Variant: Top 100 Games – 70 Through 61 | Giant Fire Breathing Robot

Variant: Top 100 Games – 70 Through 61

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Looking over this section of the list, I see some fantastic items. Now we’re starting to hit not only some of my favorite euro games, but also a few that are absolute gems – but really only work with larger or smaller crowds.

70. Spyfall

Spyfall is the kind of game that everyone wants to play again as soon as it ends. Finding clever ways to communicate that you know where you are, without giving it away entirely, is super fun. Almost Dixit-like. It has a bit of an experience curve where new players don’t always know how to ask or answer. But with a few plays under your belt, this title is awesome.

69. Telestrations

Yes, it’s the mass market version of an open source game that anyone can play with pads of paper and random words. But this title never ceases to impress. Every time I’ve played it, there have been hilarious reveals where we get things like “cookie equation” and where Godzilla seems to appear with alarming frequency. Better yet, the worse your artistic ability, the more fun everyone will have.

68. Shadow Hunters

Hidden roles, combat, special weapons, and unique abilities. Yep, this is the game that totally replaced Bang! for me. It does everything I like about Bang with a better theme, cleaner combat, and more intrigue about which team you might be on. Shadow Hunters is best with a larger group (six and up) but it really shines at that number.

67. Bohnanza

I tend to enjoy negotiation games. And, while it’s on the lighter end of the spectrum, Bohnanza is fantastic. I love that you can’t rearrange your hand. It forces all of the players to really engage with the trades. This means that even quiet opponents are encouraged to get into the action and everyone has a good time. Plus it scales remarkably well all the way to seven players (though downtime does increase).

66. Porta Nigra

I didn’t expect to like this game as much as I do. The concept is simple and the choices seemed obvious at first glance. But after a few plays, I realized how wrong I was. The goal cards encourage you to try different approaches. There is a tense race to construct in certain areas. There’s a tension between construction points in-game and end-game scoring for majority. There’s a lot going on in this title and I’m always happy to play it.

65. Chinatown

Speaking of negotiation games, Chinatown is a great one. The interesting thing here is that the incomes are largely calculable. So if I give you a fifth dim sum restaurant, I know the kind of income I’m giving you and have that as leverage. The key is to be involved in as many trades as possible. Sometimes the game can bog down with those who try to squeeze every last drop out of a trade, but if you keep it reasonable it shouldn’t be a problem.

64. Trajan

This is the title that really put Feld on my radar. I’d played Notre Dame and liked it. But it wasn’t until Trajan that I sought out more of his designs. I love the Mancala action. Players are managing their own little puzzle all while competing for resources and actions on the central board. That two-tier challenge is highly enjoyable.

63. Troyes

A euro with dice? I’m not a huge fan of the pipped cubes, but here they work really well. A high roll isn’t necessarily good as it might just get your dice purchased out from under you. And even though going first is an advantage, you also have to use your dice to defeat the barbarians. It’s a fabulous system of checks and balances that make the die rolls feel not-so-random. And because the actions are randomized, it forces players to search for new strategies and combinations each play.

62. Summoner Wars

Love this game. It speaks to the former Magic: the Gathering player that still lurks deep inside me. Special powers, cool spells, and the goal is to kill the other player’s big dude. It’s an absolute blast. Plus, there are a ton of factions for the game. The Master Set comes with six, but then there are a bunch more and you can double the options. Not only that, but with one exception (stupid Vanguard) they are all very well balanced and assert different playstyles onto the game.

61. Ginkgopolis

The theme on this one is just weird. But that doesn’t stop it from being a great game. The players try to create and develop a city by expanding it and overbuilding what came before. It’s a tight fit to manage your workers, the tiles, and special abilities. But the game does a great job. This game has a sweet spot at 4. Five players is a little chaotic and 2 or 3 players require some special rules. But with four, this is a tense, strategic, and malleable experience filled with shifting strategies.

There is 1 comment.

  1. Sky said on August 17, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    I LOVE Spyfall.
    I went to a party about a month ago, and when we had nothing left to do, we all sat down and played some Spyfall.
    I had never heard of the game before that night, but I really like how it makes it hard to put on a poker face; partially because you’re trying not to give away your secrets, but also because you’re trying really hard not to laugh (at your friends).

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