20. Welcome to the Dungeon
Push your luck, bluffing
I enjoyed the game Incan Gold when I first played it but quickly tired of the push your luck mechanism. There was no “real” strategy to decide whether or not to push your luck… simply just luck and a little bit of trying to outguess your opponent. When I heard about Welcome to the Dungeon, I was a little skeptical at the push your luck style and at the same time I was intrigued at the gameplay. A hero is picked and has a variety of equipment to defeat different monsters. Players have the option on their turn to stay in the game or pass for the round. If the player stays in, they draw a monster card. Then they have to decide whether to add the monster to the dungeon or take the monster out of the dungeon but sacrifice a piece of equipment from the hero. The last person in a round takes on the role of the hero and goes through the dungeon. The last player alive or the first player to get two victory points is the winner! A great push your luck filler and my favorite push your luck game!
Rio Grande Games, 2008
Donald X. Vaccarino
I am pretty late to the Dominion game. But like many other folks, I really enjoy this deck builder, even though it is considered generic and relatively themeless. A player is trying to build their personal deck by buying cards from a common market. These new cards will contribute to the players engine, getting actions and money to buy victory points. The speed of play, variability in set up, and the ease to teach new players, this one is definitely staying in my collection. I probably will not buy all of even most of the expansions, but I do like the options of creating a unique set up with the more expansions I do buy. Solid deck-builder.
Dr. Finns Games, 2007
Biblios is a wonderful card game which mixes drafting and auction mechanics. Players are vying for control in five different tomes of books (or colors… let’s be real about the theme here) and score points for having the most rank of a color! The first half of the game is a unique draft of cards. Players will draw cards one at a time deciding whether to keep the card, put it in the auction pile, or put it in a common area for the rest of the players to grab. The player can only keep one card and place one card in the auction – there is a small push your luck aspect to drafting this way, potentially giving opponents good cards. The second half of the game is an auction. One at a time, the cards in the auction pile are auctioned off using gold drafted in the first half. After all cards have been auctioned, points are awarded to those who have the highest rank in each color. Biblios is an excellent filler game filled with interesting decisions and a little bit of luck!
17. Ticket to Ride
Days of Wonder, 2004
Alan R. Moon
The first “designer” board game I ever bought! We heard about Ticket to Ride through our friends while playing a friendly game of (Settlers of) Catan. When searching for cheap comic books, we happened upon a game store and saw Ticket to Ride on the shelf. On a whim, we decided to buy the game and proceeded to fall in love with modern board games. It was a down hill slide from there, playing 150 unique games over the next year but I do not regret a minute of it. Ticket to Ride is an excellent family weight strategy game where players are trying to collect sets of trains to build train routes over the United States. There are many expansion boards as well, including Europe, Asia, Africa, Nordic Countries, Switzerland, and the new Pennsylvania/UK maps which I am VERY excited to try out. Each new maps introduces a new mechanic which ratchets up the gameplay from different experiences or more advanced strategy. Ticket to Ride will be a timeless classic.
Queen Games, 2010
Wolfgang Panning, Marco Ruskowski, and Marcel Süßelbeck
Action Selection, set collection
I was first drawn to Fresco because of the theme. I enjoy art and going to art museums and walking around. I was very intrigued at Fresco, pitting players against each other as master painters all collectively painting a fresco for the bishop. First, players select when they want to wake up in the morning. Then, players will simultaneous select actions using workers behind a player screen. From there, players will take the actions in order of waking up for the day to collect paint, mix paint, paint a piece of the fresco, relax, or get money through commissioned work. Players will receive prestige for painting different pieces of the fresco – player with the highest prestige wins! This game is charming as well as cutthroat – but the charming theme of painting a fresco outweighs any malicious intent from fellow players. I would play this any day someone pulled this off the shelf!