Table presence, you either have it or you don't. But what is it? For the purposes of this Top 10, table presence is that je ne sais quoi that makes a game pop from the table and draw in crowds of on-lookers. It makes people ask what that game is and where they can get it.
To keep it fair I am only going to include games that have this without optional upgrades or deluxe versions. So Burgle Bros with the optional tower will not be on the list, nor will Scythe with all the optional extras, even though they both have that presence.
Of course, table presence is important at conventions for games that aren't quite ready for release. Take the incredible looking Photosynthesis for example, and it's glorious cardboard forest. Or what about Coaster Park - where you actually build a roller coaster and test it with a marble! Not forgetting Kickstarter success GKR Heavy Hitters, which was always going to look the business when Weta were involved.
It's a fair chance that if this list were done again in six months it might be totally different, but for now here are my top 10 games with table presence:
10) Attack on Titan - I've never watched the series this is based on, but a 15-inch tall cardboard giant that's naked and has no genitalia is almost certain to draw a crowd. What type of crowd is not a question for this article... Added to the giant standee is a 3D tower and platforms all the way up the Titan for the small inchish high standee heroes to climb up and chunky dice. The icing on the cake? It's a solid game too!
9) Near & Far - Red Raven games have a reputation for producing great looking game. Near & Far has this in spades. Admittedly it's not a game I've actually played but the iconic art work and interesting board/scrap book piques my interest more than a lot of other casual glances do.
8) Dexterity Games - Rather than populate the list with the vast array of dexterity games I've combined them all into one entry. No that's not cheating - I make the rules. Most dexterity games draw crowds either from the look of them or the squeals of delight emitted by those partaking.
Some standouts would be Flick Em Up and Flick Em Up Dead of Winter. Whether you want to work together to defend wooden zombies or shoot it out in the wild west, the Flick em Up series has you covered in premium wood or cheaper plastic! For cheap impressive fun it's hard to beat the cardboard towers of Rhino Hero and Rhino Hero Super Battle. Of course another family friendly winner is Ice Cool, kids love it and it reminds us older folk of our former subdue days. However you can make these weighted penguins jump!
7) Cash n Guns - This game of backstabbing and loot snatching is set in the aftermath of a robbery when the time comes for the gangsters to split the swag. It was totally unnecessary to include the eight foam guns, they easily could have left them out and got you to point at other people. But they didn't and for that they made this list.
6) Tokyo Highway - The cynical might say this just looks like some lolly pop sticks with wooden cars on, but just search some of the more intricate pictures of this unique game and if your impressed see how well you can replicate it with your ice cream soiled lolly sticks!
5) Santorini - This abstract game mimics the architecture of the Island of the same name. The distinctive white buildings with blue dome roofs is not only attractive but houses a clever yet simple game. Put this on a table, start playing and watch the onlookers flock.
4) Colt Express - is a programming game that comes with a 3D cardboard train that you construct and it fits in the insert fully assembled! Over the course of the game you take the part of bandits playing your moves ahead of time and then revealing everyone's in order in story fashion. If you are ever at a convention you will probably see an oversized version being played.
3) Captain Sonar - The team based eight player submarine battle draws crowds not just for the massive screen to keep each teams movements and submarine systems secret, but also for the manic shouting and moments of quiet while captains order their crew and second mates attempt to track everything. Great fun if you can get the full compliment of eight players.
2) Star Wars Rebellion - Rebellion is frequently described as 'Star Wars in a box' and one look shows you why. A sprawling galaxy map covered in miniatures as two players engage in a battle of cat and mouse, rewriting the history of the Star Wars universe as they go.
1) Mechs Vs Minions - This game screams table presence before you even open the box. That box is big enough for me to live in and heavy enough for me to use as a training aid. Pop the top of this beauty and the wonders continue as tray after tray of components of the highest quality emerge. Metal tokens, plastic crystals, thick cardboard and more minions than you can believe.
The four hero minis are painted and great quality, and once your get stuck into the game itself the wonders only continue. It's expensive for sure, but not as expensive as it should be considering everything in the box in terms of quantity and quality.
Do you agree with my Top 10 Games with Table Presence? What would you include on this list? Share your favourites below!