Overview of favorite boardgames in my collection (synced from BGG) including links to more information where I’ve written up anything in my gaming life category. I own more games than are listed here. These are just the best in my favorite categories:
Cooperative | Unique Player Powers | Tech Trees | Dudes on a Map | Tableau & Engine Building | Deck Builders | Inoffensive Euro Games | Exploration | Worker Placement (Uwe RosenBerg) | More than a card game | Deduction (Hidden Role, Image) | Tile Laying | Roll & Write | Party Games | Two Player Duels | Solo | Defying my categories for now | Meh | Nostalgia
There are more categories I could have featured: campaign or legacy games, card games and I’ve largely left out small filler games like Cockroach Salad and the likes. These are the ones I most look for when buying new games. Some categories exist because I like those games so much and others are here because I can play them best with others.
These are games where we play against the game together. We all win, we all loose. It’s relaxing to not compete against the other players.
Unique Player Powers
Each of these games starts the players out with asymmetric (more or less) powers and in some cases very different game play. Several other games like Spirit Island and Gloomhaven could also feature on this list.
Two of my most anticipated pre-ordered games belong to this category: On Mars and Beyond the Sun. These are games that feature developing new technologies–preferably in an intricate tree structure with dependencies that can lead to fascinating combo-ing of bonusses.
Dudes on a Map
One of my favorite genres is land-grabbing. Several other games that I put into other categories will also fit into this one: Root, Terra Mystica, Pax Pamir and even Spirit Island feature similar gameplay.
Besides the DOAM genre above this is one of my very favorite mechanisms and as such some of my favorite games come from this category (Terraforming Mars also belongs here)
Deck, Bag, Pool Building
Inoffensive Midweight Euro Games
This is the category for games that should be easy to bring to the table. They usually feature a mix of Euro mechanisms and are not overly complex or last all night.
High up on my “I need to try this” is Xia which would fit right into this category.
By the number of games I own that feature this as their defining mechanism I must like worker placement more than I thought I did.
Uwe Rosenberg Worker Placement
I own so many of these games from the same designer he gets his own subcategory. The most accessible of these is Nusfjord and the most complex is A Feast for Odin.
Note: all these games have great solo modes!
More than a card game
The major gameplay of these revolves around cards and yet they aren’t “just card games”. In Seasons you draft cards to play before the game, then draft dice each round to get the resources to play the cards. In Concordia and Faiyum you slowly add to your deck taking care when to recover your deck and your cards affect a map where you are building a network of trade routes.
Games that feature deduction puzzles of some sort or other. Some are app assisted. Another one of these high up on my 2021 wish list is The Search for Planet X.
These three games have one thing in common: beautiful pictures on cards that are used to associate some kind of riddle.
Social Deduction aka Hidden Roles
When you don’t know who everyone really is. These games are paranoia inducing after a while. I think this category could do with a bit more variety and I have a few candidates in mind they just always seem to be hard to find.
Tile Laying and Polyominoes Games
I really enjoy this type of game, I need more games with tetris tiles (aka polyominoes) though and therefore backed the Planet Unknown a while back.
Roll & Write
A fairly old genre of small games that got a revival since 2018. I also have Troyes Dice ordered and Cartographers lent to friends. I also play the apps for the Ganz schön Clever series a lot. My favorite by far is Railroad Ink.
Games for Groups
Games I get out when the group is a bit larger or we just want to play without having to think too much about the game.
Duel Games (Two Player)
This is a huge category for us even though we tend to not even like duel games all that much. Despite this one of the Unmatched boxes is high up on my buy list. Our favorite duel game is probably Star Realms.
More games from the same category are:
- Codenames: Duet
Most coop games can be played solo as well and many of the games from the lists above feature great solo modes. But these are games I purely play for the solo puzzle:
- Palm Island
Almost all Roll & Write games can be solo-ed easily. Other games with great solo modes include: Spirit Island, Wingspan, Terraforming Mars, Teotihuacan, Root, Parks, Faiyum, all the Uwe Rosenberg worker placement games, the West Kingdom Trilogy, Viticulture, Dwellings of Eldervale, Leaving Earth, Merv, CloudAge, Castles of Burgundy, Tapestry, On Mars, Gaia Project, Ghost Stories, Fall of Rome, Aeon’s End
Defying My Categories
Obviously these games can be categorized, it’s just that within the confines of my personal collection they are outliers in some way. I don’t own any other dexterity games besides Junk Art (a shortcoming for sure), Robo Rally is a race game–a genre I usually do not enjoy a lot, and Rattle Battle is just a crazy weird thing.
Meh: Games I am not sure I want to keep
There are some games that I have that I am really not sure I want to keep but I am also not sure I want to give them away. Some of them need more plays, others are just too pretty to give away. All of these have disappointed me in some way:
And then there are a few games I keep for simple nostalgia.