I did this last September, and I didn't expect there to be much change, as I didn't acquire as many games this year as last year, but there has been significant shakeup. If you're curious where things ended up last year, you can view the Honorable Mentions, 25-21, 20-16, 15-11, 10-6, and 5-1.
So, as the title indicates, I'll be (yet again) ranking my favorite 25 games. The ranking criteria are generally a combination of the following: how many times I've played a game, how much my partner may or may not care for it, how often I would like to get it to the table, and my overall feelings on it. This first post showcases a few games I adore but just missed the cut, and some of them were on the list last year.
Tekhenu: Obelisk of the Sun is a dice drafting, action selection game set in ancient Egypt that centers on the position of the sun hitting the obelisk on the central game board. The position of the sun will have dice that are pure, tainted, or forbidden according to color, and you must balance the pip values of each pure and tainted die on your player board. Each of the six actions around the obelisk is interconnected, and the puzzle of being as efficient as possible with only 16 total turns is really a brain burner in the best way. This one will probably creep into the Top 25 at some point, but it hasn't hit the table more than a handful of times, yet.
Next up is Hadrian's Wall, which is easily the most complex flip-and-write game I've ever played, but it's well worth the effort to learn. It is also the most combo-tastic game I own in which monster turns occur when placing a single worker and marking out a single box triggers a chain reaction of other boxes getting crossed off. So satisfying. I think this might also be top 25 material with more plays, but one of the reasons it stays off the list is that, like Tekhenu, I've only played it by myself so far.
Blue Lagoon is a title from acclaimed designer Reiner Knizia, and I've written about it on the blog before. I'll probably do so again, as it has tremendous value, especially for families. At its heart, it's a tile laying game with a sprinkling of route building, set collection, and area majority, but the rule set is ultra light. I've played this at all player counts and even taught it to my mom.
Viticulture: Essential Edition made it onto my Honorable Mentions list last year. Unfortunately, my partner doesn't care for it much, so it doesn't hit the table except for solo play, which is both breezy and challenging at the same time. It's an incredibly clean worker placement, engine building game with a great theme (winemaking), so there's not much to dislike, here. I imagine it will hold a spot here for some time to come.
Lorenzo Il Magnifico was actually ranked #18 last year, and it's dropped simply because it hasn't been hitting the table much. This is another tight one in the vein of Tekhenu in terms of a limited number of actions (24, to be precise) over the course of the game. It's a pretty straightforward worker placement, tableau building game, but the twist is that all players' worker strengths are determined by dice values rolled at the beginning of a turn. Perhaps one of the euro-iest of euro games, it remains a favorite and will probably always be flirting with the Top 25.
Credit: All images come from Boardgamegeek.