Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Board Game Top 100 (2024) Part One (100-99)

It's been four years since I blogged my Board Game Top 100. I did share a Top 23 last year, but given that I want to focus on writing everyday, I have decided now would be a good time to do the Top 100 thing again. There is an online Ranking Engine on a website called PubMeeple. Their engine was made for users of the BoardGameGeek website to rank their collections. All I have to do is input my BGG user name and the Ranking Engine loads in the games in my collection for me to rank one at a time. 

I compare game to game. Would I rather play this or that. The engine organizes the games into brackets and keeps prompting me until all the games in my collection have been sorted. It's not a perfect system. Some games just don't compare well against each other because they create such different experiences, but it works well enough. I am not sure how many games I will talk about within each post. I am not going to promise a specific number. I am just going to write as much as I feel like writing each day, and we will see where that gets us.

#100 - Sentient

Sentient is an awesome card placement, dice manipulation game. In the game players roll a set of dice and then organize them in a row by color on their player board. After this players take turns selecting cards from a central market and then placing those cards in order to score them at the end of the round.

Cards are placed between the dice that you have arranged on your player board. The cards score based on the values on the dice, but there's a catch. Each card also has a mathematical symbol in its upper left and right corners: +, - or =. The + requires the player to increase the die next to that symbol by 1. The - requires the player to decrease the die next to that symbol by 1, and the = leaves the die next to it unchanged.

You need to select cards for scoring based on the dice values that you have on your player board, but also plan ahead to not what those dice values are now, but rather what they will be after they have been changed by those same cards that you plan on scoring. It's tricky, and it's actually a pretty neat puzzle.

Players also have some workers that are used for an area control part of the game. The areas represent the different kinds of cards that you can place in your tableau and if you win an area for a particular type of card, then you score extra points for those cards. This adds a set collection element to the game. 

Using your workers for this creates some tough decision making, because you can also use those workers to place over the tops of those math symbols mentioned before, neutralizing them, so that you don't have to change your dice. This is great if you already have the perfect numbers for your scoring card.

The card art on Sentient is beautiful which is what first drew me to the game. The cards show different kinds of androids or robots that supposedly you are "programming" when you place them on your board between your dice. The theme isn't really there at all, but it looks gorgeous. At the end of the day, all that matters is that Sentient is a neat and engaging puzzle, and a really fun game. That's why it's my 100th favorite game of all time.

#99 - Mint Condition Comics

While my #100 game: Sentient, may have had some pretty involved mechanisms and no theme, my next game is the opposite. It has really light mechanics, but feels very thematic. In Mint Condition Comics players are collecting comic books and trying to create sets.

Mint Condition Comics is a card drafting, set collection game. The cards represent different comic books, and the art is awesome! The central market, aka the comic book shop has some comics on display and others in face down piles. This is just like comics that are on open display in the comic shop and issues that are in the back issue bins that you have to dig through to find what you want.

There are three face down piles that represent the back issue bins, and one master draw deck that represents other comics that will come into the shop from the outside. As you look through one of the three face down piles, you may take that pile or return it face down and look at the next one. However, each time that you "skip" a pile, you draw a card from the master deck without looking at it, and add it face down to the pile that you just rejected.

When you take a pile, you add all the cards from that pile face up in front of you. This is your comic book collection. If you skip all three available back issue piles, then you must take the top two cards from the master deck and add those to your collection. Your collection will score points at the end of the game based on the number of comics that you have in each set.

Once you have comics, you can trade for the face up comics (the comics on display) in the comic shop. If you have a comic with a high rarity, you can trade for two comics of a lesser rarity with the comic shop. Alternatively, you can trade any two comics from your collection for one comic from the shop. You can also trade with other players on a one for one basis. You must always give the other player a comic of equal or greater rarity, and you can only trade for their "loose" comics (that is: lone comics that are not yet part of a set of two or greater.)

Mint Condition Comics is so thematic! The comics are all original made up titles. They aren't based on existing comics, but they feel like they could be. Every card represents a comic. It has a title, an issue number, and a rarity. Each round a random title is selected as the "hot comic" which is worth more points. The player with the most points after three rounds is the winner.

I got Mint Condition Comics following a Kickstarter Campaign four years ago. I don't think it was ever sold outside of that Kickstarter. If you ever see a copy, snatch it up. It's awesome, especially if you are a comic collector, or know someone who is. Julie isn't and she still really enjoys the game, too! That's why Mint Condition Comics is my 99th favorite game of all time!

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