A few favorite “I” games

I’m continuing my alphabetical look at favorite games in my game collection. Here are my favorite “I” games!


In Imagineers, players are building up a theme park and moving visitors around to make them happy, earn money, and gain fame. Players will add rides to a shared board and upgrade their own roller coaster. Then they will move a group of visitors in line at one ride using a mancala mechanism. If the visitors land on a ride that matches their interest (thrill ride, family rides, or water rides), they’ll ride it, gaining the active player and the ride’s builder some benefits. Whoever can gain the most fame wins the game.

Of course I like Imagineers because it’s a theme-park-building game, but I also really like the mancala mechanism in games. I don’t have many that use it, and it’s nice to pull one out every now and then. Another cool aspect of the game is that each player has a set of ride names that they can sue to mark their rides — they have fun themes for each player, like the orange player is Western themed and the purple player has Halloween-y games.


In Imaginarium players are inventors tinkering in their workshops, fixing machines to output resources and … well, points. Over the course of the game, players activate their working machines, collect broken machines, break machines for resources, and combine machines to make them more powerful.

I love how Imaginarium plays. It’s fun to puzzle out how to combine your machines, and which machines to build and which to destroy. There’s a great frustration in the action selection because you can only take two actions that are adjacent to each other on the action board, and, of course, you always want to do actions that are further apart! I’m torn on how I feel about the art — it’s super weird, but in an interesting way, and I suppose that means the art has done it’s job. And I will never admit that I was first drawn to Imaginarium because of the elephant on the cover.

Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North

In Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North, players are each building out a settlement of a different faction. They’ll play cards into their empire, set sail to raid or conquer nearby and distant islands, activate a location in their empire, and collect from their crops. Each deck — or faction — plays just a little bit differently using all of the same game mechanisms, so it might take a play or two to master each one.

Empires of the North

I love how each deck plays differently in this game. I always struggle when we start a game, deciding whether to play a favorite faction yet again or try to perfect one that I either haven’t played or haven’t figured out the strategy for. The art on the cards is absolutely delightful, and I always find a new detail or two that I hadn’t noticed before.

What are your favorite games that start with the letter “I”? Or is there one from my list that you love or are hoping to try? Let me know in the comments!

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