Top 10 Games Published in 2008

Posted: January 19, 2018 in Uncategorized

Once again I’m following the lead of the latest Top Ten from the Dice Tower podcast. Once again it was relatively easy to create the list. However, this time it wasn’t because most of them were also included in my top 50 Games, but simply because there were only ten games from 2008 that I could find that I had actually played. Thus, all I had to do was rank them.

  1. Pandemic
  2. Dixit
  3. Dominion
  4. Strozzi
  5. Say Anything
  6. Snow Tails
  7. Stone Age
  8. Formula D
  9. Mow
  10. Ice Flow

Having just listened to the latest Dice Tower podcast, where they started their usual look back at games from previous years, I thought that it would be interesting to follow their lead and see what my own top ten from 2013 would be. It turned out that making this list wasn’t particularly difficult as the first seven games in the list all appear on my recently published Top 50 Games. I imagine that there will be some greater variation in future lists should I manage to keep following the pattern.

Anyway, without further ado, my top ten games published in 2013 (according to Board Game Geek) are:

  1. Viticulture
  2. Concordia
  3. Lewis & Clark
  4. The Little Prince: Make Me A Planet
  5. Bang! The Dice Game
  6. Hanamikoji
  7. Rise of Augustus
  8. Forbidden Desert
  9. Ultimate Werewolf: Inquisition
  10. Sushi Go!

Top 50 Games 2018

Posted: January 6, 2018 in Games

As we begin this new year, the final regular post is that of my top fifty games of all time. The idea of ranking my favourite games is still in its infancy, as I’ve only really been doing so since 2015. This means that there is still a lot of flux (not Fluxx) in the list. I would expect that once I’ve been making such a list for a number of years that there will be fewer dramatic changes as there will possibly be less for me to discover.

For information, let me tell you that this year I had help in the making of the list, in that I used the Board Game Ranking Engine that is freely available on the Pub Meeple web site. This enables you to input a list of games and then proceeds to offer you one-to-one comparisons for you to pick your favourite from. It continues to do this until, by some clever mathematical computer wizardry, it has worked out the order of all the games in your list according to how much you like them. Thus it was that after more than 1400 comparisons, my initial list of 247 games were ranked in order.

And so, I present you with the top fifty:

  1. Five Tribes (unchanged)
  2. Viticulture (new)
  3. Dominare (new)
  4. The Castles of Burgundy (new)
  5. Whistle Stop (new)
  6. Fresco (up 12)
  7. The Prodigals Club (new)
  8. Castles of Mad King Ludwig (down 5)
  9. Concordia (new)
  10. One Night Ultimate Werewolf (down 8)
  11. Suburbia (down 5)
  12. Small World (down 7)
  13. Agricola (returning – it was #20 in 2015)
  14. Power Grid (up 13)
  15. Great Western Trail (new)
  16. Elysium (up 30)
  17. Pandemic (down 8)
  18. On the Underground (down 5)
  19. Lewis & Clark (new)
  20. Dead of Winter (down 16)
  21. Mission: Red Planet (up 9)
  22. Viceroy (new)
  23. Medieval Academy (down 2)
  24. Firenze (up 2)
  25. Die Macher (down 9)
  26. Airlines Europe (down 4)
  27. Bohnanza (new)
  28. Automania (new)
  29. The Little Prince: Make Me A Planet (down 14)
  30. Dice Forge (new)
  31. Bang! The Dice Game (down 11)
  32. Takenoko (returning – it was #42 in 2016)
  33. Roll for the Galaxy (down 16)
  34. Adrenaline (new)
  35. Thurn und Taxis (returning – it was #34 in 2015)
  36. Istanbul (down 29)
  37. Vikings (returning – it was #39 in 2016)
  38. Innovation (up 7)
  39. KeyFlower (down 3)
  40. Hanamikoji (new)
  41. Deep Sea Adventure (new)
  42. Puerto Rico (returning – it was #19 in 2015)
  43. Pandemic Iberia (down 35)
  44. Mysterium (down 34)
  45. Steampunk Rally (new)
  46. Evolution: Climate (down 8)
  47. Freedom: The Underground Railroad (down 36)
  48. Burgle Bros. (new)
  49. Courtier (down 35)
  50. Rise of Augustus (new)

Overall, one game remained unchanged – Five Tribes remains my favourite. Six games climbed up the list, which was two more climbers than last year. The greatest climber was Elysium, which claimed a total of thirty places. On top of that, there were fewer games falling down the list – 20 in total, which was eight fewer than last year. Four games, Mysterium, Pandemic Iberia, Courtier, and Freedom: The Underground Railroad, fell the most – 34, 35, 35, and 36 places respectively. Then there were a total of eighteen new games on the list. This was almost the same as the previous year’s total of seventeen. But the most interesting thing was that there were five games that returned to the list after having dropped off for one, or two, years.

As I’ve already mentioned, I’m still discovering games; some new, and some simply new to me, and this is borne out by the number of new entries that hit the list each year. But, it seems that there is also some consolidation going on, with the resurgence of the five games that had slipped off the list over the last couple of years. Will these returning games be a one-off, or will they be the first of many that will find their way back onto the list as some of the newer games lose a little of their lustre? Only time will tell, and next year’s list may start to provide the answer.

Games Played in 2017

Posted: January 4, 2018 in Games

As with the amount of books that I read last year, the number of games played has decreased as well. In 2016 I managed a total of 985 plays. This dropped to 746 for 2017, so it’s clear to see that Alexander had an effect here as well, although not quite as great, as it has been possible to play games around him much more easily than trying to read a book. Those 746 plays were of 159 different games, of which 61 were new to me and had not been played before.

The game played most, mainly thanks to the benefits of the app and the opportunity to play it wherever we were is Qwixx. I played this a total of 105 times during 2017. It is quick to play, the app makes it very portable, and it has become our go-to game whenever my wife and I go out somewhere. None of the other games come anywhere near this amount, and here is the list of all games that received a total of ten or more plays during 2017.

  • Qwixx (105)
  • Fuji Flush (32)
  • Strike (28)
  • New York Slice (26)
  • Deep Sea Adventure (26)
  • Circus Flohcati (25)
  • Bohnanza (20)
  • Kingdomino (20)
  • Hanamikoji (13)
  • T.I.M.E. Stories (various versions) (13)
  • Beyond Baker Street (11)
  • Medieval Academy (11)
  • Viticulture (with & without Tuscany) (11)
  • Pandemic Iberia (10)
  • Capital Lux (10)
  • Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: Jack the Ripper (10)
  • Rhino Hero (10)
  • No Thanks! (10)

This clearly shows that it is the light, quick, easy to play games get the repeated plays, but it is good to see that a couple of medium-weight games make this list, along with the heavier Euro, Viticulture, a game which has rapidly become one of my favourites of all time – but more of that in a future post.

Books Read in 2017

Posted: January 1, 2018 in Books

As has started to become my tradition, once the new year starts I like to take stock of my reading and game playing over the past calendar year. In doing so this time around, I have discovered that 2017 was the worst year for reading since I started recording the books that I have finished some thirty years ago!

By the end of June I had completed eleven books, which was fairly average, and should have seen me finish the year with a total somewhere in the twenties. However, the reality is that I didn’t finish any more books at all. I had a five, or six, week window after the last book in which I could, perhaps, have realistically finished another book, but the arrival of our son in August changed life in many ways – not least in regard to the opportunities I would find for reading. Still, the one good thing about books is that they just sit there on the numerous bookcases waiting for you to pick them up. They are faithful even when you, as a reader, aren’t. I hope that I can pick up a few books in the coming year, and am confident that subsequent years will see a new increase in reading. How many of those future books are my son’s and how many are mine, we will have to wait to discover.

Anyway, that’s enough waffling. Here is the exhaustive list of the books that I read in 2017. Take a deep breath and you might just be able to read the list in its entirety in one go!

  • A History of Britain in Thirty-six Postage Stamps by Chris West
  • To Kill Hitler by Herbert Molloy Mason
  • Pietr the Latvian by Georges Simenon
  • Cross Bones by Kathy Reichs
  • The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie
  • The Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien by Georges Simenon
  • 4.50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie
  • Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
  • The Late Monsieur Gallet by Georges Simenon
  • Aberfan by Gaynor Madgwick
  • the Soldier, the Gaoler, the Spy, and her Lover by Simon Parke

Top 50 Games 2017

Posted: February 2, 2017 in Games

As we begin the month of February it is time for me to make my latest top fifty games list. So, without any further preamble, here is the list:

  1. Five Tribes (up 2)
  2. One Night Ultimate Werewolf (down 1)
  3. Castles of Mad King Ludwig (up 2)
  4. Dead of Winter (down 2)
  5. Small World (new)
  6. Suburbia (up 24)
  7. Istanbul (new)
  8. Pandemic Iberia (new)
  9. Pandemic (down 5)
  10. Mysterium (down 4)
  11. Freedom: The Underground Railroad (down 4)
  12. Ticket to Ride (down 4)
  13. On the Underground (down 2)
  14. Courtier (new)
  15. The Little Prince: Make Me A Planet (unchanged)
  16. Die Macher (down 7)
  17. Roll for the Galaxy (down 5)
  18. Fresco (down 5)
  19. T.I.M.E. Stories (new)
  20. Bang! The Dice Game (up 4)
  21. Medieval Academy (down 7)
  22. Airlines Europe (down 6)
  23. Hanabi (down 13)
  24. Codenames (down 7)
  25. Between Two Cities (new)
  26. Firenze (new)
  27. Power Grid (down 9)
  28. Pandemic: The Cure (new)
  29. Ca$h ‘n Guns (new)
  30. Mission: Red Planet (new)
  31. Dixit (down 8)
  32. Paperback (down 10)
  33. Splendor (down 13)
  34. Forbidden Desert (down 13)
  35. Love Letter (down 9)
  36. Keyflower (down 9)
  37. Ultimate Werewolf: Inquisition (down 9)
  38. Evolution: Climate (new)
  39. The Grizzled (new)
  40. Mr Jack Pocket (down 8)
  41. Hive (down 8)
  42. Kodama: The Tree Spirits (new)
  43. Time’s Up! (new)
  44. 1960: The Making of the President (new)
  45. Innovation (new)
  46. Elysium (new)
  47. Alhambra (down 13)
  48. Wits & Wagers (down 12)
  49. Tiny Epic Galaxies (down 12)
  50. Linie 1 (down 12)

Last year half of the list was made up of new entries, whereas this year only seventeen games appear on the list for the first time. Only one game keeps its position on the list – one of my perennial favourites, The Little Prince: Make Me a Planet.

Four games (one less than last year) climb up the list: Five Tribes, Castles of Mad King Ludwig, Suburbia, and Bang! The Dice Game. One of those climbing up the list is my new Number One: Five Tribes. This is one of those games that brings so much to the table with every play. There is so much going on in the game, while at the same time it is not overly complicated. The game that climbed the most was Suburbia, which rose a total of twenty-four places.

A total of twenty-eight games fall down the list. The biggest fall of thirteen places was shared between four games: Hanabi, Splendor, Forbidden Desert, and Alhambra.

So, once again a number of new entries make the list, a few climb, and more than half fall. It will be interesting to see if the high number of new entries continues in future years, or whether the games find a natural level.

As ever, check back next year to see what changes there are.

Deep Sea Adventure

Posted: January 30, 2017 in Games, Reviews

Deep Sea Adventure is a small box game published by Oink Games. It is a push-your-luck style game played over three rounds, with players attempting to recover the most valuable collection of treasure from the ocean depths.

The game literally comes in a small box.

The game can be played by two-to-six players, and each player selects a meeple of their colour. The meeples are not standard form, but are little models of deep sea divers, complete with diving helmet.

The submarine, with air supply marker, is placed on the table. Then treasure tiles are placed, face down, in a trail leading from the underside of the submarine. The path begins with the triangular tiles and progresses through squares and pentagons to hexagons. The circular tiles, which are space holders, are kept to the side for the time being.

An example of the initial set up


Once everything is set up and a start player chosen, the game begins. On their turn each player rolls two dice. Each die has the numbers 1, 2, & 3 printed on them twice; thus any given roll will obtain a score between two and six inclusive.

Players move down along the path the same number of tiles as the number shown on the dice. Only empty tiles are counted when moving; occupied tiles are simply passed over without being counted. Once a player has moved their meeple, they have the choice of doing nothing or picking the treasure tile they have landed on up. If a player picks a treasure up, they place it in front of them without looking at it, and fill the space in the path with one of the circular space holders.

On subsequent turns, before rolling the dice, a player has the option to ‘turn around’ and head back towards the submarine. Returning to the submarine before the air supply runs out is the only way to keep any treasure that a player picks up. However, a player may not return to the submarine empty handed. If a player does not declare a change of direction before rolling the dice, then they must continue on down. Only one change of direction is allowed per dive.

Whether or not a player continues on down, or starts to ascend again, if they are carrying treasure two things happen. The first is that for every treasure they are carrying, they must reduce the amount of air available by one. The second is that they must subtract one pip from their die roll for every treasure they are carrying. Thus it is that picking up treasure both reduces the communal air supply and makes it harder to move. Players may continue to pick up treasure as they ascend as well as descend.

Once a player reaches the submarine, they are safe and their treasure can be kept. When the air supply reaches zero, then the current player may finish their move, but once they have finished their turn all players still in the water fall unconscious and drop the treasure that they were holding. Treasure that is dropped in this way is placed at the bottom of the path in piles of three tiles. Players are then rescued and able to dive in the next round as normal. The player that was furthest from the submarine when the round ended starts the next round.

A game in progress

At the end of three dives, the player with the highest total of treasure safely collected is the winner.

This is a fun little game. Push-your-luck games are always a hit with me. They are usually quick to play and cause frustration and laughter in equal measure depending on whether it is you, or an opponent, that comes unstuck.

This particular game has the added aspect of the value of the treasure being collected being unknown until after it has been salvaged. While it is known that the more valuable treasure is deeper, the precise value of a tile is not known. This keeps the game exciting and tense.

The other anxiety causing element is the communal air supply. At first glance this seems to be plentiful, but as soon as players start to gather treasure it soon begins to deplete. This means that greediness, or simply an unlucky die roll, can cause you to start panicking as the air begins to run out and the submarine still seems very distant.

All in all this is an excellent little game. The only downside is the cost. While all games are expensive, this game (which comes in a box approximately 4*2*1 inches) is very expensive for what you get, even if the components are of a decent quality. If you’re happy to pay the price and you like to gamble in your game play, then this is a game that I would strongly recommend that you add to your collection.

Pandemic Legacy – November

Posted: January 14, 2017 in Pandemic Legacy

Let me begin with an apology for having left it so long since the last report. My intention was to write these reports up soon after playing the relevant month. However, I’ve let that slip somewhat as we actually finished playing Pandemic Legacy way back in November 2015. This means that, although I took some notes as we played, my memory of exactly what happened is a little hazy to say the least. I will, however, try to give as full an account as I can.

As usual, if you haven’t actually played the game yet, then this report will contain spoilers so navigate away if you don’t want to read them.

November began with our confidence high due to the two previous months both being successful. Our objective now was to build vaccine factories and get on with the task of vaccinating the faded cities. We were also being asked to destroy any military bases that we could.  At they same time, of course, we had to keep the rest of the world free from the danger of ‘normal’ diseases.

Our team for the month was made up of the Immunologist, Quarantine Specialist, Dispatcher, and Operations Expert.

And what a rollercoaster of a month it was. We succeeded in completing our objectives and winning, but the cost was high. 

We struggled to keep the diseases in check. In actual fact they almost had us beat. We suffered a total of six outbreaks, which almost took us to the very limit of what we could cope with.

Santiago became unstable. Lagos began to riot. London increased its level of rioting. And worst of all, Delhi not only began to collapse, but went further into darkness and fell.

Our successes were in building a total of three vaccine factories; destroying the military bases in Paris and Johannesburg; and vaccinating Istanbul and Algiers.

Our game end rewards were given to the Immunologist. He took on Multiple Identities to help him move around more easily; and he was also discovered to have a Shady Background, which would help him sabotage Military Bases. The win would also allow us to begin December with a stock of vaccine in one of our vaccine factories.

For the second time in the year we had won three months in a row. As we headed into December, the final month of our long and arduous campaign, we were feeling positive and certain that we could finally save the world.

Games Played in 2016

Posted: January 3, 2017 in Games

Following on from my previous post detailing the books that I read last year, here is the post that provides the details about the games that I played in 2016.

The statistics break down as follows: Over the course of the whole year I had a total of 985 plays of 136 different games.

This year, my most played game, with 54 plays was Dominion. Next came Dead of Winter (which includes plays with and without the Long Night expansion) with 50 plays. Tied for third most played games with 42 plays each were: Bang! The Dice Game and Pandemic: The Cure.

The rest of the games that received more than twenty plays were:

  • Qwixx (40)
  • The Little Prince: Make Me a Planet (36)
  • Mysterium (35)
  • Codenames (including Codenames: Pictures) (30)
  • Between Two Cities (29)
  • Wits and Wagers (27)
  • The Grizzled (24)

The list of games that were played ten or more times continues thus:

  • Lost Cities (16)
  • Hanabi (16)
  • Port Royal (16)
  • On the Underground (15)
  • Mr Jack Pocket (15)
  • Viceroy (14)
  • Castles of Mad King Ludwig (14)
  • Fungi (14)
  • One Night Ultimate Werewolf (13)
  • Guillotine (13)
  • Sushi Go! (12)
  • Medieval Academy (12)
  • Coloretto (12)
  • Dixit (10)
  • Kodama (10)
  • Ca$h and Guns (10)
  • Ninja Camp (10)
  • Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective (10)

That completes the list of the games that received ten or more plays. It comes to a total of 29 games. There are, therefore, another 107 games that were played over the course of the year, but I won’t proceed to list them all here, as I’m sure that it won’t really be of interest to anyone else.

Since I started recording details of the games that I have played (which started at the end of 2014), eight games have received 50 or more plays. They are:

  • One Night Ultimate Werewolf (83)
  • Coloretto (59)
  • Dominion (54)
  • Lost Cities (53)
  • Bang! The Dice Game (52)
  • Qwixx (51)
  • Dead of Winter (51)
  • Hanabi (50)

2016 was a great year of gaming for me. I have played games with sixty different people. Those games have been many and varied, but I am not the sort of gamer who only likes to focus on new games, so it’s good to see that there are a number of games that are getting multiple plays.

Books Read in 2016

Posted: January 2, 2017 in Books

As a new year begins the time has come for me to write those blog posts that focus on the books and games that have filled my life for the past year. In this particular post I look at the books that I read during the year. Thankfully, even though my gaming was, once again, high, I read more books than last year’s low total – twice as many in fact. The list of books that I read are as follows:

  • The Titanic’s Last Hero by Moody Adams
  • Two Girls, One on Each Knee by Alan Connor
  • The Wall: The People’s Story by Christopher Hilton
  • Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie
  • Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet by M.C.Beaton
  • The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monsarrat
  • The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
  • Killers of the King by Charles Spencer
  • Peace Work by Spike Milligan
  • The Sittaford Mystery by Agatha Christie
  • Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener by M.C.Beaton
  • Adventures in Human Being by Gavin Francis
  • To Reach the Clouds by Philippe Petit
  • Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie
  • Shakespeare by Bill Bryson
  • Monday Mourning by Kathy Reichs
  • Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
  • Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie
  • Master & Commander by Patrick O’Brian
  • Inside Hitler’s Bunker by Joachim Fest
  • Appointment with Death by Agatha Christie
  • SS-GB by Len Deighton
  • Parker Pyne Investigates by Agatha Christie
  • Agatha Raisin and the Walkers of Dembly by M.C.Beaton
  • The Perfect Nazi by Martin Davidson
  • Margaret Thatcher: Power and Personality by Jonathan Aitken