Kyle’s Top 100 Games – 50-41

50.  Libertalia

Designer –  Paolo Mori

Publisher –   Asmodee

Year Published –   2012

Players –   2 – 6

Play Time –   45 minutes


In Libertalia is a card game that all players place pirates in there employ on a ship to go plundering.  All the while players must thwart the plans of the other players over the course of three rounds while using cards that show the same crew members as your opponents. Each pirate under your control will have different abilities that you can take advantage of at the right time.

This is a highly tactical game that rewards you for proper timing.  Everyone at the table will essentially have access to the exact same pirates as you do but its the order at which they are played is where the meat and potatoes of this game is.  Not only is order essential but what you take as plunder as well.  Some of the loot is cursed which can hurt you at the end of each round.

Lots of things are going on here and its one that is always fun to see hit the table.

49.  Red7

Designers –   Carl Chudyk, Chris Cieslik

Publisher –  Asmadi Games

Year Published –   2014

Players –   2 – 4

Play Time –   5 – 10 Mins


How you win Red7 is very simple.  You must have the highest card in play at the end of your turn.  If you can’t accomplish this then you are eliminated.  Last person standing wins the round.

This is a really great small card game.  The game is simple enough to teach and allows you to add extra game mechanics to enhance your games.  I love games that have different variations and this one is no different.


48.  Dice Masters

Designers –  Mike Elliot, Eric M. Lang

Publisher –   WizKids Games

Year Published –   2014

Players –   2

Play Time –   15 mins


Dice Masters has several different implementations like Marvel, DC, Dungeon & Dragons, and others.  I personally like the Marvel version myself but they all play pretty similarly.  In Dice Masters each player will be putting together a superhero or super villain team which are represented by custom dice.  Each team must be composed of 15 dice, and these dice can only be acquired by that player.  Each hero also has one or more character reference cards, which show the special abilities for the characters based on the die rolls.  Players use these dice to collect energy, recruit new heroes, and attack their opponent.

This game provides a lot customization and a variety of Marvel heroes that really trigger my nostalgia.  Each hero has abilities and makes for an almost Magic The Gathering type experience when you’re building your team.  This brings up the down side to this game which is the scale of cards they have available.  This can really drain your gaming funds if you want to be competitive.


47.  Le Havre

Designer –   Uwe Rosenberg

Publisher –   Lookout Games

Year Published –   2008

Players –   1 – 5

Play Time –   100 – 200 mins


Le Havre is a very dense game.  I’ve come to expect that from the designer Uwe Rosenberg.  This definitely won’t be the last game you see in the top 50 from him.

In Le Havre player will be filling up dock locations called offer spaces with supplied goods and taking those goods. As an action, players may choose either to take all goods of one type from an offer space or to use one of the available buildings. Buildings allow players to upgrade goods, sell them or use them to build their own buildings and ships. This is the part of the game that I really enjoy because buildings are both an investment opportunity and your income.   Not only can you construct and use your own buildings but you can pay a service fee to use buildings that other players own.  Ships are also an essential role in the game because they provide the food required for your workers in true Uwe Rosenberg fashion.   The player who has the largest fortune at the end of seven rounds is the winner.

This game is a brain burner to say the least.  So many options and paths to victory are placed in front of you to consider.  All of which is hinged on what buildings are placed in play and in which order they come out.  This makes it difficult for your players to stick with the same strategy every time.  No one likes stale gameplay and this will be anything but that.  My only complaints about this one is that it can be long winded even if you play the short game so you will want to play with 3 players at max.  Also the feeding mechanic ramps up exponentially with every passing round which can put some players out by stress along.


46.  Lanterns : The Harvest Festival

Designer –   Christopher Chung

Publisher –   Foxtrot Games

Year Published –   2015

Players –   2 – 4

Play Time –   30 mins


Gorgeous is all I have to say about this one.  Lanterns is a light tile placement game that has a great positional aspect to it that makes it quite unique.

In Lanterns, players have a hand of tiles of various color arrangements of floating lanterns, as well as lantern cards of specific colors.  When you place a tile, all players receive a lantern card corresponding to the color on the side of the tile facing them. This is dependent on the sitting arrangement of the players which adds to the complexity.   You must play carefully to provide the needed lantern cards to yourself while denying your opponents the cards they need. Once players have collected a certain set of lantern cards they can turn them in for bonus cards like three pairs or all seven colors.  The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.

This game introduced me to a new kind of thought process that I haven’t quite seen in a game before.   The idea of your tile placement providing for everyone at the table really had you considering the lay of the cards.   That careful consideration is the part of the game that I really keyed into.  Lanterns is a solid game.


45.  Ghost Stories

Designer –   Antoine Bauza

Publishers –   Repos Productions, Asmodee

Year Published –   2008

Players –   1 – 4

Play Time –   60 mins


Ghost Stories is a cooperative game in which the players are protecting their village from evil spawn of the lord of hell, Wu-Feng.  Wu-Feng and his legions of ghosts will stop at nothing to haunt the village and recover the ashes that will allow him to return to life.  It’s up to you, the Taoist Monks, to defend the village from waves of these ghosts.

Why do I even need to say more than that?

The players will have to exorcise the ghosts which will appear during the course of the game. At the beginning of each turn, a player brings a ghost into play and places it on a free spot, and more than one can come in at the same time. The ghosts all have abilities of their own with some affecting the monks and their powers, some causing the active player to roll the curse die for a random effect, and others haunting the villager tiles and blocking that tile’s special action. The bad possibilities go on and on.

Each player can perform several actions in defense like moving on a tile in order to exorcise adjacent ghosts or get help from a villager living on the tile if it’s not haunted.  They help by bringing dead back dead monks, placing traps for the ghosts, or recovering haunted tiles.

Victory can only be attained through defeating the incarnation of Wu-Feng which changes from game to game and can drastically alter gameplay.  You can also ramp up the difficulty level by adding additional incarnations if your feeling extra masochistic.

This game will more than likely chew you up and spit you out.  You have to come into this with your tactical mind tuned in.  I have played this a few times and had a fairly innocuous experience the first time.  The second time wasn’t as friendly and the third was one of anguish.  That’s what solidified my love for this game was my first experience paired with the following two.  The need to work as a team is not only helpful but a necessity.  The slightest error will throw your team in a whirlpool that provides little opportunity for escape.  Perfect for a gaming group that needs a cooperative testing.


44.  Ascension

Designers –   John Fiorillo, Justin Gary

Publisher –   Stone Blade Entertainment

Year Published –   2010

Players –   1 – 4

Play Time –   30 mins


Ascension is a deck-building game in which players must acquire the most Honor Points by purchasing cards and defeating monsters.  To purchase cards players will spend Runes from their deck.  Players will start the game with a small deck of cards consisting of runes to get started.  Players may also be able to defeat monsters using the attack power of some of the cards which will earn them Honor Points.  As the cards are purchased they are then replaced in the play area so players need to adjust strategy accordingly.

This is one of the several games that came from the deck-building mechanic that Dominion pioneered.  This one has a little different take on it.  Instead of buying just cards to put into your deck they added monsters to defeat that get you victory points.  It makes for an interesting balance act between attack cards and money cards.  A complaint that I often hear from players is that the cards that come available can be a bit unfair due to the randomization.  I don’t think there is much to do about that other than a board wipe mechanic but I digress.  The theme of the game can be a bit dry but that doesn’t detract too much from the overall experience.  The mechanics matched with the deck building make for some interesting choices to be made.  Every monster battled and every card purchased produces victory points which makes every choice positive but never equal.



43.  Machi Koro

Designer –   Masao Suganuma

Publishers –   IDW Games, Pandasaurus Games

Year Published –   2012

Players –   2 – 4

Play Time –   30 mins?


You’ve just been elected Mayor of a city and you are in charge of building up the city.  The start of your city is very meager with only a wheat field, a bakery and a single die.  With this you are to build new buildings to produce income and steal from your neighbors.

In Machi Koro each player needs to develop the city in order to construct all of the landmarks faster than the other players.  On their turn, each player rolls one or two dice depending on what landmarks they have completed.  If the sum of the dice rolled matches the number of a building that a player owns, they get the benefit of that building.  Depending on the cards/building purchased even others players can benefit from your die.  Once you collect your money from your die roll you can build a landmark or a new building which can help in future turns.  The first player to construct all of his landmarks wins.

As the game is on its own I think the game is a bit too mechanical.  All the available building in the game all available for purchase at the beginning of the game.  With all the buildings out on the table it makes for a system that has one best course of action.  The rules changed for the expansions which adds more variation of play by adding new buildings and not putting everything in the box on the table.  I would strongly recommend playing with the new rules of adding 10 buildings at random and with at least one expansion.  This will greatly effect the general strategy and force players to adapt to the new sets available.   That being said i think this game is very fun even without these recommendations.  Customizing your city to your liking and purchasing the new buildings you like can be very satisfying.  The dice rolling can be a bit frustrating if the results don’t go your way but this is omitigated a bit with the blue building that trigger on other players turns as well as yours.  Overall this is a very fun and light game with some great player interaction.


42.  Cacao

Designer –   Phil Walker-Harding

Publisher –   Z-man Games

Year Published –   2015

Players –   2 – 4

Play Time –   45 mins


Cacao is a tile-placement game that is all about the cacao.  Your chief of your tribe and you must use your tribesman to cultivate cacao and trade it to attain gold.

In the game, players will be playing their individual hand of worker tiles and placing them in a jungle in play consisting of only two tiles from the start.  As players add more worker tiles to the play area the larger the jungle will grow by adding new jungle tiles.  These jungle tiles consist of cacao fields, markets, mines, wells, temples, and sun tiles which all carry a specific action that coincides  with its activation.  Players will place their worker tiles next to these jungle tiles and if workers are on the side adjacent to the jungle action then they can activate that tiles ability.   Depending on the amount of workers on that side of the tile they may be able to activate this ability several times.  Play continues until the players run out of worker tiles to place and the coins accumulated are tallied.  The player with the highest amount of coins is the winner.

I like to think of Cacao as Carcassonne 2.0.  It borrows the tile laying aspect of Carcassonne and blends in worker placement and light resource management.    ti seems all very refreshing and new which was a welcome addition from my slightly worn out copy of Carcassonne.  Orientation, placement, and pre-planning all play crucial roles in playing this effectively which all add to the replay value.  Also with the multitude of ways to obtain gold and the evolving state of the jungle make each placement of your worker tiles a neat exercise in strategy.  This is a great game for anyone who is burned out of the simpler tile placement games but doesn’t want to dive into a complicated one.


41.  Betrayal at House on the Hill

Designers –    Rob Daviau, Bruce Glassco, Bill McQuillian, Mike Selinker, Teeuwynn Woodruff

Publishers –   Avalon Hill, Wizards of the Coast

Year Published –   2004

Players –   3 – 6

Play Time –    60 mins


Would you like a B-movie horror flick in a box?  If so then this is the game you were looking for with as much cheese as you can handle.

Betrayal at House on the Hill has an almost dungeon crawl feel to it as you explore a mansion that you build upon as you venture farther in.   Along the way you will encounter all kinds of weird rooms with very ominous omens of your impending doom but because this is a horror movie experience you push on.  Play continues until the omens received reach a breaking point and then the haunt occurs sending the game into a completely different direction.  A traitor is determined and is immediately given a new set of rules that they must follow to achieve victory.  At the same time the other players are given a new set of rules that they must follow as well.  The game comes with lots of haunts that can occur to increase replayability and a different flavor to each game.

The funny thing about Betrayal is that I would describe it as more of an experience that a game.  The theme and the narrative of this game carries the mechanics which can be slightly broken at times.  The gameplay in each of the haunts is different so it can become very clunky and difficult to understand in some of the haunts.  Regardless of the games mechanical faults, I do have quite a bit of fun playing this.  The multiple end game scenarios or haunts make for an interesting and unique experience.  The production of the figurines and the tiles are all of good quality and add to the overall feel it’s trying to create.  I feel like some spooky background music should have come in the box as well for some added atmosphere (NEW EDITION IDEAS).  I would pick this one up if you love a game with popcorn and laughter.


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