My favourite 10 Games

Yesterday for #Blogmas I listed My 10 Least Favourite Games. For today’s Blogmas I thought I’d update my 2017 list of Top Ten Best Board Games as I’ve played a whole load of different games since then.
Again, this is my personal list for the games I enjoy the most. If you personally don’t like any of these games for any reason, you are fully allowed to feel that way. If there’s a game you feel is more deserving that should be on this list, there is a chance I haven’t played it.
Here goes.

10. Splendor by Space Cowboys

A delightful set-collecting game that’s simple and devious at the same time. One of the best filler games out there. The Cities expansion gives some good variety to it too.

9. Carpe Diem by Ravensburger

A game that proves you should never judge a game by its box. Combines the tile-laying strategies of Carcassonne with resource generation and planning to meet two objectives a round. Such a satisfying game.

8. Tiny Epic Galaxies by Gamelyn Games

I enjoy all the Tiny Epic games I’ve picked up (and have picked up most), but I’d still say that Galaxies is the best of the bunch. Careful resource management to build up a galactic empire that’s masterfully developed further with its Beyond the Black expansion.

7. Abyss by Bombyx

Some games are all style and no substance. Abyss looks incredible and plays out so well using push-your-luck mechanics to build a usable hand. The two expansions Leviathan and Behemoth provide so much more interest to the game too.

6. Everdell by Starling Games

Another fantastic-looking game with and impressive (if slightly pointless) 3D cardboard tree). However the cutesy theme and delightful components are mere condiments to a solid engine-building game. Need to get the expansion – heard good things about it.

5. Pulsar 2849 by CGE

You either love point salad games or you hate them. I get that. I’m a lover of this style of game. With so many options to choose from each turn even rubbish dice can be used to do great things.

4. Dinosaur Island by Pandasaurus Games

I love Jurassic Park. The book and the film. This is pretty much the game in all but name. Building your own dinosaur park has never been so much fun, even when the dinosaur break out and eat my paying customers. With an expansion that adds four extra aspects to the game, this games just gets bigger and better.

3. Star Realms by White Wizard Games

Deck-builders have been around for a while now, with different themes and styles. I’m a sucker for the deck-builder, me. Star Realms is, hands down, my personal favourite in the genre where players build up their decks of cards in order to annihilate each other. Complete with an attractive space theme, many complimentary expansions and one of the best digital versions of a game on Steam, this one just keeps on giving.

2. StarCraft: The Boardgame by Fantasy Flight Games

For the longest time this was my straight-up favourite game. Partially because I adore the computer game of which it is based, but also it’s a very satisfying combat and area control minutres game. However, with a game time of 30 minutes per player, a six-player game is more time commitment than can readily be given.

1. Terraforming Mars by Stronghold Games

Thematically, I don’t know of a stronger game than this masterpiece by Stronghold Games. Players play in a semi-cooperative way with the aim of terrforming Mars by increasing the temperature, oxygen content and liquid water levels. Individually, however, each player is trying to score more points than anyone else. With five excellent expansions that provide even more things to do, this engine-building game can be played over and over again.

There are also a host of other games I also really, really enjoy, but these are my current top ten.
Do any of these feature on your top (or bottom) ten?

Games Expo 2019

It’s that special time of the year again, so off we trot to:

We only did the Friday where it’s supposed to be “quieter”, not so sure about that, but I digress.
The morning was spent shopping and just walking up and down the aisles looking at lots of game-related stuff (and some stuff that was not game-related). We were impressed by the greater variety of wares than seen in previous years. Many stalls had a good collection of items the other stalls didn’t stock.
Our first proper stop was at the always amazing GamesLore where I picked up a game for a friend (not saying what as it’s a surprise), one of the few copies of

at the show (and the main item on my shopping list).
Elsewhere (and I can’t recall all the places I bought stuff-sorry), I picked up another game on my shopping list, a game we tried at the TableTop Gaming Live event last September:

Here they were also demonstrating the Disney baddies game Villainous and its first expansion (due out this August). (Get Photos from Sabrina).
White Wizard Games were there with a wonderful stand, courtesy of Eclectic Games full of stuff and Rob Dougherty himself was there demonstrating his new game Sorcerer (which I already got via Kickstarter). There I picked up the fantasy version of Star Realms:

as well as the five character packs:

I also thought I’d picked up enough matching card sleeves to sleeve the lot, but I think I’m one pack short.
From there I also picked up this beauty:

As they didn’t have any for Star Realms or Hero Realms for some reason. This came a bunch of matching card sleeves and a promo card too. Oooooh!
They did have some very nice playing mats, and I caved in and got this one:

Very nice it is too.
Lunchtime called so I partook in a Beast Burger while Sabrina enjoyed a Hazelnut Latte and a bowl of chips.
Refreshed and refuelled we set forth once more with the view to playing something.
The first game we tried our hands at was Seekers of Asterod:

Despite the awful and cumbersome pizza-style box, this Cludo-style space game was actually not all that bad. Not much substance to it, but a fun little game of narrowing down clues to be the first to find the correct planet. As it’s remotely linked to Cludo, Sabrina won.
Providing further proof that you can’t judge a game by its cover or artwork we had a go at Fireworks:

A game where players construct a pretty fireworks display on their boards by chucking a big die at a pile of tiles and collecting the number rolled if any tiles flip over. A game designed to have players spending most of their time under the table retrieving game components. Also the pretty artwork is not easy to make out the two very similar styles of explosion (a non-jaggerdy one and a jaggerdy one). The obviously translated instructions are also not easy to read. Not so impressed with this one. Sabrina one.
Finally we had a go at Ghostbusters: The Card Game:

In this set-collecting game, players take turns playing cards to move the trap and then trapping the card it finishes at. Some cards are slimy and will deduct points to the player with the most, unless they also have Slimer.
Thematically, not really that Ghostbustery, but the artwork was fun, the game-play was easy to pick up and there was enough in it to keep it interesting. A good filler game. Had there been a copy of this for purchase, we might have picked it up.
Two games I was looking out for were Tiny Epic Mechs and Tiny Epic Tactics, but after consulting the good ol’ internet, I learned they’re not out yet.
One stall that surprised us was one sporting a load of Pillowfight Warriors goods. Not so much soft toys but more like actual pillows or cushions shaped like weapons and shields looked fantastic. Thinking of the boys we bought a pair of swords.

After subsequently hacking at family members over the course of the weekend, we may well invest in some more gear from here. They were hugely successful.
Two items that we’d seen earlier were calling to us, so we tracked down a copy of:

that Sabrina liked the look of. I’d bought her the original Herbaceous at last year’s Expo and she’d enjoyed that. This one seems to follow the latest trend of being redone as dice.
I’d previously acquired a few copies of Keyforge, but had yet to get a starter set with the extra bits and counters and stuff. Eventually, I managed to find one of the rapidly dwindling copies of:

from the good people at Zatu Games. Apparently, the UK have had their orders for this title reduced across the board, so there’s less copies about than expected.
This contains my first Age Of Ascension, but has the improvement of the original starter sets in that the 2 decks contained within are standard unique decks rather than specially constructed decks.
On the way out at the Expo Merch desk, we also picked up this nifty poster:

I did a vlog on this too, more of the same but more waving about at the camera:

Games Night 25th October 2018

A warm welcome to GN as we embark on combat and conquest in the Kropulu sector with

by Fantasy Flight Games
DA played as the Terran Arcturus Mengsk
GN played as the Protoss Tassadar
MA played as the Terran James Raynor
MC played as the Zerg Queen Of Blades
PH played as the Zero Overmind

The various factions quickly started claiming their neighbouring planets with Raynor and Tassadar the first to come to blows.

The Queen of Blades benefited from quickly controlling 3VPs worth of conquest areas, but suffered from the lack of resources. Particularly once Raynor started his invasion of Abaddon.
As time went on, time quickly became approaching midnight, so various attempts to speed the game play up were made. If one action had no consequence to the subsequent player then play would continue while the faffing went on. This worked quite well but did result in two simultaneous battles taking place between Raynor vs Tassadar and The Overmind Vs Mengsk. The Queen of Blades took this photo while waiting for things to conclude:

Unfortunately for James Raynor, a series of losses left him with no active forces, and it was only through his Terran ability to move his last surviving base was he even able to stay in the game. As it happens, even if he had been eliminated, the end of the game had already been triggered.
With many factions meeting their special victory conditions Phase III came into being but two players beat the rest to the punch by having 15 Conquest Points.

At the game’s conclusion (at 00:15 am), The Queen Of Blades and Arcturus Mengsk both had 15 Conquest Points. However Mengsk, being the sly politician that he is, was able to secure more resources and so attained victory.
Well done DA.
Tassadar and The Overmind both had 11 Conquest Points and the remnants of James Raynor had 9.
Another excellent play of this game!

Games Night 10th May 2018

Just the two of us this week.
So we kicked of with a game of:

by Fantasy Flight Games
We played the preconstructed decks so HG playes as Rey and Finn, and MC played as Kylo Renn and a First Order Stormtrooper.

Rey was the first to fall, closely followed by the stormtrooper.
However, Finn was no match for Kylo Renn meaning that the dark side were the victors.

Next up we played 2 rounds of:

by White Wizard Games

The first round saw HG being able to eliminate MC with all of 3 Authority Points left.

Round two saw MC utilise much of the Draw and Extra card mechanics and won the game by dealing a 43 damage blow to HG.

Lots of fun space-related card games.

Games Night 18th January 2018

Three of us this week.
First up was HG’s latest acquisition:

By Fantasy Flight Games?
Once the rules were read and understood – actually the rules were pretty well explained in the rulebook, which was nice..
HG won the first round with 3 banners with MC and SC with two banners apiece.
To make it a little easier to play we made up the grid using thread.

MC won that round.
Next up we played 2 games of

By Wizkids
MC dominated the first game with the final scores being:

MC: 23
HG: 7
SC: 4
The second game used the same cards to keep things straightforward for HG.

HG and SC were able to quickly amass a good number of Glory with MC stuck on 1 Glory for much of the game. MC did manage a comeback and stopped SC from achieving victory, however it was HG who managed to secure first place this time.

Final scores:
HG:21
MC & SC: 15

Games Night 2nd November 2017

With the evening full of the expectancy of four players and Firefly: The Game being the most voted for, TS turned up with two unexpected plus one’s: BS and Vis. A very warm welcome to Vis and welcome back to BS.
Eventually we settled on:
Cosmic Encounter
by Fantasy Flight Games this time with the newly added Cosmic Storm expansion which added Space Stations and even more aliens to the mix.
BS picked the Worm and chose Red
DA went for the Wormhole and chose Purple
KV became the Tide and chose Yellow
MC played the Arcade and chose Green
TS decided on the Bulwark and chose Blue
Vis was the Converter and chose Black

MC randomly chose himself to start. Very quickly the pattern emerged of everyone allying with the offensive side and overwhelming the defender. By the fifth turn (TS) everyone (except for MC and TS) was on 4 points. TS had already survived an attack lead by V. TS’s first round against KV saw MC reach 4 points (the only player who he could ally with without giving them the game). His second round was a hazard round, which reversed the direction of turn order, leaving KV never getting a turn.

Vis helmed the attack against DA who crumbled under the overwhelming numbers.
BS, KV, MC and Vis were victorious.
Noteworthy players were:
BS who held 3 space stations at the end of the game
KS who achieved victory despite never getting a turn.

Next up we played

Repos Production
Only KV and MC had played this one before, so there were some interesting plays…

The final scorecard looked a bit like this:

Player BS DA KV MC TS Vis
VPs from Conquests 15 7 14 7 -1 2
VPs from Coins 3 5 5 5 2 6
VPs from Wonder Built 0 10 10 10 10 0
VPs from Blue Buildings 8 17 13 17 20 6
VPs from Yellow Buildings 0 3 7 3 0 10
VPs from Purple Buildings 3 14 7 14 0 7
VPs from Green Buildings 2 0 0 0 9 1
Final Score 31 56 56 56 40 32

Well done KV and MC! KV double-checked the rules regarding ties and pointed out the player with the most coins broke ties. This helped him none, as MC had 17 coins to KV’s 15. Hooray for MC!

Games Night 14th September 2017

A very warm welcome to TS and BS this week.
Started to play a quick game of Star Realms by White Wizard Games with DA while we waited for the others to turn up.
They turned up so we didn’t finish but DA was clearly going to win.

This week saw us play a 5-player games of Fantasy Flight Games’ most excellent

BS – The Overmind
DA – Arturus Mengsk
MC – Tassadar
PH – Jim Raynorr
TS – Aldaris

The first round saw each faction happily settle on a neighbouring planet uncontested. The next two turns were uneventful as the players’ built up their forces. The Overmind garnering the most points at 4 points a turn and Tassadar a close second with 3. TS managed all of 1 point a turn. Hostilities started up between the two Terran factions with Raynor invading Mengsk’s world and then being repelled. Aldaris and Tassadar clashed with the Overmind on a world of depleted resources. Both Protoss factions maintained their foothold on The Overmind’s planet but were unsuccessful to invade further.
At the game’s conclusion:
Tassadar had 18 points
The Overmind had 16 points
Both Terrans had 12 points
Aldaris score has been repressed for being so small.
However, being at the third phase:
Both Terrans had achieve their special victory conditions, but it was James Raynor who was able to break the tie by having more resources.
Well done PH!
I’m quite impressed we completed a 5-player game in under 3 hours. I still maintain this is up to 30 minutes a player, with a quicker game when all the players know what they’re doing.