Top 100: #15 Grand Austria Hotel

Continuing off of the last game that was brain bendy we have another with lots of meat to it, Grand Austria Hotel. Players are working on building up their own hotel/cafe combination! Some of the best part of the game is the staff that you can recruit have some stellar powers. They would feel unbalanced and broken if it wasn’t for the fact they are all powerful and available for anyone!

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One of the aspects of heavier games that really brings us to the table is dice drafting. Grand Austria Hotel mixes it up by making the dice more valuable the more dice there are left of the same value. This change compared to other dice drafting games gives an incentive to draft some dice earlier because they are powerful. Grabbing those early might mean an action you want to take is lost though. So you have to prioritize the actions that are super powerful and those you really need to get done.


While you are working on picking your dice and getting resources you also have to work on getting guests into your hotel. Most of the points in the game come from getting those rooms filled. There are even bonuses for getting floors or colors finished while you go. You also need to focus on getting people served in your cafe. As with many strategy games there is lots of paths to follow to get the points you need.

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While you are trying to work on making your hotel the best there is political matters and the emperor to deal with. One of the actions you can take moves you along the emperor track which gets you victory points. If you can satisfy political goals you get some points as well. Adding even more to the list of things to balance as you play through the seven rounds.


While it sounds like there might even be too much happening in this game it really signs once you get into it. There are still hard choices to make depending on what you want to prioritize but you will quickly understand your options. And as we mentioned earlier everyone winds up having a very different interaction with the game as they get more and more overpowered staff. The unique theme and fun interactions bring this to our #15 on the Top 100!

Top 100: #16 Haspelknecht

Learning and playing the early history of German coal mining - that is all part of the fun in our next game, Haspelknecht! This game is another heavier euro game where you are trying your best to use the resources available to you to get the most points. There is tons of theme in this one as you need to build out the mine under your farm. There are also other strategies to get coal that can also work to get the points you need to win.

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The game starts with a drafting mechanism to get the types of discs you want. They allow you to take different actions on your turn. Some of the discs let you farm for food while others let you work on getting the coal out from under the ground. This is one of the stronger elements of player interaction as you struggle to get the ones you want before they are stolen from you.


After the players have drafted their discs each of them individually plan out their actions for the season they are in. They can use their farmers, helpers, and technology to achieve everything you wanted to do. Some players need wood to build out their mine tunnels, helpers to pull coal out of the mine, or food/money in order to pay the lord of the land for the right to work it.

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The tech trees are where the game can change greatly from game to game. How they are orientated and what players choose to get makes you adjust your strategy. Some of the technologies even make it so you can avoid digging out your mine entirely and just burn down your surrounding forest to get the coal. Coal is one of the main ways to get points but it doesn’t matter how you acquired it!


Definitely one of the headier games on our Top 100, soon to be followed by a few more, there is a lot to think about when you are playing Haspelknecht. The divergent strategies in ways to get coal makes the game a lot of fun as well as how interactive the game is for a euro game. Lots of times euro games are very much like solitaire but the drafting of action discs you definitely have an impact on your opponents. If you want to dive deep into a heavy game give our #16 a chance!





Top 100: #17 Dokmus

Next on the list is a delightful little area control game that can occasionally get pretty vicious and has some unique mechanics that make it shine. In Dokmus there are 8 boards with various terrain elements that you are trying to exploit or get past in order to score the most points at the end of the game. If the game was simply expanding from our start point in a linear direction it wouldn’t be much to write home about but the combination of moves you can make and the gods you can use to manipulate the board add a lot of originality.


Before anyone has taken their turn all of the players draft one of the five gods tiles. Each of them give you a special bonus that you can use during your turn. One of them simply gives you the first player token which at the right time can be super important. The other abilities let you move one of your pieces one space, rotate one of the boards 90 degrees, or even move the board into another position.


Also on your turn you will be placing three little tent structures on various parts of the board in order to get points at the end of the game. Some of the things you score for are being near both the large and small temples, being on top of ruins, and having explored a great many of the tiles. Using rivers you can travel great distances in a single movement but the most efficient way to travel is to manipulate the map so what was once far away is now close!


There is also some terrain the requires sacrificing some of your structures in order to enter. Such as volcanoes and new forests. While it is unfortunate to lose the value pieces as you only have a few to use each turn there is also end game points from having the most pieces sacrificed over the course of the game. So it might be worth the loss if it can get you to a great location.


The ever changing board and simple game play really bring Dokmus into the limelight for us. We also enjoy shining some light on some Scandinavian designers because of our own biases. Regardless of who it was designed by Dokmus is a fun little game to play and experience which is why it is #17 on our Top 100!  



Top 100: #18 Fugitive

The Top 100 continues with a great two player game of cat and mouse, Fugitive! One player will be the titular fugitive trying to escape before the other player, the marshal catches up to them. All of this is done with a small footprint of a deck of cards going from 0 to 42.

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The goal of the fugitive is to be able to legally play the 42 card before the marshal can reveal all the cards in the past. Each turn the fugitive gets a new card from a stack of their choice. Then they need to play one of their cards in their escape row. The card you play can only be a maximum of three greater than the last card you played. Although you can use some of the other cards in your hand to expand your range.

The marshal has a very different way of playing the game. The turn starts similarly with the marshal drawing two cards from stacks of their choices. Anything they have in their hand definitely can’t be used by the fugitive because there is only one of each card. After they have drawn they can use a couple different methods to try to guess the fugitive path.

When the marshal is trying to uncover the path the fugitive took he can play it safe and guess a single card. If the card is in play the fugitive turns it over and is closer to being caught. However, instead the marshal can list a whole bunch of numbers and if they are all on the table they get flipped over and a lot has been learned. If any of the listed numbers are not in play though nothing gets flipped over and the turn is lost having learned a lot less.


Fugitive plays really quickly so the two players playing the game can switch up roles and see who does it better or what one they find most often. The game blends in just enough deduction and trying to misdirect to make a great game. Definitely one that deserves its spot on the Top 100 at #18.





Top 100: #19 Glux

Glux is a great simple easy to learn game with lots of cutthroat plays and choices to make in your striving for victory. On your turn you will simply legally play the die tile currently in your hand and then draw a new one! Just that simple. Knowing where you can legally play is where some of the fun choices and being vicious can happen.


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The game starts by players choosing which side to play their starting token. All of the discs are similar to the sides of a die. For those that don’t know all normal six sided dice faces add to seven if you add the opposite side together. So each disc has two sides that add up to seven. After your first disc you can only play off of other discs you have played. Legal placement is a number of spaces away equal to the pips of the previous disc. SO if you played a two you can play your next disc two spaces away in a straight line.


There is some definite strategy in disc placement. Players can't go through other discs so you could get in the way of other players placements. Each disc can also be covered once if you have a legal way to his the same spot. So once a disc gets covered that will be the disc there for the rest of the game which is important to know for final scoring. You can even cover your own discs so people don’t steal a spot from you.


Once everyone has placed all of their discs then final scoring takes place. Each of the rooms which are the brightly colored spaces on the board will be scored. The player with the most pips worth of value in the room gets 4 points. Second place gets 2 points. After you have summed all of those up the person with the most points is the winner!


Glux is such a simple game but there are so many difficult strategy choices to make with your limited options. It proves that while games with lots of mechanics and eccentricities can be fun you don’t absolutely need them to get on the Platypus Top 100!



Top 100: #20 La Granja

There are some relatively heavy games near the top of this list. With La Granja taking the #20 spot on the list. There is lots of moving parts in this game but the smoothness that they all blend together is what makes the game really shine. It is almost anything you could want from a game. There is a little bit of everything; area control, dice drafting, and multi-use cards.


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The first phase of the game is when players use their cards that have a multitude of different things that they can become. Playing a card on the right of left side of the board upgrades your farm and possibly your income. Another option is to play the card to the top of your player board to turn it into a cart that once you fill you can use to make a delivery. The last option is to play it below your board to turn it into a helper. You don’t have many cards to play in the game so use them wisely!


Now using the dice that come in the game we get to the revenue phase that uses dice drafting. The start player rolls dice equal to the number of players times two and adds one extra dice. Each one of the six sides has an action that is related to it. When you draft a die you get to take the related action. Because of the random roll the actions available will change from round to round. Once all of the players have drafting two dice there will be one left over. Everyone gets the bonus from the die, so even the last player has a difficult choice to make in their drafting.

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The last main phase of the game is when players need to choose if they are going to deliver or rest or a little bit of both. You can get points for resting and it also determines the player order for the next round. Getting delivers made however is also super important as there are even more points there with some interesting bonuses available to boot!



These few paragraphs were only skimming the surface of the great game of La Granja. It definitely shouldn’t be the first board game you play but if you want lots of strategy and choices in your game you should give La Granja a try. It sounds super complicated but once you get the flow of the game it runs super smoothly! Definitely smooth enough to be on our Top 100!




Top 100: #21 Brass

Following the last game that was a silly cooperative game we have a tight economic game that is been around long enough it might be considered a classic, Brass. Designed by Martin Wallace  and published in 2007 Brass is a economic simulation of the industrial revolution in England. The theme might not interest everyone, it does us, but the game itself is such a great engine that we think most people should give it a try.

The game is split into two distinct ages; the canal and the rail ages. Each player will be developing industries and connections between cities during both of the eras. Unlike other games all of the action on the board is shared by all players. You get points from your own buildings and connections. However, other players can use your connections and resources to help them score points as well!

Players manipulate the board with the cards in their hand which either have a city or an industry on them. You can use the city cards even if those cities are not connected to another structure of yours. The industry cards can only be used in connected cities though. Figuring out how best to use the cards and money in your possession is where most of the choices lie in Brass.

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Getting points in the games comes almost entirely from flipping over your industry tiles before the end of each era. (Some buildings can even score in both eras!). In order to flip over a tile you need to use all of the resources it provides. For cotton you need to sell it to a port or the foreign market. For coal and iron those need to be used up to flip over the tiles. Using coal and iron have the most player interactivity. Players can try to create coal and iron plants that their opponents will want to use allowing you to flip the tile without extra actions yourself.


Brass is a super tight economic engine with interesting play order mechanic based on how much money you spend in a turn. Sometimes it will even be in your best interest to take out loans to make it so you can take a more powerful turn. Brass has been reprinted with beautiful graphics and the smallest bit of streamlining as Brass Lancashire and we look forward to teaching people this #21 on our top 100!


Top 100: #22 Witness

Next on our list is a rather silly cooperative game, Witness. The game is a blend of logic puzzles and a game of telephone. There are a great number of cases involved in the game to play with you and three of your friends. New players should start with some of the earlier cases as the further you get into the cases the harder they get. If you are feeling confidence though you can jump into the deep end!


Each player gets a case book that has a page or two for each of the 100 cases. At the end of the game the players will all have to individually answer three questions about the case. During the game players aren’t allowed to take notes so you need to remember all the ins and outs of the case! A perfect score is 12 points as each correct answer is worth a point.

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With all of the case books combined figuring out the answers wouldn’t be that difficult but the challenge of the game comes from the fact that everyone has one quarter of the information needed. To make it so people can answer the questions you are going to be telling your teammates the information in your cook. There are rules however that make spreading that information more difficult!


First of all when you are telling someone the information in your book they can’t ask questions other than to ask you to repeat and they can’t really talk much either. So it is a one sided conversation.The other complication is that you will never talk to one of your teammates and they must get the information second hand from the others that you told.


Witness is a very silly game but still feel challenging as you try to piece together the evidence you learn during the game. Since you can’t take notes until the very end you try to make sure you remember what is important - even if you aren’t sure what is the most important information! We love playing the game as a silly end to an evening. All of the enjoyment we have gotten from it means it certainly deserves its spot at #22 on the Top 100!


Top 100: #23 Agents of Smersh

Games with a strong storytelling element are fairly rare, and ones that are also cooperative are even rarer. Agents of Smersh takes these two elements and lets players go on crazy adventures in a classic Bond style universe.  

Every interaction in the game fully encompasses the theme of spy movies and novels drawing you into role playing your characters.  Sometimes the theme games can be very pasted on and not noticeable during play, but Agents of Smersh does not have this problem.  Each player will choose a character that fits one of the stereotypical roles of a spy movie for example--tech guy, sultry assassin, or the handsome spy.  Players work together to travel the world map gaining clues and resources to defeat the evil Dr. Lobo and his henchmen.    At the end of each player's turn you also get to find out what evil and extraordinarily outlandish plan Dr. lobo is up to.

As you move around the board you will encounter different situations with only a few clues to help you decide what to do. From there you have to choose from several different options how you respond to the situation. With that information and a little randomness added in another player reads from the huge book of encounters to see if you succeed or fail. The success of your mission can depend on what advanced skills you have or from a dice roll based on your stats.

Over the course of the game, by interrogating henchmen, you will discover the location of Dr. Lobo.  In order to win the game you need to have the right resources from completing encounters earlier in the game.  This can be easier said than done!    

Agents of Smersh can have some decent swings of randomness that could be frustrating for people who like things to have set outcomes based on decisions. However, we would assume that most people who are looking for storytelling games are more interested in enveloping themselves in the fun theme than whether they win or lose. The story moments and theme of this game really made it sing more than some of its competitors. It can be hard to find nowadays but it still deserves a spot on the Top 100 - if you can’t find a copy make sure to try out ours!

Top 100: #24 Terraforming Mars

Mars seems to be a popular theme in both popular culture and in board gaming. One of the most popular games to use that theme is Terraforming Mars. The game uses a huge variety of cards to make every game a little different. Different corporations also add some flavor as each player will have a little be different bonus to affect their play style.

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The start of the game and each round begins with players drafting cards until they have selected the 10 they want for the round. Choosing a card in the draft doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to keep them. As each card you keep will cost you some of your valuable money to add to your hand. You might draft a card you don’t want to buy in order to keep it from your opponent.

Play continues around the table with each player taking one action and possibly a second each round. If you don’t want to take that first action you have to pass, but then you are done for the round which is why you might stretch out your actions more so you can stay in the round longer. Some of the cards have requirements like how much Mars needs to be terraformed before use or possibly it might already be too terraformed for the card to be effective.

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There are lots of ways to get points but a lot of them are from taking steps to make Mars more habitable. There are three factors that determine how friendly the planet has been made for human life; water, oxygen, and temperature. Two of the other big ways to get points is by claiming one of the milestones if you have met their requirements. There are some end game ways to score but the players will choose over the course of the game which ones they want to activate - not all of them can be used in a game making end game scoring variable. Some of the cards you play also provide points to the players, especially some of the later cards where you are developing life.

Once three gauges marking the progress of terraforming mars have been maxed out then the game ends at the end of the round. Which adds another layer of variability as you never know how many rounds you have until the end of the game and you might not want to end as you have grander plans for the planet and its moons! With so much variability there is always something new to explore - and now there are even new maps to change the game up even more. With the constant expansions Terraforming Mars continues to grow and might even sneak higher on the Top 100 as we find new ways to enjoy it!