As promised in my last issue of The Robot Plays, I want to take a moment to share our list of the 10 games that every gamer should own. Most of these are classics (or at least, ‘classic’ in the context of the tabletop renaissance). Some of them are a bit newer. Whatever the case, these 10 games are the ones that should be a part of everyone’s collection. So read on! And feel free to add your top games in the comments below! (There’s only 10 spots here, so I’ve definitely left out many of the greats!)
Suburbia is one of those games that, as a player, makes you want to play more and more and more; and as a game designer, makes you green with envy. Ted Alspach did an amazing job at balancing the city-building feel with tight game mechanics and economy. It’s also a game we’ve featured in The Robot Plays before.
9. Ticket to Ride
Ticket to Ride is a great family game that’s popular with kids and adults alike. It’s become sort of ubiquitous in that it’s distribution has become so wide and it’s spawned perhaps too many spin-offs, but it’s still a terrific strategy game.
8. El Grande
El Grande has the distinction of being a hit before the tabletop renaissance of the 2000s. It’s got a lot of nuanced strategy, and it’s fairly easy to learn. If you have casual gamer friends or family members who love Risk, then introduce them to El Grande. For awhile it was difficult to get a copy, but the El Grande Big Box was released a couple years ago, and it includes all of the game’s expansions.
7. Terra Mystica
Terra Mystica has a lot of flavor, and it’s a great empire/engine-building game. It’s a tad heavy for more casual gamers, but if you want to get people hooked on hobby games and they’re on the nerdier side, you can’t beat it.
Ah, Pandemic. One of the most successful co-op board games out there. It’s got a fantastic theme in which players team up to stop a seemingly unstoppable outbreak of diseases, and it’s responsible for many friends’ nights where people have either felt like they’re kings of the world… or responsible for humanity’s demise.
5. 7 Wonders
7 Wonders is a brilliant game that feels best with the maximum 7 players, but it’s still great fun otherwise. There’s several expansions, and each one is meaty enough to add worthwhile gameplay to the original. If you’re into civilization building, there’s not much that can hold a candle to 7 Wonders.
Perhaps the classic, Catan has an almost cult-like following, but it’s easy to see why. While many hobby gamers find it to be a bit dated in terms of its gameplay, it’s still the gateway game of choice for getting casual gamers into headier hobby games.
Caverna is one of the smoothest worker placement games, and it fixes the few minor issues with its predecessor, Agricola. Kids love it too, because there’s house building, farming, mining, and animal husbandry!
While many would consider Dominion to be a bit dated, it’s not terribly old. It just happens to hold the distinction of being the very first deckbuilding game. As such, it’s spawned countless deckbuilding games – some amazing, some not so amazing. If you want to introduce someone to the deckbuilding genre, give them a history lesson and start with Dominion.
Amazingly simple but amazingly fun, Carcassonne is a game that never gets old. It’s got quick gameplay that’s great for adults and kids alike, and there’s a ton of expansions to add complexity to the core game, all available in a Big Box. We’ve covered Carcassonne before in The Robot Plays, as it’s a game that always seems to find its way back onto the table.
Until next time, gang. Keep it plucky,