As board gamers, we seem to put a lot of stock in the Top 100 games as “voted” on by BoardGameGeek users and the arguments constantly thrown around by the pundits. We even discuss them quite often here on the Opinionated Gamers message board. Usually this ends with me taking a look at the BGG top 100 and seeing just what I haven’t played. The thing about the Top 100 is though, it’s seemingly really driven by a newer crowd of board gamers. With games like Carcassonne falling out of the Top 100 and ending up currently at 173 and about to be passed by games like Just One and possibly Secret Hitler, I firmly realize I am not as aligned with others, game taste wise. I love Just One, don’t get me wrong, but the free fall of Carcassonne just boggles my mind. From a high of number 6 in 2002, to where it is now doesn’t sit all that well with me. But, this isn’t really an article about my qualms with how the BGG Top 100 shakes out, that’s a whole other beast. This is a look at the Top 10 games on BGG that I haven’t played for one reason or another.
BGG Rank 3
I’m just going to count all the iterations of Brass in this entry. I don’t really care about the differences between the three different games, either old or new. Martin Wallace is a hole in my gaming experiences with the only game I have played by him being A Few Acres of Snow, which I enjoyed, but ultimately not really in my gaming wheelhouse. Brass is kind of the same. I love Euros andI love economic Euros, but something about Wallace designs always makes me leary. The original Brass was an ugly looking board game and the new iterations definitely make it a more presentable game with some definite table presence, but it really doesn’t do much to make me feel anymore like playing it. It all just feels so bone dry and soulless to me. I would be willing to play this one, I just don’t think I’d be willing to seek it out to do so.
Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition
BGG Rank 4
I own this one, it survived the great purge because I do really want to play it at some time, but I have just not found the right time and the right group to do so. This isn’t a game for me and my family, they like to play lighter fare and as you increase the complexity and interaction, things can slow to a desperate crawl, so I have not even broached the idea of playing it with them. But there is something about this giant space battle and negotiation game that draws me to it and makes me think that when I do get the opportunity to try it out, I’ll absolutely adore it.
Next entry should be Through the Ages A New Story of Civilization but I have played the original edition of TtA digitally enough to know that it doesn’t really matter the changes, I’m not going to enjoy it, so I count playing it.
BGG Rank 7
I considered not counting this one as well. I mean after all, this is basically Terra Mystica in space instead of with a weird fantasy setting. Yes, there are tweaks and changes, but ultimately the frame was built earlier and I played the heck out of it (32 total plays). Space games are ultimately a thematic choice that I don’t understand. I like some, but mostly if you throw a game in space, I usually ignore it. On the opposite, throw fantasy themes on them and I tend to be a bit more excited. Truth be told, I would definitely play Gaia Project, but it also falls in that area where I would never purposefully do so.
Star Wars Rebellion
BGG Rank 8
Nope, definitely not for me. Star Wars theme, Fantasy Flight miniatures game and a rules forum with over 1200 rules questions? All of that equals a big giant no thank you for me. Might it be good? Yeah, sure. Might I have a good time while playing it? Sure, there’s always a chance, but through the years I’ve known that those three things usually don’t equal a fun game for me. Thusly, I don’t care if I ever play it.
BGG Rank 13
I owned this one, and struggled to get it to the table thanks to a really dense rule book, so it was sold while the price was high in between print runs. It’s an interesting take on colonization games, where instead of being the colonizers, you are the natives, trying to fight and get rid of the would-be conquerors, oh, and it’s cooperative. I absolutely love the idea of it, and I think that designers and publishers who take chances and try to do new things should be rewarded, but how in the heck is this the number 13 board game in the world according to BGG? That being said, I am tempted to pick it up again, or at least search out a play with someone who fully knows the game and can teach it.
Another spot here that has a game with officially no plays, but I’m not counting Viticulture Essential Edition as a different game than Viticulture which I have played a few times and enjoy, honestly the only Stonemaier Games title worthy of a place in my collection that I just realized is not there any longer. Curse you Purge!!
A Feast for Odin
BGG Rank 22
I enjoyed Fields of Arle for what it was, but ultimately it was a two player game that didn’t warrant the space for me, so I passed it on. I played Caverna a couple of times and ultimately thought it was my least favorite Uwe Rosenberg title and I chose to keep Agricola around and never really think about Caverna again. I love Uwe’s two player polyomino game, Patchwork. So ultimately, a big box from Uwe that combines all of those into one thing was never really on my radar. I’m sure it’s a perfectly fine game that works in that typical Uwe way, but I just don’t need these gigantic dense boxes in my Euros, I am becoming a firm believer in the less is more way of thinking. Would I play A Feast for Odin? More than likely I would, but this is yet another Top 100 game that I’ll probably never purposefully seek out a play of, there just seems to be no need.
The 7th Continent
BGG Rank 23
I own this one, actually strike that, I own everything produced for it as I backed the second Kickstarter and went all in. But alas, it still has not hit the table, but it will, yes, it will. I love the old school exploration video games, and this really reminds me a bit of those. You never know what you are going to find behind the next door. Now, the problem here is that, for all intents and purposes, this cooperative exploration game is probably ideally a solo game and that’s where you lose me. I have never really been a solo board game person. If it comes down to me wanting to play something and no one else being available, nine times out of ten I’ll just reach for a video game. I do want to play 7th Continent, there is a reason that I haven’t sold everything to try to recoup my investment. It’s a super interesting premise, that may end up being a complete miss for me, but the good thing is, I can always reset everything and sell it off if that happens, I just have to try it.
Here’s another thing about Board Game Geek that irritates me, the differences between deluxe and regular editions isn’t really game changing, it’s more or less aesthetic, so it looks like I haven’t played Orleans, I have, but I logged it under the Deluxe version, not the regular version. And it looks like I haven’t played Agricola, although I’ve played it almost ten times, but I log those under the “revised” edition.
Food Chain Magnate
BGG Rank 28
Here’s the thing, I don’t really mind playing ugly games, or games with minimalist components, that really doesn’t bother me. Couple those things with the price that Splotter Spellen games sell for, and it’s a firm no thank you. There is another reason I won’t play Food Chain Magnate, I’m not a huge believer in games that are unforgiving. You make a mistake in the first round of Food Chain Magnate and you are stuck playing for another two to four hours knowing full well that you are not going to have any chance of winning. I get it, we want to make these games difficult to master, you don’t want gamers figuring out a dominant strategy from the word go, but for crying out loud, at least have some kind of forgiveness in the design. Should players suffer from poor choices? Yes, they should, but not when they can’t know better. Nope, I never want to play.
BGG Rank 30
Honestly, I had heard the name Nemesis before, but I had no idea that it was a Top 100 board game, and I had no desire to dig in any further. But…… it’s a cooperative game, with hidden roles, all wrapped up into that Science Fiction/Horror genre that should be right in my alley. I thought that I missed something here, but then I see it was a gigantic Kickstarter campaign, that launched in January of 2018, funded in about 5 minutes and went on to make over three million Euro. So a lot of this ranking is probably the Kickstarter Endowment kicking in, but I’m still curious about it. Almost enough to seek out a play with the right group of people.
Kingdom Death: Monster
BGG Rank 35
Nope, with a capital NOPE. Look, I understand that there is probably something underneath the veneer here, but I don’t want to have any part of figuring it out, whatever it is. There is a place for all of these “artisanal” “games”. I just don’t feel like it’s something for me. I have visited the beautiful booth at Gen Con, walking around looking at the miniatures in what is almost like stepping into a jewelry store, curiosity did get the better of me. There is just no way that I’ll buy in, and I don’t think that I know anyone who did. Which all leads me to wondering, just who the heck are these nearly 25k people who back this in two iterations on Kickstarter.
Well, I didn’t see that coming. I figured I’d at least make it into the bottom 50, but seems I am less cult of the new than I previously thought I was. In the grand scheme of things though, I can see why these games haven’t been played, and I assume if you’ve followed me over the last year and a half since I have been writing for the Opinionated Games, you can see why as well. All in all I have not played 35 of the Top 100 games on BGG, and probably half of those, I have no real desire to try. I currently own three in the Top 100 that I haven’t played yet, the aforementioned The 7th Continent and Twilight Imperium, and add on top of those Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth. In theory, those should be the next Top 100 games played by me, but that’s not always the way things go for me.
I won’t pretend to understand how the collective hive mind has come up with the Top 100 games on Board Game Geek, I don’t really care that much to find out, but I do feel sorry for folks who just get into board games and use the ol’ Google machine and are directed to Board Game Geek and see this list. I know if I had come along at this time in board gaming and jumped in with the Top 100, I’d probably not have stuck around nearly as long as I have. Maybe I’m thinking about this wrong, I know that not every one of the Top 100 Greatest Novels are accessible and great entries into literature, nor are the Greatest Films of all Time, but they feel more encompassing than the current Top 100 on BGG. I don’t really have the patience to make my own Top 100, so maybe I should just keep my thoughts to myself, but where’s the fun in that.
Thoughts from the Opinionated Gamers
Matt C: I believe it was my last paternity leave when I decided I would try to watch every TV episode in the lists for the top 50 or so of all time. It was interesting as it favored many shows that I had never watched – since I had already seen the others in the top 50. I was surprised at the amount of cultural touchstones I discovered (or had forgotten) were hidden in these gems. (“Chuckles Bites the Dust” from the Mary Tyler Moore Show should be required watching for anyone working in television.) Once tracked down, it wasn’t hard to watch them since it could easily be a solo affair. It is easier (but perhaps more expensive) to track down boardgames on the BGG top 100, but it would take a much larger commitment to get them to the table. Since I’m the primary source of boardgames in my life, I don’t get to play many games I don’t own. Between lack of access and lack of playing time, I suspect I’m behind the general curve here at OpinionatedGamers. Here’s my top 10 top games I haven’t played. Twilight Imperium – my friend occasionally invites me to an all-day saturday game, but I can never justify the time away from my family and other projects. Gaia Project – My love/hate of Terra Mystica comes from its wonderful diversity and its unbalanced races. I’d love to give this one a try, and hope to at least play around with the digital version when it is released. Star Wars: Rebellion – It’s hard to get big wargame-y games to the table due to the time commitment, so while the theme sounds great, I don’t see it getting played anytime soon. Great Western Trail – sounds decent, I think I just missed out when it surfed by on the wave of cult of the new. War of the Ring (2nd ed) – I bought the 1st edition with high hopes but never got it to the table. I’m still waiting to get my boys to see the movies before I try to spring it on them (even if it’s 1st edition.) Concordia – this looks like something I’d enjoy, if given a chance to play, I would give it a go. Arkham Horror: The Card Game – not a fan of the theme nor of most “the card game” implementations of things. Wingspan – supposed to be pretty good. I think it’s beginner-friendly level of play would be a good fit for my collection, but I’m not inclined to go out and buy a copy. If it were brought to the table, I suspect I’d enjoy the game. Viticulture Essential Edition – I thought this one had mixed reviews but I think the new version was supposed to be better. I’d be willing to give it a try. A Feast for Odin – Yet another “would probably like the game, but have never seen it on a table” title. My caveat for the above titles needs to mention that I’ve only played Scythe & 7 Wonders Duel in digital form, I’ve only played the original Brass once, and I don’t whether to count Gloomhaven or Pandemic Legacy since I have truly only progressed a small way into either campaign.
Larry: Unlike Brandon, I’m not that surprised that there are a bunch of games in the Top 100 that I’ve never played. (I’m also not at all surprised that any 20 year old game–even something as iconic as Carcassonne–has plunged in the ratings, but that’s another story.) Trends in gaming have been moving steadily away from my tastes for some time now and the Geek 100 (largely) reflects that. So here’s my list of top-rated games I’ve never played (and probably never will play):
- Gloomhaven (1)
- Twilight Imperium 4th Edition (5)
- Star Wars: Rebellion (8)
- War of the Ring 2nd Ediiton (12)
- Arkham Horror: The Card Game (19)
- Viticulture Essential Edition (21)
- The 7th Continent (23)
- Mage Knight Board Game (25)
- Nemesis (30)
- Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition (31)
Perhaps more to the point, there’s only about 40% of the games in the top 100 that I would be willing to play. And I bet that’s more than a bunch of our other writers!
Joe Huber: I must admit to being amazed how far down folks are having to go to find ten games they haven’t played. The tenth-highest ranked game I haven’t played is War of the Ring (2nd edition), which is currently the 12th highest ranked game. And the two games I have played – Terraforming Mars and Twilight Struggle – I’ve only played once each, and have no expectation of playing again. Once my tastes aligned fairly well with BGG; they’ve drifted further and further apart over time. But to be honest, while I noticed this drift long ago, it’s never bothered me; I expect, given enough time, there will be nothing left on the top 100 that I’ve played.
Talia Rosen: I haven’t looked at the BGG Top 100 in surprisingly long, and I do find myself oddly missing the days of Princes of Florence, Tigris & Euphrates, Ra, El Grande, and Die Macher being in the top ten. And that’s not because I solely enjoy peaceful German-style games… given that Nexus Ops and War of the Ring are two of my all-time favorites. I guess I’m just surprised how many games in the Top 100 I don’t recognize. The first three that I haven’t played are games I do recognize, but have chosen not to play. Once upon a time, I’d want to try everything at least once, but now I’ve learned that I would rather play an old favorite for the 50th or hopefully 100th time than try something new that I expect not to like. Case in point, Gaia Project (#7), Arkham Horror: The Card Game (#19), and A Feast for Odin (#22). I’ve played Terra Mystica, original Arkham Horror, and prior Uwe games like Ora et Labora, and none of them were enjoyable at all for me. So these three seem like no brainers to pass on.
Then there are a bunch of games I’ve surprisingly never heard of… and I thought I followed these things closely! Those include The 7th Continent (#23), Nemesis (#30), Kingdom Death: Monster (#35), Mechs vs. Minions (#38), and Everdell (#40). The other two games, which I skipped over in the previous sentence, are Food Chain Magnate, which I want to try because… Splotter, and also Blood Rage, which I want to try as well because… Eric Lang! So I guess the answer is that I only have to go down to rank 40 to find ten games that I have not tried, which includes 3 games that are intentional passes, 5 games that I’ve never heard of, and 2 games that I actually want to try. Then again, I’d probably be pretty happy just sticking to Stephenson’s Rocket, Lowenherz, Imperial, Java, San Marco, Galaxy Trucker, and a bunch of other older games that really should be in the Top 100.
Fraser: What Talia said about the top 10 from ye olden days! I clearly haven’t looked at the BGG top 100 for a while and I don’t have to go down very far to find 10 unplayed. I’m sure I looked at the top 100 a few years ago and had played most of them, this no longer is true.
- Gloomhaven (maybe some day)
- Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 (again maybe some day)
- Twilight Imperium 4 (or 3 or 2 or 1 for that matter. I would probably like it, just need the group and the day)
- Gaia Project (maybe some day, I have play Terra Mystica)
- Star Wars Rebellion (no real opinion)
- Scythe (maybe some day, Melissa bought it for research)
- War of the Ring (any edition, never really had the urge)
- Spirit Island (I only recently heard of this and don’t know anything about it)
- Arkham Horror: The Card Game (I have Mythos, I have the original Arkham Horror game and I play Call of Cthulhu, this one is not entirely likely)
- 7th Continent (I don’t really know anything about it).
Mark Jackson: Like others who’ve been in the hobby a good while (I played the original Squad Leader before it had any expansions and/or ASL), the BGG 100 has drifted away from me a bit.
Here’s the 10 highest rated games I haven’t played
- Gloomhaven (yes, I know – as much as I love fantasy gaming & dungeon crawls, I should have tried it by now… but we have so many other games in that genre that I enjoy and I don’t want something to suck up all my gaming time)
- Brass: Birmingham or Brass: Lancashire (not interested in the slightest… while I really like some of Martin Wallace’s newer designs, his economic stuff leaves me cold)
- Twilight Imperium: Fourth Edition (I think what I played years ago was 2nd edition… and once for that massive exercise in downtime was more than enough)
- Gaia Project (I’d try this – I enjoyed my one play of Terra Mystica and I usually enjoy sci-fi themes – but it’s too think-y for my boys or my regular group)
- Great Western Trail (this is on my “need to try” list)
- War of the Ring: Second Edition (Big, long 2 player games – particularly wargames – don’t end up getting played in my home… but as a longtime LotR fan, I’ll admit to interest in this)
- Spirit Island (a read-through of the rules shooed me away… complicated cooperatives do not generally mean fun with my group)
- Arkham Horror: The Card Game (don’t generally like horror games or themes, though there are exceptions… and we already are in too deep on 3 other LCGs)
- Wingspan (the theme doesn’t interest me – though the game is very attractive)
Yep… this means I haven’t played half of the top twenty games on BGG.
Greg S: As with Larry and Joe, I am quickly fading into irrelevancy regarding the taste of those who frequent BGG. I still lean heavily towards the traditional Euro-style games. Games with flashy miniatures, Star Wars or space themes, fantasy themes, etc … those do not interest me much at all. So, I was not surprised when surveying the Top 100 rated games on BGG that I have not played 25% of those listed. Since I have somewhat abandoned the “cult of the new” club, I know that this percentage will likely increase significantly as the years progress onward.
The Top 10 rated games I have NOT played (and likely never will) are:
- Brass: Birmingham
- Twilight Imperium 4th edition (I did play the 1st and 3rd editions)
- Gaia Project
- Star Wars Rebellion
- War of the Ring 2nd edition (I did play the 1st edition)
- Brass: Lancashire
- Viticulture Essential edition (I did play the 1st edition)
- 7th Continent
- Food Chain Magnate
Craig M: Color me irrelevant too with respect to the BGG crowd. I do tend to try a lot of games once so there is a whole lotta games in the top 100 that I’ve given a try and won’t revisit, but that is a list for another time. Here is the top ten from the top 100 rated games on BGG that I have avoided and in all likelihood will continue to do so.
- Pandemic Legacy Season 1 – Did not enjoy Pandemic and do not tend to enjoy co-ops. Combine this with the legacy feature and this is a hard pass.
- Twilight Imperium 4th Edition – I’ve never played any of the editions. Maybe long ago this might have piqued my interest, but not anymore.
- Spirit Island – Another co-op. Pass
- Arkham Horror The Card Game – Not a fan of the Arkham horror theme despite giving Mansions of Madness a go.
- The 7th Continent – More co-op
- Nemesis – Love the theme. Co-op
- Blood Rage – Meh
- Root – More meh, though I can imagine trying this at some point.
- Pandemic Legacy Season 2 – See above
- Mechs vs. Minions – More co-op and the theme doesn’t inspire either.
Of these ten games, the only one that is highly likely to get played is Nemesis, but that is largely because several in my group love it and I’m pretty sure I’d really enjoy the experience. I’m having a hard time imagining giving any of the rest a try. Missing the top ten of the days of yore too!
I am new to the group, but I am more than happy to play the “cult of the new.” That being said, it seems like a majority of my Top 10 not played games are similar to the above writers. One of my goals is to at least get a play in as many of BGG’s top 100 games whenever possible to see if they live up to the hype.
My top 10 not played are:
- Pandemic Legacy Season 1. BGG rank #2. Do I want to play it? Yes. Will I? At some point when the price and group are right. Pandemic is my wife’s most taught game. (She used it for dealing with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury as a psychologist) and we both enjoy the base game. This is most likely to be added to my collection once I establish a new gaming group.
- Brass Birmingham. BGG rank #3. Do I want to play it? Yes and would be happy to try it if it came to the table.
- Twilight Imperium. BGG rank #5. Do I want to play it? Not really. I like to keep my games under 2-3 hours if possible, unless playing a full day of Diplomacy, which is more of an event than a game.
- Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization. BGG rank #6. This is the point that I realize I haven’t played that many of the top games on BGG’s top 10….Do I want to play it? Yes. Will I? It’s not something on my “want to buy” list, but I would be more than happy to sit down and play.
- Gaia Project. BGG rank #7. Do I want to play it? I’ve played Terra Mystica, so if it’s basically the same game but reimplemented, I’m happy to give it a go, but don’t need to.
- Star Wars Rebellion. BGG rank #8. Do I want to play it? Yes. I like the Star Wars games. I own Imperial Assault. This, again, is not something on my “want to buy” list but I would be more than happy to kill an afternoon attempting to snuff out those Rebel scum.
- Twilight Struggle. BGG rank #9. Do I want to play it? Yes. It was sitting on the #1 spot on BGG for several years and I’d love to give it a go. Do I want to own it? Not particularly. I don’t own a lot of 2 player games, unless my wife specifically wants them.
- Scythe. BGG rank #11. Do I want to play? Sure. If it came to the table. Is it something I want to own? Not particularly.
- War of the Ring. BGG rank #12. Do I want to play it? Yes. I’d like to try it out. Do I want to own it? No. It’s not something that I feel would make it to the table too often.
- Spirit Island. BGG rank #13. Do I want to play it? Yes. This looks like a lot of fun and I’d love to give it a go. This may be #1 on my list of most wanting to try.
Now you may be looking at this list and thinking, “He hasn’t played 10 of the top 13 games on BGG’s top 100?!? Does he even play games? I have played 8 of the next 10 (#14-23) on BGG’s top 100. Just obviously not a bunch in the current top 13.