Number Six on the Meeple Like Us Ten Top Best Board Games 2017 Edition!
Being number six in a list of best board games has to be a rough gig. You’re not quite in the top half of the best board games ever but still… seems a bit churlish to complain. I mean, you’re still outstanding – but sort of a Tesco Value brand of outstanding. You might look like a 1%er to the 99%ers, but to the 0.1%ers you just look like another scrub. An understudy.
If I were in the top five, I’d probably be wary about accepting a drink from either of the games here.
Michael Picks: Azul (In with a bullet at #6)
|Accessibility Report||Meeple Like Us|
|Complexity||Medium Light [1.78]|
|BGG Rank||43 [7.85]|
Azul is a refreshing game, but mainly because when I play it I’m constantly thinking about Starburst. This is a game of laying down tiles in the palaces of blah blah blah nobody cares. Honestly, don’t let its theming mislead you. You might spend your time looking at the tiles, but really you’re mostly worried about the chisels. The decisions you make in Azul are sharpened to a knife edge and as a result they always leave someone feeling like they’ve just been stabbed. This is a game of margins – of inserting yourself into the decision space and widening the gap between you and your opponent. Sometimes you do that by playing well. More often you do it by making sure they play poorly – by ensuring that the only thing left on the buffet table for them come lunchtime is a shit sandwich that they don’t get to turn down. Azul has weaponised loss aversion and turned it into a gameplay mechanism and the result is one of the tightest, nastiest, and best designed games I’ve ever played.
Pauline: Urgh. That is utterly digusting. You’re not going to sell people on playing Azul by comparing it to a shit sandwich.
Michael: Nono, I know the link goes to pret-a-manger but that’s only because their sandwiches are truly horrible. I wouldn’t offer my worst enemy a sandwich from Pret. I mean a sandwich that has been liberally filled with fresh sh…
Pauline: PRET WASN’T THE PROBLEM WITH THE SIMILE!
Pauline Picks: One Night Ultimate Werewolf (Up from #7)
|Name||One Night Ultimate Werewolf (2014)|
|Accessibility Report||Meeple Like Us|
|BGG Rank||384 [7.16]|
|Player Count (recommended)||3-10 (4-10)|
This is the only app enabled game that has made my list. I know lots of people don’t like digitally enabled boardgames but I think the app is something that makes One Night Ultimate Werewolf genuinely great. It’s like having your own electronic referee. Everyone gets to take part whereas in games like Ultimate Werewolf you need a moderator that doesn’t actually get to participate. The app takes away the chore of bookkeeping and instead lets everyone focus on having fun.
You don’t need the app to enjoy ONUW though and there is plenty to like in the box. I love all the different roles you get and how even being a goodie means you have an incentive to lie. The swapping of cards during the night phases means that you can’t even know within a single game if you genuinely are who you say you are. Like in real life, ONUW is all about the public you versus the secret you, and dealing with your own inner conflicts. Like some of the other games we’ve talked about already though it might be just ‘okay’ if you play it with the wrong people. That’s why you should always play it with the right people. That’s my general advice for games – always play them with the right people.
It’s gone up a place this year because it’s super fun, super quick, and even if people don’t understand what they’re doing they’re still going to have a lot of fun in failing. It’s gone over great with every group with whom I’ve played it – the reliability of the fun means it deserves a promotion up the chart.
Michael: The problem with playing this with you is that you instantly vote to lynch me whether you think I’m a werewolf or not.
Pauline: You’re the one that always tries to lynch me!
Michael: Only as a form of self defence because you’re going to try to get everyone to kill me. This is why I always sleep with one eye open in real life.
Pauline: I’m trying to save people from themselves. Otherwise they might be fooled by your facade that you’re a nice and trustworthy gentleman.
Michael: Anyone that would fall for that deserves a sharp lesson in natural selection, let’s be honest.