Showing posts with label Hobby Games: The 100 Best. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hobby Games: The 100 Best. Show all posts

Friday, March 26, 2010

Green Ronin Releases Family Games: The 100 Best

Two years ago, Green Ronin Publishing released one of the best books on hobby gaming ever written. Their book, Hobby Games: The 100 Best, featured thoughtful articles highlighting some of the best games in the history of the gaming hobby written by some of the best game designers in the industry. Some of the games were well known and are played by thousands of gamers on a regular basis, others were rare games that influenced the creation of the games people play today. One thing is certain, the game became a Christmas Wish List for many gamers and started an internet meme where game hobbyists listed the games they own/play.

Green Ronin has now followed up on the hobby game book with a book entitled Family Games: The 100 Best. With it the company hopes to provide for family games the same kind of invaluable resource they provided for the hobby game industry. The book was originally slated to be released last year's Gen Con convention, but was delayed for a variety of reasons.

Your average consumer isn't a collector of games and doesn't have room in their house for 1000+ board/card/roleplaying/family games and resources like these two books allow for those consumers to purchase games based on the opinions of individuals who have a great deal of experience in designing and playing games. Why James Lowder and the folks at Green Ronin have yet to ask me for an entry in their compilations is beyond understanding, but the list of games in this edition is once again a wonderful selection of the popular and the rare and consumers cannot go wrong with any of the games on the list.

I have provided a copy of the games included in the new volume below, those games that are bold are games that I own and those games that are italicized are games that I have played.

Family Games: The 100 Best

* Foreword by Mike Gray
* Introduction by James Lowder
* Afterword by Wil Wheaton
* Appendix A: Games and Education by David Millians
* Appendix B: Family Games in Hobby Games: The 100 Best by James Lowder

* Carrie Bebris on 10 Days in the USA
* Steven E. Schend on 1960: The Making of the President
* Dominic Crapuchettes on Apples to Apples
* Mike Breault on The Awful Green Things from Outer Space
* Jeff Tidball on Balderdash
* Keith Baker on Bang!
* Bruce Harlick on Battleship
* James Wallis on Bausack
* Paul Jaquays on Black Box
* Lewis Pulsipher on Blokus
* Teeuwynn Woodruff on Boggle
* Fred Hicks on Buffy the Vampire Slayer
* James Ernest on Candy Land
* Ian Livingstone on Can't Stop
* Bruce Whitehill on Careers
* Jared Sorensen on Cat
* Wolfgang Baur on Cathedral
* John Scott Tynes on Clue
* Alessio Cavatore on Condottiere
* Elaine Cunningham on Connect Four
* Will Hindmarch on Cranium
* Erik Mona on Crossbows and Catapults
* William W. Connors on Dark Tower
* John D. Rateliff on Dogfight
* Robert J. Schwalb on Dungeon!
* jim pinto on Dvonn
* Gav Thorpe on Easter Island
* Jeff Grubb on Eurorails
* Kenneth Hite on Faery's Tale Deluxe
* Richard Dansky on Family Business
* Warren Spector on Focus
* Corey Konieczka on For Sale
* James M. Ward on Fortress America
* Stan! on Frank's Zoo
* Bruce C. Shelley on The Game of Life
* Phil Orbanes on A Gamut of Games
* Monica Valentinelli on Gloom
* Matt Leacock on Go Away Monster!
* Steve Jackson on The Great Dalmuti
* David "Zeb" Cook on Guillotine
* Jason Matthews on Gulo Gulo
* Joshua Howard on Halli Galli
* Bruce Nesmith on Hare & Tortoise
* Mike Pondsmith on HeroClix
* Anthony J. Gallela on HeroQuest
* Chris Pramas on HeroScape
* Ed Greenwood on Hey! That's My Fish!
* Colin McComb on Hive
* Alan R. Moon on Hoity Toity
* Jon Leitheusser on Ingenious
* Uli Blennemann on Java
* Luke Crane on Jungle Speed
* Monte Cook on Kill Doctor Lucky
* Emiliano Sciarra on Knightmare Chess
* Todd A. Breitenstein on Liar's Dice
* Marc Gascoigne on Loopin' Louie
* Andrew Parks on Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation
* Seth Johnson on Lost Cities
* John Yianni on Magi-Nation
* Bill Bodden on Master Labyrinth
* Andrew Greenberg on Mastermind
* Ken Levine on Memoir '44
* Scott Haring on Mille Bornes
* Steve Jackson on Monopoly
* Sheri Graner Ray on Mouse Trap
* Kevin G. Nunn on Mystery Rummy: Murders in the Rue Morgue
* Dale Donovan on The Omega Virus
* Darren Watts on Othello
* Charles Ryan on Pandemic
* Michelle Lyons on Pente
* Thomas M. Reid on Pictionary
* Nicole Lindroos on Pieces of Eight
* John Wick on Pit
* Matt Forbeck on Pokémon
* Robin D. Laws on Prince Valiant
* Stephen Glenn on Qwirkle
* Sébastien Pauchon on Ricochet Robots
* Peter Olotka on Risk
* Richard Breese on Rummikub
* Jesse Scoble on Scotland Yard
* Richard Garfield on Scrabble
* Mike Selinker on Set
* Rob Heinsoo on Small World
* Hal Mangold on Sorry!
* Jess Lebow on Stratego
* Eric Goldberg on Strat-O-Matic Baseball
* Andrea Angiolino on Survive!
* Karl Deckard on Thebes
* Dan Tibbles on Time's Up!
* Tom Wham on Trade Winds
* Susan McKinley Ross on TransAmerica
* Ray Winninger on Trivial Pursuit
* Leo Colovini on Twixt
* Matthew Kirby on Uno
* David Parlett on Upwords
* Lester Smith on Werewolf
* John Kovalic on Wits & Wagers
* Philip Reed on Yahtzee
* Kevin Wilson on Zendo
* Jess Hartley on Zooloretto

As you can see, I own and have played a lot of these games. Some of them, like Heroquest and Heroscape, appeal to my "rpg" gaming personality. Others, like Zooloretto, are wonderful games for playing with people who want to play a great game but aren't interested in "fantasy" themes. I'm surprised at the absence of some games from the list, but I am not surprised that any of the games listed made the list. This is because there are more than 100 Family Games worth playing if you have the time.

Monday, July 20, 2009

James Lowder Adding Another Must Buy Gaming Book to Book Shelves Everywhere

In the summer of 2007 Green Ronin released the most important book in the gaming hobby since David Parlett's The Oxford History of Board Games. The book, entitled Hobby Games: The 100 Best, was edited by industry luminary James Lowder and contained essays about 100 of the best -- and most important -- hobby games that had ever been released on the market.

Some of the games in the book have been out of print for some time. Avalon Hill's Gettysburg -- which was the first themed commercial wargame and following in the footsteps of Avalon Hill's Tactics and Tactics II created the modern commercial wargaming industry -- gets a brilliant write up by one of the founding fathers of the modern gaming industry Lou Zocchi. It is a game that is particularly difficult for collectors who like to play games as well as own them. Gettysburg went through numerous editions, each with major changes to the rules of the game. The original game featured a square grid overlaying the map used during play, the second edition replaced the square grid with hexagons, the third edition brought back the squares and added new rules, the fourth get the point. Adding to the dilemma is the fact that, while different, many of the editions are fun for their very differences.

Other games, which like Gettysburg were games that spawned genres of game play, are still in print -- though usually in a new edition that is often very different from the original game. Richard Garfield praises Dungeons and Dragons, the game that created the role playing game hobby. Jordan Weisman praises Magic the Gathering, the game that spawned the Collectible Card Game industry and paved the way for the Pokemon craze.

Even when the games aren't responsible for creating a new genre, they are still great games. Ogre, reviewed by the late Erick Wujcik, wasn't the first tactical wargame featuring tanks. But it is, to date, one of the most accessible tactical wargames and highlights the struggle of humanity against a murderous machine that echoes the "Butlerian Jihad" and predates the Terminator franchise. It is a shame that Steve Jackson Games doesn't continue to keep this game in print...even as a pdf download. It's the game that launched the company, and it is a wonderful introduction to "map, counter, and CRT" wargaming.

All 100 of the games written about are worth playing, and all 100 entries of the book are worth reading. Whether you want a glimpse in to the variety of experience the hobby offers, a look into the history of the hobby, or a peak to see if anything in the hobby is "for you," Hobby Games: The 100 Best is a must have for any book shelf.

Given the high praise above, you can imagine how much I am looking forward to the release of James Lowder's second collection Family Games: The 100 Best. The book will be released in late August, sadly not in time for Gen Con, and once again has an awe inspiring list of designers who contribute their thoughts on some of the best family games from the past 100 years.

Here is the list of confirmed authors, according to the Green Ronin website:


Mike Gray: Foreword
James Lowder: Introduction
Wil Wheaton: Afterword
David Millians: Appendix (Games and Education)

Andrea Angiolino
Keith Baker
Wolfgang Baur
Carrie Bebris
Uli Blennemann
Bill Bodden
Mike Breault
Richard Breese
Todd Breitenstein
Alessio Cavatore
Leo Colovini
William W. Connors
David “Zeb” Cook
Monte Cook
Luke Crane
Dominic Crapuchettes
Elaine Cunningham
Richard Dansky
Karl Deckard
Dale Donovan
James Ernest
Matt Forbeck
Anthony J. Gallela
Richard Garfield
Marc Gascoigne
Stephen Glenn
Eric Goldberg
Andrew Greenberg
Ed Greenwood
Jeff Grubb
Scott Haring
Bruce Harlick
Jess Hartley
Fred Hicks
Will Hindmarch
Kenneth Hite
Joshua Howard
Steve Jackson (GW)
Steve Jackson (SJG)
Paul Jaquays
Seth Johnson
Matthew Kirby
Corey Konieczka
John Kovalic
Robin D. Laws
Matt Leacock
Jess Lebow
Jon Leitheusser
Ken Levine
Nicole Lindroos
Ian Livingstone
Michelle Lyons
Hal Mangold
Jason Matthews
Erik Mona
Alan R. Moon
Colin Moulder-McComb
Bruce Nesmith
Kevin Nunn
Peter Olotka
Phil Orbanes
Andrew Parks
David Parlett
Sébastien Pauchon
jim pinto
Mike Pondsmith
Chris Pramas
Lewis Pulsipher
John D. Rateliff
Sheri Graner Ray
Philip Reed
Thomas M. Reid
Susan McKinley Ross
Charles Ryan
Steven Schend
Robert J. Schwalb
Emiliano Sciarra
Jesse Scoble
Mike Selinker
Bruce Shelley
John Smedley
Lester Smith
Jared Sorensen
Warren Spector
Gav Thorpe
Dan Tibbles
Jeff Tidball
John Scott Tynes
Monica Valentinelli
James Wallis
James M. Ward
Darren Watts
Tom Wham
Bruce Whitehill
John Wick
Kevin Wilson
Ray Winninger
Teeuwynn Woodruff
John Yianni

Like the list of authors in Hobby Games, this is a list of some of the best and brightest game designers working today from a variety of gaming genres. The inclusion of some of the leading game historians (the aforementioned David Parlett and the as yet unmentioned Phil Orbanes) speaks to James Lowder's knowledge of the field and his desire to create a product that is important to hobbyists and useful to those outside the hobby. The designers selected range from the old guard to the exciting young turks.

Sadly, some of the designers who had articles in the prior book in the series are no longer with us. One would give a lot to read Gary Gygax's or Erick Wujcik's thoughts on the subject. I am also disappointed to see that Ken St. Andre and Rick Loomis, both featured in the prior book, are absent from the list of contributors. But an editor's job is no easy and this is a wonderful list indeed.

I am particularly interested in seeing what longtime Cinerati friend Matt Forbeck wrote in his entry as well as what relative newcomer in the industry Jess Hartley chooses for her entry. Forbeck has worked on a number of the classics of the hobby and Jess' work on the excellent Scion by White Wolf (as well as numerous World of Darkness titles by the same publisher) makes hers a voice I'd like to hear from.

Of all the names on the list, I would only remove one -- Wil Wheaton. His removal would have provided less geek celebrity appeal, but would have allowed Lowder to invite me to write the afterword.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design Announces Origin Awards Nominees (Part One)

Last week the Game Manufacturer's Association (GAMA) announced their annual list of Origins Award Nominees. The Origins Awards are the most prestigious award in the Adventure Gaming hobby and the winners are determined by the members of the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design, a committee of GAMA. This year's list contains a wide variety of nominees, covering many genres within the gaming hobby.

Below is the list of nominees followed by my own commentary regarding the individual products:

The first category this year is MINIATURE OR MINIATURES LINE. As one might guess, miniatures can be an important component of the adventure gaming hobby. There are those who prefer to play "merely in the minds of the players," and that works very well for many games. But as someone who has gamed for over 25 years, there are times -- surprising as it may seem to say -- when using miniatures can add a wonderful narrative component to an evening's play. A picture can be worth a thousand words after all.


Having limited talents in the painting of figures, and even less time to develop an talents I do have, my unpainted miniatures purchases have always been limited. Add to that the creation of the D&D Miniatures pre-painted line and my purchase of unpainted miniatures has completely died off. This being the case, I'll leave opinions of which line/individual miniature deserves this year's award up to you the reader. Following each nominee I am providing a representative image provided by the manufacturer of the line/individual miniature. Some of these are particularly nice.

Skarrd Raze #2
by Dark Age Games

George R.R. Martin Masterworks - Premium Miniature Line
by Dark Sword Miniatures, Inc.

Titanius Fury
by Dragonfire Laser Crafts Inc.

Apparently this is a typo at the GAMA site. According to the Dragonfire site, it should be Titania's Fury. If this is indeed the product in question, it gets my vote hands down as a useful and innovative product.

Bronzeback Titan, HORDES: Evolution Miniatures Line
by Privateer Press

Dark Heaven Legends Fantasy Miniatures
by Reaper Miniatures

You really need to click on the link above to get a sense of the entire Dark Heaven line produced by Reaper Miniatures. It is the last of the old school lines of RPG miniatures and is a very good, and very deep, product line. Below is a sample of one of the figures in the line.

Following the MINIATURE or MINIATURES LINE award comes the award for best MINIATURES RULES. It should be noted that this award is central to the adventure gaming hobby. Were it not for H.G. Wells' book Little Wars or for Gary Gygax and Jeff Perrin's CHAINMAIL, the adventure gaming hobby would not exist as it does today.


Classic Battletech

Published by Catalyst Game Labs
Created by Jordan Weisman
Edited by Michelle Lyons, Diane Piron-Gelman

In an era of click based miniature games and collectible card games, it is heartwarming to see that one of the great miniature games of the past continues to perform strongly and receive the recognition it is due. Classic Battletech is one of the few games that truly deserves to have the word "classic" attached to it. The latest version of the rules updates battlemech construction to ensure more balanced encounters and has been well supported by the fine folks at Catalyst Game Labs.

Saganami Island Tactical Simulator, Second Edition
Published by Ad Astra Games
Created by Ken Burnside and Thomas Pope

While my friends might believe that I own every game actually in print, I don't own a copy of this space combat miniatures simulation. The game is inspired by Baen Books' Honor Harrington military SF fiction series. When it comes to ship to ship space combat games, I tend to stick with SILENT DEATH and BATTLEFLEET GOTHIC or RENEGADE LEGION. When it comes to fun and games, I tend to avoid those that require the use of 3D vector space. I'm chicken. I admit it.

Forces of WARMACHINE: Pirates of the Broken Coast

Published by Privateer Press
Created by Brian Snoddy and Matt Wilson

Pirates, Steam Powered Magical Robots, and a coherent rules set...what's not to love. Privateer Press' WARMACHINE line is a great product line that rivals Rackham for the quality of sculpts. Unlike Rackham's games, one doesn't have to read awkwardly translated French to learn the rules. This is a great addition to a great game. Privateer Press is an exciting gaming company. From their first module for 3rd edition D&D to their card games, they strive for quality.

Published by Rackham
Created by Arnaud Cuidet, Jean-Baptiste Lullien, Nicolas Raoult, and Jerome Rigal

Having been a WARHAMMER 40K player for over 15 years, it would have taken something pretty special to get me to pack up my Eldar and Space Marines in favor of another game system. AT-43 is that system. As a Rackham game, it has simply some of the best sculpting I have ever seen in the gaming industry. Rackham miniatures are beautiful, and AT-43's are pre-painted. Add to this a good list of affordable terrain features that can be used in other games as well, and I didn't mind having to read poorly translated French in order to learn how to play this game. This is a fun game with beautiful components and an interesting backstory which, like many games coming out of Europe today, has some salient things to say about modern international politics.

Song of Blades and Heroes
Published by Andrea Sfiligoi
Created by Andrea Sfiligoi

It's quite the honor for a "independent" game to be nominated for an Origin award. I haven't play tested this game, but at $15 with an Origin nomination this game is on my short list of games to buy and try.

MY PICK: AT-43 -- It's a great addition to the French invasion in adventure gaming. If only I could find a copy of Asmodee Games' C.O.P.S. roleplaying game. I'd be a happy man.

There's more to adventure gaming than the games. Many gaming companies publish non-fiction and fiction books in support of their product lines, the hobby, or topics related to the hobby. TSR was the first company to publish media tie-in fiction with their roleplaying game, but many have followed and some companies publish non-media tie-in fiction as well.

Astounding Hero Tales
Published by Hero Games
Edited by James Lowder

While related to Hero Games' PULP HERO sourcebook in theme, this anthology of pulp fiction is a worthy addition to any pulp fans bookshelf. Edited by James Lowder this anthology includes stories by Hugh B. Cave and Lester Dent in addition to pulp tales written by veterans of the game industry. Cinerati's companion podcast Geekerati had an interview with editor James Lowder last year where discussion of this book came up.

Dragons of the Highlord Skies
Published by Wizards of the Coast
Written by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

The line of books that established that rpg media tie-in books could be profitable continues with this bestselling novel. With this book, readers learn what happened "between the lines" of the original trilogy.

Frontier Cthulhu

Published by Chaosium
Edited by William Jones

In BLACK STRANGER, Robert E. Howard spun a yarn simulating what might have happened if Conan had lived among the native Americans. The Picts of that tale were closer to the Sioux than the historic Picts. With the Frontier Cthulhu anthology, Chaosium Games gives us 14 tales of what might have happened as people explored American frontiers.

The Orc King
Published by Wizards of the Coast
Written by R.A. Salvatore

Who says archetypal pulp adventurers are dead? In THE ORC KING, R.A. Salvatore shares with us the continuing saga of one of the most popular characters in fantasy fiction Drizzt Do'Urden. Where Elric was the anti-Conan, Drizzt is in many ways the anti-Elric.

The Time Curse

Published by Margaret Weis Productions
Written by James M. Ward

Last year saw a return of the Endless Quest/Choose Your Own Adventure style books of my childhood and Margaret Weis Productions were at the forefront of that wave. James Ward's THE TIME CURSE is a fun jaunt and a good representation of the genre. And while the book is still available, it is sad to see that the Weis Productions website is downplaying the Paths of Doom line of books.

MY PICK: ASTOUNDING HERO TALES, but you should really pick up THE TIME CURSE as well. It's only $4.50, and it's fun.

Last year was a big year in non-fiction publication for the adventure gaming hobby. Some great books came out last year, and the list of nominees shows that strength.


40 Years of Gen Con
Published by Atlas Games
Written by Robin D. Laws

Long gone are the days when Gen Con, the largest gaming convention in America, was held in Milwaukee, WI. I attended the con the final year it was held in that fine city and I had a great time. In this volume, edited by Robin D. Laws, several gaming luminaries -- including the now deceased creator of the D&D game Gary Gygax -- share their thoughts on the first 40 years of this conventions history. Given that the company who currently hosts the con is having some legal troubles with Lucas, let's hope that this doesn't become the definitive complete history of the con.

Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress: A Girl's Guide to the Dungeons & Dragons Game
Published by Wizards of the Coast
Written by Shelly Mazzanoble

This book, by Shelly Mazzanoble, was aimed at informing women about roleplaying games in general and D&D in particular. Shelly succeeds masterfully at this task. And though she has received some minor criticism from some members of the the "He Man Women Hater's Club," she has also managed to write what might be the best introduction to the D&D game published to date...regardless of sex. While it's true that male readers will have to tolerate side comments about Sex in the City and trips to the mall, it is also true that Shelly has captured the essence of what makes this hobby so much fun for me.

Shelly was recently a guest on the Geekerati Podcast.

Grand History of the Realms

Published by Wizards of the Coast
Written by Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood

While the Forgotten Realms isn't the first world setting for a roleplaying game, it is one of the best selling...if not the best selling. This non-fiction -- and rules free -- book is a must have for any long time fan of the Realms, whether in its game of fiction form. This book gives a good overview of the history of the Realms and gives some glimpses at what the future holds in store as well.

Hobby Games: The 100 Best
Published by Green Ronin
Edited by James Lowder

In HOBBY GAMES: THE 100 BEST, James Lowder brings together 100 essays written by the cream of the crop of the gaming industry to write about their favorite hobby game. Over the years there have been too few books about the gaming hobby, but books of this quality fill quite the gap in quantity. Most of the 100 essays in this book are insightful and well written. In fact, I'll bet you that if you buy this book you will buy no fewer than 5 new games based on the stories/recommendations herein. You might even spend a month on Ebay looking for a good copy of an out of print game. Lord knows I did. James Lowder discussed this book in detail during our podcast interview last year.

No Quarter Magazine
Published by Privateer Press
Nathan Letsinger, editor-in-chief
Eric Cagle, editor
Josh Manderville, art director

NO QUARTER seems to have taken this year's slot as "token gaming magazine" in this category after the death of the physical DRAGON magazine this past year. It will be interesting to see if next year's awards include Wolfgang Baur's KOBOLD QUARTERLY or the online editions of the DUNGEON and DRAGON magazines.

MY PICK: It's a tough toss up between Shelly Mazzanoble's book and the James Lowder Collection, but I'm going to have to cast my vote for CONFESSIONS. If you want a copy, let me know and I'll mail you one (only applies to the first few requests).

Tomorrow, I'll cover part two of this list...The actual games.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Latest Gamer Meme: How Many Do You Own?

Since the announcement, and release at Gen Con, of Hobby Games: The 100 Best there has been a running meme where gamers list which games within the 100 they own and/or play. Never one to give up an opportunity to brag regarding my gaming and gaming collection, I thought that I would join in the fun.

The format that has become common in this meme is to take the full list of 100 games and italicize those that one owns and italicize and bold those that you both own and have played. I won't be doing that. I want to add some brief thoughts as to what I think of those games I own, and/or have played, so I will be doing several posts instead of the one.

Today, I taking the first 15 games and later posts will cover the remainder of the list.

  1. Bruce C. Shelley on Acquire: I picked up the most recent edition of this classic Sid Sackson boardgame when it was part of a liquidation sale at a local Wizards of the Coast store, back in the day. In the years that I have owned the game, I have yet to open it. From what I have read, and heard, about the game, I am doing myself a great disservice. I fully plan on playing this game, when and if I can convince my gaming group to take another weekend off from roleplaying.

  2. Nicole Lindroos on Amber Diceless: As a "how to" guide for gamemastering a roleplaying game, this product is amazing. As an actual roleplaying game itself...yawn. It is a great setting, and the bidding war during character creation is genius, but the "whoever is better wins unless player/gm are super-creative" system of resolution is kind of a cop out. If you have a great GM of a particular breed, this is a great game. If you have a great GM of a different breed or an average GM, this game can be awful. All of which is a pure product of the rules. To be honest "better person wins unless it advances the story or meets GM/Player whim" isn't a game system, it's storytelling guidelines. Once Upon A Time is as much a roleplaying game as Amber. That said, let me re-emphasize that the gamemastering techniques section of the rulebook were, and are still, ground breaking.

  3. Ian Livingstone on Amun-Re

  4. Stewart Wieck on Ars Magica: This was the first real "story driven" rpg I ever played. The system was simple when it needed to be, technical when it needed to be, and arcane when dealing with magic. The games that are "legacies" of Ars Magica are legion, all the Storyteller books for example, yet most lack the simple fun of this game. This was another game with a great section on GM-ing.

  5. Thomas M. Reid on Axis & Allies: This is the game, more than any other, that made me like wargaming. It isn't the most robust of wargames, but it is easy to play and understand and translates its subject well into rules format. Sure it takes hours to set up and possibly days to play, but I have some fond memories of this game. Memories which are only surpassed by my Broadsides and Boarding Parties memories.

  6. Tracy Hickman on Battle Cry: Prior to playing this game, I imagined that all wargames needed to take a long time to play, but the Command and Colors system utilized in this game proved me wrong. The rules are simple and swift, the game almost takes longer to set up than play, and you can simulate numerous battles of the Civil War in an afternoon. This game is why I bought Battlelore.

  7. Philip Reed on BattleTech: My parents would have been happier if I hadn't discovered this game my Junior year of high school. Between work, baseball, and BattleTech, I didn't spend a lot of time with family. I still have yet to play the game with miniatures instead of cardboard stand ups though.

  8. Justin Achilli on Blood Bowl: The most recent edition, especially whatever digital rulebook is currently available, might be the most balanced and fastest playing version, but give me the crazy Second Edition with the Astrogranite gameboard and the crazy expansion books any day of the week. I want to roll numbers, not symbols. I just think the second edition did a better job of conveying the background and feel of the game, and that's why I keep coming back.

  9. Mike Selinker on Bohnanza

  10. Tom Dalgliesh on Britannia: I'm still waiting for a chance to play my beautiful Fantasy Flight Games edition.

  11. Greg Stolze on Button Men: A game you can play anywhere, at anytime, like while wandering through the convention halls? I'm in. This is a simple game to play that is just great, cheap, silly, fun.

  12. Monte Cook on Call of Cthulhu: Universally accepted as the "best" horror rpg. This is more due to the source material (and the excellent written adventures) than the rules, though those are serviceable. The one innovation that set this apart from games before it, and which has been poorly imitated later, is the addition of sanity rules by which player's characters can go mad, mad, mad I tell you. Not a great game for "campaign" play, but if it were would players ever actually be able to feel the "fear" that ought to be a part of a horror game?

  13. Steven E. Schend on Carcassonne: I am still waiting to crack open my copy of this game. Though I hear it is one of the great "gateway" games.

  14. Jeff Tidball on Car Wars: The summer after 8th grade had my friends, and me, blowing the living snot out of one another in our post-apocalyptic automobiles. I couldn't watch Mad Max without immediately wanting to play a follow up Car Wars game.

  15. Bill Bridges on Champions: You wouldn't know it from the current edition, but this game was once much easier to learn than D&D. Champions was the first superhero rpg I ever played, and it has set the benchmark against which all others are governed. I believe that earlier editions were more free-form and left more room for on the fly creativity. The current rules set has become very "granular" and players often take a "What is on the character sheet is what you can do approach" that wasn't emphasized in older editions. That said, this is still a great game and the best "war game" simulation of super heroic combat ever crafted. As far as playing it as an rpg, I take mine Mutants and Masterminds (though it is becoming a little to granular) or DC Heroes (my favorite superhero rpg) now. But I have to say...those days of Rob saying, "Meanwhile...back at the ranch--Pachew, Bang, Pachew," those are priceless.