My Top 50 Board Games – Part 5: #10 – #1
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.
Yes, chess. call me antiquated if you want, its still a great game. And it deserves to be in the top ten.
It was tough for me to think of where to place Diplomacy. After all, its a game I have rarely played in person. It requires 7 people and takes hours to play, with rather intricate written orders needed to make moves. But with all that baggage, it is still one incredibly well-designed game, a pure masterpiece of game design. The interactions and dynamics created by the country rulers in Diplomacy are hard to imitate. Some people will hate them, but not me.
What a game. I love “stuff” so a game where I can purchase stuff upon stuff, all of which do neat things, is right up my alley. Dominion is a lightening fast game once everyone knows how to play, and when King’s Court is in play everything is better.
The only problem I may have with it is the wide discrepancy between experienced and non-experienced players. When someone who takes the game very seriously and has played tons and tons of rounds plays someone who is just in it for fun, they can completely sap the game of that fun. So just avoid playing with those people and you’re good to go!
7. Ticket to Ride
One of the most popular games in our hobby for good reason. its going to be hard for any game to repeat Ticket to Ride’s success. It is probably the ultimate gateway; a game which almost anyone can be taught to play and will very likely enjoy. It had a light-hearted air to it, but can also be a vicious competition.
6. Cosmic Encounter
Chaos is the name of the game with this classic. Its a simple game of “play the best card” combat, spiced up to the nth degree with a swath of variable playing powers. The bits look great, the interaction is constant, and the crazy and inventive gameplay is unbeatable.
5. Small World
Small World is right up my alley. It has lots of variety and lots of character. I am usually one of the first rallying against the massively supersaturated theme of fantasy (enough games with Dungeon in the title already!!!) but Small World is where I make my exception. The varying combos of races and powers is pure fuel for imagination, and seeing how all the interactions work is always amusing to me. Flying Skeletons, Seafaring Orcs, Dragon-Master Halfings…. awesome.
4. 7 Wonders
I think 7 Wonders may have taken the top spot as my most played game ever. And I’m including all those childhood games of Sorry and Clue. Looking back at all of our used score pads, I realized just how often we play this one. And there’s good reason. It supports anywhere from 3-7, its quick to play and decently easy to pick up, has lots of different routes to victory, and just feels good building an empire. Love it.
3. The Settlers of Catan
Not sure what I need to say about this one, except that I think it is unfairly receiving a lot of backlash these days. Do I play it as often as I once did? No, but when we do I still have a hell of a time with it. And those hours upon hours of Saturday afternoon games cannot be forgotten. Forget what the snobs say: Settlers is still awesome.
2. Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is smart and savvy, and is the first thing I think about when I hear “eurogame”. Its complex, but not too complex. Its interactive but not too interactive. There are a number of different strategies and I love trying them all. There is a reason that this game is the one most commonly associated with the number one spot on BGG.
Eurorails was my gateway game, and therefore I have a strong personal connection with it. I love how you gradually build your network, and it gives a great sense of accomplishment at the end. I can really feel the geography of Europe as I extend my rails. And I love the satisfaction of delivering those Spanish oranges into the far reaches of Scandinavia.
I love this game.