My Top 3
Jim from @jim.gamer
OK, I cheated! My top 3 of all time is Star Wars: Rebellion, Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 and Blood Rage.
Pictured above my current top three for 2020. Not necessarily released in 2020, just from my games this year.
Blood Rage is so thematic and has amazing table presence. I love it for its layered game play. There is area control, fighting, drafting and much more in this brilliant game from Eric M. Lang A designer with a phenomenal catalogue of games to his name.
The table presence is top notch with some brilliant miniatures that are just so fun to play with and feel necessary to the game. Unlike other miniature games where you feel they are just in to bulk the price up and make a splash on Kickstarter. Adding a large monster to your army is just so satisfying! Although in truth they are never quite as good as the size suggests!
This game is also a lot more accessible than you may first think. It can be explained in 15 minutes, which may sound a lot written down here, but for a game like this, I think this is actually really quick. And once you get playing, you will be absorbed in a deeply rewarding experience with multiple choices. The concept can even be explained in 60 seconds! f you don’t believe me, check here! (skip past Dungeon Mayhem for my 60 second explanation!)
My favourite mechanic is the knowledge all players have of which area on the map is about to be destroyed. You may think this is just handy to avoid having any of your troops present when this happens? But there are multiple ways that having a figure destroyed and sent to Valhalla gains you points. The glory of death in battle! Its fun to watch players running into certain doom on purpose in the search for victory points!
This is a rich and absorbing game that I would play anytime with anyone. A good justification of being a top 3 game for me.
Star Wars: Rebellion is epic! One of the biggest games I’ve played. Both in table presence and actual game time. I studied this game for hours online before I played and then it still took an hour to set up and four hours to play my first game. I lost but it is one of my all-time favourite gaming experiences.
Essentially this game is the original trilogy on a board. You play through all the major scenes of episodes IV,V and VI either as the part of the Empire or the Rebels. The story is not necessarily in the same order as the films, you can control this. But it feels very much like you are in the Star Wars universe.
The basic game is simple. If you are the Empire, find and destroy the rebel base. If you are the Rebels, avoid this. That’s it! But the missions you will go on as you play through this game are so absorbing. And the battles are some of my favourite that I have experienced in any game, especially the first time the Rebel base is found!
It’s big, expensive and takes a long time to learn and play but worth the effort if you are a Star Wars fan.
Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 is a really interesting game for me. Pandemic is such a hugely popular game but in truth, I don’t really like it. Game one of Season 1 is not really any different to the base game. As such, after playing this one time, I was left a little underwhelmed, but kept me interested were the remaining contents in the box. It is full of surprises and little boxes you cannot open until otherwise instructed. After game one, set in January of this 12-game legacy experience, I was left eager to find out what more was to come. Simply as I could see there was so much more, and this was just a set up game.
And when it does come, oh boy! What a game. It rips apart the game in so many ways that I wont spoil here, but it was the single best experience, board gaming wise, I have had with my wife. We played over a series of evenings, often two or three months each time. It’s a binge worthy game. You know when you get into a TV series where at the end of a show all you want to do is just watch one more episode? Well, this is the board game equivalent of that.
There are so many twists and turns, ups and downs. It is an emotional journey in parts! But one that I thoroughly enjoyed. Once I calm down, I will have to try Season 2 and Zero at some point!
I chose the other three for my games of 2020 simply as they have all brought something unique to the table for me.
Decrypto is the number one ranked party game for a reason. You should really consider adding this game to your collection if you have ever enjoyed any kind of party game as this may, I would wager, be better! It offers laughs, cries of joy, and a deep but fun party game experience.
This is not really suited for younger kids like some other party games, but bring it out after a meal with any group of friends, even the ones who think your board game collection is madness, and I guarantee you, they will enjoy this. It works great down the pub with mates, or in a four with two couples. Well worth a look.
You can read more about this game here in our Coiledspring feature.
Undaunted: North Africa is an amazing game I have enjoyed with my wife and son in two separate campaigns. This two-player game offers so much replayability that I wanted to play again as soon as I finished my first run through. You can see more of what I think of this game here in our video review.
Dune comes very close to being an all time top three game. In fact, all these games are in my all-time top 20 for sure, but with more games I think Dune could creep up into the top 3. It is hard to get to the table as it really is best in a six and this is not an easy game to explain. You probably need a good 30 minutes to get new players going. But, when you do get it set up, oh my! What a game this is. You can read more about my thoughts of Dune here and read our interview with the brilliant designer of this here.
What are your top games? I would love to feature you here on our site with your thoughts. Drop me a line if you want to be featured.