In order for people to know both us and our board gaming tastes better, we thought we would each write about our top 10 favorite board games of all time. My list actually has 11 board games on it because I have a tie at one point, but here we go!
Number 10 – Fantastiqa
Fantastiqa was published in 2012 by Eagle-Gryphon Games and was designed by Alf Seegert. Fantastiqa is a deck builder with a whimsical theme – ordinary objects such as toothbrushes are transformed into magic wands, which will help you recruit fairies into your hand. There are peaceful dragons who want to do nothing other than drink tea – and gum up your deck. You can pursue additional quests, recruit powerful allies, and buy artifacts that can help you out too.
The artwork in the game is stunning as well it should be since it features such famous artists as John William Waterhouse, Vincent van Gough, and Claude Monet. I love the theme of this game. The game will never play the same way twice due to the random nature of the initial board set up as well as the various cards that you can use to build up your deck throughout. If that is not enough, there are numerous small expansions for the game that can be incorporated as well.
Number 9 – La Granja
La Granja was published in 2014, originally by Spielworxx, but then published by Stronghold Games here in the United States. The game was designed by Michael Keller and Andreas Odendahl. It features artwork by Harald Lieske.
La Granja is an economic strategy game that employs multi-use cards, one of my favorite game mechanics. This game is as if Stephan Feld and Uwe Rosenberg, two of my favorite designers, had a game baby together – La Granja would be the result.
I admit that I have only ever played this game solitaire, which is unfortunate, because I would really try this game multiplayer at some point. The solitaire game does a good job of simulating a multiplayer game though and that is why La Granja is on my list. You are hard-pressed every turn to make the right decisions as to what card you want to play and where you want to play it. Do you go for the market cart that you know you are going to be able to fulfill or do you use that card for its special ability? Do you expand your farm or go for the extra income you need? Decisions, decisions, delicious decisions are what this game is all about!
Number 8 – Le Havre
Le Havre was published in 2008 by Lookout Games and then published later in the United States by Mayfair Games. The game was designed by Uwe Rosenberg, one of my favorite board game designers, and the artwork was done by Klemens Franz.
Le Havre is an economic strategy game in which the players are trying to accrue the most money by the end of the game. This is done by building buildings and shipping goods to parts unknown. The town helps build some buildings, but most of the building in the game is done by the players themselves.
There are base building cards that are in every game, but my edition of the game came with the Le Grand Hameau expansion which adds a bunch of special buildings that can be used to spice the game up a bit. The Le Grand Hameau cards do not replace the base game building cards, but are added to the game – although at most you will see 6 of them in a game – to add different buildings each game, as the base game building cards do not change from game to game, although the order in which they are available does.
This is my favorite Uwe Rosenberg game although A Feast for Odin is rapidly catching up!
Number 7 – The Castles of Burgundy
The Castles of Burgundy was published in 2011 by alea in the United States. It was designed by Stefan Feld, one of my all-time favorite board game designers, and features the artwork of Julien Delval and Harald Lieske.
The Castles of Burgundy is a euro game that incorporates dice, something that was rarely, if ever, done at the time the game was published. The players have to use their dice to make decisions on what they would like to do on their turn. A player can sell products from their warehouse, recruit more workers, place buildings on their estates, or choose which buildings they would like to place on a future turn.
The restriction in this game is the numbers on the dice themselves. There is a way to mitigate your dice by spending workers, but you may need that worker later, so is now the time to do it? Can you use the item from that depot rather than using that worker? Again, this is a game that features some delicious decision-making!
Number 6 – Orleans
I am 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.
This game is the only game on my top 10 favorites game list because of an expansion. The game has multiple expansions and mini-expansions at this point, but the one I am referring to is Invasion, which features a cooperative scenario as well as several solo scenarios.
Invasion was designed by Inka and Markus Brand. In Invasion, the players must work together to fulfill not only their private goals, but to stave off an invasion that we know is coming. You have to supply money to the town, fill the warehouse with goods, travel from city to city building guardhouses and picking up goods to contribute to the town, man the walls with knights, assemble the town council, etc. That is a lot to accomplish in a short amount of time, but you are racing the clock – and the invasion force – to get it all done! We have yet to win this scenario, but we will one of these days!
From the first 5 games on my all-time favorites list, you might think I am nothing but a euro gamer, but the next part of the list features some not so euro-ish games. Until then, please comment on the list so far!