Top 100 Games – 2011 Edition

Wow, this post is a long time in coming.  I started working on it way back before I went to the beach in September, but just couldn’t find any time to sit down with my cards and sort through the multitude of games and put them in order. 

Sort of like I mentioned last year, I’ve diverged from Tom Vasel’s method of sorting games a little bit.  I still generate cards for all games that I rate a 7 or higher, but rather than play his little “deal 6 and split into two groups” game, I instead dealt 10 cards at a time and ranked them in order from favorite to least favorite.  Then, I took two of those stacks at a time and integrated them, always comparing only 2 games at a time (the top of each stack).  After integrating all of the stacks together, I was pretty happy with the result, even though I did make a few tweaks here and there after looking at the big picture.

The biggest thing I noticed from last year is how many new games there are on the list (something like 27 or so, in fact), with 3 new games even landing on my top 10!  But that’s enough talking, let’s just get on to the freaking list! 

100. Code 777
99. Crossroads
98. The Awful Green Things from Outer Space
97. Bang!
96. Blue Moon City
95. The Pillars of the Earth
94. Antike
93. Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game
92. Coloretto
91. The Werewolves of Miller’s Hollow (Werewolf in general)
90. Wits & Wagers
89. Eat Poop You Cat/Telestrations
88. Small World
87. Illuminati: Deluxe Edition
86. In the Year of the Dragon
85. Wok Star
84. White Elephant
83. Dream Factory
82. Kingdoms
81. Through the Desert
80. Dominion
79. For Sale
78. Chronicle
77. Troyes
76. Fresco
75. Shadows Over Camelot
74. Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer
73. Rook
72. Zombie State: Diplomacy of the Dead
71. Space Alert
69. Sorry! Sliders
68. Carson City
67. Star Trek: Expeditions
66. 7 Wonders
65. Patrician
64. Ra
63. Factory Fun
62. Ticket to Ride
61. Survive: Escape from Atlantis!
60. Chicago Express
59. RoboRally
58. Carrom
57. Dixit
56. Vegas Showdown
55. Liar’s Dice
54. Ghost Stories
53. Cartagena
52. BattleLore/Commands & Colors: Napoleonics
51. Endeavor
50. Tales of the Arabian Nights
49. Cloud 9
48. Acquire
47. Tobago
46. Citadels
45. Tier auf Tier/Animal Upon Animal: Balancing Bridge
44. Forbidden Island
43. Shogun/Wallenstein
42. Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery
41. Balderdash
40. Amun-Re
39. Cosmic Encounter
38. PitchCar
37. The Speicherstadt
36. Traders of Carthage
35. No Thanks!
34. Homesteaders
33. Descent: Journeys in the Dark
32. Warrior Knights
31. Peloponnes
30. Neuroshima Hex!
29. China/Web of Power
28. Agricola
27. Mission: Red Planet
26. Lost Worlds
25. Carnival 
24. Fury of Dracula
23. Samurai
22. El Grande
21. Witch’s Brew
20. Metropolys

19. Taluva
18. Steam
17. Alien Frontiers
16. War of the Ring
15. 1960: The Making of the President
14. Catacombs
13. Tigris & Euphrates
12. Goa
11. Notre Dame
10. Arkadia
9.  Struggle of Empires
8.  Macao
7.  Tribune: Primus Inter Pares
6.  The Lord of the Rings LCG
5.  Hansa Teutonica
4.  Letters from Whitechapel
3.  The Princes of Florence
2.  Puerto Rico
1.  Pandemic

As I’ve said before, this list is not about which games I think have more of some inherent “greatness” quality about them.  These are simply the games that I, personally, want to play the most.  And it’s not even saying that I will always want to play a game higher on the list before every single game below it, because situations and moods can play a huge part in those kinds of individual decisions.  And, of course, this is an incredibly subjective process, so the list I may make tomorrow may be very different.  And, if you look at last year’s list or my first top 100 list, you can see how much it changes over time.


  1. Excellent list Chris. My top 25 matches yours pretty closely. You have a few games that I have not played yet though. We should have a game day and work through the list. Maybe at MACE?

  2. Chris, thanks for a terrific list. Your most highly rated game that I don’t have is “Princes of Florence,” which I’ve avoided because I tend toward games that work well for two players (since my wife and I play a lot). But so many people recommend it so highly, I can’t ignore it any more.

    The highest game on my own list that isn’t on yours is Hive, a good brain game for two players (although, I must confess, one that my wife does not like).

  3. Holy carp, Carnival made the top 25! Woohoooo! Great list – and not just because of the #25 entry. 😉

    I need to get playing more games – and I’m with Paul, I have to try Princes of Florence. I’ve been wanting to play that and Macao for the longest time. At MACE, I vow to play both!

  4. MACE it is. Princes is a very good game. On my top 25 too.

  5. Chris Norwood

    Princes is a really great game.  You can read my review of it for a lot of detail, but one of the coolest things is that it actually works pretty well as a gateway game.  There are more advanced strategies and it (of course) helps in the auction to know the true value of things, but there’s also a very obvious way to play the game (just gathering the components for your initial profession cards) that works decently well and is fun to play out. 

    And Paul, there actually is an official 2-player variant for the game.  It basically eliminates the auction, but you still get to experience most of the other cool elements of the game.  I wouldn’t choose to play it 2-player preferentially to another player count (and 5 is the best, by the way), but especially when you’re learning the game, 2-player is totally fun as well.

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