|Can you hear the war drums?|
2) Axis & Allies - A mainstay of my youth, this is a game I still love. It doesn't get to the table much anymore, but I would love to pull it out soon. I've linked to the original here, but I'd love to play the giant combined game of the newest Europe and Pacific versions.
3) Ticket to Ride - The classic gateway game, great to teach to non-gamers, and interesting for veteran players alike. I always look forward to a new map, and am eager to break in my copy of the Anniversary Edition.
4) Stone Age - This is a great example of the worker placement genre. If it's not a gateway game, it's the next step up, and this is another I've introduced to many non-gamer.
5) Power Grid - In my opinion, this is one of the absolute best games to be found. Great player
interaction via the bidding mechanic, and a fantastic market mechanic, which drives other decisions in the game, such as playing for turn order. I keep buying all the new maps...haven't played them all yet, but I keep buying them!
6) Hansa Teutonica - This game is a favorite of my group, and is always a fallback option if we can't decide on something else. Maybe the best example of direct player interaction in any euro game.
7) Love Letter - My group, like many others has been caught up in the social/hidden role deduction craze. This was a tough choice for me, because there are a couple of other good ones (see below), but I chose Lover Letter due to it's simplicity...and the fact that I have the Japanese-themed version, which lends itself to terrible accents when we play.
|Alright, who's got the builder lord?!?!|
9) Spartacus: A Game of Blood & Treachery - A smash hit from Gale Force 9! The combat is very simplified, but the game shines as a social backstabbing experience. I won't forget one of our first games when Paul asked me to lend him influence for a scheme, and I declined. He immediately followed with "How about you loan me that influence or else I'll direct this scheme against you!" Wait-what?!?!
10) 7 Wonders - Great game with it's card drafting mechanic. The first run-through with non-gamers can be confusing, but they soon get the hang of it. Also a good pick for a larger group, as it holds up to 7 players.
|It was a good death. A tactical death.|
12) Village - Another worker placement game, with the novel idea that your meeples grow old and die - where there deeds land them, in the Book of Record, or the unmarked graves, determines who wins and loses.
13) VivaJava:The Coffee Game - This game about making the best coffee blend has several fantastic elements. First, it can hold up to 8 players...it's very rare to have a game that can hold that many and still play relatively quickly. But the main thing I enjoy about this game is the semi-cooperative aspect, while still being a competitive game.
|I can hear the Imperial March|
15) The New Science - I love the theme in this game, and mechanism where you publish for points...but allow your opponents to then build off your work, is fantastic.
16) Lost Cities: The Board Game - This is probably my shakiest entry on the list. I felt I needed a 2-player, and was going to the list the original Lost Cities, but this board game version expands the same mechanic to 4 players, while also being good for 2 players. Still...I can see this being knocked off fairly easily.
17) Founding Fathers - A "euro" game about the drafting of the United State constitution. What's not to love?! This is my favorite among the "play a card one of several different ways" games - I love the theme, and once again this is an excuse for my group to use terrible accents.
18) Wallenstein/Shogun - These are the same game...do you prefer medieval Germany or medieval Japan? The cube tower used to resolve battles makes this game, but the basic euro mechanics are solid. For Wallenstein, I prefer the 2nd edition which incorporates some of the changes introduced in Shogun.
|In the Game of Thrones (2nd Edition), you win or you die.|
20) Game of Thrones 2nd Edition - Fantastic source material, fantastic "dudes on a map" backstabbing gloriousness. Winter is coming.
Others in ConsiderationSo, what didn't end up on the Top 20, that may be a bit of surprise...and what did I seriously consider putting on there, that may be there next year (or next week).
Agricola - I like Agricola quite a bit. But I still don't know the minor improvement or occupation cards that well. Also the tight worker placement sometimes breaks the theme for me. If Paul is plowing his field, why does that stop me from plowing mine?
Puerto Rico - Another absolute classic, which I still enjoy playing. I feel like this game has a little bit of "you should know exactly what to do based on what happens before you, and if you don't do that, you've screwed up the entire flow of the game" thing going on.
Memoir '44 - Great game that I learned to enjoy once I got past the "you can only move certain troops if you have the right card" aspect. Just doesn't make it to the table enough right now.
Pandemic - I wanted to include a cooperative, and my wife and kids love this game. Truth be told, I've gotten a little burned out on it. And if I'm going to pick a coop, it's likely to be...
Robinson Crusoe - I've only played a handful of times, and the only reason it's not on the list is because I need to play it more. But I can tell you that I already think it's the best coop I've ever played - with the different scenarios significantly altering game play, it doesn't have that "sameness" after repeated plays.
Brew Crafters - I'm highly anticipating receiving this game when the kickstarter delivers. This is my Agricola-killer. Unless I'm completely wrong, I would expect this in my Top 20 by this time next year.
Russian Railroads - Heavy euro worker placement. The theme is a bit pasted on, but there's a lot going on here, and I like it!
Panamax - I have all of one play, but I really liked that one play. Definitely need to get this to the table more before I render a final verdict. There's some concern about some of the hidden goals being overpowered, but overall I'm really liking what I've seen.
I think that's about it...I could keep listing game after game. As I sit here, I realize I didn't think about coop w/ trailer like Shadows Over Camelot or Battlestar Galactica. Aaargh...too many tough choices! There's only one thing to do...play more games so I have more experience to draw from!