Variant: Top 100 Games – 40 Through 31

Image via parentstv.org

Image via parentstv.org

Looking over this set of ten, I see games that are not only favorites, but have seen a lot of play. These are fantastic go-to titles that haven’t outworn their welcome despite considerable table time. If they can hold my attention span, then they are great games.

40. 7 Wonders

Card drafting is among my favorite mechanics and that’s the basis of 7 Wonders. Players draft cards, picking those most helpful to their civilization. This title gives you a solid feeling of watching your civilization grow and seeing your goals achieved, all while accommodating 7 players and taking only 40 minutes. It’s a fantastic experience all around.

39. Rivals of Catan

I’ve played far more than my share of Catan. And while it doesn’t appear on this list, I still enjoy it. But the two player version, Rivals, is absolutely phenomenal. The give and take is fantastic. It removes the road blocking, but inserts some resource theft. Plus, it comes with a number of modules that each provide a distinctive flavor to the game. Among my absolute favorite two-player games.

38. Agricola

Agricola was epic when it first broke onto the scene. I love the way that you are in a constant struggle not only to achieve your goals, but also to ensure you have enough food at harvest time to feed your own family. It allows you to make your own strategy. Even though I’ve played this game a ton, I’m always happy to give it another go.

37. Genoa

I’m a huge fan of negotiation games. I love the feeling of wheeling and dealing. Plus, it’s not just about bargaining. It’s about discovering the underlying interests of your opponents and figuring out how to meet them in a way that encourages a trade, but doesn’t allow them to get ahead of you. Genoa is fantastic in this regard – especially because it puts one player in the kingly role to accept or reject all offers. And this role shifts from turn to turn. So building and maintaining relationships is also critical.

36. Confucius

This game might even be higher if I could play it more. I love the system of gifts in Confucius. Even as the players compete, they can give one another gifts. And, if they do, it forces restrictions on the recipient. If I give you a gift, then you must support my student in his exams. And you can’t gain more influence than me in any of the bureaucracies. It’s a great mechanism to enforce or create unwanted alliances.

35. Dungeon Fighter

The best dexterity game on the market today is Dungeon Fighter. Though it includes a silly setting, the real meat of the game is throwing the dice onto the target. And, just when you think you’re getting the hang of it, it starts having you throw with your eyes closed, or with your off hand, or while jumping. It’s a great game and every play has featured huge laughs as dice go flinging to the side, or epic huzzahs when one lands in just the right spot to kill the monster.

34. Voyages of Marco Polo

A relatively new title, this dice placement game is absolutely solid. There’s a great tension between using your high dice for greater effect or your low dice for their cheaper cost. And because the available actions change from game to game, sometimes coins or camels can be quite scarce. Add in the incredible player powers and you have a fantastic experience.

33. Orleans

Such a solid title, and one that words well at all of its player counts. Orleans takes the idea of deck building and puts it on tiles. But the great thing is that as you take certain tiles, you get to increase corresponding stats or abilities. But if you try to run it up, you might end up with a bag too heavy in one kind of tile. So you have to carefully balance efficiency with focus. And finding that balance is a fantastic and exciting challenge.

32. Hanabi

I’ve played this cooperative title dozens of times and it shows no sign of slowing down. It’s a delightful experience and I love that you can see everyone’s cards but your own. Not only does that provide an interesting twist, but it makes it hard for play to be controlled by an alpha gamer. After all, they can’t see their own cards, so they don’t know what the best move might be.

31. 7 Wonders: Duel

My absolute favorite strictly 2-player game. Duel takes everything great about 7 Wonders and even improves it. I love the way that yellow buildings contribute to your income when discarding a card. I love the science and military instant wins. They are difficult to achieve, but can be used to bully an opponent into picking suboptimal cards. The true tragedy is that the additions only work with two and can’t be carried over to the big game.

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