Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Top 42 Part 4 (21-15)

Thanks for coming back again. You can find part 3 here, and links to previous ones from there.

Without further adieu,

#21 Werewolf/Mafia
It's hard to really count this as a board game, but with the ultimate werewolf edition, and thus role cards I'm going to go ahead and count this.  I've only played Werewolf a handful of times, but each time it has been a lot of fun.  It takes a large group to play well, and the best games I played were the 15-20 person ones.  You need at least 10 to make it worthwhile, so because of that, I don't get to play it much, but it's a lot of fun trying to figure out who's a werewolf.  The best moments are the ones where everything goes wrong, like when the werewolves get the last laugh, who then kills one of cupid's lovers which kills the other lover.  This game has a lot of good memories, and is a really fun way for a large group of people to play something together and have a lot of laughs.

#20 1960: The Making of the President
This is another game that I've only played a few times, but it was an interesting game.  Politics aren't of much interest to most people except in election years, but this game captures the tension of a close political race.  1960 was perhaps the most seesaw election process in recent history, and this game captures it perfectly.  Each player can play cards either for their affect or for action points, but they have to be careful because if they use them for action points, their opponent can try to use the action for himself.  I don't have much of the strategy to this game figured out, but it's a very well designed two player game, and it makes me want to try Twilight Struggle.  A great political game about a fascinating election, and my favorite 2 player only game.

#19 Carcassonne
This would be higher on my list, but it dropped down due to lack of recent plays. I think all the good things I have to say are in my review of Carc, but let me summarize why it's here on the list.  I can play it with just about anyone, it's easy to teach to new players.  Also, Meeples are just plain fun to play with, and the way they do different things gives players strategy opportunities.  You can't go all farmers early on, else you'll fall behind on points, and your farms won't do enough to catch up.  The downside is the numerous expansions and thus new rules, so it feels like I play the set of tiles every single time.  It's the only tile laying game I own, which gives it unique mechanics.  I really like the variety on tiles and the building aspect.  I've had a lot of fun with Carc, and I will continue playing it at least occasionally for a long time.

#18 Small World
First off, sorry Tahlia, it did fall this low, but really 19-8 were really had to decide between, and they each have their own merits and I like them all.  Small World is a fantasy combat game.  I won't call it a war game, since it's a bit too simple for that, but the game is all about combat.  You get a race, think Halflings, Elves, Giants, Sorcerers, etc. and a power, like Seafaring, Forest, Dragon Master, which give you a certain number of tokens which you use to conquer areas on the board. For each area you get a coin, and after a certain number of rounds, the high total wins.  Combat is really easy, you just need 2 tokens, plus how ever many things are currently on the region in order to take it over.  This leaves no surprises in bad die rolls which eliminates some of the frustration.  Somehow it just seems more fun when you die to Diplomat Ratmen or Flying Halflings as opposed to the rigorous and tedious combat system that is Risk.

#17 Space Hulk: Death Angel 
This is the hardest co-op game I've played.  The genestealers pursue you from room to room, and your space marines will rarely be exactly where you need them.  Nevertheless, it's a lot of fun to try to beat the game, and with player range going from 1-6 it works well for a lot of game groups.  Each player is put in control of one team of space marines (2 different marines) and given 3 options for actions.  On your first turn, you can choose from any of the three, but after that you only have access to the two you didn't just play, meaning you can't do the same thing back to back.  This means you have to be sure that what you're doing now isn't going to be necessary next turn, and you also have to communicate with teammates so not everyone attacks on the same turn.  It's all about balance and communication, yet the way in which enemies come out and the events that happen are anything but balanced, and the game limits the player's communication.  It doesn't matter though, because the game is still enjoyable and something I want to play frequently.

#16 Settlers of Catan
More specifically, Cities and Knights.  This was the first hobby game I ever played, and I, for lack of a better term, fell in love.  I started thinking about it, replaying games in my head, and wanting to play it all the time.  Perhaps I've romanticized Settlers, because when I play it now, some of the charm is gone, but I can't deny that I played it a lot of times, and it was the start of my gaming family, and the reason I have three amazing friends from college.  Catan is a game I will one day play with my girlfriend, and then fianc√©, and then wife, and someday kids and nieces and nephews.  I can't deny that it is the reason I love boardgames, and it's an amazing blend of strategy and luck, resource management and player interaction.  It does a lot of things pretty well, no single thing great, but it's a great way to spend a few hours with people, and that's the mark of a great game.

#15 Roll Through the Ages
Consider this a civilization game boiled down to dice. Now, many elements had to be removed, but since I've never played a true civ game, I enjoy this for what it is.  You use workers to build cities, cities give you more dice, then you use workers to build monuments.  You have to get food to feed your cities, else your people starve and you lose points.  If you roll too many skulls, you lose points, but if you make 3, you attack your opponents.  Skulls give you goods which let you trade for coin which then allows you to buy developments.  Sure, there's luck in what you roll, it's dice for goodness sake, but there's a lot of strategy that can mitigate the luck.  I personally play with the expansion which adds more development and player to player trading, which adds to the civilization feel.  Overall, it's a well done dice game that I enjoy in ~45 minutes, which is great.

Just 14 more to go.  Sunday will be 14-7, then I will do 7-6-5-4 on Wednesday 2/7 and 3-2-1 on Sunday 2/11.

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