In this next series of posts, as the title surely indicates, I'll be ranking my favorite 25 games, and the ranking criteria include: 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 is really just a list of games that I adore but didn't quite make the cut for the Top 25.
Viticulture: Essential Edition is an excellent worker-placement, engine-building game about the art and industry of winemaking. You have to manage your grapes, your cellars, your actual farm, and please certain visitors who come to tour your facilities in a race to 20 points. Each round moves through all four seasons of a year, and it's really just a smooth game start to finish with a great sense of escalation surrounding a unique theme. The reason it didn't make my Top 25 is that my partner really doesn't care for it. Luckily, the solo mode is awesome, so it still hits the table on occasion for me and me alone.
La Granja is about as dry as it gets when it comes to theme, to be completely honest. But the multi-use cards and resource management combined with dice drafting make this game a hit for me. The solo mode is pretty fun, too, so it stays hovering around the Top 25, but it just wasn't enough to push it into the list.
Altiplano is the spiritual successor to a much beloved game, Orleans, and while the latter gets all the accolades, I prefer Altiplano for the theme, the art, and the overall gameplay. This is a bag-builder, where you're constantly adding little circular chits to your bag and drawing them out at random and trying to decide how to most efficiently place them on your player board to trigger abilities while moving to different locations around the high plains of Peru. It's a fascinating game that has a great fan-made solo mode, but it stays off my list because it can run just a tad bit long for what the game actually promises you.
Roll for the Galaxy is a bit of a shocker in that it didn't actually land in my Top 25. I've played the crap out of this game on the table and in the app (which is an AMAZING implementation), but there are two chief reasons it doesn't crack the Top 25: 1) My partner is just meh on it, despite liking most dice games; and 2) It's a BEAR to teach because there are so many icons and symbols to decipher on the first go-round. The third reason, if I'm being honest, is the existence of the app...it's just so easy to pull up my phone and play it, rather than put it on the table for a game using an unofficial, fan-made solo mode. Still one of my favorite games, and it just happens to miss the cut.
I've written about That's Pretty Clever! before on the site, and I'm a little surprised it didn't make the Top 25 considering how often we end up playing this game. I think the reason it gets left off, if I'm being honest with myself, is that my tastes have gravitated toward heavier, meatier games with complex rule sets in the last year or so, making a lightweight (but still super fun!) game like this fall down the rankings a bit. Nevertheless, I think it sits just outside that Top 25.
Credit: All images come from Boardgamegeek.