Chad's Top 100 Games as of March 2018
Chad Jacobson

Omaha
Nebraska - NE
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This is a list to create a snapshot of my favorite games as of 2018. I made one of these last year and when I looked at it nearly exactly a year later, I was shaking my head quite a bit. So like I said these are the games I want to play right now. I could say that I don't expect the ones at the top to change, but that would be a lie. The list was compiled in part using Pub Meeple's ranking engine. You can certainly spot my tastes and proclivities on here. For example: I usually hate mean games, games that break things opponents have made. However, I am nothing if not full of contradictions, so you may be surprised at some of the games included with that in mind. But if you like this list, please check out my podcast, Punchboard Paradise Podcast, I create with two other more talented and interesting gamers at Guild 3227. Thanks for checking this out. I welcome your feedback. Here's a link to our third episode regarding variable player powers wherein we draft our favorite games that implement player powers and discuss the nature of the mechanism: Listen Here

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1. Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:783]
Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game
Chad Jacobson

Omaha
Nebraska - NE
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100.
This is the biggest table hog for a card game that I can think of off the top of my head. The only reason this makes the list is because it allows me to play Castles of Burgundy as a solo game. I am not a solo gamer, but I don't mind the cards and set up of this one for what ever reason. Yes, I do miss the tile laying here, but the combos of actions and dice manipulation and drafting were really always the best part. This has a place on my list just because it is one of the few games that gets me excited to play a solo game.
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2. Board Game: Biblios [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:385]
Board Game: Biblios
Chad Jacobson

Omaha
Nebraska - NE
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99.
A simple card game, I know, but I still really enjoy the simplicity of design here. There are two wonderful distinct phases in this game: the first one of set collection/drafting and the second part which is an auction. Both work equally slick. Just a great little game to put in your pocket to teach friends what modern games can do. It does seem heretical to have dice that don't get rolled though...
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3. Board Game: The Oracle of Delphi [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:595]
Board Game: The Oracle of Delphi
Chad Jacobson

Omaha
Nebraska - NE
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98.
Oracle, first of the big box Felds on this list. This one is unlike most other Felds. No point salad here. Just get it all done as fast as you can. It isn't always perfect, and it has it's problems including a runaway leader and a few boat powers that at least appear much more powerful. But the dice manipulation is the star here. Rolling those dice and trying to find worthwhile things to do is the hook for me. Oracle has much more theme than most Felds, but the ho hum pick up and deliver brings this back down to earth as well. I consider this a Feld for gamers who don't like Feld.
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4. Board Game: Akrotiri [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:747]
Board Game: Akrotiri
Chad Jacobson

Omaha
Nebraska - NE
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97.
Akrotiri is a fantastic little two player game that is the exception to my rule: I don't much care for pick up and deliver. But that aspect is so fast in this game. You can pick up and are zooming across the tiles so quickly that it really doesn't feel like a major mechanism within the game. The spatial element is what kills me here and melts my brain. Trying to place your tiles you draw out on the board so as to set up your perfect treasure map before you dig for it makes my eyes cross sometimes. But it is a great little game that really starts rolling with compounding actions the further you go along in the game.
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5. Board Game: Colt Express [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:414] [Average Rating:7.11 Unranked]
Board Game: Colt Express
Chad Jacobson

Omaha
Nebraska - NE
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96.
This game is all about family memories. Playing this with my son and wife has brought us hours of great laughs. It is chaotic with the programming aspect, but I find it much less so at 3 than at 6. We have both expansions and haven't even played with the second one yet. It's a quick game with plenty of opportunities for story telling and just writing about it makes me smile.
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6. Board Game: Gentes [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:733]
Board Game: Gentes
Chad Jacobson

Omaha
Nebraska - NE
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95.
This one is very, very new. But as soon as I get my copy, it will shoot up the list. Collecting cards for scoring and trying to fit the ones you need with the right symbols is enjoyable. But the time/action track on your player board is. Where. It's. At. Certain actions fill up your board with hour glasses, some single and some double. Taking the double hour glasses fill up your board and leave a time to stay on for next round leaving you with less actions in the future. How badly do you need that action with the two hour glasses? Ask yourself. Then fast forward to next round as you turn red in the face staring at a filled up time track just willing one of those hourglasses to disappear so you can have just ONE MORE ACTION!
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7. Board Game: Steampunk Rally [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:582] [Average Rating:7.21 Unranked]
Board Game: Steampunk Rally
Chad Jacobson

Omaha
Nebraska - NE
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94.
Hooray for LITERAL engine building! What a fun race game. So many things to like here. Choose an actual historical inventor and enjoy the unique player power their machine gives you. Laugh as you set out bumps in the road for your opponents so that their machine suddenly collapses leaving them bouncing down the road on their butts. Quietly hold your breath as karma teaches you a lesson.
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8. Board Game: Istanbul [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:129]
Board Game: Istanbul
Chad Jacobson

Omaha
Nebraska - NE
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93.
Okay, you got me. Two pick up and deliver in the first ten! I've never played without the Mocha and Baksheesh expansion and I don't plan to anytime soon. This is a smart, quick little race game that I enjoy when want a bit of a lighter game. Trying to optimize your route while picking up special powers and expanding your cart along the way is a great way to spend 30-40 minutes. That said, no way this beat out Concordia and Roccoco for the Kennerspiel.
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9. Board Game: Shipyard [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:617]
Board Game: Shipyard
Chad Jacobson

Omaha
Nebraska - NE
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92.
Gameplay is unassailable in its awesomeness. The combination of strategy and tactics in a four player game of this is chocolate and peanut butter delicious. But this almost left my collection. Why, you say?!
Fid-duh-leeee!
Seriously, every little refill each round and 24 stacks on the rondels and so on and so on. This game is a pile of chit(s). But I love roundels and as the folks at Heavy Cardboard would say, "Hey,dog. I heard you like roundels with your roundel."
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10. Board Game: Karuba [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:482]
Board Game: Karuba
Chad Jacobson

Omaha
Nebraska - NE
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91.
Yes, it's much lighter than a lot of the fare on here. But here's the thing about Rudiger Dorn: most of his games won't make my top 50. But I respect the heck out of his designs. I can teach this to total newbies in 3 minutes and we're all grunting and puzzling over our board right away. Then it's over in 20-30 minutes and we've all had a great time. Great, light gateway type of game.
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11. Board Game: AquaSphere [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:494]
Board Game: AquaSphere
Chad Jacobson

Omaha
Nebraska - NE
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90.
Another somewhat lesser Feld, Aquasphere is still enjoyable to figure out your way around it's programmed movement mechanism. The other tweak is the catch up mechanism that requires you spend jewels to move up the score track past certain areas. But dealing with the octopods also squeezes you in just the right ways. I'm not always in the mood for this one, but when I am it hits the spot.
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12. Board Game: Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:71]
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Chad Jacobson

Omaha
Nebraska - NE
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89.
I've cooled on this one in recent months a bit, but it still remains a great family game for us. I'll admit I wasn't happy when they overhauled it to Clank in Space and seemed to "fix" some of the problems a mere 18 months after the initial release. Nonetheless, with another new expansion out for the original Clank, it looks like they will continue to support this one. Points go to this one for the cube drawing mechanism that does the best job of mimicking a stand up dice roll. This tense event either leaves the player wiping sweat from her brow or screaming "Por que?!" at the heavens.
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13. Board Game: Dominant Species [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:75]
Board Game: Dominant Species
Chad Jacobson

Omaha
Nebraska - NE
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88.
Worker placement, so of course I love it. But it's way down on the list because as many have said it's a wargame disguised as a Euro game. And sometimes it makes me cry. The variable player powers, the way the actions are resolved and the area control aspect are dee-licious. But those mean, mean cards... And sometimes I even enjoy them. But that's mostly when I'm using them on someone else. Play one that obliterates almost all of your opponents species and then smile, moving next to them to better drink their tears.
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14. Board Game: Glen More [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:380]
Board Game: Glen More
Chad Jacobson

Omaha
Nebraska - NE
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87.
Alright, I haven't played my copy of Kraftwagen yet okay? But I still quite like Glen More. The Egizia-like movement and tile buying mechanism is beguiling as it is in so many that include it in games. But it stands out due to the tile placement rules and the tight rules for scoring in which you score points for the amount you have OVER the player who had the fewest. And then you lose three points at the end for every tile in your tableau OVER the player who had the fewest tiles. Components are crap from Alea, but I love the mechanisms here.
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15. Board Game: Nations [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:166]
Board Game: Nations
Chad Jacobson

Omaha
Nebraska - NE
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86.
First off, I haven't yet played Through the Ages because someone in my group does not care for it. I will eventually because I like Chvatil games much more than he does (spoiler!). I haven't had a lot of plays of this because that same guy in our group has played it probably over 50 times. But there are lots of things to love here. The expansion with lots of other countries drastically opens up the variability. The amount of cards ensures you aren't seeing all the cards every game which, for me, is a bonus. I really like that you can scale starting resources to nerf your play when teaching new players too.
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16. Board Game: The Pillars of the Earth [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:312]
Board Game: The Pillars of the Earth
Chad Jacobson

Omaha
Nebraska - NE
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85.
This was a very early purchase for me when getting back into board games and even at that time, I had to hunt to find a reasonably priced copy. But I got it because my wife loves the IP. That's not what's fantastic about it though. It plays best at four because that Master Builder draw out of a bag every turn while you manage your money and decide how badly you want those cards is innovative and thrilling. Every time I play the game, I marvel at how great the decisions are for this one despite it being a light game. This one deserves to be back in print, and I'm so happy more people can play it now.
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17. Board Game: Village [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:168]
Board Game: Village
Chad Jacobson

Omaha
Nebraska - NE
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84.
Based on theme, I expected to like this even more before I played it. However, I haven't really run into a Inka and Markus Brand title I didn't like. I play with both expansions because the Village inn expansion adds more opportunities for storytelling within the game and the Port expansion makes travel more interesting. Giving each person in your family an obituary is mandatory in my version of the game. This is a great riff on worker place though, and you owe it to yourself to give it a spin.
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18. Board Game: The Godfather: Corleone's Empire [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:349]
Board Game: The Godfather: Corleone's Empire
Chad Jacobson

Omaha
Nebraska - NE
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83.
Godfather disappointed me at first in that it had very little to do with the IP. However, I quickly recovered and reveled in an Eric Lang design that was actually my cup of tea. Except for the art. The same bland design on each job card is unforgivable. The worker placement is part of what draws me in, but I do love going around the table and messing with each other while trying to set myself up for various area control spots. Do you slow play putting your guys out and risk not getting the actions you need in order to be able to lock down more spots later and get some jobs done or do you move quick to stake your territory? This might be even better with more variety in the special characters you can bid on each round and even more varied jobs. Expansion?
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19. Board Game: Hawaii [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:787]
Board Game: Hawaii
Chad Jacobson

Omaha
Nebraska - NE
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82.
Poor Hawaii. Often maligned by Tom Vasel as a dry math exercise, this game is quite charming to me. 3 separate resources to manage and balance, traveling to get to certain worker placement spots, and the tile placement of your little village or going for boats are all things this game has going for it. One detractor: Fiddly upkeep between rounds is really a bummer. But it's charms outweigh this, and I'll always go back to Hawaii.
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20. Board Game: Amerigo [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:391]
Board Game: Amerigo
Chad Jacobson

Omaha
Nebraska - NE
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81.
Amerigo, plenty of point salad here. The big mechanism in focus here is the cube tower. This tower adds randomness by throwing action cubes down to see what gets stuck and what comes out. Many complain that too much comes out, and I can understand this. But I've found there is a fix for this. But turning the platforms inside upside down this tends to hold the cubes better. In addition, there is a certain technique for throwing that Rahdo seems to use in his run through of the game that keeps all the cubes from appearing at the bottom. Even with that this is not the tightest of games. But that is still okay with me. Your job is to make sure you do better than your opponent. And building your islands along with smartly collecting your export goods can be very satisfying.
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21. Board Game: Millennium Blades [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:364]
Board Game: Millennium Blades
Chad Jacobson

Omaha
Nebraska - NE
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80.
MB makes me sad. I really love this game. No one in my group does. WHY? How can you not enjoy a CCG simulator complete with real time card buying and trading phases? One of my very favorite things in games is finding combos and exploiting them. One of my other very favorite things is a good card game. This has all of it and more. Variable player powers (you play as a famous tournament player) and creating a binder of cards for valuable set collection. And the amount of cards in the game is unbelievable creating a different experience almost every time. I thrive on the joy of frantically buying and trading the cards only discover an amazing combo halfway through the tournament phase. The biggest drawback is the setup and tear down of this game because multiple different decks make up the store deck to be used each game. Sometimes I just leave it together and play multiple games with the same decks. MB isn't everyone's cup of tea, but you owe it to yourself to find out what the fuss is all about.
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22. Board Game: La Granja [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:178]
Board Game: La Granja
Chad Jacobson

Omaha
Nebraska - NE
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79.
Dukes of Dice calls this a FrankenFeld. It is made from the bones of a few other Feld games with a bit of hair and skin from Chudyk and Rosenberg. But the Feld part of the game is my least favorite. There is an area control mechanism that is copped directly from the Feld game, Luna which interests me not at all. But the dice drafting is one of the best examples of that particular mechanism. My true love is the multi-use Chudyk cards. Tuck them into various parts of your player board to use them in different ways: for their special power every round; their resources or as an order to be filled. Just thinking about that part of the game makes me giddy. The rest of it brings it back to earth and makes it feel a bit bolted together. But I'll always play if you give me a handful of those wonderful cards.
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23. Board Game: Burano [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:2561]
Board Game: Burano
Chad Jacobson

Omaha
Nebraska - NE
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78.
Burano is another FrankenFeld that is somehow a bit less than the sum of its parts. But fortunately, there are some REALLY good parts, the best of these being the action cube pyramid you have to build each round. I cannot deny that it is AP inducing, but it reminds me of the mancala mechanism in Trajan that is oh so seductive. And speaking of seductive, once you start building the town out of the colorful action cubes, you've got an extremely eye catching game.
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24. Board Game: Panamax [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:668]
Board Game: Panamax
Chad Jacobson

Omaha
Nebraska - NE
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77.
Panamax, a shining example of interaction in a Euro game. I need to get my boats out of the canals, but should I push your boat through also? Why didn't I plan ahead and put my boat out in front and let you do my work for me? Shipping, the puzzle game! I don't have many plays under my belt, but some of the secret goal cards seem way more powerful than others. Regardless, I really enjoy the stock aspects and dice drafting.
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25. Board Game: San Juan (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:345]
Board Game: San Juan (Second Edition)
Chad Jacobson

Omaha
Nebraska - NE
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76.
Adore this game. It is a perfect school night game that I love playing with my wife. I am usually loathe to play board games on an electronic platform, but my wife and I will often do pass and play on the ipad when a table is neither available or practical. By now you now how I feel about multi-use cards, and this is one of the more elegant implementations.
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