Every year, Games Magazine publishes its "Games 100" list of the best new games. And one of those games is named Game of the Year. Here are my picks for the best games to ever win Games Magazine's Game of the Year award.
Building castles and trying to occupy high points in the largest of them is the basic theme of this game by Wolfgang Kramer and his occasional design partner Michael Kiesling. It also won the Spiel des Jahres in 2000, Germany's award for Family Game of the Year. Torres ranks among my favorite games.
2. BuyWordDesigned by master game designer Sid Sackson, BuyWord challenges players to buy letters and then sell words at a profit. Naturally, the better letters cost more money. Players have to have good word skills, but it also helps to understand the concept of "buy low, sell high" in this game.
3. New EnglandPlayers in this game by Alan R. Moon and Aaron Weissblum have plots of land in three types: pasture for animals, farmland for crops, and land for settlements. Bidding for turn order is very clever here. There are coins valued from 1 to 10, and the player who takes the highest coin goes first. But you must also pay the price on your coin for each card or land token you purchase.
4. Vegas ShowdownBuilding a casino in Las Vegas cannot be as much fun as playing this game. Players must bid against each other to acquire slot machines, restaurants, and other casino-related necessities. Collecting a good combination allows you to increase your revenue, services, and fame.
5. Pillars of the EarthThis board game is based on Ken Follett's best-selling historical fiction novel about the construction of Kingbridge Cathedral during the 12th Century.
You control -- or try to -- the evolution of dinsaurs on a remote island in this board game. In addition to dealing with major climatic shifts, you have to survive fights with other dinosaurs. Evo won the 2002 Games Magazine Game of the Year award, and it was nominated for several other awards. For three to five players.
Players each place numbered tiles face down, bidding for various treasures. At the end of a bidding round, the tiles are revealed and the player who bid the most total points wins the treasure. There's plenty of opportunity to bluff your opponents in this game. For three to five players.
Players try to collect sets of related fossil fragments in this archeological game. Fossil was Games Magazine's Game of the Year in 1999. For two to six players.
9. 25 Words or LessThis is a great team-based word game. You must get your teammates to say five words printed on a card. Your first task is to bid as few words as possible... then you have to actually do it.
Players compete to move their pawn from one side of the board to the other, but they can also erect fences to make their opponent's journey more difficult. For two to four players.