End of Year & Top 100

80 – In the Year of the Dragon

Another game we played a lot on BGA (most of which was during lockdowns). This one is brutal but in a different way from Targi. Things can quickly snowball, and you watch your people die and palaces crumble. Though I’ve done pretty well avoiding all that. You have to make sacrifices to avoid complete disaster. It’s a neat, fairly simple game with agonizing decisions. It’s surprisingly overlooked for a Feld game.

79 – Kraftwagen

Here’s a really overlooked game. For me, this is a really good, clean, mid-weight Euro that ticks a lot of boxes. Rondels are always fun, and the market in this creates some unique puzzly moments. You can frequently find this discounted, so it’s a low-stakes game to check out.

78 – Caverna: The Cave Farmers

It took us a while to finally get to this one, and while we enjoyed it, the expansion with the variable races was a lot more interesting. I think I prefer Agricola’s cards to the pre-determined rooms, but I do enjoy Caverna’s changes overall. It’s hard to say where this will move over time. As interested as I was way back when it came out, it’s not really been on my mind as a game to return to. Its main competition for a heavy Rosenberg game is A Feast for Odin.

77 – Cascadia

This is one of a few very light games in my top 100 because it’s just so clean and satisfying to play. It’s almost addicting. And the solo mode is really easy to operate too. The pseudo-legacy achievements thing is a bit weird, but whatever. It’s a really modular game that plays so smoothly.

76 – Viticulture Essential Edition

Viticulture is a swingy game. The card draws are just too random. But Tuscany definitely introduces a variety of improvements, and when we used a small house rule (anytime you draw cards, draw 1 extra and discard one), the game was much better. I definitely prefer having a close game instead of one person way in the lead or way behind because of the card draw. It can also be really odd how many points you can score for doing things besides making wine. But overall a really fun game!

75 – Carnegie

My friend and I played this on BGA back during the Kickstarter, but we just recently got the deluxe version to the table. Nice production aside, the game is super crunchy but honestly not too difficult to learn. The mechanisms are pretty straightforward for the most part, but figuring out how they all interconnect and figuring out the right timing on everything is really difficult. Sometimes you hedge your bets and lose because your opponent didn’t take the action you wanted them to. And there’s a real threat of losing turns because you didn’t have the resources to do the action, but the more you follow your opponents, the more you can avoid that. It definitely feels like a Vital Lacerda game (and looks like it too thanks to O’Toole’s art) and plays surprisingly fast for how crunchy it gets.

74 – Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization

This is another that’s only been played online (BGA and the app). I’m not sure if we’ll end up playing it in person. It’s quite a large game and long. Playing solo against AI on the app works really well and doesn’t take that long. It’s a tough game but definitely one of the best civ-themed games, especially since it actually goes through, well, all of the ages.

73 – Lewis & Clark: The Expedition

This was one of the earliest games my game group played, and it’s been quite some time since we last played it in person, but it’s a really unique card-driven Euro. It’s got a bit of worker placement thrown in back before worker placement took over the industry. I might be wrong, but I think it was also the game that really put artist Vincent Dutrait on the map. I know everyone complains that it’s a “race game” but too slow, but I don’t even think about the racing element. It’s a nice, satisfying Euro all around.

72 – Pandemic: Fall of Rome

This is (so far) my favorite Pandemic. Though there are now several versions I haven’t played. But FoR broke away from the format with some interesting ideas. And the solitaire variant plays really well; you control multiple characters without the need to play with several different hands of cards. At some point, I might have to get a copy of my own to play solo.

71 – AuZtralia

We’ve only played this on Tabletopia so far, which is a very clunky experience, so it’s amazing the game was able to leave such a good impression despite that. Martin Wallace has a thing for games that seem normal but hide such unique (and sometimes odd) mechanics. The time track is cool, but the combat with the cards and trying to match different types of units against enemies they’re good at is really interesting and surprisingly streamlined. It also has trains because Wallace.

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