Friday, January 18, 2013

2013 Top 42 Part 5 (14-8)

Welcome back to my Top 42 list. We're almost to the end.  For part four, click here.
These are all truly great games in my opinion.  They are games I can play with a lot of different people, and I almost always enjoy playing.  The order is hard to distinguish at this stage, but I've done my best.

#14 Rattus  Down 5
Rattus, still one of my favorite games.  So why did it move down?  Well, other games just jumped ahead of it because I've gotten to play them more often.  Rattus is great with people who know the game, but it's sometimes hard to teach it well.  It has the variable power mechanic that I really enjoy exploring.  With 2 expansions for Rattus, and the ability to play with up to 6 people, I think I have everything I'll ever need to enjoy this game time after time.

#13 Pandemic No Change
For reference, this is with the expansion.  Without the expansion, I don't think Pandemic is on this list.  I know this isn't everyone's cup of tea, but, in the world of pure co-op games, Pandemic is my favorite.  Other games may have more enjoyable themes, or deeper strategies, but there is just something about the struggle in Pandemic.  There are so many times where I want just one more action to do something, or when I say "If only I was the _."  The game presents a lot of different options, allows for a good amount of group think to tackle problems, and presents new challenges and opportunities with each set of player abilities.

#12 Dixit No Change
Dixit, the game that thrives on creativity, keen observation, and nifty clue telling.  Dixit is the gamers' Apples to Apples, with a bit more variety.  There are times when I don't like Dixit, but there are times I have a blast with it.  It does take a group who's willing to get into the details of the cards, but if you have a couple of people, the rest catch on quickly.  I had a chance to play this with 9 people, and it was fantastic. In fact, best game of Dixit I have ever played.

#11 Roll Through the Ages  Up 4
Civilization building with dice.  The game really fills a niche for me. It's simple enough to play just about any time, yet it has enough depth to keep me coming back to play.  There are some issues in 3-4 player games if a player or two can consistently roll 3 skulls, making their opponents lose points, but that's just something you have to try to account for.  Anytime a game uses dice, there are going to be issues with randomness.  Trying to make the most out of what you roll is a vital skill in those circumstances.  Still, it's almost impossible to beat someone who rolls exactly what they need every time.  Overall, I enjoy the civ-building aspect. The dice keep the game at a manageable timeframe.  I'd like to see some expansions (official or unofficial) that add to the scope of the game.

#10 For Sale  Up 12
For Sale has been played several times this past year.  It's frequently requested at game night, which is a great thing.  The auction aspect of the game presents players with many options, though you can get put in a bad spot.  Still, the game plays out in two phases, which makes it easy to learn, quick to play, and a neat little auction game while trying to make the best of what you have.

#9 Incan Gold  Up 1
I had a hard time deciding between Incan Gold and Shadows. I really wanted to call a tie for 8th, but like Baseball, there are no ties in game rankings.  I have nothing but good things to say about this game.  There are a lot of things it isn't, but they don't matter.  It's a great push your luck game. You have to try to read your opponents and make decisions based on what you think they're going to do, and then get frustrated when you're wrong.  With even slightly competitive people, the game becomes amazing as some root for treasure, while others root for the trap to end things.  It plays well with 4-8 players which is rare, and most of the time, people want to play again.

#8 Shadows Over Camelot  No Change
Shadows holds the number 8 spot due mostly to nostalgia.  I'm currently a bit burnt out on the game, but I have a lot of fun memories with the game.  The possibility of a traitor can make the game more tense than Battlestar, because you're never really sure how many people are working against you.  Shadows is a tough enough game to win even without a traitor, I'm often surprised that we can win a game when there is a traitor.  There's a decent amount of luck to the game, and a lot depends on how well the traitor can gain the trust of the group.  Still, the game results in stories told months after the fact.

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