Crusaders Games

Strategy

The strategy list is for more complex competitive games, taking longer to complete or comprising a deeper level of rules understanding and knowledge of certain strategies to compete well. These selections stand out for theme and gameplay, and whilst i don’t own these myself, I like to play games which have different starting factions to explore.


1. Scythe – Stonemaier Games (2016)

A worker placement economic board game set in an alternate history 1920s period. It is a time of farming and war, where players take an Eastern Europa faction, each having unique starting set ups and abilities. You conquer hex territory, enlist new recruits, reap resources, build structures, and activate mechs, and expand across the world map, occasionally fighting other factions for territory and building up economic power. Winning is settled by the end of game gold count. This game feels complex, but round mechanics are repeated and you soon get into a flowing game, but there are so many options, you always feel spoilt for choice. The artwork and style of the game is fabulous.

2. Caverna – 999 Games (2013)

A worker placement game where each player builds his farm and excavates his dwelling cave to build his unique area. This is a game of massive choice and different strategies, and there is so much to do and many different ways to compete in this game, from growing crops, keeping animals, jewel mining and adventuring. The theme is family friendly, although it can take a while to set up, and with so many choices is right at the top end of what a family may cope with playing. This was the follow up to the famous Agricola and makes you ponder each move, with nice little animal meeples, you will always get a warm feeling of having built a cool farm at the end of the game.

 

3. Twilight Imperium 4 – Fantasty Flights (2017)

A space conquest game where you are aiming to control the galaxy with your unique alien faction, and ultimately earn ten victory points.  Each game has a new starting set up depending on the alien forces in play, and each race has different strengths and abilities. You will invade planets, build fleets, negotiate trade deals and develop technology, and there are many different ways to compete. This is a truly massive game, that takes a long time to play, but the product now looks and plays so nicely, and each faction so interesting, that it is hard to resist wanting to replay.

4. Lancaster – Queen Games (2011)

A knight placement game set in 1413, where players take the role of an ambitious aristocratic family aiming to become the best ally of the new king of England.  You develop status by deploying your knights in the counties of England, building their own castle, or even helping at conflicts with France. The core of game revolves around parliament, where you will try to push through the best laws to benefit yourself the most. This game provides a mix of strategy choices and manipulating law changes, and knight conflicts are common, but holding territory is ultimately not the main aim of the game.

5. Blood Rage – Cmon (2015)

This game has lovely miniatures and can be played in under two hours and isn’t overly rules heavy. You command a clan of vikings who gain glory by claiming territory, winning or losing battles and completing quests. It contains a number of different mechanic elements from initial card drafting to placement of warriors on a map, upgrading them, or obtaining monsters to fight for you. You will also need to balance your clan status between gaining extra rage, improving the glory you get from battles and the number of warriors you can use each turn. This is a fun game with great models and theme, however unfortunately some combinations are very powerful so runaway winners can often happen.

 

6. Terra Mystica – Z-Man Games (2013)

In Terra Mystica dwell 14 different fantasy peoples such as halflings, dwarves and mermaids living in seven landscapes (desert, forest, lake, plains, swamp, mountain, wasteland), and each group is bound to its own home environment. They must develop and grow by terraforming neighboring landscapes into their home environments, in competition of course with the other groups. A real strength of the game is that each race has its own unique skills and play style, which means that every game you play can have a different focus. The board itself is a little bland looking compared to some games, but the player boards are really nice and it has some cool bowls where you will move power around during the game.

7. Tzolk’in – CGE Games (2012)

Players representing different Mayan tribes and will be placing their workers on a board containing giant connected gears. The gears will rotate each round taking the workers to different action spots, and staying on a gear longer will yield greater rewards, but they do also tie you down, so you there is also an offset cost involved. This game is all about timing your way on and off the cogs and there are many paths to victory, almost too many. The mechanic here is different enough to make it memorable against other placement games and lifts it out of the pack.

Other Strategy Games I Want To Try Out… 

Great Western Trail, Viticulture, Russian Railroads, Terraforming Mars