Starting off the top 10 -- #10, Founding Fathers
A while back, when I decided to start looking at new games, I read about a game called 1960: The Making of the President here on BGG. I loved election games growing up so I figured it was an easy buy. As it turns out, it's a game that really opened my eyes to CDGs. I introduced Jen to it and she enjoys it too (except she hasn't won yet). I talked to my dad about CDGs and he showed me Twilight Struggle. After playing TS, and hearing that the designer was putting out some new games I was intrigued. The first game is one I'll talk about a little later. The game I was really looking forward to was a game that was going to be designed for 3-5 players and based on the Constitution.
I waited a long time for Founding Fathers to come out. I had never pre-ordered a game before, but I had enough faith in the designer that I had no problem ordering it when it became available. I waited and waited - finally the day came when the package arrived. I don't think I was ever as excited to see a game as I was to see this one.
When it came, I opened it right up and got to work applying the stickers to the blocks. After that, I attempted to read the rules. Since reading rules isn't my thing, I was surprised at how easy the rules were to get through. At first I was intimidated, but after seeing how much of the rulebook was rules vs. history I felt a little more at ease.
As it turns out, I had to wait until WBC 2010 to actually play Founding Fathers. I was able to meet up with a gaming friend who lives near my old hometown and he explained the game to a group of us. My first game was a usual first game of anything for me. I wanted to get the system down. I learned the mechanics of what I was doing, sometimes without knowing what the best move would be. I played a few more games at WBC and started picking it up a little more.
I was able to teach some other people how to play and many of them really enjoyed it. For me, it's actually really cool being able to teach someone how to play a new game. Mainly because I usually struggle so much with rulebooks, that being able to teach someone else makes me feel useful at the table. Although, the last time I played, the fact that I was the only one who knew the game kinda made me a target. Everyone thought I was making "smart" moves. I finished 3rd in that one.
I read some great news recently. Founding Fathers is going to be introduced onto the Yucata system. I was pumped and the waiting game for the online version is almost as rough as waiting for the game itself was. I'm sure it'll be well worth it when it finally hits.
What I really like - there are a lot of little things you need to keep track of. I like that the options you have (vote yes, vote no, debate) all tie in together so well. When you add in the committee room and how that works -- the entire mechanism is really impressive.
I think the card design is outstanding. I think having the double-sided effect of knowing what state and faction each card is brings something new to the game. It does though, give an advantage to some players who may know what the most powerful cards are and what state/faction to look for.
What's maybe not to like - I liked Twilight Struggle for what it was. I think it's a "heavy" game, but I think if I played it enough that it would probably find it's way to my top 20. It's the #1 game here for a reason. Lots of players like it. Well, I think Founding Fathers is a medium weight game, so if someone wanted a heavy game like TS they may be disappointed. (I was not).
I can see someone who is really into theme being a little put off since Founding Fathers has a great theme, but it's not really a theme that is integral to the playing of the game. If the players really get into the theme, it works great. If they don't, the game still plays well. I'm not a stickler for theme, although I will get into it if it makes for a more fun game.
With more play (read: online) this is a game that I can see climbing up into the top 6. The top 5 may be a tough nut to crack, but who knows. As it stands, a top ten game that I've only been able to play 5 times is saying something.