This thread is my Top 100 Board Games Of All Time At Least Right Now list of 2018. I'll be doing it in bursts over the next 3-4 days, should wrap up by the end of the week.
All these games are great, but if you have any questions about any one, respond to that particular tweet. I didn't do a blog article about each one this year because, well, work's been crazy, and it probably would have been stupid repetitive.
Anyway, high five to the other people doing these lists (such as @DiceTowerStaff and @BrothersMurph). Its a lot of work if you take it seriously. Let's begin.
100. Kingsport Festival. I love Kingsburg as much as I love Cthulhu! You're a cultist trying to summon the ancient gods while dodging investigators. This dice placement game would be much higher up if the art direction wasn't a big, noisy mess hard to read across the table.
99. My Little Scythe. A streamlined version of the grimdark classic 'Scythe', where mechs and starving peasants are replaced with furries having pie fights and friendship wars.
98. Aeon’s End. A coop deck builder, the table plays a collection of mages trying to shut down an invading evil. Coop nature of helping the whole tema build optimally and lack of shuffling of your deck adds startlingly fresh take on the deckbuilder genre.
97. Porta Nigra. Simple, beautiful, cool central move mechanic. A fun, easy to teach game with a great core player action mechanic and an absolutely gorgeous final board state, this is the best brick buying simulation you can buy.
96. Viticulture. Thematic, simple, the seasons concept really changes up the worker placement genre. Game suffers a little because the cards are a little TOO random and swingy, but this game's a real winner if your gamer friends are drunks.
95. Pulsar 2849. Complex, thinky, gorgeous. This dice-drafting 4x game is somewhat of a point salad, but who doesn't want to play a game about capturing pulsars and building radio transmitters?
94. Prime Time. Funny, complex. Players compete to run their own television networks, chasing down advertisers, hiring stars and building shows to chase demographics, which embraces counterprogramming as a viable strategy.
93. Royals. This game is Ticket to Ride but with political assassinations. A much needed refresh of a good central mechanic, but possibly not as good a game for playing with your in-laws over Christmas.
92. Nations: the Dice Game. A simple and fast adaptation of the card-based game, players roll dice to build an economic engine, attract followers, & build wonders - and most importantly, earn more dice to roll. The answer is always pursuing more dice to roll.
91. Trash Pandas. Fast and silly, this press-your-luck set collection game with the raccoon theme is the best 'sifting through garbage' simulator on the market.
90. Unfair. Hand management & set building, this is Roller Coaster Tycoon the worker placement game, with a good bit of silliness and more 'fuck you' than you'd think.
89. Kill Doctor Lucky. This Cheapass Games classic fills a mansion full of people who want one guy dead. But it's a point of PRIDE that you're the one that does the deed.
88. Cards Against Humanity. Funny and frequently awful in the best ways, this is the most enjoyable way to come to the conclusion that your friend Bob may have a few dead bodies in his basement freezer.
87. Azul. Simple, fast, beautiful. This tile-drafting game is by far the best competitive bathroom floor building simulator on the market.
86. Shadows over Camelot. The game that really invented and solidified the central mechanic of yelling 'TRAITOR!' at someone whenever they do anything that could be construed as mysterious or dumb.
85. A Game of Thrones: The Board Game. A simultaneous-turned territorial control game that leans into diplomacy, namely allowing the whole table to gang up to bitchslap the crap out of the Lannister family.
84. Elder Sign. A dice-based coop game involving stopping the old gods from forging a portal of elemental evil in a museum gift shop. This one has a great app too.
83. Walk the Plank. A fast, simple, frequently hilarious beer and pretzels game, everyone plays as the worst pirates on the ship who have somehow disappointed the captain, and everyone fights to be the last chucked overboard.
82. Illuminati. The Steve Jackson classic about building your own Rothschild empire. Yes, its a little broken and yes balance is a little wonky, but my biggest complaint is that I don't have a 2018 QAnon-based expansion.
81. Anachrony. Still my favorite time travel game, this worker placement game really captures the spirit of 'this is future me's problem, but past me is a real asshole'.
80. Imperial 2030. A territorial control game from the point of view of war profiteers, where starting a dustup between Russia and China is honestly just good business sense.
79. Hey, That's My Fish. A simple, colorful game about stealing fish from your opponents, and abandoning them on an ice floe where they die a horrible, lonely, frigid death. It's for kids!
78. Tsuro. A beautiful, simple game focused on drawing paths that result in you hurling your opponent's dragons off into the void.
77. The Reckoners. A dice-based coop game that asks the question 'How fucked would we be if Superman and the Justice League were evil and ruled the world?' Judging from the difficulty of this game, the answer is 'pretty fucked'.
76. Roll Player. A silly dice drafting game designed for all those nerds who love rolling D&D characters, but not so much playing them, since the latter involves dealing with other human beings. Expansion is great too.
75. Forbidden Desert. A coop game in the style of Pandemic, where your crack team of desert commandos turn your talents to dodging sandstorms and building airplanes.
74. Scythe. A gorgeous, grimdark euro game where they give you big impressive mechs but if you fight with them more than once, you're probably losing the game.
73. Castles of Mad King Ludwig. A 'build your own castle' simulator that will force lots of fun questions such as 'why do I have to go through the torture chamber to get to the kitchen?'
72. Gloomhaven. The #1 game on Board Game Geek. This is a big box, legacy, deck building tactical coop game meant to appeal to people who find D&D too open ended. Look, just because it's overrated doesn't mean it's not still a great game.
71. Fortune and Glory. This Indiana Jones-like experience is random, silly and has a great cliffhanger mechanic, but the best feature of the game is clearly the blimp that poops nazis out wherever it goes.
70. The Gallerist. Incredibly wonky point salad Eurogame where you play the role of a jaded businessman ruthlessly exploiting struggling artists to crassly make money off of so-called art aficionados.
69. Acquire. The classic game of mergers, acquisitions and hotel management holds up better than you remember.
68. Roll Through the Ages: Bronze Age. I realize that Roll and Writes are all the rage now, but lets not forget this early post-Yahtzee classic, and how awesome it is you track your resources on little cribbage boards. Kickstarter for an Iron Age reprint just went on sale.
67. Java. Stack land tiles on top of each other in this 3D territorial control about sculpting the island landscape so you can... erm... throw the most bangin' parties.
66. Bora Bora. I love this game but hate teaching it - simple game premise & great dice-based action selection mechanic with a dizzyingly complex iconographically dense board, in this game you'll seek religion, build huts explore new territory, and collect tattoos and seashells.
65. 7 Wonders. A great city-building card drafting game, this game is in most people's collections because it's that rare combination of fun at 7 players, fast to teach, and over in 30 minutes, making it an ideal game to kill time while waiting.
64. Welcome To... A new wave of Roll and Writes are coming and this is the best I've gotten my hands on so far. A flip and write game where players must look at a shared pool of cards and build their own neighborhood. Game designed so any number of players can play - even 100.
63. Bunny Kingdom. Feels like 7 Wonders meets Acquire. Draft cards to claim territories, then score them based on size and resources found on them. Hidden objectives make things lively. Bunny meeples create a wonderful board presence at the endgame.
62. Battlestar Galactica. A little long, but a thematically nailed cooperative board game about saving the human race and occasionally throwing another player into the airlock because he might be a toaster.
61. Kanban. An incredibly dense board, but if you like games with lots of moving parts, this is for you. Play as a middle manager at a car factory, designing new cars, pushing old models to production, and trying to kiss the ass of or avoid your insufferable boss (yes, really)
60. Fury of Dracula. A tense assymetric game where you play hide and seek with Dracula all across Europe. Great central mechanic, very atmospheric, a little long.
59. King of Tokyo. Quick and easy dice chucker where various giant kaijulikes play King of the Hill in downtown Tokyo.
58. Dominant Species. Complex, fiddly, swingy, chaos in a box, each player plays an animal type (Insects, Reptiles) and fights to explore and dominate an island paradise before the Ice Age comes and makes it all moot.
57. Mystic Vale. Imagine Dominion, but you hand assemble each card as you play, drafting card add-ons and adding them to plastic sleeves.
56. Argent: the Consortium. A worker placement game, where each player is fighting to become the new headmaster at Discount Hogwarts. In this game, your workers all have unique powers, which makes for a much more aggressive, chaotic eurogame experience.
55. Jamaica. A pirate racing game, where each player drives their vessel around the island, collecting treasure and shooting at competitors. Easily the best racing game on my list.
54. Century: Golem Edition. The prettier version of Century: Spice Road, this is my favorite of the various engine builders (Splendor, Gizmos) available. Draft cards that allow you to acquire/convert resources which let you draft more cards, until you can build Golems.
53. Sheriff of Nottingham. The best customs agent simulator money can buy, this bluffing game's quality is highly tied to the group you play with, but with the right group, its hilarious.
52. Blood Rage. This will probably move up with more plays, this Eric Lang card drafting/territorial control game has players fighting in Ragnorok for their place in Valhalla. Gorgeous miniatures.
51. Nanuk. A light, party-weight press-your-luck game where everyone plays eskimo hunters boasting about their awesome seal-hunting prowess and dreading the appearance of polar bears.
50. Millennium Blades. Messy, chaotic, unique. You play as a competitive CCG player, and your hero will buy boosters and compete in tournaments. But the game is NOT a CCG, it's a simulation of... oh, go watch a video about it.
49. Carcassonne: the City. My favorite variant of Carcassonne, as this one centers upon building a wall around the city, creating an awesome board presence as well as more aggressive competitive play. Also, you can tell Trump Wall jokes while you play.
48. Tokaido. Simple, gorgeous. A laid-back, almost zen-like experience where players compete to take the best walk through Japan, painting vistas, eating hearty meals at inns, and seeking out hot tubs with monkeys in them.
47. Roll for the Galaxy. A dice version of a card game that is just way too complicated for what it is, Roll for the Galaxy uses similar concepts, simplifies them, adds a bazillion dice, and really shines as a result.
46. Nothing Personal. My favorite of the purely political board games in the vein of Kremlin & Chicken Caesar, players fight to control mobsters, become Godfather, and be very disappointed in those who don't kiss your ring.
45. Arkham Horror the Card Game. An infinitely more balanced and well thought out experience than Arkham Horror, albeit one that focuses on a two-player experience.
44. Imperial Settlers. A cutesy art style hides a clever, surprisingly cutthroat tableau-building game where you can play cards three different ways, giving players a ton of choices in how they play. Because of racial deck variants, I prefer this to the more grimdark 51st state.
43. Cacao. A tile-based island builder where you'll shape a land's farms, jungles and villages in an attempt to build the perfect Hershey bar. A better Carcassonne-like because the nature of the puzzle is highly interactive.
42. Brass: Lancashire. The original Brass was a solid but ugly railroad-themed economic sim. The reprint is gorgeous, and really lets the deep, intricate eurogame show off, and let you live the best life as a corrupt robber baron.
41. Tyrants of the Underdark. A deckbuilder with territorial control and an affinity for assassinations, you'll play as one of D&D's great drow houses vying for control of the Underdark, so get out your black lipstick and Cure albums.
40. Raiders of the North Sea. A viking-based worker placement game with a unique 'place then pull' mechanic, and a fun subgame of sacrificing your warriors to feed valhalla. Solid XPacks too.
39. Red 7. An elegant filler card game with simple rules: you play two cards on your turn, one which feeds your tableau and one which changes the rules of the game (most even cards in the tableau). You must end your turn winning the game.
38. Firefly: the Game. A Fetch and Deliver game that drips flavor from the cult TV show, this game will have you throwing out Firefly quotes as you mosey across the galaxy dodging reavers. The PvP expansion is a pass.
37. Five Tribes. A gorgeous mancala-inspired game about dropping oases, attracting djinns, and trading resources in an Arabian Nights setting. A fantastic puzzle to solve, but don't play this game with people who are prone turn paralysis.
36. Castles of Burgundy. Stefan Feld's most popular game (but as we'll see, not his best), players roll dice and use the results to bid on tiles to assemble their own French hillside settlement.
35. Guillotine. A card queue manipulation game. Play cards to manipulate a line of noblemen, then behead the one at the head of the line (get it?) adding them to your point stack. Simple, funny, and well in tune with the political mood of the year!
34. Francis Drake. Compete with players to provision their ships, and then use a hidden movement system to choose destinations. This game has several interesting points of design innovation, as well as cute little treasure chests to hide your booty.
33. Architects of the West Kingdom. A very original take on the 'worker placement' system, players start with a full suite of workers, and the power of actions is based on the number of workers you put in a spot - but are in danger if you stack them too much.
32. Twilight Struggle. Considered by many to be the best two-player game ever made, this classic details a cold conflict between Russia and the US. Last year, I dinged this concept for feeling a tad dated. This year, not so much.
31. Tobago. A treasure hunting game that plays like a logic puzzle. By each treasure you'll play cards that limit where that treasure can be hidden, until it gets narrowed down to one location that (hopefully) you can get to before your enemies.
30. Bang! The Dice Game. A dice-based hidden role game, this game frequently devolves into chaos, due largely to the role of the renegade, who can artfully con other players into shooting their friends in the back with the best of intentions if played well.
29. Alien Frontiers. A dice placement game involving planet colonization, researching rare artifacts, and stealing resources from the leader every chance you can get away with it.
28. Fields of Arle. A two-player Agricola-like, where players will raise animals, build wagons, and harvest so, so much peat. Much tighter in balance than Ag, with the unique Spring/Fall alternating turns mechanic.
27. Yamatai. A simple, yet intricate board game with a beautiful table presence, this eurogame from the designer of Five Tribes will have you sending out boats to build settlements and temples. I really love the turn selection/turn order mechanic in this game.
26. Eclipse. My favorite space 4x game, driven largely by its beautifully elegant efficiency mechanic. This game does favor exploration and economic planning over warfare. I have not yet played the second edition.
25. Lords of Waterdeep. On one hand, it's a great Introductory worker placement eurogame due to its simplicity. On the other hand, a lot of neat ideas (building buildings, the harbor) and a top notch expansion adds a lot of depth via the corruption mechanic.
24/ Dice Settlers. This game combines two of my favorite things: 4x/building games and chucking a shit ton of dice.
23. Macao. An older Feld game that should get more attention. It has a beautiful core mechanic (the windrose resource selection) and, tragically, very crappy production values. I'd love a new edition of this game, but still if you love euros, try this once.
22. Yedo. It's pretty much Lords of Waterdeep with Ninjas, but has a couple of very cool innovations, especially the wandering Watchmen who turns off action spaces and can be manipulated to hose your opponents.
21. Stockpile. A stone-cold simple stock trading game that seats five and plays in an hour. Takes the core auction mechanic from Evo, wraps an imperfect information mechanic around it, and makes a whole game out of it.
20. Sagrada. A dice drafting game that plays fast, is easy to teach and looks gorgeous, this is the best stained glass window construction game you can buy.
19. Caverna. Look, Agricola is a bloated, unbalanced pile of poo, but Caverna fixes everything wrong with it, proving there's a great farming/animal breeding game buried in there somewhere. Plus, it has cave dwarves you can send on adventures!
18. Dinosaur Island. Basically this is SimJurassic Park, and it's got some neat ideas, a fantastic neon-80s art style, and a core design philosophy of 'a few tourists being eaten by your exhibits is the cost of doing business'.
17. Mission: Red Planet. A role selection meets territorial game where your goal is to get your peeps onto Mars, and fight over territory. Easy to grok and way more cutthroat than you'd initially expect.
16. 1960: The Making of the President. By the makers of Twilight Struggle, as a politics junkie I prefer this one - the best gaming take on modern politics there is. Downside: one player plays as Nixon, and may require a shower after gaming.
15. Blokus. A brightly colored abstract game of dazzling simplicity and yet fiendishly aggressive, this territorial control game requires you to place as many pieces as you can, when you can only link them via caddycorners. Plus, it looks like tetris pieces.
14. Star Wars: Rebellion. This is Star Wars in a box - territorial control that oozes SW. The assymetry is awesome: the rebels constantly feel smothered and desperate, where the Empire is constantly fighting insurgents and searching for what has slipped through their fingers.
13. Mombasa. A wonderful territorial control economic sim Eurogame with an interesting central handbuilding/move mechanic This game's theme is about trade in colonial Africa - er, but totally not about slavery. The rules are quite firm on that. (Seriously)
12. Kingsburg. A great dice-placement city building game where you try to build a village by kissing the ass of various local politicians, where you’ll hopefully declare some variation of ‘spending some time with the queen!’ multiple times per game.
11. Tzolk'in. Sitting just outside the top 10 is the Giant Wheel, one of the best gimmicks in board game history that also happens to add great gameplay, creating a new twist on worker placement that will break your brain in new and interesting ways.
10. Chaos in the Old World. An assymetric territorial control game, now out of print, where each player plays a different Elder God fighting for dominance of a world that is slowly crumbling to ash. As a bonus, people scream 'Blood for the Blood God!' a lot.
9. Trajan. Stefan Feld's SECOND best game, in my opinion, this Roman-themed game uses a mancala as its core worker placement mechanic, making planning two or three turns in advance devilishly difficult. Warning: mancala mechanic may cause excessive anger if drinking.
8. Champions of Midgard. A worker placement game with lots of dice chucking in it, you build a Viking clan, and use them to take on various monsters. Game of chicken centered on who is going to kill the troll is always great. Valhalla xpack elevates the experience considerably.
7. Power Grid. One of the best economic sims out there, built on territorial control unlocked in phases, a great auction mechanic and a fantastically simple-yet-effective resource scarcity/pricing mechanic that will make you knife fight to be the Garbage King of Europe.
6. Magic the Gathering. Last years' #1 tumbled a bit this year, despite the sheer joy I had whomping the shit out of people with hordes of unblockable merfolk. This game's history is still a game design clinic, esp on how to evolve a live game and keep it fresh and engaging.
5. Pandemic Legacy (S1). Takes the core Pandemic gameplay and evolves the rules as players beat scenarios. As you play, the map changes as you write off entire cities or continents as lost forever. If you like coop and have a steady group, this is a MUST PLAY.
4. Terraforming Mars. A tableau-based engine builder that was probably the most-played game at my LGS this year. Great theme, interesting topics, fast moving gameplay that is in danger of ruining itself with excessive expansions bloating the experience.
3. Yokohama. Don't let the complex table presence scare you. Mechanics are actually simple, about dropping assistants to power up your turns, creating a need to plan in advance (and telegraph your strategies).
2. Merlin. Imagine a Stefan Feld game with production values! The theme is paper thin, but the game itself is gorgeous, and central dice-rolling and moving around the rondell mechanic offers surprising depth based on few actual options.
1. Clank! - A deckbuilder with a board game where each player is a thief trying to steal treasure without waking the dragon. It's silly, easy to teach, beloved by both casuals and hardcore, and always has a great ending.
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