Boardgamegeek has a ranking of games that’s been around for a long time. During living memory, Twilight Struggle has been the top game with the usual suspects filling out the other slots (Brass, Agricola, Power Grid, Caylus, etc.).
I had a peek at the top 10 games today and of the games I’ve played or know enough about, all of them are absolutely terrible. Not only that, Cosmic Encounter has dropped out of the top 100 games which indicates to me that something has gone very, very wrong with the BGG algorithm (all of the top 10 games are from 2012 or later except for one).
This solves a problem for many gamers without game masters to play a real RPG or to avoid continuing to play with a group’s really awful GM, but after two excruciating plays of this, I can say I hated every moment of this game, from the set up to the leveling up to the combat. Like Mage Knight, everything about this one stinks.
FAR Better games: Descent, The Others, Massive Darkness, Dead of Winter, Heroquest, Advanced Heroquest, Talisman
2: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
Legacy games (where the game changes forever as you play) are great fun, Pandemic is not. What Pandemic is, unfortunately, is a solo game where one player plays against the board like CHAINSAW WARRIOR, except it pretends to be coop instead of like CHAINSAW WARRIOR, it’s supposed to be solo. All the other players are not only superfluous, but hamper attempts to win the game. Needless to say, Pandemic is the ultimate quarterbacker game. No thank you.
FAR better games: The Others, Dead of Winter, Descent, A Study in Emerald
3: Through the Ages
Never played, can’t comment.
4: Twilight Struggle
This is a good game, but it’s 2 player and a bit programmed. I’ve only played it once and while I would play it again, the subject matter isn’t all that interesting to me. I was surprised this stayed on the top of the pack for so long, and I’m surprised it’s number 4 at this point.
Somewhat better games: MTG, Pokemon CCG, Seasons, Advanced Squad Leader
5: Terraforming Mars
Never played, can’t comment
6: Star Wars: Rebellion
This is a lot like Twilight Struggle and is probably a good 2 player game. I watched a multiplayer game being played though and it looked painful to me. Very painful. It was simply a quarterback on both sides and one of the players on each side were not needed at all, and they knew it.
Better games: Pericles, Eclipse, Fief, All the Quartermaster General games.
7: Terra Mystica
Played this once and out of my mouth came ‘never again.’ This is like an accountants Fantasy Empire game, a game that is so dry in play that it’s akin to getting an I.V. of gin for a few hours, or a gin suppository. This is by far the worst game in the top 10. So dry, so tedious, so boring.
Way better games: everything else in the top 300 games on BGG is better than this and probably a few hundred games sub 300 as well.
Another game I’ve had to sit through a few times in mental pain and anguish. This looks like a Euro/Ameritrash mash up, but it’s not AT ALL. It is a garbage euro with nice pieces and cool art. I know a lot of people that talk about how they love this game, but then does it hit the table? Very rarely because it’s just not very good. This company’s previous game (Euphoria) is pretty solid, so I don’t know why they went so wrong with this one. There’s just so little interaction for what this game looks like, it’s sad.
Better Games: Eclipse, Nexus Ops, Blood Rage, Rising Sun, Fief, Struggle of Empires and even Twilight Imperium 2nd edition, Caylus, many others.
9: Great Western Trail
Haven’t played, can’t comment. I want to play this one though!
10: 7 Wonders Duel
Another 2 player game in the top 10. This is a good game, fun, fast to play but with a really messy and confusing set up. Is this the 10th best board game every made? Nope. I can see why this one ranks high though.
Slightly better games: Netrunner, MTG, Seasons
I bet we see only games released in the last 5 years in the top 10 going forward because I think that’s what the algorithm is built off of.