Welcome back to my Top 50 Board Games of All Time! If you missed part 1 of this post, then head on over and check out games 50-26. Today, we’ll be finishing things out by discussing games 25-1. That’s right, the cream of the cream of the crop…

25. Camel Up (Second Edition)

Best suited for everyone

Camel Up might be the most reliable party game in my collection.  If there is any game that I can place before a random assortment of 4-8 friends, family, or strangers, and expect them to request a second and third play in a row, that game is undoubtedly Camel Up.  None can resist the allure of betting on chunky, colorful camels as they race around the desert.  Between the stacking camels, dice-dispensing pyramid, memorably dramatic moments, popup palm tree, and shoot-for-the-moon strategies, this one has it all.

24. El Grande

Best suited for everyone

While it doesn’t have the party pizazz of Camel Up, El Grande has been another crowd pleaser at my table.  This classic strategy game of competing for area majorities is unmatched in its elegant flow and potent interaction.  Many designs since have wisely borrowed from El Grande’s master class mechanisms, but few, if any, have risen to its level of grace and wit plus the drama of revealing the contents of the towering Castillo.  It’s not really worth considering outside of the four or five player count, but within that range you’ll find consistently satisfying area influence, auctioning, and action drafting to be had.

23. Renature

Best suited for everyone (but be ready for some mean moments)

El Grande designer, Wolfgang Kramer, also brought us last year’s Renature with the help of Azul designer Michael Kiesling, and this is a game that I’m loving more and more with each new play.  One of the quickest ways to my heart is down the path of simple, clever brutality, and Renature is indeed beautifully simple, wonderfully clever, and deliciously brutal.  This game sees its competitors placing one domino onto the board at a time, and touching domino animals must match.  But the placement of a domino also allows one to plant an adjacent foliage piece, and these plant tokens are used to compete for area majority or even cancel out other player’s plants.  I stand by my declaration that this is the greatest domino game OF ALL TIME.

22. A Feast for Odin

Best suited for hobbyist gamers

While it has dropped out of my previous top 10 games list, that’s more a side-effect of many other stellar games climbing their way up my rankings than A Feast for Odin becoming any less enjoyable over time.  I would label this a heavy worker placement polyomino Euro game with relatively low-interaction.  When there are roughly SIXTY worker placement spaces to choose from—like a wide sandbox of strategies one can use to acquire points—it is typically quite effortless to stay out of each other’s way and do your own thing.  While this blog is riddled with me bemoaning low-interaction games on a regular basis, mostly due to their commonly stale dynamics and limited replayability, I find that A Feast for Odin is one of the few exceptions to my preferences.  The numerous interlocking concepts and mechanisms here are perfect for a warm, cozy, lazy few hours of puzzling perfection that still satisfies after all these plays.

21. Bus

Best suited for cold-blooded strategists

Bus is a game about building bus routes and transporting passengers around town, yet this design is no flowery Ticket to Ride.  Imagine a world where all people were predictable creatures of habit.  They go to the work, then head to the bar, then go home, rinse and repeat… as long as a bus route can get them there, of course.  On and on they cycle through this unchanging lifestyle, with the only exception being when a greedy bus line decides to STOP TIME.  Suddenly, everyone in town decides to work another shift in a row, or pull an all-nighter at the bar, or play hooky from their jobs and kick back at home, and all the buses that were prepared to take them to their usual next destination are suddenly hosed and empty-handed.  With completely open information and not even a hint of luck, Bus is a pure strategy game that has players feuding over the tight economy of passengers in an effort to scrape just a few precious point morsels from this ruthless game.

20. Tournament at Avalon

Best suited for everyone

If you really want to know what this wacky trick-taking card game is all about, I would direct you to my full review from last year.  Here’s a sample of what I said:

“If the possibility of falling behind early and spending the rest of the game trying to claw your way back to the top while your leading opponents pounce on you like sharks to a bleeding prey sounds dreadful, then steer clear of Tournament at Avalon… Then again, perhaps you are like me.  Maybe you’re happy to roll with the punches and simply want to experience trick-taking at its finest.  In Tournament at Avalon, you may be completely fine with being the favorite piñata of the round because you see the fresh gaping wound in your side for what it truly is: a firehose of retribution.  You may be the type of competitor who loves to form shaky alliances with fellow weaklings to surround and beat down the mighty.  And when you are the current King of the Hill, you welcome the opportunity to bob and weave around targeted attacks and gleefully watch as swinging blows skim past your head to land squarely on your neighbor’s face.”

19. My City

Best suited for everyone

Perhaps you’ve noticed by now that I have a soft spot for great polyomino games.  In my Top 50 board games of all time, we’ve already covered titans from master polyomino designer, Uwe Rosenberg, including A Feast For Odin and New York Zoo.  Yet the game that claims the crown to world’s best polyomino game, and the title that makes a strong case for being the best Legacy design yet, is none other than Reiner Knizia’s My City.  We’ve played this one 24 times now—that’s as many episodes as the game contains, so we’re not likely to play it much further with the “eternal game”—but that’s more plays than most other titles on this list.  We’ll always hold a special memory in our hearts for the journey we took through My City

18. Ethnos

Best suited for everyone

Ethnos remains one of my go-to gateway games (games to introduce people to the hobby) because it never fails to entertain newcomers while continuing to engage me.  While the art direction could use a drastic overhaul to match the family friendly nature of the design, none of that matters once the cards are dealt and the fun begins.  Turns are as simple as drawing a card or playing a set known as a “band of allies” of matching colors or creatures.  The band will net you points while the card on top of your band (the “leader”) grants you a special bonus and a token placement on the map.  Much like El Grande, players compete for points via area majorities.  While some folks complain of “top decking” in Ethnos, where you spend your turns drawing a card off the top of the deck until you find what you want, I find this to be a hollow complaint thanks to a little wrinkle that Paolo Mori includes in the design: Whenever you play a band of cards from your hand, you must discard the rest of your hand faceup into the market for other players to feast on.  Suddenly, you have to decide whether the “top decking” strategy is worth it for that one extra card, because everything else you draw will simply help your competition.

17. The King’s Dilemma

Best suited for a regular group of 5 players

Aside from My City, The King’s Dilemma is the only other legacy design that made my Top 50 Board Games of All Time, or even came close, for that matter.  The concept of a legacy game—a game whose rules and components permanently change over time based on the outcome and decisions of each play—is a fascinating, alluring, and popular feature in the industry.  But our experience with some of the more popular options has uncovered it’s ugly side-effects including rules & component management fatigue, forced narratives, messy productions, and unwieldy scheduling requirements.  Burnout is real within this genre, but The King’s Dilemma has soared over these common traps across our many plays by staying focused on the addicting core concept of political negotiation and bribing.  As you’ll soon find out with even higher rated games, I’m a sucker for a good negotiation game, and The King’s Dilemma hits the spot.  I love how the secret incentives can have me championing the cause of the good people in one game and sacrificing their well being for my personal gain in the next like the greedy posterity of a heroic monarch.

16. Wavelength

Best suited for everyone, especially groups of 6 or more

And here we arrive at my favorite party game, Wavelength.  Between Kyle’s video review and my own written review, we’ve covered the entire spectrum of reasons why we love this game. The simple truth is that Wavelength effortlessly captures the the feeling of a gameshow and generates engaging conversations and hilarious memories that last far beyond the party.  It was the first game I backed on Kickstarter, sending me down the rabbit hole of thrillingly creative possibilities.

15. The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine

Best suited for everyone

Now we are onto my top rated cooperative game, and not only that, but this is one of only two cooperative games that made my Top 50 Board Games of All Time.  Don’t get me wrong here, I dig a solid cooperative game such as Pandemic, Mysterium, and Horrified.  Yet those types of games obviously don’t quite hit the spot for me as all the competitive ones on my list.  So what makes The Crew so special?  In this mission-based trick-taking game, everyone’s turns matter and nobody can quarterback them through it.  The only communication allowed between players is a single token that lets you signal or imply information about some of the cards in your hand.  Each new challenge and each new hand of cards presents an obstacle that can often seem impossible to overcome, yet it feels amazing when your crew finally triumphs.  It’s an addictive challenge that takes players on an unforgettable 50-mission journey.

14. For Sale / For Sale Autorama

Best suited for everyone

We’re talking about my two favorite card games back-to-back between The Crew and now For Sale.  For Sale consists of two phases: auctioning coins for houses that become your hand of cards, then selling that hand of cards one at a time in a closed auction.  When I pass on the auctioning of the first phase, I have to pay half of what I’ve bid up to that point and take the lowest value face-up house.  So there is a game of chicken between players when nobody wants to take the grungy outhouse card, and thus the bidding war ensues.  Yet the outhouse card might be a great one to claim with a pass in a particular round if the other options aren’t that much better and spending your precious coins to avoid it will merely land you a slightly higher card.  The second phase becomes a game of predicting your opponents’ plays, as the bidding becomes a closed auction where everyone plays a single house card facedown and reveals their bid at the same time and the values of the money cards are dispersed to players according to who bid highest, who bid lowest, and everything in between.  Nothing feels worse than wasting your best card on an auction that everyone else played low for.  Conversely, eeking out the best money card of a round with a measly house makes you feel like a mastermind.  And that roller coaster of emotions is the magic of For Sale.

13. Root

Best suited for a regular group of hobbyist gamers

Root has to be one of the most aesthetically charming games on this list.  Screen-printed, wooden animal tokens and their more detailed card and board illustrations are all brimming with personality.  Rich colors of the woodland span from deep orange hues to refreshing green shades.  Card suits consist of mice, birds, foxes, and rabbits.  There is no shortage of warmth in the presentation of Root.  Yet this art direction was intentionally chosen because of the stark contrast it presents against the savage gameplay.  These woodland creatures are at war, and a negotiated alliance in one round can quickly become a callous betrayal in the next.  No animal is safe from a sudden beatdown, and only one faction will triumph.  With the consistent release of more expansions including animal factions over these past few years, and at least two more in the pipeline, it feels as though I could explore Root’s fascinating asymmetry for dozens upon dozens more plays.

12. Babylonia

Best suited for everyone

This may not be shocking to you, but Reiner Knizia’s Babylonia at number 12 feels like a bit of stealth ranking to me.  It’s one of the more recent Knizia’s which flew under my radar as I was gobbling up his most popular and revered titles.  Yet when I finally came around to Babylonia, I found it to be a rock-solid game that grew on me with each and every play.  This is a fast-paced, 45-minute strategy game that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed at the 2, 3, and 4 player counts.  Everything about picking up the clackity wooden tiles, slotting them into my rack, and deciding which ones to place onto the board and where makes for a deeply satisfying ritual.  My deepest thanks is owed to Space Biff, whose eloquently written review talked me into trying this brilliant jewel.

11. Inis

Best suited for everyone

While it is no longer my #1 game of all time, Inis remains an outstanding area-control experience of careful drafting, crafty cardplay, elegant combat, and sneaky intentions.  Because there are three different conditions one can aim for to become the victor, I’ve rarely seen a game that didn’t come down to the wire as players wrestled to become King of the Celtic Hill.  The production is a mesmerizing masterclass in capturing the mysterious theme thanks to Jim Fitzpatrick’s alluring illustrations and Dimitri Bielak’s lovely tiles.  Ultimately, Inis is as much about playing your opponents as it is about playing the game, and that subtle politicking is what makes it consistently satisfying for me.

10. Chinatown

Best suited for everyone

Out of all the games that made my top 10, Chinatown is the dark horse the snuck its way on here.  This pure negotiation experience beat out dozens of other personal favorites thanks to my many fond memories of it that match my enthusiasm to play it again.  I’ve found Chinatown to be a surprising hit with non-gamers that delightedly brings out both the best and worst in them.  The most generous and thoughtful of folks can immediately transform into vicious traders who see the hunger in your eyes for their prized possessions, so they seize the opportunity to milk you for all you are worth.  

9. Ra

Best suited for everyone

Perhaps Ra is so high on my list simply because I’ve been waiting to acquire my own copy for far too long.  Yet maybe it has made its way here due to the perfect blend of auctioning and push-your-luck that it provides.  How long will you wait to spend your best sun disks?  Wait long enough, and you’ll be one of the only ones left to bid on all the lucrative tiles.  Wait too long, and you may find the round ending before you’ve put your sun disks to good use.  Is this auction really worth fighting for?  Surely you aren’t going to let another opponent claim these tiles for so cheap, are you?  This game is jam-packed with tough decisions.  As a fan of auctioning games, it doesn’t get much better than Ra.

8. Age of Steam

Best suited for hobbyist gamers with thick skin

I just barely shared my thoughts on Age of Steam: Deluxe Edition in my last Candid Cardboard: New Release 1st Impressions post.  This train game rewards careful and opportunistic economic planning and punishes a lack thereof.  Yet players don’t only have to account for their own budget and round-to-round plans; they must also account for the plans of their opponents.  All it takes is for one player to steal away your goods cube, or build track on your planned space, or claim your needed bonus action, and you may suddenly find yourself losing a lot of money and points.  But the arc this game takes—from scraping by with a few meager deliveries, to prospering with massive gains in income and ambitious rail developments, to shrinking opportunities for points as the cubes diminish from the board—is a supremely satisfying experience.

7. Eclipse: Second Dawn for the Galaxy

Best suited for hobbyist gamers with a big table… and maybe a side table, too

Last year, I sold my fully deluxified, mostly expanded, legendary boxed copy of Scythe and put some of that money toward a copy of Eclipse: Second Dawn for the Galaxy.  After spending several good hours playing multiple sessions of Eclipse, I have no regrets in swapping these two games.  That’s not a knock against Scythe, which I played and enjoyed a solid fifteen times.  But the change to Eclipse reflects a change in my personal gaming preferences.  Eclipse not only presents a wider range of freedom across its various actions and engine upgrades, but it also embraces a more interactive and tense 4X experience.  The memorable moments of war and betrayal are strong with this one, as I shared in my recent Board Game Birthday Marathon Musings.

6. Sidereal Confluence: Remastered Edition

Best suited for hobbyist gamers

Continuing on with the theme of epic space games, Sidereal Confluence features up to 9 wildly asymmetric alien factions cooperating with each other through chaotic cube-tacular negotiation.  Take the simultaneous trading concept of Chinatown, crank it up ten-fold, add in a couple thousand chunky cubes, and you’ve got yourself Sidereal Confluence.  The sheer amount of soulless components and icons in this game scared me off from trying it for the longest time.  But I was sorely mistaken to avoid this game, because all those bits and pieces are mere cogs in a system of player-focused deals and negotiations which are the beating heart of this excellent experience.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the remastered edition has given it a welcome makeover.

5. Hansa Teutonica: Big Box

Best suited for everyone

Despite Hansa Teutonica being over ten years old and looking even older, it remains undeniably refreshing amid the onslaught of sluggish, overly complicated, low-interaction Euros because it is fast-paced, streamlined, and wonderfully interactive.  The new Big Box version provides even more content to explore—it makes for an incredible package value that is not big in size, but big in content.  Quinns of Shut Up & Sit Down recently proposed that this might just be the greatest Euro ever, and I’m inclined to agree.   That’s why the big box version was my number one release of 2020

4. Brass: Birmingham

Best suited for hobbyist gamers

Brass hasn’t moved an inch in the rankings since I posted my Top 50 Games of All Time last year.  Even after several more plays, it remains just as engaging and enjoyable as the first time I tried it.  It’s solid at all player counts from 2-4, and I’ve yet to introduce it to a hobbyist gamer who didn’t enjoy it.  Brass: Birmingham makes a strong case for reimplementations considering the look of the original design and the reach that the new versions of Brass have had within the hobby.  If you are a hobbyist gamer looking to add a long-term, well-loved gem to your collection, you’d be hard pressed to find a better bet than Brass: Birmingham.

3. Tigris & Euphrates

Best suited for strategy gamers

The deeper I get into this hobby, the more I appreciate games that contain a wide dynamic range within a narrow rules spaceReiner Knizia is more skilled at creating these kinds of games than any other designer in the industry; that’s why my Top 50 is crammed with his masterpieces, and that’s why Tigris & Euphrates, his magnum opus, is my number three game of all time.  Most turns simply involve placing a couple tiles or leaders onto the game board, but the points those tiles can earn, the ripple effect their positioning can have, and the wars and revolts that they can trigger are where things get incredibly meaty.  For an experience that appears to be abstract strategy through and through, it’s surprising how thematic of a civilization game this is.  The rise, prosperity, and fall of dynasties and kingdoms are epic arcs that most civ games can only dream of providing.  The many opportunities for clever moves and brilliant plays are what continually keep me coming back for more Tigris & Euphrates.

2. Crokinole

Best suited for everyone

Crokinole straddles the fence that separates board games from competitive sports and rides that fence to the moon and back.  Darts, billiards, foosball, and Jenga are perfectly fine indoor activities, but Crokinole takes the cake for me.  Like a meaner, faster, sexier version of curling, Crokinole sees its participants flicking discs to the center of a large, slick board as they ricochet off a center ring of posts and collide with other discs.  There’s far more strategy here than simply aiming for the center hole.  With enough plays, you start to realize that the planned positioning of your disc after you hit an opponent’s disc is just as important as knocking them off the board.  Crokinole works as both a 4-player party game and a 2-player showdown, and my board will remain a family heirloom for decades to come.

1. Pax Pamir: Second Edition

Best suited for hobbyist gamers

When every aspect of a game oozes with deliberate thought and delicate attention to detail, it’s hard not to be attracted to such an experience regardless of its theme or genre.  From the deeply intricate gameplay to the opulent multi-sensory production, none could call Pax Pamir: Second Edition anything but a labor of love.  Pamir transcends the level of consumer product and cements itself as a historical, philosophical, and strategic sandbox for participants to lose themselves in as they explore its nuances over the course of endlessly engaging plays.  To boil this game down to its mechanical pieces—a political area control tableau builder—is a disservice to its greater whole.  The vast card market, oscillating coalitions, tight economy, and unstable alliances all combine into a supple, historical harmony between musical chair loyalties and tug of war gameplay.

This concludes my Top 50 Board Games of All Time! I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey with me through some of the world’s greatest tabletop games, and if you’re still hungry for more gaming goodness then stick around with us here at Bitewing Games!

We are thrilled to be launching a Kickstarter campaign this summer featuring a bundle of three 20-minute games, including two zesty Reiner Knizia designs! Be sure to subscribe to our monthly newsletter so you don’t miss out on this killer filler bundle. Speaking of which, the upcoming May email will feature a concept art reveal for Reiner Knizia’s Soda Smugglers!

Article written by Nick Murray. If you found yourself nodding in agreement to some of his favorite games, then keep an eye out for the three upcoming games that he loved enough to publish! Nick’s first published design, Social Grooming, which will debut in a Kickstarter bundle alongside two games—Soda Smugglers and Pumafiosi—from critically acclaimed designer, Reiner Knizia!

This Post Has 39 Comments

  1. Meghan

    Not one game on here that i like

    1. Nick Murray

      0/50?! Dang!

      What are some of your favorite games?

  2. DieRealRudel

    I got Scythe and Eclipse side by side on the shelf, Scythe being regularly played, and Eclipse still waiting for its first – I am excited as to how it will fare against one of my all time favorites!

    1. Nick Murray

      Hope you enjoy Eclipse! I’d say there’s plenty of room for both in a gamer’s collection. For me, I had my fill with Scythe and was content with moving on to something else.

      1. Alex

        You have a great list with several game I enjoy, but also quite a few that I really dislike or have no interest to play in person.

        I dislike trading, mean games, most area control, war games, and take that style games. So Tigris and Euphrates, Undaunted, Sidereal Confluence, Condottiere, Watergate, Chinatown, Inis, (probably)Pax Pamir, and Root are ones I’ll skip. I think the App for Root is good, but don’t want to play it with people.

        You definitely did manage to include some rulebreakers from my normal avoids. I should hate El Grande and Ethnos, but oddly enjoy them.

        I do enjoy Feast for Odin, For Sale, Jaipur, and Lost Cities quite a bit. I look forward to other lists you’ll do, but we do have quite a difference of likes within this hobby. It’s great to see a big difference of interests within board games, shows how much variety there is. Thanks 🙂

        1. Nick Murray

          Glad to hear we have some overlap! Have you tried My City, or does that one interest you at all? We really enjoyed playing through the chapters. I think it may be up your alley.

  3. Jasmine

    Inis root and a feast for Odin are ones I am excited to pick up they seemed like some I would enjoy thanks for the list

    1. Nick Murray

      Great picks! I think all three of those will remain in my top 50 for many years to come.

  4. John B

    Any Best Board Games of All Time list that doesn’t include Monopoly, Parcheesi or even Settlers of Catan is bogus! A better title would have been Best Board Games Published in My Lifetime. I never heard of any of the 50 games and I doubt any of the games on your list will still be published 86 years after it was introduced as Monopoly has been. Staying power is what makes a game great.

    1. Nick Murray

      Personally, I don’t equate “best” to “most popular” or “longest lifespan” or “most sales.” By that definition, McDonalds would make the best burger, Transformers would be one of the greatest movie franchises of all time, and Hershey’s makes the best chocolate bar.

      I actually did mentioned that Lords of Vegas is like a more enjoyable version of Monopoly and Concordia is a better version of Catan. I recommend you give them a try and see what you think!

      1. Holly Denman

        Why are Bus and Ra so expensive?? Also there is a Tigris and Euphrates card game; are they related?

        1. Nick Murray

          Hey Holly,

          Ra is in-between printings, so the secondary market is currently selling them for far too much. A new version of Ra is coming soon that should be gorgeous and more affordable: https://gamefound.com/projects/draft/psnrxee6vxfltigtv1l1stexan1

          It looks like Bus is also currently sold out (not sure about a reprint). Yet the publisher is Splotter, who typically sets all their games at a higher price ($90-$120). It looks like there are some options to snag a copy on the BGG market that aren’t too overpriced though: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/552/bus/marketplace/geekmarket

          I haven’t tried the card game version of T&E (Euphrates & Tigris: Contest of Kings), but it sounds like most people prefer the original board game. That one is also out of print, but word on the street is that it will be reprinted in the next year or so.

  5. Keith Shapley

    An interesting selection and coincides with a fair number of mine* who has worshipped at the shrine of Knizia for a long time & Werhle more recently.
    *PaxPamir 2ed, Ra, For Sale, El Grande, T&E, The Crew

    1. Nick Murray

      I see you’re a man of refined taste! 😄

      I’m really pumped to try Oath soon (whenever my copy arrives).

      1. Keith Shapley

        Oath is 12ft to my left 😂. But I have Gloomhaven JotL, Supercharged, The King is Dead and Irish Gauge in front of it on the Shelf of Shame queue.

  6. History

    I find your lack of Twilight Imperium disturbing.

    1. Nick Murray

      And I find the 480 minute game length disturbing.

  7. Kjelstad

    You just want to fight don’t you? Now I have to look up some of these. Brass and T&E keep me from bringing boxing gloves over. Crokinole just is not a board game though.

    My all time favorite is Dominant Species without the three extra action pawn cards. Now I am going to look up your first 25 list.

    1. Nick Murray

      You’ll have to take the “Crokinole is not a board game” fight up with BoardGameGeek. I will say that I would never have discovered it without a board game critic doing a video review of it.

      Dominant Species is one that I really need to try, but the length and complexity makes it more difficult for me to dive in.

  8. Mika

    Top 50? Top 25? Top family games? Ok…
    Some choices are …ehm.. curious.
    And i see you aren’t very pleasant to disagree with. Your replies aren’t witty, but snarky.

    1. Nick Murray

      I’m not sure what you mean by the unpleasant, snarky replies. But I suppose it’s easy to mistake the tone of comments on the internet that were written in good humor.

      I do find it funny that some folks have to tell my why or imply that my opinion on a subjective topic is wrong or invalid.

    2. Kjelstad

      I have to give you props for keeping up on this. I have only played crokinole because someone brought it to boardgame night. It just felt like something I should be playing in a pub.

      The only confusing thing about Dominant Species is being dominant vs having dominance. One is the most Species on a tile (scoring) and the other is the most food sources (domination cards). It is simple after a couple turns but you should find someone that knows the game and give it a go. I promise to play Pax Pamir even if no one in my group has it and I have to buy it.

      1. Nick Murray

        Yeah I’d love to have someone teach me their copy of Dominant Species. Odds are, I’d really enjoy it. That’s also how I fell in love with Age of Steam recently.

  9. Byobgyn

    Everyone is likely gonna be nasty so I’ll just say Root is great and otherwise agree to disagree with the complete omission of TI4, Gloomhaven, and Spirit Island

  10. Brady

    Hey Nick,
    I am a big fan of many games here, and your top 50 last year caused me to buy about 20 games. haha
    The only game I haven’t played or dived into is Pax Pamir. It just looks boring and I am not interested in the historical theme. I hear lots about how interactive it is. I would love to hear a comparison to Oath after you get a chance to play it. Huge fan of Root already.

    1. Nick Murray

      Wow, that’s awesome! It sounds like we have very similar tastes.

      I’m not much of a historical buff myself, but Pax Pamir has been a hit with my regular gaming group thanks to its wide sandbox of strategic possibilities. And if Pax Pamir is a sandbox, then Oath is the Sahara desert, haha. We actually just played Oath for the second time last night. I was planning to write up my first impressions for it at the beginning of July, just because there is wayyy more to this game than 1 or 2 plays can reveal.

      Oath does share a lot in common with Pamir (opaque victory objectives, embraces kingmaking, building and utilizing tableau powers, potential for swift victories and drawn out tug-of-wars, unstable alliances, etc.). Where Oath dramatically differs is in how it kicks down all the walls and allows for grand, narrative, chaotic, eventful gameplay. In Pax Pamir, nothing is unexpected because everyone can see what comes out into the card market and goes into player’s hands. In Oath, the cards are even more wild, much more unexpected, and one can’t possibly foresee all the potential threats. Oath is much more focused on narrative immersion and enjoyment of the journey, yet it still plays within a deeply strategic and tactical sphere. It’s definitely the most polarizing of Wehrle’s games, but it’s also the most fascinating and ambitious resulting in sessions that feel vastly different from one play to the next.

  11. Kjelstad

    Great, now I have to try oath.

    Dominant Species Marine is easier and faster than it’s predecessor. As much as I loved the programming aspect of DS, marine looks to have some nice changes and has been great so far. Maybe you skip the original.

    Byobgyn is correct about TI4, I love it; I am not trying to be nasty though, Byobgyn, I just want to go to Nick’s house and fight him.

  12. altanic

    Fun list, its full of games I haven’t played which is much more interesting than the usual bgg top 25.

    My own list would include more from Stefan Feld and Vlaada Chvatil but you did include my favorite Rosenberg… besides, I already know my favorites so it’s a boring topic; I like reading about others. 🙂

    1. Nick Murray


      We do enjoy Castles of Burgundy! Have you tried Castles of Tuscany? I’ve been tempted to pick up a copy.

      I dig Galaxy Truckers as well, but I’m hoping the new version streamlines the rules, simplifies the teach, and speeds up the playtime.

  13. Matt

    The top of your list has a striking amount of overlap with my favorite games (Pax Pamir is my #1 as well). Based on reading this, I’m going to pick up Hansa Teutonica as soon as it’s back in stock, and will take a longer look at Tournament of Avalon.

    To emphasize what a previous poster wrote, I think you would really enjoy Dominant Species. It’s really not all that complex, just very long to play. It’s essentially the worker placement programming from Bus combined with the entirety of El Grande.

    I would also recommend checking out more games by Splotter and more Pax games, though I suspect you’re already on that train. Also: Keyflower! Combines the best parts of modern euros with nail-biting auctions and tense player interaction.

    1. Nick Murray

      Alright, you guys have convinced me. Dominant Species is going on to my serious wishlist!

      I did give a shout out to Splotter’s The Great Zimbabwe in today’s most anticipated games post. I do need to check out more Pax Games soon…

      And Keyflower is one of my more recent purchases! I’m very excited to try it. Currently it is still in shrink, as we’ve been playing a lot of new games recently including Oath and Kemet: Blood & Sand (highly recommend both… I’ll be sharing my thoughts on them next week).

  14. Francisco Arena

    Solid list! A lot of great games here.

  15. Matteo

    Me, browsing lists of board games at work. Most tend to be samey and have little to no overlap with my tastes or my collection. Then I see a list which not only includes Root, Inis, and Crew (which to be fair are also pretty well known…but games I own and enjoy nonetheless.) but then I see Ethnos, my dark horse! Such an underrated, elegant game. And then Avalon, twin brother to my favorite trick-taking game of all time: Tournament at Camelot. Could this be a list made by an actual gamer….with personal opinions? Some of which might actually align with my own tastes? :O

    Love some of your picks, don’t much care for some personally ( Wavelength fell super flat for me for example, Feast is too dry of a euro for me and confluence confuses the hell out of me) but overall this list somehow spoke to me.

    PS: Also, I really wanna share some of your board gaming tastes, since I went all-in on the 2ed Kickstarter for your favorite game and CANNOT wait to try it.

    PSPS: Great, now you made me buy Babylonia too

    1. Nick Murray

      Haha, ooo baby, I’m excited for you to try Pamir and Babylonia!

      It sounds like you need to move to my neck of the woods in Arizona so we can get ourselves a proper game group going.

      Sidereal Confluence is definitely a lot to take in. If you want the faster & more accessible version of it, I highly recommend Chinatown!

      1. Matteo

        Dear Nick, here at the end of 2021 I’m finding to write up the promised upgrade. Babylonia has become one of my favorite tile laying games due to it’s easy to learn rules and hard to master gameplay. Also it worked really well with a lot of different groups, be it as an starter for gamenight with experienced players or the main game for some people who have little to no experience with boardgames at all. The presenation is also nice ( Though the standees are a bit …S@#t. I fixed them with some little rubber feet, now they work fine 😉 )

        Now a couple of weeks ago in early december I got a package. Pax Pamir finally arrived! Since then we have played it about 8 times…which would be impressive for a normal month but is insane for the same month as christmas! It’s safe to say I do really love the game. The tension, the shifting alliances, the madness when a second domination card enters the market and all your carefully laid plans go to hell… and don’t get me started on the production value! Insane.

        To summarize: Both games your Blog promted me to buy turned out to be excellent and further solidified the idea that our gaming tastes align quite well! Excited to see what you cook up in the coming year! Oh and I can’t wait to try the criminal capers collection which ofc I had to get.

        1. Nick Murray

          Wow, thanks for following up, Matteo! This was fun to hear. I recently bumped my BGG rating of Babylonia up to a 10 (which is also my rating of Pax Pamir 2e). Can’t get enough of those games myself. I’m thrilled that you found some new favorites.

          Thanks for the support! Your kind words give us energy. 💪

          It looks like it’ll be a fun 2022 for Bitewing Games. Glad to have you along for the ride! Happy New Year!

  16. Matteo

    I will report back to you once I have tried them out! 🙂

    Ah yes, Arizona. That’s a mere 9066.89 KM away, according to google maps. So a casual game here and there should be NO problem… *cries in european*

  17. Hasan

    wow, i think we share the same taste of games. I enjoy Inis, pax pamir, T&E, but I’ll put El Grande maybe on the 3rd.

    I love mean games but unfortunately not many like it as well. Been meaning to buy the estates but afraid that this is too mean for my group’s taste. Been hesitating to purchase Bus, Chinatown, Tournament of avalon (easy rule but pretty deep games). But I guess this post will make me to purchase those. What do you choose as the best “simple rules but deep games (with a lot of interaction” games?

    Thanks for this list!

    1. Nick Murray

      It does sound like we share the same tastes! El Grande is excellent, I’m really wanting to play that again soon.

      I think Chinatown, Hansa Teutonica, Babylonia, Modern Art, Irish Gauge, and Renature would all be great elegant & interactive options for you!

      Pretty much most of Reiner Knizia’s classics scratch this itch as well.

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