The Daily Worker Placement

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

The Desert Island Collection

by | published Thursday, January 1, 2015

Okay, game gourmands, here’s the challenge: pick ten games (or fewer!) which, as a group, encompass as many themes, mechanics, and genres as you could possibly want, so that if you were marooned with your favorite gaming group on a desert island and had only these games to play, you would have as manysatisfying possibilities as possible.Some ground rules to make things more challenging: (1) base games only, no expansions; (2) no open-source modular systems allowed. Here I’m specifically thinking of things like a deck of regular playing cards, Piecepack, Decktet, and (sadly, since otherwise I’d include it) Mü & Mehr.So then here’s my list of ten, in no particular order:

(1) Neue Heimat (Euro, bidding, push your luck, negotiation)

(2) Dixit (party, language independent)

(3) Boggle (word, party)Boggle

(4) Cuba Libre (consim, scalable 1-4)

(5) Star Realms (s.f. theme, deckbuilding, multiple modes of play)

(6) Nations (civ building theme, card drafting, variable player powers)

(7) Keyflower (Euro, worker placement, pick up & deliver, tile placement, bidding)

(8) Space Alert (real-time, scalable, multiple scenarios)

(9) Imperial (rondel, stock-holding, area-control, area-movement)

(10)The Resistance: Avalon (medieval theme, hidden teams, traitor, simultaneous action selection)

By no means is this my all-time top ten! Nor am I claiming this list encompasses everything modern boardgames have to offer. What I am saying is that this bundle offers a solid selection of themes, genres, and mechanics, with a good range from light party fare all the way up to some pretty heavy gaming goodness.I’d be interested in seeing other people’s attempts.


  • David W.

    David is the Managing Editor of the DWP. He learned chess at the age of five and has been playing tabletop games ever since. His collection currently consists of about 600 games, which take up way too much space. His game "Odd Lots" won the inaugural TABS Game Design Contest in 2008. He is currently Managing Editor of The Daily Worker Placement. All in all he's pretty smug about his knowledge of games and game design.

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One thought on “The Desert Island Collection

  1. […] first article for The Daily Worker Placement, a short piece entitled The Desert Island Collection, was posted on January 1, 2015. And now, almost exactly nine years and 284 pieces later, you are […]

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