Yesterday I had my bottom 5 of the top 10, so without further ado here are my top 5!
5. Mysterium – What I find really interesting about Mysterium is that it’s a cooperative deduction game. The ghost knows everyone’s hidden cards, but they can only help the players guess by giving them the abstract and sometimes wild artistic renditions on the “vision” cards, so that’s where the difficulty lies within the game. If the player doesn’t make the same connection that the ghost does, then more cards on more rounds are needed and there is a time limit. When it clicks, though, you get some fun reactions from people as they figure out how the cards connect. It’s also a larger player count game (up to 7 players) which makes it easier to fit it into your game nights, even if you have a bunch of people wanting to participate.
4. Hostage Negotiator – Dice rolling is not often kind to me, so it tells you something about how much I like this game that it ended up in my top 5 even though the main mechanic of the game is rolling to determine card outcomes. It’s such a unique theme and the mechanics work out really well for that theme. The available market gives you lots of options, and it’s about maximizing what you can do each turn (as the terror cads can throw things haywire) but also spending your earned conversation points on the right cards for each situation. The different abductors all have a different flair to them and usually require different strategies to rescue the hostages, and with the terror cards being random the replayability even of the same abductors is pretty good. I’m super excited for the career/campaign expansion coming later this year!
3. Pandemic – One of the quintessential “gateway games” of the more recent years (last decade give or take a few years) of board games, it’s also just a really neat game. Even having played it so many times it’s still one of my favorites, although I don’t get it to the table as often as I’d like. It’s fairly straight-forward in its base mechanics (which is why it’s a good gateway game), but there’s a deepness to it that takes some time to get used to, especially if you want to play on higher difficulties. The expansions add a lot of new modules, including ones that both increase and decrease the difficulty, and offer a good mix of new things to add to your games (the pic above is using the Hinterlands module, for example). It’s a pretty classic game at this point, and I think I’ll always have a place for it in my collection.
2. Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game – Super heroes? Deck building? Yes please! Legendary was one of the first deck builders I ever played and it will always have a special place in my heart (and my collection). I’m a big Marvel fan/nerd (I’m a couple movies behind since I moved but otherwise have seen all of the MCU stuff and have dipped my toe into some of the comics as well) so the theme of this is right up my alley. There’s something really satisfying about building up your deck and being able to make a big swing at the mastermind and/or the villains in the city. There’s a wealth of mechanics and keywords and different playstyles across the plethora of expansions that can cater to most people’s preferred styles, and have lead to some pretty epic combos.
1. Aeon’s End – Aeon’s End is probably the most unique deck builder I’ve ever played. The mechanic of not shuffling your deck opens up the possibility for incredibly fun and powerful combos that you can set up to happen every time you go through your deck, and I love that. But the game is also tuned with that in mind. With that, and it being cooperative, it can be a really hard game (especially if you pick your market, nemesis, and/or mages at random). We’re currently playing through AE: Legacy and most of the games we’ve won have been super close, with the game going to end in a loss within a turn or two had we not won when we did. The breaches mechanic is also really interesting due to the spells basically being delayed effects as you have to prep them and then wait at least until your next turn to cast them (unless an effect lets you cast it early) so there’s also a dynamic of figuring out when to use spells and when to save them. There is also so much content for this game that the replayability is SO high. I will always love playing this game.
Do you enjoy any of the games on this list? Tell us about it here or on social media!
Scott – The Solitary Meeple