As we gear up for International Table Top Day this Saturday, I wanted to take some time to reflect on my favorite games. More specifically I wanted to focus on why these are are my favorite. It is always hard for my to narrow down to just 9 games but I am pretty happy with my current list.
1. My number one game is Scythe, designed by Jamey Stegmaier, and published by Stonemaier Games. I love this game not just because it is designed beautifully but also because my family has so many memories playing Scythe. I’ll talk mechanics first though. I love that this game is asymmetrical and each of the factions stand out to me as having a unique style of play. There is so much going on in the game, and so much variety to play style and strategies. At the same time the game doesn’t feel complicated. I love building my engine and the fact that I can be thinking 10 turns ahead productively. I feel like Scythe really rewards long term thinking, and that is the kind of player I am. If you want to see more on my thoughts of Scythe’s mechanics, check out my full review. However, I think the main reason I love Scythe so much is I have so many clear family memories associated with it. My family tends to play Scythe once a week, or once every two weeks. There have been tense alliances built, and war paths forged. Relationships have almost ended over Scythe at our house. These are stories that frequently come up in our family, and something we laugh about for months after. When you play something that often it goes past a game, and turns into a sort of tradition.
2. Viticulture also by Stonemaier Games. Yeah..okay. I love SM and had to try really hard to not have this entire list be half comprised of their games. Viticulture is my favorite worker placement game and my favorite game to teach as well. It’s incredibly well laid out, and all the symbols are clear and easy to understand. I find this so important for a worker placement game, but this one really does a nice job with the player board and board of explaining what is happening without the need to reference the rule book. In addition, the components are high quality and while the game is easy to teach it also has a lot of strategy behind it. There are a variety of different ways to win. I won the other day in with the Tuscany expansion by barely making any wine. My husband was not too thrilled about it, but it just proves that there are so many options to explore in the game. You can check out my full review here if you would like to know more.
3. Raiders of the North Sea published by Renegade Gaming Studios. This game is another favorite worker placement game. I love the theme. I have a soft spot for Viking games, as I really enjoy reading about Norse mythology and it seems to have continued over to my board gaming. Mechanically, I love the idea of dropping a worker, taking that action, picking up a different available worker and then taking a second action. While the mechanic may seem simple in idea, with the different colored workers there is a lot of planning that goes into finding the right action to take. I love the planning aspect of the game. I also love that it is a relatively short game. I use this as one of my gateway worker placement games for that reason.
4.Lords of Waterdeep published by Wizards of the Coast. This D&D themed worker placement hits two of my loves in table top gaming…Dungeons and Dragons and worker placement. Something about this game is just so well done. Turns are quick and have a strong impact. Symbols are easy to follow. I love the addition of plot quests to create somewhat of an engine. Overall, it is a really solid worker placement game.
5. Meeple Circus published by Matagot. This game is a dexterity card/tile drafting game. I love the mechanics and the theme really stands out. It is different from other dexterity games because the meeples are so small. Additionally, with the music going and the cute little circus meeples it is so themeatic. It is currently my favorite gateway game to teach. It just draws people in, even those who have never played a modern board game will stop at my table if I am teaching it. If you want to see more on why I love Meeple Circus, check out my review here.
6. Near and Far published by Red Raven Games. This game is beautiful and thematic. I am a huge lover of adventure. This game feels like you and your competitors are suiting up to go on an adventure and create your own story along the way. Whenever someone who plays D&D is looking to get into board games I send them to this game. It is developed in such a way that it feels like a role playing game with the mechanics of a board game. Then you add in Ryan Laukat’s art and you have somewhat of a master piece. Red Raven Games is another one that I could have almost all of their games on this list. I have a lot of respect for Ryan Laukat, as he is incredibly talented.
7.Rajas of the Ganges by Huch! Games. I love that this game combines tile placement and worker placement, and dice rolling. I was not sure at first mechanically if I would like everything going on in this game, but it really has a nice flow to it. Everything is mechanically sound. With all those options, there are naturally a lot of different ways to win. It is also surprisingly easy to teach to new gamers. Once a person understands the symbols, the game is easy to grasp. I also love the twist of having the two trackers pass each other to win. If you want to see more of my thoughts on Rajas, check out my full review here.
8. Endangered Orphans of Condyle Cove published by Certifiable Studios. This game’s theme is unique, I mean who would not want to fight to the death to save their adorable little orphan? Beyond the theme, and the wonderful art to accompany it the game takes on a particularly competitive “take that” aspect of game play. My husband and I never back away from forcing each other to lose in this game. Using the right cards at the right time really is important in this one. The Kickstarter edition is also really high quality, with individual play mats, and adorable miniatures. Finally, it is short enough to play 2-3 times in a night, for the inevitable rematch after you killed your friend’s orphan.
9.Century Spice Road published by Plan B Games. This game is a fun engine builder. The idea of upgrading the components is very enjoyable. Unfortunately for me, I seem to enjoy it too much, and tend to get caught up in that mechanic and forget about winning…whoops. Additionally, the idea of having cards that have to be played and then picked up to use again I enjoy. It sets a fair pace to the game and makes players really consider when to use what card. I actually love this game so much I also bought the Golem Edition (in which the art I like more). However Spice Road stays on my top 9 list because I am excited for the upcoming expansions.