Monday, December 07, 2009

My Top Games!

Now here's a list you're gonna love! I'm really into board games starting this year, so I thought I'd put together a list of my ten favorites.
10. Elfenland

Description: "A group of fledgling elves (the players) are charged with visiting as many of the twenty Elfencities as they can over a short period of time. To accomplish the task they will use various forms of transportation such as Pigs, Elfbikes, Magic Clouds, Trollwagons, and Dragons."

My Thoughts:
This is like a better version of Ticket to Ride. It has a bit more complexity and a turn progression that I like more.
9. Bohnanza

Description: "As card games go, this one is quite revolutionary. Perhaps its oddest feature is that you cannot rearrange your hand, as you need to play the cards in the order that you draw them. The cards are colorful depictions of beans in various descriptive poses, and the object is to make coins by planting fields (sets) of these beans and then harvesting them. To help players match their cards up, the game features extensive trading and deal making."

My Thoughts:
I don't usually like card games that much, but this one is an exception. It's short, and card trading element is very fun.

8. Stone Age

Description: "Players struggle to survive the Stone Age by working as hunters, collectors, farmers, and tool makers. As you gather resources, and raise animals, you work to build the tools needed to build your civilization."

My Thoughts:
I've only played this once, but I really liked it. It's a typical worker placement game that seems to be very well implemented.
7. Citadels

Description: "Players seek to build a collection of districts worth from one to eight points. Once someone has built eight districts, the game is over after that round ends and the player with the highest total value wins. However to facilitate the process (and make the game interesting), players sequentially choose a character from a rapidly dwindling pool of eight each turn. The characters give players special abilities for the turn."

My Thoughts:
Another card game exception. The key here is the character cards, which are selected secretly each round. This makes for a good deal of poker-like thinking/guessing.
6. Formula D

Description: "Formula D is a fast-paced racing game in which the cars' top speeds are limited by having to end a certain number of turns in each curve of the racetrack. This can be tricky, because although players can regulate their speeds by choosing which gear to be in and each gear allows a certain range of movement, the exact amount is determined randomly."

My Thoughts:
You'd think a racing board game would be lame, but it's not! It's exciting, and features lots of fun dice-rolling.
5. Galaxy Trucker

Description: I can't find a good description for this one. Basically, there are two phases to this game. The first consists of players simultaneously grabbing tiles that are used to build a spaceship. The second phase involves sending these ships out into space and hoping they survive.

My Thoughts:
This is another game I've only played a few times but really like. It's a fun combination of intense thinking and total chaos. You plan so hard in the first phase and then just sit back and watch your creation be blown apart.
4. Pandemic

Description: "You are specialists at the CDC/Atlanta where you watch several virulent diseases break out simultaneously all over the world. The team mission is to prevent a world-wide pandemic outbreak, treating hotspots while researching cures for each of the four plagues before they get out of hand."

My Thoughts:
This game has a great feel that matches the theme. It always seems like you're on the brink of losing.
3. Ghost Stories

"Ghost Stories is a cooperative game in which the players try to defeat the spirit of Wu-Feng, the lord of hell, and his legions of ghosts before they haunt a town and recover the ashes that will allow him to return to life. Each Player represents a taoist monk ghost hunter who is working together with the others to fight off waves of spirits and other beings mostly inspired by eastern mythology."

My Thoughts:
A common trait of a lot of these games is that the player has a limited amount of information and a limited number of actions to accomplish goals. To me, using actions efficiently based on the available information is really fun!

2. Puerto Rico

"The players are plantation owners in Puerto Rico in the days when ships had sails. Growing up to five different kind of crops: Corn, Indigo, Coffee, Sugar and Tobacco, they must try to run their business more efficiently than their close competitors; growing crops and storing them efficiently, developing San Juan with useful buildings, deploying their colonists to best effect, selling crops at the right time, and most importantly, shipping their goods back to Europe for maximum benefit."

My Thoughts:
I love a game that gives the player lots of options. Puerto Rico offers an almost limitless number of winning combinations.
1. Agricola

Description: "In Agricola, you're a farmer in a wooden shack with your spouse and little else. On a turn, you get to take only two actions, one for you and one for the spouse, from all the possibilities you'll find on a farm: collecting clay, wood, or stone; building fences; and so on. You might think about having kids in order to get more work accomplished, but first you need to expand your house. And what are you going to feed all the little rugrats?"

My Thoughts:
Oh boy! What a good game. So much to do, so little time. This game lets players build their own farms. That's so fun! Don't you love it? Also, there's so much hard thinking. Don't you guys love thinking and farms?

So, there it is. Now come over to my house and play these with me.


  1. i knew Agricola was going to be your topsy. i knew it. however, i'm surprised that Galaxy Trucker wasn't higher than 5. I mean, it definitely was really anticipated. anyways, really great job and great list, jim. :)

  2. I have played (and enjoyed) both Agricola and Puerto Rico, but now I have 8 others to try.

    Thanks Jim!

    Galaxy Truckers seems particularly intriguing...

  3. Man, I am missing a lot of gaming fun. you guys really gamed it out, bad this year I see. I definetly want to try Agricola. On the other hand while I did think Formula D was fun, it kinda felt over rated to me and I feel like if I played it a bunch of times it would lose its appeal. But also maybe not. who knows?


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