters 96
This poll is now closed.   96 answers
Poll created by getareaction
Closes: Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:00 am
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5. Board Game: Food Chain Magnate [Average Rating:8.17 Overall Rank:28]
Board Game: Food Chain Magnate
Charlie Sundt
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2015

What a great game! Totally cut-throat, build a fast food empire and bully your way to success. The mechanics are reasonably easy to learn but learning the cards and rhythm of the game well enough to be able to plan ahead is a bit mind-boggling.

So far, no other Splotter has reached the same level of elegance and satisfaction for me. Given that this game doesn't hit the table hugely often, I've been rather ambitious by buying the expansion, but this game is worth it.

Runner Up: Codenames

Board Game: Codenames


I'm not totally sure why people love this game so much, but it is so easy to get to the table. Smart design and quick to play, although clue receivers will occasionally have nothing to think about for a couple of minutes. I particularly enjoy being the Spymaster. This game really shines when wild punts pay off - and it's hilarious when a should-be-straightforward clue ends in disaster.

Poll
Splotter Spellen. Discuss.
  Haven't played it. Played it and disliked it, or just meh. Played it and loved it. Vote Count
Food Chain Magnate 55.4% (41) 20.3% (15) 24.3% (18) 74
Indonesia 69.9% (51) 9.6% (7) 20.5% (15) 73
Antiquity 75.7% (56) 6.8% (5) 17.6% (13) 74
Roads & Boats 76.7% (56) 11.0% (8) 12.3% (9) 73
The Great Zimbabwe 71.2% (52) 9.6% (7) 19.2% (14) 73
Bus 80.8% (59) 9.6% (7) 9.6% (7) 73
Greed Incorporated 87.7% (64) 8.2% (6) 4.1% (3) 73
Duck Dealer 90.3% (65) 5.6% (4) 4.2% (3) 72
Cannes: Stars, Scripts and Screens 91.5% (65) 5.6% (4) 2.8% (2) 71
Total Voters 77
This poll is now closed.   77 answers
Poll created by getareaction
Closes: Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:00 am
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6. Board Game: Xia: Legends of a Drift System [Average Rating:7.86 Overall Rank:143]
Board Game: Xia: Legends of a Drift System
Charlie Sundt
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2014

Past me wrote:
There are a lot of rules to absorb, because it's such a wide open game - you can pretty much do whatever you want - and it's an unapologetic dice fest with great swings of luck. Your first game especially will have a lot of downtime. But it's FUN. The rules are reasonably intuitive, the gameplay is utterly charming, the components are the best you'll ever see, and the moments the game generates are memorable.

The first few times I played this, I found myself weighing up strategies in my head in the middle of the night and longing to play it again.
Whenever it's time for an "event" game - a game that you've put a whole afternoon aside for - this is my pick. It gets closer than anything else I've played (video games included) to making me feel like I'm a world-weary space captain pitting myself against the harsh cosmos. I'm Han. I'm Mal. I'm Dave Lister. I'm the Stainless Steel Rat. I'm a free-wheeling, wheeler-dealing, risk-taking, fist-shaking space bum with an eye on the next deal and a finger on the trigger. And it feels great.

Runner Up: Port Royal

Board Game: Port Royal


This one was a slow burner for me. At first, I thought it was neat, but nothing special. But then it became a regular Friday lunchtime game and I found that I just never tired of it - and still to this day I'm always happy to play.

Many games achieve a lot with just a pack of cards and no other components, but this is the one that feels least like just a pack of cards - you almost can't believe you haven't been using coins or boats or tokens or something.

Past me wrote:
A clever and compact game. Great that it works with a wide variety of player counts.

The crew member that allows you to get an extra card is so powerful if you get it early, and it's often more or less luck who will be able to get it, which can be a bit annoying.
Poll
You wish you were:
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
Han Solo
51.5% 35
Malcolm Reynolds
19.1% 13
Dave Lister
7.4% 5
Slippery Jim diGriz
5.9% 4
I don't know who any of these people are.
16.2% 11
Voters 68
This poll is now closed.   68 answers
Poll created by getareaction
Closes: Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:00 am
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7. Board Game: Impulse [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:1408]
Board Game: Impulse
Charlie Sundt
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2013

Sadly I've found very few people who love this as much as I do, but it's just so damn good I refuse to let it go. The best 2-6 player 4X experience you can have in 15 minutes per player.

This game got a snazzy graphical update, but sadly the cards in the new version are horribly flimsy, so I've stuck with my pleasingly compact black box version.

Past me wrote:
I found Carl Chudyk's Innovation messy and un-fun, and his Red7 just average. So I don't know why I liked Impulse so much. I love that it has different paths to victory, but whichever one you pick you still have to grab tactical opportunities when they present themselves. I love that it's so confrontational. I love the crazy chains of moves you can pull off to score huge numbers of points. I love how you can play fast and loose.
Runner Up: The Mushroom Eaters

Board Game: The Mushroom Eaters


Once every year or two the atmosphere is just right to blow people's minds with this psychedelic masterpiece of transgressive board game art. The game is good, but the experience is unforgettable. Deeply thematic, utterly strange, and borderline genius.

Poll
Have you ever tried shrooms or LSD?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
Yes
10.6% 9
Yes, but I wouldn't admit it on here
5.9% 5
No
83.5% 71
Voters 85
This poll is now closed.   85 answers
Poll created by getareaction
Closes: Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:00 am
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8. Board Game: Pax Porfiriana [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:454]
Board Game: Pax Porfiriana
Charlie Sundt
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2012

Sometimes board games transcend. Suddenly, they're not just cards and cubes on a table, but draw you in to a living world, where you're a cut-throat Mexican nationalist bastard bent on crushing your rivals, manipulating them into bankruptcy, and sleeping with their wives. Pour me another tequila, hombre, this is gonna get ug-lee.

Past me wrote:
This is the current hotness. I've still only played it maybe half a dozen times, but it started high in my estimation, and every time I play it I'm even more impressed.

Games are won or lost by the slimmest of margins, and there are so many opportunities to pull off a wickedly smart move that will have your opponents applauding you for crushing them.

The theme is so oddly compelling. I say "oddly" because I knew squat about Porfirio Díaz and the Mexican Revolution, but I find myself fascinated by it. The theme is stronger than any other game I've played, and the stories the game tells are wonderful. Like, in our last game, one player arranged for his own hacendado to be assassinated by his power hungry son, and we spent five minutes talking about it. Even the functional table talk sounds exotic: You bribed my militia to extort her bullring? Fine, I'll nationalise it.

I think I've only played one other Phil Eklund game, High Frontier (Third Edition), and that one is also pretty extraordinary.
Runner Up: Coup

Board Game: Coup


I've only attended the Essen Spiel convention once, in 2012. I didn't manage to get a copy of Pax Porfiriana there, but I did find a little card game by an unknown publisher that ended up being the hit of the show for me, and I still love many years later. Do you like lying to your friends? Yes? Let's play Coup!

Poll
Do you like lying to your friends? (Do you like games in which bluffing is a core mechanism?)
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
Yes
39.0% 32
No
37.8% 31
No, but I'm lying.
23.2% 19
Voters 82
This poll is now closed.   82 answers
Poll created by getareaction
Closes: Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:00 am
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9. Board Game: Ascending Empires [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:992]
Board Game: Ascending Empires
Charlie Sundt
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2011

My friend has painstakingly built a deluxe home-made version of this, which has revived my love for it. If there's ever a deluxified reprint I will be the first to get my wallet out.

Past me wrote:
Most 4X space games use dice to introduce an element of tension and memorable risk-taking, to spice up the heavy strategy. This game achieves the same thing with a much more thematic mechanic: flicking your ships across the galaxy. And I LOVE IT.
Runner Up: Fealty

Board Game: Fealty


Contender for the most under-rated lightly themed abstract in the last decade? Easy rules with emergent complexity, quick play time, highly interactive, area control with a strong spatial element - and it’s great fun! It comes with lots of different boards and an extra set of cards, so replayability guaranteed.

Poll
Do you buy into deluxe versions?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
Nah, if I already own a game why would I buy it again?
45.3% 34
No, they really annoy me because I feel like I'm missing out if I don't pay extra.
6.7% 5
Yes, sometimes even if it's a game I already own I'll upgrade.
45.3% 34
TAKE MY MONEY.
2.7% 2
Voters 75
This poll is now closed.   75 answers
Poll created by getareaction
Closes: Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:00 am
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10. Board Game: Hanabi [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:348]
Board Game: Hanabi
Charlie Sundt
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2010

This doesn't get played as much anymore, but it'll stay on my shelf. There is joy in my future, introducing this to a new player.

Past me wrote:
Bought at Essen 2012. So glad it won Spiel des Jahres - well deserved. A pure and timeless cooperative game. You can get really good at it with one group of people, then start all over again with someone new.

Two things that usually put me off: cooperative and memory. Yet I love it.
Runner Up: 7 Wonders

Board Game: 7 Wonders


Another one that no longer hits the table anywhere near as often as it used to, but always fun when it does.

Past me wrote:
This is one of the most popular games at the monthly night I host, Board Games and Beyond. I've taught it to loads of people and almost all of them follow the same pattern: overwhelmed at first, takes them one whole game to understand what's going on (I always warn them that this will be the case!), but they immediately want to play again.

I've played it loads and still find it fun. The simultaneous play means that even 7-player games are quick.

The 2-player variant is also surprisingly interesting.
Poll
Co-ops.
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
Love 'em.
46.8% 36
Hate 'em.
14.3% 11
Mostly only like the ones that avoid the alpha player problem (eg Hanabi).
39.0% 30
Voters 77
This poll is now closed.   77 answers
Poll created by getareaction
Closes: Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:00 am
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11. Board Game: Finca [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:602]
Board Game: Finca
Charlie Sundt
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2009

I'm sceptical of so-called Euro games. There are so many that feel very similar to me - entertaining to play, but ultimately unmemorable. I usually prefer highly interactive games, and simple rules with emergent complexity.

But I keep coming back to this particular Euro game. I'm hooked in by its beautifully coloured wooden fruits and pretty board, I appreciate its simplicity, and I love the meatiness of the decisions for such a quick and relatively light game.

Runner Up: Spot it!

Board Game: Spot it!


No other game is as accessible - as universal - as Dobble. In small doses, I enjoy this game anywhere, with anyone.

Poll
Of the Finca fruits/nuts, which is the yummiest?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
Olives
25.4% 17
Grapes
23.9% 16
Figs
11.9% 8
Lemons
3.0% 2
Oranges
26.9% 18
Almonds
9.0% 6
Voters 67
This poll is now closed.   67 answers
Poll created by getareaction
Closes: Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:00 am
 
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12. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:84]
Board Game: Pandemic
Charlie Sundt
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2008

2008 was a dense year for wonderful games. Ultimately, the one that rises to the top is not the one I've played most, but the one that killed a whole genre for me. I don't like co-op games, but that's only because Pandemic does it so well I've never had an experience that came close (except for with other versions of Pandemic). And Pandemic achieves that experience in a heady 40 minutes, beautifully concise.

Past me wrote:
As much as I love abstract games, theme matters. Saving the world from a series of horrific disease outbreaks? Yes! Makes heroes of all of us!

The number of times we have been just "one turn away" from winning (or losing) is a testament to the quality of Matt Leacock's design.
Runner Up: Dominion

Board Game: Dominion


Easily my most played game that was released in 2008, and I still enjoy it without any desire to explore the endless expansions beyond the two I have (the second of which was a recent acquisition because I found it in a charity shop, and actually I mostly don't bother with it).

Past me wrote:
It's like the Coca-Cola of gaming. You get a sugar rush, and it's oddly addictive, but ultimately no real nutritional substance. Still, I treat myself to a Coke every now and then.
Poll
Best Dominion expansion?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
Intrigue
13.2% 9
Seaside
11.8% 8
Prosperity
29.4% 20
Alchemy
0.0% 0
Dark Ages
0.0% 0
Cornucopia
1.5% 1
Hinterlands
2.9% 2
Empires
1.5% 1
Adventures
0.0% 0
Guilds
0.0% 0
Nocturne
1.5% 1
Renaissance
2.9% 2
Just vanilla Dominion for me.
13.2% 9
I hate Dominion.
22.1% 15
Voters 68
This poll is now closed.   68 answers
Poll created by getareaction
Closes: Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:00 am
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13. Board Game: Container [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:651]
Board Game: Container
Charlie Sundt
United Kingdom
London
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2007

How can a game with such a dull theme be so compelling? This is one of my favourite games of all time. I've owned both versions of it, but now own neither. Why? Because I lovingly hand-crafted a Lego version with pirates and everything.

From gallery of getareaction


Past me wrote:
It's an unforgiving economic game, relatively simple rules with fascinating emergent complexity. Awful graphic design, arguably dry theme, but I certainly want to play again.

It's fascinating that this game creates a tiny economic ecosystem with relatively simple rules (the rules summary I got from BGG fits comfortably on one side of A4). The golden rule of thumb is to do what other players are not doing, but so much of it is about timing. The difference of one turn could mean making half as much money from your shipment - or paying twice as much for someone else's.

And, notoriously, there's no safety net. If you borrow too much money, you will be stuck for many, many turns in a hideous grind to eke your way back into liquidity. (To avoid this, I always warn new players never to take a second loan except to afford the means of paying it off.) And if all players engage in a race to the bottom by constantly undercutting each other, the game can spiral into a recession that means it might never end. The flip side of all that is - when you're cunning enough to manipulate the market in your favour and make out like a bandit, you feel like you've just solved the stock market. Such a thrill.
Runner Up: Ponte del Diavolo

Board Game: Ponte del Diavolo


Martin Ebel set out to make a game that was an homage to much-loved designer Alex Randolph, and in my opinion he out-Randolphed Randolph. Simple as it is, this is an awkward game to teach, but with an experienced opponent it's a delight.

Poll
Have you ever hand crafted a whole board game because you loved it so much?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
Yes
33.8% 23
Yes - with Lego!
1.5% 1
No
64.7% 44
Voters 68
This poll is now closed.   68 answers
Poll created by getareaction
Closes: Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:00 am
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14. Board Game: Taluva [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:472]
Board Game: Taluva
Charlie Sundt
United Kingdom
London
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2006

SO BEAUTIFUL. Feels like an immensely satisfying abstract strategy game, looks unnaturally gorgeous on the table. I will never turn down a game of this.

Past me wrote:
The BGG description for this game says "In Taluva, players attempt to successfully settle a South Sea island slowly emerging from the ocean waters as volcano after volcano erupts." Yeah, but players aren't just settlers, they're minor gods. Oops, did I crush your worshippers under an explosion of fresh lava? Terribly sorry.

I played this today, with a new group - and they loved it. I'm getting better at teaching it, which is important for this game because it's got a steep learning curve. I mean, the rules aren't particularly complex (although the "expand" rule suffers slightly from that problem of "right, those are all the rules, easy so far, except there's this one more thing..."), but the consequences of the rules are not immediately apparent. Definitely one that benefits from repeat plays.
Runner Up: None

There are games that were released in 2006 that I like, but none others that I love.

Poll
Why I'm wrong.
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
Through the Ages!
18.5% 12
Commands & Colors!
7.7% 5
Combat Commander!
10.8% 7
Shogun!
3.1% 2
Imperial!
7.7% 5
Here I Stand!
4.6% 3
Pillars of the Earth!
9.2% 6
Battlelore!
3.1% 2
Thurn und Taxis!
18.5% 12
Mr Jack!
7.7% 5
Something else!
9.2% 6
Voters 65
This poll is now closed.   65 answers
Poll created by getareaction
Closes: Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:00 am
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15. Board Game: Railways of the World [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:113] [Average Rating:7.69 Unranked]
Board Game: Railways of the World
Charlie Sundt
United Kingdom
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2005

This feels like a board game more than anything else I've played. That's a weird thing to say, I know, but it's just so classic, so timeless, it feels like the conceptual template for board gaming as a whole.

Past me wrote:
When I was a kid my parents used to think I loved trains, mainly because I was obsessed with my Brio set. But trains didn't interest me, what I loved was BUILDING TRACK. Trying to use every piece to create a huge fully interconnected network without creating any loops that you could get stuck in. Pushing the trains down the track was merely a mildly pleasant chore - like the second half of a round of Galaxy Trucker - to test the quality of the creation.

And this game lets me turn track building into a competition. I LOVE IT!

I find the wonderfully overdone aesthetics of this game irresistible. Yeah, the board is too big to fit on any human-sized table; yeah, the empty city markers are ridiculous, but I LOVE IT.
Runner Up: Twilight Struggle

Board Game: Twilight Struggle


I haven't played this for a while, but time has not dulled my fascination with exploring the strategies and tactics. Whenever I pick this up again, it will be like no time has passed.

Past me wrote:
Manages to evoke 50 years' worth of brinksmanship and paranoia in such an involving way, and you can't help but want to find out more about the stories behind all the events. A masterpiece of design.
Poll
Would you prefer to live in the political climate of...
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
1969
31.7% 20
2019
68.3% 43
Voters 63
This poll is now closed.   63 answers
Poll created by getareaction
Closes: Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:00 am
 
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16. Board Game: Heroscape Master Set: Rise of the Valkyrie [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:318] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
Board Game: Heroscape Master Set: Rise of the Valkyrie
Charlie Sundt
United Kingdom
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2004

I'm on a pattern of getting this out about annually, and it's always a hoot. This is like a movie-fantasy of what a tabletop game could be. It's got huge beautiful interlocking terrain pieces, amazing pre-painted miniatures, loads of dice to chuck, and the actual gameplay is super-simple, strategic and very fun.

Past me wrote:
Went nuts and bought a huge amount of Heroscape in spring 2011. Three base sets owned plus the terrain from a fourth.

After a couple of plays I realised that the characters in the base set are all you need. The game is actually more fun when you have a tighter set of balanced characters that you're reasonably familiar with. So I sold off most of my other characters and focussed on getting more terrain.

Even though it cost me more money than I care to admit, I'm glad I invested. (It's become even more prohibitively expensive now!) It rarely leaves its box for now, but it will... one day it will...
Runner Up: Ticket to Ride

Board Game: Ticket to Ride


I don't play this often, but when I do it's always a rush. I've never played it without the 1910 expansion (and, I think, nor would I want to). I much prefer this to the friendlier European version.

Past me wrote:
If there are such things as "gateway games" this is the poster child. Non-gamers, or rather people who have not yet moved on from the games of their childhood, seem to find the idea of collecting cards and putting trains on a map intuitively appealing - and this game is addictive enough that it often acts as a gateway drug into the wider subculture of modern board gaming. But even after I've had to keep upping my dose of gaming again and again just to relive the initial thrill, this game still packs the same old punch.

Ridiculously accessible, tense without being stressful, quick and fun.
Poll
Have you ever played Heroscape?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
No, not interested.
46.2% 37
No, but I'd love to try it.
25.0% 20
Yes, it was meh.
12.5% 10
Yes, I love it.
16.2% 13
Voters 80
This poll is now closed.   80 answers
Poll created by getareaction
Closes: Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:00 am
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17. Board Game: Hey, That's My Fish! [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:797]
Board Game: Hey, That's My Fish!
Charlie Sundt
United Kingdom
London
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2003

How many games that look this cute can ride you so hard? One of my favourite 2-player abstracts is Amazons, and this cute-ified reinterpretation for 2-4 players manages to feel just as good.

Runner Up: Le Passe-Trappe

Board Game: Pucket


Since I bought Crokinole, this doesn't get played anymore. But I still have a soft spot for it in my heart.

Past me wrote:
The "Pucket" version from Et Games is beautiful, a thing of art. The sound of wood on wood and laughter is the sound of happiness.

One of the BEST games for hooking in game-sceptics. Some people seem naturally very good at it (myself included!) and some rubbish, which can limit the appeal for badly matched pairs - but on the whole excellent.

In childhood we had a much beloved Sjoelen set. Pucket scratches the same itch, but its quick pace and portability make it a winner for me.
Poll
Dexterity games:
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
I'm good at them and I like them
35.4% 23
I'm bad at them and I like them
40.0% 26
I'm good at them and I don't like them
9.2% 6
I'm bad at them and I don't like them
15.4% 10
Voters 65
This poll is now closed.   65 answers
Poll created by getareaction
Closes: Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:00 am
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18. Board Game: 10 Days in Europe [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1888]
Board Game: 10 Days in Europe
Charlie Sundt
United Kingdom
London
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2002

I must have played very few games from this year, or it was a bad year, because this ok game is all I could find that I'd be willing to evangelise.

Past me wrote:
Surprisingly tricky to play well, for such a simple game. A little more luck based than my usual fare, but only a little. Very family friendly and, ultimately, good fun.
Runner Up: None

Poll
Favourite European country/area?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
I've never been
16.9% 12
UK
14.1% 10
Ireland
4.2% 3
France
8.5% 6
Germany
11.3% 8
Iberia (Spain/Portugal)
7.0% 5
Switzerland
4.2% 3
Italy
15.5% 11
Austria
1.4% 1
Scandinavia
8.5% 6
Baltic
1.4% 1
Balkans
1.4% 1
Somewhere else
5.6% 4
Voters 71
This poll is now closed.   71 answers
Poll created by getareaction
Closes: Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:00 am
 
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19. Board Game: Medina [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:912]
Board Game: Medina
Charlie Sundt
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2001

This game is the one that has the biggest discrepancy between how much I love it and how little I've played it. Something I should fix. I eventually replaced my old copy with the improved second edition.

Runner Up: Meander

Board Game: Meander


Along with Connect Four, this is the best non-dexterity game to use gravity as a core mechanic. It's a mini marble run - how cool!

The beauty of this game is that your skill is tested against the laws of physics - and even if you expected the marble to take a different route, the physics is consistent every time. (Although if you change the variables even slightly, the marble may follow a different route e.g. starting the marble from a different height above the channel or rotating the board between tests if the table isn't 100% flat).

Poll
Which Gravity do you prefer?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
The Sandra Bullock film
11.9% 8
The song from Wicked
6.0% 4
The novel by Thomas Pynchon
4.5% 3
The natural force of physics
77.6% 52
Voters 67
This poll is now closed.   67 answers
Poll created by getareaction
Closes: Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:00 am
 
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20. Board Game: Hive [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:226]
Board Game: Hive
Charlie Sundt
United Kingdom
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2001

Not sure when I acquired this - probably around 2009/10. Used to play this SO MUCH, particularly in pubs and on holidays. And I still occasionally revisit it. I love that the chunky Bakelite pieces and bag are utterly indestructible.

Runner Up: Carcassonne

Board Game: Carcassonne


The thing that makes this game stand out (as long as you're playing it with more than two) is the highly dynamic temporary alliances. At any given time, you will naturally create alliances with other players, potentially in several areas of the board at once, which will be fruitful for each of you - but can just as easily be betrayed for personal gain. The rules don't force any of this, it happens organically. For my money, no other game achieves this as effectively with such straightforward rules, except maybe Diplomacy, but you get to keep your friends with Carcassonne.

Past me wrote:
Maps. Mmmmmmmm... MAKING maps. Oh yeah...

I could play this game forever. No expansions necessary. Although Carcassonne: Expansion 1 – Inns & Cathedrals adds just the right amount of spice.
Poll
Do you prefer...
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
Really abstract games
3.8% 3
Games that are basically abstract but with some light theming
20.5% 16
Games with a theme that at least partly influences the gameplay
62.8% 49
Theme-first games, dripping with theme, theme is more important than gameplay
12.8% 10
Voters 78
This poll is now closed.   78 answers
Poll created by getareaction
Closes: Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:00 am

Poll
Bonus poll: Where would you put Carcassonne on that scale?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
Really abstract
7.4% 6
Basically abstract but with some light theming
74.1% 60
A theme that at least partly influences the gameplay
18.5% 15
Theme-first game, dripping with theme, theme is more important than gameplay
0.0% 0
Voters 81
This poll is now closed.   81 answers
Poll created by getareaction
Closes: Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:00 am
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