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.
80. SUSHI GO! (2013) – Designed by Phil Walker-Harding; Published by Gamewright/ for 2-6 players – This was my introduction to card drafting. I love this game because that is ALL you do here. Just drafting cards, then score what you pick. The object is to collect different sets of sushi that score in a number of different ways (depending on what kind of sushi it is). The artwork is cute, the gameplay is swift and smooth, and it’s really easy to teach, which makes this a go-to game for me when I’m teaching new gamers.
79. ISLE OF SKYE (2015) Designed by Alexander Pfister & Andreas Pelikan; Published by Mayfair Games/ for 2-5 players – In this tile laying game, players are building their little Scottish kingdom by laying tiles that they buy from other players in a sort of blind auction. What really makes this one stand out for me is how each game is different in how you score. There are three ways to score (and during a different combinations of rounds) and it changes for every game, which means every time you play, you’re going to be trying a different strategy. I think that’s really cool.
78. IMPERIAL SETTLERS (2014) Designed by Ignacy Trzewiczek; Published by Portal Games/ for 2-4 players – I did NOT like this game on my first play, and that’s because I played it with its full 4 player count (with strangers that were also jerks too). But then I played it with my daughter as a 2 player game. Wow! What a difference it made. Players choose a faction (Romans, Japanese, Barbarian, Egyptians) and will draft building cards to create their community. It’s a game where you’re building up your resources and armies in order to create powerful combos to earn victory points. This is my daughter’s all-time favorite game, so I was forced to play it a ton, and during my plays my appreciation for the game grew. This is a great resource management game with some cute artwork that gives it a nice flavor. There is way too much downtime in a 4 player game, but I can highly recommend this game for 2 and 3 players.
77. ARTIFICIUM (2014) Designed by Timofey Shargorodskiy; Published by Asmodee/ for 2-6 players – Players take on the role of wizards turning grain into beer, iron into swords, etc. But how the gameplay flows is what I really like about this one. You play cards from you hand to change specific resources into other resources that are worth more. You can sell them, or create a knight or a wizard for major victory points. I love how you use only one type of token to track your resources and your money. I love games that are economical when it comes to their components. And the game is really fun!
76. WAREHOUSE 51 (2015) Designed by Bruno Faidutti, Sergio Halaban & Andre Zatz; Published by Passport Games/ for 3-5 players – A pure auction game. And the theme is great! Set some 40 years or so in the future, the United States have lost all of their money and they are now selling all of their ancient artifacts inside Area 51. So players are bidding on iconic things like The Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail. It has a cool mechanic that has the play who wins the bid pay the player to their left. You can really think ahead in that regard, and even do some bluffing during the bidding phase. Plus, some of the artifacts have special abilities that either help or hurt the player. It’s quick, clever and just a blast!
75. LOVE LETTER (2012) Designed by Seiji Kenai; Published by AEG/ for 2-4 players – This one is definitely turning into a modern classic. A simple and tiny card game that only comes with about 12 cards or so. On your turn you choose from 1 of the 2 cards in your hand, play it and do what it says. Sometimes you’re causing players to discard cards, sometime you’re comparing your hand with another player’s, causing the player with the lower card to be eliminated from the game. This plays in about 5 minutes, sometimes even less. It’s very portable too. There are also many version being made of this game including Batman, Adventure Time and The Hobbit.
74. TAKONOKO (2011) Designed by Antoine Bauza; Published by Asmodee/ for 2-4 players – It’s the panda game! Players are trying to help maintain a bamboo garden in ancient China by moving around the gardener to grow the bamboo, growing plots of land, and moving the panda on plots to eat the bamboo. Each player has a certain number of objective cards they must complete to win the game, and those objectives will determine where they move the gardener, move the panda and which plots to grow in specific spots. It’s a great game to introduce new gamers to deeper strategies. And man, that panda is super cute!
73. MYSTERIUM (2015) Designed by Oleksandr Nevskiy & Oleg Sidorenko; Published by Asmodee/ for 2-7 players – One player assumes the role of a ghost who must communicate to the other players, who take on the role of psychics, who killed them with what object and in which location. It’s sort of like a cerebral version of Clue. The ghost player (who can not speak) communicates to the other players through cards that have abstract images. It’s up to the psychic to figure out what the ghost is trying to tell them. This is a perfect game for a Halloween party. The artwork all around is phenomenal, the components are gorgeous and the theme is well-integrated into the game play. If played with the right type of people, the experience could be unforgettable.
72. HELIOS (2014) Designed by Matthias Prinz & Martin Kallenborn; Published by Z-Man Games/ for 2-4 players – This is one unique Eurogame that just doesn’t get talked about really. I picked it up right when I first got into gaming, and I was really fascinated with its gameplay. Players are trying to be the next ruler of the planet Helios, growing resources, erecting buildings, and getting the help of citizens of the planet. Sounds kind of generic, but the game is anything but. The player board is a unique design that has the sun revolve around the resources and buildings you create. I love that the sun can help make a resource grow. And the way you select actions is cool too, by selecting a colored action tile from the table, but then if you match 4 of the same colors, you get a bonus action. The buildings have cool abilities as do the people you can hire. The concept isn’t new, but the flow of the game feels fresh. Add some nifty looking artwork and you’ve got a very cool game that is different from others on the market.
71. 7 WONDERS DUEL (2015) Designed by Antoine Bauza & Bruno Cathala; Published by Asmodee Games/ for 2 players – I wasn’t that big of a fan of the original 7 Wonders, so I was pleasantly surprised that I loved this game! This is a fantastic 2-player game that has a really nice back-and-forth going on. You’re still drafting cards, but this time you’re drafting them from face-up cards on the table, which makes what card you pick a big difference to the other player. Sure, the theme is still not really there, but I enjoy the abstract nature of this one, building your engine, trying to get enough resources to build one of nature’s wonders in front of you. I love the addition of the army track that you can’t ignore, otherwise the other player can invade your capital. And it plays really fast too! You can play twice in under an hour. Very satisfying!
That’s it for now. Stay tuned for numbers 70-61, coming soon!