Home Top Ten Game Lists Andrew’s Top 10 Board Games of All Time

Andrew’s Top 10 Board Games of All Time

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I last wrote a list of my Top 10 games of all time back in 2017. My tastes have certainly changed quite a bit over the last 6+ years, so it felt like well past time to revisit it.

Obviously, my preferences tend to learn toward heavier Euro games. I did choose to leave out any legacy games. The Pandemic Legacy series would certainly appear on this list otherwise, but since they reach a point where they can no longer be played it doesn’t quite feel like they belong here.

Andrew’s Top 10 Board Games of All Time

10. Time’s Up: Title Recall

Times UpSure, this list is going to be 90% long and complicated strategy games. But I like to have fun too … sometimes. And when it comes to party games, Time’s Up: Title Recall is unbeaten. It pays basically an infinite amount of people. Multiple rounds of clue giving that go from say anything you want, to say one word, to full on charades. There are multiple similar games like Monkiers and “regular” Time’s Up, but the pop culture clues in Title Recall are my preferred way to play.

4-18 Players • Ages 12+ • 60 minutes • $20Get Your Copy

 

 

9. Concordia

ConcordiaIt is easy to dismiss Concordia as just another Euro where you gather resources and spend those on things that get you victory points. While true, the action system really sets the game apart. Everyone starts with the same deck and each card has an action. One of those card abilities is to get even more cards… with different or more actions. And each card you get increases your end-game scoring in a different way. There are a lot of different expansion maps in Concordia with just enough changes to keep things interesting.

2-5 Players • Ages 13+ • 100 minutes • $52Get Your Copy

 

 

8. 18XX

I18Chesapekes it cheating to put a whole game system on this list? Probably. Do I care? Nope. If you aren’t familiar, 1830 is the original where players buy stock in and operate train companies. These games are generally long, a short one might run 3-4 hours. But they offer a depth of experience that isn’t found in a lot of other games. It can be cutthroat, but that’s just the world of 19th-century locomotives. If you are looking for a place to start, try 1846 or 18Chesapeake.

2-7 Players • Ages 14+ • 180-360 minutes

 

 

7. Pax Pamir: Second Edition

Pax PamirYou’ll come to see in this list a focus on games that lean more into short-term tactics than long term strategy. I tend to prefer having some interactions with other players and having to play them as much as play the game itself. Pax Pamir is the ultimate tactical game. Scoring in the game happens only four times and each time you score either based on your influence with the most powerful coalition or based on your personal power on the board. You’ll have to quickly change focus as coalition powers ebb and flow, and players can change their loyalty quite easily.

1-5 Players • Ages 13+ • 45-120 minutes • $69Get Your Copy

 

 

6. Age of Steam

Age of SteamMore trains? Yep. And Age of Steam is somewhat similar in that it’s more of a system where you can play a large variety of maps which range from slightly different to almost completely new games. That said, the current printing of Age of Steam Deluxe has a great set of maps to start on. Age of Steam is certainly a bit easier to grasp than 18XX and focuses more on route building and auctions. There aren’t any company stocks to buy or sell. You’ll lay track between cities on the board trying to deliver goods to matching locations. Each round starts with an auction to determine turn order and there are special powers drafted each round that can really give you a leg up.

1-6 Players • Ages 13+ • 120 minutes • $94Get Your Copy

 

 

5. Brass: Lancashire

BrassFirst off—old Brass is the best Brass. Birmingham is Brass with training wheels. That’s right, I said it. In Brass you’ll build coal mines, iron smelters, and cotton mills trying to export all the cotton you can in search of sweet victory points. But you almost certainly will have to use the resources placed by other players to be successful. And each action you take requires a card, meaning you may have to place in less desirable locations if you don’t draw the cards you need.

2-4 Players • Ages 14+ • 60-120 minutes • $67Get Your Copy

 

 

4. Food Chain Magnate

Food Chain MagnateNow maybe the prospect of being beholden to drawing the right cards in Brass doesn’t sound like something you’d be into. Welcome to the cutthroat world of fast food. In Food Chain Magnate there is no randomness to blame your failures on. And almost no hidden information. But there is plenty of interaction and opportunity to ruin the plans of your opponents. You’ll market various food and drinks to houses around the map and then you’ll need to fulfill their demand to earn profits. But you have to be able to supply everything they want or they will start looking elsewhere. Food Chain Magnate can be incredibly mean but it’s one of the most rewarding moments I’ve had in gaming when you can interrupt someone else’s bit of marketing to enrich yourself.

2-5 Players • Ages 14+ • 120-240 minutes • $99Get Your Copy

 

 

3. Ra

When I previously wrote my Top 10 in 2017, Ra did not appear on it. I’m not sure I had even played it at the time. But now I’ve played it… repeatedly. There’s a lot that makes Ra easy to get to the table. It plays up to 5 players. It can be done in about an hour, maybe 90 minutes if you really take your time. But it is unquestionably the best-designed auction game. Players all start with the same incentives but quickly will develop a strategy that will make them value different tiles differently. And you can’t ever go too wrong with your bidding since you have to bid with your sun tiles. Add a fun bit of press your luck toward the end of each round and there is really nothing to dislike.

2-5 Players • Ages 12+ • 60 minutes • $50Get Your Copy

 

 

2. Castles of Burgundy

The Castles of BurgundySimilar to Ra, this game didn’t even appear on my 2017 version of this list. But it fits a similar spot to Ra in another way—a little quicker than the heavier games on this list but still plenty of tough decisions to make. I tend to enjoy games that focus on tactics and doing the best with what you are given and Castles of Burgundy is clearly in that camp. Your best laid plans are often ruined by poor dice rolls and you’ll be on Plan C, D, or E by the time it gets to the end of the round. While some may bemoan being subject to whims of the dice I think Castles of Burgundy has the perfect amount of randomness for a mid-weight Euro.

2-4 Players • Ages 12+ • 30-90 minutes • $50Get Your Copy

 

 

1. Kanban

Kanban EVMy long standing number one. I considered moving it down in favor of Castles of Burgundy or Ra, which I certainly get to the table more. Sometimes we just don’t have the time or brain power for a 2-3 hour Lacerda game. But the reality is Kanban is still the game I enjoy the most. Over 30 plays in and I’m still 100% convinced there is no best strategy. Impressing your boss at the factory still requires careful planning but being nimble when things inevitably start to go awry.

1-4 Players • Ages 14+ • 60-180 minutes • $120Get Your Copy

 

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. Slight correction, the original 18xx game is the late Francis Tresham’s “1829”, not 1830 which was developed from it in collaboration with Avalon Hill.
    1829 comes in two flavours, south and north Great Britain, both published by Tresham’s company Hartland Trefoil.

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