Here we are with the next installment of games. I'm cranking these out a little faster than in the past, as I'm feeling a little bit sheepish because I haven't posted in around nine months. At any rate, if you missed it, here were the Honorable Mentions and numbers 25-21.
BGG Rank: 16
Last Year's Rank: 11
Designed by: Jamey Stegmaier
Art by: Jakub Rozalski
Released: 2016 from Stonemaier Games
While somewhat of an outlier on the list, as it has elements of tactical combat, Scythe is still excellent and an efficiency puzzle at the end of the day. In other words, despite the plastic figures walking around the board threatening battle, it really is a deterministic resource management and action selection game, which are both things I tend to enjoy. The solo mode utilizes the Automa system, which is par excellence in terms of solo designs, in my opinion, and the multiplayer game is very tense with a lot of re-playability in the base box. Can't get enough of this one, even though it's fallen a few spots.
BGG Rank: 331
Last Year's Rank: --
Designed by: Uwe Rosenberg
Art by: Patrick Soeder
Released: 2017 from Lookout Games
Yet another new game on the list (and yet another title from Uwe Rosenberg), Nusfjord has all the worker placement goodness that famed designer Rosenberg is known for but without the rules complexity found in some of his heavier games. Indeed the appeal to this one isn't novel mechanisms but the fast setup and gameplay. Plus, the solo mode is really excellent and can be played in under a half hour once you know the rules. Set in the small town of Nusfjord, Norway, this game is about fishing, pleasing the village elders, and building up the town. Nothing flashy, here, but a rock solid game that's on the lighter end and very underrated, in my opinion.
18. The Isle of Cats
BGG Rank: 106
Last Year's Rank: 7
Designed by: Frank West
Art by: Dragolisco, Frank West
Released: 2019 from The City of Games
Well, this one took a bit of a tumble from my Top 10 last year, and not for any discernible reason other than some newer games have just edged it out. Definitely one of my favorite polyomino tile placement games of all time, though. Combine that with some smart card drafting and quick gameplay (5 rounds), this one is a mega hit in our house and will probably be on this list for many years.
17. Rajas of the Ganges
BGG Rank: 148
Last Year's Rank: 13
Designed by: Inka Brand, Markus Brand
Art by: Dennis Lohausen
Released: 2017 from HUCH! and R&R Games
Rajas falls into a similar category as Nusfjord in the sense that there's nothing particularly innovative or new mechanically, but it's just absolutely rock solid. Well, I suppose that's not entirely true; the scoring in this game is very different than most games in the sense that you're balancing two tracks and trying to get your markers to intersect. But, yeah, dice manipulation, tile placement, worker placement...all the good stuff in a vibrant production with a ton of eye-popping art and color. Absolutely love this one, even though it's down a few spots from last year.
BGG Rank: 42
Last Year's Rank: 16
Designed by: Uwe Rosenberg
Art by: Klemens Franz
Released: 2007 from Lookout Games
Well, we come to the oldest game on this list, and yet another game from Uwe Rosenberg. Many consider Agricola to be his best game ever, and competitive play is still very popular. Side note: I have the Revised Edition (2016), which strips out some of the card bloat of the original base game and updates the components to better quality. Yall, I can't get enough Agricola on the table (but it doesn't rank higher because it doesn't get played all that often anymore). It's so tight, such a stressful game, but it's so worth it to see your farm develop and play occupations and improvements to just barely be able to feed your growing family. While the worker placement is fairly straightforward, there is a ton of pre-planning that goes into this game to form a winning strategy. I think it's good at all player counts. It's also worth noting that it has stayed at the same rank as last year.
Credit: All images come from Boardgamegeek.