Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My Top 50 Games (as of Jan. 1 2014) Part 5 10-1

Welcome back to my top 50 games list as of the start of 2014.  My top 10 has 6 of the same games as last year.  Even then, 4 games make their debut in my top 10.  I'd wager that there won't be another year with more than 4 new games in my top 10.  I played a lot of amazing games for the first time in 2013, and I think the amount of new games on this list reflects that.

#10 Article 27  New

Article 27 is a pure negotiation game.  Everyone is trying to get their way, but most of the time, no two players want exactly the same thing.  Each round is 5 minutes of chaotic negotiation, but oh my, what a fun 5 minutes.  I really enjoy Article 27 because the game plays quickly, but it packs a big punch in that timeframe.

#9 Star Wars: X-Wing  Down 4

X-Wing drops for a couple of reasons.  The main one is further down on this list, but the second is really the lack of support from FFG.  Production is constantly delayed, and they don't communicate with the fans.  Their tournament support is a bit lacking in comparison to another company.  The other big reason is that I want missions and/or a campaign.  Dogfights are fun in X-Wing, but they aren't everything that I want to experience in the game.  The game is still a lot of fun, but others are more fun.

#8 Incan Gold  Up 1

Incan Gold gets a bump because I played it a lot in 2013, and I really enjoyed every play of it.  It's a really fun push your luck game that I rarely win.  I usually run at the same time as someone else, run too early, or run far too late.  Still, the game is quick, and has a lot of laughs and good tension throughout.

#7 For Sale  Up 3

For Sale moves up because it's become a game I can play with anyone.  It's not a super deep game, but there are still important choices to make every turn.  It plays blazingly quick, around 20 minutes, which is the perfect filler for me.

#6 7 Wonders  Down 3

7 Wonders moved down simply because I'm playing it less.  The game is still a lot of fun, but I feel like I'm missing something when I play it.  There's still a lot to the game that I haven't delved into, so I need to get it back to the table for that.  It's a good design in my mind, with a lot of ways to win.  Adding in Leaders and Cities has given me a lot of variety, and I'd be happy with the game exactly as it is.  Of course, more wonders add variety, and another expansion might give me that little something I'm missing, so I'm not really sure.  Anyways, I enjoy 7 Wonders.  It's one of my go to games for a larger gaming crowd.

#5 King of Tokyo  New

King of Tokyo is a great dice chucking game.  I'm a sucker for any game where I get to roll lots of dice and use them to do something.  What better thing to do with your dice results than rampage Tokyo and attack the other monsters?  The game does suffer from player elimination, especially if you go out early, you can be waiting around for awhile.  Even then, KoT is a fun game to watch, so I don't mind that too much, but others might.

#4 Ticket to Ride Down 2

Ticket didn't really move down in my opinion, it's just that #2 and 3 jumped over it.  Ticket to Ride is a really fun, yet simple train game.  The game is fairly simple, with only 3 choices on each turn, but how players utilize those choices makes a huge difference in their game.

#3 Resistance: Avalon  New

I picked this up on a whim.  I played normal Resistance, and wasn't a big fan, but after watching a play through of this online, I thought it just might work.  Turns out I was right, and 50 plays in 2013 later, it's #3 on my list.  I mainly play it on Friday nights with a larger group, and we get really into the game.  We play at least 3 times every meeting, which has led to some discoveries of tells.  It has turned us all into better liars, which probably isn't the best thing in the world, but we've all promised to use those powers for good, not evil.

#2 Star Trek: Attack Wing  New

This is the aforementioned game that knocked X-Wing down.  Yes, the model quality is worse than X-Wing by a wide margin, but that pales to the enriched gameplay and missions that exist in the game. The tournament support has been fantastic, and more amazing things are coming this year.  I came into the game with a lot of skepticism, thinking it would essentially be X-Wing in Star Trek colors, but boy was I wrong.  The gameplay is so much deeper, with a lot more options in squad building and actual game play.

#1 Cosmic Encounter No Change

Cosmic holds on to the #1 spot, though it almost lost it to Star Trek.  Cosmic is a game I love every time I play it, and there is never a bad game of Cosmic.  I know it isn't a game for everyone, but for those people who enjoy a bit of chaos, and having to work together, but find the opportune moment to make a power play, this is the game for you.

What did I learn in 2013?
The biggest thing I learned is that there are great games coming out all the time.  My personal gaming tastes are changing all the time, and just about any game could find it's way onto my list.  My top 5 games have almost nothing in common as far as mechanics go.  I like them all for completely different reasons.  To me, that's a great testament to my desire for variety.  Stay tuned for this list next year.  I'm sure many things will change again.

Monday, January 27, 2014

My Sister's Top 25 games of all time as of January 2014 Part 3 #5-1

Welcome to my long-awaited top 5 games! Hope you have enjoyed my top 25 games list and make sure to check out and play these games!

#5 Wits and Wagers

I like Wits and Wagers. It is fun to bet on how well you or your other players can answer trivia questions. The greatest part of the game is that all of the answers are numbers! You do not have to know any trivia to win this game. A few or a lot of people can play at one time, which makes it versatile and a fun, not too difficult game to play.

#4 Dixit

Dixit is a great game to play with people you know. It is also a good way to get to know people, too. During each round, a player tells a story about one of the picture cards they have in their hand. The other players put in one of their cards, then all of the players vote on which card is the storyteller's. It is fun and a way to get your creative side working. This is a great game substitution for Apples to Apples, and once you play Dixit, you will likely never want to play Apples again. The artwork on the cards is amazing and there are truly an infinite amount of stories ready to be told.

#3 Shadows Over Camelot

Even though I am not a fan of co-op games, I really like Shadows Over Camelot. It is fun to become a knight of the round table and defeat evil. Watch out for possible traitors, while searching for the grail, excalibur, and trying to defeat the Saxons. Each knight can pick their own powers and be useful on certain quests, but it all depends on the cards. It is fun to play and watch how the group of knights work together. Be sure to set aside 2 hours to play this game, but once everyone is an experienced knight, evil will be quickly defeated and the good knights victorious!

#2 Formula D

This car racing game is awesome! Each player is in the game until the end. The game does take some skill, but if you can roll the dice well, you will succeed. Just be careful to not make too many risky moves, otherwise you will crash and burn. Try and cross the finish line before your competitors, and feel like you are a professional race car driver.

#1 Ticket to Ride

Yes, Ticket to Ride is my favorite game to play! I have played the U.S. map the most, so I like it the best. Europe is fun and so is Nordic Countries. At the beginning of a game of Ticket, I plan out how I want to connect my trains to each city. Someone usually tends to mess it up, however, since there are only so many route options. So, even if I cannot win, it is also fun to try and score lots of points, or even better to put my trains where I know someone needs to go and stop them in their tracks. Ticket can be stressful, but the point of playing board games is to have fun. I could probably play Ticket all night and not be board, unless the same person kept winning. I see myself playing this game for years. I also do not see myself making this game less than my #1 game.

Friday, January 24, 2014

My Top 50 Games (as of Jan. 1 2014) Part 4 20-11

Welcome back to my top 50 games list as of the start of 2014.  Part 4 has a few more surprises.
5 games make their debut in the 20's.

#20 Flash Point: Fire Rescue  Up 6

Flash Point is one of the simpler co-op games, but I really enjoy it.  The theme flows throughout the game.  There's always a certain amount of tension since fire can spark up anywhere on the map.  I have most/all the expansions, so I have plenty of ways to play this game.  It hasn't been right for every group, but it's a game I can teach to just about anyone and they have a basic understanding of how to play based on real life ideas.

#19 Legendary: A Marvel Deckbuilding Game  New

Legendary makes its debut on this list because it has a neat twist on the co-op game.  Everyone wins or loses the game together, but there is essentially an MVP on the winning side.  Now technically, someone wins more, but I've played it as an MVP situation.  I enjoy the variety of superheroes in the game, and how each seems to do something unique.  The game rewards cooperation, but it also allows players to make their own decisions which is important in any co-op game.

#18 Hanabi  New

Hanabi makes my list because it is unlike any game I've ever played.  This is a puzzle game where everyone has a lot of knowledge, but no one has perfect knowledge.  Discussion is very limited, every clue matters, and players have to pay attention to everything, both spoken and unspoken.  A perfect game is obtainable, but it's really challenging.

#17 Alhambra  New

Alhambra is an older game, but I find it refreshing and challenging even today.  It just missed the cut last year, coming in at #48.  I was able to play it several times in 2013, which is why it moved up drastically.  I have the big box, which means I have over 20 modules which means I have a lot of replayability in the box.  Alhambra is one of the few games that my entire family will ask to play.  That alone makes it worth rating highly.

#16 Love Letter  New

Love Letter is truly a minimalist game.  It has 16 cards, and 13 cube tokens.  Even though the components are low, the game packs a punch.  Love Letter is played over several rounds, with the winner of each round getting a token, and the overall winner being the player to get a certain number of tokens first.  The game has a good combination of luck and strategy.  Sometimes there is nothing you can do, but most of the time, you're going to have some chance to win a round.

#15 Escape: The Curse of the Temple  New

Escape is the most tense 10 minutes of gaming you can play.  It's a realtime co-op dicefest.  Players have to work together to get gems, and then get out of the temple before time runs out.  If even one player is left in the temple at the end, everyone loses the game.

#14 Shadows Over Camelot Down 6

Shadows drops because of its length.  I did get to play it 3 times in 2013, but each time I realized that the game takes too long for what it is.  If I could get Shadows down to an hour, it would be even higher on this list.

#13 Battlestar Galactica  Down 7

BSG probably wins my award for game I wish I played more but can't/don't.  The game is so hard to teach to new people.  It really is something you have to go through once in order to understand how to play, and even then the game is complicated.  There are a lot of moving parts, and often it's too much for multiple new players to understand.  As such, this game sits on my shelf looking sad.

#12 Star Trek Fleet Captains  Down 5

Such a good game that I don't get to play.  It's hard to have a situation where I have 1 or 2 other people who want to play a long game.  Fleet Captains isn't the longest game, but it is a deep game with an immersive theme.  I love Star Trek, as you'll see in my Top 10, and Fleet Captains feels like Star Trek to me, but this game has a lot going

#11 Dominion Down 7

Dominion trends down for the second year in a row.  Here's my issue with Dominion right now: the game is big, it isn't easy to get new players into the game because experienced players will typically win the game running away.  I have enough Dominion cards to play almost forever without ever playing the exact same game.  I still enjoy the game, especially with people who know what they're doing, but I have a hard time holding myself back when I play with new gamers.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My Sister's Top 25 games of all time as of January 2014 Part 2 #15-6

Welcome back to Sarah's Top 25 games. Hope everyone liked my first post. Here are my next top 10 games. I enjoy these games more, since I play them more often, and they are a bit more strategic, but still as fun.

Now, the games!

#15 Martian Dice

I like Martian Dice, since it is a simple game that only involves a combination of some luck and timing. It can also be a quick game, or made into a longer game, depending on how long you can stand trying to roll humans, chickens, and cows to gain points against tanks.

#14 Resistance Avalon

Resistance and Resistance Avalon are both good games for when you become suspicious of your game group members. Try and figure out who is really on the good side and watch yourself over think, but still have fun.

#13 Tsuro

This is a quick game that involves some strategy, but once your tiles connect with others' tiles, then craziness ensues. It is best to focus on your path and not connect soon, but it is also fun to mess up the other players' paths.

#12 For Sale 

I like For Sale because it is fun to try and buy good properties and to avoid the horrible cardboard box properties. You learn how much people are willing to bet, to win, and who you will want to invite on your next trip to Vegas.

#11 Gem Dealer 

Gem Dealer is on my list because I am good at collecting the gems. I like that the game comes with actual (plastic) gems. It makes the game seem more real. It is a quick game, like For Sale, and is good to include for a night of many games.

#10 Aquaretto/Zooloretto 

I combined Aquaretto and Zooloretto because they are too similar to have to rank separately. The major difference is Aquaretto features dolphins, whales, and penguins, while Zooloretto features elephants, monkeys, and zebras. So it all depends which species you are in the mood to try and collect!

#9 Alhambra

Alhambra is a fun city-building game. I enjoy trying to create the longest wall and get as many tower pieces as I can. It is not too long of a game. I like that you do not know when each round will end (depends on the card shuffling), which provides for a sense of urgency to try and get more points and avoid ties with other players.

#8 TransAmerica

TransAmerica is a cool game to play, if you happen to ever be tired of Ticket to Ride. It is more simple than Ticket, but can be just as fun. A lot of the game can depend on where you place your starting piece, but at any point the game can completely change, especially since you do not really know when someone will finish connecting their cities.

#7 Hanabi 

I enjoy Hanabi when I feel like challenging myself. This is one of the only co-op games I like to play, and it is nice to not have to worry too much about your cards. You get to see the other players' cards and tell them which of their cards are important to use, while you have to wait for them to tell you about your cards. The game can be stressful, but it is a fun stress. Yes, you do want to put on a good fireworks show, but if there are a few bumps along the way, it can still end well!

#6 King of Tokyo 

There is not a dull moment, when playing King of Tokyo. Players are constantly battling each other for points, powers, and health. The base game, alone, is exciting, but the expansions are even more fun. Yes, dice are involved, but the luck is quickly exchanged between players.

Any guesses on which games I have in my top 5? Comment below and we look forward to reading them!

Monday, January 20, 2014

My Top 50 Games (as of Jan. 1 2014) Part 3 30-21

Welcome back to my top 50 games list as of the start of 2014.  Part 3 has a few surprises as far as placement goes.  3 games make their debut in the 20's.

Without further ado, the games!

#30 Can't Stop  Down 15
Can't Stop is a great push your luck dice game.  It fell on my list because I haven't played it in over a year.  I don't own it, so it's not really under my control.  The design is simple and straight forward, but I love the anticipation that each die roll brings.

#29 Kingsburg  Up 6
Kingsburg moves up due to more experience with the expansion.  The game really offers a lot of choice, even with limited dice rolls.  Yes, you can get messed over by terrible dice rolls all game long, but for the most part, you'll be able to do something on each turn.  The more I play Kingsburg, the more I realize the depth in the game, and the different paths to victory.

#28 Fleet  Down 12
Fleet is still a really really good game, but I need to expansion to keep it fresh.  The game has become a bit samey to me.  I don't think there's necessarily one dominant path to victory, but there are several key things that you need to do in order to succeed, and once you get those things together, you're really hard to stop.  I know that the expansion is going to change a lot of things, or at least add a lot of options, which will prevent some of those main paths.  I enjoy Fleet, especially with new players, but in order for the game to stay up here again, I need the expansion to be excellent.

#27 Takenoko New
I received Takenoko from my BGG Secret Santa, meaning I haven't had it long.  The first time I played the game, I really enjoyed it.  Every time I've played it subsequent to that, I've enjoyed it.  That level of enjoyment demands a place on this list.  I'm not sure where Takenoko will settle, but this seemed like a good place to start.  Takenoko is a very approachable game that starts off simple and gets more complex as you go along.  There are 5 options on any given turn, and you get to do 2, so you're not overwhelmed with choice, but you're also not too limited.  I really enjoy how everyone has to interact on the board, but everyone has their own goals.

#26 Eight-Minute Empire New
If you read my review of Eight-Minute Empire you'd know that I enjoy the game, even though the title is a bit of a misnomer.  This game is more like 15-20 minute empire.  Still, it's a very well designed game, and it works well in a short amount of time.  The game has two ways to score points, but they're directly related.  On your turn, you purchase a card that has a symbol on it, and then you do the action listed on the card.  At the end of the game you get points for sets of symbols, as well as points for areas controlled on the board.  It's a really tight game with several key decisions, but it's also over quickly, so one bad move doesn't leave you losing for hours.

#25 Forbidden Desert  New
Spoiler alert, Forbidden Island is gone, and Forbidden Desert has taken over.  Forbidden Desert isn't the most challenging co-op game, but is by no means easy.  The player powers are easy to understand, but making the best use of the combination in any given game is a true challenge.  Make no mistake, Forbidden Desert is a lot more difficult than Forbidden Island.  Sun beating down on the players will account for a lot of lost games.

#24 Small World Down 6
Small World is still a very enjoyable game for me.  I enjoy the variety of races and powers.  I also enjoy the player politicking that goes on to try to cut down the leader.  The only reason it dropped a bit was due to newer games taking higher spots.  Small World is a great game for Risk players looking for something a little shorter and something with a lot more variety.

#23 Dixit  Down 11
Moving down due to lack of plays and a lack of desire to play.  Don't get me wrong, Dixit is still an excellent party game, and my go to game for a very creative group. The problem is that I don't have the creative mix of people that I had in college.  Dixit truly takes a group of diverse thinkers to make it work as well as it can.  That's one of the things that makes it a great party game.  It serves as a way to get to know someone, but more importantly, learn how they think, and also discover some of the random connections that people have.

#22 Roll Through the Ages  Down 11
Down due to lack of excitement.  I still think that RTtA is a great game with a lot of choices to make.  It's one of those games that I want to play more to really explore different strategies.  The problem is that I don't have other people who want to go down that path, so it tends to sit on the shelf while other games get played.

#21 Pandemic  Down 8
Pandemic is an enjoyable game for me, but it moved down because the newest expansion essentially requires the new version of the game, and I'm really opposed to that.  Now, I still enjoy what I have, and I will happily play Pandemic with what I have.  The game is fine, but it gets a bit samey after awhile.  My plays of it have drastically decreased over the last couple of years.  It can suffer from one player telling others what to do.  Fortunately, in my group, there are two of us who offer opinions and then leave the final choice up to the player.  That system has worked well for us, though it's not perfect by any means.

Friday, January 17, 2014

My Sister's Top 25 games of all time as of January 2014 Part 1 Intro and 25-16

Welcome to Sarah's Top 25 games.  I asked her to put together a list of the games she enjoys playing in order to give you guys a different perspective.  I had no influence on her list other than providing her a list of games and letting her decide how to order them.

Without further ado, the games!

#25 Fluxx

I like Fluxx because the rules change so much. It is fun to have to adapt and you never know what is going to happen. There are several themes, and it is fun to mix the regular cards with the Camelot cards. A game can last over an hour, which is annoying at times, but it is fun to play every once in awhile.

#24 Phase 10

I know this would not be on many gamers' lists, but I like when the players get to choose the order of phases they want to accomplish. It is a good card game to play, that people of all ages can enjoy. It is nice to play when you do not want to play a heavy-strategic game.

#23 Love Letter

This is a quick game and is a good balance between luck and strategy. It takes a few game plays to figure out how to best play which cards, but it is one of those games that can always be around to fill a void between longer games.

#22 Crappy Birthday 

I like this as a different game to Apples to Apples. It is a similar concept, but more fun and provides for some good discussions. I also like that there are pictures on the cards.

#21 Mille Bornes 

I have been playing this game for over 10 years, so it is on my list because it has become a tradition to play. You have to really pace yourself at this game, because if you try to finish too fast, the other players will give you trouble.

#20 Werewolf 

I like Werewolf when there is a large group of people. I'm never a special character, which bugs me, but I still have a good time, even though people are suspicious of me because I am quiet.

#19 Tiki Topple

Tiki is a good, quick game which allows for balanced scoring, most of the time. A person can rarely win every round and it is fun when it is a close game to the end. It is also fun to try and pronounce the names of the tiki pieces. I hope one day to play this while vacationing on some exotic island, but I will probably have to settle for Hawaii.

#18 Fauna

Fauna is a great educational game and it is a good trivia-like game for those not into trivia. Who wouldn't want to try to guess where the Pronghorn lives and how long its tail is?

#17 Word on the Street  

I like Word on the Street because you have to think quick. It is much better when you play with at least two people on a team, but it also works for one-versus-one. The game is good and subject cards are of a good variety, so it balances out the teams and puts everyone on a pretty even playing field. If you plan to play this game, make sure to do some research or brainstorming before, so you can increase the odds of winning.

#16 Incan Gold  

I like the risk aspect to Incan Gold. Sometimes the cards are gracious and give out lots of gold, but sometimes the round can end in 5 drawn cards. I tend to press my luck a bit too much, but that's the price for treasure hunting. Watch out for those spiders and mummies!