I hope you are ready for the third part of the As a Board Gamer Top 50 Games of ‘All Time’ or as I like to call it: my Top 50 Favourite Games, because here it is. Fifty games that I love, divided into five chunks, with the last piece, the top 10, coming to you around the weekend before Christmas. Have fun reading my number thirty to twenty-one.
Number thirty. I start this list with a game from Stefan Feld. It’s one of my favourite games from him and could have been higher on the list, passing a couple of other games from him (SPOILER!!), only if I played it a bit more this year. I just need to dive a little deeper into this game, because it has many interesting mechanisms. Like many games of Feld, it’s a point salad, but I don’t think it as a negative. I just like to manage everything with my personal Mancala. Trajan is a deep, but very fun game.
Urbion and the Onirim, number twenty-eight on this list are equally good. I find it very hard to choose one above the other and I thought it would be cheating to take them together into one item. So, I won’t.
Urbion is a challenging solo game, I don’t think the two-player variant is worthwhile, where chaos is threatening the city of Equilibrion. It’s a numbers game. You have to balance multiple cities, negative vs. positive cards, by drawing cards from a deck and playing them, but the chaos cards you draw suddenly make a city very positive or very negative, which makes it more difficult to complete your goal. Urbion is very tense and difficult, which makes it one of the better solo games.
I feel that Onirim is slightly easier than Urbion, but I don’t know if that’s really the case or just that my brain can simple handle Onirim a bit better.
By the way, don’t think much of the order Urbion and Onirim, they are interchangeable. In this game you arr stuck in a maze and you have to find four doors to get out of it.
It’s all about hand management, knowing what cards might come up from your deck and pushing your luck a bit, because, like in Urbion, there are evil spirits that will ruin your plans.
I must also say that I’m a big fan of the art in both Urbion and Onirim.
27: Aladdin’s Dragons
I bought this game at a sale, it was so cheap that I thought ‘Why not..’, but the price was really something to be ashamed of, because it’s a very good game. It looks good, although these days the look might be considered old-fashioned, and it has pretty nice components. The game offers a lot of mechanisms, like blind bidding, worker placement and resource management, but it’s done in such way that the basic game can easily be used as a gateway game. The blind bidding and worker placement combination keeps everyone involved and makes this game very exciting. The additional action cards, which I like myself, add a bit of randomness and take-that, and that might not be everyone’s cup of tea. I love this game and, although it looks a bit old-fashioned, it will stay in my collection for a long time.
26: Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective
Yes, Sherlock Holmes can be played with more players, but I appreciate it, and played it only, as a solo game. It sets the perfect mood. You sit there with the map of London in front of you, storybook on the left, notebook and pencil on the right, and then it’s all on you, where to go, who to talk to, to eventually solve the mystery that unfolded before you. There are several cases, all have a great story and are a challenging puzzle. A great one.
Like I said in an earlier Top 50 post, Dominion was one of the first games I bought for myself and I still consider it one of the best deck builders out there. And, no, I don’t have expansions for the game, so I’m talking about the base game only. It’s simple, it’s quick and it’s easy to understand, a great gateway game. I once owned the Alchemy expansion and that was just one big disappointment. The base game is great fun and I recommend it to every starting gamer, but don’t worry, experienced gamers can also have a lot of fun with it.
24: 7 Wonders Duel
A new game between some oldies. 7 Wonders Duel, a two-player game, heavily inspired by its bigger brother 7 Wonders and a game that I reviewed not so long ago, so I won’t linger here very long. Just believe me when I say it’s a very fun game.
And this is such an oldie. It may be a bit older, ten years now, but Caylus is still a very fun worker-placement game. There are some basic action spots on the board, but the majority of action spots players create themselves by building buildings along the road. Every game will be slightly different. I also like the provost, a character that walks along the road and only the spots that are located before him will activate and all players have the chance to move it, which adds a bit of take-that and tension to the game. And then there’s the castle that you can help to build and gain bonuses and points doing so. It’s all very clever and it works so well. Caylus, my number twenty-three.
22: Tigris & Eufrates
This one is even older! A game from 1997. Tigris & Eufrates is a, or maybe the, masterpiece from Reiner Knizia. This game has such a nice ebb and flow. Civilization rise and fall, because of internal and external conflicts, or conflicts between leaders within one civilization or leaders from different players in two civilization that just crashed into each other. You get coloured cubes if you destroy tiles through combat. These are your points, but this game has a very clever scoring mechanism that you are only as good as your worst scoring colour. By the way don’t be confused by my language, this may seem like a cool war game, but it’s not. It’s just a very fun abstract game.
21: The Voyages of Marco Polo
The last game of this list is my number twenty-one, The Voyages of Marco Polo. This is a very fun dice placement game. You can travel through the world and build trading posts to get bonus items, opportunities to place your dice on unique action spots, or complete routes for points at the end of the game. During the game you can also fulfil contracts by paying different types of goods that you can acquire by placing your dice on the market. These contract give you points, goods or extra actions. Everything is really fun. It might be a bit much to wrap your head around at first, but once you figured everything out, you can get a lot of joy out of this game.
See you next week!