Samurai, Tigris, Yellow, Babylonia. Through the Desert, Ingenious, Stephensons Rocket also rock!
Knizia tile laying rules! Samurai is #1, closely followed by the three games with two rivers
Titan: The Arena (1997)
Galaxy: The Dark Ages (2000)
Changes (added material) :
So after the success of the Grand National Derby to Titan:The Arena change by Avalon Hill, GMT might have found it was the good direction the game was heading so additional complexity might be great. There is another theme change here (fantasy to sci-fi) but what matters in this list is that there is added complexity in most rule details and cards. In detail, the most important changes are (quoted from this excellent site, highlighting by myself) :
In TtA, strength cards carry no additional powers beyond their value (...).
In Galaxy, ship cards have their own powers. (...) So in Galaxy, playing a ship on a world in which you are Governor allows you to use both the ship's power and the world's power. Playing a card on a world where you're not Governor still allows you to use the ship's power.
In TtA, once a bet is placed it remains there until the creature is eliminated or the game ends. In Galaxy, a base can move up or down (increase or decrease in value). This can happen through the actions of certain ship powers, through combat versus an undefended base, and through the Spoils of Victory.
In TtA, once a round ends, only the lowest-value card is considered. In Galaxy, once a round ends, the highest value card(s) receives "Spoils of Victory." The controlling player may increase the influence of one base on that world, or decrease the influence of one base on that world.
In TtA combat is abstracted and represented by playing the strength cards. "Combat" as such is only resolved at the end of the round, with the lowest strength creature being removed. In Galaxy (...) Fleet ships (cards with values of 6 through 10) may be used to fight other ship cards in the same row, or an undefended base (a base is undefended if its world has no ship card in the current row). You can only attack if you earn one or more "attack opportunities": that is, if you cover a card with your Fleet ship, or match the value of another Fleet ship, or control the Imperials world and play an Imperials Fleet ship. Attacks are resolved with dice, included in the game.
image by c 5
The ratings strongly suggest the game is not as good as Titan: The Arena. It seems the target group might be different from the usual BGG crowd. Some forum/review quotes might show you the result of the changes:
Galaxy is basically a buy only if:
1) You want a more heavily themed game.
2) You don't mind the game being more random.
3) You don't mind the game being much longer.
4) You don't mind having the game be harder to teach.
I've come to understand just why these changes were made. GMT has a tradition as a "war game" company. The bulk of their customers are traditional war gamers. In order to make the game more appealing to their main customer base, it was felt that more combat and 'attack' features were needed. Perhaps this is a wise business decision, but, in my eyes, the game just doesn't measure up to Titan: The Arena. Verdict: IT DEPENDS/BAD