End of Year & Top 100

100 – The Lost Expedition

This one’s such a quick and unique little game. A mix of intense card play and resource management with a dose of push-your-luck. We still need to try the expansion which adds some really interesting stuff. It’s been a while since we played, so it could move up with more plays. And I need to try it solo!

99 – Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North

When Empires of the North was first announced, I was really excited and wanted to try it out. It’s a really solid, smooth-playing card game, though something about it keeps it pretty low on my list. It’s difficult to put my finger on why, but maybe more plays will help this move back up. I definitely want to play it some more, especially some of the expansion decks. I did enjoy the card comboing and the way the islands work, choosing between immediate rewards or new powers. On the other hand, the new 51st State might be more to my liking.

98 – Dune: Imperium

I haven’t had much chance to replay this one as we tried it out well after the hype peaked, and Dune certainly suffers (for us) from getting played after Lost Ruins of Arnak. The games have a pretty different feel despite sharing the same two main mechanisms. But Dune is a tighter game, for sure, where you might get locked out of important resources for a round because the spot you needed was taken. It’s also not as much about the card combos and deck-building as Arnak, focusing much more on resource management and worker placement. It could definitely go up with more plays, though.

97 – Terraforming Mars

TM has definitely benefited from expansions. Prelude is obvious, but for us, Colonies is one we’ll always include as well. I really like what the Colonies adds. And Venus is just easy to throw in. Turmoil, however, did not go over particularly well, and we left it out last time we played. The card drafting and engine building are fun, though it’s a bit long, usually around 3 hours for us (maybe less last time?). I always have a hard time pausing my engine building so I can actually put stuff on the map. Greenery strategies in particular are really strong, at least at our level of play.

96 – The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game

Weirdly, I got to play this before the board game (it was an inexpensive stocking stuffer). For such tiny cards, it sure takes up a lot of space! The solo mode is decent, though it doesn’t really recreate a multiplayer experience, you just compete against an unknown number of points. There’s a fan-made solo variant that looks to be a bit better, just haven’t gotten around to trying it. All in all, the card game is good, but the board game is definitely better. Spoiler, I guess! Still, for the price point especially, the card game is really solid.

95 – Suburbia: Collector’s Edition

It’s been a while since we played this last, and we hadn’t gotten into the expansion content yet, but it’s a really satisfying city-builder. While the collector’s edition looks nicer than the original, I seem to recall it being a struggle to open up and put away. Someday, it’ll get to the table again. Probably.

94 – Tanto Cuore

It’s just Dominion with anime maids, mostly, but has some interesting changes from Dominion, and it’s one of the very few games with anime art that’s also a good game. The app could use more of the expansions, though. I suspect this will continue to drop over time (it was higher when I did the rankings earlier this year).

93 – Summoner Wars

I’ve only played the app, though I’ve recently been able to play more head-to-head 2-player games, so someday I might try out 2nd Edition. But 1st edition was solid fun, and it was easily one of the best apps when it came out. I’m still surprised by how good the app was. SW might not be able to compete against a lot of other head-to-head games for me, but it’s a good time. A nice mix of Magic: The Gathering and a simple minis skirmish game.

92 – La Granja

I haven’t gotten to play this in person, but the BGA implementation is really good and includes the solo mode. I’m definitely in the camp that enjoys multi-use cards, but I have a hard time thinking of a game where the uses are so tough to pick from and difficult to calculate. LG is a crunchy game and feels like a heavier Viticulture. And I like games that let you upgrade things, making players more asymmetric over the course of the game. This one is up there for games I want to play some more.

91 – Pandemic: Iberia

We’ve actually not played regular Pandemic (though I’m very familiar with it). Iberia isn’t just a nice production, it adds some nice twists to Pandemic. There’s another Pandemic game higher up, but that one departs a lot. Iberia felt like a thinkier Pandemic, almost a 1.5. It’s hard to say if this will go up or down in the future. I’m not sure if more plays will significantly increase my enjoyment. I think Iberia is one of those games I won’t mind playing, but there will be other games in the same weight class I prefer to play over it.

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