Derk Grant - @thebaldtable
So, when tasked to pick my top 3 games, I am going to have to choose the following in no particular order (which could and just might change next week!) Trekking the World, Raja of the Ganges and Parks. All 3 are beautiful, fun to play and easy to teach.
1. Trekking the World is the most recent release on this list. I backed it on kickstarter mainly for the theme. Then it arrived and sat on my shelf for a few months and when it finally reached the table it blew me away at how good it is! This is a light game that works as an amazing gateway game for nongamers!
It has great components, beautiful art, simple rules and very few actions to choose from. That being said, it is also solid enough for experienced players to enjoy playing. I also am partial to the amazing box insert it comes with that other games should take note from. (I’m looking at you Isle of Cats!) Its fun to travel the world collecting souvenirs and visiting some of the worlds greatest attractions.
Overall, this was a game that surprised me with how good the overall experience was. The concepts in the game are not new, but they are well balanced, easy to teach and easy to learn. Giving that new gamer playing a shot at winning! As such, this has turned into my go to game for nongamers!
2. Raja of the Ganges, despite being the heavier game of the 3, I could not in good conscious make a top 3 without a worker placement game on the list. Worker placement is a favorite mechanic of my wife’s and I. The first time I saw this game being played, it had my attention. The table presence is fantastic. The components are great quality and i'm a sucker for dice!
Raja of the Ganges offers various ways to score victory points (fame) as well as money. The two tracks run towards each other and once the fame and money meet together, the end game is triggered. I have seen games won by seeking out just fame, others by collecting soley money; and then other games won by collecting equal amounts of both.
I love games that offer various roads to victory. Although it does tend to give way to longer games and turns as there are just so many choices each turn to choose from. You can sail the river, create your providence, visit nobles, visit temples and so on.
This is a great game that I feel doesn’t get the love that it deserves.
3. Parks. My wife and I are avid backpackers and love the outdoors. So, anytime there is a game that bridges our hobbies, we want it! This game has seen many gamenights as we hiked and visited the National Parks. Utilize gear, collect resources and hope for good weather!
This is the smallest game on the list, but packs a good time! It’s a game that i'm always willing to play and offers enough player interaction without feeling like a take-that type of game by stealing spots on the board you know an opponent needs.
The art is gorgeous and the wooden resources are great especially the wildlife tokens as they are all different animals.
This is also another game where the box insert is worth mentioning! This game was well thought out from the game-play to the art, and also the packaging! Parks feels like a different game each time you play it.