All right! This is it! My TOP TEN GAMES OF ALL TIME! It’s finally here. Thanks for sticking with me on this. And if you haven’t yet, please check out the previous lists.
Okay, enough rambling. On to my favorite games of all time.
10. ISTANBUL (2014) Designed by Rudiger Dorn; Published by AEG/ for 2-5 players – A swift and wonderful worker placement game as players race to be the first to collect 5 rubies from the marketplace. What I really love about this game is that there are multiple paths to victory.You can choose to collect resources throughout the market place and trade them for rubies, or sell your resources to collect money so you can buy rubies, or by collecting special tiles from spaces, which also gives you rubies. 16 different spaces to choose from on your turn, which make the game fun to explore. You can also gamble to get more money, expand your kart to hold more resources, you can even use your criminal family member to help you gather things. The way you move your merchant and assistants along the different marketplace tiles is simple and quick. Games move really fast. With full player count, the game should still take under an hour to play. You can also arrange the marketplace tiles differently in every game, which gives you tons of replayability. This won the Kennerspiel award in 2014, and it’s easy to see why!
9. COLT EXPRESS (2014) Designed by Christophe Raimbault; Published by Asmodee/ for 2-6 players – Pound for pound one of the most entertaining games on the market. Players take on the role of an outlaw aboard a moving train competing to steal the most loot. First of all, there is a 3-D train that you get to move your player pieces on. How cool is that? The gameplay is chaotic, but that’s where the fun comes from. Players take turns pre-programming their actions by playing cards into a pile (move, climb, shoot, punch, loot, etc.) one at a time, clockwise around the table. Then after everyone has played all the cards for the round, you turn the pile over seeing how the round plays out. It usually plays out very differently than you planned on, which makes for a ton of laughs. There are so many “Oh!” moments as players get their plans thwarted by others. It is just a blast! And I love the western theme! This one works so well with new gamers. I have never had a bad experience with this one. It’s one of my favorite go-to games! Plays great with 3, all the way up to 6!
8. PANDEMIC LEGACY (2015) Designed by Matt Leacock & Rob Daviau; Published by Z-Man Games/ for 2-4 players – I’m kinda clumping regular Pandemic with Pandemic Legacy here. I enjoy Pandemic, and if I haven’t played Legacy it would most likely have ended up in the bottom half of this list. But Pandemic Legacy takes a solid game and make it an unforgettable gaming experience! Players are still working together to cure diseases, but then the game changes from the first play. Even rules change….. quite a bit actually, making it seem like an entirely different game by the time you reach the end. Unfortunately, since you destroy components, you can’t really play the game again unless you buy another copy. But since playing this game has contained some of the most memorable gaming moments of my life, I’m definitely going to purchase this again and play with a whole new group. If you’re a Pandemic fan, then this is a MUST BUY! And even if you aren’t, I would still give it a whirl. One of the best games I’ve ever played. It just blew my mind how the game kept evolving each time we played it.
7. KANBAN: AUTOMOTIVE REVOLUTION (2014) Designed by Vital Lacerda; Published by Stronghold Games/ for 2-4 players – A super heavy Euro game about working in a car factory. Players design cars, manufacture car parts, produce the cars in an assembly line, test them on the track, upgrade parts, and eventually take part in a board meeting where players will be rewarded with what they have produced. At heart, it’s a simple worker placement game (there’s only 5 action you can take), but making all of its parts work together is where the complexity lies. I love how there is a supervisor running around the factory evaluating your performance. My favorite part, of course, is the secret objective cards that come into play at the board meeting. I just love trying to accomplish those goals (whether it’s collecting a certain color car, upgrading various car parts, etc.). There is a lot to chew on, but it’s easy to grasp after a play or two. I think the theme is really well-integrated with the game design. I knew I was going to love the game as soon as I saw just how crazy the board was and how many wooden components were inside the box. I love this game!
6. MANILA (2005) Designed by Franz-Benno Delonge; Published by Zoch/ for 3-5 players – This was one of the first games I played when I got into the hobby, at a random meetup. I immediately wanted to buy it, but the guy who introduced me to it said it was out of print. I was so disappointed. Fortunately, it’s now back in print, but I still had to order from Europe. Players are investing goods in the black market as they bet on which goods will make it to the harbor, and which ones will crash. This is a super fun betting game! Players take turns placing their pawns on various spaces on the board (like on a boat which will score them money if the boat makes it to shore, or on a space that will give them money if a boat crashes or makes it to harbor). I must like betting games, because I also love Camel Up quite a bit. I would say this is kind of like a gamer’s version of Camel Up. There is a little more strategy to employ here, but in the end it does come down to a die roll. I do like my heavily strategic games, but sometimes I just want to lay down a crazy bet. This one is severely addicting and satisfying. A great one to play on a casual game night!
5. BASEBALL HIGHLIGHTS 2045 (2015) Designed by Mike Fitzgerald; Published by Eagle-Gryphon Games/ for 2-4 players – Kind of a deckbuilding game, except you’re not really building your deck of cards, you’re just improving it as you always have 15 cards in your deck at a time. Players will play 3 mini games (which consists of playing six cards), and whoever scores the most wins the game. Cards vary in powers. Some players give you singles, some homeruns, and some just give you defensive plays like canceling a hit. In between each game you get to purchase better players, slowly building your team to be quite powerful. Once you play through 3 games, you go on to the world series. Best of 7 games wins! Since this takes place in the future, you get to have cyborgs and robots on your teams too! As a 2 player game, I can’t think of any other game that is more involved. There’s a perfect back-and-forth going on between both players. You don’t even need to like Baseball to enjoy this. I don’t and I love this! The theme is terrific, the gameplay flows beautifully and there are tons of inexpensive expansions that give the game nearly unlimited replayability!
4. T.I.M.E. STORIES (2015) Designed by Manuel Rozy; Published by Space Cowboys/ for 2-4 players – The most immersive game I have ever played. Sure, some gamers are complaining that since you can only play through each scenario once, makes the game not worth purchasing. I say, hogwash! The experience alone makes it worth it! If you’re worried about the cost, find a group of players and split the cost. You really shouldn’t miss out on one of the greatest games of all time. It’s like a board game version of a choose your own adventure book! Players go back in time to stop something bad from happening. So far there are 4 adventures to play through, but many more are on the way. I’ve played through the first 3 and they just keep getting better and more involved. I love how each location you visit is a gorgeous panorama made up of a few cards. The co-operative nature of this game has never been stronger. You REALLY feel like a team in this! Thematically, design-wise, artwork-wise……. everything-wise, this is a masterpiece of a game! An unforgettable experience!
3. BRUGES (2013) Designed by Stefan Feld; Published by Z-Man Games/ for 2-4 players – This is what I feel like is Stefan Feld’s best game. That may be because it was the first one I played. This was also my first Eurogame I ever played, so there’s some sentimental value here too. But I do feel like the game is excellent. Players are in the city of Bruges, building canals, constructing buildings, employing workers in those buildings, gaining reputation, and avoiding natural disasters (like fires and floods). I love how the game is basically a card game with a board. You can do each of the 5 actions just with the cards from your hand. Figuring out which card you should use for whichever action is really fun. There’s also many ways to score points. Through your canals, the reputation track, and through the people in your buildings that give you awesome bonuses. The gameplay is excellent! This was the game that made me fall for Eurogames, and after playing several others, I still consider this one of the best!
2. ROCOCO (2013) Designed by Matthias Cramer and Louis & Stefan Malz; Published by Eagle-Gryphon Games/ for 2-5 players – YES!!!!!!! Making fancy dresses in the 18th Century! Woooooooo! There’s some games that when you begin playing immediately click with you, and you instantly fall in love with it. That’s exactly what happened with this game. Players run a dress making business and get to employ workers, collect fabric from the warehouse, make dresses in their workshops, rent a dress out to a guest at the fancy ball, and even make decorations and statues for the party. The theme is really refreshing, especially if you play a lot of fantasy, sci-fi games. Those can get a little old. Here, you just get to make dresses for a huge party! I like that a lot! But besides the theme, I think the gameplay is amazing. It integrates various mechanics in a wonderful way. There’s a deckbuilding aspect when recruiting your workers, there’s worker placement, there’s resource management, and there’s area control with where you place the rented dresses in the different area of the mansion. I’ve played games that tried to do too much, but here, each mechanic makes thematic sense and just flows well with each other. Even though there’s a lot going on, I don’t feel like it’s so difficult to learn. I played it with my nieces when they were 8 years old, and they did great. They loved the theme and understood the mechanics, because of how well the theme is integrated with the gameplay. In fact, I didn’t win that game. This is my favorite Eurogame! I can’t get enough of it!
1. TICKET TO RIDE (2004) Designed by Alan Moon; Published by Days of Wonder; for 2-5 players – This choice could be considered boring or unoriginal, but I feel like this game stands above the rest of em. Players are laying rails across a map of old-timey America, trying to complete tickets in their hand by connecting routes with their trains. The game has the best streamlined system I’ve ever seen in a game. You can draw cards or lay rails on your turn. That’s it. But there’s a surprisingly amount of depth to be found with each play. No other game appeals to non-gamers and gamers alike as much as this one does. You can play it with just about anyone! And with all the map expansions available, there is just no limit to how much you can enjoy this game, with each map adding just a bit more complexity to the game. From the first time I played it, I instantly recognized this as a classic. This just seems so far above every other game. Kind of how I feel about The Beatles. There’s the Beatles, then there are other bands. There’s Ticket to Ride, and then there are other games. No question, for me, that this is my favorite game of all time! Not just a modern classic, but an all-time classic that deserves to be in every collection. This game is responsible for thousands of people getting into boardgames, and because of that, I am giving this game its well deserved recognition.
Whew! That’s it! I made my Top 100 favorite games of all time list! I will be doing this every year at about the same time. Which games will climb up, which will move out, will Ticket to Ride still stay at number one? We’ll find out next year!
Thanks for reading! Now get back to playing games!