Crusaders Games

My Top 20 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 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 (2,6). 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.
gloom23 (3,7). Gloomhaven – a legacy style co-operative adventure game with exploration and branching pathways. Its greatest strength is an excellent card based combat system, choosing two cards to combine and play each round, and each character feels different to play. Whilst components can be bettered elsewhere, it provides a huge adventuring box and remains my groups most played campaign game.
descent14 (4,2). Descent 2nd Edition – the most versatile dungeon crawler with many different expansions, 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 good production quality, and whilst hero model size is smaller than usual, this admittedly gains extra love as i have painted so much of it.
runebound15 (5,8). Runebound 3rd Edition  a co-operative or solo adventure game played across a world map, where you will gradually level up your hero by completing quests and visiting locations for new equipment. Combat is undertaken by unique token throwing, and the game has a tracker counting down your final enemy encounter. A superb adventure quest game that i really enjoy playing solo.
everdellicon6 (6,-). Everdell – the most beautiful card worker placement game in existence. Not only is the artwork stunning but the gameplay is simple and elegant, where you build your own village of interactive dwellings and creatures that is so satisfying and different each time. It comes with nice expansions now and i do find it enjoyable as a solo game too.
nemesis17 (9,4). Nemesis – a survival game set on a dark space ship and a strong aliens theme. Each character has their own strengths and 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 it features exploration, room reveals with card based actions unique to each character for a strategic game.
thunderstonebarricades8 (7,9). Thunderstone Quest – a deck building experience with a fantasy dungeon theme, and numerous Quest packs to expand the game in 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.

sword19 (10,5). 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 ideas and great enemy intelligence and is still currently expanding its content with a new adventure coming. It has a great feeling of progression and adventure.

city10 (8,3). 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.
mageicon11 (12,-). Mage Knight – this exploration adventure game is considered one of the greatest solo games, and is a complex beast to learn, however it’s turn based card play is ultimately so rewarding and addictive. The newer ultimate edition is really nice bringing together all the expansion content in one place, however the core game is more than enough to begin with.
darkest112 (13,11). 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.
nemoicon13 (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, story and artwork. One of the very best solo games in existence.
wqicon14 (14,14). Warhammer Quest (1995) – the original definitive dungeon crawl with the best additional roleplaying book found within a board game. It has excellent character and story expansions and many additional articles to enhance your games. It remains a light co-operative hack and slash, but has the random room and monster encounter elements that is adored and is a great base upon which you build your own adventures.
7thicon15 (17,20). 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.
gloomicon16 (22,15). 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.
hexploreit17 (18,-). Hexplore It – a free form solo or co-operative questing adventure where you search for relic fragments to overcome the realm nemesis. This series tells a great adventure story, with strong theme and large map exploration. It has its roots in roleplaying so you will be building up your stats and unique skills using neat write and wipe character boards. With campaign adventures being added this could become even better.
vindicationicon18 (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 will mean every game feels a little different, it is a clever game design mixing adventure with resource management.

allianceicon19 (19,-). Dungeon Alliance – a dungeon crawl and a strategy game with light deckbuilding touch, 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 solo game experience, which has improved over time with the addition of new quest packs and storylines.

grail20 (11,-). Tainted Grail – a solo or co-operative story game questing through an Arthurian world sinking into wyrdness. Components and artwork are amazing, and the storybook is well written as you make branching decision and uncover puzzles. With card based combat and diplomacy containing elements of deck building and character development, i expected this to hit the top ten but it is not quite as smooth to play as i would have liked.
Bubbling under …
black21 (15,12). Blackstone Fortress / Silver Tower / Hammerhal – co-operative quest games set in different location themes which require modelling and painting. Using a similar dice allocation mechanic, these games have entry level gameplay, great theme and Blackstone still has regular expansions and new content. This series currently forms the hobby side of my gaming and i love owning the sets.
wqacgicon22 (21,13). 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.