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Top 50 Board Games Of All Time

Games of all time
Games of all time

Welcome to the Zatu Top 50 Board Games Of All Time!

Zatu has a dedicated team of bloggers with a vast range of gaming experiences, from relative newcomers discovering the delights of this exciting hobby for the first time to grizzled gaming veterans. Each of these bloggers has their own taste in games and their own list of favourite games. We’ve taken these cherished games, ranked them, and through a combination of maths and magic created a single list of the Top 50 Games Of All Time. Will we match BoardGameGeek?

The list contains a wide variety of games from lighter games perfect for people new to the hobby to brain-burningly heavy games that require a degree in board gaming to even open the rulebook. One thing these games have in common is that they are great games that bring joy to many people.

So, without further ado let’s start at the predictably obvious place: number 50.

50. Space Base - Favouritefoe

Space Base represents a number of firsts for me; the first time I realised I loved space-themed games, and the first time I realised how much I love games where I get stuff whether it’s my turn or not! The easy-to-learn rules and fast dice-chucking gameplay hide a clever and strategic engine builder that rockets along until someone shoots past the 40 victory point trigger.

In the game, you are a Commodore of a small fleet of spaceships that are in serious need of upgrading. Your 12 starting ships do offer basic rewards when you roll the dice matching either single or combined numbers. But there are much more profitable rockets out there if you can manage your space bucks and income well enough to afford them.

A huge bottom-line boost in Space Base is the passive-reward mechanism. Every time you upgrade a ship, you flip the old one upside down and tuck it under your board, keeping it in the same numbered slot. Then, it pays out what’s shown on it whenever an opponent rolls that number (again individual or combined). The sweetest moments come in Space Base when your fleet pumps out more points, income, and coins on another player’s turn than anything you could earn on your own go!

With opportunities to combo bonuses and roll your way to victory, Space Base is out of this world!

49. Cosmic Encounter - Jon Wellard

I find it fascinating that a game that was originally released in 1977 can still be such a unique experience. Although the game has gone through a number of iterations since then, the core gameplay and several of the aliens remain the same. It is the epitome of asymmetric player powers and however overpowered some of the aliens are, it always seems to be balanced and a fight to see who wins. It is manic, chaotic and has so many phases in each round that it is easy to get lost, yet it works. The cards do crazy and wacky things to the point that you never really know what is going to happen.

Cosmic Encounter is a very group-dependent game and can both shine and fail depending on who is playing, along with their openess to negotiation and deceit. However, when you get that right group together, it is such a unique and entertaining experience. No two games are ever the same and whenever it comes out, I know it is going to be an experience that I remember!

48. Marvel Champions: The Card Game - Matt Thomasson

Marvel Champions is a card game for one to four players. Each player will build a deck of Hero cards and Aspect cards (or use a preconstructed deck) and take the fight to one of many villains.

Cards are multi-use and can be used for their effect or as a resource. The publisher, Fantasy Flight Games, has been supporting this game with a multitude of Hero packs and Scenario packs and at the time of writing this article, three big box campaign boxes to incorporate into the core game.

One of the things I love about this game is the thematic feeling of each Hero. Every Hero adds a unique element or twist to the gameplay that feels like its counterpart on-screen (or comic). Playing Hawkeye feels like you are a bow and arrow wielding Hero. Hulk is a powerhouse of aggression and high damage. Spiderman is agile and has cards to avoid damage. It all fits amazingly well.

The game is also relatively quick to play, with games lasting anywhere from 20 minutes to 45 minutes. It is the ideal length for grabbing a Hero, making a deck and picking your villain to face off against. Replayability is off the charts at this point. 35 heroes and 28 villains along with a host of modular encounter sets mean that the combinations are insane. I have clocked over 240 games of Marvel Champions since its release and I am not getting bored of it.

The card play is always tense and interesting. Using cards for resources or for their actions is not an easy choice and I love it. Sacrificing the immediate gains for long-term rewards is not an easy choice but is, at times, essential for winning. It plays great solo, which is my main way of playing but can drag at higher player counts. Solo or two-handed solo is where most of my games have been played. I love, love, love this game.

47. Mansions Of Madness: Second Edition - Thom Newton

Mansions of Madness is not just another Cthulhu game. I mean, it technically is, but it’s also so much more than that. Mansions of Madness has players taking on the roles of various investigators from the Arkham Files universe. These investigators are tasked with solving some sort of spooky goings-on at the titular mansion.

In days gone by, one player would need to basically orchestrate this story, not unlike a Dungeon Master in a pen-and-paper Role-Playing Game, but with the 2nd edition, this heavy lifting has been taken on by a companion app. This app can randomise the story beats, the layout of the mansion as well as all of the various events that get triggered along the way.

What is especially cool about this companion app is that as you add more expansions to your collection, you can register them in your app. This gives the app a larger pool of locations, items and monsters to draw from when you are going through your adventure.

The gameplay itself is fairly standard light RPG fayre. You’ve got a handful of stats and you roll dice to perform checks against them. Fail and something bad happens, pass and something not necessarily good but generally less bad happens. The magic of the game is really the investigation. Because the app can randomise so much, you never know what is in that room, where that door leads, and if that character is friendly. Because the game is so frequently different on repeat playthroughs, especially with an expansion or two thrown in, it feels like the game is reacting more to your actions. For me, this makes Mansions of Madness one of the most engaging adventure games out there.

46. Mage Knight Board Game - Stefano Paravisi

Mage Knight is a 2011 board game that combines elements of Role-Playing Games, deck-building, and traditional strategic board games. To win each scenario of this game, your hero will need to explore a corner of a territory controlled by the Atlantean Empire to gain fame and experience while recruiting an army in order to conquer a powerful city controlled by your enemy. All this will be done using a handful of cards and three days and nights of game time.

Mage knight may not be considered a light game but is for sure one of those that rewards you with a great experience once you learn how to play it. In fact, I think Mage Knight is a game that is so well designed, everything is just as it should be. The aspect I like the most is how each scenario challenges you to find the best way to use the fixed amount of turns and your cards to fulfil your ultimate goal. The RPG elements of the game help you to develop your character but ultimately it is how you address the strategic choices of the map that will make you win the challenge. Luck has no place in this game and only a cunning plan will lead you to victory!

45. Sleeping Gods - David Denton

Sleeping Gods is a cooperative story-based campaign game where you and up to 3 other players will work together to wake the titular sleeping gods. You’re lost in a mysterious strange world in 1929 on your steamship, the Manticore. So where will you go? Anywhere!

Sleeping Gods is a huge sandbox of a game. The freedom is exhilarating. From the first turn, you can set off on your ship and go anywhere in the world. You can visit any island, talk to the locals, find some treasure, or even fight a massive tentacled sea creature that will leave you wishing you’d stayed in that quaint port you found two hours ago.

When you visit a location, you’ll read some story text from a rather large book, and then you’ll be given choices as to what to do next. There are so many adventures to be had and so many storylines to follow. After playing this game for 30 hours, I still feel I’ve only scratched the surface.

The word epic was invented for this game. It’s a campaign game and each run-through takes about 14 to 16 hours, and you’ll probably want to do multiple run-throughs. You can play it for as long as you want, save your game, and return to it later. You can even swap out players. My preferred way of playing is to put aside a weekend and immerse myself in the strange and mysterious world of Sleeping Gods.

44. Junk Art - Daniel Hilton

Junk Art is simple. It is the best dexterity game ever. There, I said it. Fight me.

I have loved this game since I found it hiding in a dusty corner of a board game café. The simple fact that this dexterity game has a theme to it that actually works is a credit unto itself. You are an artist travelling to the world's museums in order to display your work. The work on display is a sculpture made of a load of rubbish collected from the local skip. The pieces you stack are familiar shapes such as tyres, flowerpots, deflated footballs etc.

Each location you visit has its own building stipulations that you have to follow, and each game is played over three different randomly drawn locations. This makes each game of Junk Art different, which really helps with replayability, especially in the realm of dexterity games. I love that each location plays out differently. In some locations you will be speed building, in some, you will be building the tallest structure, in some, you will be collaborating with your opponents etc.

Junk Art is the most versatile dexterity game I have played. On top of that, everyone I have introduced to the game has loved it, making it a great game to play with non-gamers, family, and even younger gamers. It is a great all-round crowd pleaser!

43. Kemet: Blood And Sand - Nick Welford

Once I started down the board game rabbit hole I tumbled fast. Kemet was one of my early purchases and remains in my top 3 to this day. Kemet is an area control game with an emphasis on battles and creating your own unique and powerful troops.

Kemet avoids the ‘Risk’ syndrome of having a player hole up in a corner (here’s looking at you Australia) by implementing a clever map. The map is laid out in such a way that you are always equally distant from all other players. This means taking control of victory point-scoring temples is always a risk.

It’s a risk that is worth it though thanks to what Kemet calls ‘temporary victory points’. Points earned through battle or by controlling multiple temples are permanent but each temple offers a temporary victory point that changes hands to whoever controls the temple at the current time. This can result in clever players snatching victory away with clever planning.

The other thing Kemet does is let the players outfit their troops with powerful tiles and monsters. With only one or two of each tile available, each player's armies end up very different. The variety is excellent and even more so with the latest edition. If you like area control you need this in your life.

42. Just One - Ian Peek

Just One occupies a very particular sweet spot. It’s the 2019 Spiel des Jahres winner – a cooperative word game for 3-7 players. It’s also one of the quickest to teach and easiest to understand games you’ll ever pick up; suitable to play with grandparents, children, game abstainers and naysayers of all kinds.

That being said, you can still take it to your regular gaming tabernacle or off down the pub with your mates. It might be harder to think of who this isn’t a game for than who it is. It’s arguably the most accessible game in gaming.

Players take it in turns to try and guess a word. They select a word by picking a number from 1-5, then everyone else submits a clue (one word) to help them guess. Before those clues are revealed, any duplicates are scrubbed out (there must be Just One of each clue).

So, if the word Banana was clued with “Curvy”, “Fruit”, “Yellow” and “Fruit” – only “Curvy” and “Yellow” survive to assist in guessing. The active player makes a single guess based on whatever clues remain. Then, right or wrong, it’s on to the next player to try their luck.

It’s simple, pacey and, go on … Just One more go.

41. Anachrony - Lee Underwood

Anachrony is a big game. The sheer amount of stuff in the box alone is pretty daunting. Luckily, though it’s also ruddy brilliant.  Anachrony is probably the heaviest game I own, yet also one of the most thematically rich and engrossing.

Superficially, it’s a worker placement economic engine builder, like many other heavy Euro games. But the way its mechanisms are woven into a futuristic story of warring ideologies and time-travelling exosuits makes the game more vivid and relatable than many games set in the “real” world.  Where it really hooks new players, though, is its internal logic which makes those mechanisms gel; a repayable bank loan is pretty meh... but grabbing workers from the future to help prepare for the apocalypse? Makes perfect sense! For a 2-hour-plus game, it feels tense too, with plenty of brain-burning decisions as the clock ticks away on your remaining actions.

And it’s a stress headache I keep going back for. In fact, maybe the best thing I can say about Anachrony is that it’s when I lose - and I lose a lot, make no bones about it- that I most want to play again.

So, is it a game for everyone? Definitely not. But if you like a challenge that gets its teeth into you, then this is a game you need to try. Just make sure you have a big table.

40. Epic Spellwars Of The Battle Wizards: Duel At Mt. Skullzfyre - Rob Wright

At my first UKGE, back when it nestled snuggly in the Hilton Metropole, I saw
numerous people breaking out a game full of luridly decorated cards, dice, and a fancy-looking standee. ‘What is that?’ I asked. ‘This,’ said the startled bod, ‘is Epic Spell Wars of The Battle Wizards!’

Well, what can you say to that but ‘count me in!’

This game now has several iterations (I have the second) but they all have the same garish, visceral look and the same simple yet brutal play. It accommodates up to six belligerent spell casters, each trying to be the last wizard standing, by eviscerating their opponents with a series of fierce charms. Players do this by playing up to three cards, one from each of the different card types: source, quality and delivery. Each card will have some kind of effect on either the caster or the targets, but the delivery card will do damage based on rolling a number of dice. The number of dice you roll depends on how many other cards in your spell match the type of the delivery card.

It’s fast, it’s funny, it’s graphic and gory-looking and just a whole host of good
stuff. If you enjoyed playing consequences as a kid and enjoy shouting ridiculous arcane invocations get yourself some Epic Spell Wars!

39. Welcome To… - Favouritefoe

Welcome To… is a flip-and-write series that impressed me so much that I own ALL the base games plus expansions! Not just Summer. Or Halloween. Whether it’s 1950s USA, Las Vegas, or outer space, your place has to be the destination des res to beat them all!

A masterclass in multiplayer solitaire simultaneous play, a round begins with the flipping of 3 pairs of cards. Each player chooses whichever pair they want and then writes the number on any space on their board. The corresponding special action is optional, although you’d usually be folly to forgo it – as they offer ways to score bonus points at end-game. Numbers in lines must usually run in consecutive order from lowest to highest, and duplicates are usually prohibited (unless using an often costly special power!). Every game will include 3 scoring objectives that also act as the end-game trigger (unless someone ends it early by being unable to place three numbers on their board!).

When I heard Welcome to the Moon was going to be the series swansong, I was truly saddened. But discovering that Moon has 8 unique games in one means that they have definitely gone out on a high. With so much content, I don’t think I will ever run out of places (on this planet or elsewhere!) to design. Welcome To… is one of those games where points are plentiful, but knowing how to get the most out of the available options will keep you doubting yourself in a sea of delicious decision dilemmas.

38. Horrified - David Denton

Prepare yourselves for a terrifying battle against evil. In Horrified, you and your brave chums will cooperatively face such iconic villains as Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Mummy. To win, you’ll be saving the villagers and defeating the monsters.

Horrified is an ideal cooperative game for families but one that seasoned gamers will enjoy too. You’ll mostly be going around picking up items and villagers and delivering them to various locations. The hook of this game is that each monster has to be defeated in a different way. To beat Dracula, you will have to destroy all of his coffins to stop him from literally going to ground. Or you could travel along the river to the lair of the Creature from the Black Lagoon and take him down. In the case of The Mummy, you have to solve a sliding tile puzzle before you can finally kill him.

For an easy, family-friendly game, play against 2 monsters, and if you want a challenge, pit yourself against 4 of these nefarious fiends! This is a relatively light game, but it’s a lot of fun, offering meaningful choices and moments of tension. So, put your stakes, garlic, and silver bullets in your backpack and prepare yourselves to be horrified!

37. Sagrada - Luke Pickles

Sagrada is a wonderfully simple dice drafting and placement game where players are trying to build beautiful stained-glass windows as part of the Sagrada Familia. At the start of the game, everyone chooses a window they will try to complete. Each has its own difficulty level and has some spaces filled in with either a number or a colour. The more difficult the window, the more glass beads you get which can be used to break the rules in some way, but more on that later. Each round will see players drafting from a collective group of dice and placing them in their windows. The only placement rules are that the same colours or numbers cannot be placed next to each other unless you use a tool to break the rules. At the end of the game, you’ll score on public and private objectives.

I love playing Sagrada, I think it’s such a clever game to play. It’s very easy to teach but the decisions you make based on luck and the number of dice left in the bag are very in-depth. You often end up with a single spot left open but it’s still very satisfying to play. Plus, the triple-layered windows really can make people say “duuuuuude.”

36. King Of Tokyo - Matthew Morgan

King of Tokyo and King of New York are the brainchildren of Richard Garfield, most commonly known for Magic the Gathering. Full of monsters, dice rolling and risk and reward; you’ll be hard-pushed to find anything else quite like it.

Players take turns rolling dice, invading or fleeing, and gaining currency that can be used to purchase upgrades which in turn grant more dice and new mechanisms. The risk and reward element spawns from the choices that you have to make and whether you should become the king and enter the centre of the board where you can take a real pounding, or wait it out a turn for better upgrades. The simplicity is what makes this game so good, and a favourite of board gamers the world over.

It’s that popularity that pushed the designer to create King of New York, and an endless number of expansions to accompany each. And if that wasn’t enough, King of Tokyo Dark was created as a homage to the collectors among us. The Dark Edition offers custom dice and energy tokens, unique art and an exclusive game mechanism that can only be experienced in the collector's edition. And if that wasn’t enough, a collector box of the game has just been released which offers all available content in an easy-to-store box.

The ‘King of’ games are some of my favourite quick-play games, where games can be as quick as 20-30 minutes. What’s more, is that the expansions offer new mechanisms and characters that allow you to personalize your play style. As one of my go-to family games for a quiet night in, there’s no other game that gets the cogs turning quite like King of Tokyo does.

35. Brass: Birmingham - Lee Underwood

Brass: Birmingham was the first real Euro game that I played and it still rates among the best. Scrapping over cotton mills in exotic locations like Nuneaton and Uttoxeter may sound underwhelming but trust me, it is a genuinely tense and at times cut-throat experience.

Brass is also gorgeous. Not only in the artwork, which manages to be clear and yet suitably evocative of a murky industrial heartland; but also, in the game’s design and mechanisms. It plays like a distilled version of other, flabbier Eurogames. Simple on the face of it- create your network, build your factories, rake in the income, rinse and repeat. But the way everything is interconnected makes this process precariously tight, even without the interference of other players. Then halfway through, the board resets as canals make way for steam and you have to build again. But rather than being frustrating, this is just an example of how every problem in Brass is an opportunity if you know how to exploit it.

And I haven’t even mentioned the most fun resource: Beer! In Brass: Birmingham, Beer is essential to make your economy run smoothly; just like business today in fact. *

I’ve never played the original Brass or Brass: Lancashire, so I can’t give a coherent argument as to why Birmingham is the better game. But it is. Clearly. Because beer.

*more accurate and responsible opinions about alcohol are also available.

34. Pulsar 2849 - David Denton

Initially, I didn’t like Pulsar 2849. I bought it, played it a few times, and then put it on a shelf for a while considering whether to sell it or not. About six months later, I returned to it and gave it one last go. And for some reason, it clicked. This is now one of my favourite games of all time.

Pulsar 2849 has you charging about the galaxy in your little spaceship, claiming pulsars, building gyrodynes and transmitters, and… generally engaging in Euro-style dice placement mechanisms. Yes, this game is pretty themeless, but the gameplay is excellent.

What I love about it is the sheer number of different strategies you can go for. In one game, I might be building transmitters so that I can get a load of bonus dice. This is great because without them you’ll only place sixteen dice throughout the entire game. In another game, I might focus on my HQ board and complete gate runs by flying through gates of the same colour. There are also objectives that you may concentrate on. You could just visit other planets, get points by patenting certain technologies or create a vast array of spinning gyrodynes. It’s a veritable feast of dice placement goodness and a game I’m thrilled to have in my collection.

33. Architects Of The West Kingdom - Luke Pickles

This has been my personal number-one game of all time for about a year. Architects of the West Kingdom is a worker placement game about building a cathedral but with a twist. The spots you place your workers into are open, so any number of workers can go there. The more of your own workers you place there, the more powerful the action gets, and because you have 20 workers, you can do a heck of a lot in a few turns. However, become too successful in one spot and your opponents may start to arrest you for rowdy behaviour and send your workers off to jail. This can really disrupt your engine, especially when your opponents get paid for it! So, you may have to resort to darker deeds by heading to the black market. The game ends when a certain number of buildings and spots on the cathedral have been built.

Because the turns are incredibly snappy, the game scales incredibly well at all player counts. The solo mode is also really simple to play, but boy does it mimic an aggressive player. Which is totally fine! It’s how the game should be played! And I like that the solo deck can be added to a two-player game as well, it really changes the dynamics. If you want something that’s fairly light but has a lot going for it, I can highly recommend Architects of the West Kingdom.

32. Camel Up (Second Edition) - Panto Pete

The hot desert sands in the shadow of the pyramid, the frantic mixing of East and West at the betting booths, the unpredictability of the race especially as one camel leaps on another's back to hitch a ride forward. What?!

Yes, Camel Up’s unique twist is that a camel that lands on the same space as another camel goes on its back and will be carried forward every time the lower camel moves before the higher camel moves of again. There can be multiple stacks for a cornucopia of camel-carrying capers. This simple mechanism means it is very hard to predict the outcome of a round let alone the whole race, as last can become first.

Five camels race over a number of rounds to complete the racetrack. Bets are paid at the end of each round and at the finale. The earlier you bet the more reward you’ll get but the riskier the outcome will be. Five coloured dice are placed in the wonderful pyramid shaker and released one at a time. Thus, all 5 camels will move once per round but can still get the all-important bonus carries.

All this fun and no camel spit!

31. Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure - Jon Wellard

Clank! Is one of my favourite deck-building games and has also remained one of my favourite games since I first played it. Having played all three iterations that have currently been released there is enough to keep you interested for years to come. There is the original game with countless maps which have you running into a dungeon and trying not to wake the dragon whilst going as deep as you can to secure the most worthy artefact.

Or maybe Clank! In! Space! is more your vibe where you have to make sure that you bypass the security systems before you can access the rear of the ship where the real treasure lies before rushing to your escape pod.

Finally, Clank!: Legacy. My favourite legacy game to date which will have you building up the world around you and leave you with a completely different board to play on at the end.

Regardless as to which one is more suited to you, the core deck-building gameplay is the same throughout and the way it is used alongside you running around the board is one that I continue to enjoy with every play session.

30. Splendor - Panto Pete

Splendor is a drafting and engine-building game with Renaissance Merchants trading gems and gaining favour (favor?) with nobles. It provides a quick-to-learn and easy-to-set-up basis for playing multiple times much as you may with a round of Whist.

Its 90 development cards come in 3 levels to be laid out in 3 rows of 4, increasing in value. Alongside are piles of gems in 5 colours. Players take gems and use them to pay for development cards. Each of these also depicts a bonus gem and at higher levels victory points (VPs). A development card thus gained will chip in Its bonus gem to aid further purchases. Collect enough bonuses and you are entitled to a visit from a noble for a further 3 VP. The game is played to 15VP.

It's a slow burner with little to start with but collecting gems and buying the lowest level development cards. Then it grows as you build your bonuses enabling the acquisition of higher and higher cards. Suddenly a host of glittering prizes are within your grasp whilst nobles queue to visit.

A great game, Splendor has spawned many variants and a good computer version.

29. Jaipur - Sophie Jones

Sometimes you want to play something which is quick, simple, and for 2 players only. Jaipur is all those things. In Jaipur, players are battling it out at the marketplace, trying to buy and sell goods. The vendor who earns the most coins in the round wins. Luckily, it’s the best out of three, so you can snatch the winner's crown even if you start badly.

As Jaipur’s marketplace is generated by a deck of cards, each game is unique. You never know when the pricier items like gold and silver will appear. Do you gamble and pick up the lower quality items like cloth or wait for the big bucks? If you do end up waiting, you might end up with a handful of camels! And that's not good!

It’s a great game which blends chance, strategy, and competition as you try to outwit your opponent. The best thing about it is, it never gets stale. I’ve played this game multiple times now with the same person and each game feels different.

I love Jaipur for its easy-to-learn rules, comical camel mechanism, and its changing marketplace. It’s one of the best 2-player games out there.

28. Nemesis - Matthew Morgan

Nemesis is a tactical horror adventure game that takes place on a spaceship swarming with hostile organisms. At the beginning of the game, players draw objectives and plan out their strategy to live long enough to survive or outlast the rest of the crew.

In terms of gameplay, Nemesis is reminiscent of Space Hulk and brings that style of game up to date with a twist that can only be found in modern board games. The semi-cooperative playstyle adds a sense of tension when a player might spend the entire game working with others to open the vents, only to send their opponents into the depths of space, while they escape in the pod.

Nemesis is so popular in fact, that in 2020, Nemesis Lockdown was announced. Pushing both the story, characters and gameplay to a new level with additional content, miniatures and a new setting. It also gave new players an opportunity to get their hands on the new edition of a very hard-to-find game.

Personally, I love Nemesis for its subtle references to the Alien franchise. The scenario, characters and settings all seem to pay homage to Ridley Scott's unique style of horror and adventure. But for me, that only scratches the surface. Nemesis has a simplistic ruleset that makes it easy to pick up and learn on your first playthrough; whilst hinting at ways where you can tactically gain the advantage if you’re brave enough. On top of that, the art style is charming, and every single miniature is beautifully designed. If you’re looking for a horror game that gets the grey brain cells working, Nemesis is the game for you.

27. Dune: Imperium - Rob Wright

You wait nearly thirty years for a Dune game… then loads come at once. Though the 1979 reprint is one meaty game, Dune: Imperium is an order above as 1) it takes less than a day to play and 2) it still has all that Arrakeen flavour.

Designed by Paul Dennen and released by Direwolf, the power couple behind the Clank! series, Dune: Imperium is a worker placement/deckbuilder (kinda like Clank! Is a dungeon crawl/deckbuilder) set on Arrakis. Each player has their own character with their own special abilities. At the beginning of each round, each player draws five cards from their deck. Players then take turns to play cards in order to send ‘agents’ to gain resources (water, spice or credits), deploy armies or gain influence with the power-brokers of Dune (the Emperor, the Spacers’ Guild, the Bene Gesserit and the Fremen). By gaining influence, players can gain victory points, resources and special cards that can help them during combat, general play or to earn extra points during the endgame. Once players have sent or not sent all their Agents (you can choose), the remaining cards in their hands can be played to buy cards to add to their discard pile (and eventually their deck) and/or add to their military strength for the end of round battle. The winner(s) of that battle can gain all sorts of goodies from victory points to all-round influence. The game ends after 10 rounds or when a player reaches 10 victory points.

The reason why Dune: Imperium is here is not just because of its noble lineage or honourable theme but because of its flow and ease of play. Having a wide range of cards to buy for your deck makes every game different and will have you and your opponents on their toes deciding whether to play Atriedes or go full Harkonnen on your foes. Great times.

26. Lost Cities - Daniel Hilton

I was introduced to Lost Cities by a fellow blogger here at Zatu. I was instantly enamoured with it. There is something to be said for a game with a simple, crisp design. And I find that games specifically designed for 2 players nail that sweet spot for me. Lost Cities easily became my instant favourite 2 player only game, beating out even Jaipur which I also love.

All you do in Lost Cities is try to have a good run of numbers in a certain colour. And that is it. But it is the fact that as soon as you start a run in one colour, you instantly take -20 points. This makes the game so crunchy as you need to make sure you can score over 20 just to make the run break even for you. There is only 1 card of each number in each colour and your opponent could also start a run in the same colour. You can also take a chance and play a handshake card that will double all points earned, (or triple/quadruple if 2/3 are placed) but this includes the negative points earned from starting a run in that colour.

Lost Cities is a delicately simple game with some great decision-making. It is definitely not one to be missed.

25. Cartographers - Neil Proctor

This is my favourite roll & write/flip & write game. You play a cartographer trying to map the region for the queen but her requirements are fickle and change every round. Luckily you know what combination of scoring requirements are coming up so you can either plan forward and try to maximize your scoring in the last round or change your tactics on the fly and try to score each round to the best of your ability (and the luck of the card flip).

But, don’t just think this will be an easy mapping game, there are monsters to contend with and mountains to surround as well as objectives that can be counterintuitive to each other.

There is so much variety in the base box with all of the different combinations of scoring objectives, the order in which the cards are revealed and the two different maps, plus with the right pencils and a little bit of effort you can make your map look beautiful by the end of the game.

Despite looking intimidating it is actually a very easy game to teach and most players will be happily mapping away on their own within a few turns.

24. Unmatched: Battle Of Legends, Volume One - Lee Underwood

Unmatched is a deceptively simple card duelling system from Restoration Games. Using character-specific (and incredibly stylish) card decks, cool minis and a compact board Unmatched aims to answer the Big Questions in life - like who would win in a fight between Sinbad and a pack of Velociraptors?

Unmatched is a game you can teach in 15 minutes and once you know how one character works, you know the basics to run all of them. Learning to master a character is a different matter, though. The rules are simple - you have two actions on your turn where you can manoeuvre (and draw a card), attack, or scheme (use a special ability card). You attack your opponent; they can defend and damage is dealt. When they are down to 0 health they lose. It’s as simple as that.

What is impressive is how each of the currently released 32 characters moves and plays differently. Are they all equally balanced? Well, the clue is in the name, but all of them can win on their day and will be better against certain opponents than others. Finding out which is part of the fun. Working out which character’s style suits you is the best part!

23. Great Western Trail (Second Edition) - Kyle Gormley

I can’t really explain why Great Western Trail is my favourite game, other than to say every time I play it, I find new joys in the way its systems lock together.

At its heart, it’s a deck-building game with a very unique theme - you play cattle ranchers that repeatedly drive your (ever-changing) herd from Texas to Kansas. Your deck is your herd and, as the game goes on, you will buy new and better cattle, improving the actions you can take and earning you increasingly more money each time you reach Kansas.

In practice, this involves moving slowly up the titular trail and taking the actions depicted on the building where you stop. However, players can build new buildings that only they can use. These buildings cost money for other people to pass through, meaning every time you play you have to navigate an entirely new trail and twist it to your advantage.

Add to this a hint of engine building, where you can hire various workers to improve certain actions, and it’s hard not to keep coming back for more. A modern classic, in my opinion.

22. The Red Cathedral - Craig Smith

I struggle to think of a game that’s better value for money than The Red Cathedral. It’s so much game packed inside a small box, packing it away is practically a game in itself!

As architects hired by Ivan the Terrible, your job is to complete work building St Basil’s Cathedral. On your turn you can take one of three actions: claiming a section of cathedral, gathering resources, or transporting resources. Resources are collected using a rondel game board, but there are guilds you can interact with to mitigate any bad dice rolls. Players have many ways of earning points, with a big portion of them being earned on the cathedral at the end of the game.

There’s resource management, area control and end-game bonuses… so many things going on. It was the first euro-style game I bought and was also one of the first reviews I wrote for the good people of Zatu. My love of the game was reignited this year when I had the opportunity to learn the Contractors expansion with the game’s design team at UKGE. It’s a gorgeous production, and I cannot wait to add the expansion to my collection!

21. Five Tribes - Favouritefoe

“Squeak”. Nope, not the sound of a game box lid opening. That is the unmistakable noise my brain makes when playing the ridiculously Mancala-vellous Five Tribes. Bruno Cathala’s meeple dropping marvel, this game is the most unique worker placement game I have ever played. And after the first play, it shot straight into my forever collection and has no reason to leave. Ever.

With all the meeples you could ever want or need already sprinkled amongst the tableau of market, villages, oases, and sacred places, victory depends on how cunning you are when picking and dropping. Each different meeple type has a special ability and/or point value at end-game, but you can only collect one type at the end of your turn. You can also activate the power of the tile you land on, and if you clear it of all meeples with masterful manipulation, you’ll claim it for end-game points too!

With resource management, turn order bidding, fistfuls of player interaction and more, this game inspires my most impressive brain farts. Wavering over which bunch of meeples to move for the most points (not to mention messing up your opponents’ plans) is, however, the most exquisite of player pains I know.

20. The Isle Of Cats - Daniel Hilton

Everyone told me how good of a game Isle of Cats was, but I avoided it for a long time. I just couldn't get over the theme. A game about fitting cats into a boat just did not vibe with me in the least. I should have left my expectations behind and dived into this game earlier as it is truly fantastic!

The best part of Isle of Cats for me is the ever-changing scoring conditions. You (or your opponents) can play public lessons (scoring conditions) which apply to everyone, or you could score yourself an interesting private lesson that can change the way in which you play. I really love when a designer builds a game that has simple, robust rules that are intuitive and fun to play. But I love it even more when they introduce fun little ways to manipulate said simple rules. This is where Isle of Cats exceeds.

Every game of Isle of Cats plays out differently as you are given a massive deck of cards to cycle through. It is incredibly entertaining to find new and unusual ways to combine scoring conditions and ways to fill your boat with polyomino cats. Truly superb game. Well designed, easy to learn, and highly replayable. Gosh, I love this game. Try it!

19. Cascadia - Luke Pickles

Recently awarded the coveted Spiel Des Jahres, Cascadia is a tile-placement game where you are putting out pairs of habitat and animal tiles in order to make the best ecosystem. You want to place your habitat tiles so that you can best take advantage of the scoring of each animal, but you also want to get as big an area of terrain as possible. With multiple animal scoring options, the game changes each time and I can’t think of a game where I had such a relaxing experience playing something competitive. The artwork is beautiful to look at and because the only direct competition is in the tile drafting, you’re able to just build out however you see fit.

I’m still waiting for my copy to hit my doorstep so I can try all the unique combinations of animals because I know I’m going to play this game a lot.

18. The Quacks Of Quedlinburg - Sophie Jones

I must admit I was dubious about Quacks when it first graced my table. I didn’t think it would be my cup of tea. But as usual, I was wrong! In this game, each player is a quack doctor trying to brew the best potion. Players draw ingredients from their bags and aim to reach the highest scoring space in their pots. However, each bag is filled with cherry bombs that can blow up players’ pots and stop them from scoring.

This game can be won using strategy but ultimately each game is decided by what you draw from the bag. It’s like low-stakes gambling. Do you continue to beat the player to your left and risk exploding, or do you stick and hope they blow up instead? Each round is thrilling as you don’t know how well you’ll do.

The Quacks of Quedlinburg is frequently brought to my table as gamers and non-gamers love its risk and reward element. Once you’ve had your fill of the base game you can move on to the expansions, The Herb Witches and The Alchemists. These expansions add more flavour and depth to your potion-making!

17. Meadow - David Denton

If you like the cover, give Meadow a go. You’ll probably like it. If you don’t like the cover, still give Meadow a go. I was in the latter camp. The cover put me off this game for about a year. It looked so twee. But I kept hearing good things about the game, so eventually, I played it. And what a great experience it is, especially at 2 players.

As the title would suggest, Meadow is a relaxing game. It has a lovely flow where you’ll take cards and put them into your tableau. It's a beautifully thematic process. Your first card may show a tiny unassuming worm. Your next card, a bird, requires you to already have a worm in your meadow. It gets placed on top of it, eating the worm. Munch. And finally, you get a stoat card that just happens to be partial to a bit of birdy. It’s not all about the natural process of animals eating each other. You can also build houses, plant trees, and explore some serene landscapes among other things.

There are some small moments of tension along the way. Will the card I want get taken by another player? Will someone else beat me to the objective of having a flower and a frog in my meadow? It’s all quite gentle, and for the most part, you’re doing your own thing, creating your own idyllic meadow.

My advice is to ignore the cover and try this gentle, relaxing, and most importantly, fun game.

16. Betrayal At House On The Hill: 3rd Edition - Craig Smith

Do you have that friend who doesn’t always get things right, but you love them anyway? Well, Betrayal at House on the Hill would be that friend… you know, if it wasn’t a board game.

As a group of explorers, you start off with the bare bones of a player board, gradually adding rooms, finding items, and experiencing events. If there is a haunt symbol, you need to also complete a haunt roll. Falling short at this point causes the haunt to happen, with one player most likely turning traitor. It’s then a battle. The traitor often has some form of spooky assistance to try and kill off all the explorers, whilst the explorers need to stay alive long enough to complete their mission.

Betrayal contains mechanics I’m not often a fan of, such as dice chucking and player elimination, but does it in such a way that you can’t help but be compelled by it. Not all the scenarios are clear in their rules and some of them can take an age to resolve, but I cannot help loving this clumsy little misfit of a game!

15. Carcassonne - Stefano Paravisi

Carcassonne is a tile-laying board game named after a city in southern France. During the game, 2 to 5 players take turns in drafting a terrain tile and laying it down to grow a sort of medieval map. Once the new tile is placed, the active player could claim one of the features depicted on it by adding a meeple to the tile. Each meeple will score differently depending on the feature (road, city, cloister, farm...). This will require some strategic choices and adds some competition among the players.

One of the aspects I like about Carcassonne is how the map grows differently every game and how stunning the board looks at the end. Carcassonne is also a nice and relatively easy game that can be learned as you play in a few minutes. It makes it a very good choice of game to introduce new players to or to enjoy a nice evening with people that do not play board games routinely. At the same time, experienced players will still find a good tactical depth to keep them interested.

Disregarding the level of experience, all players will always hold their breath when a new tile is drawn!

14. Railroad Ink: Blazing Red Edition - Favouritefoe

Railroad Ink is one of my all-time favourite game series. The simplicity-to-strategy ratio is so inversely proportionate that it makes my eyes water in the best possible way! And there are now so many versions to choose from, it’s like a rainbow of railroads on my shelf!

Helpfully, the basic gameplay is the same whichever edition you choose. Someone rolls 4 route dice showing sections of highway and railway every round. All players then use each dice once to connect as many exit points as possible around their boards. There are also special route dice with 4 exits on each. Draw. Roll. Repeat.

After 7 rounds, points are awarded for your longest highway, railway, and connected network. But routes that are not closed off will result in negative scoring!

With mini-expansions included in each set (plus more available separately!), you can up the crunch whenever you fancy. The newest Challenge editions also have goal cards and a beefed-up solo mode that really gets my brain sweating. And right now, Lush Green wins the race for me! Accessible, scalable, fun, and crunchy – I will never tire of Railroad Ink!

13. Root - Kyle Gormley

Hands down the most beautiful game I own, and easily one of the best-looking games on the market (take a bow, Kyle Ferrin), Root is deceptively cute. In fact, it’s wrapped up in such a cuddly package, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is something akin to Everdell or Meadow.

In reality, it’s a very mean, very complicated war game. Each player takes on the role of a completely asymmetric faction, vying for control of the forest through clever manoeuvring and combat.

At its core, Root has a simple system of moving through and controlling clearings, creating buildings and rolling dice for fights. However, in practice, each faction does something entirely unique and knowing what your opponents are capable of is the key to victory.

Do you pick the action-programming Eerie, the sympathy-spreading Woodland Alliance, the merchant Riverfolk, the sneaky Corvid Conspiracy or the lone Vagabond?

The beauty of Root is that every time you play, you can just throw a few random factions together and see what happens. It’s essentially a big toy box containing endless variety and possibilities.

Intimidating? Yes. Tough to teach? Yes. Worth it? In my opinion, absolutely.

12. Pandemic - Craig Smith

Pandemic is timeless. Despite being released almost 15 years ago, I still believe it’s one of the best cooperative games on the market. Working as a group, your aim is to remove the threat of four different viruses from the world. Each player takes it in turns to take four actions, before picking up cards from the player deck. Most of these cards are city cards, needed for creating cures. Some of them are event cards, which can give you an extra bit of help. However, there are also epidemic cards. These cause an outbreak in a city and potentially cause the infection rate to increase.

As I mentioned in my ‘Which Pandemic should I buy?’ feature, Matt Leacock designed Pandemic as a cooperative game because of a bad experience playing competitive board games with his wife. Since its creation, Pandemic has been the entry point for thousands of gamers around the world, myself included. For those who are averse to conflict with other players, Pandemic is the ideal introduction to the hobby.

There are many branches to the Pandemic family tree including legacy versions which permanently change the game over time, but I will always come back to the seed that started the whole thing off!

11. Gloomhaven - David Denton

Gloomhaven is a beast of a game. The box alone is larger than most starter homes. It’s also a long game. A campaign will probably take up to 75 hours at 2 players, and up to 150 hours at 4. This introduction sounds like I’m trying to put you off. I’m just letting you know what you’re getting yourself into once you get hooked on the intriguing gameplay.

Gloomhaven is a cooperative campaign game where you’ll fight through a series of dungeons using an innovative card system. Simultaneously you’ll all choose two cards from your hand of cards. You then compare your cards with the other players. The initiative levels of your cards determine in which order the players go. Each card has a top action, which generally relates to fighting, and a bottom action, which generally relates to movement. On your turn, you’ll choose the top action from one of your cards and the bottom action from the other.

This relatively simple system allows for an immense amount of variability. Each character you play is vastly different to the others. Added to this, you’ll level up as you progress gaining even more powerful cards.

If this sounds interesting but a bit daunting, you could try Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion which teaches you the game in a fun tutorial kind of way, but still manages to give you a great gameplay experience. It’s a lot more approachable, and after playing it, many players progress to playing its bigger brother.

I’m now on my third campaign of Gloomhaven. And that’s high praise.

10. Everdell - Neil Proctor

Everdell is one of those games that reminds you of why our hobby is so good. On the surface, it is a stunner of a game with its beautiful artwork, amazing components and table presence, but as soon as you play this game for the first time you will see that the beauty isn’t just skin deep.

The game is a clever combination of worker placement and tableau builder as you craft your city of cards in front of you that's made up of critters and buildings. There are four seasons in this game but, unlike other worker placement games, players can be in different seasons from each other. This keeps the gameplay exciting as you are no longer waiting for other players to finish all their turns in spring before you can move to summer. The critters and buildings have unique matching patterns which means that some critters will be free to place in your city as you already have a particular building type they like.

I have played this game over 200 times, most of which included all of the currently available expansions, and I have loved every game. If you like cute animals, tableau builders or worker placement with a twist I would highly recommend you try Everdell.

9. Lost Ruins Of Arnak - David Denton

Lost Ruins of Arnak is a deck-building/worker placement game. Let’s break that sentence down. You start with a small deck of cards and throughout the game, you’ll be buying tool and artefact cards to build your deck and improve it. You’ll also have two workers that can be placed on the board to give you resources, explore new locations, and move up the research track gaining bonuses.

Deck-building as a genre had fallen massively for me. Then in 2019 and 2020, a few games came along that blew me away. Lost Ruins of Arnak is one of those games. You only ever have a small deck of cards and the cards you acquire don’t go straight into your discard pile. Tools go to the bottom of your draw deck, you’ll generally be drawing these on your next turn, and artefacts can be played immediately as soon as you buy them. It’s a breath of fresh air.

The game is played over five rounds, and as soon as you can’t take a main action, you must pass. So, you’re constantly trying to string moves together to stay in the round and generate more points. Turns are super-fast, and there are many meaningful decisions to be made. Plus, there is the excellent and quite possibly essential Expedition Leaders expansion that gives every player asymmetric powers.

Lost Ruins of Arnak has grown on me greatly and fully deserves its place in the top 10.

8. Spirit Island - David Denton

The colonial powers of Europe are on the move. They travel to the most distant reaches of the world, discovering an island where magic still exists and spirits lay in wait to destroy unwanted visitors. Welcome to Spirit Island.

Do you ever want to play a meaty, heavy, cooperative Euro game with highly asymmetric player powers? If so, Spirit Island could be for you.

The first time I played it, my brain melted a little bit. It was a major struggle to read the board and work out which invaders I needed to attack, and what the weird wooden fighting mushrooms were. It turns out, they’re the Dahan, the native islanders and luckily, they’re on your side.

There were so many parts of the game that I found difficult to get my head around. But Spirit Island wound its leafy tendrils around my cerebral cortex, and said ‘Play me again’. So, I did. And gradually the game revealed some of its intricacies. I’ve now played over 70 games of it, and I still haven’t seen everything it has to offer.

At some point, you’ll be overrun by invaders, their cities and towns looming large over a once pristine landscape. Then you play your Tsunami card, and fortunately, you’ve got the required symbols on your other cards to play it with full force. Suddenly all of the invaders on the coastline are washed away, causing massive amounts of fear, and bringing you closer to a surprise victory. That’s why I love Spirit Island.

7. Scythe - Jon Wellard

Scythe has been one of the most popular games of the modern era since its release in 2016 and really cemented Stonemaier Games’ reputation as a force to be reckoned with. Its amazing artwork attracts you to it and its gameplay is what keeps you coming back for more. The decision-making it creates from just the four actions is something that has always fascinated me. The asymmetric factions are different enough to make them interesting. However, it is the player board which I believe really changes the way you play as it means the combination of actions that you have are different to everyone else.

One of the main reasons that Scythe has remained so high for me is because of the release of “The Rise of Fenris” in 2018. It adds an eight-game campaign which is full of surprises or you can simply skip the campaign which will instead give you 11 new modules that can be played with your regular games of Scythe. The campaign can be easily re-set and replayed with different choices to make and the modules are interesting additions without completely changing the core game. In my opinion, one of the best expansions ever released.

6. Ark Nova - Kyle Gormley

The newest game in my Top 10 is also the newest game in BoardGameGeek’s top 10, so I don’t feel too crazy including it in my list.

It feels quite derivative to call this ‘Terraforming Mars in a zoo’ but I can see how that comparison came about - both games include an enormous deck of cards that you play into your personal display, making the most of the symbols and powers on each.

My favourite mechanism in this game though is the ‘card river’ action selection. Along the bottom of each player board is a space for cards, numbered 1 to 5. The position of your card indicates the strength at which its related action can be performed and, once performed, you move it back to the number one slot, bumping everything else up. It’s all about timing and it’s always an interesting decision.

Speaking of player boards, your personal zoo is a little tetromino puzzle. You want to fill the space quickly for bonuses but you also need to make sure your enclosures are actually big enough for the animals you want.

It’s a wonderfully satisfying game that demands a new strategy every time you play. It also has pictures of elephants. What's not to love?

5. Terraforming Mars - Neil Proctor

I am so happy Terraforming Mars is in the top 50 games of all time as it is my number one game.

If you haven’t heard of Terraforming Mars before then let me get you up to ‘light speed’. Each player represents a corporation trying to terraform Mars with the ultimate goal of being the player whose contributions gave the most increases in temperature, oxygen and oceans. You have several tracks on your player board (money, steel, titanium, plants, energy & heat) that can be increased to allow you to purchase the projects that fulfil these objectives. Every card (project) is different and there are hundreds to play through with each project providing different bonuses such as more steel production or an immediate increase in the temperature etc. There are numerous expansions and promo cards available which provide even more terraforming opportunities.

I don’t mind that it is the pure definition of table hog or that a good game takes up to 2 hours or that teaching it is arduous; I find every turn to be incredibly exciting as each little step you take improves your engine or provides end-game scoring opportunities and really makes you feel like you are getting Mars ready for human colonisation.

4. 7 Wonders - Ian Peek

This entry covers a family of games: 7 Wonders, 7 Wonders: Architects, and 7 Wonders Duel. Both the original 7 Wonders and Architects are designed to accommodate higher player counts (3-7 players), whereas Duel is 2-player only (and makes my personal top 5 games of all time).

All three games share common elements. They are competitive card-drafting games where you’ll all have a hand of cards, choose one, and pass the rest to the next person in turn order. Drafting cards adds them to your tableau, building your city and civilization.

You’ll need resource cards for buildings, and an abundance of them for Wonders. Gold can help you acquire missing resources. Wonders bring benefits and bonuses, but so does scientific progress. Victory points might come from amassing military might over your neighbours, or culture cards. There are always several strategies to pursue; options to consider. Balancing how to best build your civilization (or perhaps how to hobble your neighbours) is key to all three games.

7 Wonders (& Architects) are well-balanced competitive games for several players where you’ll need to consider your drafts carefully to gain a winning edge.

Duel excels as a taut, tactical 2-player, and is arguably the jewel in the 7 Wonders crown. The opportunities for early victory here – clinched with Scientific or Military dominance – as well as the regular ‘most VPS’ tally, adds a pleasing weight to the already tactical considerations, making for a surprisingly satisfying and replayable game.

3. Ticket To Ride - Stefano Paravisi

This entry is for the whole Ticket to Ride family of games. Great starting points for the series are the original Ticket to Ride and Ticket to Ride Europe.

Ticket to Ride is a very well-known game that represents a milestone in the history of modern board gaming. The base concept of the game is pretty simple as players take turns collecting and playing matching train cards to place train units and connect selected destinations to score more points than their adversaries.

Why then has Ticket to Ride been able to sell more than 8 million copies worldwide since its first appearance in 2004? Its accessibility is one of the reasons for sure, as the game is simple enough to be taught in a few minutes to players of any age. This makes it a great option to spend quality time with kids and friends.

Ticket to Ride is also complex and fast-paced enough to keep returning players engaged during the game even if they have a limited attention span. The game duration is also quite good as it usually plays in less than 45 minutes.

Last but not least, the replayability of the game is very high considering the wide range of expansions available. All the expansions are designed to provide a different map to explore and add new unique rules to make every game feel different from the previous one.

2. Azul - Sophie Jones

I’ve always enjoyed board games, but Azul convinced me to start buying them. You could say it was my gateway into the hobby. It has since become a fan favourite with everyone I play with, even non-board gamers.

The rules are straightforward, pick up tiles and place them in your 5x5 grid. However, each player board can only store so many. Go over the threshold and you begin to lose points! It’s simple but offers enough for all abilities to sink their teeth into.

Thematically, Azul is quite abstract. Players are collecting Portuguese tiles from factories to decorate the King’s palace. This isn’t obvious when playing but the theme does make for a beautiful game. Tiles are vibrantly decorated and transport you to the Mediterranean. They also have a nice weight and make a lovely noise when tossed in the bag.

Azul is a great game to invite people into the hobby. It plays well with 2 players and a full party of 4, making it great for couples, families, and friends. Fans can then try all the sequels: Stained Glass of Sintra, Summer Pavilion and Queens Garden. Each one offers something new but at their core, they still have that Azul magic.

1. Wingspan - Ian Peek

In its own words: “Wingspan is a competitive bird-collection engine-building game. You are bird enthusiasts, seeking to discover and attract the best birds to your aviary.”

In mine: “Wingspan is the game that ushered me into modern board gaming.”

The serene theme swoops over three habitats – Wetlands, Grasslands and Forests – where you’ll be playing one of 170 illustrated, unique bird cards, each with thematic powers. These powers range from flocking to predation, migrating to other habitats, gathering food, or laying eggs in other birds’ nests. The love and fascination for birds are evident throughout and ensure the game always maintains close ties with its theme. Enough to quietly exude a disarming and infectious warmth for it.

In a world of games littered with futuristic sci-fi, stock fantasy, and maps of European cities, Wingspan, from the first, feels like something you wouldn’t expect to find among board games. Initially, this theme put me off. It’s since become a big part of what makes me return to it. Wingspan is a breath of fresh air – the sort you only get from gulping in nature. It surprises you with what a board game can be, whilst still tantalising you with all they have to offer.

It threatens to make bird fanciers of us all.

Great Games For Everyone

So there you go, 50 fantastic games for you to get your teeth into, 50 games to suit a variety of people and tastes. There really is something for everyone.

If you’re interested in finding out how this list was put together, please read on. If not, thank you for reading and we hope you discover games from this list that you love too.

How Was The List Created

The Zatu bloggers put together a list of their top 20 games of all time in order. The games were then given a point value with the number one game getting 40 points down to the number 20 game receiving 21 points.

If we’d chosen to give the top game 20 points and the bottom game 1 point, it would imply that the top game is 20 times better than the lowest game which is very probably not true. So, going with 40 – 21 means the top game is roughly twice as good as the number 20 game which seems more reasonable. This method also gave more weight to games that were on multiple bloggers’ lists.

The data were normalised so that all games from the same family were put into one entry. For example, all of the points for the Ticket to Ride games were added together and put into one entry.

All of the points for each game were then added together and ranked to create one list of 50 games. Out of interest, Wingspan received 294 points and appeared on 9 bloggers’ lists. Whereas Space Base, the number 50 game got 69 points and appeared on 2 lists.

Next year we hope to do this again and it will be interesting to see how the list changes and which new games get added to it. Come back next year to find out!

That concludes our list of Top 50 Games of All Time. Is there any we missed? Let us know your thoughts and tag us on social media @zatugames.