How to Build Top 10 Board Game Lists

Board gaming is a hobby that rewards comprehensiveness. New board games seem to be arriving all the time, and it’s impossible to keep up unless you already have a pretty robust knowledge of what else exists—after all, why play a new board game if it’s just a reskin of something old? As one might expect, board gamers are fond of talking about board games, and many of them have put together top 10 lists of their favorites to share with their contemporaries. (We hear having strong opinions on trivial things is en vogue these days.) But the only thing worse than not having a top 10 list is having a predictable or otherwise lame top 10 list. Heed our guide to putting a killer list together that wows and amazes board gamers of all stripes:

Start at #5 and work your way down

Naming a number one board game is trivial—the experience of playing the pinnacle is not easy to forget—and numbers two and three are likely going to be previous number ones or those only a tiiiiiiiiiny bit worse. Maybe number four is a board game that’s widely considered number one but you just don’t get it. The easy part is over and the true, soul-fulfilling work can begin. So, try to remember great board games you’ve played that perhaps you haven’t had a chance to revisit lately. These will be the toughest to remember, so feel free to conduct background research and informational interviews with friends to jog your memory. It can also help to be in the same physical state you were when you first played that board game, so quickly chug three liters of Mountain Dew and pop 12 fiber gummies, just to be safe.

Crank your list up to 11

Top 10 lists are never quite lists of 10 things, lest we forget Honorable Mentions—the participation trophies of rankings. This sidebar is a great way to squeeze in a bunch of board games you know others might have put in their top 10 but, for one reason or another, never stuck with you. This collection of, if your list is to be believed, duds can build credibility with a wider, more discerning gaming community. Lure them in with the consolation prize, win em over with your golden opinions.

Please elaborate a little bit

No need to write a novel outlining your placement justifications, but a list with zero context can raise a few red flags. For example, were you ranking these board games based on replayability? How many pieces of Nazi memorabilia show up in the background? These are questions we all have, and absent a follow-up, we’re just going to fill in the gaps for ourselves. Wouldn’t want anyone to think you collect Nazi memorabilia, would you?

Welcome criticism

As humans, we share an inherent desire for connections as well as a desire to burn those connections to the ground over superficial matters. It’s unlikely your list will match anyone else’s, and it’s likely those who disagree will want to engage in a healthy back-and-forth, perhaps playfully, to argue about opinions. Don’t take it personally, even though they are attacking your PERSONAL opinion. Instead, say yes to criticism and say hell yes to making changes and incorporating suggestions, even if you want to say no to ever playing board games with these haters again.

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