My Top 10 Non Solo, Non Wargame Games
Finally! My first real top 10 list.
Originally I thought I was going to do my top 10 gateway games…but then I realized I haven’t ever sat down and thought about what my top gateway games are. I thought about doing top 10 wargames, but that’s definitely going to take more time to write about than I have, especially if I am keeping myself to my Wed. night deadline. II was going to do my top 10 overall games, which I am sure I will do at a later date, but I am equal parts wargamer, solo gamer, and euro game (and yes I am sure there are other distinctions that people could make but I’m already writing so we are just going with it). So, I figure I would go with my gut picks for my top 10 games that are not designed for solo play (co-op games that can be played solo are fine) and that aren’t wargames. I’ll also add that these are in no particular order (because I don’t need to make things harder for myself) and that for any of my top 10 lists, I have to own the game unless otherwise stated).
So, here you are, my top 10 non solo non wargames games:
As a former history major, I love anything with a civilization component to it. I also love games that let me develop an engine, and that have variable player powers or strategies. Imperial Settlers has all of these. The first time I played it seemed to take forever, and that soured me for a while but once I played again and really wrapped my head around the gameplay, I knew I had to have this game. I don’t think I’ve ever turned down someone wanting to play a game of this, and with various expansions that can be added, I still haven’t explored all this has to offer.
Viticulture Essential Edition
The first time I played this, I wasn’t sold on it. A friend convinced me to give it another try, and after I did, I really, really came to enjoy this one. A worker placement game where you are in charge of a vineyard, Viticulture has a ton of extra content you can add with the Tuscany expansion, which I am told makes the game better. I think it’s pretty great as is. It employs a ‘wake up early’ mechanic for turn order, which I really thought fit well, and you have to strategically save your workers as you place them on different halves of the board for different seasons (meaning If you place all your workers in summer, you can’t take any winter actions).
I have everything in the Essential Edition line, and haven’t played this a ton, but this is actually my wife and I’s game this week, thanks to the Deck of What Should We Play (see my earlier post) so it gets to hit the table this weekend, and I am excited.
I know, I know, another game about beverages. Well this one is just as good, especially because I am a craft brew fan. This worker placement game has each player running their own brewery and the biggest thing I remember about the first time playing it was that it’s tight. With tons of different beers players can choose from, this is one of the best Kickstarters I have been a part of.
Castles of Burgundy
I am a sucker for anything with dice. This has dice and tile placement and tons of different boards that you can choose from. I think I’ve played with the ‘starting player’ board most times, so this is one I need to revist often. It’s thinky, but not so thinky that you don’t want to play anything after it.
I am not a fan of most deckbuilders. For some of them, it just seems like you are cycling through a deck to score points, which doesn’t do a whole lot to draw me in. Trains, though, is a deck builder that is also an area control game, of sorts. Adding in that extra mechanic, so I have something I am actually doing with the cards is what makes this game perfect for me. Again, I have tons of expansion maps for this one that don’t get played. I should probably remedy that.
Just like I’m a sucker for anything civilization themed, I am also a sucker for anything city building related. This was the first city builder I played, and I actually think it was the first game I ever preordered. I’ll also associate this game with the first Con I went to, as it was in the Hot Games room that year, and it was my most played game at that Con.
It’s a bit fiddly, but theme fits perfectly with this one (i.e., airports by suburbs are a bad idea). This is one I haven’t played in quite some time…I should remedy that soon.
Yes, I know this is a deckbuilder. But it’s a deckbuilder with Superheroes!! Marvel Superheroes!!
Seriously, I love this game for the situations it puts you in. I don’t think I’ve ever played a bad game of it, even after getting my butt handed to me 3 times over the course of 3 hours. We sort of overplayed this one when I was first introduced to it, so I cooled on it, but I don’t think I’d turn down a game of this if someone asked.
Legacy: The Testament of Duke De Crecy
This is a ‘worker’ placement game about making your family tree. I kid you not, you literally build your family out with cards from the game. This was a very surprising game to me that is sort of cutthroat (easy for people to play their workers where you need it) but the game even gives you a way to mitigate that. It’s set in the late 1700s, so seeing some of the history come into play between the different nationalities is pretty cool too. Oh, and the art is amazing.
Fair warning though: this game does involve the potential loss of a child or a mother in childbirth. I didn’t fully explain that the first time I taught this, and while none of us playing had children or had been in that situation, it was still sort of jarring, so this is one of those that you might want to give your game group a heads up on before you start playing if there are new players.
This is a co-op tower defense game. It’s light, there’s strategy involved, and you can have giant boulders that come through and crash your 3-D castle.
When we got this game, I played it 3-4 times in the first 48 hours we had it. For me, that speaks very much to the replayability and enjoyability of the game.
This is a game about train railways, mining, and prospecting in Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico. Sounds like a real barn burner, eh? It involves building routes, staking claims to mines, and manipulating the market in various cities. The few times I have played this, I have always emjoyed it and I think part of that is because the group knew that this game definitely takes a time investment. So long as you can devote the time and take this game as an experience, it’s always fun
So there you have it. My top 10 non-wargame, non-solo games. Have you played any of these? Would any of these make it into your top 10?