Jim's 10 Favorite Board Games of All Time!!! (and a giveaway!!)


Jim's Top Ten Games of all Time!!!


I love lists AND I love ranking things, so it was only a matter of time until I got to work on this post. One thing I do want to make clear is that these are not what I think are the best games of all time, but rather my personal favorite games of all time. This distinction may be small, but I think worth mentioning.

Without further ado, please enjoy this list of my favorite games! (Followed by a game giveaway!!)

10. London

This was one of the first games I played that involved building up a tableau and I fell in love with it almost immediately. I really enjoy having to balance building up on the board, with building up your tableau, with not taking too many poverty tokens. Knowing how many piles of cards to have in your tableau and when its OK to build over a card are awesome decision points.


This is the newest game on the list by a couple years. If you read my recent review of this game, you'll know already that the original Pandemic has a very special place in my gamer heart, as the first modern game to really captivate me. Pandemic: The Cure has all the fun, puzzlyness, cooperation, and heartache of the original - but it adds dice! If I had to only keep one of the two games, I think I would choose The Cure over original Pandemic. But only if you forced me to choose. =)


One of my favorite designers is definitely Mac Gerdts. I haven't played everything he has put out, but everything I have tried, I have really really enjoyed. Navegador was the first of his that I've played. I really enjoy working within the confines of Mac's evil/glorious rondel - doing what I can to bend its inflexibility to my will better than my opponents. I like that there are several directions for players to go in pursuit of victory, and I like even more that those different paths to victory not only feel different, but are all pretty viable.


Just like many of the games on this list, I don't get to play Lords of Vegas as much as I would like (in fact, I own the expansion, Up!, and haven't gotten to play it yet!). This is even more true for Lords of Vegas, since it really isn't worth playing with only 2 players (which is how I play most of my games). Lords of Vegas has a lot that I really like about board games. I really like the stock market aspect, as well as the acquisition of property. The risk/reward present in Lords of Vegas is so much fun, going for hostile takeovers and paying double to develop properties that might just go to someone else when the card comes up. There are things in Lords of Vegas I don't like, but I always have a great time when playing it.


Stratego was one of those "classic" games that I played when I was younger that I remember really enjoying. The concept of having your units be secret from your opponent was just so great. I really like the Lord of the Rings movies, so The Confrontation is a perfect fit for me. The game is pretty abstract, but still feels pretty thematic. One of my favorite things in games is when the "Vizzini effect" comes into play. I know that you know I  might play this card, but you know that I know that you know that, so maybe I should play this card...etc. Many games can create similar situations, but none do it better than Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation.


This is definitely my favorite "gateway game." I like Ticket to Ride, but I find this one just so much more interesting (and really not nearly as mean as TtR can be). I really like games with stock market mechanisms, and Airlines Europe implements a stock market-ish system really well, and is really simple to play and teach. 


I love Star Wars. When I heard that FFG got the license for Star Wars card and RPG games I immediately got very excited. I love this game. I love how much it feels like Star Wars, I love how gorgeous the art is, and most of all I love how the game plays. The only thing I don't love about this game is that my wife doesn't care for it. I don't get to play this game very often, but that just makes the times when I can play that much more special. This entry in my list also hold the honor of being the most likely to be replaced within the next few weeks - by another FFG game in fact...=P


I love to laugh. I don't think I've ever played a game of Bohnanza that didn't involve me getting out of breath from laughing too much at least once. This is another game that I can bring out with really any group of people who want to play a game, and it is 99% guaranteed to be a great time. I like playing it with close friends the best, but this is a great game for people who don't already know each other to play - its remarkable how quickly you can get to know someone while planting and trading beans.


Uwe Rosenberg is my favorite designer of all time. That, despite the fact that I have acquired, given up on, traded, and reacquired Agricola no less than 3 times. Yes - the copy of Agricola I currently own is my third. It took me a few plays to warm to the game, but I absolutely love it now. I love how the base game is mostly the same from session to session, but the cards you draft can change so much about how you go about pursuing the best farm. Agricola is one of those games that I am always willing to play, no matter what.


War of the Ring is a thematic masterpiece. Middle Earth absolutely comes alive on my table whenever I get to play it. I certainly don't get to play it very often, but whenever I do, the experience is always epic, and always so much fun. I get to experience one of my favorite stories of all time - but I also get to change it and manipulate it in different ways to see what would happen. War of the Ring is my favorite game of all time because it is simultaneously very strategic and solidly story based, but also keeps those exciting moments and randomness and chance with the card draws, die rolls, and chit pulls. Every single game of this leaves me in awe of both the design and of Tolkien's masterpiece itself.



There you have it! My 10 favorite games of all time!

One of the most interesting thing I find about this list is that even though one of my favorite things about games is playing and learning new ones, most of the games on this list are more than 2 years old. That's not much time in the grand scheme of things, but for a cultist of the "new," a lot of games get released in 2 years.

I think what this says is that while I really like exploring brand new game spaces, its takes a lot for a new release to be good enough for it to supplant any of the games on this list. I am always searching for great new experiences in games, and even though I've played many games I've really liked in the past few years, almost none have been fun enough for me to add them to this list.


Now, as I promised, a game giveaway!! One of the best new games I've gotten to play this year is Imperial Settlers, from Portal Games. So, to celebrate my list, the holidays, the end of the year, my awesome readers, and the fact that Imperial Settlers is awesome, I'm going to be giving a new copy of it away to one of you!


The Rafflecopter thingy is down below - I know some people don't like using Rafflecopter, but just know that there is only 1 mandatory entry - please leave a comment on this post that includes both your favorite game on my list above as well as your favorite game that is not on my list.

Remember that leaving a comment on this post is a requirement for entering!! You MUST do so in order to qualify for the prize!!

You can earn extra entries every day from now until the contest is over - Sunday, December 22 at midnight EST!!!

Please note: I will put $15 towards shipping, which will fully cover you if you live in the US. International readers are more than welcome to enter, but know you'll have to help me out with shipping.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

59 comments:

  1. Nice list! I've been meaning to try, well, most of those...

    On your list, I've only tried Agricola, which I love.

    Another favorite you should check out is Bulwark, an indie, print-on-demand heroic fantasy cooperative deckbuilder. You build a deck with cards only your character can purchase, as well as cards from the location, which any character can purchase, and fight off the hordes of enemy cards coming your way. It's also imminently soloable, and crazy tough... In just the base game, there's 4 heroes, 4 locations, and 4 enemies. There's also a ton of expansions out... which I highly recommend.

    You can find it on DriveThruCards: http://www.drivethrucards.com/browse/pub/5304/Chthonic-Games

    Unfortunately, it's a tad pricey. But it's so worth it. Check out the free quickstart set, if you don't mind PnP'ing a demo copy: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0BwGkynh3mSzPLUEtWVo0SVdkVU0

    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  2. My first comment didn't seem to go through...hm...

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  3. Okay, we're going to try this again :(

    Escape: Curse of the Temple: It's easy to teach, and everyone loves it.
    Belfort: It's probably one of my favorite worker placement/area control games.

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  4. From your list Agricola. But fsvorite of all time? Galaxy Trucker by far. Awesome laughs and infinite replayability!

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  5. 1 from your list - Bohnanza, 1 from my list - 10 Days in Europe

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  6. I'm newer to board games so my favorite on your list is Pandemic: The Cure. My favorite not on your list is Magic the Gathering, because I hate keeping money :o)

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  7. Great blog and I'd go with Lords of Vegas as my favorite game on the list. Just a ton of fun and dice rolling to boot. Not on the list but in my top 10 is Keyflower, a different feel each time with the unique auction/bidding/activations.

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  8. My favorite from your list is Pandemic the Cure. My favorite not on your list has to be Robinson Crusoe. It's the best thematic game I've ever played.

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  9. Why is Imperial Settlers not on the list?

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  10. I definitely have Agricola in my top 10 of all time. Currently my top 2 are Caylus and Village. I guess I'm all about that worker placement.

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  11. Thanks for the contest, and a great list of games!

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  12. Ah, and as for favorite games on your list, I've only played War of the Ring, so I guess that'd have to be it (although I really want to try Agricola). As for favorite game not on your list, I'm not sure I have one. It depends on my mood and what I'm able to get others to play. Carcassonne is always fun, I love Rise! and I just played Starcraft TBG and thought it was even better than War of the Ring.

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  13. Thanks for the great list, Jim! Of the 10 you listed - sadly, I've only played one. Star Wars LCG - really like it, but never gets to the table. My wife likes 2 player games, but can't get into the Star Wars theme...which doesn't bode well for getting that other FFG property coming up this month :)

    I'd have to say the favorite game on "my" list right now has to be Dead of Winter. Lucky enough to grab a copy - been a consistent hit in our gaming group.

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  14. agricola is awesome - my favorite game is Battlestar Galactica

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  15. Thought I left a comment... Maybe not.

    Anyway, I am a bad person and have not played any of the games on your list, unless you count the original Pandemic. My favorite game not on your list would probably have to be 7 Wonders.

    Cool article/giveaway!

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  16. Pandemic the Cure and Sheriff of Nottingham. We just busted out the Sheriff in our group and we find ourselves going back to it frequently and trying different strategies each time. It is a very simple and complex game.

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  17. Love Airlines Europe on your list. My favorite game not on your list is Caverna

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  18. I am starting to big a big fan of Agricola, and its taken about 15 plays to knock some of the strategy into my head. As far as a game you should try: Race for the Galaxy is one of those classics you can play a bunch of times and never see the same game twice.

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  19. My favorite game on the list is Agricola and my "current" favorite game not on the list is Smash Up.

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  20. On List: Pandemic: The Cure

    Not On List: Biblios

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  21. My favorite game from your list MIGHT be War of the Ring, but I am waiting for it to arrive from CSI. So my current favorite from your list if Lords of Vegas.

    My favorite that is not on your list is Pandemic. While I like Pandemic: The Cure, I like the original better.

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  22. Lords of Vegas is awesome! Definitely try the UP expansion it makes the choices even more interesting. Hanabi is my favorite card game, it truly bends your brain. My girlfriend and I have played it 200+ times and have only gotten the mythical 25 once.

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  23. Lords of Vegas. A game all of my family likes. But my gaming group and myself really enjoy Bang! The Dice Game. Good laughs.

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  24. Favorite from your list = War of the Ring
    Favorite not on your list = Mage Knight

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  25. Thanks for the contest James this game is been on my wish list for a while now

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  26. My favorite from your list (aka one I most want to try) is Pandemic: The Cure, and a fave in our house at the moment is Sushi Go!

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  27. I discovered you chaps on a review for Roll for the Galaxy. I enjoyed the review but I will stick with Race for the Galaxy. I would enjoy a top 10 review of the best space themed games.

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  28. I love pandemic, and Jaipur too!

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  29. Great list of games! War of the Ring is epic but I found I could never get it to the table. My favourite game on your list is Agricola. Like you I love the variety that comes from the cards so I'm yet to be persuaded to take the plunge with Caverns. I also really like the tension that comes from being forced to choose between what you want to do and what you need to do. It's actually a surprisingly simple game too.

    My own favourite game is Cosmic Encounter. I have some fantastic memories playing it. What makes it so great is the player interaction it creates with negotiation, bluffing, alliances, back stabbing and take that moments. The huge choice of aliens just adds to the fun. As it's my wife favourite game too the one con is that we can't play it with 2.

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  30. Out of all those the games you listed, I actually have only tried one: Agricola. But I love it.

    My favorite board game of all time, the one I'll never turn down a play of (provided I have the time) is Battlestar Galactica. I love how well the theme comes across and how the game pretty much requires lots of player interaction.

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  31. I lean toward the heavier end of the gaming spectrum - my favorite from your list would be Agricola, and among unlisted games, Dominant Species!

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  32. Pandemic the Cure is very good. My favorite game not on your list is 7 Wonders.

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  33. - Agricola - Definitely like this a lot. I like worker placement, the variety, building the combos and farming.
    - Nexus Ops - some complexity, fun dice battles, good attacking friends and making memories
    - Last Will - for more Euro / economic, building combos, funny idea

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  34. Lords of Vegas is the modern game that best replaces Monopoly. It has the land and building acquisition, the trading, growth of wealth, luck of the dice, etc. We love it!

    A game that we really like at my household is Macao, my personal favorite Stefan Feld game. Check it out!

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  35. My two favorite games are (also) Agricola and Dungeon Petz. Worker placement is my thing.

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  36. Ok, let's try this comment thingie again..

    My wife and I love Navegador. It's great asa 2P game as well as with more players.
    Galaxy Trucker, a game you have rated 9/10, should also be in this list. It's fun, it's unique and it's great!

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  37. I have yet to play any of these! I am missing out looks like. I will make it my 2015 resolution to play all of these on your list haha

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  38. Fav game on the list: Lords of Vegas
    Fav game not on the list: Battlestar Galactica

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  39. 1) Agricola is a fine game, definitely not over-rated.
    2) Battlestar Galactica is the greatest game ever conceived. Co-op games are the best; the human factor is better than any dice roll for variation in gameplay, and this one is well-balanced, flavouful and fun.

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  40. Commenting again for insurance purposes...

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  41. Sorry, let me re-enter the comment. My favorite game right now is ticket to ride. I am using it to spread the hobby to friends and family and every play has induced a purchase from someone in the party this holiday season. As for your list, and although I have only played it a few times from my own collection, I would say Bohnanza is great..... when you get people who will actually sit down and play a game about bean farming.....

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  42. Yours: Pandemic The Cure

    Mine: Lords of Waterdeep

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  43. I love LOTR: Confrontation :)

    I would add another favourite of mine and my wife: Robinson Crusoe, and awesome cooperative game with a lot of narrative and mood. Check it out!

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  44. Pandemic: The Cure is definitely my favorite on this list, but then I have a huge soft spot for all co-op games! As for my favorite not on this list? Oooh that's a tough one! I'm really not sure.....maybe Mice and Mystics? I love that game. Or Castle Panic. That's probably the game I play the most and I can't wait for the release of the new expansion!

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  45. I love bohnanza. So much fun with the family screaming over stink beans!

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  46. I love Bohnanza so much. Playing with the family screaming over stink beans

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  47. The only game on your list I have played is Bohnanza and I love it so simple but fun. I really am looking forward to Pandemic: The Cure. Several of the others will need to go on my must play list. You can take a look at my Christmas Wish List at www.boarddomination.com and let me know if you agree with anything there. Nice list.

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    Replies
    1. Really like your list as well! Cinque Terra seems so underrated its crazy, and I did enjoy my one play of Quilt Show. Castles and Imperial Settlers are two of the stronger releases from this year, and I also love Concordia.

      Also really want to try Alchemists!!

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  48. Happy Holidays and thank you for offering this giveaway!

    Favorite from your list: Agricola

    Favorite not listed: Condottiere

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  49. (My 1st comment appears to have been lost in the ether)

    I've only had the opportunity to try Airlines Europe and Agricola - both of which I love, but for very different reasons (although it feels like Caverna may take the place of Agricola, so if you forced me to choose, I'd have to choose Airlines Europe).
    My absolute favourite game, however, would have to be Keyflower, that game just clicks with me and my wife.

    Thanks for the contest, but also for your content in general!!

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  50. I have only played a few that are on your list, but my favorite would be Bohnanza. My favorite not on your list is Race for the Galaxy. Thanks!

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  51. I like Lord of Vegas quite a bit, don't own it yet because it doesn't seem to drop in price ever or be up for trade! I think I would have Lords of Waterdeep + Scoundrels of Skullport expansion on my own list.

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  52. I can't believe I haven't played a single game on your list. My favourite is Sentinels of the Multiverse.

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  53. From your list bohnaza. For me, I'd say Cosmic Encounters.

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  54. While I'm not that good at it,
    War of the Ring has to be the best games from a license. And even outside of its excellent invocation of the Tolkien theme (I always keep Southerons back hoping for a well timed Pirates of Umbar) it's such a great game and memorable.

    My favorite game is Here I Stand, a six player 12 hour extravaganza on the wars of the reformation, but judging by your tastes, perhaps the co-op superhero card game Sentinels of the Multiverse would suit you.

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  55. I agree with War of the Ring. I would add The Resistance.

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  56. I only played the old Star Wars ccg (by Decipher, perhaps?). I also feel bad that I haven't played any of your 10, though Lords of Vegas looks like a lot of fun. And I've been looking to get something like Airlines Europe.

    My own favorite would have to be either Thunderstone or Netrunner, depending on what mood I'm in.

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  57. I have played all the games on your list except for Pandemic: The cure (played the original) and Lords of Vegas.

    Favorite on your list is War of the Ring -- it is also my favorite boardgame and for all the same reasons you mentioned.

    Favorite not on your list - Through the Ages or Mage Knight.. I love the "story arc" that both of these games create and the depth of choices and options available each time you play them.

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