In an effort to do more blogging about table top games, I thought I would give a bit of a series on table top games. I’m going to list some categories of games and list my top 3-5 picks from each category. At this moment in time, since it is of course subject to change as new things come out 🙂 I’ll also give a quick definition of each game type for the folks who are not “game savvy”. Hopefully you’ll leave here running to your local game store. Or Amazon. Or at least knowing something about table top games that you didn’t know earlier today!
My main criteria for games to make this list was asking myself the question, “What games have I played the most?” We own all of these in our game collection, but not all of them get as much replay as others. These are ones that I like to play frequently, and know the rules well.
Today’s post is about my favorite kind of game. They are commonly referred to as “Euro Games” or “Designer Games”. Settlers of Catan is like the gateway drug to this type of game. I enjoy this type of game because they involve a lot of thought and a certain kind of strategy. I probably enjoy these because I am not directly “fighting” opponents in combat during these. The artwork is often fun, the pieces plastic or wooden, and they sometimes use the term “Designer” to describe them because the person who created the game has their name written on the game box.
Tyraenna’s Top 5 Euro Games
5. Dungeon Lords
The theme in this game is great – you are an evil dungeon lord building out your lair, sending minions to do your bidding, hiring monsters to guard your stuff, and ultimately fighting adventurers (including a nasty paladin) who come into your lair to kill you. The art is great, and the board has excellent iconography. Once you have read the rules a bit, you’ll be able to remember the rules by just looking at the board. The human factors engineer in me is always so excited when games do a good job like this!
Pantheon is made by the same game maker as my number one game on this list. This one is god themed, you play six eras where randomized empires (such as the Romans or the Egyptians) rise and fall, and you collect points by worshiping different gods and building monuments to them. Quite a few mechanics in this game, but very fun. The symbology in this game is pretty good, and there are a lot of little pieces. There is one relatively confusing aspect to the game – the concept of movement and “feet” – but after you’ve played it once the rules surrounding it stick out in your mind enough that you’ll remember.
3. Small World
I consider Small World to essentially be “Risk Lite”. It’s a pretty fun game. Races and abilities are randomized, and each player picks one to start the game off. You use your tribe of flying goblins or seafaring amazons or bivouacking skeletons to take over different regions of the board according to a set of rules. You can also choose to send your tribe into decline, and pick a new race to start conquering board regions. You receive points for each board region controlled by your current tribe and your most recently declined tribe. It lasts 8 rounds, and then you count up your points. The game is different every time, and the races and abilities add an extra bit of fun to the conquering.
2. Power Grid
I’m not sure why, but I always compare Power Grid to Monopoly. The point of the game is to build houses in as many cities as you can, and buy power plants and resources enough to power the cities you’ve built. You make money each round (this is probably where it reminds me of Monopoly) based on how many cities you power, which helps you to build more houses and buy more resources and power plants. There are restrictions on who can build where based on what phase of the game you are in. Timing is everything in this game, and I love walking the line and deciding when the appropriate time is to build in abundance.
1. Stone Age
This is by far my favorite game, possibly across categories. This is a worker placement game. You control a tribe of people from the stone age, and each round of the game is played in phases. In the first phase, players take turns placing tribe members on the game board to do different actions – gather food, pick up various resources like wood and stone, go farming, make more tribe members, build tools, etc. You can also place tribe members to buy huts and cards, which help you earn points at the end of the game. The second phase of each round has players picking up their tribe members and actually doing the associated actions. There are limited spaces for people to place their tribe members at each action, so you have to choose wisely. The game ends when the cards are gone or one stack of huts is empty. The worker placement mechanic is very fun, as is figuring out how to collect the most points. I highly recommend it!