Besides being a board game player, I have to be honest and admit that I’m starting to find myself falling into the ‘board game collector’ definition to a degree as well. I like owning board games! and having them in my house for quick access!
With that game ownership thought in my mind, for this week’s Top 10 list, I have decided to look at my favorite games — games I have indeed played and really enjoy — but that I don’t own –> games that I must venture to the great world outside my house…amongst family, friends, local businesses, and conventions…to get a chance to put these terrific titles on the table for fun and adventure.
#10 – Castles of Burgundy
First off, don’t be surprised if some of the games on this list are “longer” games. Around the house, I am more likely to be able to get out family-weight games or quicker (under-90 minutes) strategy games. Luckily, I have opportunities to play some of these great, longer games — like Castles of Burgundy — in other places and situations.
I love the quick turns and constant scoring that occurs in this game — such a rewarding aspect. Who knows –> maybe I can pick up the card or dice version of this game to put in the closet.
#9 – Race for the Galaxy
I love the engine-building that can occur in Race for the Galaxy — furthermore, the action selection (we all get something from everyone’s choices) is a superb strategic element of this game. On top of that, it has a finite end-game trigger that creeps up quicker than you’d expect, ensuring that the game doesn’t linger on too long.
This is not a long game…it’s not expensive. Uh, hello Christmas wish list??
#8 – Ticket to Ride
The further I get into the board gaming hobby — the more wonderful new games I get to try out….I can’t help but enjoy a chance to come back to a classic like Ticket to Ride. This game is simple in the most enjoyable way. I love the quick turns, the tension (I just need another orange…almost there…don’t you dare take my track…stop it….stop it….oh, good! whew!), and the bit of press-your-luck with trying to fulfill more connections.
Even if I never own this game, I am content to know exactly where a copy is that I can get to easily.
#7 – Wingspan
After multiple plays of Wingspan, I have really come to appreciate the variety of experiences this game provides. On top of that –> fun and strategic gameplay, beautiful components, and a dice tower (which is extremely compelling). I’ve become a hype-believer and I understand why Stonemaier is struggling to keep this game in stock.
#6 – Ex Libris
I like worker placement games. Ex Libris is definitely on the lighter side of that mechanism compared to many WP-brethren, but it still has it. I also appreciate the variable player powers, especially since they include fun, fantasy monsters as Meeples. At the heart, though, I immensely enjoy the idea of sorting a library and the strategy that comes with adding books that will maximize my theme and organizational bonuses.
Ex Libris hits a wonderful sweet spot of mechanisms and theme that I adore.
#5 – Splendor
Back at the beginning of this list, I mentioned the types of games you might most likely expect to find in this top 10. Splendor is the opposite of those definitions. It is a short game and fits perfectly into the “easy-to-learn”, “easy-to-setup”, and “quick-to-play” sphere of what works best in my house. Why don’t I own this game!?!
My wife and I have really enjoyed this as a 2-player battle — enough so that we borrowed the game this spring while on vacation and played it a couple times while sitting in an airport between flights.
Note: my family loves Marvel and I believe there is a superhero version of Splendor coming out in the near future. If the component quality is at the same level, then maybe that will be the iteration of this game that finds a spot in my closet.
#4 – Great Western Trail
It makes sense that I don’t own this game — I doubt I’d get enough plays of it in to justify the purchase — it is a higher-weight game than my immediate family tends to enjoy and I’m not sure they would appreciate the theme.
I could be wrong, though, because I love the 19th century, cowboy/railroad theme of the Great Western Trail. Furthermore, there is great joy to be found in seeing the trail expand throughout the game — in some part due to your own building decisions. I appreciate the strategy required to make the best of whatever the trail turns into — because sometimes, your opponents can be awful ornery.
#3 – Outlive
Outlive hits the post-apocalyptic theme in a way that I really enjoy. The game also provides a perfect amount of action-selection options that will keep you performing slightly less every round than what you are wanting to achieve. Figuring out where to balance out your strategy is important, but also satisfying. The rules on worker placement — how far a worker can move and whether or not a space is blocked is well-executed also.
#2 – 7 Wonders
I find drafting to be a very enjoyable mechanism. There are definitely games that provide this action better than others and I think 7 Wonders is one of the best, so far. I have had the chance to play with the Leaders expansion as well and would consider it a “must-add.”
Now, I’m content not to own 7 Wonders personally: a) because my in-laws own it and b) I was able to acquire 7 Wonders Duel, which is also an outstanding game. Drafting can be a less-fulfilling mechanism when only two players are involved and this version of the 7 Wonders formula executes that concept “wonder”fully.
#1 – Pulsar 2849
Maybe I’m still just nostalgic about my time with this game, but I love the simple beauty of Pulsar’s aesthetics mixed with its very deep strategy. Pulsar was a game that I was, admittedly, “intimidated” to try. At the time, it was the heaviest euro game I had learned to play — so I entered into my game session nervous about being confused and also about the game being boring.
Fortunately, I was very wrong. While the game is heavy, that doesn’t mean it is hard to understand. I loved the method for dice drafting, the interplay of ship movement, and the action selection. There were times that I could see — I could visually map out — exactly what I wanted to do, but different roadblocks would pop up! Frustrating, but exciting at the same time.
I’m thankful my friend introduced this game to me and I’m hopeful he’ll be up for more game sessions in the future. Ad Astra may be a weird movie about going to the stars — so I say, skip the Pitt-Flick and play Pulsar 2849!
What is one of your favorite games that you don’t own? I would love to hear your thoughts and comments below.