Monday, October 30, 2006


The best games with a fantasy theme...

Just missed the cut:

Also nominated:

For comparison, the top five games from 2002... albeit from a slightly different category. Last time around, I got all tricky & came up with "D&D in a board game" as a category instead of fantasy - it was probably the most hated category amongst the Apple Pickers. So, the following five games are in response to my silliness and can not be directly compared to this category:



Blogger mark aka pastor guy said...

I didn't put the preferences in the original post - but Elfenland was preferred over Elfenroads 2-1... and Titan: The Arena over Colossal Arena by the same margin. (For the record, I think Colossal Arena would have been just fine if they hadn't messed with the game-ending rule.)

The two games I miss most - in other words, didn't even get nominated - are Return of the Heroes (is the Underworld expansion EVER coming out in English?!) and Dungeonquest (I am still looking for my own copies of the Catacombs & Heroes expansions - sigh.)

3:04 PM  
Blogger Chris Farrell said...

What? No Titan? Oh, the humanity!

I didn't expect to be quite so out of touch on this one, but the only game I nominated that even made the nomination list was Lord of the Rings. My other nominees included Beowulf, Blue Moon, Magic Realm, Titan, and Wizard Kings.

I'm not sure why I didn't nominate the Middle-Earth CCG. Maybe I was trying to stick more literally to board games this time, or maybe I had decided to avoid write-ins.

Anyway, I wouldn't dispute that a lot of the nominated games (maybe even all of them) are better games than Magic Realm, but Magic Realm is a definitely a great fantasy game.

It might have been interesting to get preferences on Lord of the Rings and Titan: The Arena, although I assume the obvious would have been the case (the original games in both instances).

3:36 PM  
Blogger huzonfirst said...

If you just look at the final vote, I did pretty well with this one. I voted for LotR, T:TA, and Elfenland, as well as Zavandor, which just missed. My other vote was for LotR: The Confrontation. Pretty good correlation.

But to be honest, the only one of those games I'm liable to suggest is Zavandor. The reason is that that game and LotR are my only nominated games that made the finals (and the hobbits were my seventh pick). Maybe my definition of fantasy was broader than the other voters (the final list is weighted heavily toward D&D and Tolkien settings). At any rate, my other five nominees were A Game of Thrones (wonderful game; a 3 hour Diplomacy), Beowulf (Chris will be pleased!), Blue Moon City (ditto!), Ars Mysteriorum (not as good as Alan Ernstein's other meaty design, Tahuantinsuyu, but still a good, innovative game), and Scarab Lords (Knizia's attempt at a non-collectable CCG that seems to get very little love). As has been happening so often with the themed categories, I seem to be marching to a different drummer (and everyone knows elves ain't got no rhythm!).

Of the other nominated games, I've never played HeroScape, Descent, or Wiz-War. Das Amulett looked promising, but it seemed as if the different portions of the design were working in opposition to each other; I really didn't care for it too much. And I've only played Fairy Tale once and don't have much interest in playing again. If you play it quickly, it's a pretty random crapshoot; if you play it carefully, it lasts too long for what it is. Maybe only old Magic players can appreciate that design.

5:41 PM  
Blogger Kevin_Whitmore said...

"The best games with a fantasy theme..."

I admit I don't recall what my votes were in this category; but in reflection I cannot fathom why Magic: The Gathering doesn't appear on our list.

I've many years of reading fantasy & science fiction. Oddly I've found relatively few games with fantasy or science-fiction themes that have satisfied me.

I have played and enjoyed Titan: The Arena, Elfenland, Scepter of Zavandor, Das Amulett, Heroquest, Dungeonquest, and Titan, amongst many others. All of these games are good in their own way. But none of them are in my top tier of favorite games.

I recently played Beowulf for the first time, and greatly enjoyed myself. Somehow the old "legend" provided a better fantasy theme than any other boardgame I've ever played.

But for me, Magic: The Gathering is the best at tying a rich fantasy theme to a vibrant variable game. I have not played Magic in a few years, but I still regard it as a fine game.

9:25 AM  
Blogger Chris Farrell said...

By the way, sorry Mark that I missed your clear comment on the TtA/CA preference. A LotR preference might have been interesting though :)

I admit I don't recall what my votes were in this category; but in reflection I cannot fathom why Magic: The Gathering doesn't appear on our list.

I kept an archive everything, so I checked, and I think the problem was that Magic wasn't on the list of games from which to nominate ... I assume because it doesn't have the "fantasy" tag on BGG. Obviously, if it's not on the list, it faces an uphill struggle. At some point, I gave up on doing write-ins.

Using BGG tags produced some odd selection lists for the more subjective categories (see Bluffing games), but it's a tough problem. There are a lot of games out there.

10:37 AM  
Blogger mark aka pastor guy said...


Magic was not included in the nominations list because I specifically have excluded CCG's from these lists. The one exception (innovative) is the exception that proves the rule. :-)


I'd have a hard time establishing a preference for LOTR - when time is short, I like the base game. When we're not so pressed for time, Friends & Foes is excellent. And Sauron is a cool change of pace that's a blast to play. (And, yes, I am looking forward to the Battlefields expansion.)

11:29 AM  
Blogger Chris Farrell said...

I stand corrected on the Magic thing ...

I'll just note that the Lord of the Rings Tabletop Battle Game, a miniatures system, was on the list, so I felt compelled to vote for it even though as a minis game it had no chance to even place (I think it's a great game, and these days I probably spend more time on it than any other single game).

I certainly sympathise with the aversion to collectible games, but I think including them couldn't hurt. Magic is certainly no more of a money pit than an addiction to having the latest-and-greatest euros, and might even be cheaper.

11:55 AM  
Anonymous estoote langobarden said...

Today I happened across a list I made several months ago of good games with "fantasy" part of the theme. There are several titles on my list that haven't been part of the discussion here yet:

Kupferkessel Co. - Shopping for ingredients to put into your cauldron for a magic potion. This is the finely tuned two-player pick-your-cards game, Spiel des Jahres nominee, and in my opinion best of all G√ľnter Burkhardt's designs.

Goldener Drache - Maybe I'm the only one, but I'm totally charmed by this little dragon race in which a very clever alternative to random movement has been worked out by Wolfgang Riedesser of Ave Caesar fame.

Silber Zwerg - Dwarves mining for gems and players second-guessing each other to fulfill contracts and sell gems at a profit. It's a four-cornered game, and we'll only play it with four, but it still makes it to the table now and then.

Hera and Zeus - Assuming we agree that mythology belongs under the "fantasy" heading.

10:30 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home