End of Year & Top 100

70 – Trismegistus: The Ultimate Formula

This seems to have become the forgotten T-game from Board & Dice, and I’m not entirely sure why. I think it’s probably the heaviest of them, and the rulebook is pretty rough to get through. But it’s a really good game. For me, the only real downside is that it’s so heavy that it can be exhausting. I have to be in the mood for this one, so it’s not going to get played very often.

69 – Trajan

We’ve only played once so far, admittedly, but it’s been around so long, and I’ve played enough Felds that this felt like a no-brainer. A mancala rondel, point-salad, clean mechanics. It’s dry and themeless to a high degree, like a lot of Felds, but it’s such an engaging puzzle.

68 – Friday

If there was a contest for the most fun you could have with the ugliest game, Friday might be the winner. I really dislike the art, and the dorky theme isn’t any better. But it’s such a smooth game, quick to play, and with adjustable difficulty. At some point, I plan to print a homebrew copy with something more palatable for the theme/artwork. Friday is worth the effort. I can only imagine how much more popular it’d be if it looked nice.

67 – A Game of Thrones LCG

I never got a chance to play 2nd Edition, but I remember first trying this out when the original CCG was coming out. I printed the free demo decks (remember when companies did those?) and played them with my brother. Many years later, I saw the LCG box in Barnes & Noble and dove back in. But it wasn’t long before my brother decided he didn’t like head-to-head games. But this was such a neat system. I loved having three types of challenges with different rewards for each. But this might fall over time since I never bought any more of it. It might even be too late for 2nd Edition.

66 – The Witcher Adventure Game

It’s definitely too late to buy the physical game, but luckily it has a pretty good app. The app’s AI is garbage, but it otherwise works well. I really liked the asymmetry between the characters and the decks. Building up your character wasn’t that difficult, just took time. The quests weren’t giant blocks of flavor text, and the optional objectives were neat. Really fun combat system as well. Though, the main resource gathering, collecting “clue” tokens of different types and spending them to complete objectives, felt oddly abstract. I’m surprised it didn’t do better back when it came out.

65 – Unsettled

Unsettled is a unique coop with a lot of different puzzles. So far, it hasn’t been particularly challenging, but it’s been very satisfying anyway. It would probably be higher if it had a better setting and non-goofy writing, though. The writing is just not my style. But I’m surprised this game hasn’t gotten more buzz. Vindication (their previous game) did pretty well, but Unsettled seems to have fallen much further under the radar. Though, sci-fi often struggles to compete with fantasy.

64 – Eldritch Horror

It’s been a while since I last played, but I always enjoy it when I get it back out, solo or multiplayer. It notoriously doesn’t scale well (like most FFG coop games), though, so fewer characters is basically on hard mode. But at least they did have the forethought to give it an adjustable difficulty. Someday, I might break down and get some expansions, but for now, it’s base game only. Never played Arkham Horror 3rd edition, but I don’t think I’ll like more the EH.

63 – Kanban EV

Kanban still surprises me with how satisfying it can be. As much as I like the single-worker placement and the methodical build-a-car process, the different ways of scoring is not to be overlooked. Especially how the car parts can score since it’s based on how much they’ve been upgraded by all players. And the meetings can be really tense as you never have time to score as much as you want. It would be difficult for me to care less about the theme, but this solidified Vital Lacerda as a designer to follow for me.

62 – Tekhenu: Obelisk of the Sun

I haven’t played it much, but it just sticks with me. The dice mechanism, the different parts of the board, the tech cards that feel so powerful, the sense of build-up. The beginning feels almost too restrictive, but the game opens up pretty quickly. It might not be the most thematic game (and the obelisk’s shadow makes absolutely no sense), but the Egyptian aesthetic is appreciated.

61 – Rune Age

It may have been short-lived, but Rune Age still sticks out to me as a deck builder. The three interconnected resources felt fresh then and still work well now. I’m glad I grabbed the expansion when I did as the game went out of print shortly after. They could have made a lot more, but I think they were too gunshy with this base game and cut too much content out. I remember everyone’s complaint was that it felt like there weren’t nearly enough cards to keep the game feeling fresh. Ah well, it is what it is. Plays solo well too.

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