My Top 3
Dan from @boardgamist
A top 3. Hmmm. This is the sort of thing I contemplate when I can’t sleep at night...
“Surely you can’t leave out ‘X’ that was your favourite for years!” “Well yes ‘Y’ is good but have you played it at all the different player counts? You’ve not even got the latest expansion!”
Well I’m here and I’ve brought my top 3. For today... and I’m standing by it! For now.
These games are going to come to you in the chronological order that they came into my life and I can promise if you take the same prescription I did of these addictive boxes then you will be hooked for life.
Number 3: Skull
Everyone has that one experience that they look back on. That made their eyes widen, their heart thump a bit faster and their mind race with the question “how doesn’t everybody know about this game!?”
For me that was Skull. Sat around a table at my first ever boardgame weekend with friends and strangers at way past midnight. Laughing and drinking and bluffing and betting. This little box set me off down on a road of collecting my mass of colourful cardboard.
Skull is devilishly simple, the whole game comprises of 24 tiles of coaster sized cards. It’s simplicity in design belies a game of strategy, luck and pure enjoyment. Flipping each others tiles to see which of your friends has played you for a fool.
I will play Skull anytime I am asked.
Number 2: Quacks of Quedlinburg
A natural progression here then as I broadened my horizons was a game with little more complexity. I was still looking for the fun but I wanted something more to grab hold of without going into heavy euro game territory.
I got this game after watching a Shut Up & Sit Down review. Not only did I see the potential for laughs as I pushed my luck with my friends, further adding ingredients to my swirling pot, but now I had decisions to make. Coins to spend and dice to roll.
This game was my first moment of proper punchboard joy. Quacks’ bag of ingredients was the next step up. Of course now I research a game’s theme, design and the quality of components before I buy. The design and replayability of a bigger box didn’t mean it was any less fun than my beloved light party games. Quacks is still fantastic for any age as you walk the line of maximum points or a messy explosion.
After playing and loving many family ‘entry level’ games of this type it was time for more of a puzzle.
Number 1: Brass: Lancashire
Now we’re talking. Let’s go heavy. Let’s get a game with both my hometown and the city where I now live on the game board. Let’s go inside the Boardgame Geek top 20. Let’s go to Brass: Lancashire.
Brass is just so tight and intelligent. It’s a puzzle you can sit with for over an hour with theme woven into every decision and move.
It’s a complex game of hand management and balancing your economy. It’s engine building but without annoying little multipliers that mean you have no idea how everyone else is scoring (looking at you Scythe) or too many decisions that cause analysis paralysis (A Feast For Odin) or so many loose pieces that you are constantly one table nudge away from ruin (Terraforming Mars).
Even when a sticky rule prevents you from the move you’d planned, you’ll find that you can always do something really really clever.
Brass: Lancashire is a big industrial, coal powered beast that despite its size seduces you with a dainty display of elegant moves, stunning design and components. At the time of writing this my long COVID lockdown evenings are regularly filled with this game.
So there you have it!
If you want to share your love for these games with me, or any others, please come find me on Instagram at @boardgamist.
Thanks for reading.