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Top 3 Games - Shana

Picking my 3 favorite games was not an easy task and it is probably a question that most gamers find hard/impossible to answer. I did suffer from the dreaded analysis paralysis trying to make my selection. Finally, I decided on those games that I will never say no to. The following 3 games always bring me joy when they get played.

This game came to my attention after discovering Troyes and checking out the publisher. In this game, you start with 5 cards in your hand, and you try to build your civilization (6 different building types) on a common game board. To build, you must have the building type, you must be able to pay the resources required and you must have the right card. If you meet these conditions, you can place the building on the common game board and place the card in the corresponding column in your personal game area. Finally, you activate all the cards of that column which can create some fantastic engine building possibilities! One tricky part, you can only build a temple if you have a set of the other 5 buildings. Each temple awards victory points for different scenarios so you want to keep that in mind when selecting your strategy.

To get more cards, you must make an offering to the gods. Each god will allow a different benefit such as resources, money, or victory points. The more cards you offer, the more additional benefits you get. This act allows you to obtain new cards, but also to get what you need if it is not available in your little engine.

This game has some unique features, and it is easy to learn and quick to play. Therefore, this is a game that should be known and played by more people!

In this game, you take on the role of a Chinese family, trying to gain influence with the Emperor by bribing officials for certain tasks. This is done by exchanging gifts and that is exactly the core mechanism of the game. You exchange gift cards with higher value to take a specific action.

You want to have the most victory points by the end of the game and you can get those from 7 different areas on the game board. But be careful – you need to get to the top of the Palace of Heavenly Purity track to gain an audience with the Emperor or none of your points will be scored. It gives the game a nice twist as you must keep an eye on this track whilst trying to maximize all the other areas of the board.

Once you understand the different actions, the game plays very easily and there are so many strategies to be tried out. Furthermore, I love the artwork of the main gameboard, and the different tokens used. This game deserves more attention!

This game was the first one I played in the West Kingdom Trilogy and I fell in love immediately. I have all 3 games in the series, and I am truly impressed by the consistency of the symbology and artwork, and still each game feels different.

In Paladins, you hire 1 paladin at the start of each round out of 3 options, and you place 1 on the top of your drawing deck and 1 on the bottom. Each paladin will grant you 2 workers and a special ability. You also get 4 more workers from the tavern to help you with your actions. So, you do not have your personal workers at the start of the game, rather they change every round. Workers have as well different colors, allowing you to take distinct actions. It is a unique challenge to balance the color and number of the workers with the actions available and trying to maximize it all to gain the most victory points. Furthermore, actions are linked to your level of faith, strength, and influence.

Sounds complicated? A bit, but once you get your head around the gameplay, it is fantastic. Go try it out if you haven’t played yet!

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