Below is my personal list of Top 13 Card and Board Games of All Time.
Acquire is a game where you build companies, buy stock, and hope to be on the best side of mergers.
I really enjoy the strategy involved in this game. You have to keep track of what other players are buying, race them to get majority control of companies, save tiles that can cause merges until you are ready, and try to make sure you don’t run out of money!
Epic Spell Wars is a fun, light game that’s a lot of fun. Players draw cards from a shared deck and construct spells from those cards. Spells have three components that play off of each other in different ways.
I love making fun combinations of spells, revealing them at the same time as other players, and seeing what craziness happens. This is definitely a luck-driven game, but there is plenty of strategy.
11. Puzzle Strike
Puzzle Strike is a game that essentially turns Super Puzzle Fighter into a deckbuilding game. And that’s exactly what I want!
I was blown away by Dominion when it came out, but it quickly lost its novelty. I tried the deckbuilding games that came after, like Thunderstone, but they never really worked for me. Puzzle Strike fills the deckbuilding hole in my life quite well.
The World of Warcraft card game is a pretty faithful representation of the license in a card game. It’s very Magic-like, but has its own flavor, mechanics, and rules that give it its own identity.
However, the game has a serious problem. It has too many restrictive factions. There are 10 classes, subsets of those classes, and special monster heros. There are too many cards that you just won’t care about when you open booster packs.
The real glory of this game comes with using the precon hero or monster decks against the special raid decks. One person plays the raid boss and the rest of the players are on a team against them. These raid boss decks are always different, interesting, and packed full of flavor and respect for their digital game equivalents.
The will be no more expansions for this game and that’s probably for the best. There are already a ton of cards out there.
I played the original Netrunner a bit and enjoyed it. However, finding cards was a huge pain. The game has a cult following that caused the price of cards of this dead game to be very high.
Fortunately, Fantasy Flight Games reprinted Netrunner under their Android license. They streamlined some of the mechanics, gave it a facelift, and sent it to the printers! The result is a better game than the original!
I enjoy the asymmetric gameplay of Netrunner. There is also a lot of resource management and bluffing. The cyberpunk theme is also something I don’t see in a lot of games.
8. 7 Wonders
Why couldn’t it be #7!?
7 Wonders is a popular game right now, but a lot of “hardcore” (i.e., experienced) board gamers look down on it. It’s a drafting resource management game that offers little (compared to most other games) player interaction. However, I still really enjoy it.
The drafting mechanic is why I enjoy it. It’s one of my favorite mechanics in any game. Planning your turns, managing resources, leaving options open, while keeping your neighbors in check is a lot of fun.
I can see this falling off of my list if I find another strong drafting game. Seasons might be that game at some point, but I need to play it a lot more to find out. For now, this sits proudly where it is.
King of Tokyo isn’t terribly complicated. You Yahtzee some dice, perform the simple effects (of which there are four), buy a card if you can afford it, then you are done.
The theme of giant monsters fighting for control of Tokyo works very well with the mechanics. The cards give the game the opportunity to breathe the theme quite well.
I love this game because the turns are very quick, it allows you to manipulate the luck, and has a multiple win conditions.
The first expansion, King of Tokyo: Power Up!, adds some variety to the monsters. Otherwise, they are all exactly the same. I wouldn’t say it’s necessary, but it’s a very welcome addition to the game.
Pathfinder is the translation of a PnP Role Play into a cooperative card-based adventure game with no DM player. The player decks also evolve across play sessions, like a player’s character would in a traditional PnP game.
I enjoy PnP RP games, but they are very hard to organize. They also depend greatly on the DM doing a good job, all the time. Pathfinder removes the need for a DM and still provides that PnP RP feeling. Sure, there’s less actual RP here, unless you push it, but I was always light with the actual RP anyway. I preferred to focus on the game engine rules.
That makes Pathfinder the perfect way for me to play PnP RP games.
5. The Spoils
The Spoils is very magic-like, with a sense of humor about it. It is a bit more advanced than Magic in a few ways, which the strategist in me enjoys, but it also has its own identity that I can appreciate.
I especially liked the Faction cards that had the basic game rules on them. There was only one faction for a long time, but the did add more that allowed those decks to play with different basic rules.
The game also did something I’d never seen before–it had an open beta. I helped run several open beta tournaments. I also won several The Spoils tournaments. Fun times.
MapleStory is an amazing card game. You play cards either as instructions on your character or as spells or monsters on the board. Each turn, you execute all of the instructions on your character for which you meet the requirements. Characters also have a couple printed instructions on them, which usually includes drawing a card.
The theme of this game is cute and playful, but not even necessary. The mechanics here would work very well in a cyberpunk theme, for example.
But the gameplay is top notch. The game is dead, but I still buy boosters when I can find them. I just wish I knew what I could do with all of those redemption cards.
3. Ca$h ‘n Gun$
This game is the easiest to play with people who don’t play games. That’s not even close to a requirement for this list, but it’s good to mention. It’s incredibly easy to teach, incredibly fun to play, and the theme drips throughout.
I always have fun plaything this game, no matter who wins. Blufing bullets, shooting first, using abilities, or just backing off always add such wonderful tension to the game. It’s also very quick to play.
Worker placement in games has always been interesting to me. I really enjoy it when you have different types of workers that can only be placed under certain restrictions. Imagine my surprise when I find a game that uses combinations of dice as your “workers”.
Otherwise, it’s not unlike other “euro” games. You place workers, get resources, build buildings, earn victory points. But the dice workers really sell this game for me.
There’s an expansion called Kingsburg: To Forge a Realm. This is group of modifications you can add to the base game. The most important of these is the change to the soldiers you get at the end of each year. You should play with that one every time.
Oh, Magic. I’ve been playing this off and on for 16+ years. It almost can’t not be on the list.
I love this game. It is the pinacle of game design, evolves over the years, is relatively easy to learn, and incredibly difficult to master.
My favorite way to play the game is draft. As I mentioned in the 7 Wonders section, I love the drafting mechanic in general. Playing with a limited selection of cards, figuring out what kind of deck to build with them, then actually playing the game is amazing.
This list comes from playing a lot of different board and card games. As you can probably tell, I really enjoy card-based games. I’m also a huge fan of drafting and more strategy than luck. However, there’s still room for some more luck-based games, like Epic Spell Wars.
There are a few other games that I expect to really enjoy. Once I play these a few times, this list may change! Here’s what I hope to play soon: