Today you are going to learn about great board games that you probably don’t have. You will also find out why you need them to round out your collection.

But I don’t need any more board games. And who are you to tell me what I need?

Well, I can tell you aren’t a true board gamer, I bet you don’t even have an unplayed game section in your board game room.

This definitive top 10 list (in two parts – see part 1) will go through some of my favorite lesser known games, and let you know what holes it might fill in your collection.

5. TALUVA DELUXE

110 BGG Votes

Why should I get this game?

This is another case of get the deluxe game fever.

Wait a minute I just looked up Taluva and it has almost 6,000 votes on boardgamegeek.com! Plus this is ANOTHER tile laying game. If I wanted to be a tile layer I’d be out buying grout and other tiley stuff, I want to be the snobbiest boardgamer there ever was.

Ok, trust me, once you get done with this list you can turn your nose up at every person you know that has the Catan version of Monopoly. Just be quiet and let me tell you about Taluva DELUXE.

Taluva is a game about building up a tropical island and placing your special buildings on them. Every turn you place a three-pronged tile and one of three building types. The winner is the person that got rid of 2 of their 3 building types first. Just like real life! The buildings have different rules as to where you can place them and how high you have to place them and blah blah blah. You just have to trust me, if you want to read the rules then go do it.

What makes Taluva special is the aesthetics and the simple elegance of the gameplay. It plays fairly quick and has some great tense decisions. As you build the island you get a sense of accomplishment from building your island, with just a light dose of Take That if you were able to build on top of your opponent’s settlement. It isn’t a very nasty game because sometimes it might be in your best interest to put the island on top of your settlement. This game works best with three players and has a fun team variant that works for 4 players.

WHO will play with me?

Anybody that sees you playing this game is going to want to play it. It just looks great!

4. THE KING IS DEAD

700 BGG Votes

Why should I Buy “The King is Dead?”

The King is Dead is an incredibly easy game to teach. You simply take 8 actions over 8 rounds. Everyone has the same hand of cards with the same 8 actions. Most of your actions are place some cubes, or move some cubes, and take some cubes.

That doesn’t sound so great so far — Why is it good? What makes it fun? I already have games where cubes get moved around.

Ok, I don’t know how to explain this part, but it does feel like a streamlined El Grande without sharing hardly anything in terms of gameplay with it. It is an area control game, and I guess that’s what it shares. However, it has a crazy tense element of deciding what side you are on. You ARE trying to have the most influence in the most number of regions. (There are other ways to win, but this is the main way) But you don’t necessarily have a side. You are taking cubes off the board on your turn, and those cubes that you took determine what side you are supporting.Whoever has the most cubes of the faction that has control of the most territories wins.

Ok, in case that didn’t compute – the cubes you are taking away from influencing the regions are the cubes you are getting. In order to gain more influence for a particular faction, you must weaken their position on the board. If you ever get in a strong position with any faction early in the game, the other players will take notice and take actions to help the other factions. You are forced to be discreet about what you are trying to do, and simultaneously position yourself to be able to change your strategy.

The game is fairly abstract and is a remake of Konig von Siam, but it really does give you the feeling of trying to gain influence over the kingdom after the king has died. The game plays fairly quickly and gives you tense moments with every action. There are obviously deeper things about the game that you will learn when you play it. For example, you can play as many of you cards as you want every round, you are just limited to using them only once over the 8 rounds. Feel free to use all of the on your first turn, though.

The king is dead really does a great job of capturing some of my favorite things from two of my favorite games.

Hanamikoji – The tension of only having a few choices, which are the same as everyone else’s, and knowing that they will simultaneously help and hurt you feel very similar to Hanamikoji.

El Grande – just wanted to mention it again in case you forgot or didn’t read the beginning. It is also worth mentioning that the map is one of my favorite game maps, and the packaging and inserts are top notch.

Who will play it with me?

This is a great game to break out with someone who complains about dice rolls and luck. It plays very differently at every player count from 2-4 people, so you should have enough time to play it several times at a gaming night and get everyone involved.

3. HOCUS

319 BGG Votes

Why should I buy Hocus?

Hocus is the best poker variant that I have ever played. If you have some friends that like Texas hold’em and want to get them into gaming this is your answer.

I have never found poker to be fun without gambling, and this somehow manages to capture all of what is fun about gambling in poker without the need to put up any cash. This might actually be better than Texas Hold’em simply due to the fact that you have more control and more interesting decisions. The players are actually playing the cards that go into the community pile, and you have two community piles every hand. So if you have four 10’s you can put two in the community pile and keep two in your hand to have four of a kind.

But that’s too simple and is just luck of the draw!

Well, you would be right if that’s all there was to the game. Other players might fill up the community pile before you can fill it up with what you want. You also have to balance trying to hold cards in your hand to try and win both of the community piles every hand. The really interesting thing about the game is how it introduces the “pot” and gambling element. The cards have a separate number on them to denote their worth if you win the pot. The higher the card the more it is worth. On your turn, you can either put cards in the community pile, build the pot with your cards, or place cards in your pocket.

If you have some really great cards, you are going to have to balance a few things.

1. Do you place the high-value cards into the pot early and risk someone putting community cards that won’t allow you to win?

2. Do you place your cards into the community pile early and risk not having good cards to increase the pot?

3. When do you commit cards to your pocket? Too soon and the community cards might not fit with them. Too late and you might get stuck with cards that don’t help

Who will play it with me?

Obviously anyone you know that has ever liked Poker or any of its variants.

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2. SPOONS

345 BGG Votes

Why should I – wait, what? Spoons?!?!?! This is the worst list ever. You put a game that everyone knows AND doesn’t love as game #2 on your hidden gems list. It’s not hidden or a gem.

I knew I would catch some flack for this. But you need to hear me out. You have been playing spoons incorrectly. It is actually the best party game that you have and you already own the cards and spoons that you need.

There is one rule in spoons that you haven’t been playing, and it is the one that makes all the difference. It turns this from a simple game of collecting sets to an event that will have you talking about inside jokes for years to come.

The Hog rule, which is an official rule of the game states that when you lose three points and go out you still get to play. Whenever you lose three points you become a Hog. If anyone talks to the hog they also become a hog. Most games it is actually more fun to be a hog than to win the game.

So you have players that can’t win, that keep playing that you can’t talk to — sounds lame!

Well, the hog can still talk to other players, and that’s what makes the game great. Joe is a hog and has a lot of tricks up his sleeve.

Joe: Jennifer, was that you that farted? Do you want to go on a date next Saturday?

Joe: What time is it?

Or one of my personal favorite moves is to accuse someone of having too many cards in their hand and cheating. I can’t really explain how much fun it is to think of ways to try and get people to respond, and how much of a rush it is if you do actually trick someone.

Who will play this with me?

This isn’t for everybody and might be one of the worst games you play if you are playing with a group of people that don’t like party games or are not inclined to have fun. The next time you get a group together to play party games you need to play with the hog rule and then send me a handwritten thank you letter.

950 Parsons Rd
Abilene, Tx 79602
c/o the creator of my new favorite memories

1. JULIUS CAESAR

1000 BGG Votes

In 2016 I played 174 unique new to me games and none of them came close to usurping Julius Caesar’s place as my favorite game. I am a huge cult of the new guy and this game just can’t be beat. It has problems, and things that I don’t prefer in games, but it just has never been anything but an amazing experience for me.

What are some of the things I don’t like in the game?

Blocks! Why not use some sweet roman soldier figurines. Doesn’t matter – the games great.

The board it too small for all the blocks and is made out of card stock? Who cares – the game is amazing!

This game is very similar to Crazy/Hot Scale for girls. The hotter a girl is the more likely you are to put up with how crazy she is.

This game is hot, and I don’t care how crazy small the board is, or that I’m pushing blocks around the board.

I’m not going to go into everything about this game, I think you need to go read other peoples reviews on boardgamegeek.com and just know a little bit about my experience with this game.

I have never played a game that I didn’t feel like every single pip of every single dice would mean failure or victory. You spend so much effort setting up your movements and planning out your moves that you have every single battle built up just like a true general would.

Almost every game I’ve played felt like it had a dramatic swing. This is one of the best moments that the medium of board games can bring, and I can’t think of anything that mirrors it other than sports. I love when I feel like I have no chance of winning and a path opens up that lets me gloat and write ballads about my victory. The pain of feeling like you have won the game only to see that you left Rome unguarded is something that haunts my dreams.

Get This game and then email me weyscoggin@gmail.com and I’ll tell you how to get a bigger map that makes the game so much better.

Who will pay this with me?

If you just get to play this one time it will be worth it!

About the Author - Wey

About the Author - Wey


My love for board gaming is tied to my need to develop deeper connections with people. My collection keeps growing into the 100's of games so that I can always have the perfect game to play with a particular group. I hope to be influential in progressing the hobby in new and interesting ways.

Favorite Games: Julius Caesar, The Resistance, Pit

About the Author - Wey

About the Author - Wey


My love for board gaming is tied to my need to develop deeper connections with people. My collection keeps growing into the 100's of games so that I can always have the perfect game to play with a particular group. I hope to be influential in progressing the hobby in new and interesting ways.

Favorite Games: Julius Caesar, The Resistance, Pit