Variant: Top 100 Board Games – 10 Through 1 | Giant Fire Breathing Robot

Variant: Top 100 Board Games – 10 Through 1

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This is it, the final list. The toppest of the top 100. Each game is not only a personal favorite, but simply a solid gaming experience. Of course, opinions differ and no game is without its detractors. But these titles are among the best the hobby has to offer.

10.  Star Wars: Rebellion

The newest game in the top ten, Rebellion definitely earns its spot. It masterfully replicates the mood and setting of Episode IV. It also does a great job of embracing asymmetry while also balancing the game nicely so that either side has roughly the same chance of winning. The inclusion of leaders to enact missions makes this more than just a Star Wars themed dudes-on-a-map game, and instead allows you to create your own narratives within the universe.

9.  One Night Ultimate Werewolf

Werewolf is awesome, but One Night is awesomer. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy the big brother. But this can be played with fewer people, doesn’t require a moderator, and has no player elimination. Plus, I love the double-deduction that comes with a play of One Night. Instead of just trying to figure out who is on the other team, you first need to try to figure out what team you are on. Only once you have that nailed down do you really know how you should react.

8. BattleCon

I was first introduced to this system through Devastation of Indines, but later grabbed both War and Fate. Hands down, this is the best combat focused fighting game. The system is simple and easy to grasp, allowing new players to pick it up quickly. Just combine a base and a style to do some neat effect. But the game is many layers deep as you try to anticipate what your opponent will do. And knowing your own fighter as well as the opponent’s is essential for high level play.

7. Earth Reborn

The deepest, most engaging tactical minis game out there. The fact that it didn’t do as well commercially as was hoped is really disappointing. It’s an interesting apocalyptic future where two factions are pitted against each other. But more than story, Earth Reborn features one of the richest systems out there. The combat is excellent, featuring close and ranged attacks. But there are also explosives and destructible elements. Plus, you can interrupt other players, bid with action points, search for new material, and even engage in missions completely separate from mere killing. And the scenario mission generator keeps the game fresh.

6. Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization

I’ve been a big fan of Through the Ages for a long time. And I can say that the tweaks made in the new version take the game from amazing to extra amazing. Not only is it a lot prettier to look at, but the combat system is better. Plus, it retains everything great about the prior game. You raise your civilization up from antiquity to the modern era. It has card drafting, careful economy management, and strong interaction where you need to stay aware of what the other players are doing.

5. Mage Knight

Perhaps the most epic game on the list, Mage Knight is an almost sand-box title that allows you to explore a realm, conquer its inhabitants, and subjugate whole cities with your unkillable mage knight. Of course, it’s not quite a sand-box because there’s a scenario overlayed on top which gives you an objective, and a timer that prevents you from dawdling. But the game is amazing in the choices it offers. And I love that it does combat without resorting to the tired system of simply moving on an enemy and then rolling dice to see if you win.

4. Dungeon Lords

For me, this is almost strictly a four player game. However, at that player count, it is phenomenal. There is nothing else like it. While it relies on a worker placement engine, you don’t just put pieces where you want. Instead, everyone has to choose in advance. So you have to constantly analyze your opponents and make an educated guess at what they are likely to play. Beyond that, the theme is amazing, the artwork fantastic, and the expansion enlarges the experience.

3. Resistance: Avalon

Hands down, this is the best social deduction game out there today. The original resistance is good, too. But Avalon, with its special identities, is clearly the better version. It has all the paranoia of Werewolf but no player elimination. Plus, players start getting information right away with how the group votes for teams.

2. Alchemists

The best euro game on the market today, bar none. Alchemists combines action selection with deduction to create a wholly unique experience. And the use of a randomizing app keeps the game replayable without information from prior games spilling over into a new one. And, while the deduction element is the flashy bit, the action selection alone can win you the game. I’ve seen success by hunkering down and learning all the elements quickly. But I’ve also won by eschewing testing and just buying up artifacts and endorsing the theories of others. This game is truly delightful.

1. Sentinels of the Multiverse

Which brings us to number one. Sentinels.  Maybe it’s unfair since Sentinels has roughly a bajillion expansions, promos, and mini expansions. But this game system is fantastic. The characters are very well fleshed out and, when playing the game, you get a real sense of them interacting within the Sentinels universe. A strong narrative emerges in every play. The system is simple enough that it can be explained quickly to a new player, but rich enough that the card interactions can pull off surprising effects.  I’ve played this game 125 times as of this writing and I can’t wait for my next play. That’s the sign of an amazing, unparalleled game.

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