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My Top 3

Tom from @BuryBoardGames

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The Dreaded Question That All Gamers Fear

Jim threw a fast curveball at me last week. He asked me an impossible question. Or, at least for me, I find it impossible to answer. 


Some board game geeks out there might rattle off a response, pronto – boom-boom-boom. Done. Easy. Next? Not me. Worst of all, it’s a question I get asked a lot. By people within the board game community, and those on the peripheries. 


“So. What are your top three board games?”


I never seem to find the right answer, no matter how deep I dig. The facets of this diamond of a question that trip me up are the variables involved. My favourite game to play with my casual-gaming family sits poles apart from the one I’d pick with my hard-nosed gaming group. There are further considerations. How much time do we have? How much table space? How many players? The personalities of those at the table impact proceedings, too.    


Don’t Tell The Other Games I Said This, But…

Flavours Of The Month come and go. We all experience that from time to time, don’t we? Often, my favourite game is the one I’ve just finished playing. It’s the one I can’t stop thinking about, long after I’ve packed it away and placed it back onto my shelves. Only for it to then wisp away like leaves in a breeze, when the next game hits the table. I’m a cardboard polygamist. 


There are, however, some games that lull me back time and time again with their siren’s song. These are the titles that I’m always in the mood to play, no matter what the variables. These are the games that are always ‘up there’ (or there abouts). They’re three of about ten or so that occupy permanent residency in my headspace… 


Just Pick Three, Dammit!

Lewis & Clark features all my favourite mechanisms. Hand management, deck-building, engine-building, worker placement, resource management. Cédrick Chaboussit’s dovetailed them all to create a fascinating marathon across the American West. Plus artwork from Vincent Dutrait? No wonder this got a reprint earlier this year. 


Le Havre tickles my fancy due to the sheer volume of awesome options on the table. It’s ‘accumulation’ mechanism is a delight to wrestle with and against. You’ll go into this economic shipping magnate game with a plan. And then you’ll get distracted, like a magpie, by an ever-growing neglected pile of resources. How can you let an opportunity like that sail you by? Sometimes you have to adapt your strategy as you go. Seeing Le Havre grow in a modular fashion each time guarantees gratification.


Fury of Dracula (3rd/4th Edition), meanwhile, is not a perfect game. It has some labyrinthine rules, which kick in with a circumstantial occurrence. (If that, then this). It’s also not the quickest game. That said, I adore it. This is a one-vs-many hidden movement affair. Four vampire hunters try to locate and then beat up Dracula. It drips theme, and then some. From a mechanisms point of view, it’s all about the six-card trail that Dracula leaves behind. Hunters feel like detectives, piecing together scraps. And playing as the count? It’s far too much fun being bad, sending your rivals on a wild goose chase around Europe. 


Mr. Right? Or Mr. Right Now?

So to answer Jim’s question: those are my Top Three games. They’re not my Top Three Games Right Now. They’re more my comfort blanket. My safe place. The fuzzy feels. Problem is, ask me the same question next week and chances are I’ll pick three different games… 

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