Top 100: #78 Luna

Stefan Feld is one of the greatest designers in board games - known mostly for heavy thinky games that normally have a ton of ways to score points. It definitely fits the mold of a Feld game - although this is one of his lighter games. Although don’t think that Luna is not a thinky game, because even his lighter games have a lot of choices and decisions to make as you decide your strategy.


Similar to a lot of other heavier strategy games, doing the best in Luna is trying to pick the best options to maximize your points. In some games you can generally get everything you want to do done, but that is not true for Luna. The number of actions you get to take is directly linked to the number of novices you have. So you have to decide if you want to spend your limited actions to get more novices for future rounds, build shrines for end game points and bonuses, or try to put your novices into the temple to get points during the game.

Throughout the game you can also gain favor tokens from the different islands. These tokens can be super helpful as they give you bonuses to actions or let you take some actions that would normally take your novice out of commission without doing so. The other way to make you actions more powerful is to interact with islands with one of your shrines. Getting those constructed can take a large helping of your actions for a round though.


On top of all those considerations there are also three characters rotating around the islands that each have different effects. One of them gives you points if you have the most novices on her island, another penalizes you you if you are on his island at the end of the round, and lastly you have the builder which is the only island you can build a shrine on until he moves at the end of the round.

The tight choices of Luna are what makes the game really fun for me. While some games makes those difficult choices punishing, in Luna it is just about making the best choices. You never have to feed your workers like in some other games. So if you want to sit around a table with your friends and decide what action would be the best for you or hasten the end of the round to frighten your opponents then give Luna a try!

Top 100: #79 The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game

Fantasy Flight has come out with a great many LCGs (Living Card Games), most of them with a well known license behind them. Most of them are great fun to play against your opponent, as we have already shown we have a strong bias towards cooperative games. One of our favorites from those LCGs is the Lord of the Rings Card Game. The appeal for LCG games over CCG (Collectible Card Games) is you don’t need to spend a ton of money to get certain cards. Everyone who buys certain sets of cards gets the exact same cards as everyone else. It is all about how you use the cards that makes the difference between players.


Depending on how deeply you dive into the game, it already has tons of expansions, there is tons of deck building options before you even sit down to play the game. For example, if you really like dwarves, you can build a deck led by Gimli with lots of cards the help dwarves be even more awesome. One of the favorite decks I’ve built to play with is themed around the great eagles with a giant flock of them ready to save the day as always!

One of the other things that impresses me about this card game is just how much they are able to build different scenarios with simple card play. Sometimes you need to rescue someone, or delve into Moria, or fend off a large enemy force. Using the different abilities of the evil cards they have been able to expertly contort simple card drawing into a more thematic feel.

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Lord of the Rings the Card Game is mostly a solo or two player game, which can be a problem for larger groups, but if you are looking forward to building decks and then using them to attempt to defeat the sources of Sauron and the other evils of Middle Earth you should definitely give this game a try. Make sure not to jump in too deeply before you have given it a try though! As a living card game that has been running for years it is a very deep pool to dive into but that just means if you really like it as much as us you can probably never quite finish all of the different quests which is a great problem to have!

Top 100: #80 Eclipse

On nearly the opposite of the spectrum compared to the last entry on the top 100, Eclipse is a big meaty game of space exploration, expansion, exploitation, and extermination. Each player will start in their own corner of the galaxy working to branch out into unknown space to acquire resources in the form of wealth, research, and building materials. If players know how to play the game well then each player can be a different species with different knowledge and abilities at the start of the game to make things even more interesting.


At the core of the game is much more about building up your civilizations economy then defeating your opponents. So those looking for constant space battles throughout the game might want to look at some of the other space 4x games. We however really like the idea of building up our civilizations more than just constant conflict. Eclipse has an inventive action point system and the exploration system make it so no games are precisely the same. Each players action track is covered with small discs. For each planet a player claims or action they take in a round they remove a disk from that track. At the end of the round the player will need to pay the largest amount uncovered. So you can take as many actions or claim as many planets you want but you need to make sure you can afford to pay those costs!


There are lots of different ways to score points. You get points from building up your presence in space, for researching deeply into specific fields, and lastly for being a part of combat. So you will likely want to get involved in some space fights eventually even if it isn’t the main focus of the game! When you are getting into combat each player will likely by the end of the game have very different ships which is another part we love about Eclipse. When you research weapons, engines, shields, or power generators you can equip them onto your ships assuming they have room. So while some players might build powerful but easy to destroy ships others will build less powerful but almost invincible fleets.

Customization is what makes Eclipse such a great game and better than some of the other games you play in space. Especially if you play with different aliens to begin with they all have different powers and different knowledge at the beginning of the game. The game can take a rather long time to complete so you need to be prepared for that but if you are looking for a game that simulates building a vast empire in unknown space this would definitely be one of our first suggestions!

Top 100: #81 By Order of the Queen

Over time we have been developing our enjoyment of role playing games as well as board games. By Order of the Queen is a board game that blends them together in a light cooperative game with tons of flavor. There definitely isn’t nearly as much freedom as in a role playing game, but the game sends you on missions with fun flavor text to guide you down different paths depending on if you succeed or fail. With each players intrepid group of heroes and some dice rolls they will try to protect the land!


The goal of the game is to satisfy three of the queen’s orders,while forces of evil are always pushing down on the country. Each round only one player can work towards satisfying the queen’s order, as the other players do other tasks and defend from monster attacks. On each turn you have four different actions - although one of them won’t be terribly common.

The choices you have for your turn are the Queen’s Order, Questing, fighting monsters, and fighting the nemesis. The last one is uncommon because the nemesis doesn’t arrive until later in the game. Be thankful he doesn’t arrive until later because all of the big bad guys are hard to kill and do lots of damage at the end of the round. All the players have a hand of heroes used to fight monsters and do the different quests. Depending on what task you take on your turn you want different heroes - and some of them are even more loyal to you giving you extra abilities if you use one of those types of heroes.

Depending on what heroes you send along to either fight monsters or satisfy certain quests you are generally always look for high numbers on your rolls. Each monster will have certain numbers you need to hit and you need to get successes which are 5s and 6s when you go questing. Sometimes a lot of luck can be frustrating in a game as it can negate any chance of success. This game however didn’t feel overly difficult to win so it just added to the action to see if the players could roll well instead of deflating them if they rolled poorly.

We really enjoyed the fun narrative text you got while you went through all of the different quests. The art style is also great as well with lots of cute animals both real and fictional. Admittedly I’m a little bias towards cooperative games as I like working together and make group decisions but By the Order of the Queen is lots of fun with just the right amount of luck to make it a leisurely experience instead of a stressful one.

Top 100: #82 Hive Mind

Party games need to have some representation on the Top 100! This is one of our favorites. Not sure if we have some higher up, but this is one of my go to games if I am at a party where we just want to have some fun and getting deep into a strategy game isn’t on the agenda. Hive Mind is all about trying to think like the other people at the table.  If your answers don’t match with the other players you will slowly begin to slide out of the hive! The winner at the end of the game is all of the bees that managed to stay inside the hive when one or more fall out!

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Each round starts with the active player drawing a card and asking one of the three listed questions or one of their own imagination to the group. Most of them will have a set number of answers that people have to come up with to the question. While you might have some great answers you need to make sure that you also try to think of things that the other players at the table will as well!

There are a number of different type of questions that both keep the players on their toes but also make it so the personal nature of the game can vary. Some of the questions might be name 5 animals that start with the letter P (obviously Platypus) which is a very general question that doesn’t require much knowledge of the other players at the table. There are some other questions though that might ask the most likely person at the table to perform in an opera! So depending on how well the players at the group know each other you can ask different types of questions! And as always there is always the chance of asking a question from your imagination!

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Once time has run out everyone compares their answers. For each person that has also written down one of your answers you get a point. Once all of the points have been distributed you reference the spot the queen be is on to see who is falling out of the hive. Although sometimes the bee with the best score might even get to go back further into the hive. This can help players not doing well regain some ground.

Hive Mind is a great party game - it can be a little rough if one person really doesn’t think like the rest of the table. Even if you run into that situation the game is still a great experience - it will just be a little shorter. The game is always full of “That's a great answer! ...but I didn’t write it down” - most of the times those moments make me laugh. And having a good laugh with your friends is something every party game should provide!

Top 100: #83 Honshu

Moving away from some of the more classic games we have recent release Honshu. Honshu is a lovely mix of territory building with a small tinge of trick taking built into the selection process. While you are expanding your own territory, you need to keep track of many different ways to score points. Your area can get points from expanding cities, forests, long rivers, and delivering resources to places that need them.

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After players are dealt their cards, they take turns playing a card from their hands. The card’s value determine who gets to select cards first - the higher the number the better. Resources can be very valuable commodities--they can be used to make your card a higher value than any cards without resources. Not only that but similar to trick taking games the other players can only play resources matching the first one played. Because they have such value you are only going to want to use them when you really want one of the cards available.

With the new player order determined all the players select a card to add to their territory. When you add spaces you have to cover or go underneath cards already played. You can cover most things, but you aren’t able to cover water with other structures so you need to make sure to be mindful of that if you are trying to make a vast city for points that way. It will be fairly rare that you get a card that is just perfect for your plans. Part of the fun of Honshu is figuring out how to balance all the different ways to score points.

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Another bit of fun in Honshu is after the first six cards you will hand your cards to the players on the left before the hand is refilled. So you will have some knowledge of the power of one of your opponents hands and what cards they might have to offer! But if you start off the game with a really great card you will likely want to get it played before you hand over your cards to make sure you are the one to play it!

Having a great art style is one way to get me to really enjoy a game. The art style in Honshu is warm and charming but that is not all it takes to get on the Top 100 as I have played so many games. The quick but difficult choices you make during the game give the game great depth. There are also additional cards you can use to add more depth and strategy to the game. If you are looking for some simple city planning wrapped into a card game make sure to give Honshu a chance!

Top 100: #84 Legends of Andor

When we first grabbed Legends of Andor, we were mislead by the cover and the theme which isn’t the best way to experience a game. Getting something vastly different then what was expected generally leads to a negative feeling. However, Legends of Andor is a really fun game and a challenge to win from scenario to scenario. The theme led us to think it was going to be similar to a dungeon crawl game in a fantasy universe. In the end the game is much more a cooperative puzzle of a game with a fantasy theme.

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Each game begins with a short narrative and a goal to accomplish. They can very pretty wildly especially if you incorporate the expansions for even more quests. The way the game forms itself into a puzzle is because there is a time limit to get the goals accomplished. Where in other games of the same theme normally you need to clear out the evil to protect the world, but in this game killing monsters takes some of your time and time is a very valuable resource. We lost our first game because we realized too late that you can’t just be the great defender, players really need to work towards those goals.

Don’t be too sad though, as there will definitely be a time and a place to drive evil away!. You just need to do so strategically. Hitting the enemy where it is weakest or where it is threatening you the most as you do need to save the towns from being overrun by the enemies. You can also get different weapons, items, and shields to make yourself more powerful.

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While the game play doesn’t give the same vibe as other exciting dungeon crawls, the game still has a great overarching story going from mission to mission as you work towards defeating the great evil that is ravaging the land. We haven’t quite reached those missions since we just have so many games to play but we are definitely looking forward to it! Make sure to learn from our mistakes though and know what you are getting into with this game. It is a great and fun puzzle of a game with a theme we like. So despite some of our warnings it is still a game completely worth your time if you want to sit down with your friends (or possibly solo) to try to achieve some of the difficult goals given to you in Legends of Andor!

Top 100: #85 El Grande

While we have lots of new games on this list, there are still games that came out in the 90s and earlier that are still great and have yet to be dethroned. El Grande is one of the best area control games there are with the players attempting to control different regions of Spain. Players use a few different types of cards with lots of different things to take into account when you play them adding lots of different choices.


To start a round there is a group of action cards revealed so that everyone knows the different actions that can take place over the course of the round. With that knowledge the players will use their power cards one at a time to see who has the priority during the action phase of the game. This can be a tough choice to make as a higher number would make it more likely that you will get first dibs on the actions but the lower numbers allow you to retrieve more of your meeples from the supply. Without meeples it will be impossible to control regions of the board!

When a player picks an action card they can choose to take the special action written on the card - or not. Sometimes you might choose an action card to prevent an opponent to have the pleasure of that action. You might also pick an action that is not the best for you because those cards also have meeple symbols. The number of meeple symbols on those cards is what determines how many you get to place in the regions of the board. Although you can only place those meeples in the Castillo or the regions next to the King (but not in his region!)


While I am not very good at this game, or area control games in general, this is still a ton of fun with interesting decisions to be made. Lots of different actions help you manipulate the board to gain control of the regions are they are scored every third round. You definitely need to pick your battles as spending all your resources to control one high points region can be defeated by spending less effort to control the less valuable regions.

If you are looking to compete against your friends for control of the board or just want to work your way through some of the modern classic make sure to give El Grande a try. It now sold mostly as the Big Box which have tons of different modules you can use to add even more variety to El Grande game play.

Top 100: #86 Mascarade

Mascarade is a really fun, simple to learn, social deduction game. There are a few higher up on my Top 100, but this one beats out some of the more obvious choices like Resistance and Werewolf. Mascarade’s puzzle of deduction can change throughout the game making it so your knowledge is never truly perfect - or if your opponents think you have perfect knowledge they will fix that right quick. And player elimination is one of my biggest issues with games, especially if they can go on for a decently long time, but everyone is always involved in a game of Mascarade.


Depending on the number of players the game roles will be shuffled into the stack and then secretly dealt out to the players. Each player gets to look at their role just that one time for free. As later in the game it takes a turn to take a look at it. There are only three things you can do on your turn - switch(or not) your role with another player, look at your own role card, or attempt to use the power of one of the characters included in the current game.

If you choose to use a character you don’t even need to have that character - although it is easier to use it if you do have it. After declaring you want to use the role it goes around the table to see if anyone wants to challenge and say that actually they are the role you are claiming! If no one calls you out, you just take the action without revealing if you actually were that role. However, if called out everyone including you reveals their role to all players and anyone who is not the correct role must pay the justice system a coin. Anyone who is that role (doesn’t need to be the active player) gets to take the action associated.

The end goal of the game is to get to 13 coins. Some roles will steal from other, some will just get you money from the bank, the judge will collect all the fines that people have paid. With less than perfect knowledge but still some insight into who could be who Mascarade becomes a cleaver puzzle of taking risks with who you might be to breach that coin goal before any of the other players. But if you are wrong you might accidentally give the victory to someone else!

Top 100: #87 Tikal

Tikal was one of the earliest games we played once we started falling headlong into modern board gaming. It is designed by some of the greatest designers - Kramer and Kiesling. Even though the first few times we played Tikal we played it completely wrong, it has always been a blast, even more so now that we know how to play properly!


All of the players are working together to explore the ruins of Tikal, but while everyone is exploring the same board it is definitely not a cooperative game. Each turn you get to place a tile onto the map representing an area of the ruins. It might have a relatively unexplored temple, some artifacts, just empty space, or even a volcano! You will want to place the good tiles (Temples, Artifacts) so that you are the only one that can easily access them while using the volcanoes and other less useful tiles to block in the explorers of your opponents.

After you place your tile, you have ten action points to use during your turn. While there are other games using this mechanic, this was the first game I played with this mechanic which is another reason it has had such staying power as one of my favorite games. These points can be used to move explorers around the board, grab up artifacts, excavate temples, building camps deeper in the jungles, and lastly - securing a temple for only your group of explorers. However, securing a temple for just you will cost you five action points and likely a decent amount of explorers so you have to decide if that is a good use of your limited resources!


We do occasionally enjoy games with direct conflict - something similar to Risk. But it is the subtle back and forth that I tend to enjoy more. In Tikal there are lots of opportunities to compete with your opponents for sets of artifacts, and points from temples, and so forth. But you are never directly attacking them in the process. More important than directly competing with your opponents is using your actions and explorers efficiently to place yourself in a position to score the most points after each volcano.

With so many actions and so many action points each turn, there is an almost infinite amount of choices for you to make. However, the game is still simple enough that the number of choices never feels daunting but more like a fun puzzle to figure out on your turn.