Austin’s Top 100 Modern Tabletop Games of All-Time!!! (Numbers 100-91)

I decided to make a Top 100.  My personal favorite tabletop games of all time.  I’m doing this for a couple of reasons.  1. Because it’s fun for me.  And 2, because it gives my readers a chance to learn my tastes in games, which will hopefully give them an idea of what games they’ll enjoy from what I review. 

Keep in mind, I just got into the hobby about 2 and half years ago, so a good majority of the games on this list will be from the last few years.  Also, there are many modern classics I have still not played.  Like El Grande, Alien Frontiers, Roll for the Galaxy, Twilight Imperium, Twilight Struggle, Terra Mystica, Eclipse, Battlestar Galactica, Arkham Horror, Notre Dame, Puerto Rico, Power Grid….. and a few others.  I plan on making a Top 100 around the same time every year, so as I play more games, the list will drastically change throughout the years, I’m sure.  My cut off for this list was April 1st, so if I played a game after that date that I thought is worthy of the list (and there is at least one), it won’t be on until next year. 

But for now, these are my 100 favorite games.  I’ve only played over 500 modern tabletop games, but I have enjoyed most of them.  I love nearly every type of game, with Medium Euros being my sweet spot.  So take that with what you will.  There are still several what I consider “great” games that did not make my list, so don’t get hung up on a game that’s “only” 98.  If it’s on my list, I consider it a great game! 

Okay, enough rambling.  On to my favorite games of all time. 

Numbers 100-91:

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100. TAIL FEATHERS (2015) designed by Jerry Hawthorne; published by Plaid Hat Games/2 players – A 2-player aerial combat game with each player controlling an army of mice flying on bird warriors.  Definitely one of the most thematic games I’ve played, I prefer this game to something like X-Wing.  There is just more going on here storywise.  It also helps that besides your flying units, you also have units of mice on tree branches doing their own objectives.  And being able to move one of your mice soldiers on a leaf, and then cut it off from the branch, swirling around in the air while attacking the other player’s flying units….  that’s awesome!

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99. DIAMONDS (2014) designed by Mike Fitzgerald; published by Stronghold Games/2-6 players – A simple trick-taking game kind of like Hearts and Spades.  But in this game, when you win a trick, you actually get to take diamonds (fake, not real) from the middle of the table and add them either in front of or behind your safe (which is a player screen that looks like a safe).  I also love how you can still get some diamonds even if you lose a hand, depending on what suite you played.  Whoever has the most diamond points at the end of the game, wins.  A classy card game.

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98. FORBIDDEN ISLAND (2010) Designed by Matt Leacock; Published by Gamewright Games/2-4 players – This is a perfect introduction to co-op games if you’ve never played one before.  Players work together to recover 4 different treasures on an island before it sinks.  You win or lose together, which makes this a great game to play with families.  Even though I’ve moved on to more complex games, I still appreciate how tight this game is mechanically.  It’s still pretty stressful to find a way to retrieve all of the treasures before the island disappears forever in the ocean.  A well designed game that is staple gateway game.

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97. KING OF TOKYO (2011) Designed by Richard Garfield; Published by Iello Games/2-6 players. – I thought the game was just “OK” when I first played it, but it’s really grown on me.  I think the main reason is because I play games with a lot of teens and pre-teens, and they respond really well to it.  I mean, playing as a giant monster and attacking other monsters while using special attacks, what’s not to like?  It has a familiar Yahtzee-like dice mechanic that’s easy to grasp, and the power-up expansion gives each character their own flavor.  The Kraken is my favorite!  I enjoy this one better than it’s more complex sequel King of New York.  I just love the simple streamlined rules on display here.  This one has been a hit every time I bring it to the table.

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96. SENTINELS OF THE MULTIVERSE (2011) Designed by Christopher Badell, Paul Bender & Adam Rebottaro; Published by Greater than Games/ 1-5 players – This one almost didn’t make the list, if only because I just played it for the first time a couple of months ago.  But, thematically, this really stuck out to me.  Unlike other superhero card games (like Legendary) this one makes the most sense thematically.  You control only ONE hero.  That’s who YOU are throughout the game.  Each player gets their own unique deck for their hero and must defeat a random villain, whom they are working together to defeat.  It’s not the easiest game.  You pretty much start the game in the hole, only to try to dig yourself out of to win the game.  I love how each hero plays radically different from the other.  It’s also cool how you are battling in a different environment each turn, and depending on where you are fighting, different things will happen.  That’s really cool.  There are also several expansions that add new heroes, villains and environments to use.  It’s a game I’m just beginning to scratch the surface on, but one I’m excited to explore more.

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95. Enigma (2012) Designed by Touko Tahkokallio; Published by Z-Man Games/2-4 players –This is one of more unique games on my list.  If you love different kinds of puzzles, this is the game for you.  Me? I’m normally not a fan of puzzles.  I usually don’t have the patience, but the way they employ four different types of puzzles into this game design is pretty awesome.  The main part of the game is trying to connect pipes together with tiles (kind of like in the game Carcassonne), placing your player pieces on various colored pipes to score.  But in order to earn those tiles, you must complete one of four different puzzle types.  One is spacial, one is a math type puzzle, another trying to connect pipes together and the last one is creating a specific image from a bunch of differently shaped pieces.  I’m not particularly good at any of them, I usually wind up losing the game, but I still find it fascinating.  Really neat design.

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94. Parfum (2015) Designed by Marco Ruskowski & Marcel Subelbeck; published by Queen Games/2-4 players – I tend to like games that have odd themes.  In this one, you’re making perfume in the 18th century, selling them to various customers to make the most money.  I love how you must create different fragrences depending on what the customers want, and you can make different amounts of the perfume too.  I know some people don’t like that you have to roll dice to make the perfume successfully, but the game has a good way of mitigating that by having this water fountain where you can collect drops to re-roll your dice.  There’s a little bit of pushing your luck here, and I like that in a game.  Add some nice artwork, and you have yourself a very pleasant game.

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93. BATTLE SHEEP (2014) Designed by Francesco Rotta; Published by Blue Orange Games/ 2-4 players – A very quick little abstract game, but don’t let the cuteness of the artwork fool you…. from the very first turn, this is quite an aggressive game.  Players are trying to spread as many of their sheep onto the hexagon board as possible.  And to do that, players must get in each others faces by blocking and cornering their opponent.  This is a very fun strategic game.  If you like Chess or Checkers, this is a very good alternative.  And the sheep artwork is cute.  I also like that you build the board every game, so you are able have a different set up every time.

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92. FIVE TRIBES (2014) Designed by Bruno Cathala; Published by Days of Wonder/ 2-4 Players – This is a really neat re-working of Mancala.  Players move different colored meeples (which all have different abilities) and place them on different tiles.  Then depending on which tile you ended on, you get to do a particular action.  While that sounds easy enough, the way you must carefully plan out your turn, and which meeples to place where, can turn into a real brain burner.  I love games where you have several ways to score points.  From different meeples , to sets of cards you can collect, and Djinns (genies) that you can employ throughout the game.  I don’t really care for the bidding portion of the game, but the rest of it is very satisfying that it rightfully earns its place in my Top 100.

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91. Pingo Pingo (2015) Designed by Robert Fraga; Published by Iello Games/ 2-5 Players – Sometimes I just want to have a crazy fun time when gaming.  And this re-theming of an older game fits the bill nicely.  In this real-time game (which uses a specifically timed soundtrack), players are searching for treasure by flipping a card, and if it’s a treasure, the first person to tap the card gets that treasure.  But be careful, because sometimes the treasures contain traps, which can cause you to lose a life (if you lose all of your seven life points, you’re out).  Also, there are various beasts that can attack you, which you must defend yourself by shooting them with a dart gun that comes with the game.  Each game is about 15 minutes, but it’s a tension-filled 15 minutes with players running around the room, shooting different targets, and trying to grab treasure cards from the table.  There are lots of “oh!” moments in this game.  Definitely one of my favorite party games.  It works playing with kids, and with adults who just want to have a crazy time.

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And that’s it for now.  Stay tuned for numbers 90- 81, coming soon!

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