My favourite game tends to be the one I played yesterday, and being a game retailer, ‘the cult of the new’ goes with the turf. Despite my addiction to ripping open the cellophane on games, I do love and play these 10 a lot.
1 Through The Ages
I loved Sid Meier's Civilisation series of PC games. Through the Ages captures the essence of that experience, throws in some opponents and is the only I game I will never refuse to play.
2 Power Grid
Power Grid is an economic game with the rhythm of a 1,500 metre race; you want to be on the shoulder of the leader and time your move to the line (or powering seventeen cities) to a tee. The market and auction mechanisms are as close to perfect as I have found in a board game – and all the expansion maps add a lot.
Farming in Germany in the Middle Ages? As themes go, it's unusual – but becomes gripping as the need to feed your family re-occurs with ever-increasing frequency. The game gives a great sense of achievement as you watch your farm improve, and the hundreds of cards mean the game has almost infinite replayability.
4 Ticket to Ride: Europe
I play a lot of games with my family and non-geek friends. This is my conversion game of choice. It’s nicely produced, and it’s fairly forgiving but rewards planning. Best of all, many of my friends consign their copy of Monopoly to the charity shop after playing it.
5 Winner’s Circle
Both family and gamers alike can play it – family because it’s about having a flutter on the sport of kings, gamers because it’s one of the greatest risk management games. Both usually end up screaming as ‘Colin’ wins by a nose in the 3rd.
6 Canal Mania
I like games that celebrate the local, and especially British history. I also like medium complexity 'train' games – this game is a perfect combination of the two.
7 A Brief History of the World
Ever since I first played Risk, I have been a fan of maps of the world and games of empires fighting each other. The genre has an inherent problem with ‘bash the leader’; however, this game seems to avoid that problem as players have to focus on their new empire every turn. An experience game that transports you through 3,000 years of mankind's history.
8 El Grande
The book for area majority games was written in 1996 – simple, elegant, with interlocking mechanics. Never been bettered, in my opinion.
9 Le Havre
Whenever I get an urge to convert wood into coke or cows into meat and hides, I pull this out. It’s the ultimate goods conversion game.
10 Counter Magazine
OK, not a game, but my subscription to Counter has helped me find great games. Collectively, its writers have hundreds of years of gaming experience and tens of thousands of games played. If Boardgamegeek could be described as News of the World, Counter is The Financial Times.