My Top 10 Favorite Games (as of March 2023)

Every six months I update my top 10 favorite tabletop games list. For this list, I looked back at most of my top 10 videos over the last few years for games that were ranked 1 and 2 multiple times (for any type of list, most of which focus on a specific mechanism), and I ranked those games for this list.

There are many great games from other publishers that won’t make the list even though I’m fond of them, and Stonemaier Games products aren’t eligible due to extreme bias on my part. I also don’t include campaign games in this list–as much as I love those experiences, this list is specifically focused on games I’m eager to get back to the table over and over again.

The previous list is here. I tend to cycle through favorites, hence why I do this every 6 months, but that also means that there are previous favorites that may completely drop off the list for 6-12 months.

Honorable mentions: 7 Wonders, 7 Wonders Duel, Cartographers, Castles of Mad King Ludwig, Fantasy Realms, Isle of Cats, Lords of Waterdeep, Magic the Gathering, Marvel Dice Throne, Mysterium Park, No Thanks, Orleans, Russian Railroads, Scotland Yard, Sushi Roll, Terra Mystica, Tzolk’in, The Guild of Merchant Explorers

10. Space Base: In Space Base, you use dice to activate 1 or 2 cards in your tableau, which improves every time you gain a new card. I love the progression and lack of downtime in this game.

9. Planet Unknown: This is a completely simultaneous tile-placement, engine-building game in which you’re filling a big planet map with polyomino tiles. I love that nearly everything you do results in at least 2 rewards.

8. Roll Player: This puzzly dice game takes the character-creation stage of a role-playing game and gamifies it. I particularly love that the game starts with each player gaining and rolling a bunch of dice to add to their character mat as they wish.

7. Ra: Ra is an auction game with a push-your-luck element to it in that you don’t know exactly when each round will end. I love that the game doesn’t use currency; instead, each player has a few tiles that they use to bid, with the used tile entering the next auction.

6. The Quacks of Quedlinburg: This is a delightful push-your-luck game in which players are simultaneously drawing tokens from a bag until they decide to stop. I love that even if you “bust”, you still get either points or currency to spend on more tokens.

5. Dune Imperium: This is a deckbuilding, worker-placement game set in the world of Dune. I love how the tension begins instantly, as you only need 10 points to win.

4. Clank: This is my style of dungeon-crawl: There’s deckbuilding, there’s tension as you delve deeper to try to get better/more treasure, and while there’s opposition, there’s no combat. I love the vast variety of cards and the various versions/expansions for Clank.

3. Rumble Nation: In this dice-driven game, you’re placing 1-3 units on a map of Japan until you’re out of units, then the game runs itself as you see how the battles play out. I love the use of number parity in the game, as lower numbers activate first (and can result in bonus units), but higher numbers score more.

2. Skull King: In this trick-taking game, you start with a 1 card hand and a fairly easy guess as to how many tricks you’ll win, and you end the game with 10 cards in hand. I love how the game scales up, both in terms of the number of cards and the value of nil bids.

1. Ark Nova: The heaviest game on this list is about building a zoo. I love how streamlined the action-selection system is, and the game is full of targets for intrinsically motivated players like me.

What are a few of your favorite games that you’ve consistently ranked among your favorite games?

2 thoughts on “My Top 10 Favorite Games (as of March 2023)”

  1. Heat: Petal To The Metal. An automobile racing game based on the 1960’s F1 racing seasons. I love the feeling that you’re truly ‘driving the car’ (making the decisions rather than throwing dice) regarding your speed, risk-taking, building your car, etc. You’re even able to build your own car with the included ‘garage’ expansion. You can race over 4 included tracks or print out over 30 fan-designed tracks (and more coming) that were famously part of the ‘60’s seasons. There is tension, and excitement I. A 30-45 minute game for up to 6 players and a great solo mode against five ‘bots’ (called ‘Legends’ in the game.) I am totally obsessed with this one. Have already printed out two additional tracks (Monaco and LeMans) and have ordered additional 3-D printed and hand-painted cars from the ‘60’s to add additional fun to the game.
    Additionally, the game comes with numerous expansions included(!) and more to come!

    Reply

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