Top 100 List (2020 edition) – Games 28 through 25

December 19th. On this day in 1843, Charles Dickens published ‘A Christmas Carol.’ So this evening, while playing one of your favorite games, why don’t you put on your favorite version of this Dickens classic and have it playing in the background.

Links to prior posts:

Top 100 games lists

#28 – The Castles of Burgundy (Ravensburger, designed by Stefan Feld) [#16 in 2019]

Castles of Burgundy was my first Feld game to play and I feel like I started at the top. I love using dice rolls to determine actions, especially when you can set yourself up for the ability to mitigate those dice. Plenty of options / roads to take in this game –> I believe this is the game that self-confirmed my love for point salad-style board games.

It probably helps that I’ve performed well in this game every time I’ve played. I’ve never scored under 200 points and have managed to stay undefeated so far. My Burgundy Castle is better than yours!!

#27 – Teotihuacan: City of Gods (NSKN Games, designed by Daniele Tascini) [#29 in 2019]

Dice as workers. If you’ve been following my list since #100, then by now, you know that I could probably stop there. Teotihuacan uses dice-workers in a unique fashion. There is no dice rolling. Essentially these are just cubes that you are “pipping-up” (or aging) over time. As your dice mature/age, the actions you take around the giant rondel get better. [Those bigger, older workers are also harder to feed.] And eventually, they will pass-on to the great Aztec beyond.

And yes, helping a worker “see the light” before an eclipse scoring (and feeding) might just be your semi-ethical method of saving on food spend.

And though this game has many great strategies and options for scoring, none are as fun as helping build up the communal pyramid. It is a tactile delight to see the pyramid grow throughout the eras of this game.

#26 – Maracaibo (Capstone Games, designed by Alexander Pfister) [new to the list]

I’m a big fan of this Alexander Pfister design. The pirate/privateer theme is fun along with a great circular track around the Caribbean Sea. Two key features, though, that I want to highlight about Maracaibo:

  1. The personal tableau system in this game. Money is tight in this game, but if you can spend that money wisely and build up a tableau engine that works well together, the game can be such a delight. You can focus your tableau in so many areas, though — certain locations, saving money, adventuring, end-game scoring, on-going abilities, income generation, etc.
  2. Battles. The deterministic, mathematical system of battles (while it may sound boring) is actually quite fun and a good puzzle. First off, which nation will you fight for in this battle? And when determining your battle points, how will you spend them?

There is so much to do in this game, but the process is so fun. The worst thing about Maracaibo is that person in your group who just wants to “rush” the end of the round. Stop it! Just let me take my fun, slow journey around this map…Can’t we all just enjoy the journey together!?!

#25 – Santorini (Spin Master Ltd., designed by Gord!) [#12 in 2019; #3 in 2018]

As you can see from my prior rankings, Santorini has been one of my favorite games for awhile. Still in my top 25, Santorini is the “chess” game that I most want to play. The actions are simple (move a worker, build adjacent to that worker). The win condition is simple (get to the top of a 3-story building first). The board is simple (5×5).

The simplicity is what makes the game so charming and enjoyable. The crunchy, fun…and the replayability comes from the variety of God and Hero powers. Each game you have to adjust to your specific ability and that of your opponent. So while the “play” may be the same from game to game, the puzzle is a new challenge every time. When do you go on offense vs staying on defense? And before you let go of your piece, have you considered all of your opponents’ follow-up possibilities?

Still enjoying Santorini and I suspect that I will for quite some time. And that’s why it is my #3 two-player head-to-head game.

That’s numbers 28 through 25. Let me know what your thoughts and/or feedback are for these titles. Furthermore, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @boardgamecrock1 and Retweet the Top 100 posts to earn entries into the Fantastic Factories giveaway.

See you tomorrow for the next 4.

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