Top 100: #11 NMBR 9

We were originally drawn to NMBR 9 because it looks bright and colorful on the table and looked intriguing. Then it also wind up being a really fun quick little game! Everyone is playing independently trying to do the best they can with the same situation as all of the other players.


Everyone collects two of each number which are built out of little squares. The shape of the numbers mean they can form into locking sequences of numbers. The goal is to make multiple levels of numbers. All of the tiles placed on the table are worth next turn but each level above that is worth more and more points. So something on the third floor is worth double points!

There are some rules for placing tiles though. When they are above the bottom level they need to be fully supported without gaps beneath them and they have to be on top of at least two tiles. The last one is mostly to stop you from stacking a number on top of itself to get higher and higher.With those simple restrictions it can be very difficult to build up your structure to get the most points.


There is lots of planning and strategy that go into a game of NMBR 9. Figuring out the best way to put the different numbers together to make solid bases to stack higher and higher levels on is quite a challenge. The quick teaching time and playtime make this one we always break out for new people. The sheer number of times we have had fun and watched other people have fun cemented it on our Top 100 at #11!

Top 100: #12 Descent: Journeys in the Dark

Before we starting playing role playing games in earnest - Descent was easily our go to fantasy adventure game which is how it gets the next spot on our Top 100! The game does have some story elements but it centers mostly around the tactical combat aspects of a role playing game.


There are few different ways you can play the Descent; a single mission, a campaign, and a cooperative campaign. They all have their virtues so it really just depends on what kind of experience you want. We’ve always enjoyed having as much story as possible so we lean towards the campaign systems. From there you have to decide if you want to do one versus many or have program control the bad guys and just all work together to win. If you’ve seen how many cooperative games we have on the list you know we lean towards the fully cooperative version.

Game play for Descent is fairly simple you get to take two actions; move, attack or interact being your general choices. There are some other actions and special mission actions you might have occasionally. Once all of the players have taken their individual turns then the bad guy takes their actions moving their minions around, playing threat cards, or even adding more bad guys to the map to try to stop you!

Once a fight occurs it is completely dice driven. You will roll dice based on abilities or weapons you are using in the attack. Then the opponent will roll defense dice based on their abilities or armor that they have. Some of the dice feature little lightning bolts called surges, these can be used to use special power generally to increase the strength or uniqueness of the attack. Once all the special abilities have been used and defense has been subtracted from the hits you see how much damage you’ve done.

There are lots of different goals in Descent. Sometimes you will need to get to certain locations with specific objects or you will need to kill all of the bad guys. The developers ability to mix up the scenarios has given the game lots of replayability. Also the sheer number of expansions and modules that have come out for the game is enormous. Especially if you play one vs many i think you would be hard pressed to get through all of the content they have created. So if you are looking for a terrific little dungeon crawler that offers depth without having too much complexity - give Descent, our #12 a try!

Top 100: #13 Between Two Cities

What great timing for Between Two Cities to be the next on the Top 100! Just this last weekend we played a follow up to the title that will be likely to bring this game to more people than it was before. The original Between Two Cities is a great game but flew under the radar a little. We’ve been trying to show people how wonderful this game is a few people at a time.

The game play feels very unique as it manages to be a semi-cooperative game that is actually fun. Players will be drafting two tiles a turn as play goes round and round. In other games the tiles you draft would go into your tableau and would be scored against other players to see who won. But in Between Two Cities you are working with the player on your right and left to make two high scoring cities.

The score you get at the end of the game is based on whichever of the two cities you are working on that scores the least amount of points. So you need them to both be around the same to win the game. It is a hard balance to maintain because you won’t always find the tiles you need in your hand to draft. Sometimes you get a really high scoring tile - but which city to put it in? You can discuss with your fellow players up to the point of placing it - so there can also be a small amount of negotiation as well!


Now that we have played a newer version of the game, Between Two Castles, we would also recommend that game as well! Its scoring and game play has a little bit more meat on the bone but the theme is even great with fun named rooms that you can add to the two castles that you are working on. It all depends on what theme and what level of complexity you want but they are both terrific games!

Since we never stop singing the praises of Between Two Cities and we like it rethemeing into Between Two Castles it was always destined to be on our Top 100! It isn’t too surprising with how much we like it that it got as high as #13. We will always be happy to teach either of these versions. Just bring a group of your friends and lets play!

Top 100: #14 Near and Far

While the Near and Far, the next game on our list, has some shared qualities with the heavier games we just discussed it adds one of the things we like even more. Some story elements! The core of the game is a mix of area control and resource management that one its own is engaging. However, there are locations on the board let you go on quests!

On your turn you can either use some of the worker placement type spaces to get you the resources you need to go out and adventure in the lands of Near and Far. Or if you feel you have prepared yourself you can go out on one of those adventures fighting off threats and exploring the vast reaches. As you explore the board you can place down some tents that will be one of the main ways that you score points as well as making it easier to explore further and further each time you go out into the wilderness!

One of the best parts of exploration is landing on the quest spaces that let your neighbor read a scenario to you where you make selections and get different penalties or rewards. While the games predecessor, Above and Below, had this element we felt it made it too swingy where in Near and Far it is just perfect. Instead of winning or losing the game based on how well you do on the scenario it just adds a wonderful flavor to a fun euro game.


Even better than all of the stuff we have already mentioned about Near and Far is also features a campaign mode where you play through the entire book full of maps. We hadn’t mentioned it before but the game board is actually two pages of a large book of different maps. So we suppose the players start in Near and by the end of the campaign they have gotten to Far! Each map will reference different scenarios in the book allowing for a progressive story through the campaign while also getting to change your game strategy because the maps are arranged differently as well!

There is just so much to experience and explore in Near and Far that it had to make it on the Top 100 list. It also has wonderful art same as all Ryan Lauket games. If you want to play a strategic game that leads you through a story as you play while also offering modes to just play a one off you should definitely give Near and Far a try!

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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!