Crusaders Games

My Top 25 Board Games

It is really difficult to compare group campaign games against solo or competitive games, however here is my ranked list of favourite games, based on how i feel overall about them including gameplay, components, co-operative or solo experience, or offering the most ongoing excitement of expanding content. These are the games i own that stand above the rest and against which any newcomers are judged (end of 2019 and 2018 positions bracketed).

lotrlcg11 (1,1). Lord of the Rings LCG – my go to solo card game which offers so much variety from all the different quests and deckbuilding support cards. It requires some expansion collecting to really shine, but is a relatively quick game with elements of storyline included. The artwork and theme is amazing, and as the largest individual game collection i have, it is such an immersive experience.
 tmb12 (2,2). Too Many Bones – a unique chip and dice based adventure, with high quality components and heroes that each feel completely different in their skills and play style. This game offers a blend of character progression, adventuring, and tactical battles, and now has a campaign option. With great production and neat dice building mechanism, it is an amazing product to own.
runebound13 (4,8). Runebound 3rd Edition  an adventure game played across a world map, where you will gradually level up your hero by completing quests and visiting locations to find new skills and equipment. Combat is undertaken by unique token throwing, and a doom tracker will counting down your final enemy encounter. A superb adventure quest game that i really enjoy playing solo.
 sword14 (3,5). Sword & Sorcery – dungeon crawling with storylines rather than random adventures, this great game has superb board tiles and nice models. It manages to offer neat game ideas and great enemy intelligence and is still expanding its content with a new adventure set coming. This game has a great feeling of progression and adventure and heroes with their own unique character.
everdellicon5 (5,-). Everdell – the most beautiful card worker placement competitive game, where not only is the artwork stunning but the gameplay is simple and elegant. You build your own cute village of interactive dwellings and creatures that is so satisfying and different each time. It comes with a number of nice expansions now and i find it really enjoyable as a solo game too.
 descent16 (6,6). Descent 2nd Edition – the most versatile dungeon crawler around allowing you to play in many different ways – with or without an overlord player, or with an app to control the enemies and create campaign storylines. It has great artwork and high production quality, and whilst model scale is slightly smaller than usual, this admittedly gains extra love as i have painted so much of it.
 thunderstonebarricades7 (9,9). Thunderstone Quest – a deck building experience with a fantasy dungeon theme, and numerous Quest packs to expand the game with deck themes. The artwork, simplicity of play and the ability to customise each dungeon makes it a game i really enjoy. It is better than ever with the new barricades solo and co-op mode available and is my preferred in game deck building experience.
city8 (10,3). City of Kings – a clever mix of hero development and worker resource strategies, with battles against enemies that change their abilities each time they appear. This has a really nice artwork style and some of the best hero play boards with branching character progressions. A great game design with quests and storylines built in, and a favourite of mine for solo play.
 nemesis19 (8,4). Nemesis – a survival game set on a dark space ship with a strong aliens theme. Each character has their own card deck and unique strengths and players have secret missions to complete, which can be co-operative or selfish, but helping each other is key to escaping. This game is filled with tension and drama, and features exploration and room reveals for a great strategic game.
 gloom210 (7,7). Gloomhaven / Jaws of the Lion – a legacy co-operative adventure game with branching pathways. It’s greatest strength is an excellent card hand management system, choosing two cards to combine and play each round, with characters really feeling different to play. Scenarios are mainly combat based and components can be bettered elsewhere, this is a great campaign game.
 darkest111 (12,11). Darkest Night 2nd Edition  a co-operative or solo game, where the world has been ravaged by the evil necromancer, and is covered in blights, tainting the seven core locations. With amazing production, this updated game presents strategic choices but quick game turns and co-operative interplay, and has great hero characters with excellent variations of card skills.
 wqicon12 (14,14). Warhammer Quest (1995) – the original definitive dungeon crawl with the best additional roleplaying book found within a board game. It remains a light co-operative hack and slash experience, but has the random room and monster encounter elements that is adored and is a great base upon which you build your own adventures. It has the nostalgia vote too.
 hexploreit13 (18,-). Hexplore It – co-operative adventures with large map exploration, events and quests to build your characters and overcome the realm nemesis. It’s roots are in roleplaying, so you will be building up your stats using neat write and wipe character boards. With different scenario themes being released, and new campaign story adventures, this series is becoming even better.
 nemoicon14 (16,19). Nemo’s War – a strategic solo game, where you navigate the oceans in the nautilus having an adventure, finding treasures, sinking ships and risking your ship and crew. With lots of dice rolling, together with plenty of mitigation and push your luck, it is a really great but tough solo game, with an amazing theme and story. One of the very best solo games in existence.
 7thicon15 (17,18). 7th Continent – an exploration adventure card game where you reveal an island whilst searching for clues to banish a curse. Mixing a clever mechanic of combining items you find, you are faced with continuous choices, and the combination of its puzzles and the storyline is unique. It has an open world map exploration style so you can get a little lost at times.
 mageicon16 (11,-). Mage Knight – this exploration adventure game is considered one of the greatest solo games, but is a complex beast to learn and remember, however it’s turn based card hand play is ultimately so rewarding and addictive. The newer ultimate edition is really nice bringing together all the expansion content in one place, and production quality is excellent.
 black17 (15,12). Silver Tower / Hammerhal / Blackstone – co-operative quest games set in different location themes which require modelling and painting to look its best. Using similar dice allocation mechanic for actions, this games series has entry level gameplay, and has formed the hobby side of my gaming for a number of years, and i love owning the finished sets.
 grail18 (13,-). Tainted Grail – a solo or co-operative story game with questing through an Arthurian world sinking into wyrdness. Components and artwork are amazing, with a big storybook, branching decision paths and puzzles, and card based combat and diplomacy contains elements of deck building. I expected this to hit the top ten but i just have not played it enough yet to be sure of its status.
allianceicon19 (19,-). Dungeon Alliance – a dungeon crawl and a strategy game with deckbuilding, with hero characters having unique cards which bring constant drafting choices throughout the game. Whilst overall components fall short of the best games, this remains a great hand management solo experience, which has improved over time with the addition of new quest adventure packs.
 vindicationicon20 (20,10). Vindication – a competitive island exploration game with cube resource management, this game combines strategy representing the journey of your hero. The components and artwork are amazing, and the combinations of different places to go and companions to recruit mean every game feels a little different, it is a clever game design mixing adventure with resource management.
 gloomicon21 (21,15). Gloom of Kilforth – some of the best artwork in any game, this is a solo or co-operative quest game where you navigate around a world where gloom is descending. Complete quests and build your abilities to take on the final demon before the world is lost forever. A beautiful and well constructed adventure game which is different each time you play.
 wqacgicon22 (22,13). Warhammer Quest Adventure Card Game / Heroes of Terrinoth – a smaller box co-operative card and dice game with neat character and player interaction, as your heroes support each other to complete quests. It is a relatively quick dungeon experience, and mostly about combat, and the mechanic of using your card actions and dice rolling works beautifully.
 md123 (23,16). Massive Darkness – a game best played as a one shot dungeon adventure, it has great models and a unique artwork style. It is not without some gameplay issues in terms of its rules and balance, but it remains a fun and engaging dungeon crawl brand.