On My Radar: Birthday Wishlist!!!

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these “On My Radar” entries, but my birthday is coming up (as is Father’s Day), and I wanted to make sure that my wishlist was in order for the occasion. 

So, here are the top 15 games from my wishlist, vaguely in order:

1) Fresco
2) Cyclades
3) Peloppones
4) Dominion: Seaside
5) Dungeon Lords
6) Coloretto
7) Hansa Teutonica
8) Dominion: Alchemy
9) Dominion: Intrigue
10) Opera
11) Stronghold
12) Valdora
13) Municipium
14) Mystery Express
15) Washington’s War

So what do you think?  Have you played these games, and would you recommend them?  I’m especially interested in which Dominion expansion is the best, or at least the best “next” expansion to get after the base game.  And, of course, are there any newish games that I’m totally missing?  What’s your hottest game right now, and why should I want to play it?

————-edit 14 May 2010

Wow!  Thanks for all the responses, everybody!

Based on the feedback I’ve gotten already, it looks like Seaside should still be the first Dominion expansion that I should get.  Hansa Teutonica also needs to move up the chain, because it’s been getting glowing recommendations from everyone who’s played it. 

Any other thoughts specifically about Peloppones, Opera, Dungeon Lords, or Cyclades?


  1. I recently acquired Cyclades and only have a single play in so the jury isn’t out yet but my thoughts are mixed. It certainly was fun marching armies and ships around and calling on the gods and beasts (especially the kraken). My main complaint is there was a ton of potential for kingmaking towards the end and it almost became a group puzzle to see how each person could keep others from winning on their turn. Will need more plays before I make a final call but I think it could be good with the right group. Certainly felt like a Bruno Cathala game.

    Also have Dungeon Lords and am hoping to get another play of it in soon, too. It’s Vlaada’s take on worker placement and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Has the worker placement goodness (with a few twists) combined with the shared suffering (heroes marching through your dungeon) that’s not uncommon in his games. Biggest issue is that it has a lot going on so teaching seems like it might take awhile.

    I start to doze off every time I look at Hansa Teutonica on BGG 😉 The game sounds good but I just can’t get excited about it.

    I have Dominion: Intrigue and have only played it once standalone, not mixed with the base game. Maybe it will be better mixed in but I haven’t even come close to playing Dominion enough to warrant needing more; don’t see myself getting any more stuff for Dominion.

    Homesteaders might be my current hotness. We’ve managed a couple of games now and I really enjoy it. Has the fun auction mechanic from Vegas Showdown/Amun Re/etc. sort of mixed with the engine building of Saint Pete’s and a little worker placement. Really like all the different ways the buildings work together. It also plays quickly although can get pretty mathy towards the end.

  2. Alton

    Chris I see a few games that are on my Radar as well. However, in so far as Dominion goes I see the base game as good as it’s going to get. The game is just too easy to control and provides little or no challenge, at least to me. Great Game but I wouldn’t buy any expansions for it.

    Now Hansa Teutonica and Stronghold look really interesting and I would love to get one of them to the game table. I would really like to see how Hansa Teutonica plays.

    I’m planning on buying Washington’s War myself and hope there is another early America history buff that I can get to play the game with on game night.

    Hope you score big for your birthday.

  3. Bay

    I’ve played Cyclades about half a dozen times now and it’s a hoot. Also plays really well with 2. The Amun Re-style bidding really works great here, as well as the pressure to bid on the first god in order to have first access to the mythical creatures. I do agree with Mike that it can sometimes be a bit of a puzzle, figuring out how to use the powers of the creatures to do the unexpected — but that’s what I like about the game. Once everyone sees the various creature powers subsequent plays are pretty fast. I’m still eager to play more.

    Hansa Teutonica doesn’t play as dry as it sounds. An excellent pure eurogame. Although there’s no spectacularly new mechanics, it is unusually well put together. Highly recommended.

  4. Jamie

    I have both Dominion Seaside and Intrigue. I’m holding off on Alchemy until I get to try it as I’m not sold on the Potion mechanic quite yet. As far as the other two go I think Seaside is the better of the first two expansions.

    My newest hotness is Nuns on the Run. A funny theme, great game play. Sort of Scotland Yard in reverse. Everyone is hidden except the guard player.

  5. Jacob

    I’ll comment on Dominion, Hansa Teutonica, Municipium and Fresco:
    nothing about HT made me want to order it except for a few glowing reviews I read. I agree with the reviews completely. The game looks worse in the photos than in real life. It’s a tough game and I’m happy to own it. It may be the only game where I took the time to read all the rules and had no “big picture” of what the game would be like when playing.
    I got a good deal on Municipium and I’m content with the game, but not thrilled. Great bits, perfect length, but one aspect of the game bothers me (knowing the main piece follows a predetermined route), so I’m happy to play it, but it sure doesn’t feel like a Knizia game to me, which is a criticism. My one 3-player game was pretty fun, though.
    I’m not a Dominion die hard, but I don’t see the point of only owning the base game, so I’ve bought all the expansions and all together, they’re awesome. I only play a couple of times a month, but that’s perfect for me. The variability is wonderful.
    I bought Fresco without reading the rules and I’m kind of disappointed I didn’t read them first. I haven’t played it yet, but the rules seem so simple that I’m not eager to play it before others. I know this doesn’t help you, but that’s my only comment on it right now.
    I will say that the rules to Hansa Teutonica kind of turned me off playing it for a while, but when I finally did I was thoroughly impressed. So Fresco could surprise me like that. But Fresco doesn’t seem like it comes close to HT in terms of complexity or strategic depth, though.

  6. Hansa Teutonica is a wonderful game – in fact it should rocket to the top of your list!

    Plays in a reasonable time, multiple paths to victory (allowing speciailization), good depth, high player interaction…sorry, I should stop gushing now.

    One of my favs from 2009, perhaps second only (and by a wisker) to Le Havre. Darn, maybe I DO like it better than Le Havre even…don’t get me started…

    Anyway it’s a keeper for me. Not much downside to the game. A tinge on the abstract side, but nothing unfamiliar to euros. It’s no blokus for sure so I’m not bothered by it. Game can slow down a bit with 5 if players aren’t familiar with it, so I’ll stick with 3-4 unless everyone is seasoned.

  7. I’ll cover a few of those…

    Coloretto – you don’t own this yet?!?! Sheer card game delight! Nasty, quick, and super-easy. Great little filler that inspired some great family games (Zooloretto, Aquaretto). Definitely worth the ten bucks.

    Hansa Teutonica – Great game. Not dry at all, Mike. The pictures don’t do this game justice. It’s clever and very interactive. It plays like an abstract Euro, almost like a small-scale Endeavor, but with the back and forth nastiness of an american game. It’s actually quite a lot of fun and pretty strategic. Only complaint is that there are so many different ways to score it can be a bit confusing. And the english rules are a bit hard to read. But definitely worth it.

    Dominion – I have Seaside and Intrigue and prefer Seaside. There are some really cool cards and they aren’t too complicated. Intrigue didn’t get played much by us. It just seemed to offer too many options and made the game drag on too long.


  8. The Dominion question is a simple one, because Alchemy’s not part of the equation. Do you care about the 5-6-player game or having significantly more player interaction? If yes, Intrigue. If no, Seaside.

  9. Adam Koehler

    Muhahaha, my Washington’s War trick worked! Now you’re buying it instead of me!

  10. Chris Norwood

    Why is Alchemy not part of the equation?  It’s the “new hotness” right now…

  11. Chris Norwood

    Have you actually tried any of the Dominion expansions?  Your description sounds exactly like someone who should try out an expansion to give the game more options…

  12. Chris Norwood

    TomG owns Homesteaders, and while I’d love to try it out, I don’t know that it will be on my wishlist unless it really blows me away.  I’m interested in Cyclades because I’ve heard so much good stuff about it from Scott Nicholson, Tom Vasel, and other “famous” internet people.  Plus, the theme is really cool…

    Dungeon Lords has been off and on my list a few times.  I like the theme, but I’ve been sort of hit-or-miss for Vlaada’s games.  I think that I’d like to try it before I buy, but no one locally has a copy.

  13. Here’s why: it’s not at all built as a second set. It seems interesting, but in a “we played this out as much as Alton’s played Race” kind of way…a change of pace rather than a deepening of the game that previously existed.

    Oh, and it’s less than half the cards for more than half the money.

    Still, my advice holds. If you want a deeper game that feels like the original, go with Seaside. If you want a game that has more interactions, go with Intrigue. If you want that second playset for a 6-player game, that’s Intrigue too.

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