I was inspired by the Board Games Hot Takes podcast’s recent episode where they discussed the games from the Board Game Geek top 100 list that they haven’t played yet, and discussed 5 of the games they want to play and 5 that they don’t want to play. I feel personally attacked by Tim for not wanting to play Food Chain Magnate, which is my #1 favourite game of all time!
Before I begin, some numbers. As of the time of this writing I only own 9 games in the top 100, but I’ve played 71 of them. From the remaining 29 games I broke all of them into two groups, ones that I do want to play (20 games on this list), and ones that I don’t want to play (9 games on that list). Without further ado, lets get on with the list
Games I want to play
Aeon’s End by Kevin Riley is a cooperative deck building game that has a couple of unique aspects that really interest me. I should preface this by saying I inherently enjoy deck building games (Like Hardback and Super Motherload to name a few). I think the aspect that Aeon’s End is most famous for, and what has me most interested is the mechanic where you don’t shuffle your discard pile when reloading your deck, making you think about the order in which you discard your cards. I like the idea of being able to plan a strategy and combo, and be sure that you’ll pick up the cards in the correct order.
I also like that Aeon’s End doesn’t feature a card river (like Star Realms or Paperback). While a card river can offer a lot of variety and interesting states of play, I prefer the feel of a designed puzzle. I want my game states to be winnable and not have the cards that work best during the end game appear right at the very start.
Richard Garfield and Lukas Litzsinger’s Android Netrunner is a behemoth that I’ve always wanted to get into. Being a two player head to head game it requires you to have a partner who gets equally into it with you, or a small group that you can cycle between. The asymmetric nature of the game, one player taking on the megacorporation and the other taking on the role of the hacker makes me extra excited. Unfortunately I’m not really in a space to dedicate the amount of time necessary to really get into Android Netrunner properly, and I’m not willing to wade into the world of Netrunner enthusiasts and play against strangers online.
If you’re interested in learning more about Android Netrunner, Tom Brewster from Shut Up & Sit Down released a video recently detailing why you should consider playing this game, despite lack of support from the publisher, Fantasy Flight Games.
Mechs Vs. Minions
Mechs vs. Minions was Riot Games foray into the board game space. I’ve heard it was a passion project for a few of their staff members (Chris Cantrell, Rick Ernst, Stone Librande, Prashant Saraswat, and Nathan Tiras are credited as designers), which sees to be true as they’ve only published two games since 2016 (their other game Tellstones: King’s Gambit was released in 2020 to very little fanfare). Mechs vs. Minions is a cooperative action programming game set in the League of Legends universe. In Mechs vs. Minions players are programming their actions far in advance and trying to complete objectives while dealing with the chaos that is combat and damage that can throw your entire plan off one step and send you spiraling off into a corner.
I haven’t played very many action programming games, but they intrigue me. I like chaos and needing to plan out 5 moves in advance, and I delight when plans go awry. The only thing that has prevented me from buying this game is the prohibitive shipping cost that I just can’t justify. I’ve had Mechs vs. Minions on my wish-list for years and apparently my wife has come very close to buying it for me on several occasions, but each time she adds the product to her cart, she balks at the shipping cost. I do have an acquaintance in town who I know owns this game, perhaps one day I’ll carve out some time to play it with him.
Too Many Bones
Much like Mechs vs. Minions‘s sticker shock preventing me from pony-ing up the cash to buy the game, Too Many Bones shares a similar fate. At an eye-watering CAD $200, Too Many Bones is a bit of a white whale for me
Too Many Bones by Josh J. Carlson and Adam Carlson is a dice rolling adventure game for 1 to 4 players where each player controls a unique character with multiple classes to choose from. This box from Chip Theory Games contains no cardboard aside from the box itself, everything is made out of waterproof materials, like plastic or neoprene. I’ve seen more than one person rave about the gameplay and the excitement that Too Many Bones delivers to it’s players, and it’s a system that I desperately want to dive into, but at this point I’m too far behind. The latest crowd funding campaign had a reward tier called “The Ultimate Completionist” that included everything that has been produced for Too Many Bones up to this point, and they were asking for USD $1,100 (a discount of $231 off MSRP). That’s a current that I’m not willing to wade into.
War of the Ring: Second Edition
I wish I had a better reason to want to play War of the Ring: Second Edition by designers Roberto Di Meglio, Marco Maggi, and Francesco Nepitello, but my reasoning is simply because I love the Lord of the Rings. that’s it. I know this is a big, epic 2 player only game and the likelihood of me actually finding a copy is rare, and I generally don’t like direct conflict or war games, but I feel in this case that my love for the theme will overcome my distaste for the mechanics.
Games I don’t want to play
Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion
I have a bit of a rant about why I don’t like Gloomhaven, which I’ll include when I finish Bigfoot’s Trash Taste post, but the crux of my issues with Gloomhaven are that your hand is functionally the timer for the game. The options available to you dwindle as the game goes on, feeling like a noose tightening around your neck. Your hand is being depleted quicker and quicker and you need to complete the objectives. Most of the scenarios I’ve played end not because we take too much damage, but just because we run out of time, this actively punishes you for exploring.
Most of your strongest actions will burn the card instead of sending it to the discard pile, which means to do a big cool thing, you just straight up remove the card from your supply for the rest of the scenario. it’s that fundamental aspect that I dislike, I feel like I’m being punished for doing the big cool thing or for exploring, and that’s not how I like my games to feel. If I’m playing a combat-centric game, I want to be a big damn hero, not a rag-tag adventurer just barely making it out of each encounter alive.
In case you were wondering, I’m also not a fan of the Souls-borne genre of video games either.
Pandemic Legacy: Season 0 & 2
My experience with Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 kind of soured me on the rest of the Pandemic Legacy games. I didn’t like the consequences of a bad game, if a city (or cities) fall because of unlucky card flips, that city was much harder to work around and more likely to be a pain in the butt in subsequent games. I felt disincentivised to branch out and try new characters; the ones we’ve been using all game have gotten several improvements and until they’re lost forever, there’s was no real reason to deviate.
Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 is Otter’s favourite game, and I’m sure he cringes every time I slander it (actually when it’s written, it’s libel. But it’s not libel if it’s the truth). I don’t know if the follow up games resolve my issues with the system, but I’m not willing to commit myself to 12 – 24 more plays to find out.
Twilight Imperium: Any Edition
Twilight Imperium is the holy grail for some people. It’s a big event game that requires a lot of planning and scheduling to even get to the table, as it’s best when played with 6 players. Twilight Imperium is a game of galactic conquest, with lots of variability, and a epic saga emerging from the gameplay.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone talk about Twilight Imperium without regaling me with the glorious details of the rise and fall of their opponents during the game. While it sounds like an epic and amazing experience, I just don’t have the spoons to play a game that routinely takes longer than 6 hours to play, especially a game that has as much direct combat as Twilight Imperium. My actual nightmare would be to sit down at the table, get beaten in a combat in the first hour, and spend the next five hours trying to do anything while knowing there’s no chance of a comeback.
I’m envious of those who can prioritize and commit to playing Twilight Imperium at all, let alone more than once, but I know myself and I know I would enjoy myself so much more by just playing 4 different 2 hour games over 1 epic 8 hour space opera.
I have a love/hate relationship by games designed by Vital Lacerda. They’re usually big, complex, and thematic games that simulate a facet of life, like building a car in Kanban or robbing a bank and evading the police in Escape Plan. In these games each individual turn is simple and straightforward, but there are half a dozen interlocking mechanisms and mechanics that you need to be intimately familiar with to succeed.
On Mars looks to stay on the same track as the rest of Lacerda’s designs, clocking in at a 4.66 out of 5 on BGGs complexity rating. While sometimes all I really want to do is to sink my teeth into a complex game, I’m at a stage of life (parent to a toddler) where the thought of a brain burning game just exhausts me. Maybe when I’m all growed up and have spare time again I’ll go on a massive Lacerda binge.
I will say that I absolutely adore Ian O’Toole’s cover for this game. It looks absolutely stunning!
Somewhat ironically my birthday is October 31st, and I generally dislike the entirety of the horror genre. Eldritch Horror by Corey Konieczka and Nikki Valens looks to be a fine game; a streamlined version of Arkham horror where players embark on a cooperative adventure working to solve mysteries and protect the world from the Ancient One. I just have no love for the entirety of the Cthulhu mythos. If horror, mystery, and Cthulhu is something you enjoy, I’m sure Eldritch Horror is a treat. unfortunately I am not, so I am repelled.