Tag Archives: Twilight Struggle

Boardgames in the News: The Best Game EVAR?!?!

BoardGameGeek is the largest and most comprehensive website dedicated to board and card games, with a database comprising nearly a hundred and fifty thousand games.  These games have a ranking based on ratings submitted by account holders.  While these rankings are obviously skewed by the characteristics of the contributors, the number one ranking game clearly has significance.  In the twenty-two years that the rankings have been in place, there have been just ten games to achieve the top rank, but as of today, there is an eleventh, with Brass: Birmingham taking the top spot from Gloomhaven.

Brass: Birmingham
– Image from boardgamegeek.com

Of these now eleven games, three held the top rank briefly, for a day or two only.  The first of these was The Game of Life, and it’s top rank was the result of a software bug when on 25th February 2006, a User gave it a rating of sixty-five thousand five-hundred and thirty-five out of ten.  Just over a year later, as an April Fool, another User encouraged his friends to give Monkey Auto Races a rating of ten.  With just three hundred ratings, this game went from unranked to number one overnight, only to plummet back down the rankings just a day or so later.  Three years later, the site owner pulled his own April Fool stunt and set the ranking equal to the data base number, making Die Macher number one for a day.

The list of eight genuine Number One Games and the date they first achieved the top ranking are:

Brass: Birmingham
– Image by boardGOATS

Boardgames in the News: The Best Games Featuring Maps

The “Brilliant Maps” Blog recently listed what it considered “The 28 Best Map Based Strategy Board Games You’ve Probably Never Played“.  Leaving aside the fact that most dedicated gamers will have played many of them, how valid is this list?  On closer inspection it turns out that the list is really just the top twenty-eight games listed on BoardGameGeek.com (BGG) that happen to have a map for the board.  As such, it makes no subjective judgement on the quality of the map and is simply a list of the best games according to BoardGameGeek that feature a map.

Twilight Struggle
– Image used with permission of BGG contributor killy9999

For example, the game with the highest rating on BoardGameGeek.com is Twilight Struggle which is a Euro/war game hybrid and is therefore played on a map.  The map is not particularly picturesque, however, though for those old enough to remember, its spartan nature is strongly evocative of the Cold War setting.  Is it a great map though?  It certainly captures the theme of the game and perhaps, as such, it is indeed a great map.

Terra Mystica
– Image by BGG contributor Verkisto

Unsurprisingly, many of the games mentioned are war games.  There are a fair number of Euro games too though:  high on the list are Terra Mystica at number two, Brass at four and Power Grid at six.  Number ten on the list is Concordia and eleven is El Grande – a game that is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year.  Further down are Tigris and Euphrates, Steam, Pandemic, Ticket to Ride: Europe, Carcassonne and finally, just sneaking onto the list, The Settlers of Catan (or Catan as we are now supposed to call it).  All these games indeed include maps of some description, but overwhelmingly, they are also all well-established “classic” games.  Are they the best maps though?

– Image used with permission of BGG contributor Oceluna

There are some stunningly beautiful games that haven’t made the list, for example, Amerigo is played on a beautiful seascape and Lancaster includes a lovely map of the England.  How do we define “map-based game” however?  Clearly, a map is is a two-dimensional play space so that excludes games where the play-area is predominantly linear i.e. “a track”.  But what about games where the map is produced as the game is played?  If Carcassonne is considered a map game, other games where the board is built during the play should also be included, like Saboteur and Takenoko.  What about one of our favourite games at boardGOATS, Keyflower?  In this game, players buy tiles and then use them to build their own personal little village map.  Should this be included too?

– Image by boardGOATS

Ultimately, none of this really matters of course:  a game is a game and it all comes down to how much people enjoy playing it.  One thing is clear though, while a game can be good in spite of the rendering, playing with beautiful components can only enhance the boardgame experience.

– Image used with permission of BGG contributor Topdecker