The top 100 games of all time (2019)


Kia ora Koutou and welcome to the three-minute board games top 100 games
of all time 2019 a friendly reminder that this top 100
list is my personal opinion it is not the holy tome of Vatican law on board
games if I haven’t highly rated a board game you like it’s really not that big a
deal and if a game doesn’t appear on this list it’s the one of three reasons
one it’s one of the many thousands of games I have not played to I have played
it and I didn’t like it enough for it to make the list or three I have played it
I did like it but I haven’t played it enough to really give it a full rating
and a good example of this third category are gaia project Great Western
trail the reckoners all games I really enjoyed when I played but I’ve only
played them once a game needs to earn its place on this list for me and the
way they do that is through repeated plays now before we move on to the list
is one more thing I’d like to talk about and that’s the three-minute board games
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that I’ve wasted your precious time talking about me let’s spend the rest of
the video talking about games so here is my top 100 board games of all time 2019
Edition 100 Robo really a wacky racing game sit in a factory full of death
traps and conveyor belts the tricky thing about this one is you have to
program your actions beforehand which leads to a crazy amount of chaos 99
kitchen rush a real-time co-op game about running a kitchen you use sand
timers to take actions and everything happens at a crazy chaotic fashion this
games a lot more intense than it probably is fun but I love it anyway
98 space Corp a competitive engine building game about space exploration
one thing I really dig about this game is that it’s played in three different
eras starting with exploring Mars and the moon through to interstellar
exploration their feeling of genuine exploration and improvement in your
corporation really makes me feel like I’ve achieved something by the end of
the game win or lose 97 axis and allies anniversary edition the
definitive version of the classic access and allies game which is probably the
most iconic Americain ever this one tidies up a lot of the problems for the
original Axis and Allies it looks a lot nicer and I spent a heck of a long time
painting it as well 96 Pavlov’s house a solo game about the
Battle of Stalingrad the thing I really dig about this game is that you have
decisions to make it a strategic level that filter right down to the personal
level inside the house it’s a very rare game that can do both strategic
decision-making and down to the personal level tactical operations without the
game becoming an overwhelming mess Pavlov’s house is a lot more easy to
learn that it initially looks 95 villagers a tableau building card game
about founding a village villages is a small box game but that doesn’t mean
that there’s not a lot going on in it there’s a lot of variety of the engines
you can build up in the game quite a bit of player interaction and watching what
they’re picking all tied together with wonderful presentation and a very nice
portable box you can take anywhere 94 Root, a counterinsurgency war game
featuring adorable woodland critters the level of asymmetry and route is
incredibly high each of the factions within the game plays very differently
and gives you a very different play experience each time if I have one
criticism of the game it’s that I love the ideas and the concepts behind route
a bit more than I actually enjoy playing it that said it’s still one of the most
innovative games of the last few years and the vastly different playstyles
between the factions give you something new to play each time 93 call to
adventure the tableau building set collection game that tells the story of
one character’s epic fantasy journey first of all it’s got room casting and
that by itself is just a cool system mechanically it’s not the most amazing
game but it does the job but why I like it is that it’s quick to play and tells
a story while you’re doing it it’s become one of my favorite short play
time games of this year 92 the grizzled a cooperative card based game based on a
group of French soldiers in the first world war most war games focus on
strategic and tactical matters the grizzled is a much more personal story
it’s just about a group of soldiers and when they go out the missions it’s not
about whether they win about whether they come back and it’s
that personal element of the grizzled there really speaks to me
91 Aeons end a cooperative deck building game where you are a team of wizards
fighting against a giant monster I’ve only played the core set of hours end so
I can’t speak to all the extras that come with it but I have really enjoyed
the players I’ve had of this game and the thing that sets it apart is that you
don’t shuffle your deck so the games all about stacking your deck and getting the
right combo together and having players specialize in different things and the
game’s tuned to the point where you have to specialize and you have to play those
combos otherwise you’re going to lose definitely one I’m considering more
expansions for in the future 19 steampunk rally an engine building
and racing game starring many of the great inventors of the late 19th and
early 20th centuries aside from the theme which I really dig I love that
this game has you creating engines that you subsequently end up breaking in most
engine builders want something’s in place all you want to do is refine it
refine it refine it and make it better and steampunk rally things fall off and
explode and you have to retune and reconfigure your engine during the game
and it’s that continually evolving engine building that really appeals to
me about this game 89 maximum apocalypse a cooperative character based card driven
game set in the apocalypse what apocalypse you ask well that’s one
of the cool things about this game is you can choose whether you’re going to
be in the standard fallout style post apocalypse a zombie apocalypse a myriad
of other possible apocalypses and each character in the game comes with their
own pre-built deck with inherent strengths and weaknesses within that
dick the core gameplay in the game is pretty simple but it’s a fact you can
change the enemy groups and the characters you’re using and those
changes really change the game that makes me really like maximum apocalypse
as a game 88 star realms a really simple deck building game what I really like
about star realms is is really easy to teach works well as a Dueling game but
also works as a group game and many years ago friends of mine used to play
magic at lunchtime at school and at university most of us these days don’t
have the time and energy to build our own decks but star realms gives us that
same sort of feeling of playing lunchtime casual magic without the
hassle of having to build up our own decks beforehand
it’s portable easy to play easy to teach and a hiccup a lot of fun
87 Oaxaca crafts of a culture a dice manipulating engine building game about
running a market stall in Oaxaca even more so than villagers which I mentioned
earlier this is a great example of a small box game having a heck of a lot of
game in it well hockey gives you the opportunity to
build a very complex engine in its 30 minute playtime and it can be so many
interconnecting parts of in your engine that it can feel like you’ve made as
many decisions as you would in a two hour game only you’ve done them in 30
minutes 86 Yokohama a unique game that’s power
worker placement set collection area control and engine builder I love that
this game set during the Meiji Restoration of Japan which is one of the
most fascinating periods of any country’s history to me but the real
strength of the game is that it’s so open there’s so many options and the
style of the game you have a blank slate and a million different things you can
do and for me that’s like being a kid in a candy store
but I have seen several new players look at the game and go oh what’d I do next
definitely one that you want to play multiple times with people have played
it before so they can get the hang and the pace of the game 85 village a worker
placement and cube drafting game set in the medieval village the coolest thing
about village is that you’re playing an entire family and in the game time
progresses so older members of the family end up passing away and new
members of the family step up to take their place what this does for me is
take what could be quite a dry euro game about medieval family life and make it
tell stories eighty-four Nemo’s war a very thematic solo game
about playing Captain Nemo in command of the Nautilus this games held together by
a dice based system that uses push you like elements and resource management
it’s also very thematic and challenging but I think what makes this game stand
out is you can pick a different motivation for Nemo when you play and
that dramatically changes how the game plays overall and while this game says
you can play multiplayer it really is a solo game 83 legendary encounters an
alien deck building game I played legendary marvel and legendary x-files
and I don’t particularly like either of those games alien legendary on the other
hand I really really enjoy and I think that’s
because it has some points of difference over the other games
first of all cards moving through the event seems rarely thematically
appropriate the structure and pacing of the game works really well as it goes in
three acts and each act has its own feel and own objective building up to the
final battle at the end this all combines to make the game a bit more
coherent than the other legendary games that and I’m a big fan of the aliens IP
combined to make this easily my favorite game in the legendary series 82 chaos in
the old world an asymmetric area control game about the chaos guards from the
Warhammer universe five years ago this game would have been in my top 10 I
absolutely loved it the different playstyles between the different gods is
a bit of a precursor to games like route and I think it’s a really well-designed
and excellent game the main reason it’s falling down this list quite a bit is
Cthulhu Wars exists and Cthulhu wars takes the same idea of variable powers
evil monsters battling over a world and does it in a way that’s not only
smoother it also has more options so while I still really like chaos in the
old world and think it’s a great game this is a great example of a newer game
damaging the reputation of an older game for me anyone last Friday a hidden
movement game where one player is an 80s movie slasher and the others are camp
counselors yeah this is Friday the 13th the game they just couldn’t get the IP
But what’s great about last Friday is it not only captures its really obvious
and strong theme about a slasher hunting down camp counselors it also slightly
subverts those expectations by playing through the whole arc of a horror
franchise within one game so while the killer starts on the offensive and the
counselors are running in panic the game then shifts to where the counselors are
the hunters and the slasher has to defend and this shifts back and forth a
couple of times through the game so over the chosen counsellor lands a final
killing blow on the killer or the killer gets away to repeat the cycle again
nobody GKR heavy hitters a competitive mech battling game with some of the
nicest pre-painted models on the market that’ll take one of the first things I
got into when I was younger and I’ve always had a soft spot for giant mechs
fighting each other so g’kar heavy hitters had an obvious connection with
me straightaway it’s
really beautiful fun to play easy to teach but probably goes on a little too
long at four players price and availability are also barriers for this
game but if you can’t get your hands on it it is a legitimately fun beer and
pretzels type ball game and those mix are really really gorgeous lots of fun
79 circadian ‘s first light a dice placement engine building game sit on a
human outpost on an alien world circadian is one of those dice placement
games where you never really feel like you’ve got a bad roll there’s always
something to do with low and high value dice and there’s plenty of ways that you
can build your engine to be able to re-roll them or use them differently
there’s a lot going on on this game but there’s also lots of options for you to
build engines within it and the strength of this game and the core of its
replayability come from the variety of engines you can build depending on what
character you have what equipment you draw and how you develop your base this
sort combines to create an engine builder where there isn’t the same set
path each time 78 pay dirt an auction and engine building game about mining in
the Klondike one of my guilty pleasures is the gold rush TV show I know the
dramas really overreached but I love watching them solve their various
engineering problems and for the longest time I’ve been looking for a good gold
mining game and pay dirt is that game I’m not sure if it’s still available or
even in print but the core gameplay loop of buying better equipment running it
and doing its maintenance in order to pay out gold at the end there’s both
really easy to grasp and really rewarding to play this is one game I
like but I very rarely see in other people’s collections take that for what
you will 77 Star Wars Imperial assault a one versus all dungeon crawler sit in
the Star Wars universe there are a lot of dungeon crawlers out of the market
and I mean a lot it’s somehow Star Wars and feral assaults stayed one of my
favorites for years and I put that down to two big factors one the core gameplay
is genuinely fun and genuinely interesting and second its Star Wars
like for me that is a big tick there’s just something wonderfully cinematic in
this game because you can have moments where Boba Fett or bossk or Darth Vader
will turn up in an encounter I recommend this for anyone who wants to run a Star
Wars role-playing game but can’t be bothered riding a role-playing game a
really enjoyable game the sheer amount of expansions is both a pro and a calm
depending now you look at it but one of those
games I really enjoyed painting as well 76 horrified a cooperative set
collection game where you’re battling the universal monsters
I think horrified is a genuine pandemic killer it has a lot of the same
strengths of that game of being easy to teach cooperative and yet challenging at
the same time but it also doesn’t have some of the flaws of pandemic which of
those games with the deck is stacked in such a way that it’s almost impossible
to win I think this might be one of the best family-friendly coops to come out
in a very very long time and while the gameplay might be a little
simplistic for some hardcore gamers out there most people playing games and
hardcore gamers 75 Le havre an engine building game about running a business
at the port of lahar guess you haven’t picked this up yet I quite like engine
building games and Le havre is one of the better ones on the market le havre can be
full of a lot of busy work at times but that busy work makes you feel productive
and a bit like Yokohama it’s about figuring out what to do with the myriad
of options ahead of you one of those injured building games that allows you
time to play with your engine throughout the game definitely for people who like
heavier games 74 space cadets a cooperative game about being the bridge
crew on a spaceship space cadets as a hilarious game because each station has
its own mini game and they played in real time so while you can start each
round with a clear plan the outcome of that plan is entirely dependent on how
well everyone does at this station you can end up with shields pointing the
wrong way hurtling through space with all the skill and grace of a pack of
howler monkeys banging their consoles and while that’s hilarious to play you
can also get a high functioning team in this game but does everything well and
then the game changes tone completely a really competent crew makes this game
feel like a Star Trek bridge simulator and the realization that you can get the
shields part of the right way the ship going the right way and complete your
objectives effectively give some real sense of triumph after several games of
failing miserably 73 Lords of Waterdeep a worker placement sick collection game
sit in the D&D city of Waterdeep Lords of Waterdeep is a pretty straightforward
worker placement game that revolves around collecting characters to spend
them on missions to earn points and it’s all held together quite nicely by its
D&D theme I definitely recommend this as an entry point for anyone who
wants to get into worker placement games as it’s a really good game but doesn’t
overload you with too many systems seventy-two Galilean moons still the
best area control game you haven’t played I mentioned this in my last top
100 and got very excited and made a video about it and then never published
it because the designer hadn’t yet taken at the Kickstarter so he spent the last
year returning and refining the game and making some small but significant
improvements and despite my impatience and badgering him for the last year I
think those changes have made for a better game so it’s still the game
that’s axed mission red planet Tammany Hall and el Grande for me and I know
that’s a bold claim to many out there and I think this is one of the most
elegant area control games I’ve ever played anyway if you like area control
keep your eyes open for this game I hope you won’t be disappointed and I hope you
don’t blame me if you are 71 captain Sonar a team based realtime submarine
warfare game I really like Captain sonar and I think it does something unique in
board gaming the team play real-time aspects of the game and hunting each
other in the submarine is just it’s a fantastic experience problem is it
really only works with six or eight players and for me that’s a pain to get
together I know there’s a lighter version of this you can play with only
four players and I should probably try tracking that down but I don’t know that
would be quite right so this games is an awkward space I want to play it more
often and I really enjoy playing it it’s just very rarely we get the opportunity
it’d have probably read higher if it hit the table board number 70 Android one of
those beautiful and broken pieces of board gaming history Android tries to do
so much and does a lot of it well but there’s almost too much going on in the
game and its core it’s an investigation game about solving a murder sit in a
dystopic cyberpunk future the same setting that would be used for Android
netrunner but solving the crime is actually a small part of this game it’s
really about the personal stories of the characters and solving the conspiracy
behind the murder there’s so much to love and it’s such a clear passion
project for the designer Kevin Wilson and it almost works and while I really
enjoy playing this game I can see its flaws from a mile off but that doesn’t
change my admiration for what was attempted here androids like the board
game equivalent of one of those weird concept albums rumor as they are working
on a second edition and I hope that delivers I just hope they don’t
streamline the character the game number 69 Raiders of the North
Sea a worker placement game about leading a raiding party on Vikings to
conquer parts of England Raiders is another fantastic entry level worker
placement game that revolves around a place one worker take one worker
mechanic that gives you two actions each turn it also has this unique pacing
where you spend several turns building up for a raid and then take a traumatic
raid action it features the wonderful art that’s defined Garphill games and
while it is an easy to learn game learning how to pace yourself within the
game so that you can keep the down times between raids love means that an
experienced player is going to stop all over a new player 68 epidote a worker
placement and tableau building game about woodland critters building a city
if it Everdell one of those stunning games on the market it visually it’s
absolutely gorgeous four wonderful components and wonderful art but beneath
all that flash there’s a really good game here loads of paths to victory lots
of different engines you can build but one of my favorite things in this game
is that there are eight cards face-up in the middle that anyone can play during
their turn and one thing that stifles a lot of engine builders for me there’s a
lack of choice over what you put in your engine and everdell you can be holding
out cards and have eight cards in the middle giving you 16 cards to choose
from to play and making the right choice in any time is how you do well in this
game 67 century golem Edition I have not
actually played the original version of century space Road I’ve seen it my
understand the gameplay is virtually identical to golem Edition the reason I
put golem edition is I think it just looks so much better and the difference
between spice trading and making golems is enough for me to actually find the
theme slightly engaging what it is though it’s a simple engine building
game if you’ve played splendor which many people have century scratch is a
very similar edge to that game to me and it’s an easy to learn short playtime
game that rewards players skill quite a bit it’s combination of eye catching
appearance and simple gameplay makes it a really good game to play with people
new to the Hobby and personally there’s an old beauty
grognard war gamer I still find it quite captivating and engaging to play as well
sixty-six sentinels of the multiverse a cooperative superhero game where each
superhero has a unique pre-built deck and you fight against the villain with
their own unique deck there is so much happening in Sentinels sometime
that it can be very overloading game and it’s probably one of the most
bookkeeping intensive games on the market but despite that there’s a heck
of a good game here each superhero feels distinct and
different and comes of their own play style and each villain you fight has
their own strengths and weaknesses it’s like the board game equivalent of an MMO
raid we try to assemble the perfect team to take on an epic boss in an extended
fight there are so many expansions and bits and pieces to this game as well and
it’s definitely when I played a lot more on the app that I had physically and the
strength of that is the app does a lot of the bookkeeping for you aside from
the bookkeeping this is also a game you have to play many times to really get
the hang of just because there’s so many mechanics and so many possibilities
within each character and figuring out how they interact with each other and
how they interact with the specific enemy you’re fighting and the
environment you’re in just takes a lot of experience but if you are looking for
a co-op game that you can play over and over and over again sentinels of the
multiverse is a good choice 65 Twilight Imperium fourth edition the genre
defining 4x Space empires game Twilight Imperium is what it is an epic highly
interactive space Empire and political game it’s wonderfully produced and is
one of the most impressive games to cease it up of any and board gaming but
also has a knack for creating big and memorable stories throughout the game
all the scale and grandeur comes with a cost and that cost in this case is play
time you very rarely get through a game in less than six hours and I have played
a thirteen and a half hour game of this in the last two years so well I think
it’s a very good game I’m not sure if it’s 12 hours long good 64 freedom the
Underground Railroad the cooperative game about the abolitionist movement
fighting against slavery in pre-civil war America freedom has a really
captivating theme and it’s an important topic in a period of history I find
quite interesting and significant that aside this is a really tightly designed
cooperative game you have very limited actions throughout the game and an awful
lot to do with them and it leads you to make very tough decisions and while it’s
hard to talk about this game without talking about its theme the core
gameplay is exceptional in its own right rightfully I think that gets overlooked
at times when people talk about this game but
think it’s something I need to state here I don’t just like this game because
of what it’s about I like this game because it’s a genuine head-scratching
puzzle the theme in the history just combined with the gameplay to make for
an excellent total package of a co-op game 63 Martians a story of civilization
a worker placement game about colonizing Mars I say this every time I talk about
this game it has a shockingly bad rule book thankfully people on bgg had fix that
and now it’s a lot more easy to understand Martians is actually pretty
clear to work a placement game with a bunch of unique stuff happening in it
there are rules for co-op semi co-op competitive and solar play within the
game and they only require a few changes to implement each one which I thought
was one of the sharpest design decisions I’ve seen it again but for me this is a
genuinely solid worker placement game that was regrettably saddled with a
terrible translation of its rulebook I’ve really admit Martians probably
isn’t a game for everyone but it’s one of those games that just worked really
well for me I like that had numerous scenarios which is uncommon in a worker
placement game while also having resource type gameplay it constantly
made you worry if you had enough stuff to do what you wanted to do sure it’s a
bit busy but overall I found this a really enjoyable game 62 dead of winter
a crossroads game a mostly cooperative game about surviving the zombie
apocalypse dead of winter each of you plays a small group of survivors with
their own little agendas within one surviving community and it’s ass
internal conflict of your own personal goals that drives the game alone I think
this game is best without a full-blown traitor as there’s enough tension
between players with their personal goals without leading a full-blown
traitor and to the mix the crossroad cards are a lot of fun and I especially
like the app they develop that reads the cards out for you and I think the reason
I don’t like the trader in this game and think it works better
only with personal goals because that explores an interesting social dynamic
the idea that even good people aren’t a hundred percent selfless Bob and the
shelter might give you the shirt off his back but he won’t let you borrow away
his daughter’s insulin medicine and I think dead of winter is at its best when
it’s exploring those kind of stories 61 hostage negotiator cram wave a hand
building dice driven solo game in this game you play the role of a hostage
negotiator talking down an abductor who’s taken a
lot of prisoners the core gameplay is really simple of
your spending cards to roll dice or to earn points to buy better cards later on
but why this game has been enduring for me is that each of the abductors has
their own character and each requires a slightly different approach and those
variations make me feel like I’m playing a slightly different game each time and
while many people say this games to luck dependent I think there’s actually quite
a few ways to mitigate that and even when everything does go wrong that in
its own way just creates another memorable story in one particularly
terrible game of this the abductor started with 12 hostages and ended the
game with 15 now that might upset some people playing the game but to me I just
found that hilarious number 60 the network’s a drafting engine building
game about running a television neighborhood building a television
network is a great idea for game picking shows picking stars picking ads and
putting them all together onto a lineup designed to get as many viewers as
possible that’s all great stuff and the network’s does that all really well it’s
a very solid core game but its presentation with its wacky characters
and bizarre shows just adds a nice cheery to the top of the scale number 59
Museum the card drafting set collection game about running a museum this one
came out of nowhere to me this year I didn’t even know was on Kickstarter and
I knew precisely nothing about this game until I saw it on a secondhand trade
disc at a convention and I’m really pleased I picked it up the art in this
game is absolutely stunning and the core gameplay is really fun as well revolving
around building up these massive collections within your museum there’s a
little bit of take that in the game and you can take items from other people’s
discards so it has a bit more player interaction than I initially expected I
played this for three different groups and had an enjoyable experience each
time 58 scythe so there’s a game that follows in the aftermath of the Great
War you play a nation trying to rebuild its economy and military and a
recaptured territory that was lost there’s a lot to like in this game
because it combines euro-style optimisation with area control and
combat and the art and world building is truly unique however as much as I like
this game first few turns can feel quite scripted experienced players will
quickly learn how to maximise the combination of faction and industry
board still I’ve enjoyed the game enough to paint it and to pick up the first two
expansions as well as the oversized map 57 black Orchestra
a cooperative game where the goal is to kill Hitler the core gameplay in a lot
of coops is what I would call fire fighter where
each turn a number of incidents take place and you have to run around and try
and solve them and prevent them from getting too out of hand
black orchestra settles on a different gameplay style for cards and that’s
about getting in the right place at the right time and one decisive point and
I’ve seen some people be critical of the game by saying that it all comes down to
one dice roll but for me that’s almost the point of the game it does come down
to one dice roll and all your preparation is to make sure that that
roll happens at the right time with the right amount of support and sure you can
fail on a terrible roll when you finally line up Hitler right near gun sights but
for me that’s part of the charm of the game I also like that a big chunk of the
game is about maintaining the conspiracy and that conspirators need to remain
motivated in order to carry out an attack but also can’t draw too much
attention to themselves what makes black orchestra truly special to me is that
rising tension throughout the game of whether you’ll get caught or whether
you’ll have the guts to go through with the assignment when the time is right
number 56 XCOM the board game a real-time
cooperative game where you are working together to save Earth from an alien
invasion I know there’s a lot of people out there who don’t like apps and board
games but this is an example of the board game that couldn’t exist without
the app each player will have their assigned role and a limited amount of
time to make decisions and while you have to be focused on what you’re doing
and your job you still have to keep an eye on what everyone else is doing so
you’re not doing the wrong thing I love this game because it’s fast furious and
frantic and doubly so when you play it solo number 55 crisis a worker placement
game about being an entrepreneur trying to run a business during a massive
financial crisis crisis is one of the meanest nastiest worker placement games
on the market the game is really tightly designed and the consequences of making
errors are huge and it also has this semi cooperative element built into it
where if you import goods in order to use them you weaken the country’s
economy and if too many people do that the economy will collapse and if you
sell goods on the regular export market you’ll strengthen the economy but if you
sell them on the black market you’ll get twice as much money this leads to a lot
of interesting decisions about how far you’ll push the economy down in order to
make profit for yourself and it’s that tension that even if you
feel you’re doing well in this game some errors and some selfish actions from
other players can’t blow holes in your plans definitely one for people who like
heavier worker placement games but once we have to keep an eye on your
opponent’s 54 castles of mad King Ludwig an auction and tile laying game about
building weird palaces for the Mad King the cool thing about this game really is
the castles that you end up building there’s a whole bunch of different rooms
that you have to put together in different ways and maximizing the points
you get from those is a lot of fun and at the end of the game you’ve got this
wacky castle you’ve built lots of different ways to score points in this
game and lots of avenues to victory as well if I have one issue with the game
it’s the auction system figuring out how to price each building and doing it well
requires you to spend a bit of time analyzing everyone’s layout and that
either grinds the game to a halt at times or overloads and experienced
players still a really enjoyable game that I like playing each time 53
defenders of a last stand a co-op game that combines elements of pandemic or
the state of siege games with the adventuring and storytelling of a game
like Arkham Horror sadly this one’s out of print because 8th summit games win
under still owing some people their Kickstarter versions of this game what I
like about this game is its post-apocalyptic setting and its weird
combination of gameplay roam around the board defeating gangers having
encounters picking up items and then trying to assemble the right tools you
need to take down one of the gang bosses I’m not sure it’s the most balanced game
in the world but I enjoyed because of the experience it gives you it’s like a
big open sandbox game only the sandbox is on fire 52 potion explosion a marble
drafting game about a potions class at a wizard Academy this one’s all about
taking marbles from the marble dispenser and trying to get the right chain
reaction in order to pull as many marbles per action as you can then you
place those marbles onto different potions and score them and once scored
each potion can be used once to manipulate the marbles in order to
create bigger and more dramatic chain reactions and it’s cool this is a really
simple game but I find the gameplay loop of pulling marbles having them cranked
down trying to get as many out of the machine as you can and placing them on
potions in order to use them to do better just
so rewarding and the tactile aspect of the marbles is a big plus number 51
agents of SMERSH another game from eighth summit games and another one
that’s out of print and probably not coming back which is a real tragedy as
agents of SMERSH it’s a very fun game the premise is that you are secret
agents fighting against an evil mastermind it’s James Bond and Austin
Powers as a storytelling game and the actual gameplay in this is pretty
average it’s certainly nothing to write home about what makes it is the book of
stories and there’s about 2000 entries in the story book and these stories are
dripping with spy movie trailers not one to track down if you’re just interested
in games for their mechanics but if you love storytelling games and if you’ve
played Arabian Nights and thought that was good fun agents of SMERSH is like a
better Arabian Nights just about spies number 50 robinson crusoe adventures on
the cursed island a cooperative worker placement survival game robinson crusoe
was a merciless game in each scenario you are stranded on the cursed island
with limited resources very little food and very little shelter just fighting to
survive as a challenge in this game and while you’re struggling to survive you
also have to complete whatever the goal is for that particular scenario the
average game of Robinson Crusoe ends with you dying from hunger wounds or
freezing to death at night and that makes those games where you come out on
top even more rewarding 49 Android netrunner an asymmetric to play a card
game in my opinion net Runner is the best competitive trading card
collectible card or living card game that’s been made the two sides the
corporation and the runner are completely asymmetric and yet the game
through its lifecycle was stunningly balanced between the two the factions
within the game were all quite interesting and had their own unique
styles and they’re a heck of a lot of different ways you could build a deck
but player skill was always the most important part of this game and it was
the bluffing cat-and-mouse aspect of netrunner that really appealed to me
this game is sadly falling down the list because it’s out of print and probably
not coming back in the near future and if it does it won’t be with the Android
theme 48 caverna the cave farmers a worker placement game about dwarves
running a farm and a mine i also quite like Agricola but I thought owning one
of them needed to be on this list and I prefer ccverna because of the more
options you have for how you build and grill is all about your farm
whereas caverna is about building cave a farm and having a family go off on
adventures a very heavy and very solid worker placement game that’s iconic
within the genre number 47 above and below a hybrid storytelling worker
placement game now what I love most about this game asides from the really
neat art is the storytelling aspect of this game the cool adventures you go and
below your village and I thought that combination of worker placement and
storytelling was something quite unique but the more I played this game the more
I noticed that the incentives for exploring aren’t quite strong enough and
they’re quite frequently the best strategy to win the game is to ignore
explore it almost completely so while I still enjoy the game for its
storytelling elements there’s a niggle on the back of my head that says you
probably better off just building something on
the surface forty-six spheres of influence struggle for global supremacy
this games really easy to describe it’s just a better version of risk it takes
all the core concepts of risk modernizes them and turns them into an infinitely
better game so if you have fond memories of playing risk but wish someone had
given it a modern facelift this is very much the game for you
not sure how available it is these days but if you can track down a copy and
risk is your jam you will really get a kick out of spheres of influence 45
pandemic the cure the more astute of you will notice that pandemic is not on this
list yet and in fact there’s not on this list at all
and the reason for that is three games have conspired to kick pandemic off my
top 100 the first of those was horrified and the second of those is pandemic the
cure pandemic the cure is the dice version of pandemic and what I like
about it is that each character comes with their own unique set of dice and
these dice dramatically change how that character plays is a strong push your
luck element in the game as well but really what I find appealing about
pandemic The Cure is how your team makeup dramatically changes the game and
contrary to conventional wisdom I find that the dice version of pandemic has a
lower luck factor than the original and that’s because the order of the cards
and the original pandemic has a far more dramatic impact on the difficulty of the
game than some bad dice rolls and pandemic the cure
44 Churchill a three player game about the big conferences held during World
War two here you’ll be playing Churchill Stalin and Roosevelt sitting across the
table from each other deciding the fate of World War two
Churchill’s a very different game to anything else I’ve played but in a weird
way it’s one of the few genuine strategy games out there most war games focus on
operational matters but this game abstracts the war to a very high level
the discussions around the table though those are what shapes how the war
revolves and it’s less about winning the war but shaping the piece afterwards
this is a game I’d like to play an awful lot more than I have to date 43
Architects of the West Kingdom a worker placement game with the main point of
differences there’s no end turn phase where you pick up your workers you keep
placing and removing workers in a cyclical fashion and this allows the
game to settle into a comfortable rhythm that you don’t normally get in a worker
placement game lots of different stratagies in this one and of course it has the
great art that garphill games are known for overall a really solid reimagining
of the classic worker placement genre number 42 power grid one of the all-time
classic euro games and what I think is most deserving of the title classic game
this game has you buying power plants fueling them and trying to provide power
to an ever-expanding network of cities there’s auctions area control and
optimization within this game at a bunch of different maps that can change up the
game 15 years is a long time and board-gaming
yet power grid managers to shine above a lot of newer games and I can see people
playing this one for decades to come 41 Lords of hell us an area control game
set in a mythological ancient Greece with a lot of variable powers and four
different paths to victory I like dudes on a map games and this is one of my
favorites but I did get all the stretch goals for it and in some ways that’s
subtracted from my experience with the game there’s now so many options in the
game that it’s gotten quite cumbersome and loads of howís wasn’t the most
streamlined game to start with so while I really enjoyed the core game
especially the variable power drafting and the different ways you can win it
the more that’s added to this game the more it frees around its edges
definitely one you’re not missing much if you didn’t go all-in number forty
suburbia a tile laying city building game this
game shares a lot in common with castles of Mad King Ludwig because they buy the
same publisher and same designer but I enjoy suburbia a little bit more I
actually sold my copy this year but that’s because I backed the collector’s
edition which looks insanely over-the-top suburbia is my favorite
city building game and that’s because your strategy has to adapt based on what
tiles are coming your way there isn’t one set way to win 38
Millennium blinds the game about being a character in a cartoon series about a
collectible card game now they haven’t picked us up I have a soft spot for
games that aren’t like any other game and millennium blades is one of them it
simulates playing a collectible card game tournament as well as putting
together a card collection and the games played in two main parts a real-time
trading phase where you’re buying dicks of cards and trading and selling them
and then once you’ve built your hand for the tournament and stacked cards in your
collection you play through a tournament phase which is a short card game full of
combo that really simulates the feel of
playing through a longer collectible card game it’s kind of amazing just how
good millenium blades is at doing that as well and if you are into collectible
card games I think you need a real buzz from playing this game even if it is a
little 2 meter at times 38 paladin’s of the West Kingdom a worker drafting
engine building game the secret architects of the West Kingdom I think
is a slightly better game I think it’s deeper and rewards more planning around
your strategy there are so many different levers you can pull up in this
game to control how you score points including what tracks you go down what
cards you draw what workers you pick and how you play them throughout your turn
and while it’s a little light on player interaction that’s ok because you will
be so focused on what’s happening on your own board trying to eat everything
you can out of the game it’s also left me pretty excited for what’s going to
happen for the third game in the series 37 empires of the void – this games an
attempt to make an epic 4x space game like Twilight Imperium that plays at
around about two hours and for the most part I think it does that quite well
sure you’re never going to capture the full experience of a long game of
Twilight Imperium in two hours but empires of the void – gets close to
capturing that experience and it has some genuine strengths of its own the
worlds in this game aren’t just resource markers they have stories and it makes
the world feel a bit richer but for me if I want to play a game where I build a
space Empire conquer planets make diplomatic deals and complete missions
and I don’t want to spend all day doing it empires of the void – is the one for
me it’s all so gosh-darn pretty number 36 siderial confluence trading and
negotiations in the Elysium quadrant a real-time trading and negotiation game
well once the trading is done you run complex engines to produce things so
your confidence is a hard game to explain because it’s really about
trading cubes back and forth and that sounds frightfully dry in reality it’s
about nine distinct alien races with completely different play styles and
economies throw it into one game we have to make trades and deals to shore up
your weaknesses and build on your strengths in order to have the strongest
economy and the most impressive technology sidereal confluence is a
hectic crazy experience a game but if you like trading games and
negotiation and high player interaction there are very few games better than
Saudi riyal confluence 35 Kolejka a game about queueing for resources in cold
war-era Poland now all that might sound really dry this is actually a super fun
super crazy game as it’s all about lining up of those queues and in playing
cards to manipulate them routing someone out to the secret police to take them
out of the line or jumping the queue because you’re holding a baby you
borrowed from someone else this one’s easy to teach and family
friendly but it can lead to some heated moments at the table because the game is
so full of take that moments unfortunately I also believe it’s out of
print at the moment or at least the English version is hopefully it does
come back into print because I think this is an absolute gem of a game 34
takenoko a game about growing bamboo and having a
little panda roaming around eating it like I know I go on about engine
building worker placement war games and other serious things quite a bit
but tak inoko is just such an adorable game the core gameplay is pretty
simplistic out of a modest there are past the victory that are a lot easier
than others but that’s not really what takenoko is about it’s about a little
panda eating bamboo and it’s definitely one of my favorite family-friendly games
Santorini an abstract game about building towers and the goal of the game
is to be the first player to move one of your markers to the third floor of a
tower and while that might sound really easy this game is anything but for me
this is the definitive simple to learn hard to master game on the market the
rules are easier than chess but it has that chess like quality to it with a
board state constantly evolves and you have to be thinking many many turns
ahead I’d go so far as to say this is the most elegant board game I’ve ever
played 32 Arkham horror second edition a cooperative game where you battle lovecraftian horrors, viewers on the channel will know my long history of
Arkham Horror and then it’s a game that I have played hundreds and hundreds of
times for many reasons but nearly 15 years on I still like playing the game
and despite eldritch horror and third edition coming out I still returned to
Arkham or a second edition and I think that’s because while there’s a big
barrier to learn this game and lyrtle the system’s in it once
you do the playtime drops dramatically Steph and I can play a game of Arkham
Horror in about 90 minutes if you want to know more about my thoughts on Arkham
Horror I did a retrospective video on the game and its legacy called Arkham
Horror the rear view 31 leaving earth leaving Earth is a fascinating game that
really captures the feeling of the space race
you can test and test and test things until you know they work perfectly or if
you fear you are falling behind you can just risk it and sometimes that’ll work
out for you perfectly and other times disastrously this game is one of the
most math heavy games I’ve played so won’t be for everyone but if you really
like the idea of a Space Agency simulation then I really recommend this
game the outer planets and stations expansions and a lot more options to the
game as well this one’s not easy to get in stores but you can pick it up
straight from the publisher number 30 the captain is dead a co-op game sit on
a spaceship where everything’s going to hell I really like this game and I
mentioned fire fighting coops earlier in the video and this is probably my
favorite one of them because every turn there is just crisis after crisis
hitting you there’s over 20 different characters who will play a little bit
differently and your team makeup really changes how you play the game fast
frantic chaotic and as hard as you want to make the game definitely recommend it
for anyone looking for a short time to play full-on cooperative game number 29
obsession a game about running a household in Victorian England this is
another one of those games that came out of nowhere for me and stiff was really
the driving force behind us getting this game and I must admit I was a little
apprehensive I don’t particularly like marrying mr. Darcy I think it’s a bit
light and arbitrary and I was worried that this was going to be a bit like
that but it’s not but obsession is an incredibly tight game you get very few
actions throughout the game and you have to maximize each and every one of them
you have to utilize your hand of guests to their maximum potential and you have
to ring every single point you can out of the engine you have built if you
don’t care about theming games and I know there’s plenty of people for whom
that is true obsession stands alone on its mechanics the fact the game lends
itself well to people making silly voices throughout it it’s just icing on
the cake for me 28 gloom Haven a cooperative dungeon crawler there are so
much to admire about gloom Haven from how tight the overall mechanics in the
game are to the variety of play styles within the
classes you unlock so the different encounters different enemies and just
the sheer volume of content within the box and if anything that’s also the
game’s weakness we played gloom Haven for half a year
and I think we’re about a third of the way through it and that’s staggering
when you think about it but with busy work schedules and lots of games to play
in order to review I just haven’t been able to commit any time to it this year
and I feel like we’ve got another 40 or 50 play sessions of the game left in the
box and that’s without getting any expansion material what gloom Haven also
does really well is make every turn feel important every card play feels
significant there’s no just I move my guy I roll some dice each action is
resources you can’t use later in the game and the number of scenarios that
come down to the last few cards on plans is really quite amazing this is probably
the best fantasy dungeon crawler I’ve ever played and I have a real hard time
singing a game topping it any time soon 27 healthy heart hospital a cooperative
bag building game now while this game is a co-op I almost exclusively played solo
the trick in this game is manipulating this bag of colored cubes and it’s very
much a slow-burning puzzle because for each action you might pull eight cubes
out and put two back in changing the complexion of the bag and throughout the
turn you’re making a whole series of small decisions hoping to lead to an
incredibly big outcome towards the end of the turn victory point games no
longer exist so I’ve got no idea what the future of this game is but of the
people who purchased victory point games are listening to this video this is a
game I really think could do of a second edition I’ll even do you a video number
26 Cthulhu Wars an area control game with variable powers and Cthulhu
monsters consider was this just a really good game all of the factions play very
differently and their interactions can be really fascinating it’s science but
for all of the extra powers and gubbins in this game the core gameplay is
relatively simple it’s such a sturdy frame to build all of these exceptions
on top of however this really isn’t a game for everyone as it costs a packet
and if you buy all the expansions it will see you back well over a thousand
US dollars I personally don’t own all of this but I
had friends who do I think what would catapult this game further up my list
would be a scaled-down version for the masses with smaller pieces at a
much lower price point 25 Spartacus a game of blood and treachery a
competitive game about running a gladiatorial ludus in ancient rome this
game has three distinct parts the first of which as we play entry cards to screw
each other over the second as we spend money at the market to buy better
gladiators and equipment and finally the battles in the arena mechanically this
game is okay and it’s not going to win any design Awards on that front
but what brings this game alive is the treachery inherent in it the intrigues
and nasty cards you can play on each other the shenanigans in the arena where
one player takes a dive in order for the others to win money the game shines of a
group that loves backstabbing betrayal and schemes number 24 conquest of
paradise a 4x game were instead of exploring space you’re exploring the
Pacific this game set during the great Polynesian migration which is where the
Polynesian peoples of the Pacific explored and colonized about 40% of the
globe for one of the great achievements in human history
there’s surprisingly few games about this yet there’s a heck of a lot of
games about people discovering already occupied Islands conquest of paradise
does explore better than any other game sailing around the Pacific and finding
islands that you can later colonize and build up it’s really fun on this game
and there’s a serious and sincere commitment to acknowledging the culture
of the people of the Pacific and the added bonus of the best tile to find
while exploring just happens to be the island I live on I highly recommend this
if you want a civilization game that’s a little bit different to the norm 23
blood ball team manager a competitive deck building game blood ball team
manager is my favorite deck building game and the reason for that is that the
deck building is actually a secondary part of the game sure you can improve
your deck throughout the game but the core gameplay is about winning
highlights and that involves playing cards against your opponents in the
center of the table this leads to a high amount of player interaction and
gamesmanship within each turn and there’s a lot of back-and-forth play in
the game sadly another one that’s gone out of print due to FFG and Games
Workshop breaking up with each other which is a real shame again because I
wanted to see more teams develop for this number 22 the Manhattan Project
energy Empire a competitive engine building worker placement game
like I’ve said that a lot on this list well I guess I like engine building and
worker placement energy Empire’s a game but I’ve played more and more over the
last year and it’s definitely grown on me and I think a lot of that has to do
with the different combinations and different ways I’ve been able to play
the game synergies between upgrades in this game are massive and figuring out
the right time to go heavily into something or to divest yourself of
something makes a really big impact on your score it’s also a worker placement
game where it’s difficult to be blocked out of taking in action but your
opponents can make that action cost more then it’s really worth and it’s those
line calls about whether taking in actions worth it or not that have really
elevated the game for me number 21 Arkham Horror the card game a
cooperative dick construction narrative driven game the Arkham Horror LCG is
easily the most character full of the Arkham Files games and it tells the best
stories we ran through a full damage horror campaign and it was one of the
finest gaming experiences of my life we each had such distinct characters and
such strong roles within the team that I felt like playing a role-playing game
just without a GM and I think that’s its real strength that it tells these great
stories and you can play like a genuine party the reason it slid down the
solicitor bit is we got way behind on buying the expansion packs and on
probably about two years behind on them by now and those things are not cheap in
new zealand number twenty nemesis a semi cooperative survival game sitting on a
spaceship full of gribbly monsters what appeals to me most about nemesis is that
it’s a game full of betrayal and backstabbing but all of that betrayal
and backstabbing is opted in at the start of the game you get two objectives
want us to play nice want us to play nasty and you get to decide which one of
those you’re going to do a lot of trader games force the role of the trader on
you but here here it’s your choice and I think that tiny change in the dynamic
has a huge impact on this game aside from that the aesthetics of the game are
wonderful the ship and the figures are really neat and in its way it’s the best
alien game that’s ever been made despite not actually being an alien game this
one appears to have taken forever to go from Kickstarter to retail and I’d
really like to get my own copy of the game because I didn’t back it on
Kickstarter and if anyone in New Zealand has a copy of this and wants to get rid
of it let me know in the comments number 19 as
a tile laying game about laying tiles now there’s a strong pattern in this
list and that’s what I like games of strong themes acyl doesn’t really have a
theme it’s a Tile laying game about laying tiles and there’s no much more to it
than that and it’s somehow I really enjoy this game
I love the puzzle that it puts in front of you that you have to solve and how
you can be forced into taking a terrible selection of tiles I like that a place
quickly and doesn’t overstay its welcome but I also like that the players control
when the game ends now eighteen seven wonders a Card drafting game about
building a civilization across three ages seven Wonders has an awful lot
going for it it plays well at three players and a place well up to seven
players it only takes about thirty minutes to play and adding players
doesn’t really add to its playtime there’s a lot of decisions to make each
round but no individual decision is that brain breaking and as a result it’s a
game that can play well with new players and experienced players the different
wonders and different mixes of cards that come with the expansions also shake
the game up and give it a fresh coat of paint but overall this is a game I
recommend just about every game it gives a go at least once it might not be for
you but it’s certainly worth trying number seventeen between two cities a
tiled rafting game where you work together with the players to your left
and right to design two cities and the trick of this game is that you were
scored on your worst city so you have to balance each city and not focus too much
on one the thing I really like about this game is it’s entirely based around
positive interactions each discussion you have when you’re placing new tiles
is about how you can maximize each city with your neighbor and while you’re
individually trying to win you can only win by cooperating now it’s not
particularly amazing as a super competitive game but the reason I like
it so much is it teaches a lot of core modern game principles
it’s got sick collection it’s got drafting it’s got tile placement it’s
got cooperative play while still being competitive and at the end it’s called
victory points this means it teaches a lot of the skills you’ll use in a lot of
other games and if you’ve got a group of mixed experience you can seek the
experienced players apart from each other and they can help coach and guide
their neighbors and they’re encouraged to do so
but because each player has two neighbors this very low opportunity for
any kind of alpha gaming to emerge one of my favorite filler games but also my
favorite game for introducing people to the hobby number 16 argent the
consortium a worker placement game sit in a magical College where you are all
trying to win an election argent is a strange game it’s got so much going on
there’s the normal worker placement tropes in the game but there’s also
spells magic items secret goals and other special abilities the core of the
game is that you’re trying to influence a set of hidden voters and you only know
a couple of them at the start of the game and have to learn who the other
ones are as you progress this means you start with a focus on one of these
hidden benefactors of how you’re going to build your engine what spells are
going to learn and what treasures you’re going to pick up but as you learn more
of the benefactors you have to change your approach and evolve it there’s also
some hilarious things on timing in this game because I like normal worker
placement games you don’t get the benefit as soon as you place your worker
they’re all done at the end of the round and in the course of a round someone
might fireball the room your wizard is in sending them to hospital a lot of
worker placement games can feel like multiplayer solitaire and argent the
consortium is absolutely the opposite end of the spectrum there is so much
player interaction it’s so much potential to take that that I can see it
being quite off-putting to a lot of people but for me this game is
approaching perfection number 15 mansions of madness second
edition and a persisted cooperative dungeon crawler sit in the Lovecraft
universe after Arkham Horror of the card game this is the Lovecraft game that
depicts a Lovecraft theme best of all for me the reason I put it ahead of the
card game is this a lot easier for me to pick this up and start playing in fact I
can play this game solo and the app takes the role of a dungeon master
telling me what tiles to place and what various encounters do this gives the
game a genuine feeling of exploration because the first time you do a scenario
you don’t know what the layout of the house is going to be and you don’t know
where the story is going to go and few games have that genuine discovery that
you get in the game of mansions abandon a second edition now when you replay a
scenario they do jumble things up a little but the story is normally
fundamentally the same so it does lose a little bit on
replaying scenarios but it’s still fun and I think the reason I really like the
game is just that sense of discovery of having the scenario unfold in front of
you number 14 XIA legends of a drip system a
competitive sandbox game about being a space captain this is almost the
ultimate sandbox game you pick your little ship you sit off into space and
you choose whether you want to become a space pirate or a courier or a miner or
a merchant or an archaeologist or any combination of those things there are
lots of different ships with their own special abilities and lots of different
upgrades you can add to your ship this is also a game where it’s not really
about the winning it’s about what you do during the game it’s about exploring new
worlds and finding new things and you can really make your own fun in this
game well as long as you’re not playing against someone whose definition of fun
is hunting you down every time you repair there are a lot of dice rolls in
this game and a lot of them are d 20s and some of the results are absolutely
horrific you can quite literally just be destroyed by a dice roll which is not as
big a deal as it sounds little ships are dinky and adorable and overall it’s one
of my favorite ways to spend a gaming afternoon number 13
roll for the galaxy a dice rolling engine building game now race for the
galaxy is not on this list but that’s not necessarily because I dislike the
game but I really like roll for the galaxy and I think that’s because of the
variable inputs you get from the dice which means your strategy has to be more
adaptive than it is than race for the galaxy I also just like that you have
all of these dice you can play with and they’ve got different sides and
different probabilities all that math really appeals to me as well as the
satisfying sound you get when you just chuck a whole bunch of dice in the cup
apparently this is a terrible game to play with cheaters but why are you
playing games with people who cheat number 12 bloc by bloc the
insurrection game a co-op or semi co-op game about leading an urban rebellion
I’ve spoken before about my love for this game and I pretty much love
everything about it it’s a great fun co-op that’s easy to teach and tackles a
theme that neither game has done to date that of the civilian uprisings in urban
centers over the last 50 years this is an abstraction of things like Ferguson
of the Arab Spring and of the Rodney King riots but it’s done in an
abstracted way so that it’s not talking about a specific uprising it’s just
talking about the concepts and Jim it’s a game of a strong political
message that isn’t afraid to hammer that message right into your face there’s a
reason the cop cubes are white and there’s a reason this game won’t get re
skinned into something more sanitized that’s because the game is a political
statement what I also love is that this game is available for free as a print
and play from their website gameplay wise this is all about building up your
forces liberating districts and forcing the cops to fight on your terms
it’s about assembling a coalition of forces strong enough to take down the
police in your area and you do that by using delaying tactics by working
together to consolidate power and in cooperating and coordinating your
strikes number 11 paths of glory a card driven war game about the first world
war paths of glory is one of the more complex games on this list and it has
one of the longer play times this can easily go six to eight hours and it’s a
two-player back-and-forth game about the first world war and what I like about it
is it doesn’t tell the story on Rails a lot of simulation schemes make you feel
like you’re just playing out the war exactly as it happened halves of glory
allows you to break that mold somewhat there’s some scripting in the early war
but as the war revolves you get to make more and more decisions about the shape
of it the other thing this game does is make you hate attacking you have to
attack to win in this game you have to keep the initiative and both players end
up looking at each other wondering who’s gonna slow the tempo down first you’re
constantly looking for the great breakthrough that will end the war by
Christmas but those breakthroughs are exceedingly hard to get and you’re left
feeling nervous when you make one can I actually hold the ground I’ve taken all
the counter-attack just knock me back to where we started this might sound like
drudgery and awfulness to you and there is an element of that in the game but
it’s also really captivating because the war takes place on so many fronts
there’s so many things you can do to open the game up to wrest the initiative
off your opponent it’s definitely my favorite traditional war game these days
number 10 Thunderbirds a cooperative pick up and deliver game about the
classic Gerry Anderson Thunderbirds series this was my game of the year for
2018 and it’s moved rapidly up my rankings I’ve probably played 30 games
of this in the last year are many of those Solo and I just keep finding more
and more love about it and what bamboozles me is
this is by far my favorite Matt Leacock game he’s the guy designed pandemic and
yet I think it’s one of his least successful and I suspect that’s because
the thunderbirds IP doesn’t have broad appeal especially in North America and
that’s such a pity cuz this is such a good game and I suspect it would be
quite enjoyable even if you didn’t know the IP but if they are looking for a
good cooperative game that has scalable difficulty and that requires you to plan
several turns ahead check out Thunderbirds one might say it’s F A B
number nine this war of mine the board game a cooperative game about surviving
a modern siege such as the one in Sarajevo this is my favorite
storytelling game and for good reasons it tells stories that punch you right in
the stomach there are a few games that evoke such a visceral emotional response
as the content is so dark you portrayed through such a human lens and such a
real lens that you can’t help but feel empathy with the characters you’re
controlling and their predicament the gameplay is actually pretty good as
well and in particular I really like the scavenging system where you have cards
that represent how much time you have and you have to make decisions of
whether you’re going to explore safely or not throughout without the narrative
book it would be an OK game but it’s those narrative moments and it’s strong
characters and such strong sitting they elevate this to a top-tier game for me
it’s not gonna be for everyone but for those that speaks to it’s gonna speak to
them really personally if you’re open to taking the theme seriously and you don’t
just want a game you could win because the best-laid strategies and this war of
mine can all come undone with a sniper’s bullet lucky number 8 Chinatown a
negotiation game about building businesses in New York’s Chinatown where
this war of mine was dark and gritty Chinatown’s the exact opposite it’s a
frantic madhouse of negotiation everything could be traded in this game
and everything will be traded in this game it’s one for people to like
wheeling and dealing negotiations and figuring out how to make the best of an
ever-changing board Chinatown is not for introverts it’s definitely one for the
more raucous and loud player groups but if you do have a group that thrives on
interaction or even people who say they like monopoly but want to try a
different game get them playing Chinatown number seven
Anachrony, a worker placement game about a futuristic earth that’s doomed to a
natural disaster that also features time travel Anachrony is for me the
pinnacle of worker placement and there’s so much I like about this game from its
unique look to the wonderful mech suits from the expansion so the variety of
different engines you could build within the game and finally to the time travel
mechanic which allows you to borrow stuff from your future self and rewards
you for doing that there’s so many potential decisions to make each turn
and so many different ways that your faction and your base can evolve
throughout the game and it all combines to create a wonderfully unique and tight
experience it also has one of the best solo modes of any game on the market and
apparently the expansion which is coming soon has an even better version of that
solo mode so no pressure David but I’m expecting a lot from the new solo the
only downside to this game is it’s not cheap and it’s not that easy to get your
hands on number 6 War of the Ring a card driven war game set during the
Lord of the Rings books this game has been in my top 10 games for nearly 15
years and the reason for that is it’s a brilliant game the differences between
the two sides are huge the free peoples player has a limited military and can’t
replace losses very easily but has a lot of heroes and can destroy the ring to
win the game the shadow player has narrow unlimited forces that has to
conquer so much of the map but they can also win if the ring bearer gets
corrupted and it’s these two competing tracks of moving the fellowship and
trying to destroy the ring this is the military victory that give this game a
really unique sense of balance and like paths of glory
it doesn’t retell the story on Rails you create your own Lord of the Rings saga
and that’s what makes the game special to me all the events of the books are
there but the order they come out and how they’re used is different you can
keep the fellowship together all the way to Mount Doom well Isengard can ignore
Rohan and attack the north instead the decisive battle of the game might not
take place at the Black Gate it might take place at the Lonely Mountain or the
Grey Havens and it’s this variety and replayability that has kept us a top
game for me for so long number 5 Battlestar Galactica the game
of backstabbing and betrayal sit in the Battlestar Galactica TV show this is one
of my main groups all time favorite games and we’ve played
this a heck of a lot over the years this games over ten years old now and a sadly
out of print and I expect some of the expansions like daybreak are going to be
very hard to get in the future if they aren’t already and while it might be a
little chunky and convoluted by today’s standards very few games have ever
executed their theme so well this game always generates great moments great
banter and great interaction between the people at the table board games are
about generating moments with your friends I can’t think of a game that’s
generated more moments for me than Battlestar Galactica but whether it’s a
sudden betrayal a mistaken identity or a well-planned execution this game
consistently delivers highly memorable game sessions and great stories will be
sharing for years number four Star Wars rebellion a card
driven war game set in the original trilogy of Star Wars a lot of what I
said about War of the Ring applies to rebellion as well the asymmetry the
different paths to victory and how you not railroaded into telling the story of
Star Wars you can tell your own version of Star Wars it could be in your story
that the hidden rebel base was on Mon Calamari and that was revealed when Mon
Mothma turned to the dark side it could be that the Empire gets to Death Star’s
operational at the same time and it also could be Chewbacca who gets frozen in
carbonite and hard has to go rescue him there are a lot of things that make
rebellion appealing to me but the thing that sets it a little bit apart from War
of the Ring is that all the actions are character driven so it’s not just moving
an imperial fleet admiral Piett is moving that imperial fleet it’s not just
a sabotage mission jyn erso is leading a sabotage mission and that character hook
really helps build the narrative of the story another game it has the habit of
creating memorable sessions that you talk about the ages and the cat and mouse
game between the rebels and the Empire about the location of the secret rebel
base is an awful lot of thought when you’re the rebel you’re sitting there
wondering of the Empire’s figured out where you are and when you’re the Empire
you go where the hell are they as you said your probes all across the map to
figure it out I also took the time to paint my copy and I’m really happy that
I did because it makes me happy to see it set up and ready to play
number three Twilight Struggle a card driven game where you play the Soviet
Union and the United States during the Cold War my academic background is
International Relations and defense studies and I spent a lot of time
studying the Cold War so I personally find the theme really engaging even if
it does buy into some things like domino theory and Rob’s just about every state
other than the Soviet Union and the u.s. of their agency it’s still a fascinating
take on the superpower game of the great struggle that occupied the world from
1945 to 1990 and if you are looking for a very serious competitive game with two
players and you’ve got the time to play it and the time to learn it I highly
recommend getting two eyelets struggle ago the app is also exceptional and I’ve
actually been playing that North a lot lately and I’m seriously thinking of
doing a playthrough of the app while I discuss the strategy of the game and
talk about the historical context of the cards that are played if you’re at all
interested in seeing that video let me know in the comments number two
terraforming Mars an engine building game about terraforming Mars this has
been one of my favourite games ever since the day I picked it up and it’s
what I am constantly playing I’ve loved 300 odd plays on BoardGameGeek and three
hundred and four hours on the Steam app what I love about this game is just the
openness of the engines you can do the different corporations give you
different play styles and star points and the engine you build evolved based
on what cards you come across and you will come across all the cards
throughout the game if you’re playing with drafting which I highly recommend
you do after your first game you’ll see on average in a four player game nearly
a hundred cards and from those hundred cards you might play ten to thirty of
them my criticism of a lot of other engine builders is you don’t get enough
options that’s not a problem in terraforming Mars and sure sometimes
there are cards you just can’t do anything with but it doesn’t matter
because you’re seeing so many always a choice to make
especially as if you don’t get the cards you want there’s always standard
projects that can fill the gap you don’t need to draw a city card to play a city
and I just love all the different things you can do you can build a microbe heavy
engine you can focus straight on terraforming you can build lots of
cities and try to get extra points of other people’s greenery and with the
expansions you can build stations across Venus and invest heavily and colonies
out in the belt and it’s this endless replayability and the endless variety
that keeps me coming back to this game since this game came out of
five years ago it has easily been the one I’ve played the most and because of
that it could easily have been my number one game but that honor goes to
something very different number one
spirit Island the cooperative game we play spirits defending in Ireland in the
Pacific from invaders the proverb in tarea before was what I grew up with and
it means in every band in the Waikato River there is a taniwha and a Taniwha e is a spirit now I remember being a little kid going up and down the river
looking at each Bend and wondering where the taniwha was and spirit island is a
game about playing the study far about playing those nature spirits defending
in Ireland not too dissimilar from what I live on from invasion the game also
teaches the principles of kaitiakitanga which is the idea of stewardship or
living at one with the land the spirits get angry in the game because there’s
blind and blights caused by over harvesting and over exploitation of
resources in my day job I work for the Department of Conservation and our job
is looking after national parks and protecting endangered species so a lot
of the ideas and spirit Island really appealed to me that wouldn’t be enough
to make it my number one game not by a long shot
Spirit isand also a stunningly well designed cooperative game there is so
much happening in this game so much you can do and build and all of the spirits
feel completely different to play sharp fangs behind the Leaves works by moving
animals around the board and using them to attack the invaders
oceans hungry grasp drags the invader’s out of the oceans and drowns them and
heart of the wild fire moves around the map leaving a trail of destruction
behind it but also like a wildfire the potential for regrowth a lot of games
have variable player powers which change one or two facets of the game but in
spirit Island your fundamental game experience changes based on what spirit
you’re playing and the interactions between spirits are also dramatically
impact the game the team of slow-moving spirits can be made that much more
effective by lightning swift strike and serpent slumbering beneath the island
can be a liability for the first part of the game but when it wakes it makes a
huge impact there’s also so much going on on your turn
that’d be almost impossible to alpha game this most people will be busy and
dealing with all the things they have to do to have to worry about what someone
else is doing there’s also loads of scenarios and invaders that you can use
to modify the difficulty of the game and it’s because of the theme the asymmetry
and the powers the customization of the difficulty and the overall challenge of
the game and how it makes you think this is my number one game of all time for
2019 and that’s the end of the list here’s a list of the games they were on
the top 100 last year that didn’t feature this year most of those just
because I’ve been enjoying other games more but one of those a distant plain
which was my number 19 game last year I’ve taken off the list for a
conflict-of-interest I still really enjoy the coin games so much so that
I’ve been designing one so thank you all for watching and if you
enjoyed this content like it hit the notification button subscribe to the
channel share it with your friends and consider supporting us on patreon or
just buying us a coffee that’d be ace and I’d like to thank all
of my patrons from this year we really could have done this without you your
supporters allowed us to buy new cameras a new microphone new lighting keep
paying for software and generally keeping this project going from
Stephanie and I thank you so much let me hear your thoughts about the list in the
comments let me know what games you think I absolutely need to play and
thank you for staying with me to the end of this video
Ka kite anō, farewell

100 thoughts on “The top 100 games of all time (2019)”

  1. Oh my goodness this took a while. If you find any little errors in the video, just chalk that down to trying to do this while holding down a full time job and the resulting fatigue that comes with that 🙂 ANYWAY, what games should I be playing that aren't on here? What did you think of the teaser at the end? Am I mad for doing a video like this? Let me know. (TL/DR list below as well)

  2. Best list ever. Spirit Island a game which I picked up because of you has become my absolute favorite game of all time. Beast of a game in every aspect. Thanks for the work

    Edit: since many games come from KS and many comments here mention projects as well. What do you think about the platform and the union debate going on? Honestly I stopped backing on KS at all…

  3. Twilight Struggle video for sure! As for games, get some more plays of Great Western Trail in and it could make the next one.

  4. Wonderful list. Did I miss Fury of Dracula? Still. A great, great list, especially your number 1. It's my favorite cooperative game.

  5. Very interesting for all the games where I exactly agree with your assessment (Android – a fabulous "thing" I am glad exists, not a great game) there are a bunch of huh's. Basically I cant imagine anything lighter than Modern Art in my top 100. Spirit Island is my game of the year – I only found it in June., so very good for the reasons you say.

    Also a friend of mine has run a game based on insurgency in a Red/Green/Blue Mars inspired Mars – a COIN game would be very intriguing. Like you with ROOT I suspect that I admire them more than I actually enjoy them but I still buy them.

  6. So with Anachrony at #7, what are you thoughts on the Infinity Box that can be late pledged? $165+$22 shipping seems worth while with the amount of content! Also debating on adding metal cubes… but not sure how often they are actually moved / tactically used.

  7. Not a lot of overlap on our lists, though I haven't even played many of the games you include.

    Good luck with that game design. I look forward to playing it.

  8. This list just further cements my trust in your taste in games 🙂 I would play pretty much every game fron this list, except the political/depressing games (like This War Of Mine).

  9. I watched last year's top 100 a couple of times. This one is even better. Well done.
    Coin question… have you played Gandhi? I've been considering it. If you have, where does it rank among the Coin series for you?

  10. Absolutely interested in a Twilight Struggle play through! I love the history of the Cold War and would love to hear your take on it all.

  11. Glad you loved Yokohama so much! I'm glad to see many critics see how magical the game is, and how the board and cards shuffle again and again every time you play! And Arsehitects is on the list too! Nothing like ripping apart peoples workers! And thanks for reminding me about Paladins!

    And how replayable is Argent?

  12. What a list!!! Doggone you just get it done… fast and straight forward. This is easily the best top 100 game list I have ever seen! 🤯

  13. That was a superb video (although lacking the eye candy of the previous list!). When Axis and allies first came out I played it continuously, so much so when the all new super European and Pacific theatre of the game was published I bought them both immediately. Big mistake. The core game is the same with a few extra fiddly rules, and the pieces look good, and the boards look aesthetically pleasing, especially combined, but they are terribly designed. For example, Germany and the surrounding European territories are tiny little spaces on the map which you have to pile a ton of miniatures, yet Africa is a quarter of the board with a handful of miniatures.

  14. Please do explain Twilight struggle. I've got the app and I just don't last even in the simplest difficulty against the AI

  15. I love your description of Spirit Island. I've been a little afraid to try it because it looks quite heavy, and I generally have to buy a game to play it. However, maybe I can convince my spouse to try it at the board game cafe. I think he would like the theme. We also live on an island (West Coast of Canada), and, although I like living here, the development keeps marching on, at the expense of forests and farmland.

  16. Great to have a video to reminds me about all the great games that already exist before Essen. Then again, this also reminds me how interested I am in Paladins. Glad to see Aeon's End up there, though. And keep the teasers coming. 🙂

    (Side note: there are two 38s, just so you know.)

  17. I lean to the mechanic side versus theme, but boy when you get a game that does both very well, it’s special. WOTR 2e and TS are 2 such games. Saw you got Nations…best historical civ game IMO. Great video!

  18. One of my favourite top 100s ever. I just love how you keep it all condensed in a reasonable length of time without giving up on accurate overviews of each and every entry. Thank you.

  19. This list is amazing thanks for taking the time to put it together. There are so many "missed" (by me) gems in this list I can't wait to check out. Board games are about having fun with friends and we have similar tastes, though I value good (in my eyes) mechanics more than story a bit more than you. I'd love to play TS anytime or see that video made. Happy gaming.

  20. Fantastic list – I’ve added a couple to my ‘want to play’ and have dug out a couple from my shelves to get back to the table 😉 thanks for putting this together.

  21. Very interesting list 🙂 Since you like Alien themed games Lifeform could be an interesting game for you as well. It was at the same time on Kickstarter as Nemesis but didn't get that much attention

  22. Thanks for this great, thoughtful list — ad especially for mentioning that Bloc by Bloc was available from the publisher as a PNP! I backed out of the original KS campaign and have regretted it ever since. Cheers!

  23. Paladins entered pretty high. I like it better than Raider and Architects. Spirit Island My favorite game of all time.

  24. Spirit Island is also my fav game of all time ! 😀 The only downside is that it's hard to pick for new players so I play it mostly solo xD

  25. I would definitely love to see that Twilight Struggle playthrough! Also, it was your original review of Spirit Island that convinced me that I had to get the game. I like games with unique themes and no game is more unique than Spirit Island, so thanks for turning me on to that game!

  26. Android is one of my favorite games! It's a beast for sure. There are some really good fan-made solo rules for this game that really saves it.

  27. Cannot get into Terra-forming Mars…feels like a solitaire game with the hardship of waiting for other people to finish their turn. I lack patience.

  28. Great list, fast paced presented, others should take a look in how to do a top 100 without yawning.
    Cheers from Brazil!

  29. Autistic shrieking You didn't include obscure 1960's Canadian board game Stock Ticker! Don't think as a nation we will take this lightly, New Zealand is probably going to not be apart of the Commonwealth once I tell on you to the Queen.

  30. This channel and your work are just great. I really like the style, the text and the values you hold important. Please keep it up! Cheers from Portugal!

  31. Yes, please do that Twilight Struggle thing with the app thing and the talking thing. Let's get our Cold War dork on!

  32. My wife and I just sat through the whole video just after completing our first Spirit Island game, nice timing and agreed, what an awesome game ! 🙂 Outstanding list and channel you got there, thanks for the hard work. I just picked up Viticulture (have yet to try it) heavily based on your 3 minutes review but see it's not on the list. A case of not played enough or just not good enough ?

  33. Definitely would love the twilight struggle play-through. It is a game I’ve seen and heard about but can’t bring much context to. Seeing it though someone who knows the issues and struggles of the time would make for a really interesting watch for me personally.

  34. Kia ora, first time watching your show and obviously picked up the kiwi tone etc. Then to hear the Waikato part was great. Are you still in the Mighty Waikato as Hamilton is my home town.

  35. I am the 666th upvoter :D, hey I saw the whole list and im glad I discovered some games such as obsession, thunderbirds and the capn is dead. I think I didn't see viticulture anywhere 🙁 really cool vid man keep it up

  36. Have you ever tried on of GMT's COIN-system games? Given your love of Twilight Struggle and strategy games you might really like. A good starting point is Labyrinth The War on Terror, which bridges the gap between TS and COIN. Then Cuba Libre. Then the grand daddy, Fire in the Lake – the Vietnam war. It takes telling historic narrative without being on rails to the next level.

  37. Yes to an app playthrough of Twilight Struggle!
    I'm well out of practice, so it would be good to get some strategy reminders.

  38. What, no Forbidden Stars? I feel personally attacked! Great list, very happy to see some less known games to check out.

  39. I appreciated your comments on Spirit Island. Thanks for the immense amount of effort and time you put into making this video for us!

  40. Videos like this are great for me because, even though I don’t often discover new games this way, it gets me to look again at games I’ve otherwise dismissed in the past. Thanks for doing what you do!

  41. Excellent video yet again.. New to the hobby and after viewing this I've added 5 to the list to purchase this week 😊

  42. Where does Eclipse rank for you? What would you recommend for people who like it but don't have 12 hours for the more grand games?

  43. I could agree with most, but Xia is the worst. Every dice roll can be destructive. You can end up spending 2+ hours flying into asteroids, the sun or worse yet, just moving one or two spaces and waiting for your turn to slowly cycle back around to just do it again. I've tried it twice and had the most boring gameplay both times that I'll never waste time on it again.

    Oh man, now I've got to try Spirit Island. Thanks.

  44. 😎 Who else Is A True Fan of 3 Minute Board Games?😎 Love your content. Looking forward to your next video.

    🌹Have a phenomenal day and rest of 2019!🌹

  45. Very, very nice video ! Very inspiring. And making only one video with all your top100 is a very good idea. You grabbed my attention for 1h15. Thank you.

  46. Awesome video and list. Had to watch it in two parts with my brother but was well worth it.Excited to try some of these. The Networks just arrived Friday and I’m eager to read the rules when I have time.

    Edit: Definitely happy with the amount of detail you used to describe most of the game’s. Didn’t want it to sound like I was complaining about length it is perfect.

  47. I would love a Twilight Struggle playthrough, with perhaps more emphasis on the historical context and how it might differ from the game-play strategy, rather than on strategies to win themselves.

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