Here at the Opinionated Gamers, we love our new and shiny games. But we also have plenty of older favorites. Even some that are–dare we say it?–more than 10 years old! So let’s see what we think are the best of those golden oldies.
Today’s article is part of our “10 Great” series that features 10 great games in a given subcategory. A mechanic, theme, publisher, etc., is chosen and we all vote behind the scenes to create a list of 10 great games that meet the criteria. In this instance, we all voted for our favorite games published between the years 2000 and 2009.
Each OG writer was given the chance to vote for up to 10 games. Their top choice was worth 15 points, second place was worth 14 points, and so on, all the way down to the tenth pick, which was worth 6 points. Voters also indicated whether or not they had played each of the listed games. All of the points were tallied up and our top picks made the article.
For this election, 20 OGers made selections and 59 different games got at least one vote.
In the summary of the results, there are references to Gold, Silver, and Bronze votes. These represent the number of voters who made that game their first, second, or third choice, respectively.
So let’s see what our favorite games from the 00’s are!
These are the games that just missed the list, finishing between 11th and 15th place.
15. Brass: Lancashire – 42 points, 4 votes (1 Silver)
14. Race for the Galaxy – 50 points, 4 votes (3 Bronze)
13. Traumfabrik – 51 points, 5 votes (1 Silver, 1 Bronze)
12. Heroscape – 52 points, 4 votes (1 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze)
11. Web of Power – 62 points, 5 votes (3 Gold)
Our Ten Favorites from the 00’s
#10 – Through the Ages
66 points, 5 votes (1 Gold, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze)
Designed by Vlaada Chvátil
The game that put both Chvátil and the Czech Republic on the gaming map is still highly regarded as one of the great “Civ Lite” designs. Only 5 OGers voted for it, but they all put it very high on their lists.
#9 – Carcassonne
72 points, 7 votes (1 Gold, 1 Bronze)
Designed by Klaus-Jürgen Wrede
This remains one of the world’s best Gateway games and got solid support from the OG voters.
#8 – The Princes of Florence
79 points, 7 votes (2 Silver, 1 Bronze)
Designed by Wolfgang Kramer and Richard Ulrich
This all-time classic from Alea continues to be one of the Opinionated Gamers’ most beloved games.
#7 – Pandemic
91 points, 9 votes (1 Silver)
Designed by Matt Leacock
This is the game that truly popularized cooperative boardgaming and which, needless to say, is more topical today than ever.
#6 – Age of Steam (all varieties)
109 points, 10 votes (1 Gold, 2 Silver)
Designed by Martin Wallace
Wallace’s highly successful attempt to make 18xx-style gaming more accessible, Age of Steam and its brethren remain extremely popular. Because of the, shall we say, complex history of this design, we also included all of the succeeding versions of this game, including Railroad Tycoon, Steam, and Railways of the World.
#5 – Puerto Rico
118 points, 9 votes (2 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze)
Designed by Andreas Seyfarth
This seminal design spent more than 6 consecutive years as the Geek’s number 1 game. 8 of the 9 voters placed this at least as high as fourth in their lists, so those that like it really like it!
#4 – Dominion
123 points, 11 votes (1 Gold, 2 Bronze)
Designed by Donald X. Vaccarino
The game that invented deck-building obviously still has a lot of fans. It was also one of only two games that all of our voters had played (Ticket to Ride was the other).
#3 – Power Grid
125 points, 11 votes (1 Gold, 1 Silver, 2 Bronze)
Designed by Friedemann Friese
Friedemann Friese’s finest work finished third, although the Man in Green might have preferred a fourth or fifth place finish.
#2 – Agricola
132 points, 12 votes (4 Gold)
Designed by Uwe Rosenberg
Agricola was the first of Rosenberg’s wildly popular Harvest games and the one that finally toppled Puerto Rico as the Geek’s #1 game. Four of our voters ranked it as their favorite game from the period, more than any other title.
#1 – Ticket to Ride (all varieties)
182 points, 15 votes (3 Gold, 3 Silver, 3 Bronze)
Designed by Alan Moon
Alan Moon’s classic is widely considered the greatest Gateway game ever created. It easily won our election, with an enormous 50 point lead, 15 top 10 votes (3 votes more than any other game), and 9 top three selections (Puerto Rico was next highest with 6). For the purposes of this exercise, we grouped together all of the TtR games from this period, which included the original, Europe, Märklin, Switzerland, Nordic Countries, and the TtR Card Game.
Thoughts from the Opinionated Gamers:
Larry: I think that’s a pretty awesome top 10 that was chosen. Just about all of the great games from the decade are present. You could argue that Twilight Struggle or Caylus belong, but I still think the voters nailed it.
I was a little surprised that Ticket to Ride finished on top and was very surprised by its margin of victory. But it dominated in just about every category. It’s a very convincing victory.
The 00’s have got to be my favorite decade for game releases. Despite that, my picks weren’t that closely aligned with the group’s. My top 5 games were Through the Ages, Puerto Rico, Princes of Florence, Automobile, and Goa, and only the first three made the list. My only other selection that finished in our top 10 was Age of Steam. Still, I’d happily play any of the games from our list.
Mark Jackson: I only had three games in the final top 10… and only Pandemic was in my top five. (My top five were Heroscape, Memoir ‘44, Race for the Galaxy, Dungeon Lords, and the aforementioned Pandemic.)
That said, it’s an excellent list – well, except for that excruciating Age of Steam game. :-)
But there are a lot of great games that I didn’t vote for – the 00s were a great period for gaming!
Talia: Wow, that is a remarkably light selection of games! Only 2 of my top 15 made it onto the list (Age of Steam and Through the Ages), and I’m somewhat astounded to see games like Ticket to Ride, Traumfabrik, and Web of Power make the list. I knew my tastes were diverging more and more from the BGG top-ranked games, but I didn’t realize that some of my least enjoyed games were favorites among the OG as well. The extent to which I do not enjoy Power Grid, Race for the Galaxy, Dominion, and Brass is really not possible to overstate. There are hundreds upon hundreds of games that I’d much rather be playing. It’s also a shame to see incredible classics miss out like Imperial and Galaxy Trucker, not to mention War of the Ring, Antiquity, Twilight Struggle, Java, and San Marco. I’m particularly struck by the absence of Caylus, Hansa Teutonica, and Reef Encounter… all games that seemed like inevitable and obvious choices here. Alas, the old maxim holds true: the key is to find games that you can enjoy with your friends and to find friends with whom you can enjoy your favorite games. I’m just glad I can enjoy Through the Ages and Age of Steam with the OG cohort, and I can find others to indulge my War of the Ring and Antiquity obsessions! I still have trouble understanding people that don’t at least love Imperial and Galaxy Trucker!
Joe Huber: I think Talia is spot-on in some ways; certainly, the heavier games among my favorites didn’t show up among (or close to) the top picks. Of course, most of the lighter games I most enjoy didn’t make it either; Ticket to Ride is the only game on my list to make the top ten, and Race for the Galaxy was the only other game to even make the honorable mention list. For me, the three biggest misses are 1846, Saint Petersburg, and Thebes, each among my favorite games of all time; 1846 missing out was no surprise, but I had expected more support for the other two.
Craig Massey: This is an interesting list and one that I found hard to cast votes for. Honestly, if I voted a second time I could generate a different list with many of the games that Mark and Talia mentioned. What this tells me is the depth of quality of this period is significant. And if I sat down to make an all time favorite games top 20 list, I suspect that the majority of the games on that list would come from this time period, especially the earlier part of the decade.
James Nathan: This was an interesting one for me too, as, heck, there were 3 games in our top 10 which I own, and own multiple expansions for, and yet…I didn’t vote for them because there is such a smorgasbord to choose from! They’re great, but I just love some other things more (such as Thebes that Joe mentions above.) To make this list, the game had to be closer to something like Age of Steam – a game I’d go to a whole convention of. (Who’s going to start Agricola-con and when can I register?) Things I wouldn’t have wagered that I’d be the only one to vote for? Hab & Gut, Notre Dame.
It’s a nice mix of games in the final tally, but also a bit odd for people who might favor heavier games, for example. My list would’ve gone something like …
1. Age of Steam
2. Through the Ages
3. Twilight Struggle
4. War of the Ring
5. Race for the Galaxy
7. Puerto Rico
8. Power Grid
9. Battle Line
10. Struggle of Empires
15. Princes of Florence
#15 is really a tossup between many games I haven’t played in many years!
Nice list, Ravindra. Yeah, even though many OGers like meaty games, I’d say as a whole that the group leans toward more middleweight games. I’m probably at the high end of the heavy game spectrum here, but even I find games like Twilight Struggle and Indonesia a little beyond my capabilities. So I’m not too surprised that our list, overall, trended lighter than yours.
Twilight Struggle just missed making our top 15. Indonesia, Antiquity, and War of the Ring all got reasonable support. So the heavyweights didn’t get ignored, but with so many great games in the decade, it was a tough list to crack and you needed fairly broad support in order to qualify.
Obviously the real scandal here is the lack of Knizia! (with the exception of Traumfabrik in the honourable mentions). His ‘golden age’ certainly extended into the early 2000s with games of the calibre of Battle Line, Taj Mahal, Amun-Re and Blue Moon.
I think it’s a pretty great consensus list overall though. RFTG, Brass and Twilight Struggle would make my personal top ten for sure, along with some more idiosyncratic choices such as Konig von Siam, Santiago, Biblios and Metropolys.
Martin, I agree that Knizia still had a good deal to offer during the 00’s, although after 2000, we started seeing fewer and fewer great games. Amun-Re got good support (it made my top 10 list), but it and Traum were the only RK designs that got more than scattered votes. Medici vs. Strozzi just missed making my list, but even if it had, I figured (accurately) that I would be its only supporter–IMO, it’s never gotten its due as one of Reiner’s best.
I actually feel pretty good. 7 of my top 10 made the list (though Race was only an honorable mention). The three that missed it were Coloretto, Dixit, and and 1846. I wouldn’t have expected ’46 to make it and it appears that no small card games made the list but I was a little surprised not to see Dixit. Did Resistance get any support (that would have been my #11 or #12)?
@Martin, of the Knizias you mentioned, only Taj Mahal came close though I do like Amun-Re and Schotten-Totten (1999).
The only two I strongly disagree with (though I know I’m obviously in the minority) are Pandemic (great but only as a solo) and Power Grid (passable with 3 quick players).
My list was: Race for the Galaxy, Agricola, Through the Ages, 1846, Age of Steam, Ticket to Ride, Puerto Rico, Coloretto, Dixit, Carcassonne (Resistance, Dominion, Chicago Express and Taj Mahal just missing the cut and might have made it on a different day).
Jimmy, of the games you mention, 1846 actually did quite well, but none of the others got any votes.
This is a solid, solid list