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Top 5 Games To Make Your Friends Jealous

Mechs vs Minions

Everyone has one of those friends that has the best stuff that makes you a little jealous. I don't get jealous of the friends with the 'best' television, car or signed football shirt, instead what brings out the green-eyed monster in me is cardboard envy. I was recently reminded of this whilst watching people playing the 3D edition of Catan. It wasn't the Catan I was jealous of (as I have played it to death) rather it was the beautiful 3D version. What didn't help even more was they also have the 3D terrain for Terraforming Mars (my favourite game of all time) and something I have wished for but can't quite convince my better half we need.

This got me thinking about other games that create green-eyed monsters and I asked some fellow Zatu bloggers to give some examples of games that they own that cause fits of jealousy from their friends.

1. Mechs Vs Minions by Director Dan

Back in 2016, one of the biggest online game producers in the world (creators of League of Legends), Riot Games, published a board game! It wouldn't be the first, or last, time that the world of computer gaming would be translated to the tabletop but somehow this one was different. Mechs Vs Minions was set within the world of League of Legends but didn't set up to replicate the online experience. Instead, it created something very specific to board gaming.

The core mechanism is cooperative programming. You play as a team of characters, riding their titular mechs in order to take down hordes of little minions, as the title suggests. However, you do this by drafting cards that give you powers that have to be programmed in a specific order. As the game progresses your programming will grow more powerful allowing you to do more and more on your turn, rather than just spin in a circle and walk into walls, which is how most games start.

What made this game all the more interesting is that it is a campaign. You and your team go through training, unlocking envelopes, adding more powers as you work towards taking down the boss at the end. It is a greatly satisfying game. Exciting, tense and challenging without being frustrating. However, what made this game really different was its production. A huge box filled with beautifully designed landscape tiles and more miniatures than you'd ever need.

The minions have three different forms and all painted with contrast wash but the four characters (and the Big Boss) are all fully painted to an incredible standard. And to top it off it is below the £90 mark! (At the time of writing). Whenever this game is on the table, people stop and stare, and rightly so, it's a beautiful production, but they usually go away wanting it because it's also a brilliant board game.

2. Kingdom Death Monster by Geoff Dibb

Three words that conjure the green eyed beast in most gaming groups, Kingdom Death Monster. It is a bloated and decadent sprawl of a game. It encompasses a massive amount of world-building, tactical gameplay, settlement building, exploration, and monster hunting. It is a ridiculous game in terms of scope, contents and price-tag. Even the packaging is excessive and sleek. It oozes with flavour and theme.

A matte black box with a glossy emblem imprinted on the front that dwarfs any other boxed game. Compartments and a glut of plastic sprues await you inside. Including a hardcover rulebook with an entire graphic novel hidden in the final section. Thousands of cards, items, events, settlement cards, armour sets, fighting styles, traits, weaponry, and more. Every element of it tied together with a beautiful coherent art style.

On the table, it is an equally large beast. The settlement phase eats up table space and the encounters are fought on the gigantic hunt map. The miniatures range from characterful to colossal. The phoenix is a beautiful statue in its own right. The survivor models tell their own narrative. It is hard to understate just how much presence this game has on the table. Then the actual game is an incredibly long and in-depth experience. It takes hundreds of hours to play a single campaign and you become overwhelmingly invested in your settlement and survivors as they are born, fight and hopefully retire of old age. But more likely than not they will meet some horrible fate and you draw a new soul into the hunt.

Memorable boss fights, moral decisions, cultivating character builds, and leading your survivors through the dark. There are no words that truly captivate what it is to play a game of Kingdom Death Monster. But for sure it is the gem in the crown of any collection and deserves pride of place on your shelf.

3. Too Many Bones by DB Games

Too Many Bones is a game that is rare to see but when you do it makes you instantly want it. The game itself and the beautiful trove chest were my grail items when I seriously got into the hobby (and recently I managed to get a trove chest to add to my collection).

This is truly a game for serious gamers; it is expensive, made from top quality components and the gameplay is fantastic. For sure there are a lot of rules and a lot of things to learn to start with but the game is so worth it.

A lot of my gamer friends have expressed how jealous they are that I own this and on numerous occasions I have invited people to mine to play it as the trove chest is way too big to take anywhere else. The core box itself is very heavy too so I would not usually have travelled with it anyway.

In the game you play as a small type of people, almost Hobbit-like, called Gearlocks and each of these has their own speciality and their own unique set of upgradable skills. The basics of the game being do daily challenges/battles in order to be able to upgrade your hero/heroes and try to beat the main final boss before the time runs out. Do you want to be a ranged archer with animal pals that join the battle or an aggressive axe thrower who struggles to control the rage inside? How about a tactical bomb maker that collects parts to make devastating bombs but, is frail defensively? OK, Too Many Bones has that and with these you may need a tank to be in the mix to cover these character weaknesses. Of course, there is a unique tank style Gearlock and many more cool characters to try too.

Each game is played out differently, each upgrade improves your chances of winning and each battle takes place on a very intimate 4 x 4 grid. Oh, and each Gearlock comes with 16 unique battle dice.

So, should you be jealous of Too Many Bones? Yes, you really should. It is absolutely fantastic both in the way it plays and the way it looks, and there are a tonne of different bad guys and bosses to face each time you play making it hugely replayable.

4. Moonrakers by Nick Welford

When it comes to making people cardboard jealous, board game bling isn't the only way. Moonrakers component quality is off the chain for sure, but play the game well enough and you'll be making the other players jealous in other ways too. Of course, if you want to make people jealous in the standard way then you could pre order the Titan Box from the recent Kickstarter on Zatu right now.

That said the retail components are excellent with metal coins and plastic spaceship minis, but you could have got metal spaceships on the Kickstarter too… But let's get to the gameplay! Moonrakers is a deck building negotiation game. Each turn you will use your deck to attempt to fulfil contracts. The catch is these contracts are very difficult to complete on your lonesome.

This means you will end up offering part of the rewards to other players in return for help with the contract. Towards the end of the game though, you may just find that you have built your deck so well that you can achieve all but the hardest of contracts by yourself. This means you can tease your opponents by pretending to need them and offering them the moon on a stick, before pulling the rug out and going on your own.

This may result in epic failure but for every failure you will have a legendary tale among your peers, and the fond memory of the green eyed monster in their eyes.

5. Clash of Cultures Monumental edition by Stefano Paravisi

I have always been a big fan of civilization building games. My friends and I used to play The Civilization game on PC and we kept enjoying its multiple electronic and board game variants since then. It was then just a matter of time before my eyes landed on Clash of Cultures, one of the most fun and well-designed civilization games I have ever played.

Unfortunately, I didn't own Clash of Cultures back in the day but one of my friends did together with all the expansions. That made me very jealous for quite a while until last year I decided that I deserved to get the "Monumental Edition" for Christmas. It was the best present ever and it rapidly exceeded the old game in my heart.

Gameplay of Clash of Cultures: Monumental edition is not too far from any civilization game.  Each player begins the game with one simple village with a single settler unit and, from there, they could pursue the victory over every other culture. In fact, there are multiple paths to victory including the military one but the game emphasizes a lot the developing of your culture and the expansion of your empire. The mechanics are not too complex but extremely efficient in providing a great experience.

Why this game is "Monumental" can be easily seen when you open its 5kg impressive box, packed full to the brim. First, the game includes tons of tiles, tokens, plastic cubes, and cards together with a choice of 15 civilizations. Each of these has its own advantages and disadvantages, special rules and leaders. Most importantly, each player gets a set of finely detailed buildings and units to use in the game for a total of just above 250 miniatures. Overall, this sets the bar so high that the 2 hours of each game of Clash of Culture Monumental edition are always an amazing experience for everyone.

That was our top 5 Games to make your friends jealous from some of the Zatu Bloggers Team and now I am jealous of them. I am sure there are many other games out there that you enjoy parading in front of your friends, please find me on Twitter @BoardGameHappy and let me know some games you own that give your friends the green-eyed monster.