Almost Christmas people! Only two parts of the list to go. This one and my top 10 favourite games. It has gone by so quickly. So, enjoy it while you can, here’s my eleventh to twentieth favourite game.
20: Airlines Europe (-9)
This great game from Alan R. Moon, the Ticket to Ride guy, is on number twenty this year. It dropped some spots, from eleven to twenty, and that’s mainly because I haven’t played it in a while. It’s a game about airline stocks. There are several airline companies and you have to invest money in them so they can expand their flight routes and become more profitable. By expanding routes you can take shares from the market. A share from the company you just expanded or another one, it doesn’t matter. Well, it does matter of course, the more shares you have the greater the chances of getting points.
Airlines Europe is a great gateway game, a great game for families. The rules are easy and it looks quite good to with all those little planes on the board.
19: Among the Stars (-3)
Among the Stars, which settled quite nicely in the teens, is a drafting game in which you build your own space station. The cards are the parts of that space station and how many points you get for your station depends on where the different cards are located in your station and which cards are near to it. So, you can imagine that special planning is very important in this game.
There is a big expansion for it, called the Ambassadors, and that one adds a lot to the game for me. It adds more stuff, which is always nice for a game you love, but most importantly it adds the ambassadors. These are people you can hire, lure to your station, and they give you a special power basically, temporarily or not.
I also backed the two-player standalone or expansion Among the Stars Revival, which adds some more new concepts to the game. The two-player variant in that game isn’t that spectacular and the overall feeling I got that I could have done without the new cards and concepts. But, I was drawn to the new and shininess of Revival.
18: Ticket to Ride (-10)
Another Alan R. Moon game and it’s his most famous one this time: Ticket to Ride. This one dropped out of the top ten. Why? Well, like many games that were lower on this list than they were last year, I just don’t play the game a lot. And, specifically for this game, I don’t see that changing in the near future. However, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the game. In fact, it’s a wonderful game. I have a great TTR package at home myself with Ticket to Ride Europe and Europa 1912 where you have to build train routes through Europe and complete the tickets you have for points. This map includes tunnels and stations. Plus I have the Switzerland and India expansion, where I played Switzerland the most, because it’s a great two-player map.
17: Lords of Waterdeep (+1)
The game pretty much stayed in exactly the same spot as it was last year. It’s Lord of Waterdeep, a worker placement game with a Dungeon and Dragons theme. I couldn’t care less that it’s a D&D game. For me it doesn’t add anything extra, I just like the game itself. The game can be considered a next step game, a game that’s just a bit more difficult than an entry-level gateway game. In the game you take on quests and to complete them you need specific characters, like your warriors, mages or priests. By completing these quests you get more stuff and points, or influence, however you want to call it.
I like The Scoundrels of Skullport expansion a lot too. It adds corruption to the game. Some actions, very good ones, as well as characters or money, give you corruption. These are worth negative points, but how negative depends on the amount of corruption people take in total.
It’s a nice, simple expansion and a very fun game overall: Lords of Waterdeep.
16: Roll for the Galaxy (-15)
Number sixteen, Roll for the Galaxy. Number sixteen? Sixteen. It was my number one last year and I realize now that it was a mistake. It was too high. I was led by the new and shininess of the game. I though I liked it better than its older brother Race for the Galaxy, but I do not. It’s a very good game. I like the rolling and manipulating of the dice. I like the different strategies you can pursue every game, but I think it’s harder to get the right tiles for your strategy, and in combination with the racing aspect of the game makes it a less strategic game than Race and I feel that is also the reason it is a less perfect fit for me.
15: Caylus (+8)
Caylus is one of the classic Euro games and although it’s an older game, it’s still really good. I even acquired my own copy just recently. Before I had to play other players’ copies of the game. What is fun about this game? Well, it’s a worker placement game. That’s fun already, most of the times. However here they’ve added the provost, which makes it even more fun. This guy walks along the road of buildings where you can place your workers and the buildings only activate when the provost has passed that building. This means that you can really mess each other up when moving the provost up and down the road. It adds tension to the game and its one of the reasons I love it, Caylus.
14: 7 Wonders (-12)
Some call it a civilization building game. I call it a very fun drafting game with a civilization building theme. The theme is too light to be actually called a civ game in my opinion. But it is without a doubt a very fun game. It has easy rules and it plays very well from three to seven players. You collect different types of cards. Like, resources, just points, knowledge or military power. If you’ve read earlier parts of this list this might sound familiar, because 7 Wonders Duel is also on it. It’s the two-player versions of this game and a very good game as well, but I like this one slightly better.
13: Dominion (+12)
Dominion, which can be considered the first deck builder, came out in 2008 and was the first modern board game I bought for myself. It triggered something within me and now I’m here, playing, buying and writing about board games. I think that opening a new game will never feel or smell the same as I what I felt and smelt when I opened that box and sorted all the cards, wondered what they all do.
It has risen twelve spots on this list and I think it will drop and rise over the years, depending on the amount of play time it gets every year, but I think this game should always be in the top fifty. The game has no theme at all and the illustrations aren’t that great as well, but the mechanisms, the things you can do with your cards to get points are so much fun that it doesn’t really need a solid background story or stunning art.
I bought and played the Dutch het Koninkrijk Dominion, a cheap introductory set, this year quite a few times, so that why it’s risen to number thirteen, probably. It’s just a really fun game: Dominion.
12: Tigris & Euphrates (+10)
There’s more than one Knizia on this list, but I think that Tigris and Euphrates is the most fun game that he designed and that I’ve played. This year the new Fantasy Flight version of the game, which looks more flashy than the older wooded versions, entered my collection, but I must say that I do think I prefer the wooden components over the plastic ones. They are just more sturdy.
In the game itself you build up and destroy civilizations. You have conflicts between separate civilizations in the Tigris and Euphrates region and between leaders within those civilization. I say this like it’s an incredible thematic game, but in the end you will find that it’s an abstract game. Nothing more. The scoring mechanism in the end is also really fun. You collect tokens or cubes in different colours and in the end your score is the amount of tokens you have in the worst scoring colour. Lovely.
11: The Castles of Burgundy (+9)
Number twenty last year and number eleven this year. It’s Stefan Feld’s The Castles of Burgundy. Roll two dice and execute actions with those dice. Buy tiles and later place them on your player board to get points and execute bonus actions, like ship goods, get more tiles or maybe that tile just gave you an end-game scoring condition. If and where you can place a tile depends on the dice you roll, which is really interesting and fun to manage.
The reason this game has risen in the ranks is probably because the card game came out last year, which made me want to play the board game some more, and the fact that I bought my own copy instead of borrowing the game from others. That allowed me to play this awesome more often.