Paris La Cité de la Lumière: A four-sided review

Paris La Cité de la Lumière box artwork

Paris La Cité de la Lumière is a two-player tile-laying game that plays in about 30 minutes. It’s part of the Devir/Kosmos small box two-player line and is recommended for ages 8+, which feels about right. But that’s a ‘gamer kid’ age range, as it’s quite a thinky abstract.

The production quality is gorgeous. You’ll be creating a tile grid within the box itself then populating it with buildings to score points. While the theme is doing very little work, there are lots of nice little thematic touches that help make the game come to life. for example, action choices are on late 19th Century postcards that look fantastic.

In the box (which doubles as the board) you’ll find 16 standard tiles, 12 raised building tiles, 14 wooden pieces, 17 more cardboard pieces and 12 action postcards. Looking at comparison site Board Game Prices, you can find it for just under £20 – good value for the work that’s gone into it.

Teaching Paris La Cité de la Lumière

Paris La Cité de la Lumière is a game of two halves. In the first you’ll be placing the 16 cobblestone tiles that form the game’s foundation, while also choosing building tiles. In the second half you’ll be placing those buildings into the shared grid you’ve built, while also using the action postcards to make small tactical shifts and adjustments. Or, if you’re me, to make up for mistakes you made when mentally ‘planning’ during the first half of the game…

Each player starts with a defined set of eight cobblestone tiles. Each tile is split into quarters and contains a mix of your player colour, your opponent’s colour, a neutral colour, and/or streetlights (used for scoring). These are shuffled and you take one randomly if you don’t have one in hand at the end of your turn.

On your turn, you can place your cobblestone tile onto any free space within the 4×4 game grid. Or alternatively, take any one of the 12 building tiles – all of which are different sizes and shapes. This continues until both players have placed all of their eight cobblestone tiles or have passed. So the amount of building tiles you each end up with for the second half of the game is not predetermined and could be different for each player.

Building the cité

The player who placed their last cobblestone tile first begins the second half of the game. If you choose to place one of your buildings, it can only cover up yours or neutral-coloured spaces. Alternatively, you can carry out an action. There are eight (randomly selected from 12) in each game, each of which can only be used once – after which it is marked in your colour and flipped over (some can be used on a later turn).

These actions variously break rules and/or give scoring opportunities. For example, there are tiles that add a streetlight, extend one of your buildings or change an opponent’s space to a neutral one. While others let you swap one of your unplaced buildings for one that wasn’t taken, or to avoid end game penalties. The second half of Paris La Cité de la Lumière ends when the last of the eight action cards has been used, regardless of whether players have any remaining buildings left to place.

You each score for your largest contiguous building area, for every lamp that borders each of your buildings, and for any end game action card scoring chosen. But you’ll lose points for any buildings you chose but didn’t manage to place on the board. Highest score wins.

The four sides

These are me, plus three fictitious players drawn from observing my friends and their respective quirks and play styles.

  • The writer: I’m not usually that bothered by appearance. But Paris La Cité de la Lumière is a gorgeous looking game. However, don’t let the romance of Paris fool you; this is a cutthroat abstract gaming experience. And before you start thinking about your opponent, you have your own puzzle to solve. You try to create areas for the building tiles you hope to pick up. But even the building tiles are against you, as they can’t be flipped over, leaving even less room for mistakes. That’s just plain mean.
  • The thinker: An excellent game. Your tile placement and building selections show your strategic intent. But the neutral spaces (and some action cards) make it largely impossible to guarantee success, bringing in the crucial tactical element. There’s an element of luck in how your tiles come out in phase one. But once the stage is set, it’s purely about your decisions.
  • The trasher: Paris La Cité de la Lumière is a classic push or pull puzzle. You usually have at least two good options to choose from. And know that your opponent is in the same boat – with the same limited placement/pick up options. Do you deny your opponent a great spot? Or claim a benefit that will help in the long run? Knowing that neither option works if its opposite is taken away from you. A very good game, despite a dull theme.
  • The dabbler: I absolutely love this game! The artwork beautifully captures the romantic magic of Paris past. And the rules are really simple. However, there’s so much to think about on every turn! So, you soon get the hang of the mechanics, but the choices remain really tricky. It also sets up and plays really quickly. So is great if you just have a little break in real life in which to squeeze a sneaky game. However, you do need to be able to think in several directions at once! It says ages 8+, but I wouldn’t play with kids.

Key observations

Paris La Cité de la Lumièr is a lovely looking production and does exactly what it set out to do. It won’t be for everyone though, as it is deliberately mean. I can see some care bear types almost agreeing what each other can/will take as they each try to get massive scores. But most will throw each other under the bus at every opportunity. Of course, the problems arises when one likes one style, and one the other.

Some players won’t get on with the tough choices you have to make here. It’s a strong contender for breaking ‘analysis paralysis’ players. While a player who is naturally good at this kind of game will smash an opponent that isn’t. Which is never fun in a two-player experience. I’m pretty rubbish at it, but enjoy the challenge. And I don’t really care if I don’t win. I can see it being very frustrating for some players.

I’ve seen complaints that the postcard actions open up the decision space to much. Especially as they have no text to describe these actions on the postcards. However, there are only 12 different actions – and only per game. Most are self-explanatory. And we found the others were in our memories by the second play.

But I’d like to have seen a bit more thought going into the actions. Choosing eight of 12 means you’ve seen all the game has to offer after two or three plays. As always with a good two-player abstract, it’s as much about playing your opponent as it is about requiring variety. But in the modern board game arena, we tend to expect a bit more variation.

Conclusion: Paris La Cité de la Lumière

Paris La Cité de la Lumièr has become the sixth Kosmos two-player game in my collection. And it was a very easy decision to make. It looks great, Sarah likes it, and there’s loads of game for something that sets up fast, plays quickly and takes up hardly any room. So, beyond a slight worry about long-term replayability, I’m all in on this one.

Neko Harbour The Card Game: A four-sided review

Neko Harbour The Card Game is a drafting and engine building game for 2-4 players, lasting 1-2 hours (30 minutes per player). Although it says 30-60 minutes on the box (maybe we’re slow). It’s listed for ages 12+, which feels right. It’s not overly complex, but the way things fit together makes it very thinky.

The theme works well enough, but isn’t doing any heavy lifting here. You’re fuelling and improving a fleet of ships and sending them to tourist destinations. Which just happen to home penguins. Yes, it could’ve been a fleet of anything going anywhere. But who doesn’t like penguins? If anything, they’ve missed a trick by not squeezing more cute critters onto the cards.

It fits neatly into a Kosmos 2-player-sized box. Inside you’ll find 220 cards, half full-sized and half small, plus a scorepad. This works well, as the small cards are largely just resources that never go into your hand. Looking at comparison site Board Game Prices, you can find it for just under £30 including shipping. Perhaps a little steep, but I presume it is currently only available as an import.

Teaching Neko Harbour The Card Game

NHTCG (as no one is calling it) has an interesting take on drafting. The game is split into halves, and each player drafts six cards at the start of each. Once you’ve finished drafting, players take it in turns to play a card until everyone has played all six. There follows a short intermediate scoring/reset, then you do it all again. Then its final scoring.

For 3/4 players, each player drafts a pile of one, two and three cards (making your hand of six). It’s a nice system, forcing you to decide what you really need – and what you’ll happily be stuck with because of your early choices. For two players, you simply lay out eight cards and draft 1-2-2-1, discarding the other two cards – then you do it again. So the start player chooses one, then the second player two, etc. Both work fine, but the 3/4 player version feels a little more interesting. There are cards left over in both scenarios, so its unlikely you’ll feel you’ve got a bum hand.

Playing your cards

Neko Harbour The Card Game has six types of card, which can be added to your tableau in one of two ways: their main use (as a location), or to bolster any location already in play. Cards of the same type are placed in a stack, so you’ll have up to six stacks in total. When activated, three of these trigger the game’s core actions, while the others give ongoing or end game bonuses.

After adding a card to your tableau (in either way) you trigger each of your card stacks (or ‘harbours’). And when you do so, all card in that harbour (played for their main action) activate. In addition, the three core actions can be triggered at the end of your turn if they haven’t been already – meaning you don’t have to have played them yet. This is important, as if you’re frozen out of a card type by the draft you’re not necessarily frozen out of the action itself. You just need to have the required currency to do said action.

Moving your ships

Each player also has six ship cards, which you use your actions to move and improve. The cards are double sided, with each having flipped numbers like a dice (so 1-6, 2-5, 3-4). So, if you don’t have a particular number available, you can’t do the upgrade. Which can be a particularly tricky part of the puzzle.

Moving your ships is essential to success. Firstly, moving a ship across your harbours can activate those locations, triggering bonuses or letting you do an action an extra time. This happens if your ship’s value (plus those already at that location) is lower than the harbour’s value. Hence why you may add a card to bolster a location, as this adds to its harbour value. Secondly, a ship can only be sent to a tourist location (read: end game scoring) if it has moved across as many spaces as its upgraded level. Sending ships away gives a small bonus, while the totals of your ship values at each location will determine end game points.

Points also come from ships you’ve moved into harbours, but that didn’t make it to a tourist location. While other actions or location cards reward you with bonus points.

The four sides

These are me, plus three fictitious players drawn from observing my friends and their respective quirks and play styles.

  • The writer: Neko Harbour The Card Game’s rulebook is a bit of a dog’s breakfast. But when you start to see how everything here interacts – and try and succinctly explain the rules yourself (see above!) – you realise why. Everything here is familiar, but comes together in surprising and tricky ways. There is little elegance here. But once you get your head around some of the strange timings and interactions, there’s a very rewarding puzzle at its core. Especially for a game that plays in such a short time.
  • The thinker: Don’t let the cute penguins fool you – this is a tricky strategic puzzle made all the better thanks to a well-implemented tactical majorities scoring system. Its quickness works in its favour, as you have limited – but known – time to build and execute you engine/plans. Send boats away early can gain you extra bonuses. But will that mean sacrificing end game majorities? As well as limiting your scope for upgrades. I’ve been very impressed and surprised by the game and am looing forward to more plays.
  • The trasher: I agree that the puzzle of end game scoring is a good one. There’s great tactical interaction here, especially as you can move your boats (as long as you have fuel) between tourist locations after the fact, so aren’t tying yourself to a location by going early. The question is, do you want to fight through a brain-burning euro game to get to this point? And the truth is, it won’t matter where you want to send your ships if you can’t get your engine going. so ultimately its a good game, but its not for me. I’d rather get my area majorities kicks via a game in a purer form.
  • The dabbler: Don’t let the cute penguins fool you – but not for the reason the thinker said! How can a game about penguins and the sea be this dry? It should’ve been about moving water biscuits across the desert. And it could’ve been, for all it has to do with penguins or Neko Harbour. Hard to get your head around, frustrating, and really not for me.

Key observations

It takes a lot of work to learn and play Neko Harbour The Card Game. Players who love a meaty puzzle will feel its worth the effort. But it seems an odd theme, and cover, for such a tricky game. I’m not saying its dishonest. I just hope that the game manages to find its audience, without disappointing those who may pick it up on a whim without doing a bit of research. In my opinion, this is not a game for new or even gateway gamers.

In his video ‘final thoughts‘ for the game, YouTuber Rahdo (who clearly likes the game) picked up on quite a few issues he had with the two-player rules. He didn’t like the two-player drafting, which I thought was absolutely fine. That’s very much a personal preference. But I do agree with him on some of the card restrictions. The game has a bunch of unique ‘research station’ cards. But a set few are always used with two players. This could be house ruled. But its an odd restriction, especially as it has a real impact on replayability.

Talking of replayability, the game comes with a 10-card ‘fishing boat’ mini expansion. These add a small amount to the game, in particular a way to get an extra harbour. This means you can ignore a basic card type and still get to six harbours, allowing you to still send level six ships away for scoring. But beyond that, as you use all 10 each play, they fail to add that ‘random cards each play’ element I feel the game is missing. That said, the tactical nature of scoring should keep players on their toes over multiple plays.

Conclusion: Neko Harbour The Card Game

I was very impressed with Neko Harbour The Card Game. It takes some tried and tested euro mechanics, throws in some real interaction, and makes something that feels unique but also familiar. Particularly impressive from a small box game that can easily play in under an hour. But it won’t be staying in my collection. I found it a bear to teach. While you really need a specific type of player who is going to fall for its charms. If that sounds like your group from what you’ve read here though, I highly recommend it.

Board game Top 10: Sarah’s favourite games 2022

Welcome to Sarah’s fourth annual best board game Top 10 (does that make her eligible for ‘long suffering’ status yet? I expect so). It feels like we’ve played as many games as usual over the past 12 months. And, luckily for me, her enthusiasm to play hasn’t waned.

She’d like to play less new games (sorry!), but overall I think she’s still having fun. Or, as a mother of two (three including me) and a primary school teacher, she masks it well!

There are a record three new entries on this year’s list, plus one old favourite returns. And, for the first time, there are two games I’d consider euro games on the list. Who knows – this time next year, it could all be four-hour war games… Anyway, in her own words and categories but in no particular order (links go to my reviews):

Building some routes

  • Ticket to Ride (2-5 players, 90 minutes, ages 8+) A longstanding Sunday morning favourite. Love trying to coordinate routes and aim to improve at winning the bonuses.
  • Thurn and Taxis (2-4 players, 60 minutes, ages 10+) Another longstanding route building favourite. Love looking at maps of Germany showing the towns.
  • NEW! Foothills (2 players, 45 mins, ages 10+) Not sure if it’s really route building, but I love the track and station building and the tricky decisions of which actions to use.

Building an area and nice art work

  • Welcome To (2-4 players, 30 minutes, ages 10+) Fun constructing a little neighbourhood and trying to achieve the targets on the cards. And great to play the proper rules nowadays! (Oops… – Chris)
  • NEW! Remember Our Trip (2-4 players, 45 mins, ages 10+) Again, it’s fun to construct a little area and enjoy the commentary on ‘remembering’ things. You should have placed a bet! (I flagged this on the 2021 list – Chris)
  • Uptown (2-4 players, 45 minutes, ages 8+) Just a beautiful abstract. An ongoing challenge… and the anticipation and hope as you take your next tile…

Randoms

  • NEW! Lost Ruins of Arnak (2-4 players, 60-90 mins, ages 12+) Another new entry that has really grabbed me and I aim to play enough so that I just know it and can avoid listening to rules!
  • Oracle of Delphi (2-4 players, 90 minutes, ages 12+) Still my favourite more challenging (for me) game. I think I have improved at using the gods…
  • Targi (2 players, 45 mins, ages 10+) Another one I just enjoy, and love being able to just get on and play.
  • Codenames Duet (2 players, 30 minutes, ages 12+) Pleased to have it back on the list. If TTR is a Sunday morning favourite, this is a Friday evening favourite.

Some stats (by Chris, you know, just cos…)

Only four games are now ever-presents on Sarah’s list, having appeared all four times: Oracle of Delphi, Ticket to Ride, Thurn & Taxis and Uptown. Codenames Duet is the first game to appear back on the list after dropping off for a year.

There were a strangely low number of abstracts this year – just the ever-present Uptown, really. I have to say I was surprised to see Azul and Adios Calavera drop off the list, along with Kingdomino (abstract? Discuss).

My Top 40 will be along in May. And at a guess, six of these 10 will be on it. But which…

Demeter board game: A four-sided review

The Demeter board game is a small box flip-and-write that plays in 15-30 minutes. The box says ages 14+, but 10+ is probably closer to the mark for gamer kids.

As with all non-interactive games of this type, there is no real limit to how many people play beyond the number of sheets in the box (100). But realistically, it will handle up to six with no problem. And probably beyond.

The theme has you visiting another planet to catalogue its wildlife – which just happens to be dinosaurs. I’m sure nailing two of the most popular game themes was just coincidence. Especially as the theme is doing very little work here, but kind of works. The art is uninspiring (the dinosaur silhouettes are annoyingly similar) and the sheets are a bit of a graphical mess. But once you get used to them, they’re OK.

In the box you’ll find the pad of 100 sheets, 81 small cards (6 of which are promos for another game, Ganymede) and 13 cardboard tiles. Looking at comparison site Board Game Prices, you can find it for around £20, which feels pretty good value.

Teaching the Demeter board game

Each player takes a sheet, which are all identical. The poor layout is a bit of a hindrance to teaching, but in fairness they’ve had to pack a lot onto the sheets. In the middle of the table you create five piles of 12 cards, according to their coloured backs. there are 15 of each type, giving a bit of variety to each play. But more importantly meaning experienced players can’t guarantee what’s coming in each deck.

One card from each pile is flipped face-up in each of the 12 rounds. Each player chooses one of them and does the action on it. Then gets a bonus, depending on which coloured pile the card came from. These bonus actions get stronger the more times you use cards from the same pile. But you’ll equally get a bonus for taking all five colours. And a card’s main action can be completely different from what you’d expect from its colour. So players soon diverge towards different strategies.

The actions

A good chunk of the cards let you colour in sections of dinosaur (which are in three different colours). Once a dinosaur is completely filled in, another action lets you draw a line from it to a bonus box. Others let you fill in scientists or parts of observation towers, which again give a number of one-time bonuses. While buildings allow you to get a bonus each time you do a particular action. And scientists and buildings can trigger little chains of actions, which made games such as That’s Pretty Clever so satisfying. Finally, you have a science track that – at its ends – allows you to score various end-game bonus points.

At the end of the game, almost everything seems to score you points. But like any good euro-style game, the player who has been most efficient is likely to win it. You can’t score every bonus, so you just have to make sure that you make every card count.

The four sides

These are me, plus three fictitious players drawn from observing my friends and their respective quirks and play styles.

  • The writer: The rulebook and sheet layout of Demeter immediately had me on the back foot. And I’m still not 100% sure I’m getting all the rules right in terms of how bonuses are triggered. But hey – we’re all playing by the same ones, so who cares? The important thing is the game is fun. And there is genuinely different ways to win. Sure, these are partly dictated by how the cards come out. But you need that puzzley variety to keep coming back.
  • The thinker: When looking for a lighter, fast experience, Demeter is a game I can get behind. Because it packs a genuinely good mix of tactics and strategy into a 15-minute game. Once you start down a path, you’re in the hands of the card flip. You can usually do what you want – but chances are, some rounds you’ll get more value from pivoting for a turn or two. So you tend to have genuine decisions to make every round. You can’t ask for much more from a filler – especially one which can handle such a large range of players.
  • The trasher: There’s absolutely nothing for me here. nothing I can do influences anyone. There’s not even any scoring method that rewards you for doing best at something. It literally doesn’t matter who else is playing, until you compare scores at the end. And If I wanted a solo game, there are plenty more fun than this for me.
  • The dabbler: I found Demeter confusing at first. I didn’t really know what I was doing on my first play. But once I’d seen how the scoring worked at the end, and had tried all the actions – I was hooked! I loved That’s Pretty Clever, but prefer the less abstract nature of Welcome To and now Demeter. And I don’t really miss the interaction.

Key observations

The game sheets of Demeter really don’t help players get into the game. The layout is confusing. And it could have been easily solved by putting a different colour behind each dinosaur type – or by adding more defined markings between sections. The English translation of the rulebook is also quite poor. And feels as if it was squeezed into too few pages. In some cases, examples help explain things, but they’re too few to make up for some serious vagueness. While there’s no excuse for bad English in rulebooks nowadays.

There is a solo version of the game. But unfortunately this was left out of the rulebook – seemingly so a few adverts for their other games could be put in instead. The solo game is really just about getting a high score. But to their credit, they’ve also added a sheet of achievements to aim for which need you to maximise certain aspects of the game. This is well done, and should keep solo players coming back for more. Also, they’ve made two free expansion sheets available online, adding even more variety (same link). A classy move.

As for player complaints, the fact the game is completely solitaire is completely valid. Some also say it has a largely unoriginal euro feel. While I kind of see that, I don’t see it as a negative for players such as me. What Demeter does is make a very quick game, in a small box, that’s available to many players at once. While offering a variable and challenging puzzle each play. That certainly isn’t easy to achieve, or as common as you’d think.

Conclusion: Demeter board game

I had no expectations when playing Demeter – I’d been sent it as a bonus when requesting to review Trek 12. But if anything, despite its visual and rulebook flaws, I think I prefer it. It takes that game’s basic premise (the grid of options, where you can only do each calculation so many times) and makes a euro out of it. And I usually fall on the side of euros! But it isn’t replacing Trek 12 – rather, it’s complimenting it. If you’re looking for a puzzley euro experience in a small box that plays fast, I’d certainly recommend Demeter. My only caveat is that I also have its follow-up, Varuna (Demeter 2), still on the shelf to review. Coming soon! Watch this space…

Best 2000s board games: Which stood the test of time?

I’ve previously done 1980s and 1990s lists, and started my annual top 10s at 2009. So the completionist in me felt I had to do a ‘best 2000s board games’ list. But as you can imagine, there are way more contenders to choose between.

At Board Game Geek, the Top 20 games released between 2000-2009 are all in its top 150 of all time. And the first 100 are in the Top 500. I’d made a list of 15 favourites just from those. And ended up struggling to whittle down a list of 25, all of which get a mention below. Impressive for a set of games many of which are now 20 years old.

I’ll mention a few big-name contenders first (which made my 25, but not the final 10). Power Grid, Agricola and Puerto Rico are all deserved BGG Top 50 euro games I’d play any time. Dominion also deserves a mention, as it sits just outside the BGG Top 100, introduces the excellent deck-builder mechanism, and still sits on my shelves. While Pandemic put co-operative games firmly on the map. So if not them, what did make it?

The best 2000s board games: My top 10

The majority of these games are reviewed elsewhere on the site, so please click the links below for detailed reviews. And when you go pick any of them up, be sure to click through to Board Game Prices to help this site out. In no particular order:

Family games

Ticket to Ride (2-5 players, 60 mins, ages 8+): Still my go-to game for introducing new players to our hobby. A little long with five, especially with new players, but otherwise a flawless mix of set collection and route building with an accessible theme.

Thurn and Taxis (2-4, 60 mins, 10+): More transport-based card play and route building. But there’s a little more going on here and it can be a little more punishing. Some doubt its multi-award-winning credentials. But for me it’s still one of the best family games on the market.

Ingenious (2-4, 45 mins, 8+): My favourite Reina Knizia game. It’s an abstract tile placement/colour matching game that gets the mix of skill and randomness just right. It’s all about spotting the tipping point, where you move from point scoring to sealing the win.

Tumblin’ Dice (2-4, 30 mins, 5+): Darts with dice and added chaos. What’s not to like? Flick dice to land on multiplier spots. But four times one is still only four – so a six in a basic spot is better. But who cares? The fun is in trying to knock other people’s dice off the board

Gateway games

Stone Age (2-4 players, 90 mins, ages 10+): A fantastic introduction to worker placement, one of the main concepts in modern hobby board games. It’s colourful and approachable with relatively simple rules. While a dice-based luck element keeps things spicy if you want to ride the odds.

Maori (2-5,30 mins, 8+): A super elegant tile-laying game, which benefits from three difficulty levels when you want to ramp up the challenge. Simple rules and pretty components help make it approachable. And for me, it has more legs than Carcassonne.

Euro games

Race for the Galaxy (2-4, 30-60 mins, 12+): My number one game. A wonderfully complex engine-building card game that plays fast. So if you don’t get something going, you just play again. A mess of iconography makes it hard to learn, but it is totally worth the effort.

Brass: Lancashire (2-4, 60-120 mins, 14+): The original ‘Brass’, recently repackaged and renamed, is an unforgiving but fantastic strategy game. Plan your transportation routes and ship your goods through the romantic towns of Stockport, Rochdale and Runcorn. But forget the theme – this is passive euro-style interaction at its best.

Twilight Struggle (2 players, 2-3 hours, 14+): Arguably a war game, but the card play makes it feels more like a euro to me. Sure, it has cardboard chits and you play out a global conflict on a world map. But the game is all about clever card play and political influence.

Macao (2-4, 60-90 mins, 12+): Use dice to trigger cards, which you use to make a point and resources engine. There’s lots going on, and big risks can lead to complete disaster. Or glorious victory. Surely the way a game about trading in the 17th Century should be?

The best 2000s board games: Also worth a mention

I could comfortably done a top 10 just of family games, with Alhambra and Downfall of Pompeii only just missing the list. And silly Knizia dice game Pickomino is also a perennial favourite of mine.

It was also a great decade for small box card games. filler games such as Parade and Coloretto should be in every serious gamer’s collection. While set collector Archaeology: The Card Game is another of my favourite lighter offerings.

A few party games also need a mention. Dixit is still brilliant, if you have a group with strong imaginations (more for a dinner party than a raucous one). While Cards Against Humanity lives very much at the other end of the party scale. People are quite snobby about it. And it is crass. But I’ve had a couple of hilarious nights playing it after a few too many adult beverages.

Finally, I want to give a shout out to some lowlier titles in terms of BGG rating. Uptown, at 2,015, is a fantastic abstract tile placement game. Uruk, a long way further down at 3,686, is a clever, puzzley civ game in a single deck of cards. While my favourite sports game – Pizza Box Football – is even lower at 4,123. It’s not big or clever, but is a fun dice-chucker that manages to create surprisingly accurate American football scores. And I feel I need to mention the lowliest game on the list I own. At 8,061 comes set collection card game Im Auftrag des Konigs from the wonderful Adlung Spiele.

Online play?

Want to delve into some of these ‘old’ (eep) titles, without risking your hard-earned? Well, you’re in the luck with the below – try online before you buy at these web sites:

Board Game Arena: Agricola, Alhambra, Coloretto, Pandemic, Puerto Rico, Race for the Galaxy, Stone Age, Thurn & Taxis and Uptown.

Yucata: Downfall of Pompeii, Macao, Maori, Stone Age and Thurn & Taxis.