Which Ten Games Would You Buy Again?

If you are reading this article, chances are good that you have quite the collection of board games. I'd venture to say that you probably have multiple shelves built in your home who's sole purpose is to hold your 100+ boxes of joy. You've worked hard for those games. Some may have been impulse buys that didn't turn out to be great games, while some were hard-to-find, out-of-print masterpieces that you had to scour the internet and game stores to obtain. Each game has a story, and you are proud of the collection that you have built.

Now, imagine this:

The worst has happened. An evil wizard has taken away your entire board game collection. ALL of them! Not a single, magnificent miniature or piece has survived. As much as you want to pick up the pieces and rebuild, you can't because there are no pieces!

Lucky for you, a kind insurance fairy observed the disastrous scene. She wants to help you. She wants to replace your games! But, unlucky for you, this fairy also happens to be a believer in minimalism. She will only replace ten of your games. 

So here's your challenge:

Which ten games from your current collection would you choose to replace if you lost your entire collection?? 

As our collection continues to grow, I decided to pose this question to myself. If I had to start over, here is my list: 

The Top Ten Games From My Collection

1) Secret Hitler

A social deduction game for 5-10 players, this is our cohesive group's top played game. Lack of enough players aside, we find that this game is nearly always a good choice. We've brought it to breweries to play with complete strangers; it has been the feature of game nights; it's our favorite "just one more game" game; and the guys of Nonstop Tabletop will likely never finish Risk Legacy because they end up playing Secret Hitler for 5 hours instead.

If you haven't played Secret Hitler and you're apprehensive because of the name, let me assure you that the game does not make light of the horrors of Nazi Germany. This is a beautifully produced, and tastefully created warning against the rise of fascism. 

2) Mysterium


Mysterium is my number one Gateway Game to teach friends. A cooperative game that is "Like Clue, but fun", Mysterium has been a hit with every person we've ever taught: gamers and non-gamers alike.

While the actual game is a blast, (attempting to solve a murder via clues comprised of abstract art with a spooky soundtrack playing in the background), my favorite part of playing is trying to get into the mind of my friends and family. It is fascinating trying to figure out what the ghost is attempting to communicate, and how each person will interpret each clue.

3) Ethnos


Ethnos sat on my shelf of shame for way too long. Somehow the theme and title seemed daunting. I expected it to be a heavy game, when it's in fact one of the lightest games that we own. We've sat down to play without even fully explaining the rules to newbies, and they're caught on right away. Once it made it's way onto the table, Ethnos hasn't been able to escape. Playing 2-6 players, it's a fast-paced, easy to teach, highly competitive game with a ton of replayability and variety. 

This is one of the few 2-6 player games that I find is actually better with more players. Playing with 4-6 friends is ideal for setup, and really doesn't add much time to the overall game. Every play of the game is a unique from the last since the characters are different every time. Strategy changes depending on the cards and the players, and yet analysis paralysis never seems to be an issue. It can literally take five seconds for a group of six to all have a turn. 

4) Viticulture

Worker placements are my favorite, so narrowing this down was tough. Viticulture barely made my list over Agricola, but made the cut due to the easier set-up, the ability to accommodate up to 6 players, and the overall shorter game time. 

Viticulture is fantastic fun, that has led to one member of our group claiming that "the art of winemaking runs deep in her veins". (Someone will eventually beat you Fifi!) Great as a group game, Viticulture also fills my need for solo gameplay. My lifestyle and schedule doesn't always make it convenient to get together with others, so anytime I can work on strategy and move some meeples on my own, I'm all in!

5) Power Grid

Power Grid

Power Grid makes economics fun. It's addictive trying to keep your thirsty cities supplied with clean (or not-so-clean) electricity, while making sure you're getting better prices than the chump sitting next to you. With two distinctly different boards to play just by flipping over, Power Grid will keep you speculating on coal prices for hours at a time.

6) Love Letter

I always have a game with me. Always. Love Letter is the perfect game to pull out when waiting for food at a restaurant, while having a drink with friends, or as a quick game to start out the night. While all the varieties have their own set of pros, the original is my favorite because of its simplicity and family friendly vibe. 

7) Near and Far

Near and Far

Beautiful artwork, fantastic gameplay, quality components, and a campaign adventure with more possible variations than I will ever have time to complete, Near and Far is a game that could keep me and my significant other busy for years to come.

8) Dominion + Prosperity


People love to hate Dominion, but this was my first deck building game, and it's still my favorite! My husband and I have played countless rounds, and never got bored. Though there have been many variations to the deck building genre, none of them have captured my attention the way that Dominion did. I did cheat a bit by adding Prosperity, but if you love it as much as I do, you understand.

9) Terraforming Mars

Mix the randomness of drawing cards with the subsequent decisions required to oxygenate and hydrate a planet, add shiny cubes to manipulate, and you have yourself a game that I can play again and again! (And I have played it. Again, and again, and again...)

10) Mint Works

Pocket-sized worker placement game? Heck, yes! This game combines my favorite mechanism with fun, tidy graphic design work. It's a game that seems much bigger than its components, and is another game that goes everywhere with me!

The rest of the members of Nonstop Tabletop were also challenged to make a top ten list of games that they would replace from their collections. Here's what they had to say:

Fifi McFluffins

  1. Viticulture
  2. Outpost Siberia (only because I haven't beaten it yet)
  3. Mysterium
  4. Secret Hitler
  5. Ethnos
  6. Love Letter
  7. Carcassone
  8. Sagrada
  9. Scoville
  10. Kingdomino


  1. Agricola
  2. Viticulture
  3. Sagrada
  4. Carcassone
  5. Broom Service
  6. Mysterium
  7. Above and Below
  8. Lords of Waterdeep
  9. Mystic Vale
  10. Lovecraft Letter


  1. Scythe
  2. Love Letter
  3. Near and Far
  4. Lords of Waterdeep
  5. Secret Hitler
  6. Photosynthesis
  7. Kingdomino
  8. Colt Express
  9. Spendor
  10. Above and Below

The Happy Strategerist

Twilight Struggle
  1. Chess
  2. Secret Hitler
  3. Twilight Struggle
  4. Pandemic
  5. Power Grid
  6. Code Names
  7. Mysterium
  8. Splendor
  9. Sagrada
  10. Scythe


We'd love to hear your top 10 lists! 


This article was written by May Begamer, who hopes she never has to actually narrow her board game collection down to just ten.