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, theme and artwork, 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 newcomers are judged (end of previous years positions bracketed – review links added to the game name).

lotricons1 (1,1,1,1). Lord of the Rings LCG – a long term favourite solo game offering so much variety from all the different quests and deckbuilding support cards. It requires some expansion collecting to really shine, and is a challenging 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 (2,2,2,2). 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 featuring some great encounter fights. With amazing production and neat dice building mechanism, it is a premium product to own and play.
descentlegenddarkicon3 (5,8,6,6). Descent Legends of the Dark Descent 2nd Edition – co-operative dungeon crawler series that utilises an interactive app to build campaign stories. Featuring excellent models, tiles and now in Legends three dimensional terrain, this game looks great and is fun and easy to play, majoring on exploration and adventure. Legends improved the campaign but 2nd Edition remains so versatile.
runebound14 (3,3,4,8). Runebound 3rd Edition  an adventure game played across a world map, where you will level up your hero in one session by completing quests and visiting locations to find new skills and equipment. Combat is undertaken by unique token throwing, and a doom tracker will be counting down your final enemy encounter. A superb adventure quest game that i really enjoy playing solo.
bardsungicon15 (-,-,-,-). Bardsung – a middle complexity co-operative dungeon crawler with amazing artwork, tiles and adventure book. Characters and enemies have great personality and the 20 sided dice mechanic keeps things simple, however relative positioning in the dungeon is important. This game has a more narrative focus than many and with some excellent models, it is a great all rounder in this genre.
everdellicon6 (6,5,5,-). 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. The interaction between cards you choose is excellent and i also find it really enjoyable as a solo game too.
sword17 (7,4,3,5). Sword & Sorcery – dungeon crawling with storylines rather than randomised adventures, this great game has superb board tiles and nice models. It manages to offer neat game ideas and deeper enemy intelligence and expanded its content with a second huge new adventure set. This game has a great feeling of progression and adventure and heroes with their own unique character.
tidalbladesicon8 (8,10,-,-). Tidal Blades – this worker placement game is set in a beautiful world on an island resort and features dice rolling and upgrading. Young heroes will undertake stunt challenges to impress the judges, progress up the champions board and earn victory points, whilst fighting off the monsters trying to invade the island. The game and theme is visually stunning and is really great fun to play.
thunderstonebarricades9 (9,7,9,9). Thunderstone Quest – deckbuilding with a great fantasy dungeon theme, with numerous quest packs available to expand the game, and dungeon rooms to delve into. The artwork, depth of play and the ability to customise each dungeon or play random makes it a game i really enjoy. Quest is now better than ever with the new barricades solo and co-operative mode available.
spidermanicon110 (4,-,-,-). Marvel Champions – a living card deck construction game where you play as your favourite superhero, flipping between your alter ego and hero states, and calling on your allies to support you to defeat a villain and thwart his plans. A great solo and co-op game where deckbuilding is light and easy and available expansion content is immense, creating a character driven thematic experiences.
citykicon11 (10,9,10,3). 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 player boards with branching character progression trees. A great game design with quests and storylines built in, and a favourite of mine for solo play.
nemesis112 (12,11,8,4). Nemesis Lockdown – a survival game on a dark space ship with an 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 dark exploration game.
darkest113 (13,13,12,11). 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 many great hero characters with excellent variations of card skills.
wqcursedicon14 (15,18,15,12). Silver Tower / Hammerhal / Blackstone / Cursed City – co-operative dungeon quest series each set in different location themes which require modelling and painting to look its best. Using a similar dice allocation mechanic for actions, this series has easy to learn gameplay, and has formed the hobby side of my gaming for a number of years, and i love owning the fully painted sets.
machinaicon15 (-,-,-,-). Machina Arcana – a solo or co-operative story driven exploration game set within underground caverns with a Lovecraft horror theme. This game is tactical and features frequent interactions with elements of the map tiles, to make discoveries and progress the story through emerging chapters. It has superb artwork and varied monsters, together with excellent dashboards and dungeon rooms.
7thicon16 (11,22,18,18). 7th Continent – a unique exploration adventure card game where you reveal an island whilst searching for clues to banish a curse. Mixing a push your luck action deck with useful items to craft you are faced with continuous choices, and the combination of its puzzles and the storyline is unique. It is best played solo with a world map exploration and discovery hard to find elsewhere.
vindicationicon17 (16,15,17,10). Vindication – a competitive island exploration game with cube resource management, this strategy game represents the journey of your hero regaining their honour. The components and artwork are amazing, and the combinations of places to go, companions to recruit and different encounter paths will mean that every game feels a little different. It is a combination of game and story.
jawsicon18 (24,16,7,7). Gloomhaven / Jaws of the Lion – a co-operative tactical campaign adventure with a dungeon setting which is less miniature dependent and is driven by a strong card hand management system. Ideal for players liking a deeper and longer term co-operative campaign challenge, the Jaws of the Lion edition improved its accessibility and set up time. This excels in group play format.
hexploreit19 (18,21,19,-). 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 bigger and better over time.
wqicon20 (19,14,14,14). 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 still adored and is a great base upon which you build your own adventures. It benefits from having my long term nostalgia vote.
altarquest221 (14,6,-,-). Altar Quest – a dungeon questing game with modular adventures, paying homage to HeroQuest in its style and producing an excellent gaming experience with well themed hero card decks that create your character’s actions and abilities. Room object features, miniatures and artwork are all great, while playing scenarios is both tactical and great fun, but also can be a real challenge.
mageicon22 (17,12,11,-). Mage Knight – this exploration adventure game is considered one of the greatest solo games, but is a complex beast to learn and remember that means it gets played less than it should. It’s turn based card hand play is ultimately so rewarding and addictive though, and the newer ultimate edition brings together all the expansion content in one place, with it’s production quality improved.
abyssicon23 (21,20,24,21). Abyss – a card drafting game where your aim is to gain influence and rule the undersea world by recruiting sea lords to your cause. This has some of the best artwork and theme around and combines a simple set of actions with elements of pushing your luck. Choosing which lords to recruit and monsters to fight is so much fun, and expansions will improve the gameplay.
gloomicon24 (22,23,21,15). Gloom of Kilforth – having some of the best artwork in any game, this is a solo or co-operative card 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 will have different encounters each time you play.
diceicon25 (25-,-,-). Dice Throne Adventures – a co-operative yahtzee dice throwing and card playing adventure game with a loose dungeon crawl campaign. This game crosses over many of my game categories and looks amazing, and is also great fun, with easy to play mechanics as you build your character over time to beat a tough campaign. This game’s simplicity means it gets played more often.
 Bubbling under …
eldritchicon26 (20,26,25,23). Eldritch Horror – a Lovecraft themed co-operative game where characters work together on a world map to prevent the emerging threat of an ancient one, as other-world gates are opening and monsters spawning in key cities. Simple turn based actions and dice rolling checks outline the storyline of your hero as they attempt to find enough clues to take on the final showdown.
nemoicon27 (17,16,19,13). Nemo’s War – a strategic solo game, where you choose an objective and navigate the oceans in the nautilus seeking adventure, finding treasures, sinking ships and risking yourself, ship and crew. With lots of dice rolling, together with plenty of mitigation and pushing your luck, it is a really great but tough solo game, and the adventure story cards add amazing theme while you play.
grailicon28 (26,19,13,-). Tainted Grail – a solo or cooperative story adventure, where you play as a flawed hero in a dying Arthurian land which is sinking into wyrdness. A mixture of exploration, survival and decision making lead you down branching paths to complete quests, find secret artefacts or learning hidden truths. The dark world is beautifully illustrated and has amazing miniatures too.