I got to thinking about the board games I like to play. I came up with this list of my "top ten" games I like to play. I used Wikipedia links for more information, instead of my usual Board Game Geek links. This list is in order, but it's highly fluid.
I don't quite know what it is about this game, it might be the noise, the rapid pace, or that I tend to win at it, but I am almost always ready to play and I won't get bored by it. I think of myself as being way above average in pattern recognition, so this game uses one of the things I think is a strength.
2. Cut Throat Solitaire / Nertz
I liked this game growing up, but I didn't fall in love with it until I met Vivian. It's another game that I tend to win at, is fast paced, really fast paced, and has the added attraction of a whole lot of trash talking with the group I play with. I think the secret to this game is play your own cards at a non-frentic pace. I know I have above average peripheral vision, so that might help.
3. Dungeons and Dragons
What can you say about the granddaddy of role playing games? I spent my high school years in Harvard, Illinois, close enough to the home of TSR games in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin that I rode my bike there. I think that people with low social skills have ruined this game for the masses, it is essentially, a social interaction game. If I could find the right group of people to play, it would be a weekly appointment right up there in importance with swing dancing.
Even after 30 or more plays of this game, against quite a few smart game players, I am unconvinced that there is one dominate strategy choice ... or two, or three. It's as balanced of a game as I've ever played. It's made by Rio Grande Games, who makes some really good games, but this is my favorite.
5. Georgia Dice / 10,000
Georgia Dice is a variant to 10,000, I learned it from my step-father. My mother and I play this a lot when we visit. With my family involved, there can be a lot of trash talking. I'm not discounting that there may be strong positive emotions that tie me to liking this game, rather than the game itself, but I'll still play whenever I have six dice and a score pad.
6. Arkham Horror
This will probably not make Ben or Maeg happy, but I'm not really interested in the mythos of Cthulhu, but I am interested in the game. It's one of the few cooperative games that I really like. It is very well balanced as far as number of players, and if I remember correctly, I think Ben has played it solo. Although it is a "character card" game, they are so numerous and varied (the villains too), I cannot imagine running out of combinations. Interestingly enough, Ben, Maeg, and I have played over google wave.
7. Werewolf / Mafia
A definite crowd / party game, but a thinking one more than a clever one. Generally we play this as "Lupus en Tabula". No game I play regularly elicits more whining than this one, people want to play and win. It has a couple of my most memorable game playing moments, me punking Hugh during a game at Stacy's house, and me being punked by a seven year old at Kaleb's. As Becky might say "good times, good times."
8. Settlers of Catan
Let's just get it out of the way now, yes, I have wood for your sheep. I actually get frustrated by the fact almost no one wants to play this game. I need my own copy of it. This is the first game that I played with the concept of 'victory points'. It's a fun game with 'replayability' that can be played with virtually no conflict between the players, or quite contentiously.
My favorite 'bidding' card game, this one too has a strong family component. This was one of two or three card games that I played once I got into my teens. It's a partner card game, so you'd better be able to figure out how to cooperate without table talk. Has a three handed variant called Dirty Clubs. "Stealing the deal", welcome to my family ... nice try Carl.
I'll admit it, the reason I like this brightly colored matching game is because I seem to be on a long winning streak. It's a pattern recognition game, and seems to play into my game playing skills. Quite a wide range of my friends play, have played, or know about this game. Simple, yet can be played as strategically as you want.
Of course no top ten is complete with out the next ten.
11. Shadow Hunters. No Wikipedia page, weird. Makes for some epic games.
12. Balderdash. My original favorite social/party game.
13. Blackjack. Who me, gamble?
14. Scrabble. I'm sure I'm not as good as I think I am.
15. Cribbage. A Scottish game, like golf, exists only to frustrate (me).
16. Hearts. When I was in the military, and lived in the dorms, this was played non stop every non-payday weekend.
17. Poker (Texas Hold 'Em). Yeah, I'm not so good at poker, it's the bluffing thing.
18. Dominoes. I'm not sure why, but I just like this game.
19. Betrayal at House on the Hill. I think I would get bored of this if I played it all the time, but I don't, so...
20. Giza. No Wikipedia page, not as surprising. Not a great game as much as a good game to play while talking.
And two new (to me) games that I don't know enough about yet, but I think they are moving up the list. Neither has a Wikipedia entry. Pillars of the Earth, played one time, last night. And Tales of the Arabian Nights, work the following day got in the way of me finishing the one game I started, but I still ended up with a story.