Here are some excellent games that have won awards.
The world is on the brink of disaster. In Pandemic Legacy, your disease-fighting team must keep four deadly diseases at bay for a whole year. Each month will bring new surprises, and your actions in each game will have repercussions on the next. Will you let cities fall to the diseases? Will your team be enough to keep the viruses at bay for a whole year? Craft your own unique Pandemic experience with Pandemic Legacy. Pandemic Legacy won the 2015 Golden Geek Game of the Year Award and is currently the top rated game on BoardGameGeek.
The teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first. Spymasters give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board. Their teammates try to guess words of the right color while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team. And everyone wants to avoid the assassin. Codenames won the 2015 Golden Geek Best Family Game and Best Party Game awards.
Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game
Survivor Odyssey: Dead of Winter is an experience that can only be accomplished through the medium of tabletop games. It is a story-centric game about surviving through a harsh winter in an apocalyptic world. The survivors are all dealing with their own psychological imperatives but must still find a way to work together to fight off outside threats, resolve crises, find food and supplies, and keep the colony’s morale up. Dead of Winter won the 2014 Golden Geek Most Innovative Game award.
Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan
Sekigahara is designed to offer a historically authentic experience within an intuitive game mechanic that can be played in one sitting. Great effort has been taken to preserve a clean game mechanism. (Despite a healthy amount of historical detail, the ruleset is a brief 6 pages.) Chance takes the form of uncertainty and not luck. Sekigahara won the 2012 Golden Geek Best Wargame award.
You are a monarch, like your parents before you, a ruler of a small pleasant kingdom of rivers and evergreens. Unlike your parents, however, you have hopes and dreams! You want a bigger and more pleasant kingdom, with more rivers and a wider variety of trees. You want a Dominion! In all directions lie fiefs, freeholds, and feodums. All are small bits of land, controlled by petty lords and verging on anarchy. You will bring civilization to these people, uniting them under your banner.
But wait! It must be something in the air; several other monarchs have had the exact same idea. You must race to get as much of the unclaimed land as possible, fending them off along the way. To do this you will hire minions, construct buildings, spruce up your castle, and fill the coffers of your treasury. Your parents wouldn’t be proud, but your grandparents, would be delighted. Dominion won the 2009 Golden Geek Game of the Year award, 2009 Spiel des Jahres, 2009 Deutscher Spiele Preis.
Set in ancient Rome, Trajan is a development game in which players try to increase their influence and power in various areas of Roman life such as political influence, trading, military dominion and other important parts of Roman culture.
The central mechanism of the game uses a system similar to that in Mancala or pit-and-pebbles games. In Trajan, a player has six possible actions: building, trading, taking tiles from the forum, using the military, influencing the Senate, and placing Trajan tiles on his tableau. This is a Euro-style strategy game and playing time is 30 minutes per player. Trajan won the 2013 Games Magazine Game of the Year award.
Scythe is a “4x” game, which means “eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate,” that’s set in an alternate-history 1920s. It is a time of farming and war, broken hearts and rusted gears, innovation and valor.
The ashes from the first Great War still darken the snow in 1920s Europa. The capitalistic city-state known simply as “The Factory,” which fueled the war with heavily armored mechs, has closed its doors, drawing the attention of several nearby countries. Scythe won the 2016 Golden Geek Game of the Year award.
Dominoes with a kingdom building twist! Each turn, connect a new domino to your existing kingdom, making sure at least one of its sides connects to a matching terrain type already in play. The game mechanics for obtaining the tiles is clever: the order of who picks first depends on which tile was previously chosen. Make sure to secure tiles with crowns – these royal treasures help to multiply the worth of your kingdom at the end of the game! The game ends when each player has completed a 5×5 grid, and then points are counted based on number of connecting tiles and crowns. Kingdomino won the 2017 Spiel des Jahres.
EXIT: The Game
After your car breaks down, you are looking for shelter for the night. Luckily, you find an abandoned cabin in the woods near the road. But the next morning, the door is locked! Iron bars on the windows prevent you from escaping. You discover a book and a strange disk…
The hit Escape-Room concept for home use! In this party game for up to 6 players, you must solve a series of riddles and puzzles to escape from an abandoned cabin. Each correct solution brings you to another riddle. How fast can you escape? EXIT won the 2017 Kennerspiel des Jahres award.
A simultaneous-selection (but then sequential play) card game. Players select 5 of their 12 role cards to play per set. Then they reveal them in sequence. Each role has a main full action and a less valuable “favor” action. If you are the first player with that role you announce that you are that character. If you follow after but choose that same role card you can take the favor action instead, or declare that you are that character in hopes that you can command the full action. You risk having it taken from you by a later player, though. The different roles help players collect different ingredients and money to make potions listed on the cauldron cards. When everyone’s five role cards have been played and actions taken, another five cards are chosen for the next set and the process repeats as before. Broom Service won the 2015 Kennerspiel des Jahres.
Village is a game full of tactical challenges. A smart and unique new action mechanism is responsible for keeping turns short and yet still tactically rich and full of difficult decisions. Also unique is the way this game deals with the delicate subject of death; as a natural and perpetual part of life in the village, thoughts of death will keep you focused on smart time-management. Village won the 2012 Deutscher Spiel Preis award.
The beautiful Fresco that adorns the ceiling of the cathedral is in disrepair and famous painters from around the world are bying for the chance to repair it! The Bishopo is awaiting important visitors and the work must be complete before they arrive. Will you have the skills to finish the painting in time. Fresco won the 2010 Deutscher Spiele Preis.
Terra Mystica is a strategy game with a simple game principle and very little luck involved: You govern one of 14 factions trying to transform the landscape on the game board in your favor in order to build your structures. On the one hand, proximity to other players limits your options for further expansion, on the other hand though, it provides some benefits during the game. This conflict is the source of Terra Mystica’s appeal. Terra Mystica won the 2013 Golden Geek Award.
1289. To strengthen the borders of the Kingdom of France, King Philip the Fair decided to have a new castle built. For the time being, Caylus is but a humble village, but soon, workers and craftsmen will be flocking by the cartload, attracted by the great prospects. Around the building site, a city is slowly rising up. The players embody master builders. By building the King’s castle and developing the city around it, they earn prestige points and gain the King’s favor. When the castle is finished, the player who has earned the most prestige wins the game. Caylus won the 2006 Golden Geek Award and Deutscher Spiele Preis.
In this challenging cooperative card game, players work together to launch a spectacular firework display. Trouble is, it’s dark out, so you can’t really see what you are working with! Each player holds their cards so that only the other players can see them. They must give each other vital information and remember all the information received. Then use the information to choose which cards to play. Helping each other play the right cards at the right time is the key to creating an unforgettable show and avoid being booed by the audience! Hanabi won the 2013 Spiel des Jahres.
You’re a young ruler, but that’s no reason not to go out and claim more land for your Kingdom. Through careful placement and a little bit of luck you’ll be able to connect your realm to new castles, acquire special abilities and earn enough gold to rule the land. With variable board and scoring conditions, no two games are ever the same. Kingdom Builder won the 2012 Spiel des Jahres.
The year is 889, the location, Granada, Spain. Builders from all over Europe and Asia have come to seek employment constructing the famous gardens of the Alhambra. carefully design your layout with walls, fountains, buildings and gardens. Use your money wisely and build the best gardens to win the favor of the Emir. Alhambra won the 2003 Spiel des Jahres.
Each player is the director of an expedition intent on exploring Tikal in search of the secret paths that lead to the temples and precious treasures that have remained hidden for over 1000 years. A player receives points during four scoring rounds for each recovered treasure andfor each temple that he controls. But, both temples and treasures can change hands. The expedition that earns the most points exploring Tikal wins the game. Tikal won the 1999 Spiel des Jahres and Deutscher Spiele Preis.
In El Grande, Five powerful members of Spanish nobility, Grandes, vow to spread their influence throughout the various regions of 15th century Spain. Players will recruit and deploy Caballeros, influence the King’s movements, and participate in intrigue that will shape the country of Spain for centuries to come. El Grande won the 1996 Spiel des Jahres and Deutscher Spiele Preis.
Hustle and bustle in the bazaar district of Istanbul: merchants and their assistants are hurrying through the narrow alleys attempting to be more successful than their competitors. Good organization is key: wheelbarrows have to be filled with goods at the warehouses and then swiftly transported by the assistants to the various destinations. The goal of the merchants is to be the first to collect a certain amount of rubies.
You are leading a merchant and four assistants through the 16 Places of the bazaar. At each Place, you can carry out a specific action. The challenge is that, to carry out an action at any of those Places, your merchant needs the help of an assistant and has to leave him behind. To use that assistant again later, your merchant has to come back to that Place and pick him up. So plan ahead carefully to avoid being left with no assistants and thus unable to do anything… Istanbul won the 2014 Kennerspiel des Jahres.
Legends of Andor
The Land of Andor is in danger. From the mountains and forests, enemies are advancing toward the castle of old King Brandur. Only your small band of heroes stands in their way. Will you succeed in defending the castle and protecting Andor?
Legends of Andor is a cooperative board game for two to four heroes. Live the legendary tales as you unite to battle ever-encroaching enemy forces. Legends of Andor won the 2013 Kennerspiel des Jahres.
Ice Cool is a flicking game in which each round one of the players takes the role of the Hall Monitor (also called “the Catcher”) – his aim will be to catch each other penguin and get points for that. The others (also known as “Runners”) will try to run through several doors, thus gaining fish (that give them points) on their way. When either the Hall Monitor has caught each other penguin once or any of the others has gone through all 3 doors that have fish on them, the round is over. Each player will take the role of the Hall Monitor once and at the end of the game the winner will be the one with the most points on their fish cards. Ice Cool won the 2017 Kinderspiel des Jahres.
Everyone knows of the pyramids on the Nile – eternal monuments of a powerful and beautiful culture, that can still take our breath away. The pharaohs choose their sites, build their pyramids, and thank Amun Re and the other Gods for their bounty.
Each player wants, as pharaoh, to build the most pyramids. To accomplish this, he must first acquire a province, where he can trade and farm. With his profits, he can buy new provinces and building stones to erect pyramids. For all his actions, the player must make clever use of his power cards, and always offer appropriate sacrifices to Amun Re. Players must always keep their eyes on the goal of the building of the eternal pyramids or risk falling behind in points. Amun Re won the 2003 Deutscher Spiele Preis.
Prospector, captain, mayor, trader, settler, craftsman, or builder? Which roles will you play in the new world? Will you own the most prosperous plantations? Will you build the most valuable buildings? You have but one goal: achieve the greatest prosperity and highest respect! This is shown by the player who earns the most victory points. He will win the game! Puerto Rico won the 2002 Deutscher Spiele Preis.
Lanterns: The Harvest Festival
The harvest is in, and now it’s time to celebrate! Lanterns: The Harvest Festival is a tile-placement game set in imperial China. Players act as artisans decorating the palace lake with floating lanterns. The artisan who earns the most honor before the festival arrives wins the game. Lanterns won the 2015 Mensa Select Award.
The Castles of Mad King Ludwig
In the tile-laying game Castles of Mad King Ludwig, players are tasked with building an amazing, extravagant castle for King Ludwig II of Bavaria…one room at a time. You see, the King loves castles, having built Neuschwanstein (the castle that inspired the Disney theme park castles) and others, but now he’s commissioned you to build the biggest, best castle ever – subject, of course, to his ever-changing whims. Each player acts as a building contractor who is adding rooms to the castle he’s building while also selling his services to other players. The Castles of Mad King Ludwig won the 2015 Mensa Select Award.
Build a city, enhance allegiances, and expand control using worker dice in this dystopian-themed board game for 2-6 players.
In Euphoria, you lead a team of workers (dice) and recruits (cards) to claim ownership of the dystopian world. You will generate commodities, dig tunnels to infiltrate the opposition, construct markets, collect artifacts, strengthen allegiances, and fulfill secret agendas. Euphoria won the 2014 Mensa Select Award.
Gear up for a thrilling adventure to recover a legendary flying machine buried deep in the ruins of an ancient desert city. You’ll need to coordinate with your teammates and use every available resource if you hope to survive the scorching heat and relentless sandstorm. Find the flying machine and escape before you all become permanent artifacts of the Forbidden Desert! Forbidden Desert won the 2013 Mensa Select Award.
Dare to discover Forbidden Island! Join a team of fearless adventurers on a do-or-die mission to capture four sacred treasures from the ruins of this perilous paradise. Your team will have to work together and make some pulse-pounding maneuvers, as the island will sink beneath every step! Race to collect the treasure and make a triumphant escape before you are swallowed into the watery abyss! Forbidden Island won the 2010 Mensa Select Award.
Plan, build and develop a small town into a major metropolis. Use hex-shaped building tiles to add residential, commercial, civic, and industrial areas, as well as special points of interest that provide benefits and take advantage of the resources of nearby towns. Your goal is to have your borough thrive and end up with a greater population than any of your opponents. Suburbia won the 2013 Mensa Select Award.
Wits & Wagers
Not a trivia buff? It doesn’t matter! Each player writes a guess to a question such as “In inches, how tall is the Oscar statuette?” or “How many pounds did the heaviest ever sumo wrestling champion weigh” and places it face-up on the betting mat.
Think you know the answer? Bet on your guess. Think you know who the experts are? Bet on their guess. The closest answer pays out according to the odds on the betting mat. Strike it big and you’ll be cheering like you just hit the jackpot!
Wits & Wagers is a trivia game that lets you bet on anyone’s answer. So you can win by making educated guesses, by playing the odds, or by knowing the interests of your friends. Wits & Wagers won the 2006 Mensa Select Award.
Now you can take Carcassonne everywhere you go. The scoring track is printed on the cloth carrying sack, which has room for all the tiles and followers. Of course, all components are a bit downsized to make it more convenient to carry along, but the game is the same great game that won the Spiel des Jahres award in 2001!
Designed by Philippe Keyaerts as a fantasy follow-up to his award-winning Vinci(TM), Small World is inhabited by a zany cast of characters such as dwarves, wizards, amazons, giants, orcs and even humans; who use their troops to occupy territory and conquer adjacent lands in order to push the other races off the face of the earth.
Picking the right combination from the 14 different fantasy races and 20 unique special powers, players rush to expand their empires – often at the expense of weaker neighbors. Yet they must also know when to push their own over-extended civilization into decline and ride a new one to victory! Small World won the 2010 Games Magazine Game of the Year.
The galaxy has been a peaceful place for many years. After the ruthless Terran-Hegemony War, much effort has been employed by all major spacefaring species to prevent the terrifying events from repeating themselves. The Galactic Council was formed to enforce previous peace and it has taken more courageous efforts to prevent the escalation of malicious acts. Nevertheless, tension and discord are growing among the seven major species and in the Council itself. Old alliances are shattering and hasty diplomatic treaties are made in secrecy. A confrontation of the superpowers seems inevitable – only the outcome of the galactic conflict remains to be seen. Which faction will emerge victorious and lead the galaxy under its rule? The shadows of the great civilizations are about to eclipse the galaxy. Eclipse won the 2012 Golden Geek Award.
It is 1899 and the Union Pacific Express is headed to the Nice Valley Coal Comppany to deliver their payroll and 47 passengers. Suddenly the train is attacked by thievin’ bandits! Will the outlaws keep their cool or will Marshal Samuel Ford save the day and prevent the robbery?
Players will plan ahead and play cards to steal the most loot, shoot their opponents, move around the train and elude Marshal Ford. Will you be the richest bandit in the outlaw gang? Colt Express won the 2015 Spiel des Jahres and As d’Or.
This communication game received the Golden Ace in France and has already gathered good attention in the gaming community. Designed to appeal to family and gamers, simple rules and gorgeous illustration, this game has everything to make a hit. Dixit also won the 2010 Spiel des Jahres.
Ticket to Ride
Ticket to Ride is a cross-country train adventure in which players collect and play matching train cards to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout North America.
The longer the routes, the more points they earn.
Additional points come to those who can fulfill their Destination Tickets by connecting two distant cities, and to the player who builds the longest continuous railway. Ticket to Ride won the 2004 Spiel des Jahres.
7 Wonders lasts three ages. In each age, players receive seven cards from a particular deck, choose one of those cards, then pass the remainder to an adjacent player, as in Fairy Tale or a Magic: the Gatheringbooster draft. Players reveal their cards simultaneously, paying resources if needed or collecting resources or interacting with other players in various ways. (Players have individual boards with special powers on which to organize their cards, and the boards are double-sided as in Bauza’s Ghost Stories.) Each player then chooses another card from the deck they were passed, and the process repeats until players have six cards in play from that age. After three ages, the game ends. 7 Wonders won the 2011 Kennerspiel des Jahres and Deutscher Spiele Preis.
Crossing into the Land of 1001 Nights, your caravan arrives at the fabled Sultanate of Naqala.
The old sultan just died and control of Naqala is up for grabs!
The oracles foretold of strangers who would maneuver the Five Tribes to gain influence over the legendary city-state.
Will you fulfill the prophecy? Invoke the old Djinns, move the Tribes into position at the right time and the Sultanate may become yours! Five Tribes won the 2015 As d’Or de l’année Grand Prix.