Every 6 months I update my top 10 favorite tabletop games list. Those 6 months have flown by–I play a lot of games, and I’m always curious to look back at my tastes over that period to see if they’ve changed.
There are many, many games that won’t make this list, including all games that I’ve designed or published (that doesn’t seem fair, so they’re not eligible) and even some of my favorite gaming experiences (Risk Legacy, Near and Far, Pandemic Legacy, etc).
Rather, the deciding factor on this list is how much I would like to play these games right now. And not just in a “new hotness” kind of way. These are games that I’ve continued to play over and over, and I’m always excited when someone wants to play these games.
Moving off the previous list are several games I still adore, but they’re just not quite in the top 10 right now. Honorable mentions for various reasons are: Ora et Labora, Blokus, Patchwork, Tzolk’in, Celestia, and Telestrations.
I’ve highlighted the 5 games that are new to the Top 10.
10. Flip Ships (new)
This was a tough one to add to the list, not because I’m not super excited to play it again, but simply because it’s so new to me. I’ve only played twice, and those games happened earlier this week. However, I can’t deny that I had a blast, and I love every aspect of this cooperative dexterity game.
9. Terra Mystica
I’ve loved this heavy Euro game for a long, long time, and I’m still eager to play it. I think I’ll always consider it one of my favorite games, even if I’m not as eager to get it to the table as I once was.
8. Isle of Skye
It’s amazing how satisfying this game is despite taking only about 45 minutes. I love “I cut, you choose” mechanisms, and this game does it better than almost any other.
Clank is one of those games that I almost forget how fun it is until I actually play it again. It’s pure fun distilled into a deckbuilding-with-a-board game.
6. Terraforming Mars (new)
I go back and forth on Terraforming Mars being on the Top 10 versus the honorable mention, simply because it can run a bit long for my tastes. But I really, really love engine building, and Terraforming Mars does it better than almost any other game.
5. 7 Wonders Duel (new)
This is one of several 2-player games on this list, as I’ve had more opportunities to play them this year. I love the decisions in 7 Wonders Duel, particularly since every card you select opens up 1 or 2 cards for your opponent.
4. Hanamikoji (new)
This game completely took me by surprise. It’s yet another “I cut, you choose” game on the list, and it’s only for 2 players. It teaches and plays quickly, and it leaves me wanting more every time.
3. Scotland Yard (new)
Who would have guessed that a 20-year old game using a mechanism (hidden movement) I rarely enjoy would be so high on the list? I just can’t deny that I have a blast every time I play this. I love how streamlined it is, yet every decision matters.
2. TIME Stories
As noted in the preface, I excluded several one-off games from the list despite how much I love them. I’ve made an exception for TIME Stories because I continue to be enamored with it every time a new module is released.
1. Castles of Mad King Ludwig
The king is still the king. This is the final “I cut, you choose” game on the list, and it’s the best of the best. I love every moment of this game, win or lose.
I’m really looking forward to playing a number of games for the first time later this year, including The Expanse, Pandemic Legacy Season 2, The 7th Continent, The Palace of Mad King Ludwig, First Martians, and many others.
Are any of these games on your Top 10 list?