Monday, January 13, 2014

My Top 50 games (as of Jan. 1 2014) Intro and 50-41

Welcome to my top 50 games list as of the start of 2014.  Since I have last year's list to compare with, I'll be talking about the changes in positions. There are 18 games new to the list, 10 games fell off the list, and a whopping 25 games moved down, but more on that later.

I plan on making three posts per week for the Top 50 list, one on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, so tune in often.  For games that were on the list last year, I'm not going to talk much about their gameplay, but rather about why they moved up or down.  My sister will also be discussing her Top 25 games to give you another perspective from a more casual gamer.

Without further ado, the games!

#50 Qwixx  New
Qwixx was nominated for the 2013 SDJ, which doesn't always mean that it's a great game, but it means that it is accessible.  Qwixx is a dice game where everyone can use part of the active player's roll, but they're not required to.  It has choices throughout the game, but the game always comes down to luck of the dice.  A fun filler type game.  It should be out in the US in the next couple of months, so definitely worth looking into.  If you're a fan of Yahtzee or other light dice games, this is definitely worth a look.

#49 Agricola New
Agricola has been sitting in my top 60 or so since I started doing these lists, but something kept me from moving it up.  It's a big game, so not everyone will play it, but it is enjoyable.  It can be a mean game, and it's a very tight game (meaning you always want to do more than you can).  The game does tell a story through the actions.  You start with two farmers who can take actions such as fishing, clay making, gathering food, building fences, etc.  There are multiple ways to win the game, but also multiple ways to lose.  Most of the expansions are unnecessary unless you've played the game dozens of times.

#48 This Game is Bonkers  Down 29
Bonkers moved down for two reasons. First, I only got to play it once or twice, which just isn't enough.  Second, I played a lot of other light games in 2013 and they are better than Bonkers in my mind.  I still like the game, and I will always play if someone suggests it.

#47 Zooloretto/Aquaretto New
Zooloretto was #55 last year on my list, but I'm counting it as new since it wasn't actually on the list.  Zooloretto is a game about building a zoo.  There is set collection and some bonuses for filling certain areas, but mostly it is a game about getting animals of certain types and maximizing the points.  Aquaretto plays very similar, just with water animals.  The game does reward experience, but it doesn't require it.  I recently played with three others who had never played and the game was close, which made it enjoyable for everyone.

#46 Eclipse New
This is the first 4X game I've played, and wow, what a game.  There's a lot going on, and it takes awhile to play, but it's a great experience.  This is an all afternoon/evening sort of game, especially with a lot of players, but it has something for everyone.  There are alliances, tech trees, economic decisions, warfare, backstabbing, and much more.  There are so many options in this game, that I've yet to feel like I'm playing the same game twice.  There are certain avenues that are helpful to pursue, but nothing is absolutely mandatory in the game.

#45 TransAmerica  New
TransAmerica is a light version of Ticket to Ride with a cooperative spin.  There's still a competition to complete your cities first, but you have to help others along the way.  I enjoy the game, even though it can be frustrating when no one builds near your cities.  I think the game is better using the included Vexation expansion, which gives each player 3 tracks in their own color that only they can travel along.  This adds some more strategy to the game, and makes people build around.  Vexation adds some time to the game, but I think it makes it a better game.  That being said, I enjoy both.  I think Vexation is better, but I will gladly play base TransAmerica with new players.

#44 Settlers of Catan  Down 19
This year, Catan drops not because of lack of plays, but because of better games taking its place.  The biweekly group I started attending began as a Catan group, and now we've only played Catan twice since I started introducing other games.  Catan is still fun, but it's not something I want to play often, and I rarely go "let's play Catan."  I have enjoyed Star Trek Catan, which adds some powers which makes for a faster game and an added layer of strategy.

#43 1960: Making of the President  Down 16
Down due to lack of play.  I just don't have someone to play long 2 player games with right now.  This is an amazing game, it just doesn't see table time for me.  I might try getting my cousin into this game, since I think he'd enjoy it.  I've found both sides to be balanced.  Sure, one side can have a better draw sometimes, but I've found that those things even out over the course of the game.

#42 Eminent Domain  Down 21
I'm actually predicting that this will go back up next year.  It's falling because I need the expansion that's supposedly on it's way to me as we speak.  The base game is fine, but everyone plays the same way, and it gets old fast.  EmDo has also been hurt by the fact that I haven't been able to play the full game (with Tech) since I've been teaching new players in my most recent plays of it.

#41 Power Grid  Down 5
Not a huge drop here, as you can see from other games dropping down.  I actually played Power Grid with my cousin and we both enjoyed it.  There are some flaws, especially for new players, but I enjoy Power Grid, and it's moved up to keeper status for me.  I no longer own any expansion maps.  While I can appreciate the variety they add, I don't play the game enough to justify owning them.

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