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Board Game Friday: My Top 50 Games of 2023 (#40 - 31)

Welcome to my Top 50 Board Games of 2023!  

Last week, I went over the games #50 through #41 on my list of Top 50 Board Games of 2023.  Today, I'm back with the next ten games on my list.  As we get higher and higher up the list, decisions get tougher and tougher - but honestly, I don't think you can go wrong with any of the games on my list!

Without further ado, let's get back to my list!

#40: Catapult Feud

A fun dexterity game where each player first builds their own castle out of plastic bricks and then places their army throughout their build.  Once both players have finished, then the weapons come out!  Using a variety of weapons and ammunition, players attempt to knock down all of the opposing team's fighters.  My son and I enjoy this one a lot - in fact, I'd wager this is a Top 5 game for my son right now.  I will say that we don't actually follow the rules all that well (there's an element of drawing and playing cards that we totally ignore).  No matter, this is a fun one (and definitely it is as much "toy" as it is "game").  I guess I should also note that I tend to use all of the bricks from the base game plus two expansions (but only the catapult weapon seems to work particularly well for us).

#39:  Fleet

Fleet is an economic card game based on different types of fishing boats.  This is one of the rare games that I didn't care for the first time I played it but then upon a return attempt I fell in love with the game.  Like many good card games, its rule set is deceptively simple but there's plenty of agonizing decisions to be made.  I need to play this one a few more times in order to truly make up my mind on what I think of the game.  However, my last play of it was definitely a positive experience so the game is able to crack this year's Top 50!

#38:  Isle of Trains:  All Aboard

One of the more recent games that I've added to my collection, Isle of Trains:  All Aboard is a slight reworking of the older Isle of Trains game.  This is a card based train game where every card has multiple potential uses.  The most interesting part of this game is that each train car you put out in your tableau has an ability - but only your opponents can use the abilities on your train cars!  Thus, it's a bit of a tightrope walk where you try to make your trains enticing enough for other people to use them (you then also get something good) but not so good that you help your opponent more than they help you.  There's a surprising amount of depth here for such a simple little box game.

#37:  Cat in the Box:  Deluxe Edition

A delightful trick taker where you get to make up the color (suit) of every card you play as you play it.  The only catch is you can't create a paradox (basically declaring something to be a certain card when it's already been proven that the card can't be what you say it is).  The game sounds more complicated than it is, play a practice round and then everyone will probably understand how it works.  This game is another small box card game with a surprising depth to it (obviously that's something that appeals to me in my small box card games)!

#36:  Scooby-Doo!  The Board Game

I used to love the old Scooby-Doo cartoons when I was a kid so this game appealed to me originally on a purely nostalgic level.  However, the game is actually a fairly entertaining cooperative game where Scooby and the gang try to solve a mystery.  There's enough potential variety here in terms of the characters (both heroes and villains) to keep things fresh for quite awhile.  I have a feeling in about six months or so my son and I will be playing a fair bit of this game (there's a bit of reading on some of the cards but he's quickly learning to read in Kindergarten).  I happen to have the Kickstarter version of the game which means I also have a bunch of gorgeous (prepainted) minis.  I'm definitely a bit of a sucker for a nicely produced game!

#35:  Creature Comforts:  Kickstarter Edition

Speaking of nicely produced, the official name of this version has "Kickstarter Edition" in it which is kind of interesting since I actually bought it directly from the publisher and not on Kickstarter.  I've only played this game once thus far but my initial reaction was favorable.  It's a very family-friendly game though I do think it goes on for a bit too long (something that is fixed easily as there are rules for a shorter version of the game).  If I ever do my rankings again, I don't expect Creature Comforts to stay at #35 - on repeat plays it'll either prove itself worthy and move quite a ways up my rankings or else it'll lose its luster and fall down (and possibly out) of my rankings.  The game has a 7.8 on Boardgamegeek right now though so my best guess is that's likely to move up if I can get it to the table again soon!  The game has a gorgeous table presence with plenty of lovely components.

#34:  Karuba

One of my favorite classes to teach is a course called Graph Theory.  Graph Theory, at its most basic, is about connecting dots and lines.  In many ways, Karuba scratches that same itch for me.  Karuba is a tile laying game where you are trying to build a connected path from your explorers to their similarly colored temple.  The neat part about this game is that there is no luck factor, or at least, the luck factor is exactly the same for everyone because on each turn every places the same tile.  Definitely a neat game and one that I appreciate has a quick set-up and clean-up as well.

#33:  Just One

Just One is a fun party game where one person tries to guess a secret word based on the clues from the other players at the table (it's a fully cooperative game).  The clues from the other players are all written on individual white boards - but before the guesser can see the written clues, the clue giving team must make sure none of their clues are the same.  If they are, those clues are removed from view of the guesser (hence the name of the game "Just One").  The game quickly veers into giving clues that are not overly obvious and yet close enough to get the guesser to guess correctly.  

#32:  Trekking the World

Trekking the World is a slightly more complicated Ticket to Ride-esque game.  I think a big part of its appeal to me is the beautiful game illustrations but the game play itself is quite fun as well.  I don't think this game is a Ticket to Ride "killer" per se but it is a fun variation on the basic gameplay loop that Ticket to Ride perfected.  

#31:  Looney Tunes Mayhem

Looney Tunes Mayhem is a 1-vs-1 or 2-vs-2 brawler where each player gets to control a classic cartoon character.  I have the Kickstarter version of this game so I also have the additional characters which makes the game much more fun since there is more mixing and matching possible.  I definitely enjoy this particular game in the 2-vs-2 setting and I'm hopeful that I'll get this one to the table at least once with my family over the holidays.  Each character has their own (double-sided) character card with asymmetric abilities.  It's fun to find a character and fighting style that you like!

That does it for this batch of games on my Top 50 Board Games of 2023.  I've enjoyed creating my list thus far though I can say that it only gets harder and harder to place games from here on up the list!  Come back next week for the next ten games on my Top 50!


  1. Oh Just One looks good. Always on the lookout for fun non-competitive games.

  2. I never knew there was a Scooby Doo game. Looks promising!


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