Here it is ladies and gentlemen, my Top 10 Board Games of All Time list.
Every year between October and December if you browse around awesome board game websites, Youtube channels, and podcasts you will see/hear creative people giving you their favorite 53,000 board games of all time. These lists are always VERY impressive to me. I love hearing what games people enjoy, and which of my favorites don’t even crack their top 100!
I never thought I would ever create a top 100, 50, or even top 10 board games list. I’ve gotten a few questions recently as to whether or not I’ll be doing one of these lists. At first, my initial reaction to this has always been no, there’s no way! Then I proceed to explain the two issues that prevent me from doing these lists.
1. I Haven’t Played 1,000 Games.
Ok… maybe it’s no one has a list THAT big, but I feel like not only would I have trouble differentiating between number 999 and 998, but also between 20 and 21.
2. A Yearly List Is a Lot of Work for Just a Snapshot in Time.
Yes, it may be nice to be able to look back and see how my list has changed from year to year…but call me lazy, that’s not for me.
But, I got to thinking about how I really do have a top ten. Not only that, but it’s a top ten that fluctuates from time to time. So why not put up a page on my website that has my Top 10 Games of All Time, and just modify it any time a new game comes along that knocks my socks off, and consequently shoves it’s way into a coveted spot on the Art of Boardgaming Top 10 Board Games of All Time list?
Great idea, right?!
So without further ado… Here is my
TOP 10 BOARD GAMES OF ALL TIME!
(LAST UPDATED NOVEMBER 2017)
10. A Handful of Stars
I’m going to start this list with the saddest game for me to have on my top 10…because as it looks right now, it may not be a game that I own unless someone else gets the rights to make a reprint of A Handful of Stars.
This title is on the cusp of the Top 10 and full disclosure, I have only played the game once. I understand if you are mystified as to how a game I have only played once is on my Top 10. Here’s why… I think it’s actually closer to my Top 5.
But I’m never willing to put a game I’ve only played once much higher than 10 as I don’t know whether or not it could get old quickly.
This is a deck-building, space empire building, just plain awesome game. Unfortunately for me… I have some bigger priorities in my upcoming gaming budget that may make me miss out on the opportunity to get A Handful Of Stars in it’s last print run. If it sounds or looks interesting to you at all – I recommend you check out the pre-orders of the last print run HERE asap.
9. Through The Ages (A New Story of Civilization)
Let me be honest. I was sweating a little bit by the time I got to this portion of the list. I looked through the games I had left in contention and kept asking myself, is this game a 9? Or is it an 11? It’s a big deal because if it’s an 11, it’s not on the list at all!!
After throwing on some antiperspirant, the 2nd edition of Through the Ages came through as my current number 9 game of all time.
Be sure you have a few hours handy before you play Through the Ages. In fact, you may want some time handy just to read the rule book! Through the ages is a card based Civilization building game, and even though it doesn’t make it to the table very often for me, it still gets a spot on this list because every time I look at it on my shelf…I WANT to play it.
8. Airlines Europe
Time to take a look at a stock marker game – Airlines Europe comes in at number 8!
I’m not sure what draws me to this game more, the combination of hidden vs. visible information stock market game, or the fact that it has tons of cool tiny plastic airplane pieces that you get to spread out all over the board throughout the game. In all honesty it’s probably a combination between the two.
7. Stockpile (& Continuing Corruption)
From one stock market game to another!
When I purchased Stockpile in 2016 I didn’t have super high expectations. I thought it would be a fun game, but I don’t think I would have ever imagined that it would hit my Top 10. However, much like Pandemic, Stockpile has been one of my go-to gaming options for my casual gaming groups.
It’s a pretty simple game to learn and I have heard the argument that this game can get a little bit “samey” after a few plays. Personally…most games can feel that way – but, to avoid that complaint I really, REALLY recommend the Continuing Corruption Expansion.
This expansion to Stockpile adds a few different modules. You can add any number of them to your game. In my game group, we often will leave out the Bonds and Commodities that come in the expansion, but we NEVER play without the custom forecast dice.
6. Railways of the World
It was very intriguing for me to realize that there is a Top 10 Game of All Time in my list that I don’t actually own. That game, in case you couldn’t guess, is Railways of the World.
My brother owns this game…and until I can find it for less than it’s current out of production price of $200+, I’ll stick to playing his copy.
If you’re a sucker for trains, action selection, tile placement, economy, timing, games that require a lot of space, pick up and deliver, awesome components, and a few other things – Check Railways of the World out! Especially if you have a friend that already owns it!
If you want a little bit more information about the game, you can check out my Railways of the World Review.
This is on my list with a caveat: I have the Days of Wonder edition Colosseum. The links, and box below are of the currently available TMG edition.
While I’ve been assured through many reviews that the gameplay of the new edition of Colosseum is practically identical to the the old version, I wouldn’t trade my old version for the new version…ever…just because of the quality of the art and components. That said, if you don’t have this game in your collection, old or new version, I HIGHLY recommend that you give Colosseum a try if you get the chance!
The Mayan Calendar themed worker placement game of Tzolk’in probably tops out as one of the most “crunchy” games on this list. Personally I think this is harder to teach than Scythe, BUT the unique reverse worker placement mechanism that is changed up by the rotating gears has my brain swimming in endorphins every time I play.
One of the things I look for when I play a new game is: Does this game do things differently than anything I’ve ever seen before? Tzolk’in absolutely rocks this criteria in the worker placement category. (Note: I have come no where near playing “all the games” that exist… so it’s very possible for me to not have come across a game that has similar mechanics to another game).
If I’m in for a brain burning worker placement game, and better yet, if I don’t have to teach it, I love bringing Tzolk’in to the table.
3. Power Grid
Talk about an oldie but a goodie. Power Grid came out wayyy back in 2004 (ok… not THAT old, but it IS over a decade).
As I said in my Power Grid review, this game was the first game I ever purchased without having ever played it beforehand. It was early on after being introduced to hobby board games that I went out on a limb and bought this one after quite a bit of research and wading through some board game reviews.
Not to pat myself on the back, but I think it speaks highly of my game purchasing decisions that this one still ranks high on my Top 10 list nearly a decade later! 😉
Power Grid is a tad tricky in the board maintenance category, but I have yet to be disappointed in a play of it, even when I don’t come out on top.
2. Pandemic (& Pandemic Legacy)
Ok, I’m not cheating here and just trying to expand my list. Honest. In fact, I’m combining them so that I don’t end up with the same board game “family” in my Top 10 List twice.
Here’s the deal. If you haven’t tried some iteration of Pandemic then in my opinion you are missing out. Pandemic is a great introduction to collaborative games and even though I’ve played it dozens of times, I still love pulling it out and playing with new or casual gamers. I will say that this game generally does not hit the table when I have a group of “hardcore gamers” over – but that doesn’t mean it’s not a top 10 for me. Every game has it’s situation.
Now, a game that I have played with some of my core gaming friends is Pandemic Legacy.
Pandemic Legacy has been an absolute blast to play. If you’ve played Pandemic, and want to try out this whole new Legacy experience, I can’t recommend Pandemic Legacy strongly enough. As of this update, we’ve completed 2/3rds of the campaign and I can’t wait to get it back to the table each time. I’m even more excited that there is a Season 2 coming out soon! (Although I probably won’t be getting around to getting season 2 until 2019).
1. Scythe (& Invaders From Afar)
Anyone who knows me is aware that Scythe is my absolute favorite game. Off the charts favorite. I really can’t get enough of it.
To give you an idea of just how much I love this game… let me tell you. I don’t generally “bling” out games, yet as of the writing of this I am saving for the realistic resources, the metal coins, and yes, I even want to buy a big empty box so that when all is said and done I’ll be able to store everything all in one game box. Something about this game just puts everything together for me. And I absolutely LOVE that it can play up to 7 once you add the Invaders from Afar expansion.
That’s All Folks!
Ladies and Gentlemen, there is my one and only post on the Top 10 Games of All Time! (All of which are completely subjective based on my own personal criteria.) It’s the only one, because I will jump back in here from time to time and keep it updated. So when everyone else is doing their Top 2,000 games next Fall, be sure to stop on back here to see how my opinion has changed…if you’re into that sort of thing.
How about you? What’s your favorite game of all time? Or what one is on my list that wouldn’t even be in your top 100? I’m SUPER active over on Twitter! Just Tweet Me and let me know!