By - The Board Critic.
The request to select your top 3 board games is actually very different from selecting your top 10. If you are selecting your top 10 you can likely pick your top games in several different categories: drafting, deck building, strategy, party, etc. When you only have 3 picks it gets a little more complicated. You are forced to make decisions within that and select the 3 that not only have gotten to the table often and you expect will still get to the table for years to come, but also have good value for the money, and fantastic production value. When it came down to my top 3 I chose from some of these categories and tried to craft a selection of games that not only could appeal to a lot of different players (since we teach a LOT of people) but also offer an immense amount of play both in their replayability and versatility. And for me, quality can never be sacrificed.
Number 3: Clank! - here I have pictured Clank Legacy because it is what I had on hand but really any of the Clanks will do. Clank in Space may be an upgrade but it is hard to tell as I love the fantasy angle and some of the new mechanics introduced in Clank Legacy. Clank is an aggressive game of deck building, time management, a dash of luck, and a LOT of crossing your fingers. Deck building is likely one of my favorite game categories and although I do love a very classic and straight-forward deck builder, I love that Clank gives a little bit of a Dungeon Crawl feel along with some elements of random bag building. The Legacy game lasted us almost 7 months of regular game nights with some friends and that in and of itself means that there is so much value packed into this rather large box.
Number 2: Quacks of Quedlinburg - Quacks was one of the more recent games to REALLY impress and surprise me. The bag building elements are sound and very satisfying. You could say that the push your luck mechanic in this comes down to a simple numbers game of whether you should continue to push your luck but there is so much more. Knowing when to stop to trigger your optimal position to get rubies or activate your last green chip in your pot is a real art. I don’t love randomness and I don’t love push your luck games that often because I feel like I have horrible luck, but I absolutely adore Quacks of Quedlinburg and I expect it to become a long-time game staple for years to come. I am glad i can still be surprised by board games. Quacks is also quick and easy to teach which makes it one of my new favorites to introduce to light gamers.
Number 1: Five Tribes - Now I know this game is likely not for everyone. If you suffer from analysis paralysis and there being too many ways to get points and too many paths to victory, you may want to steer clear. Five Tribes is a standing reminder to me that a game doesn’t have to get old. I have been playing Five Tribes regularly for over 10 years and it remains as satisfying as the first time I played it. The mancala style movement is unique yet familiar. As I design games I am constantly reminded about how elegantly and authentically that mechanic was woven into Five Tribes. The thrill of finding a move and combination of points and hearing the rest of the table sigh that they didn’t see it first is immensely satisfying. Five tribes is just good repeatable fun and I can’t think of another game I would want as my number one.