Austin’s Top 100 Modern Tabletop Games of All Time!!! (#40-31)

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 40-31:

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40. ABYSS (2014) Designed by Bruno Cathala & Charles Chevalier; Published by Asmodee/ for 2-4 players – This game has some of the best artwork that has ever been featured in a game.  There are even 5 different box covers you can get!  The game itself is also very cool.  It’s a pretty streamlined card drafting game, in which players are trying to control this underwater kingdom by gaining the influence of different races (squid, jellyfish, clam, seahorse, and crab), and employing lords to give you victory points at the end.  Of course each lord has an ability you can use once you get them.  There are also these pearls in the game that act as a kind of currency that just look and feel really nice.  It plays smooth, it’s easy to teach, and like I said, the game just looks awesome.  This a great example of taking a simple concept and knocking it out of the park production-wise.

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39. CHAMPIONS OF MIDGARD (2014) Designed by Ole Steiness; Published by Grey Fox Games/ for 2-4 players – A worker placement game with combat?  Does that even work?  The answer is… .YES!  Players are vikings trying to gain the most glory by vanquishing a village from trolls, dragurs and monsters.  On your turn you place your workers on spots to collect resources, hire different kinds of warriors (which are represented by 3 different colored dice), get secret objective cards, and battle monsters.  I love the planning that you’re required to do in this game.  You need to defeat monsters to score major points, but you need to rent or buy a ship to travel to the monster, plus you need to feed each or your warriors on that ship.  You can’t ignore the troll in the village either, otherwise you could acquire blame which will lose you points at the end.  I also love those hidden objective cards.  It’s fun to work towards a secret goal.  This game cleverly mixes a Euro style game with a dice-chucking combat game.  And very well I might add.  It took me a play or two to fully appreciate it, and now I can’t get enough.  This one plays terrific with all player counts as well, which isn’t easy to achieve.

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38. LEGENDARY ENCOUNTERS (2014) Designed by Ben Cichoski & Danny Mandel; Published by Uperr Deck/ for 1-5 players – If you are a fan of the Alien movies, no game has fully captured that theme better than this deckbuilding card game.  Wow!  Employing the same Legendary system as the Marvel game, you get to play through the first 4 alien movies.  You can choose to play it fully co-op or play with a traitor element.  Also, if you die by a chestburster, you become an alien and get a whole new alien deck to use against the other players.  I love how it captures the feel of all 4 movies.  The comic style artwork really compliments the films.  Plus, Ron Perlman gets his own character deck!  That’s freakin’ sweet!  This game is always full of tension since the alien cards enter the game face down.  You never know what’s going to pop out later!  It’s pretty intense.  They have also released a Predator version which is also fun, but I feel like this game is stronger.  It’s extremely difficult, but still, very enjoyable.  Especially if you’re a film geek like me.

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37. MARVEL LEGENDARY (2012) Designed by Devin Low; Published by Upper Deck/ for 1-5 players – Speaking of the Legendary system, here’s the one that started it all.  A semi-co-op deckbuilding game with players getting help from various different superheroes from the Marvel universe to defeat a mastermind villain.  The base set comes with quite a bit, but the fact that there are 3 big box expansions, plus 4 small box expansions available gives this game nearly unlimited variability.  I love that the different schemes/scenarios don’t feel the same, and that you can choose to mix different hero combinations together, or choose heroes randomly.  One of the best deckbuilding systems out there, and the most thematic!

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36. DEAD MAN’S DRAW (2015) Designed by N/A; Published by Mayday Games/ for 2-4 players – This one actually started out as an app, but then got turned into an actual physical card game.  It’s a push your luck game.  On your turn you draw cards one at a time.  You can choose to keep drawing or hold.  If you hold, you get to take all the cards your drew, but if you keep going and draw a card of the same suit (there are 10 different Pirated-themed suits), you don’t get any of the cards.  You bust.  To makes things more interesting, each suit has a special ability you can activate once drawn, like make a player discard one of their cards they collected, or look at the next card in the deck, etc.  It’s very basic, but I just love push your luck games, and this is a great one.  Also, there are things you can add into the game once you’ve played it enough, like player traits, and scoring variants.  And for such a little card game, the theme surprisingly comes through.  A great 10 minute game to play with non-gamers, or as a filler game in between heavier games.

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35. SANSSOUCI (2014) Designed by Michael Kiesling; Published by Ravensburger/ for 2-4 players – It’s the 18th century and you’re constructing a posh rose garden behind a magnificent palace!  I love this kind of snooty theme, and the game itself is really fun too.  It’s a tile laying game.  Each player has their own player board representing their garden, and through clever card play, you must choose a tile from the board and place it in a column (represented by various decorations like fountains and gazebos and such) in your garden.  Then you move one of your nobles in that column up to the number of spaces it can travel to score the victory points listed on the side.  It’s simple, yet strategic…. which is my type of game.  You really must choose carefully which tile to take, plus where to place it.  It’s cool how you can move the noble through other columns to go along further on their original column.  I have played this a ton and still have yet to get sick of it.  This one is an overlooked gem.

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34. THE CASTLES OF BURGUNDY (2011) Designed by Stefan Feld; Published by Ravensburger/ for 2-4 players – Considered by many to be Feld’s best game, I actually didn’t play it until earlier this year for the first time.  And yes, I loved it!  The graphic design on the board is pretty ugly, but that doesn’t mean the game itself is no good.  You use dice to determine which actions to take every round as you’re constructing different buildings on your player board for victory points .  Each type of building scores differently.  There’s a lot to think about in this one, but yet easy to grasp.  I can see why this one is so highly regarded.

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33. KRAFTWAGEN (2015) Designed by Matthias Cramer; Published by ADC Blackfire Entertainment/ for 2-4 players – This has an interesting theme: manufacturing cars through different eras, spanning about 50 years or so.  From the beginning of the 20th century to the 1960’s.  Players make cars, upgrade them, race them in the grand prix, and eventually sell them.  Besides the neat theme, the thing that makes this game shine is the main mechanism of the game.  And that’s the action selection track, which is a roundel.  The player behind on the track always gets to move its worker on an action selection space.  It could be upgrading a car, moving on the track, buying a car, or putting it on the market.  You can even get the help of famous engineers which act as game modifiers.  How you are constantly picking actions from this roundel is a brilliant design.  It also plays rather quickly for this type of Eurogame.  Even my brother, who usually hates these kinds of games, LOVED IT.  So I think that’s a pretty strong recommendation.

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32. GRAND AUSTRIA HOTEL (2015) Designed by Simone Luciani & Virginio Gigli; Published by Mayfair/ for 2-4 players – You get to run you own hotel!  How cool is that? Each player has their own hotel player board where they will prepare different colored rooms, then they must place customers (in the corresponding color) from their cafe into the rooms by giving them what they want (cake, wine, strudel, coffee).  The best thing about this game is how dice are placed on the six different action spots, and depending on how many are on that spot when you select that action, is how much of that action you get to do.  Very slick.  The theme is super fun, and the design compliments it very much so.  The only thing is that there’s too much down time in a 4 player game, so I can only recommend it as a 2-3 player game.  But it’s this high on my list, so believe me, it’s great!

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31. MURANO (2014) Designed by Inka & Markus Brand; Published by Mayfair/ for 2-4 players – A really unique Eurogame that has players building glass factories all around Venice.  Players choose actions by moving gondolas around the edge of the board onto various different action spaces.  Actions include getting gold, producing glass, constructing one of three different building types, etc.  But the main way to score in this game is through secret objective cards.  It’s no secret I love hidden objectives in games, but a game that has those type of cards as the main way to score?  I’m in heaven!  I’ve never played a game quite like this one.  I really feel like I’m accomplishing things as I build shops and attract customers, or producing glass to collect different types of glass so I can achieve the goal on my hidden card.  I find this one very rewarding!

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That’s it for now!  Stay tuned for numbers 30-21, coming soon!!!

 

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One thought on “Austin’s Top 100 Modern Tabletop Games of All Time!!! (#40-31)

  1. Great to see Murano on the list. One of my very favorites, though I haven’t played many on this list.

    Guessing the picture at the top is for Kraftwagen? That looks interesting.

    Like

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