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!