Well, we tried to get it all into March – but life happened! So, finally, here are my favorite games from 5 to 1.
5. World’s Fair 1893 – This game is a unique rondel with an intriguing spin on area influence and set collection. Excellent historical theme and attention to detail. Choosing where to place your supporters is two fold – you want the cards that are at that section and/or you want to build up the amount of support you have at that area. All the historical substance on the cards, from exhibits, to attraction tickets, to influential people is amazing and accurate. The art is also very well done. Designed by J. Alex Kevern, published by Foxtrot Games in partnership with Renegade Games Studios. Intelligent, underrated, and an anomaly among area influence games, Worlds Fair 1893 is a game that you don’t want to miss out on.
4. Barenpark – In this game, you are building the best bear park (bear specific zoo) out of a wide variety of different tetris tiles (polyominos). The mechanics of covering an icon with a tile to obtain different tiles of varying types is a delightful twist on tile placement. There are a wide range of strategies that each player can use in each game; especially with the achievements from the “advanced” version of the game. The whimsical theme and delightful artwork are other high points. Phil Walker-Harding has designed another gem, published by Lookout Spiele, with Barenpark.
3. Viticulture: Essential Edition – A remarkable example of the worker placement genre, with the goal of building from a small, modest inherited vineyard to the best and most profitable vineyard. Among the many neat aspects of this game are the Grande worker (which let you share an already selected worker placement slot), the variable first player order which gives you different benefits depending on which time slot you select, and the Mama’s and the Papa’s cards that give you differing resources to utilize at the start of the game. You want build up your vineyard in an efficient manner. There are a variety of strategies which can lead you to victory. Once someone reaches 20 victory points, the last round of the game is initiated. A tremendous design by Jamey Stegmaier and Alan Stone published by Stonemaier Games.
2. Carcassonne – What can I say about Carcassonne that my wife hasn’t already said, given this is her all time favorite game? I love the relaxing tile laying puzzle of building the area of Carcassonne. Placing your meeples in/on the cities, farms, roads, and cloisters in order to score points throughout the game is not mean or cutthroat when Marti and I play, but a challenge to see who can do things most effectively. This classic game was published in 2000 and has stood the test of time with a multitude of expansions and stand alone titles. We tend to play with Inns and Cathedrals plus Traders and Builders, but also sometimes sprinkle in parts of Abbey and Mayor. Adding in these expansions gives Carcassonne many more strategic elements. This game, designed by Klaus-Jurgen Wrede and published by Z-Man, is a masterpiece of the tile placement genre.
1.Sagrada – Sagrada has been my number one game since Marti and I played for the first time at Origins 2017 with Brad and Amanda Scaggs of the Board Games with Panda podcast. Sagrada is a dice drafting game where you are trying to construct the best stained glass window for the Sagrada Familia. You chose a pattern card then draft dice in order to fill in your pattern following some basic rules: the die you place cannot be orthogonally adjacent to a die of the same color or number. There are some tool cards (cheats) which may help you place your dice optimally but you must be able to pay for them by spending skill tokens; the number of which you start with depends on the difficulty of your pattern. After the end of ten rounds of drafting dice, you score and find your winner! The sudoku-esque nature of the patterns on which you place your dice makes gives the game an extremely puzzle-like feel. The five and six player expansion adds variety with the cards and it adds a 5th and 6th player without adding too much play time. Marti and I can play a two player game in under 20 minutes, which is excellent when looking for a quick game to play on a busy evening. This radiant game was designed by Adrian Adamescu and Daryl Andrews, is published by Floodgate Games.
So, there’s my top 10. Which of these do you enjoy? Are any of my top 10 in yours? Post a comment or share with us on social media!