This post is part of a series discussing my Top 100 Games (of the moment)
This makes the third Feld game in a row. It’s one I don’t own and likely won’t get my hands on any time soon, but it’s a really good one. The game uses an auction which would typically have me running for the hills screaming, but I actually really enjoy it in this game. Maybe it’s that you only have a set group of cards to use in the auctions for the entire game and so the bids are fairly easy to assess. My major issues with auctions tend to be when the players can bid whatever they wish and thus, new players can struggle to value items – in Strasbourg, you have your missions from the start and so know which auctions are super important to you, and know how much money you’ll have for the entire game. Having both of these things known makes it easier to know which auctions to focus on winning. The game has a decent weight to it, more so than it might appear when set up and it’s one that I can’t see myself ever turning done, especially given the scarcity of opportunities to play.
Caverna is considered something of a spiritual successor to Agricola. I’ve only played the older game once, as once I got to play this game I knew that I didn’t need to. In fact, I just sold my copy at last week’s TBGT flea market. The game features all the fun of growing and feeding your family as you raise animals and set up a farm, but adds in excavating the perfect cave home/mine plus the opportunity to equip and send your family members off on exciting adventures. It’s classic worker-placement and resource management that works really well, though it will take up a TON of table room, especially for the potential room display – in fact, I have a printed reference sheet of the available rooms that a friend gave me, purely so that it can be passed around and save players form having to stand up and attempt to scan the huge board covered in the individual tiles. I highly recommend playing it if you haven’t already; for a bigger game, it’s fairly easy to pick up and enjoy.
I was surprised to see this game show up in my top 100 but, on reflection, it makes sense. The game reminds me of Ticket to Ride, a comparison I’ve seen elsewhere, but it has a teeny bit more complexity to it and just more going on which means I like it just that bit more. It’s a great introductory game but one that’s still enjoyable for more experienced gamers looking for a relaxing game to chat and catch up over, or to end the night. It’s not the most interesting of covers or themes, but I like it a good deal. Which makes me think I should consider getting my own copy someday…
Airlines Europe is something of an entry-level stock game that works really well. Similar to more complicated games, the players don’t own any of the airlines they’re helping build up on the board but instead can collect stocks in them throughout the game. Building up an airlines routes will increase its stock value thereby increasing the players points at the end of the game. Winning means carefully balancing your portfolio to earn as much as possible, grabbing majorities where possible but ensuring you don’t ignore smaller companies that might just suddenly grow and payout dividends for your opponents. It plays really quickly, the components look great, and it doesn’t take players too long to get the hang of what’s going on, even if they’re new to the idea of not being a particular “colour” but instead having the potential to control one, many, or none of them.
I’ve only played Abluxxen (or Linko!) at conventions as I don’t actually own a copy, but it’s a super fun, quick-playing card game. The game features players laying down sets of the same number in front of them in order to score points at the end of the round, simple enough. But if a player plays the same number of cards of a higher value, the cards in front of you can be stolen and either added to that players hand or discarded. Either way, you have to draw up cards to replace those that were taken from you. Stealing cards might make it harder to get rid of your hand, as the purloined cards get shoved back into it, but if that sets you up to lay down a huge group of cards then it’s likely worth it. I’ve only had the game result in a single table flip moment (when people were drained from a con); otherwise, for a game with so much stealing, it has consistently been a super fun, quick-playing game that’s ideal for the bar.
This is a retheme and reworking of Alea Iacta Est that features variable set-up options and ways to score. It’s a clever dice-placement game themed around traveling the world collecting valuable artifacts and treasures as part of a secret society. Players roll their personal dice pool and then place some of them on an available locations based upon that tiles specific placement rules; once someone prompts the final round of the placement phase by placing their last dice, the locations are resolved in order. Each provides the winning player (and possibly second or third place) with some benefit, be it maps to hidden treasures, specialists to use them, treasures, or other goodies depending on which locations are in play. It’s a simple game to teach, easy to pick up, plays 5, and the variable location tiles allow for changing the feel of the game to suit the group.
Another Uwe Rosenberg game, Ora et Labora has two very similar themes for players to chose between. You see, players either take on the role of French or Irish monks; in both cases the game involves building up the monastery and surrounding area in order to collect and convert resources, with the difference being in some of the buildings and in the type of brewing occurring – wine for France or beer in Ireland. One of the things I really like about the game is that you can use, and block, other player’s buildings during the game. This can be tricky to use well in a multi-player game as things are rather sprawling and can be hard to see, but in a two-player game it can get fairly interesting.
Tikal is something of a classic, being as it is a pre-2000s game. I picked up a copy of the recent French edition and it’s not only a thing of beauty, but also a game that still holds up 18 years after it was first released. Using an allotment of action points, players rush through the jungle hoping to find hidden temples and fabulous treasures before their opponents; not the most original theme now, but one that remains fun, enjoyable, and lends itself to great art. I haven’t actually played the game all that often, and writing about it here makes me anxious to get it back to the table so I can correct that fact.
The copy of Tokaido I own is the collector’s edition which is particularly beautiful, but even the regular edition is simply gorgeous. It’s a game where the goal is to have the most fulfilling journey not to reach the end of the path first, and this is reflected in the way the game feels as it’s being played. The whole experience is relaxed and chill, and even when you get blocked out of a space, it only slightly stings and then you just move on to some other travel experience. After all, those hot springs just beyond the now-occupied shop you were interested in browsing do look awfully nice. All the extra miniatures and bits in my copy do look amazing, but even the base set is a thing of stylized, serene beauty & phenomenal graphic design.
Days of Wonder’s latest release is a riot of colour and beauty that plays in under an hour. I’ve had multiple people stop and ask about the game based upon how it looks which makes it a great game for playing in public, and it’s not such a table-hog that doing so becomes unwieldy. It’s unfortunately not a colour-blind friendly game at all, which makes me extremely sad, but provided your group can distinguish the pieces on the board, it’s an interesting game of setting up future turns and hoping others won’t screw up your plans too much before you can bring them to fruition. I’ve heard many comparisons to Five Tribes and I can see similarities, but unlike that earlier game, the board state doesn’t change drastically between an individual player’s turn which allows for planning ahead. There are tons of ways to earn points which I love, and I’ve won using different strategies which lets me enjoy exploring the possibilities within the game without feeling that doing so will take me out of the running.
This post is part of a series discussing my Top 100 Games (of the moment)