Austin’s Top 100 Modern Tabletop Games of All Time!!! (#60-51)

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 60-51:

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60. BROOM SERVICE (2015) Designed by Andreas Pelikain & Alexander Pfister; Published by Ravensburger/ for 2-5 players – You get to gather different colored potions and deliver them to the corresponding colored castle on the gameboard for victory points.  That’s not all that exciting, but the core mechanic of playing action cards is!  There are 10 different action cards to choose from, and you may only pick 4 during a given round.  Each action allows you to do a different version of it.  Cowardly (which lets you do one thing), and Brave (which lets you do 2 things).  Of course, ideally, you’d want to choose the brave action every time, but here’s the catch.  If you say you’re taking the brave action, if another person has the same action card in their hand, they can choose to do the brave action too, which means you DON’T get to do it anymore.  There can only be one brave action of the same type given per round.  But if you choose the cowardly action, you get to do that one action immediately, even if someone else has that action card in their hand.  Granted, the action isn’t as good as the brave, but at least you get to do it.  I love the bluffing and push-your-luck element of this game.  If you play it with a fun group of gamers,  this is blast!  It’s very amusing to hear multiple people claiming “I’m the brave weather fairy!”.  Hilarious.  It has a just the right mixture of a fun party game, and strategic one.

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59. SUPER MOTHERLOAD (2015) Designed by Gavan Brown & Matt Tolman; Published by Roxley Games; for 2-4 players – It’s pretty much DIG DUG: THE BOARD GAME.  Well, not really…. but kinda.  Players are working at different mining companies and are competing to explore the depths of Mars by drilling through the surface and finding jewels and artifacts.  The game has a neat look to it, as you drill deeper and deeper through Mars.  Every time you drill through something, you cover it up with tokens, which make it look like you’re making various different paths through the planet core.  It’s super cool.  And it’s also a deckbuilding game too!  You get victory points through recruiting more workers to help you on your expedition, which make up your hand.  This one kind of fell through the cracks last year, and that’s a shame.  This one is really unique.  And it has a nice swift gameplay as well.  No longer than an hour, tops!

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58. THE WORLD OF SMOG: ON HER MAJESTY’S SERVICE (2015) Designed by Sir Yohan Lemmonier; Published by Cool Mini or Not/ for 2-4 players – This one has the coolest board I’ve ever seen.  It’s a bunch of gears that rotate as players purchase artifacts and Ether from those spots.  Set in an alternate steampunk universe, players are trying to be the first to collect 4 artifacts for the kings, while trying to please the mysterious shadow master.  The artwork is gorgeous!  The gameplay is simple, yet strategic.  And the components are amazing!  There’s really not anything like it out there.

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57. THE RESISTANCE (2010) Designed by Don Eskridge; Published by Indie Boards & Cards/ for 5-10 players – A classic hidden role game.  Players are trying to figure out whom among them are spies, as they try to complete missions.  The gameplay itself is extremely simple, but the social aspect adds a great deal of depth.  This is a fun social game as everyone is excusing each other of being a spy.  It’s fun to try to fool your friends in this one.  Great for groups of 6 or more!

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56. THE GRIZZLED (2015) Designed by Fabien Riffaud & Juan Rodriguez; Published by Cool Mini or Not/ for 2-5 players – One of the hardest games I’ve ever played, but there’s something about this one that really draws me to it.  The theme is really well-integrated in this little card game as players try to overcome the trials of war during WWI.  Players work together trying to empty all the cards in their hand, but at the same time not allowing 3 symbols of war of the same kind appear on the table together.  It’s really interesting as you try to be on the same page as the rest of your teammates.  You really have to be too, since you’re not allowed to talk about what cards you have in your hand.  The sense of teamwork really comes through for me in this one.  It may not be the happiest game, but it certainly is engaging.

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55. LA ISLA (2014) Designed by Stefan Feld; Published by Ravensburger/ for 2-4 players – The first game designed by Feld on my list (and it won’t be the last).  Easily his lightest game, players are scientists trying to capture endangered species on a deserted island.  The card play is what really make this one unique, as each card has 3 things you can do (but you can only choose one of those things).  I also like the animal track, which allows you to score points based on how many of each animal type you have.  I also love the circular, puzzle-like board that you put together before every game.  There’s more going on here too than you might think at first.  It’s a clever, little game.

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54. OH MY GOODS! (2016) Designed by Alexander Pfister; Published by Lookout/ for 2-4 players -There sure is a lot of game that comes in this small package. Players use their worker card to produce resources from buildings they own.  Then you use those resources to buy better buildings (and more workers) to give you victory points.  The premise isn’t all that original, but the way available resources come out in a push-your-luck style, and how you can chain cards from your hand in order to produce more is kind of brilliant.  This is one of the newest games on the list, and it’s terrific!

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53. MASCARADE (2013) Designed by Bruno Faidutti; Published by Asmodee/ for 2-13 players – My favorite “hidden role” game.  Yes, better than Resistance (for myself anyway).  The goal is to be the first person to collect 13 coins from the middle of the table.  Each player has a specific character they start the game with.  Every one has a different ability (like take 3 coins from the bank, take 2 coins from another player, etc.).  All players get to see who everyone is at the beginning of the game before you turn your character card face down.  Then, on your turn you can choose to use your ability by claiming who you are, or take an opponent’s character card, put it under the table along with your character card, and switch it…. or not.  I love this game!  The first time I played it, I thought for sure I knew who I was at all times.  Then when someone challenged me, I turned my card over to discover I was someone entirely different.  If you’ve every played Coup, it’s similar to that, but I find this one far superior.  I love the artwork and the theme is more appealing to me, plus having the option to switch a card (or not) with someone else is awesome.  And it plays up to 13 players.  Great party game!

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52. PRAETOR (2014) Designed by Andrei Novac; Published by NSKN Games/ for 2-4 players – One of my first Eurogames, so I have a soft spot for this one.  The theme is your typical dry Eurogame (romans vying for power), but I love the mechanic of having dice as your workers and the higher the number on the die, the more experienced they are (and the more they can do for you).  And then once they get to the number six, they retire.  It’s very cool.  There’s also a tile placing element that’s a big part of the game.  It takes a standard worker placement/ resource management style game, and adds a little twist here and there to it.  I like it!

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51. KINGDOM BUILDER (2011) Designed by Donald X. Vaccarino; Published by Queen Games/ for 2-4 players -I didn’t play this one until earlier this year.  It’s pretty much an abstract game with players placing settlements on a hexagon board.  But what I find to be so cool about is that the game is played differently every time you play it because of the scoring cards.  There are 10 different scoring cards in the base game, but you only use three of them.  So sometimes you’re trying to place settlements next to mountains or water, or maybe you’re just trying to get the most settlements in each sector.  And because the game can be played in 20-30 minutes, I find it incredibly addicting.

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That’s it for now!  Half way there!  Stay tuned for numbers 50-41, coming soon!!!

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