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 2020, 2019 and 2018 positions bracketed).

lotrlcg11 (1,1,1). Lord of the Rings LCG – my long term favourite 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 (2,2,2). 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 features the best encounter fights in a board game. With great production and neat dice building mechanism, it is an amazing product to own.
descentlegenddarkicon3 (-,-,-). Descent Legends of the Dark – a co-operative dungeon crawler that utilises an interactive app to build a campaign story for your heroes. Featuring excellent models and three dimensional terrain, this game is fun and easy to play, majoring on the exploration and adventure side rather than difficult tactical puzzles. Heroes have character and stories and the game has a great table presence too.
runebound14 (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.
sword15 (5,3,5). 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 great enemy intelligence and is still expanding 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.
everdellicon6 (6,5,-). 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.
darkest17 (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.
city8 (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.
thunderstonebarricades9 (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.
wqcursedicon10 (14,14,12). Silver Tower / Hammerhal / Blackstone / Cursed City – a 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.
altarquest211 (4,-,-). 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.
nemesis112 (11,8,4). 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 and dark exploration game.
descent113 (8,6,6). 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 most, this admittedly gains extra love as i have painted so much of it.
tidalicon14 (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 who try to invade the island. The game is stunning with its artwork and components and is great fun.
sleepingicon15 (-,-,-). Sleeping Gods – a campaign exploration adventure game complete with an encounter storybook and atlas of islands to investigate. Your lost crew must find a way to return home by uncovering the secrets of the lost world, combining the unique abilities of your crew to complete challenges or defeat enemies in combat. A wonderful story game experience particularly for two or three players.
7thicon16 (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.
hexploreit17 (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.
mageicon18 (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.
vindicationicon19 (16,17,10). Vindication – a competitive island exploration game with cube resource management, this strategy game represents the journey of your hero regaining honour. The components and artwork are amazing, and the combinations of places to go, companions to recruit and encounters to have will mean that every game feels a little different. It is a really clever cube moving game design.
wqicon20 (15,15,14). 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.
gloomicon21 (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.
diceicon22 (-,-,-). Dice Throne Adventures – a co-operative dice throwing and card playing adventure game with a loose dungeon crawl campaign. This game crosses over most of my categories and looks absolutely amazing. It 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.
abyssicon23 (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.
nemoicon24 (18,16,19). 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.
taintedicon25 (19,13,-). Tainted Grail – a solo or cooperative story adventure experience, 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.