Find out what games from other designers the members of the League of Gamemakers admire. Tell us what your favorite game is below in the comments!
- Certain cards “come back”. For example, let’s say you read a card that says you find some mysterious berries. Or maybe you spot a panther. You are usually given a choice. In certain cases (eating the berries, letting the panther escape), the card is shuffled into the main deck, and when it when it reappears, you read part B. This makes for a great, evolving story.
- Weather increases gradually from turn to turn. The game includes custom scenarios, that might say “no weather in turns 1-4”. But then on turn 5, it begins to rain. And then pour. And winter creeps in. Pretty soon, you’re all scrambling to get inside whatever makeshift shelter you’ve built. The foreshadowing rocks!
- Tools have prerequisites. So you can’t make a shortcut, until you know how to craft a map. The dependencies are great, and they solidify in your mind that you’re starting with a campfire before you are able to cook with a pot.
I’m going to go with Tokaido by Antoine Bauza. The reason Tokaido stands out for me mostly is theme and the way a person wins. You win by having the most pleasant trip. That’s a totally different feel than most other games that are competitive. For other games, stopping to enjoy the scenery would be a wasted turn, but you gain points for it in Tokaido.
Mechanically it’s very simple to learn with simple choices on your turn, but like most great games, the choices have strategic impact. I’ll be honest, I’m not very good at it. In fact, I lose a great deal more than I win, but I still enjoy the game.
As a side note, the expansion adds to the game well, but I don’t know if it’s needed. I still play with it, but it’s not a must-have.