Kyle’s Top 100 Games – 30-21




30.     Ticket to Ride

Designer –     Alan R. Moon

Publisher –     Days of Wonder

Year Published –     2004

Number of Players –     2 – 5

Playing Time –     30 – 60 Mins

This game has been one of my favorites for quite some time and for good reason.  It has the staying power to still get to the table even now.  The mechanics are very approachable and simple to learn making it a great game to teach.  New comers and game veterans alike can find this game very entertaining and challenging.  Within the confines of these simple mechanics holds a game with great depth and strategy.  Players will constantly be at odds with the other players as train routes get placed and paths are blocked.  This is the quintessential modern board game that I feel every family and game group should own.





29.     Splendor

Designer –     Marc Andre

Publisher –     Space Cowboys

Year Published –     2014

Number of Players –     2 – 4

Playing Time –     30 mins

It’s hard to pin point exactly the allure that this game has.   It might be the theme of gem merchants.  It might be the heavy poker chips that represent the gems.  It might be the simple yet elegant game play.  I think that it is a combination of the all of these things that make this game a hit with all players.

The production really didn’t have any flaws here.  The poker chips that represent the gems are thick and heavy.  I love paying for the cards by dropping the chips on the table.  It gives you a great sense of value with each gem you take.

The game play is deceivingly tactical.  At first glance you see the rules are simple and easily followed but as the game flows you start to see the under lying strategies that exist.  They don’t vary too much from game to game but the tactics do as the cards in the market change as they are purchased and never in the same order as before.

This is a wonderful game for anyone looking to get into the hobby and one that will see many plays as players become more comfortable with its flow.  Welcome to your Monopoly replacement game.





28.     Isle of Skye

Designers –     Andreas Pelikan and Alexander Pfister

Publisher –     Mayfair Games

Year Published –     2015

Number of Players –     2 – 5

Playing Time –     60 Mins


For quite some time Carcassonne was my go to tile placement game.  It still sees the table every once in a while but most of the time it seems I want something a bit more.  This is where Isle of Skye comes in.  This game takes the elements of Carcassonne and cranks up the decision making.

Isle of Skye is a tile placement game but carries with a unique element.  That element is the bidding process that makes the game very intriguing.  On your turn you decide pick up three tiles that you will place a price upon two tiles and discard the third.  This is all done simultaneously and in secret which only leaves you to speculate what your fellow players will do with their tiles.  Upon revealing your decision, everyone will have an opportunity to buy other players tiles.  This can force players to think tactically and effectively.

Another element that I really enjoy that keeps the game coming back to the table is the scoring mechanic.  The game comes with several objectives that are chosen at random at the beginning of the game.  A total of four objectives are chosen which can alter your strategy every single time you play the game.  This really enhances the replay value and keeps you wanting more.





27.     Discoveries

Designer –     Cedrick Chaboussit

Publisher –     Ludonaute

Year Published –     2015

Number of Players –     2 – 4

Playing Time –     60 Mins

Worker placement has always been one of my favorite mechanics.  It provides a customized level of control and highly thematic experience that I really enjoy.  Discoveries offers this but carries an unique twist upon it.  The workers provided are not standard meeples but are dice.  This element provides randomized output which forces players to adopt different strategies from game to game.  Each die that is used is also but into a common zone that all players have access to on their turn.  On each players turn, they may recall either all the dice of their color or all the dice that are on one half of the common zone.

The artwork and attention to detail throughout the game and the rule book also draw players in with a vintage and historic quality.  All the game elements are explained using thematic reasoning to provide context which makes teaching a breeze.  It also has the history behind the journey of Lewis and Clark which scratches that history buff itch that I have.





26.     Smash Up

Designer –     Paul Peterson

Publisher –     Alderac Entertainment Group

Year Published –     2012

Number of Players –     2 – 4

Playing Time –     45 Mins

Nothing says entertainment like nostalgia and that’s exactly what comes out if this box.  Smash Up is a deck building game that requires each player to pick two separate factions and put them together.  This makes that players deck.  Each player will use their deck to destroy bases for points.

There are 8 factions to choose from which gives tons of variety and replayability.  These faction include zombies, robots, pirates, ninjas, dinosaurs, and others.  Each one of these factions seems to carry its own unique play style which makes for an complex deck when blended together.

The one downfall is the potential for decks to be inherently weak.  This could easily frustrate new players with poor first experiences.  Overall a great experience.  Go zombie wizards!





25.     Champions of Midgard

Designer –     Ole Steiness

Publisher –     Grey Fox Games

Year Published –     2015

Number of Players –     2 – 4

Playing Time –     60 – 90 Mins

I hear the masses telling me that this is the Lords of Waterdeep replacement.  I have to admit that I do enjoy this game more than Waterdeep but it doesn’t have the same feeling to me.  It is a worker placement and they have worker placement locations that vary with every game but that is where the similarities end in my opinion.

This game has vikings and they do viking things like pillaging and defeating monsters in the far reaches of the sea.  What is not to like.  The battles I feel give the game a great boost of theme and overall fun.

I’m not really a huge fan of the cards though.  The card stock used on the production seems very cheap and came out of the box slightly misshaped.  I think in this age of board games where the market is flooded with new titles almost every week that something like this wouldn’t happen.  I guess the industry never ceases to surprise you.





24.     Takenoko

Designer –     Antoine Bauza

Publisher –     Asmodee

Year Published –     2011

Number of Players –     2 – 4

Playing Time –     45 Mins

A cute panda is making his way through bamboo fields eating everything is sight with a frantic gardener following and trying to fix the carnage.  This is Takenoko in a nut shell.  Cute really is the best description to can make about this game.  It’s simple enough on the surface with a very vibrant color palette to create a nice mass appeal to the game.  It’s not until you get deeper into the game that you realize that there is something for even the heavy gamers.  The three types of objective cards all highlight a different kind of strategy that each player can choose to adopt.  The weather dice also gives randomized benefits to each round after the first that allow players to have variations from turn to turn.   There is a lot here to love that I don’t think anyone will have a bad time playing.





23.     Terra Mystica

Designers –     Jens Drogemuller and Helge Ostertag

Publisher –     Feuerland Spiele

Year Published –     2012

Number of Players –     2 – 5

Playing Time –     60 – 150 Mins

Your taking on the role of one of the 14 races and you are expanding across the landscape.  You will be terraforming the landscape to build dwellings, trading posts, temples, and strongholds.  All the while you will developing certain types of religions to the benefit of your own power.

Lots and lots of variability and moving parts throughout this one and the game is melding all of these elements efficiently.  That is the exact reason for my love of this game.  Every game is different with variable goals for every round and the characters that you can be change how you can attain victory.  This game would take several plays to become fluent with its strategy which speaks to its long popularity.





22.     Deus

Designer –     Sebastien Dujardin

Publisher –     Pearl Games

Year Published –     2014

Number of Players –     2 – 4

Playing Time –     60 – 90 Mins

In this game you do stuff.  Sometimes when you do stuff then other stuff will happen because you did that stuff.  This cascade of stuff happens in the late game of Deus. That poor description is exactly the mechanic that makes me love Deus so much.  You will be playing card which represent a building that will be placed in your kingdom.  This kingdom will be expanding upon itself on the modular board and also on your tableau.  When you add a card to your kingdom its action takes effect and all the previous cards played of the same building type get activated as well.  This makes for an exciting mechanic as the card actions start to stack in the late game when you stumble upon amazing combos.   That fact keeps this game coming back to the table.

I will say that the game did drop the ball on the components side despite its great game play.  The resources that they provide are simple colored discs that could be difficult for a color blind player or in a low light setting.  Shaped resources really would have brought the production to an elevated level.





21.     The Castles of Burgundy

Designer –     Stefan Feld

Publisher –     alea

Year Published –     2011

Number of Players –     2 – 4

Playing Time –     30 – 90 Mins

I hope your ready for a big helping of point salad because that’s what Stefan Feld is serving up here.  In Castles of Burgundy, you will be building a small kingdom.  In this kingdom, you will be able to establishing ships, farms, castles, mines, and buildings.  These tiles that you place all have different actions associated with them which include getting additional actions, victory points, or increasing your income.

This game can be immensely dry due to its very loose theme.  Euro style games are infamous for this and this is no different.  I really do enjoy this game for its insanely varied game play.  There are many ways to win depending on the people that you play with and the set up of the available tiles.  This is definitely not for everyone but for anyone that loves a dense game that you can really sink your teeth into then this is the game for you.



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