Top 100: #54 Arkham Horror the Card Game

We’ve enjoyed the games that are themed with Lovecraft in mind but we generally shy away from the longer games like Arkham and Eldritch Horror. Little bit too much complication and time commitment for us personally. But then we heard that they were coming out with a card game based in the Arkham Horror universe and were super excited! We were hoping to get the same type of adventure and mystery in a smaller more compact game.

It didn’t disappoint! We still have only played a few missions but the way they have manipulated cards into doing many different tasks is rather impressive. They obviously learned some lessons from one of the other games on our list; Lord of the Rings the card game. As the same company created both games. Sometimes the environment cards can represent different rooms in a house and then on a later adventure mimic a train with the cars moving around.

On your turn you are using the cards in your hand and resources you’ve collected to do various abilities and skill checks to try to investigate the current mystery. Sometimes there will be traps that make your way more difficult or even worse some evil monsters could come out of the darkness and threaten your life! You can choose to fight them off or run as you try to outlast them and seal away evil.

Where some of the other cooperative games from the company were definitely one off adventures this game is designed to play as a campaign which adds even more depth to the system. Depending on what and how you did in an adventure you get a certain number of XP that you can use to improve the cards in your deck to better versions. Also story wise things can definitely be different each time you play through depending on the story choices you make. This creates choices that can be difficult to make as you know they might have lasting effects as you try to solve the greater mystery!

Overall Arkham Horror the Card Game is a grand adventure. Probably one of its few issues is it is mostly a one or possibly two player game. So it won’t really be able to encapsulate a large group like some of the other games from this mythos but if you want to have a grand adventure yourself or with a friend you should really give it a shot. There is quite a lot of enjoyment in just the base box alone with lots of expansions out there if you find yourself loving it. We keep looking forward to playing more so it had to be on the list!

Top 100: #55 Barenpark

Growing up we played a lot of Tetris always enjoying trying to figure out how to make those shapes work for you to get high score. Recently there has been a slew of games released that feel a little bit like lining up the blocks from Tetris. Barenpark is currently my favorite but if you enjoy Barenpark you should definitely try out Patchwork, Feast for Odin, and Cottage Garden. They all take the system to a different place but you are always trying to make piece fit on the board.


Barenpark is simple enough you simply place one of your pieces on the board each turn. You want to do so in a way that gets you the most points. The strategy comes from figuring out where to place those pieces on the board(s) that you have. Covering certain spaces will get new territory to build on or they might get you new and exciting buildings to place on future turns. Some of the best buildings are of course more oddly shaped than others.

One of the high point values you can get in the game is from completing a tile for all but the one space on each tile you can’t build on. Once you do that you grab the highest score tile remaining and place it on that board. Since they are in descending order there is a desire to get those boards filled up fast. But sometimes you can make up the points you lose from waiting by building some exciting buildings. So there are always choices!


Once you have played the game a few times you can break out the goal cards which add even more things to think about as you are building out your bear park. They will often give points to the person who builds the most of a certain type of tile. So then there is a race both to get those tiles but to also find a way to get them onto the board.

Barenpark is probably the simplest of the tile placement games that remind us of tetris. Although all of the games I mentioned earlier are tons of fun. This is just easily my first recommendation out of that set. It is easy to explain and play and has some wonderful art. It is so great it almost worked its way onto the top 50 of all of our games but #55 is nothing to be sad about either!

Top 100: #56 The Arrival

Based on Irish mythology, The Arrival is a unique area control game where the players claim territories and can also cause more and more enemies to spawn on the board taking corruption in the process. The game has two different ways to score at the end depending on who is most numerous at the end of the game - the players or the evil Fomori.

The most unique aspect of The Arrival, is the way players get resources over the course of the game. Each player will select four cards that only have vague hints on what is on the other side to decide what resource they will receive. Each card has three rows on it and players will have to select which of those rows they want to collect from before they have seen the flip side on all four cards.

Once everyone has gotten all of their resources, players go around the board taking actions. They can build up strongholds, place defense in their regions, fight off the Fomori, and finally place more Fomori on the board. When doing that you are able to have them attack other players destroying some of their strongholds. Although that is also giving them monsters that they are able to attack for points later!

The game ends when one player has become too corrupt from helping the Fomori, or after a certain number of rounds have passed. If the evil outnumber the strongholds on the board then they have overrun the players and the person with the least corruption wins the game. If there are more strongholds than evil, then players calculate who has the most valuable areas under their control making your path to victory an interesting balancing act.

Top 100: #57 Ticket to Ride: Europe

Easy to teach while still having lots of choices to make has been a lasting theme of the Top 100 likely due to how often I am having fun teaching people my favorites. Couldn’t have a list filled with games like those and not include one of the classics - Ticket to Ride. Our choice for this list to highlight is the Europe edition. It added just enough extra stuff to really make the original shine even brighter.

The game keeps all of the original parts of Ticket to Ride. Our your turn you can still either take cards, tickets, or purchase spaces on the board. You are trying to complete those tickets over the course of the game in order for them to be positive points at the end of the game. If you fail to complete them however they wind up being negative points. You also score points when you put your trains out on the board thought a small amount compared to tickets if you complete all of them!


One of the great new features that got added into Europe was train stations. They give you points at the end of the game if you don’t use them. Most of the time it will generally be to your advantage to place them on the board. The Europe map is probably even tighter than the original US version with some areas only having one or two ways to get into them. If you put out a train station you can use one leg of the trip on someone else's train line. Opening up the ability to possibly wait to claim routes or to make it so you have a chance to complete later tickets.

The designers of the game also added some interesting mechanics to when you claim routes on certain parts of the board. When you are crossing water you are actually building ferries which require some wilds in order to build on them. Then as you go through some of the more mountainous regions of Europe you will need to build some tunnels. When you build a tunnel it will sometimes cost more cards than you had originally intended to you need to be prepared for cost overruns!

Ticket to Ride is likely to remain one of the classics of this era of board gaming. When we have been testing the waters for which game we should run tournaments of this one came to the top as most people know how to play or have at least heard of it. If you are one of those they haven’t tried it yet definitely give it a go and if you only have played the original and enjoyed it check out the Europe edition for new adventures in this game system. Totally worthy of its spot on the top 100!

Top 100: #58 Arcane Academy

Arcane Academy is a game of competitive students trying to be become the best spellcasters in the school. While the game becomes a fun and interesting puzzle, it starts out with really simple choices to make. On your turn you can cast one of the spells on your board, exhausting it, or you can rest and remove all of the exhaustion markers on your board.

One of the main spells you can cast adds new tiles to your board, building up the abilities that you can to do on your turn. This is also when the puzzle nature of the game comes into play. The tiles have linking circles on some of their edges so you can combine them to tiles already on the board. When you cast one square, you can also activate any other linked spells that aren’t exhausted.


The other actions that are available get you resources from the general supply that are used to complete either your private tasks or one of the public tasks in the middle of the table. Some of the tasks that you complete will give you items that can be used with one of the other casting squares. Some of the items even help you unexhaust some spells without having to rest which is super helpful.

Once someone has completed 8 assignments everyone, including the player who had triggered the end of the game, gets one more turn to try to get the most points possible. Lots of simple choices in a strategic puzzle game makes Arcane Academy lots of fun and worthy of its place as #58!

Top 100: #59 Valletta

One of what feels like a more recent trend in board gaming is combining deck building with other genres. Deck building itself is fairly new so people have really started to broaden out what you can do with it. Valletta combines deck building with a small bit of area control. You are more than likely still going to be looking at mostly what a card can do but if claiming it also gets you a nice area bonus that is great!


On every turn a player will play three cards - no option on that front. You have five to choose from and hopefully the five you have to choose from will improve over the course of the game. You can upgrade some of your cards to make them better or by purchasing spaces on the board you get new powerful cards to add to your deck.

The important part of the game is to figure out the best time to play the cards that you have in your hand. Maybe you have a card that gives you a lot of money for a specific reason. But if you wait just a bit it will get you more points than if you play it now. But since you only have five choices and need to play three of them sometimes you are just going to have to use it for the lesser amount of points.

Using builders is how you take control of parts of the board. You get points at the end of the game for when you have built near to yourself so that is always on the edge of your mind. But there are some really nice cards out there that can work really well together. And of course some buildings are far more expensive than others so maybe you really want to start building you might simply be limited by what you can afford.

Overall Valletta is a great deck builder. The option for what cards are available to buy is definitely far different than other games of its type. Which adds in interesting choices and the rule about playing three of your five cards also makes things interesting. In a lot of deck builders you don’t get to save cards from turn to turn. In Valletta you are forced to so it is all about how to maximize your hand by selectively waiting to play cards. When we already like the deck building genre Valletta is a shoe in for the Top 100!

Top 100: #60 Royals

Royals is one of the best introductions to area control that we have in the Platypus Gaming library. While we mentioned El Grande earlier on this list it has some parts of that are a little more complicated than we want for someone's very first game. One of the things that can make a game great, and worthy of this list, is if it is great for newcomers yet still tons of fun for everyone else to play as well!


The game shares a lot of mechanics with other popular games but uses them to achieve different goals. On your turn you can either claim a section of the board or you can pick up some more cards to plan for the future! Claiming areas of the board is fairly simple if they are unoccupied - you just play the number of cards marked on the board of that particular country and then place a piece there.


With the use of some special cards you can even displace some of your opponents pieces. This is an important tactic because one of the scoring mechanisms is having control over specific places, countries, and persons. So if your opponent is close to achieving their goal you can push them off one of the parts of their goal they had already achieved! Generally pushing an opponent off is more expensive however so you have to weigh if it is really the best move for you personally.

There are lots of choices to be made in royals with quite simple mechanisms. Even with only room for 100 games on this list each and every single one needs to be great. I’ve always had a blast playing Royals and despite its simplicity there is always a time when i need to take a second on my turn to really puzzle out what I want to do. I love having that feeling without having to break out a calculator! Just like the rest of the games on this list - make sure to give Royals a chance!

Top 100: #61 Sagrada

A lot of times our own interests both past and present can make us interested in games that are coming out. The fact that I both enjoy and used to create stained glass made it so Sagrada was a game that I had to try. Through the rounds you are slowly building your own beautiful stained glass windows with vibrant colored dice. Thankfully it also wind up being a great game as well!


At the start of a round the first player will roll all of the dice for your player count and then all of the players take turns drafting dice. You both want to make sure you don’t have any gaps in your window while also trying to best satisfy the point cards that were dealt out at the start of the game. This can be challenging because you can’t place colors that are the same next to each other or dice that have the same value.

So if you have a red 1 you can’t put any red dice next to it or any other ones regardless of color. This makes it very easy to paint yourself into a corner. Especially because some of the spots on your board will have required spaces. On those spaces you might be required to play a specific color or a specific number. So you want to make sure that you don’t make it so you are unable to play in those spaces.


Thankfully there are some cards that allow you to break some of those rules if you pay the cost. However, every time someone uses one it becomes more expensive to use them. Generally not everyone has the same amount of currency to spend because the amount you start with is based on how difficult the requirements were on the card you selected. Once all of the rounds are over you score how well you did your own board as well as the cards that will be different each game to add new challenges.

The fact that the game has lots of variability in scoring, requirements, and rule breakers means that no game will be exactly the same. There doesn’t seem like there would be much ability for player interaction but you can definitely take the dice that your opponents need to hinder some of their plans. All of those factors together with the great theme and the beautiful components make it more than deserving to be on the top 100!

Top 100: #62 Karuba

Where our last selection has lots of player interaction - some of it bordering on mean depending on who you are playing with our next choice is all about your own choices and there are only very small things your opponents can do to affect you. Karuba is a fun tile placement game where everyone has a set of the same tiles and one player will randomly draw tiles and then everyone places they same tile they drew. The goal is to get adventures to their temples but there is quite a lot of space separating them from their goal.


All of the tiles are squares but how they differ is from the paths available on them. Also some of them will have treasure that you can pick up on the way for points. The game is often quite close so grabbing those points along the way can be the deciding factor. Each of the temple also has a descending point value stack of tokens. The first person to get their adventurer to a temple gets the highest value one and then so on.

When you get a tile you have two choices on what you want to do with it. You can either place the tile anywhere on the board, attempting to make a path for your adventures without blocking any of them from their goal (they often need to cross paths) or you can discard the tile to move one of your pawns a number of spaces equal to the number of exits on the tile. Most of the time you will want to move with useless or bad tiles for your map but as it is a race for those temples sometimes you will want to get rid of good tiles in order to beat your opponent to the temple!

Everyone has different tastes in how much they want to have conflict with other players and how much they want to work together. While we obviously have a soft spot for cooperative games sometimes we do like to test out our skill against other players. Karuba lets us do that without being terribly aggressive. This also makes it so Karuba is a terrific family game as you don’t need to pull any punches and it is simple enough that kids might be their parents occasionally!

Top 100: #63 Ninja Camp

Sometimes adding some flavor and complication to a game can make it worse and just too hard to figure out what is going on. With Ninja Camp however we have found a game that is obviously based around games like That’s My Fish but have made it even better! As different ninjas the players will bounce around the board made out of cards using their fancy moves.


Some of the moves will let you move in strange ways, let you jump over walls, or even copy the moves that your opponents have played. The goal is to claim cards that have a high point value from the board which you do by moving off of them. While you are trying to get some of the better cards off the board - you might also try to pin your opponents so they won’t be able to move themselves!

Another thing that you can choose to use or not but we think you should always use it is giving each player a different style card at the beginning of the game. Not only do they have great art with the animal making a ninja pose (sadly no platypus card) but they also grant a once per game special action that can be used to save you from being stuck or maybe get you a high scoring card you are looking to acquire. Since they are once per game you definitely need to find the best time to use them but it always makes it so you can do something a little different than your opponents.


At its core the game is quite simple - you play a card to move one of your pawns around the board and score the card that you had been standing on by putting it in your score pile. At the end of the game you get those points plus a small bonus if you didn’t use your once per game power. The replayability of the game comes from the board being randomly generated each time with walls and trapped being in different locations. Also as the other players take turns it will also become harder to navigate.

If you’ve played Hey, That’s my Fish and enjoyed it you should definitely give Ninja Camp a try. And if you haven’t - then you should try out both as they are both terrific games accessible for the whole family even if they can get cutthroat pretty quickly if you want them too!