Skip to Content

Top 100 Games ~ #100 - #91 ~ Making the Cut!

13 replies [Last post]
The Professor
The Professor's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/25/2014

As a developer and designer, I'm often asked, with great frequency, what are my Top 'x' games and what games have influenced me. To that end, I certainly invite you to engage in a conversation about games and how they influence us as designers.

https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/114753/top-100-games-100-91-making-cu...

So, to kick off the conversation:

- What games do you enjoy and would make your Top 100 and why?

- What games have engaged you as a designer?

- What games, IYHO, best epitomize a particular mechanic?

Cheers,
Joe
Professor's Lab

Rick-Holzgrafe
Rick-Holzgrafe's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/22/2008
Favorite Engine-builders

Okay, I'll bite.

I love engine-builders. And while there are a great many fine examples to choose from, I think the archetype must be Saint Petersburg, because of its simplicity: the core elements of engine-building are there, unobscured by a lot of extra, unrelated mechanisms.

In Saint Petersburg, you buy cards representing people. Each card you buy will grant you either money or victory points or both, every round. The more valuable the card, the higher the cost, of course.

So in the early game you (mostly) buy cards that give you money, so that you can eventually afford the expensive cards that give you lots of points. This is the essential decision of any engine-building game: when is it time to stop improving your engine and instead start milking it for all the points you can get?

Of course it's not as clear-cut as that sounds. Cards pay off every round, so a high-VP card obtained early will have time to generate a huge number of points. But if you do that, you won't have money left over to continue improving your engine, so it may take you quite a while to acquire any other good cards. Cards come out mostly at random, so the game often presents you with a difficult choice: should you take an expensive card now while it's available (and before an opponent can get it), or be patient and continue to build your engine first?

There are other mechanisms in Saint Petersburg, but not too many and they all brilliantly serve the purpose of raising the stakes and making the decisions more interesting and difficult.

This game is always in my mind when I'm designing anything with the engine-building element... which I usually am.

A few other well-designed engine builders: Dominion (like SP, fairly basic), Navegador (more complex), Russian Railroads (quite complex, but a powerful engine-builder), To Court the King (a simple game with dice, nicely balanced).

The Professor
The Professor's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/25/2014
Thanks for reading!

Rick,

Ha! Nothing to bite here, but plenty to chew-on for fledgling and accomplished designers.

I've played St. Petersburg a handful of times, but admittedly it fell flat for me and my entire game group. For us, it has definitely showed its age. The tightness of money, coupled with the counter-intuitive and convoluted phase structure within each turn elicited more frustration than fun for us.

Obviously, many folks like yourself enjoy this game and I'm glad to see that it has found a place on BGA. As for the other games you mentioned, Dominion will appear on my list a bit later as it's groundbreaking as the first game to introduce deck-building.

Cheers,
Joe

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Offline
Joined: 02/07/2011
Press Your Luck

Were I to suggest a couple games for one of my personal favourite mechanics - "press your luck" - it's a dead heat between Incan Gold and Can't Stop.

Curiously, the first seems better at higher player counts, while the sweet spot for the latter looks to be 3 players but plays well even at two.

[EDIT] Oh, and were I to combine engine-building and press-your-luck into a single game, I'd consider Port Royal.

The Professor
The Professor's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/25/2014
Great suggestions!

Both Incan Gold and Can't Stop are great games that I do not own, but I've played dozens of games over the past 11 months online at BGA. For me [spoiler], I love Deep Sea Adventure for the push-your-luck mechanic.

questccg
questccg's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/16/2011
Question for you?

The Professor wrote:
...but I've played dozens of games over the past 11 months online at BGA...

Hmm... Board Game Arena is BGA?! I wonder HOW you get your OWN game (as a Game Designer) among that long list of games that players can enjoy??? I'm curious because I'd love for a 2 Player "TradeWorlds" game be offered to people for FREE. Obviously I don't want Single or 3+ players as I reserve those experiences for people who OWN the game... But still a 2 Player like TableTopia ... Could be of VALUE to me.

Any ideas??? I couldn't see any e-mail links to contact or Customer Support or ANY e-mail at all...! @The Professor... Since you have used this service do you have an e-mail to contact for questions?!

Many thanks.

Jay103
Jay103's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/23/2018
I think the design of

I think the design of Carcassonne is wonderful. Simple rules with emergent complexity.

Rick-Holzgrafe
Rick-Holzgrafe's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/22/2008
questccg wrote:Board Game

questccg wrote:
Board Game Arena[...] I wonder HOW you get your OWN game (as a Game Designer) among that long list of games that players can enjoy???

I don't think you can, unless you're a major publisher. BGA seems to want only established, well-known titles. Somewhere on their site (don't remember where, sorry) there's an info page that says that they are not open to unpublished/self-published/wip titles. If it were otherwise, I'd have a couple of my own titles up there by now.

I don't know how "real" publishers get in contact with them, either; my interest dropped off when I saw that they weren't interested in doing business with designers. I'd much prefer to playtest my designs with a smoother UI than Tabletop Simulator provides, but BGA sadly isn't the answer.

(Apologies to the OP for this digression. Back to talking about games now!)

The Professor
The Professor's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/25/2014
Couple items

@quest/Kris,

To Rick's point, I know that the two gentlemen who started BGA years ago started with the premise of designing BGA for its users and many games have been developed for BGA by folks who could do the coding on their own time as i was all for free. BGA is now (or soon will be) owned by Asmodee, so make of that what you will.

@Jay,

I've played Carcassonne a handful of times...I know many people enjoy it; I'm just not one of them.

@Rick,

Great points. I'll be curious to see how the Asmodee takeover changes the world of BGA

Cheers,
Joe

questccg
questccg's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/16/2011
Hmm... Asmodee closes doors not opens them

Yeah ... Well I get the impression that if Asmodee takes over ... Only Asmodee games will be featured. They don't OPEN doors, they CLOSE them. Granted if you are Parisian ... They can go a long way to help a fellow Patriot. In Montreal, we had a fairly unknown French Designer who made a minis game called V-Commandos... He went all-in for $100k through a Kickstarter. His name is "Thibaud de la Touanne".

Taking inspiration of that game (V-Commandos) he later collaborated and published with the help of Asmodee a Board Game for "Assassin's Creed" (A Ubisoft IP). Anyways they made like over $1.3M CAD ... It was a huge success... And thanks to the support of Asmodee.

They are like that, they support "their own". I don't know how much PROFIT there was... But I'm sure he made off with some monetary return... In addition to a HUGE BOOST in his "pedigree".

He's a nice guy (Thibaud) ... I've met him at the Montreal Comic Con on a couple of occasions.

So good for some people, bad for most. I just read not too long that "Plaid Hat Games" which was bought by F2Z Entertainment which got bought by Asmodee (again) the owner decided to take back "Plaid Hat Games" and will no longer be a part of the Asmodee Family.

He left on good terms ... It not often you see someone BUY and then LEAVE to continue doing business on their own... So like I said, they work for some people and not for others.

questccg
questccg's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/16/2011
Also in-line with the Topic...

I can say that for TradeWorlds (TW), the two (2) games which impacted its design were Dominion and Puerto Rico (or San Juan — Card-only Version).

For Crystal Heroes (CH), I can say the two (2) most influential games were Chess and The Duke. As for the Dice mechanic ... It's a bit (tiny) like Settlers of Catan (Roll 2D6s). Instead in CH you roll 3 Custom D6s, two (2) White and one (1) Black. Sometimes you can score 2 LOOT Crystals in one turn...

For Monster Keep (MK), I would say Magic: the Gathering and ??? (I did some super cool mathematic with this game). Came from my own inspiration and a ton of playtesting. Having multiple Micro Decks with the similar cards but yet play differently in actuality ... It's also inspired by MMO games like Hearthstone (a little bit too...)

Note #1: The math actually came from 2 separate prototypes of the game. First I thought setting the operands dynamically would be good. This turned out TOO EASY... So a future prototype (the current one) features custom OPERANDS which makes the game much more mathematically challenging!

The Professor
The Professor's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/25/2014
The "Following" Mechanic

I'm a huge fan of the "following" mechanic, first presented in Puerto Rico, and I've enjoyed it in Race (and Roll) for the Galaxy, Tiny Epic Galaxies, and the latest incarnation of Terraforming mars, Ares Expedition.

questccg
questccg's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/16/2011
Hmm... Not for me

I really dislike the "Follow" Mechanic in those games. What I took away from "Puerto Rico" (and San Juan) was the "Role Selection" Mechanic. The "Follow" Mechanic which comes next (after "Role Selection") I chose not to adopt it... Because it just didn't make sense in "TradeWorlds".

Which in a way is GOOD ... Because it shows that WE (as Game Designers) may "borrow" mechanics but we tailor them to each of our own designs. It's not a blatant copy from one game to another. No, each game has its own parameters and we work with what FEELS right for each of our own games.

Now that I think about it, the "Follow" Mechanic is "just not for me". That's the only thing that I dislike from the games "The Professor" mentioned is how they force players to do the SAME as the Turn Leader (Follow-the-Leader).

Not that this is a crippling change in the use of "Role Selection", quite the contrary, I feel "TradeWorlds" is less "restrictive" by not having the "Follow" Mechanic.

Cheers!

Fri
Offline
Joined: 09/06/2017
An incomplete list of games that have enlighted me about design

Backgammon-games that combine skill and luck are fun. Backgammon falls in the idea spot on the skill versus luck spectrum form me.

Settlers of Catan-knowledge of game state is important to competitive play. Though I probably played this game way to many times.

Roll for the galaxy (also race for the galaxy) . Wow graphic design can be really important to the game experience.

Medici the game that best represent bidding.

Who's the boss-game that best represents negotiation.

Sushi go vs sushi roll- allowed me to grok information leaking.

Tzolkkien and azul-tweaking simple mechanics can lead to interesting game play. Worker placement for tzolkkien and drafting for azul.

Glory to Rome/San Juan wow cards can have a lot of different uses.

Glory to Rome-since the same cards are used in all the different game "systems", it demonstrates how the output from one system can be the input for other systems.

Word Slam-simultaneous action means less down time, this game is also probably the best example of this.

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut