THE Perfect Game >> Does One Exist?
Jay Little
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Karate Chop!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Recommend
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
A favorite past time among my friends is to analyze, compare and critique games at length. Duh. That's why I'm a BGG type of guy. But through all our ramblings, we've often wondered if there is a "perfect" game. Now perfection means different things to different people, so let me set some parameters for The Perfect Game (hereafter referred to as TPG):

1) TPG must be easy to learn and easy to teach (actual amount of time or length/number of rules is not as important as clarity)
2) TPG must provide high replay value through repeat playings
3) TPG must have visual appeal (while there are stellar games with low production quality, TPG demands a modicum of eye candy!)
4) TPG must scale well within its proposed player range (ie, if it says 3-5 players, TPG is as good with 3 as it is with 5)
5) TPG must offer multiple ways of playing or winning (the end result or victory condition may be the same, but there should be several avenues to pursue this goal, else the result dictates the gameplay)

Here are some things that I'm not concerned about:
1) Classic games. Go, checkers and chess meet several of these requirements. As such, please help me focus on 1980s through current developments and designs.
2) The preferred age range does not matter. The Perfect Game, due it its inherent perfection, can be of any age level.
3) Cost, value or rarity. Perfection is beyond these mortal trappings.
4) The Perfect Game does not necessarily have to be your favorite or the best game out there -- due to varying tastes and gamer demands, styles change and evolve. But The Perfect Game will remain perfect despite consumer fickleness.

I'm eager to see people's choices -- and discussions -- on what makes a perfect game and why they chose their particular nominee!
Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
  • [+] Dice rolls
1. Board Game: Samurai [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:172]
Jay Little
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Karate Chop!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This was an agonizing decision for me, as I love a wide variety of games. But many of the games I love are flawed in some way (perhaps that is part of the appeal). However, based on the criteria I set out above, for right or wrong, I believe Samurai by Reiner Knizia (Rio Grande) is The Perfect Game.

1) The rules are brief and easily grasped through the excellent examples, or after just one play
2) The random tile and victory point distribution makes each game unique without over reliance on luck
3) The classic ancient Japanese stylized gameboard and all the components are elegant and appealing
4) The game is as engaging and challenging with 2 as it is with 3 or 4
5) The scoring system used, and ability to shift tactics on the fly with the inclusion of specialty tiles, provides a player with several options on how to achieve victory.

Ok. Now for the sappy part. I still remember the first time I opened up Samurai when it arrived from funagain.com. After I opened it, read the rules and set the game board up, I wept. I actually cried in amazement and wonder of how beautiful this game -- on several levels.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
2. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:70]
m k
United States
flag msg tools
Avatar
There is a reason that this is ranked number2 on this site. It is the best game I have ever played (right above Catan, Puerto Rico & Attika). While I usually prefer themed games to abstract games, this game which is mostly abstract is very very good. I've played about 80 times on this sight & I can say:
1) 2 player games are as challenging as 3 or 4 players.
2) You can get points in 3 diff. ways, conflicts, monuments or treasures.
3) I love games like Catan and Puerto Rico, but have found this more replayable.
4) Explanation - Not nearly as complicated as it looks.
If you want to try it, click on "Your Games" or "Online Games" on the right to try it.
To me this is a perfect game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
3. Board Game: Ra [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:134]
Paul - the
Sweden
Lund
flag msg tools
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
badge
You spin me right round, baby - Right round like a record, baby - Right round round round - You spin me right round, baby…
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
While perhaps not the perfect game for me, I feel it meets all your criteria.

1) TPG must be easy to learn and easy to teach

Sure is.

2) TPG must provide high replay value through repeat playings.

I think it's highly replayable.

3) TPG must have visual appeal

Beautiful game imo.

4) TPG must scale well within its proposed player range

Scales very very well. As much fun with 2 as with 5 players.

5) TPG must offer multiple ways of playing or winning

It does somewhat. You can go for rivers, monuments, Pharaos etc. But I agree this is the games weakest point.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
4. Board Game: Citadels [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:316]
Andrew Parks
United States
Somerset
New Jersey
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Quixotic Games: www.quixoticgames.com
badge
Dungeon Alliance: Available Now!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Citadels has all of the features that you mention. It's easy to learn; it has tremendous replay value (after dozens of plays, we still haven't tried all the alternate characters!); it looks beautiful; and it plays great with 2-7 players.

This is also a great game to introduce to non-gamers. It is truly a milestone in game development.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
5. Board Game: YINSH [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:132] [Average Rating:7.69 Unranked]
Lyman Hurd
United States
Cupertino
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I never lose a chance to plug Project Gipf. Aside from the fact that it plays from 2 to...errr...2, I believe this has the attributes listed in spades.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
6. Board Game: Cosmic Encounter [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:801]
bruno faidutti
France
PARIS
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
I've played hundreds of games - all different, all challenging, all fun. It's more a game, it's a game generator that can make for tousand of different games.
You could say the same of Magic the Gathering, but MtG is mostly two players games, while CE waorks with any number of players.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
7. Board Game: Bausack [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:821]
Stephen Tavener
United Kingdom
London
England
flag msg tools
designer
The overtext below is true.
badge
The overtext above is false.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Maybe not what you were expecting, but easy to explain, scales well, nice wooden bits, and you can win either by dexterity or by tactically passing on pieces to sabotage your opponents.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
8. Board Game: Advanced Civilization [Average Rating:8.02 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.02 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.02 Unranked]
Peter Schott
Germany
Franconia
flag msg tools
designer
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.
badge
Please fondle my bum.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This is the PERFECT game for me, since you didn´t mention playing time ;-)
It has - compared to the game depth - very easy rules with no clarifications needed.
It´s replay value is enormous, since it has numerous ways of winning when you consider the different high faced civilization cards, which all change the way of the game a lot.
Moreover, gameeplay itself is a mixture of wargame and trading game, both with high interaction.
The only pity is that it doesnt scale very well. Don´t try it with 2 persons, you may need 6 or more.


 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
9. Board Game: Colossal Arena [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:752]
Kenneth Wofford
United States
Bethesda
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I will pobably catch a lot of crap for this, but I nominate Titan. This game is quite literally the best $12.00 I ever spent. It played well (but differently) with 2-5 players. There are literally eight paths to victory (one for each creature, and could be more if you count the subtleties of handicapping the secret bet). The artwork is good for its time. People complain about the rulebook, but we have house arbitrated the questions years ago and reach concensus with any players who know how to play before starting a game. Finally, it is very fast moving and easy to teach. I have played this one with everyone from my neighbor's eight year old daughter to my father-in-law (who suspiciouly eyed the box and said "Is this one of those D & D things? I'm not dressing up!" This, along with Carcassonne and LOTR: Confrontation, are the "gateway games" I use to introduce newbies to gaming.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
10. Board Game: Through the Desert [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:435]
Brad Miller
United States
Seattle
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Meets all of your criteria, which would explain why it has been called "The Greatest Game Ever Designed™".
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
11. Board Game: 1830: Railways & Robber Barons [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:164]
Steve Bachman
United States
Colonie
New York
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I think there is good reason for 1830 being one of the most imitated game systems around. Different strategies abound. Scales well. Is pretty easy to teach and learn.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
12. Board Game: Poisson d'Avril [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:5721]
Ender Wiggins
msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Review the personal comments from people on this game. If ever there was a perfect game, it's this one.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.