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Top Ten FFG Games - PART ONE
As we all know, Fantasy Flight Games was purchased by Asmodee last year. Well, as of April this year they are no longer a publisher, but rather a Design House within Asmodee. They will be under the Asmodee North America umbrella or something. So as a tribute to the FFG brand I thought it would be fun to run through their catalog and pick out their best games ever.
I haven't played many of these, but here are my thoughts...
10. Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game - Hey...I thought reprints didn't count on this list!
9. Star Wars: Imperial Assault - (see above)
8. Space Hulk: Death Angel - Love this game and I'm not convinced Warhammer Quest Cardgame is better. My favorite solo and co-op title ATM
7. Forbidden Stars - Haven't played. Even as a longtime GW (well more a classic GW fan), outside of Space Hulk and Necromunda the 40K universe never did anything for me. Heresy!
6. Blood Bowl: Team Manager - I consider this my favorite deckbuilder and think that adding cards to build your roster is a genius idea for the theme. I too, don't have the expansions yet. I'm sort of interested in the first one. Not at all in the second. Doesn't seem like a third is coming out, but with GW re-launching the parent title I wonder if FFG wouldn't cook up something to ride the hype.
5. Battlestar Galactica - Never played. Setting does nothing for me.
4. Eldritch Horror - Never played, but I have a hard time seeing this here but not Arkham Horror. I'm not an AH fan at all, but from what I understand that title is the one that made FFG what it is today. AH is considered a reprint maybe?
3. Chaos in the Old World - I've enjoyed every game of CitOW that I've played, but for some reason I never felt the urge to pick it up. Maybe because I don't think it'll get played as much as, say, Nexus Ops within the group?
2. Twilight Imperium III - I've only played the second edition, but like AH I would expect this to be here.
1. Star Wars Rebellion - Wha...? Shouldn't this be War of the RIng?
I expect to see lots of greats like Talisman, Condotierre, and Cosmic Encounter on the next list, but something that struck me on this one. Is this FFG 'in house' only designs? I mean what about first run through FFG titles such as LotR: Confrontation or..dare I say it...Beowulf? Is it because those are 'Knizia' and not 'FFG'? Is that why War of the Ring isn't on the list because it was from off the farm developers?
My list of (non-reprint) FFG titles might looks something like (no order):
Citadels (was that FFG first?)
LotR: Confrontation (ahh...the new BGG is garbage...I can't tell if FFG or Kosmos was first. Maybe both?)
Space Hulk Death Angel
Blood Bowl Team Manager
Android (just for the attempt and all the great discussion over the years)
Arkham Horror (give it its due)
Micro Mutants (not a FFG developed game?)
The Hobbit (that kids roll and move game from about 15 years ago...damn we played a lot of that with my son)
This was actually sort of a hard list for me to put together. Seems most of my favorite FFG games are reprints or revisions.
Side Note on X-Wing - I understand it has overtaken 40K as the top selling minis game. I'm not sure I would consider pre-painted, collectible minis the same as hobby minis, but whatever, I don't compile the sales lists. Either way, I'm not surprised. However, and I've mentioned this for years, licenses expire or cool. X-wing won't be around forever...if there's a GW, there's a 40k. FFG makes nothing off Star Wars movies, shirts, toys, video games etc. In fact, they lose a little in SW sales to cover their license fee. GW gets a nice cut of the profits for any 40K related item. In the long game it's better to own and grow your own IP, IMO. I wish all these recent Star Wars games where divvied up into the Twilight Imperium and Android universes. Sure it's not the short term cash infusion, but FFG could have used these refined systems to blow up their own IPs which could then be licensed out for comics, video games, novels, toys, etc. Seems they were coming into their own and could have gone this route. It's a shame that instead of exploring new worlds in new IPs...we now only get to quote the same tired SW lines across all these cash-in titles.
It's a Trap!
I might have had Runewars in here. And Armada over X-Wing.
jpat wrote: I haven't played all of these, but the only thing I'd really quibble about is the inclusion of X-wing, not because it's not good but because it's, as I think Mr. White jokingly alluded to, a refined but still pretty straight yet uncredited port of Wings of War to Star Wars.
I'd say X-Wing is different enough from WoW that it can stand on its own. Different versions of the same ships, upgrade cards all make for a much richer game IMO.
I am still debating RUNEWARS being left off the list. Yes its not as streamlined as Forbidden Stars, but the latter felt a bit overwrought on the combat system and the map a bit more constrained. It does have the virtue of a better theme .
X-Wing- My current favorite game. I have to keep myself off the wiki and enjoy what I've got. So far I've played all of my ships at least once, so there's that. I was born in 1985 and my dad is the type to watch sports, news, and live theater rather than sci fi stuff, so I've never been into Star Wars as much as some of you 35-45 year old set. List building is okay, but what I really like is the maneuvering aspect.
BSG I haven't played it in awhile and I never watched more than a few episodes of the show. (I jumped in in the middle of season 3 or something with a now-ex girlfriend). I didn't enjoy spending some of my weekend time that way. The game is actually pretty great and I'll still play it now.
CitOW I had an awful experience with this at GenCon when it first came out. We started explaining the rules at 11 PM and slogged through it with no one having a great idea of what they were doing. I think I was Nurgle, and I was... trying to corrupt stuff? I can see the potential but that soured me on the game. After that I refuse to play even moderately challenging new (to everyone) games during the evenings at a con. Codenames stole GenCon 2015 for me, for example.
I should give it a shot, but I'm not sure who I know that has it. The guys who might are real cult of the new types, so it's probably sitting on a shelf in their attic, never to be seen again.
Citadels is a redo of Ohne Furcht Und Adel by Hans Im Gluck while, of course, Arkham Horror is also a redo.
And I can barely get out, as I gasp in disbelief, where is DOOM !?
I also would have put A Game of Thrones 2e, Runewars, Middle Earth Quest and even a shout for Tide of Iron and Warcraft the Boardgame in that list in place of some of those games - but, like all fan lists of anything, this is purely subjective and whoever is in first gets to pick first !
I think that Runebound (2nd Edition) and Runewars should definitely be on the list. Fury of Dracula and Arkham Horror are different enough from the originals they should be on the list as well. Almost a crime that Starcraft isn't on there. Tide of Iron and LotR: Confrontation are close contenders too. Trouble is, I don't know what I would kick-off. Star Wars is probably over-represented. Imperial Assault is good, but it is probably outclassed by other dungeon crawlers -- and maybe now by Descent that the App is out. BSG base game is good, but that thing has been weighed down by expansions versus CitoW which probably shouldn't of even had its expansion. Forbidden Stars could come out for StarCraft.
I like Rebellion a lot, but I don't know if it is that gushingly great -- "..doesn't fell like any boardgame ever made" is a bit of a stretch. I think there are enough similarities to War of the Ring that it at least puts them in the same genre of overwhelming force hunts small group trying to do sneaky things.
X-Wing was originally left off this list. When I first came up with ten games I thought for sure that X-Wing was a Wings of War reprint. So I originally had it going on the reprint list. Then I started doing some digging and found out that the game was claimed to be an internal design by FFG. There was some contention on this point between the WoW designer and FFG's Christian Petersen. I think in the end the game's are different enough and certainly no legal action ever came of it...so I ended up deeming it a FFG original design. If the head of the company went on a public forum (BGG) and made claims that they came up with the design it was good enough for me. So X-Wing made it back onto the list at the 11th hour.
In regards to other big games like Runewars, A Game of Thrones etc... this list could have been filled with just these big ass DoaM/4X style games. However I decided to go with what I believed to be the cream of the crop in Forbidden Stars. Feel free to put an asterisk next to the game and also include Starcraft in that entry. I'll also let you in a secret that Runewars was in fact #11 and just missed the list. I love that game and have been getting the itch to play it again.
Warhammer Quest the Adventure Card Game came into heavy consideration for me as well. It's an excellent design and worthy of the highest praise. I think if FFG gets some good expansion content out there the game might climb into the Top Ten at some point. Here's hoping that more content is on the way.
In regards to Imperial Assault...full disclosure, I wrote this article long before I played Descent with the Road to Legend app. Though I need to spend more time with it and see what the next campaign is like, I feel like Descent (with RtL) might have landed on this list. I'm really loving the experience so far. Still Imperial Assault is a tremendous design as well. There is a ton of value crammed into that box and it's one of the few games with an overlord that I don't mind still playing. If FFG gets around to releasing a RtL style app for Imperial Assault I would sell all of my Descent stuff before Han Solo could finish The Kessel Run.
One thing I will say is that going through FFG's entire catalog made me realize that their output of games over the past ten years or so has been nothing short of incredible. They've published many of my all time favorite games and I hate to think about the actually amount of money I've spent on their products over the years.