The Players' Aid

Board Game Reviews, Reports, and Reflections.

Tim’s Top 10 Games

2016 Edition

Normally, I don’t think lists like this will change often, but being so new to the hobby I am thinking that it will change more often than most.  To date, I have played around 150 different games in the last year.  This list is the top games that I have played and would be happy to play them anytime, anywhere!  Most of these games are games that I own and I am sure the list would change dramatically if I was to play other games more.

10.  Eminent Domain

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I really love deck builders and this one is a great one.  It has a quick learning curve but a lot of depth in strategy.  It is easy to get your deck exactly the way you want it.  There are multiple paths to victory.  I also love the part where you might have a more opportunistic turn when it’s not your turn than the player whose turn it is.  It is just great!  The expansions are really good as well and adds tons of replayability.

9.  Suburbia

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The first time I played Suburbia I was not impressed at all.  I remember thinking….that’s it??  Surely there had to be more to it.  But, the more I play it, the more I love it.  I love when things activate on other player’s turn.  I love the theme and a I love the way the tiles work with each other creating a synergy throughout the game.  The only negative is the goal tiles, quite often you might get a personal goal that contradicts the open goals.  I love the border tiles from the Inc. expansion as well.  They are a nice addition to an already great game.

8.  Core Worlds

courtesy of diddle74 at BGG

Core worlds is another deck builder and it takes Eminent Domain to the next level.  It is deep, long and fantastic and has a really great integrated theme.  I love the tension of player order and when you can get the cards that you really want.  And the game escalates really well.  I really feel that by the end of the game my civilization has become more powerful and I have a feeling of accomplishment.  Every expansion for this game (including Galactic Orders and Revolution) has not only brought new mechanics and tricks but has changed the way previous mechanisms work and does it well.

7.  Seasons

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Seasons is my favorite 2 Player game at the moment.  It is also a great game for more player counts but 2 player just moves so smooth.  It has very interesting and unique mechanisms that have not been seen in other games.  I love the planning at the beginning of the game for all three years.  The chunky dice are just fantastic!  There are tough decisions throughout the game!  The theme is great and the art is some of the best in the business!

6.  The Castles of Burgundy

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I have only played this game 4 times but I WANT to play it every week.  It is always on my mind.  It is so smooth.  Once you understand the rules, which doesn’t take long, it just flows.  You have so many options to do that the game is just fun.  Even passing is never a bad option.  I rarely feel like a turn has been wasted.  I do wonder if ALL the player mats are balanced???  I am willing to play it over and over to find out though!

5.  Roll for the Galaxy

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Roll for the Galaxy is such a unique experience.  I love to roll dice, even though they never do what I need them to do, but in Roll it doesn’t really matter.  There are so many different ways to manipulate the dice to work for you.  I love the fact that you work on your own stuff and the other players work on their stuff.  There is very little player interaction.  The action selection part is great.  You can really maximize your rounds by paying attention to others.

4.  Russian Railroads

courtesy of reckoner of BGG

I have only played this game ONCE and that means a lot!!  One thing I love about games is when every one does a different strategy and the scores are so close it is hard to tell who is gunna win.  Russian Railroads does this perfectly.  There are literally 5 different “routes” you can take to win, and they all seem very close in the end and well balanced.  During our play of four players we were all within 20 points of each other.  I also love that the expansion seems to make even more ways to play and win.

3.  Mombasa

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I am a sucker for unique games!  Mombasa is certainly that!  I am also finding that I enjoy games that have mini games within the big game.  Mombasa has plenty of that.  You have area control, gaining diamonds, writing in your books and action selection with discard piles.  The best part of Mombasa is the action selection.  How to juggle your cards and put them in the right discard piles to enhance you future plays is just brilliant!  Another game where there are multiple ways to play and they all are very even.

2.  Orleans

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Orleans is just about perfect for me.  It is smooth, quick, versatile and just plain fun.  This game has so much going for it.  I love building your citizens.  I have played this game multiple times and have focused on different strategies each time.  Get the most money, travel the most, collect the most goods, gain citizens, every one of these strategies are viable and work to win.  The key is just sticking to it.  The interaction is minimal but what there is, is very intriguing!  There is literally nothing I can say bad about this game.  The mechanics, the components, the art….it is ALL fantastic.

1.  Dominant Species

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It may look like I enjoy a lot of euro games from my list.  I do!  Dominant Species is a fantastic game of survival!!!  You have to survive the elements, the land, other players, etc.  I love games where there is an order of when actions are activated.  I love how in Dominant Species you have to think out your plan first and then follow through with your plan hoping things are still how you want them to be when it is your turn to finally take an action.  This is a very in your face game thought where everything and anything will change turn by turn, moment by moment.  If you don’t use the cards that are available someone will use them against you and their abilities can really change the game and hurt you.  I absolutely love this game and it will take a beast to knock it off the top spot!!

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