I am an avid board gamer and have recently been watching Top 100 Game of All Time lists from a few of the hobbies most stalwart reviewers. This prompted me to come up with my own.
The exercise made me think a bit about what I like in board games. Yes, I love interesting mechanics. I love to be made to think. I love to be given the opportunity to try to out-think my opponents. I love to have fun, be creative, and try to think outside the box while doing all of that. But most of all, I love when a game becomes a story.
I’m not talking about story-telling games here (although there a few on my list), but when a session you played becomes something memorable. An event you keep coming back to or a talking point among your friends.
Like the time in Eclipse where one of my friends was in the lead, holing up in his corner of the galaxy, building monoliths with abandon, and another friend found a way to blast through some wormholes with his custom ships and took over his whole system in the last round.
Or the time I spent the whole game of Shogun outguessing a friend of mine. Attacking him before he attacked, taking over his provinces right before he taxed them, and razing his castles right after he built them.
Or the time in Twilight Imperium when I made a risky move to attack another player (which almost worked!) and then another player sneakily added long-distance travel to his spaceships and swooped in to take over my home world while my back was turned.
Or the time a good friend of mine wrote a string of curse-words as his fake definition in Balderdash just so he could see me read them out loud. (I have never cursed out loud.)
Or the time in Wrath of Ashardalon, where our whole group barely escaped a dungeon with our lives because this goddamn rolling boulder trap somehow kept rolling towards us no matter what direction we went!
Or that time in Battlestar Galactica where we were so paranoid that we were convinced our lone engineer was a Cylon. We voted him into the brig even though he pleaded with us not to, only to find out later that he was a loyal human and had been trying to help us all along. He won’t let us live that one down.
Or the first time I played Tales of Arabian Nights and won after my character turned into an ape, murdered the princess who was in love with him, and ended up becoming a sultan.
These are stories we create ourselves, with our friends, without even trying to. Board games are the medium that help us do that in ways we couldn’t have done otherwise.
I wrote a few words about some games I love, and I hope they will inspire you to go out and give these games a try. Below that you will find my Top 100 Games of All Time list.
#3 Battlestar Galactica – Everyone must work together to try to get your spaceship home without dying or starving to death. But one of you is secretly working for the enemy. Which one? MY GOD WHICH ONE????
#6 Galaxy Trucker – Step 1: Build a space ship faster and better than your friends. Step 2: Watch all your spaceships fall apart in spectacular fashion.
#8 Sentinals of the Multiverse – This is the one super-hero game where it feels like you are in a super-hero battle. Choose your heroes, choose your villain, and choose your location. Then proceed to have an intense and fun battle of epic proportions.
#12 Tales of Arabian Nights – This is a completely unique experience. You play a character travelling around looking for adventure. You encounter something: A rich princess, a raging storm, a mystical djinn. What do you do? Choose from your many options, consult the book of tales, read from one of the over 2500 things that could happen to you, and laugh with your friends as the story unfolds!
#17 Arkham Horror – Grab some friends and try to sastop an ancient god from awakening and destroying humanity. This is a lingering, atmospheric game. Give it a chance to grab you and you’ll have sessions you’ll never forget.
#90 Cards Against Humanity – Play this game with your parents.
|Castles of Burgandy
|Sentinals of the Multiverse
|Tales of Arabian Nights
|King of Tokyo
|Ticket to Ride
|Legend of Drizzt
|Wrath of Ashardalon
|Star Trek: Fleet Captains
|Age of Conan
|Word on the Street
|Mansions of Madness
|Escape: Curse of the Temple
|Race For the Galaxy
|City of Remnants
|Mr. Jack Pocket
|10 Days in Europe
|Lords of Waterdeep
|10 Days in Africa
|Exodus: Proxima Centauri
|Merchants & Marauders
|Star Trek: Deck Building Game
|Betrayal at House on the Hill
|Wits and Wagers
|Kill Dr. Lucky
|Game of Thrones
|Cards Against Humanity
|Letters From Whitechapel
|Settlers of Catan
|Shadows Over Camelot