Top 20 Outside the Top 200

This is the new boardgaming meme, started by Brian Bankler.

  1. Homesteaders (226) – I love this auction-driven, resource-management game: it’s lean, strategic, and contains engine-building and combos.
  2. Caylus Magna Carta (233) – A very recent addition to my line-up, I’ve only played 1 complete game, but am in the middle of 9 games on JSP. At the moment I’m addicted: it’s a beautiful distillation of the heavyweight Euro Caylus (a bit too long for my tastes). It possesses the potential for great alliances and screwage with the Provost, and positive interaction with the secondary effects of buildings.
  3. Fairy Tale (381) – Long before the massively popular 7 Wonders came this Japanese design; it works with a wide player range and is very quick. The main problem is trying to explain the cards with the confusing graphic design.
  4. Sticheln (358) – Perhaps the easiest game I’ve ever had to teach, with a wide player-range this is a perfect light filler. The nastiness and pain generates plenty of drama, and I believe there is actually a bit of depth to the game.
  5. Marracash (672) – A 60-minute game with cooperation, competition, and incentive manipulation, it’s brilliant.
  6. Pizarro & Co (775) – Another Tom Lehmann design, this odd game features narrowing auctions. The element I like the best is the way you can see who will be fighting whom in future auctions. Supposedly it works well even with 6-players, but I’ve never gone that high.
  7. Phoenicia (593) – This is a linear engine-builder descended from Outpost. I think you have to play well to prevent runaway leaders, but it’s a great, surprisingly quick game.
  8. Shadow Hunters (348) – A hidden teams, hidden identity game with a good dose of luck and crazy effects, I’ve had many good times with it. I’m a bit burned out on the game for the moment, and think the design is a bit loose, but it’s a fun, short experience.
  9. Funny Friends (766) – This is best enjoyed as an experience game with a unique theme, despite the Euro-style auctions. The effort put into making the theme a proper game is brilliant.
  10. Haggis (393) – An awesome “traditional card game”-style design based on Tichu.
  11. Container (269) – One of the few long games I’ll play, I’m still trying to work this one out. It’s a player-driven microeconomic system that goes beyond economic theming and into economic simulation. You can observe and participate in supply and demand, inflation and deflation, and liquidity problems, and try to manipulate them to your advantage.
  12. Black Friday (1418) – This is a great stockmarket speculation game with relatively simple rules (once explained – the rulebook is awful).
  13. King of Siam (425) – An angst-inducing brain-burner that I’ve yet to figure out. It packs a lot of thought into a very short amount of time and a mere 8 actions per player; the core mechanic is genius.
  14. TransAmerica (511) – I actually prefer this to its European cousin; this is the only train game I’ve got the hang of. It’s extremely light, yet there are hidden objectives (and deduction of the same), positive interaction, and almost abstract-style spatial play.
  15. Coloretto (242) – A very easy-to-teach game that’s still a good dose of fun. I really enjoy the you-cut-I-choose mechanic.
  16. No Thanks (254) – Once again a very light filler that holds up.
  17. The Speicherstadt (432) – A lean game built around a queue-driven pricing mechanic; it’s good fun.
  18. Can’t Stop (353) – A classic game of risk-taking.
  19. Hare & Tortoise (536) – The first SdJ winner, it looks like a roll-and-move children’s game but is actually almost completely deterministic!
  20. Werewolf (234) – The classic social game.


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