Here’s the next set of eleven games from my Top 99. Getting closer to the Top 11!
#44: Flash Point: Fire Rescue is a cooperative game published in 2011, designed by Kevin Lanzing. The game is all about fire fighters trying to rescue people (and animals) from a burning building. On each turn, dice are rolled to determine where flames or hot spots are going to pop up. Each player has a unique role that they can change during the game, and they will be spending actions to move through the building, knock down walls, grab victims, and get them the heck out of there. It’s a very intense game with a phenomenal theme.
#43: Yspahan came out in 2006, designed by Sébastie Pauchon. It was a game set in the Middle East that featured dice drafting. In each round, one player rolls the nine white dice, then orders them from lowest to highest. The numbers rolled determine what actions are available. This could be collecting camels, collecting gold, placing cubes out in the various shops, draw cards, send cubes to the caravans, or move the supervisor. It was one of the first Eurogames to really embrace the use of dice, and it still holds up as a pretty good game.
#42: Memoir ’44 was the second game to use what came to be known as the Commands and Color system. It was designed by Richard Borg, and was first released in 2004. It’s a World War II themed game where players are taking sides in various scenarios surrounding D-Day. You play a card to order certain units, then attack by rolling dice. There’s a great depth of theme in the game, but play is really very simple. It’s an easy game to pick up, if not an easy game to master. There are a ton of scenarios, both official and manmade, and this is the best game of the system I’ve played.
#41: Mysterium is a cross between Dixit and Clue, and better than both. Deisgned by Oleksandr Nevskiy and Oleg Sidorenko and published in 2014. One player is a ghost trying to communicate the real perpetrator of a crime that happened a century ago, but who can only communicate through dreams. The other players must deduce, from the clues given, the weapon used, location, and actual killer within seven rounds. It’s a very difficult game to master (I’ve never won), but I have a great time every time. A new edition just came out from Libellud, but I’ve only played the original Ukrainian version.
#40: Impulse is a game by Carl Chudyk, marking the first (but certainly not the last) time he has appeared on this list. It was released in 2013, and is a sci-fi 4X game boiled down into about half an hour. On your turn, you are completing various actions based on card play, but the really unique part of this game is the use of the Impulse. This is a line of action cards everyone must contribute to on their turn that will then be available to other players later. While it’s not my favorite of Chudyk’s games, it’s still #40 all time for me, which is still pretty good.
#39: Love Letter launched the microgame revolution, and remains one of the top in class. Designed by Seiji Kanai and published in 2012, Love Letter is a game of deduction where you are trying to get close to the Princess. Every player has one card in hand, and on their turn, draws a card and plays a card. Each card has a special ability, and your goal is to either knock out all of the other players or to have the highest numbered card in hand when the deck runs out. There are only 16 cards in the game, and it plays very quickly. It’s a lot of fun, check it out. There are also a ton of licensed versions now (including Batman).
#38: Tobago was designed by Bruce Allen and originally published in 2009. It’s a treasure hunting game where you’re moving little jeeples around a modular island and adding cards to different treasure maps in order to find treasures. The twist here is that you determine where the treasures ultimately end up by a kind of inverse deduction – you narrow down the choices each time you place a map card. It’s a very unique game with some super cool bits – I put the statues up there with the best game components ever.
#37: Small World is Philippe Keyaerts’ 2009 reworking of his 1999 game Vinci. In the game, you control a unique combination of races and powers that will change every game, and even during the same game. On each turn, you’ll use your race to try to conquer regions and prevent others from scoring too many points. At certain points during the game, you will be need to send your race into decline and get a new race/power combination. It’s a pretty simple game to learn with lots of variability and visual appeal. I’ve never played Vinci, so I don’t know how they compare, but I’m happy with Small World.
#36: Witch’s Brew is a 2008 Spiel des Jahres nominee from designer Andreas Pelikan. In the game, you are trying to collect ingredients in order to make potions. In each round, players choose five roles from a hand of 12. On your turn, you declare a role, and then other players who also have that role must play it, declaring they are that role or that you can have it, but they’ll take a smaller benefit. It’s a great mechanism, and I love the game. Its spiritual successor, Broom Service, won the Kennerspiel this last year. I’ve played it once, but for now, I prefer Witch’s Brew as the simpler of the two.
#35: Mage Knight Board Game is Vlaada Chvátil’s 2011 board game based on the popular miniatures game from WizKids. You control a Mage Knight, and adventure around the countryside, slaying monsters, recruiting help, and possibly burning some bridges. It uses a slight deckbuilding mechanism as you gain more actions for your deck, and cards can be used to boost any action simply by turning them sideways. It is the most complex game I own, and makes for a really good solo game. It can be extremely long with multiple players, so I suggest just trying it with two when learning the game.
#34: Race for the Galaxy is the 2007 tableau building game from Thomas Lehmann that was loosely based on the popular Puerto Rico. At the start of each round, each player chooses a role, then simultaneously reveals. Any role chosen will get executed by everyone, with the person who chose it getting a small bonus. You can explore for more cards, develop or settle to get cards in your tableau, consume goods for points, or produce new goods. When someone has 12 cards in their tableau, or the VP chits run out, the game ends and the player with the high score wins. It’s a great game, but you don’t need any more than the first expansion.
Coming soon – the top third of my list! Thanks for reading!