Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

My Top 50 Board Games – Part 4: #20 – #11

About the list

These are my favourite 50 board games at the present moment.  However, I will readily admit that some games here are fairly new (especially in the 40s and 30s) and may lose polish over time, or rise up to be higher up over time.  There are also many more games I have not had the opportunity to play which could gain spots in the list in the future.  But at this point, these are the 50 I have come up with.

Please comment below on any of the games in this list if you have played them as well.

Note:  Some of these are card games.  As long as they are widely accepted as being within the board game milieu, they count for this list.  However, games with a standard 52  card deck were not considered.

20. Dominant Species


This is a longer game, coming in at 3 or even 4 hours, and so its hard to get to the table. But its a blast every time we do. This is a really unique game with mechanics you have seen before but all done in a way that feels different. Each player plays a type of animal trying to adapt to different landscapes and spread their population across the globe. And mirroring the theme, players are also constantly adapting their strategies due to the actions of the other players, creating a constantly moving and evolving game experience.


19. Pandemic

“I don’t always play cooperative games, but when I do, I play Pandemic.”
Well, not only, but it certainly is the go-to co-op in my books. The game structure of Pandemic is brilliant in how balanced it is between the viruses spreading and your team accomplishing something. It never feels too hopeless, but you never feel out of danger either. Its very infective. I remember the first time we tried we refused to stop playing until we won. I think we finally did after the 5th or 6th game.


18. Acquire

pic342163_mdA 50-year old game which can still keep up with all the hip new youngsters. Acquire is a great market game, blending an intense stock buying competition with a spacial tile game.When you are feeling greedy or feeling like you want to take money from your friends, break out this Sid Sackson favourite.


17. Telestrations


The highest party game on the list because, well, its the best there is. This combination of Pictionary and the schoolyard telephone game is downright hilarious. We have had so many memorable game nights playing this, and have created some wild picture/word combinations. Unless you have no sense of hmour or fun whatsoever, you’ve gotta love Telestrations.


16. Survive


“All the games we’ve played tonight have been a little too friendly. What else ya got?”
“Well, there’s Survive!”
Want to sink your friend’s boats and then sic sharks on the survivors? What to collapse the piece of island they’re standing on, only to reveal that they’ve been sucked into a whirlpool? Then Survive is the game for you!


15. Hive


One of the most popular abstract games in the market right now is Hive, and for good reason. Its easy to learn, fast to play, and loaded with strategic depth. And its just plain cool. The concept of moving pieces around a board comprised only of other pieces so that it is constantly shifting and morphing into different shapes is just plain awesome.


14. Stone Age


Stone Age was my first worker placement game, and I fell in love with it. I admire the way that dice are used in combination with workers to gain resources. I love they way you try to build the best huts that you can. The artwork on the board is simply outstanding. And finally, that leathery odor from the dice cup is pretty much gone.


13. Carcassonne


Another great European classic. Carcassonne is just awesome. I love how the landscape develops over time. I love the investments you make into cities and fields, and then try to make them work. I love meeples. Carcassonne is fantastic, don’t let anyone try to tell you otherwise.


12. Vinhos


This is probably the heaviest game on my list. I was so anxoius for this game that I got tired waiting for it to come over to North America and shipped it over from France.
The wine making theme in this game is outstanding and works very well with the mechanics. And there are a lot of mechanics, but it all flows so smoothly. When I’m in the mood for a rules-heavy, complex Euro, this is the one I look to. And perhaps with a glass of red in hand.


11. A Game of Thrones


Game of Thrones is like Diplomacy-lite and makes the mechanics of Diplomacy a little easier to handle. It also adds some great features like bidding for power on the three tracks and defending against the Wildlings. As a big fan of the ASOIAF series, I am so happy that this game lives up to expectations.


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