Beth’s top 10 continues! Are the remaining games all luck fests?
Number 5 – AuZtralia
AuZtralia was published in 2018 by Stronghold Games here in the United States. The game was designed by Martin Wallace with the artwork provided by James Colmer. The game is an economic/exploration strategy game with a horror theme based on alternate reality. Who knew that the Old Ones went to Australia in the 1930s?
This is one of my favorite board games because I love the monsters and how they are incorporated into the game. I did not expect an economic/exploration game with a horror theme to work well, but it does in this game. The monsters remind me of Elder Sign.
The time track is one of the neat aspects of this game too. The players have a little bit of time in which to prepare themselves before the monsters wake up, but it is not nearly enough time! I also appreciate that this game can be played in several game modes: competitively, cooperatively, or as a solo game. I have only ever played it cooperatively.
Number 4 – Terraforming Mars
Terraforming Mars is a strategy game that is based on hard science. This game was published in 2016 by Stronghold Games here in the United States. Terraforming Mars was designed by Jacob Fryxelius, with artwork by Isaac Fryxelius. The game has numerous expansions, including one, Terraforming Mars: Turmoil, coming out later in 2019.
I love that there is so much to do in this game – there are so many cards to play and start a strategy with. The ultimate goal is to terraform Mars, but how you go about it each game will vary.
I love the theme of the game – I like the space theme as well as the terraforming aspect. I like the artwork on both the cards and the board despite the component quality being a little lackluster.
Number 3 – Gizmos
Gizmos was published in 2018 by CMON Games. The game was designed by Phil Walker-Harding, with illustrations provided by Hannah Cardoso, Julia Ferrari, Giovanna BC Guimaraes, Mathieu Harlout, and Saeed Jalabi. Gizmos is an engine-building, family style game.
This game makes my favorite board games list because I really enjoy the marbles – they are different from just using cards and dice. It is a fast, fun game. The theme is really meaningless – it could be anything honestly – but the artwork does help bring the theme to life.
This is a great game for families because it can pretty much be played by anyone. The engine-building aspect of the game is fun as you are trying to make your engine work better than everyone else’s.
Number 2 – Orleans
We are lucky enough to own the deluxe edition of Orleans, which was published in 2015 in the United States by Tasty Minstrel Games. The game designer is Reiner Stockhausen and the artist is Klemens Franz. The game is a bag building strategy game set in Medieval France.
This game makes my favorite games list because of the Invasion scenario in the Orleans: Invasion expansion. I like the bag building aspect of the game a lot. I prefer cooperative games to competitive games and love working with someone to be able to fend off the impending invasion rather than trying to fight it off on my own. Teamwork for the win!
I LOVE the components of the deluxe edition, especially the metal coins. The clink that they make just cannot be met by wooden or cardboard coins.
Number 1 – Elder Sign
Elder Sign was published in 2011 by Fantasy Flight Games. The game was designed by Richard Launius and Kevin Wilson. The artwork of the base game was provided by Dallas Melhoff. This was the game that made me into a board gamer! The game is set in the Arkham universe (like my mom’s all-time favorite game, Arkham Horror) that was brought to life by writer H.P. Lovecraft. Yet another game with a horror theme.
This is another game that we find the base game too easy. The second expansion, Unseen Forces (published 2013), basically added more stuff to the game – more cards, more Ancient Ones and more characters – but the third expansion, The Gates of Arkham is what made the game for me.
The Gates of Arkham (published 2015) takes the characters outside of the museum in which the base game is set and moves them out onto the streets of Arkham, allowing them the freedom to explore other locations. These locations are denoted on the cards as having an easy, medium, or hard encounter at the locations. There are now also events in the game, which can either help or harm the investigators. This is my favorite cooperative game!
There are other games that I love to play that could easily have made this list: Defenders of the Realm, A Touch of Evil, Sagrada, The Witcher. . . the list could go on and on, but I only got to choose 10!