Board Games

I talk about what board games I like playing, what features I like to see in my board games, and my list of Top 5 board games.


  1. I love Gloomhaven dearly, now I am awaiting the Czech translation of Frosthaven (Because we want to play it that way ^^) and I have played the "Baby Gloomhaven" too. I need more games like this in my life, I plan to buy the game again someday (Because once you finish playing it, the game is physically changed by stickers you put on map and cards, things you write on papers etc) and I want to play it again with my gf, this time I will be the leading player who manages the game ^^

  2. When someone calls Cosmic Encounter their favourite game Sam Healey has hiccups.

  3. You not only have to express the idea to make it valuable, you have to accomplish it, which is hundreds of orders of magnitude harder, unless you only care about telling the ideas and maybe hoping someone picks them and builds them.

  4. This was fun to watch.
    I also believe that if gamers and mainly developers would play more or if
    these board games their creative skills would improve a lot.

  5. Not that you need suggestions for more games, but the following have some interested mechanical elements or implementations that may be worth looking at regardless of whether or not you would play them, if you haven't seen them already:

    Sidereal Confluence
    Players each play different asymmetric aliens with different strengths and weaknesses, but it's stand out feature is it's real-time trading phase.
    3 Minute Board Game Overview/Review (~3 minutes)

    All players win/lose independently, though surviving alone is hard. Unlike many semi-co-op or hidden traitor games (which just assign players to a team/role, but keep the team obfuscated) players who win by working against other players in Nemesis have to intentionally choose to do so over more group friendly objectives.
    3 Minute Board Game Overview/Review (~3 minutes)
    SU&SD Review

    An endlessly replayable and resetable non-scripted legacy/campaign-style game (with a constantly shifting board and deck).
    Designer Diaries
    SU&SD Review

    The base game has 4 players, all of whom are playing different games. One person is playing a traditional RPG hero, one person is playing a horde of goblins, another is playing a great dragon, and the last is playing the cave – the board itself. (As such, the board is always different.)

    Root (has an Android app!)
    Root is another game by Cole, who made Oath, and is available in most Targets now. Not super unique to a hard core wargaming crowd, but fairly unique to many other gamers. Every person is basically playing a different game. Base box includes a traditional area control and resource engine building faction, a faction reliant on programming, a faction that is interested in fomenting unrest and eventually open rebellion, and what is basically a traditional RPG character wandering around.
    Designer Diaries
    Designer's GDC talk on Kingmaking (and Root):
    SU&SD Review

    1979's Dune is made by the same people as Cosmic Encounter and got a re-release in 2019 (along with a string of new expansions). It has a number elements that weren't necessarily integrated into contemporary game design. It's highly asymmetrical, has a largely player built economy, a unique combat/conflict resolution system (based around bidding). Worth looking at if you've not seen it yet somehow.
    SU&SD Review

    Star Trek: Ascendancy
    It's a 4x style game based on Star Trek. It's asymmetric and thematic (the Federation isn't really war oriented – while the Klingons definitely are). Lots of expansions.
    3 Minute Board Game Overview/Review (~3 minutes)

    Free Radical and Merchants Cove
    Two attempts at making highly asymmetrical Euro games. Radically asymmetrical Euros are fairly rare in my experience as it is way more common to find radical asymmetry in war or American style games.

    Tyrants of the Underdark, Dune: Imperium, Lost Ruins of Arnak, and Clank! (any)
    All of these are examples of using deck building in conjunction with another type of game. Tyrants melds deck building with area control, Dune: Imperium and Lost Ruins of Arnak are two very different takes on integrating deck building with worker placement, and the Clanks are using deck building to run a racing game (you are trying to get in and out of a dungeon with loot before waking the dragon by making noise).

  6. I appreciate playing analog games to get away from pixels and electronics. The crowdfunding era unleashed massive creativity within the board/card game space in the past decade. A few clever (solo-friendly) dungeon crawlers that released in the past few years; Deck Box Dungeons, Tiny Epic Dungeons, and Iron Helm are worth checking out. Insofar as pen 'n paper goes Four Against Darkness (and its copious supplemental material) is an incredible rabbit hole, and D100 Dungeon is great too.

  7. Make that video about ideas and implementing them right away!

  8. Are you familiar with the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game? It's pretty much the only board game I make time for since the pandemic, and it hits a lot of your pillars. (I know Obsidian worked on a digital version of it but I'm not sure if that overlaps with your time there.)

  9. "He's even gayer than I am!" Absolutely sent me 😂😂😂

  10. Hi Tim, love the videos! I'm curious about how you run campaigns for table top rpgs. Is it similar to your philosophy to making games? (ie: multiple solutions, choices that have consequence, etc.). Is there anything you do differently when you run a table top rpg versus when you make a video game?

  11. for variable decks, player interaction, and novel ideas, you may enjoy some of the early pax games from smg (pax porfiriana, pax renaissance, pax pamir)

  12. have you played the game archipelago its kindof a terrible convaluted mess but its always made me think its a redisign or 2 away from a truly fantastic idea

  13. A fast card based game my group is loving right now is " we didn't play test this at all" it's super fun and random

  14. I made a board game where you play with(or against) your dog. It mostly revolves around answering questions, getting your dog to answer questions(with dog treats and a bandana with A,B,C,D written on it). Its called mymerrymutt.

  15. @ 10 you were designing board games for fun?! You were born to be a game developer!

  16. Its likely why I get bored with games like Monopoly. Its too repetitive.

  17. So happy to see Catan make the cut here. Love the variety in set up. One of the players on the Irish scene brings his own pieces to help with his colour blindness (you can get sets beyond the colours included in the base game).

    Knizia's coop Lord of the Rings is a great shout too!

  18. That opening about ideas is absolutely spot on. Ideas are easy, execution is the hard part. The amount of times i've had people say "I'll tell you my idea, you do the writing" as if the idea was the hard part and the writing was the easy part has been a lot. I know some people struggle with ideas but for most creative folk they really are the easy part. I think it was Terry Pratchette who said "If i give you an idea and you write it, it's yours."

  19. I would love to see that video about "ideas are not important"

  20. Betrayal! I was watching, hoping you would mention it. Its one of my favorites

  21. Hey tim! I was wondering if someday you could do an episode about disabilities and gaming; more specifically, making games for people with visual impairments.

    I got interested in the topic since I made two very small adult-oriented text-based RPGs a while back, and I was surprised to find that they were well-received in certain small blind communities since they were screen-reader compatible, even among people who had no interest in the adult content. They seem desperate to find games they can actually play.

    I've been thinking about this constantly for well over a year, since the gaming implications of massive visual impairments really get to me as a more or less normal-sighted gamer, and I think you might have something meaningful to say on the topic. If not, that's totally fine too.

  22. Space Alert (by Vlaada Chvatil) has been my fav for a bit. Setup and takedown each take a little. Play time is never more than 10 minutes, real time, 100% co-op… err trying to coordinate with your crew as you program your actions. After play you spend 20-30 to see how well your coordination efforts went. Our house rules add random tv-character voice acting to make for even more chaos.

  23. Ляяя, он даже настолку сделал в юности, так же как и я… Трындец какой-то.

  24. For Settler of Catan and your color blindness, put a dot on one of the land types you can't differentiate.

  25. Hey Tim, where does one go to submit questions to you that could potentially get answered in a video?

  26. Ideas are easy, implementing them is something you can take a lifetime trying to perfect. It’s all but guaranteed you never will. Great video I love tabletop games.

  27. I love how you pretty much broke a game of Cosmic Encounter by essentially using a version of Russel’s Paradox. Seems like a very compsci/programmer move to pull lol

  28. Seeing as this is October, I would like to suggest the board game Horrified. It's a cooperative game where you face off against classic Universal monsters.

  29. The furthest my knowledge of board games stretched was monopoly, life ect. I had no idea there were cool games like this! Thank you sharing your knowledge and stories legend!

  30. Sounds like you'd enjoy Alien: Fate of the Nostromo, if you haven't played it already.
    It's a great, strategic co-op game and never knowing when the alien will appear leads to some genuinely tense moments!
    Not always an easy feat for co-op board games.

  31. Love to see all my fellow board gamers showing up in the comment section 🎉💚

  32. Tim, have you ever played the Dune board game? Have any thoughts on it?

  33. Tim Cain, have you played or seen much about Modiphius’ Fallout TTRPG 2d20 game?
    I’m about to start a campaign as ‘overseer’ and plan on putting both you and Chris Avellone in the game as mercs.

  34. Lol one deck dungeon is on my desk right now

  35. Hey, Tim! I think there's a chance you'd enjoy the boardgame Forbidden Island. It's a collaborative game where you and the other players are a group of adventurers working together to extract a set of magical artifacts from an island, and escape with a helicopter before the whole thing sinks. The tiles are set to flood and then sink over the course of the game, but the order they sink and the placement of each "biome tile" and artifact is different each time. Also each player has a different character card which gives them different abilities, but there are often more cards than players. So, you might have the scuba diver one game, but then not have them for the next one.

    It creates a really fun gameplay loop where everyone is scratching their heads and making plans together on the best way to move everyone across the board and swoop in to collect an artifact right before it goes underwater. If you ever get the opportunity to try it I think it'd be up your alley from what you describe liking.

  36. If you like Neil Patrick Harris you should check out the Harold and Kumar movies he was great in those although it was a pretty small role in both of them.

  37. Betrayal at House on the Hill is my absolute favorite board game, just played last week!
    I'm gonna have to check out Wiz-War and Save Doctor Lucky. I've played Kill Doctor Lucky, it's great.

  38. Neat! My question got answered 😊
    Thanks for taking the time to respond Tim. Really enjoying this series.

  39. Couldn't help but beam at Tim including Catan and Betrayal on the list. Two of my absolute favourites and always crowd pleasers

  40. I loved One Deck Dungeon, and Mini Rogue. But nothing beats Barbarian Prince.

  41. Hi Tim!
    As a lead programmer I love your videos.

    Board gamers just like anime watchers absolutely love giving suggestions, so as a member of both I'll drop in:

    Spirit Island – co-operative and great solo. Every spirit feels absolutely different. Tons of replay value.

    And to follow up on above recommendation thing:
    Do you watch anime? Are there any you particularly like? Are you a fellow "weeb"? 😉

  42. Appreciate everything you stand for mr Cain. My childhood self had one favorite company ever, and that was interplay, which is why I am also a huge fan of mr Brian Fargo. I know that you tried to recreate interplay of old with troika, and I'm very sad that it didn't work out, as we are many that would have loved to see everything work out. You ending up with Obsidian made a lot of sense to me, because you and them share DNA. I would usually say that fallout was one of the best rpg's of it's kind, and I still believe that, but one game kind of beat it in my opinion, and that is underrail. Have you perhaps had any chance to play that game? It really is a gem, and it takes huge inspiration from your work with fallout. It is a total homage to what black isle did back in the day, right down to the ambient music, which I also really dearly love.

  43. Did you get a chance to try the Fallout board games? they had a really good sense of exploration in it!

  44. A co-op board game with variable map and asymetric player characters that I hear is good (I haven't got the change to play it yet) is Spirit Island. It's on steam also. I hear that's also a good solo game

  45. I get the whole expression is more important than the idea. An idea in your head is useless to you until you bring it to reality. Ive always been a thinker, so it was a painful pesson to learn, and i think its important enough that they should teach it in school.

  46. Betrayal at House on the Hill sounds my kinda game, thanks for clueing me in on it.
    I think you would enjoy Space Station 13, which has some similar mechanics. its a session-based online game you play with others, and you each have an actual job on the station to do. the goal is… well, to not screw it up and get everyone killed. if your crew can manage that for more than 5 minutes, maybe you can think about your actual goal, which can range from keeping the halls and floors clean, to summoning Cthulhu, to being an actual clown. each session is randomized, including some of the recipes, code words, and other elements to keep each session consistently challenging.

    naturally, nothing ever goes as planned, and every session ive played has been an absolute wild ride.
    Sseth covered it pretty well in his video, if you dont mind some dark humor:

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