100 Games for the Aspiring Board Game Cafe (Part I: #100 to #76)

Gaming cafes are becoming more common. I’m from Kansas City, and a few years ago, our region’s first one (Pawn and Pint) opened. A few others have followed, with varying degrees of amenities. I had no experience with game cafes before that, but in the past few years, I’ve made a point of stopping at quite a few, including what is arguably the most famous one, Snakes and Lattes in Toronto.  

For the uninitiated, a gaming cafe usually serves food and drink. Some are more like coffee shops; some are more like bars. But one component all of them I’ve been to has in common is a game library, consisting of several hundred titles that guests can check out and play with their friends.  In my experience, a game cafe is a great place to meet up with friends, and the game library is a great way to try new games.  

A friend of mine is opening a game cafe soon, and he asked me for a list of about 100 games that I thought should be included. I could have easily listed a hundred games on my own, but I thought getting votes from all of the OG-ers would have been a more interesting exercise.

Today’s article is sort of an extended part of our “10 Great” series, which features 10 great games in a given subcategory.  I pick a mechanic, theme, publisher, etc.  In this case, I picked as a theme the 100 games we’d recommend that a game cafe stock in their library.  We here at the Opinionated Gamers then all vote behind the scenes to create a list that meets the criteria. 

This series is being split into four parts. Part I includes games 76-100 on the list.  Part II, publishing Wednesday, includes games 51-75. Part III, publishing Thursday, includes games 26-50. And Part IV, publishing Friday, includes the top 25, plus comments from the OG-er on the list in general.

The Methodology

For purposes of this project, I simply asked everybody to vote for 20 games that they’d recommend.  I was intentionally vague, not providing much instruction beyond that, though I did say one-time use games (like many legacy games) would be a bad idea to include. 

Anybody could add to the list assuming they were going to vote for it.  Each member of the OG was offered the chance to vote for up to 20 games, and they could give one game 25 points, one game 24 points, all the way down to giving one 6 points.  OGers could then give 5 points to any and all games that they also thought were good recommendations.  We all put our votes into a spreadsheet.  We then added up the points for each game and picked the top 100.  

We had 16 OG-ers vote, and 116 different games received votes.  I’ll admit that I was a bit surprised by how few games we had, but from our behind-the-scenes discussion, it seems that we feel there are a lot of staples that we’d all expect to see.

To get on the list took a minimum of three writers voting for the game.  That wasn’t a rule, but rather how the breakdown naturally worked out. There’s actually great consensus towards the top of our list, although in today’s entries, you’ll see that there are a lot of ties.

In this series you’ll see designations for gold, silver, and bronze.  Those represent the number of voters that put a given game in the #1, #2, and #3 spot, respectively.  No such game today received any of those designations.  

As you’ll see, there were a number of ties below, including an 11-way tie for #96.  That’s because, as alluded to above, there was great consensus towards the top of our list.  

#96 (Eleven Way Tie) – 15 Points Each

  • Age of Steam
  • Betrayal at House on the Hill
  • Concept
  • Formula De
  • Gulo Gulo
  • Pickomino
  • Princes of Florence
  • Railroad Ink
  • Spirit Island
  • The Captain is Dead
  • Next Station London

#94 (Two Way Tie) – 16 Points Each

  • Cards Against Humanity
  • Pyschic Pizza Deliverers Go to the Ghost Town

#93 – 17 Points

  • Res Arcana

#86 (Seven Way Tie) – 20 Points

  • Decrypto
  • FITS
  • Orleans
  • Skull
  • Tigris & Euphrates
  • Tikal
  • Tzolkin

#84 (Two Way Tie) – 21 Points

  • Cartagena
  • Santorini

#83 – 22 Points

  • Suburbia

#82 – 23 Points

  • Castles of Mad King Ludwig

#78 (Four Way Tie) – 24 Points

  • Coconuts
  • Dune Imperium
  • Great Western Trail
  • Tokaido

#75 (Three Way Tie) – 25 Points

  • Ark Nova
  • Rummikub
  • Seasons

Past Articles in the 10 Great Series:

10 Great Worker Placement Games

10 Great Games by Reiner Knizia

10 Great Roll ‘n Writes

10 Great Ticket to Ride Maps

10 Great Games of the 2010s

10 Great 2-Player Games

10 Great Card Games

10 Great Deduction Games

10 Great Animal Games

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