I was listening to Board Game Blitz‘s last podcast (from August 13, 2020), where Ambie and Crystal each picked their favorite game in each set of 100 of Board Game Geek’s top 1000 games, and I was inspired to try it myself! Let’s see how this goes.
These are based on Board Game Geek’s top 1000-ranked games as of today. If you check those rankings, it’s very likely that the games I picked have moved around, possibly even into a different group of 100.
BGG’s 1-100: Underwater Cities
This one was tough, with a close run between Pandemic Legacy, Clank!, Underwater Cities, Everdell, and Wingspan. So many great titles to choose from! However, my current obsession is Underwater Cities. In Underwater Cities, you are building a network of cities with tunnels and farms, labs, and desalination plants to keep the network sustained. The game is really tight, with each round feeling like you need to do about three more things. It’s also just satisfying to look at your board at the end of the game and see the tangible network you’ve built.
BGG’s 101-200: Dungeon Petz
Clank! Legacy is in this group of 100, and even we’re playing through our second campaign, I still have to go with my old favorite Dungeon Petz. In Dungeon Petz, you are running a pet shop for some hungry, angry, playful, and magical monsters. It is a worker placement game with a strong resource management aspect, as you need to satisfy the needs of all the pets in your shop each round, lest they injure your imp family or escape. It’s heavier than the theme might have you believe, and doesn’t hit my table as often as I’d like, but I love this one.
BGG’s 201-300: Space Base
This one is a no-brainer — I love Space Base. This is a dice-rolling game where everyone has a chance to get resources on other players’ turns (ala Machi Koro, but better). Each player has a display of spacecraft in sectors numbered 1-12. On their turn, they roll a pair of 6-sided dice and get benefits either from each of the two dice separately or the sum of the dice. Other players can also get benefits if they have upgraded their ships. The game is a race to 40 points and is among my most-played games right now.
BGG’s 301-400: Mystic Vale
Mystic Vale is a card-crafting game where you start with a minimal deck of cards, and the add advancements over the course of the game. Not quite a deck-builder, because you have the same number of cards throughout the game, it’s just that those cards get better and better. I’ve been enjoying trying different strategies, like, adding more “bad” advancements that could cause me to spoil and lose my turn, but give lots of rewards if I manage not to spoil. I’m always willing to pull this one off the shelf. I’ve also gotten the app version, and played that one too many times.
BGG’s 401-500: Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North
Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North has quickly become one of my favorites. This is a tableau-building and action-selection game where you are building up your empire and exploring new islands. I’ve enjoyed playing different decks of cards (different “civilizations,” I suppose) to see how they work and how I can optimize my plays with them. I have all the expansions so far, and pre-ordered the one that is just hitting the stores.
BGG’s 501-600: The Networks
This group of 100 was a little tough to pick a favorite with Marco Polo II (a recent new obsession) and Elder Sign competing with The Networks. Ultimately, though, today, The Networks wins. It’s a game I would pull to the table with a wider range of people. It is a card drafting game where you are running a TV studio, trying to optimize your schedule over 5 years by (rounds) making money with ads and attracting audiences with stars and shows scheduled in the right time.
BGG’s 601-700: Ex Libris
Ex Libris is a worker placement game where you are collecting books and organizing a bookshelf in front of you. Besides enjoying alphabetizing (no joke), I really like the shifting worker placement powers in Ex Libris. Each round, several new worker placement locations are introduced, and one of them will stick around until the end of the game. So, as the game goes on, you get more and more actions you can do. But, at the same time, several spots are swept away at the end of each round. This changes up every game, and even every round as you rush to do the spot that you know you’ll only have one chance to do.
BGG’s 701-800: Valley of the Kings
Valley of the Kings is a deck building game where players are simultaneously building up and tearing down their decks. You start the game with a deck of middling cards, which you use to buy better and better cards. However, to get game-end points, you have to entomb those cards, which makes them (and their potentially amazing powers) unavailable for the rest of the game. I really love the agonizing decisions about determining the right time to entomb a high-point, super-powerful card.
BGG’s 801-900: Steam Park
Steam Park is a charming theme-park-building game where you are constructing a park for robots who only get 6 days off a year. Each round starts with real-time dice-rolling that is frantic and frustrating, and then players build up their parks, attract visitors, set up stands, and clean up the inevitable dirt. I love this game. Theme parks are one of my favorite themes for a game, and this one has 3D pieces that really make it feel like you have built something at the end.
BGG’s 901-1000: Catan Card Game
So, full confession, I really don’t much like Catan. However, did you know that there is a 2-player card-based version? Catan Card Game is one of the games we’ve had since very early in our hobby-gaming lives. It has the feeling of Catan in that you are getting resources based on die-rolls and building roads to connect up towns and cities. Unlike Catan, though, I don’t recall ever having a game where I just felt like there was no possibility of winning right from the beginning. I will happily pull this one off the shelf when we’re looking for a 2-player game.
Well, that was fun! Have you played any of these? Would you have picked other games from each of these groups of 100? Let me know in the comments!