What I love most about board games is their creative problem solving aspect. I really enjoy being presented with a challenge and attempting to come up with unique and interesting ways to overcome it. When I was initially introduced to Euro games I was most interested in exploring the game space - what crazy strategies could I come up with that were still viable? I still enjoy this in games, but the real attraction these days is player interaction - being forced to constantly reevaluate and retool as your strategy comes into contact with the strategies of other players.
I find this most commonly in heavier-weight economic games and as such those games are my primary preference, though I will generally play almost anything. The things that annoy me:
- unequal, direct, player conflict
- games of chicken
- luck that is too significant for the length of the game
Multiplayer, direct conflict games in particular tend to degrade to the same base level of meta-game diplomacy which I find tiresome. If I ever find myself desiring some direct conflict I need only turn to my second love, 2-player wargames. A note on how I rate games:
I figure there are only two reasons to rate games. One, is to help others find good games and, two, is to let others gauge my tastes by how much I've enjoyed a particular title. I can't account for the tastes of others so the best I can do is rate for myself. Given my current experience and taste, I rate games as if leaving a message for myself as to how much I'll enjoy the best 10-20 hours of play time were I to discover it new again. If I get that much quality time out of a game, I consider it money well spent. Favorites ought to have many more hours than that, but it's really just a bonus.
Also, some games increase in enjoyment with every play, some start out strong and drop off rapidly, and some just sort of hold steady forever. I value something much more that I rated an 8 for 10 hours but then dropped to a 5 because it was just too repetitive than I do something that was consistently a 6 until the end of my days. So that's why I rate the way I do and why you'll see a games I'm completely burnt out on still rated highly.
I'm also now using new proposed scale:
10: Outstanding game. One of my all-time personal favorites.
9: Excellent game. Always a pleasure to play. Shines under most circumstances.
8: Very good game. Rarely disappoints me. High on my request/recommend list.
7: Good game. Usually willing to play. I might even request or recommend it.
6: OK game. Some fun or challenge at least. Enjoyable in the right circumstances.
5: Average game. I'm indifferent, but may be willing to play.
4: Below average game. I avoid playing and would need to be persuaded.
3: Poor game. Will strongly resist playing.
2: Very poor game. I refuse to play this.
1: Dead game. Seriously negative entertainment value. Black Hole of Fun.
My top 10 don't reflect this. They're simply the games I love the most over the long term. I've decided I need a "regular" top ten, a "fun" top 10, and a wargame top 10 since I find very little overlap in situations where they might get played.
The regular top 10
6.Race for the Galaxy
The fun top 10
6.Toc Toc Wood Man
The wargame top 10
3.Paths of Glory
4.Unhappy King Charles
8.War of the Ring
My hot 10: Well, I've given up on using it for any practical purpose. Games I'm hot on change so often, it's too annoying to update.