Jared’s 2018 10×10 Picks

Every year there are a few holdovers from previous years.  Generally these are games that I super like a whole lot and need to play more.  Sometimes they are also games that I failed to play 10 times the previous year.  Some of these games have the same write-ups as previous years as well.

The following titles are inclusive in a specific way.  For example, Pandemic means Pandemic, but can include expansion content, but does not include other games in the Pandemic family (e.g. content from Pandemic: In the Lab is okay, but not Pandemic: Rising Tide, Codenames vs Codenames Pictures).
Cosmic Encounter

Cosmic Encounter

DesignerBill Eberle, Jack Kittredge, Bill Norton, Peter Olotka, Kevin Wilson
PublisherFantasy Flight Games, Arclight, Asterion Press, Edge Entertainment, Galakta, etc.
Year Published2008
# of Players3-5
Playing Time120 minutes

I have owned this game for years. Years! It’s so simple. On your turn, you flip a card. It tells you who to attack. You send your ships against their’s. You bolster your ships with an attack card. Highest total wins. If the attacker wins, he gets a colony. First one to five colonies wins. It’s simple! Oh, except that there are about 150 alien race cards that all break the game in one way or another, and the combination of powers makes the game different every time. Unless you get the Grudge or Hate every time like I seem to. Ugh!  Last year I played this a lot on Tabletop Simulator, but I hope to get it to the (real) table more this year.

 

Flash Point: Fire Rescue

Flash Point: Fire Rescue

DesignerKevin Lanzing
PublisherIndie Boards & Cards, 999 Games, Asmodee, Bard Centrum Gier, Devir, etc.
Year Published2011
# of Players1-6
Playing Time45 minutes

Flash Point is in my top 5 games of all time.  A cooperative game about fighting a house fire (or a submarine, or an airplane, or an office building, or one of many other maps!) where you have to work together to rescue people before the house collapses.  Which sounds all well and good, except that like many cooperative games, the game actively tries to make you lose.  Every round the fire has a chance to spread, which can cause explosions and damage the structure of the building.  Too much damage and the structure collapses and you lose.  Too many residents die in the fire and, yes, you guessed it, you lose.  With nearly a dozen maps and a new expansion that adds a deck of cards similar to Pandemic (listed below), the game is unique every time.

 

Pandemic

Pandemic

DesignerMatt Leacock
PublisherZ-Man Games, (Unknown), Albi, Asterion Press, Brain Games, etc.
Year Published2008
# of Players2-4
Playing Time45 minutes

I’ve gone on record as saying that Pandemic is my favorite game.  I’ve actually played this so much that when the new edition was released, I immediately bought it to replace my falling apart first edition.  The cards in my first edition copy are so bad that some of them are peeling from the backing.  The cards are literally falling apart from so much play!  So when the new version came out, I sleeved it immediately to prevent the same thing from happening.  Note: this entry only counts the normal version of Pandemic (with expansions) and not Rising Tide, Cthulhu, or Legacy.

 

Police Precinct

Police Precinct

DesignerOle Steiness
PublisherCommon Man Games
Year Published2013
# of Players1-6
Playing Time90 minutes

Another of those games where theme and mechanics work really well together.  You’re a police officer investigating a murder, but you still have to deal with regular crime and traffic issues. There is supposed to be a season 2 expansion coming out hopefully soon, but there is enough in the base game to keep it interesting for quite a number of plays.

 

Camel Up

Camel Up

DesignerSteffen Bogen
Publishereggertspiele, 999 Games, Albi, Ediciones MasQueOca, Fantasmagoria, etc.
Year Published2014
# of Players2-8
Playing Time30 minutes

2014 Spiel des Jahres winner.  Better than every other game that came out in 2014, this game about putting camels on top of each other is probably deserving of that title.  Will the blue camel (who’s been in last place the entire race) suddenly cross the finish line against all odds by a perfect (and often jokingly predicted) roll of the dice?  Probably yes.  A few expansion modules have been released, but I have not fully embraced their use yet.

 

Codenames

Codenames

DesignerVlaada Chvátil
PublisherCzech Games Edition, MINDOK, Bergsala Enigma, Brain Games, Cranio Creations, etc.
Year Published2015
# of Players2-8
Playing Time15 minutes

Codenames is one of those games where if you saw it laying out on a table, you would have no idea where to even begin with it.  A grid of seemingly random words that you somehow have to connect together in as few clues as possible.  Can you link the 3 words related to “airplane” together?  You’d better be able to, because the opposing team just linked “icecube 6” and might win on their next turn!  I’ve mixed all the word cards from Codenames, Codenames Deep Undercover, and Codenames Duet (as well as a few promo packs) for maximum word play.

 

Kingdomino

Kingdomino

DesignerBruno Cathala
PublisherBlue Orange (EU), Blue Orange Games, Fantasmagoria, Feelindigo, FoxMind Israel, etc.
Year Published2016
# of Players2-4
Playing Time20 minutes

The 2017 Spiel winner, Kingdomino is a simple tile placement kingdom builder game.  A twist on dominoes, players take turns collecting tiles to place in a 5×5 grid to complete their domain.  Points are awarded based on how many of your connected tiles have the same type of terrain (such as fields, mountains, or lakes).  A deluxe-ified “giant” edition also exists, and will be the source of most of the plays for this year’s 10×10.

 

Crokinole

Crokinole

Designer(Uncredited)
Publisher(Public Domain), Carrom Company, Cogitate Games, Crokinole World, Felsberger, etc.
Year Published1876
# of Players2-4
Playing Time30 minutes

I absolutely love dexterity games.  Every single time I’ve taken a crokinole board anywhere it’s drawn a crowd.   The exceptional design of the game just draws people in with questions.  A huge round wooden thing, what is this?  Often described as a tabletop version of shuffle board, the simple rules belie the skills required to master the game.  I don’t pretend that I am good at the game (because I am not), but I will play crokinole at almost at chance I get.

 

Meeple Circus

Meeple Circus

DesignerCédric Millet
PublisherMatagot
Year Published2017
# of Players2-5
Playing Time45 minutes

Towards the end of the last day of Gencon we were running around getting last minute things when we came to booth #3019, tucked away in a little corner.  They were looking for a couple of people to run their last demo.  A dexterity game about stacking meeples.  How could I refuse?  Games like this are almost always a hit with me, as well as with anyone that I show them too.  Besides, gamers already love stacking meeples, so why not make a game out of it?

Wits & Wagers Party

Wits & Wagers Party

DesignerDominic Crapuchettes
PublisherNorth Star Games, Asmodee, dV Giochi, Grow Jogos e Brinquedos, KOSMOS, etc.
Year Published2012
# of Players4-18
Playing Time25 minutes

This entry is technically a lie.  What we WILL be playing is Vegas Wits & Wagers, but since that is an expansion for Wits & Wagers (using content from Party), I’m linking this instead.  Vegas Wits & Wagers takes the already amazingly fun game of Wits & Wagers and turns it into and odds-driven nonsensical Vegas style table game.  We all know your buddy knows everything there is to know about Donald Duck, but how many of your points are you willing to wager?  Do you want to go all-in, or simply bet a tiny amount and hope everyone else busts?  We’ve played this game a lot already, and making it an official game on my list likely means it will never get played again, but that’s not my fault!

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