End of Year & Top 100

90 – Merchants & Marauders

Years ago, this would have been much higher, but the length, downtime, and potentially huge setbacks have really let it slide down the list. Still a fun sandbox-style pirate game, but it certainly hasn’t aged gracefully. I would love to see a 2nd Edition try to streamline and update the game some. We’ll have to try the expansion someday; I remember it looking pretty good. Not sure if it’s still in print, though.

89 – Gùgōng

It’s been actual years since this hit the table, but it left a strong impression. It’s my go-to example of a game that I wasn’t really interested in until we played it and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The card mechanism was so simple but made for tough decisions. Honestly, the never-ending deluge of new games is the only reason it hasn’t come back out. It might have to come back out again soon.

88 – Pax Viking

I was so hyped for this game when it came out, but I think over time, I’ve lost some patience for this team’s strange and unintuitive rules. PV is definitely more approachable than most of their games, but it’s still obtuse. I’m still not even sure if this is where PV should go or if it should be lower, but I did enjoy it! We need to give this another go. A shame the solo mode is not well-regarded, though, so I haven’t tried that.

87 – Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game

I only got to play this a few times before my brother decided he didn’t like these types of games, but I still remember this one. I think there was a solo variant floating around that I might try at some point. But I’ll be getting more 2-player games played these days, so this might hit the table again. Though it’ll have to wait in line because there are other 2-player card games ahead of this one. Still, CoC is a really different, engaging card game that isn’t about attacking and dealing damage but rather winning story cards, keeping the setting and style intact.

86 – Arkham Horror: The Card Game

Ah, this would probably be a lot higher if I could afford to keep up with it, but a full campaign is a bit pricey. Though FFG did release an expansion that just added onto the core box to make a full campaign, so, at some point, I might do that. I’ve heard the other campaigns are really good, too. Really solid system, though I’m a bit lukewarm on the “draw tokens from the bag to determine success” mechanic, especially since you commit everything beforehand and the tokens can get really swingy. Other than that, though, really good.

85 – A Touch of Evil: Dark Gothic

Like Tanto Coure (coincidentally, also a deck builder), the gothic aesthetic helps hold up what is otherwise a fine but not spectacular game. The game itself is straightforward but with some swingy events (thematic, at least, so you can still get drawn into the story), but that foundation allows the gothic horror setting to really shine. And unlike its board game older sibling (A Touch of Evil), Dark Gothic doesn’t try to do too much and remains streamlined and playable.

84 – Lords of Waterdeep

For a long time, I didn’t have much interest in it, but when the app was on sale (last winter on Steam, I think), I decided to give it a try. This is up there with Gugong as a game that was much better than I expected. The app is also pretty good. I don’t know how this would go over with my group given it can be a little mean, but I’d be happy just playing the app. The AI can certainly give me a run for my money when cranked up. Not a lot of theme here, but solid mechanisms. And I definitely enjoy this sub-genre of worker placement where you acquire resources to complete missions.

83 – Scythe

This one cooled for me over time as the grindy nature of the first few rounds and the overall sameyness from game-to-game set in. I still enjoy it, even more now that I have the app, but I think we’ll need to crack open the expansions someday and that those will help elevate Scythe again.

82 – World of Warcraft TCG

I’m not entirely sure how this got so high up. Probably because I’ll be able to play some of these 2-player card games again. I do have fond memories of this one and still have my piles of cards (just from 2 sets). It wasn’t the best TCG, but I was really into WoW back in the day, and for years. But I think this will drop over time.

81 – Targi

We haven’t gotten this out in person, but my friend and I have played on BGA a few times now. What an incredibly tight, vicious game. It looks so innocent until you play it. But it’s a very engaging game for how small and simple it is.

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