Meeple Like Us Top Ten 2018

The Meeple Like Us Top Ten Best Board Games, 2018 Edition!

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Number One on the Meeple Like Us Ten Top Best Board Games 2018 Edition!

Here you are, the only game that matters. The only game in town. The only game anyone needs to play, except you know even the #1 game of all time is likely to grow stale after a while. Still… this is a remarkable achievement made only more remarkable when you look at the competition. We’ve made fun of all the losers throughout this post – by calling them losers for example – but seriously every one is a fantastic game we’d be happy to play in all kinds of circumstances. The environment of modern tabletop gaming is so competitive now that merely being exceptional is no guarantor of success. While lists like this are mainly just a bit of idle frivolity, they also serve as an important way to reward the games that have stayed around beyond their moment in the sun. Each and every game on this list would have been a credible #1 in another leg of the trousers of time. If this list had been done on a different day, who knows what might have changed.

We put games in order here, but that order is arbitrary. Well done to every game that made it onto the list because there were a dozen equally credible candidates that didn’t make the cut.

This one though? This one is special.

Michael Picks: Chinatown (In with a bullet)

[ Review | Teardown ]

Game Details
NameChinatown (1999)
Accessibility ReportMeeple Like Us
ComplexityMedium Light [2.30]
BGG Rank379 [7.26]
Player Count (recommended)3-5 (4-5)
Buy it!Amazon Link

When I was introduced to Chinatown at the UKGE 2018 by Duncan Cowan of Tabletop Scotland, I was interested but no more than that. ‘Oh, I’ve heard it’s good – I’m in’.

What happened next was one of the purest, most intense gaming sessions of my life. I came away from it saying ‘That’s definitely a good game, thanks for showing it to us’ but I thought that would be it.

I kept thinking about it. Whenever my thoughts would drift I’d find them making their way back to the crooked streets and exotic sights of Chinatown. It was (and is) out of print though and online retailers were selling it at prices that suggest they’d be pretty killer Chinatown players in their own rights. I’d say I put it out of my mind, but I didn’t because I even took the step of leaving my kennel and venturing out into the world of physical retail looking for a copy. I failed.

David Wright though, also of Tabletop Scotland, sent me a Facebook message and said ‘Hey, I found a copy and I bought it for you’. I thought he’d maybe encountered some magical traveling shop during his tour of the Scottish gaming community but it turns out he found it in my own FLGS.

I’m glad he did. The term ‘in with a bullet’ has never been more appropriate for a charts commentary because Chinatown has basically pulled off a coup here. I’d say that coup was bloodless but I suspect that at some point the arguments it spawns will end up being resolved with actual gunplay. Bloodless – as of the time of writing.

Chinatown is a truly amazing game and I hope it comes into print again soon so I can devote my free time to encouraging people to pick it up.

Chinatown year wheel

Pauline: It’s weird that we put these lists together without conferring and we both ended up with the same new game at the top of our lists. It’s unusual that we’re ever really so in sync.

Michael: I’m surprised too. I never expected this to happen. I had to change my mind on a lot of things to clear the way for Chinatown and you know how much I don’t like changing my mind.

Pauline: You genuinely do get stuck in your ways. I was expecting to see your top ten list for this year looking identical to last.

Michael:  It was for the first few drafts. It takes bloody hours and hours to write a post like this. I’m forty years old. Any acturial table will tell you I could die at literally any minute. I’d say I had better things to do with my life if the evidence of this entire site wasn’t going to so thoroughly refute it.

Pauline Picks: Chinatown (In with a bullet)

[ Review | Teardown ]

Game Details
NameChinatown (1999)
Accessibility ReportMeeple Like Us
ComplexityMedium Light [2.30]
BGG Rank379 [7.26]
Player Count (recommended)3-5 (4-5)
Buy it!Amazon Link

I’m used to the residential housing market, so a game about trading property is always going to be something in which I’m interested. Chinatown isn’t about renting or leasing houses, but is instead about building a property empire so lucrative that you can literally destroy your best friends using the money you’ve got in your back pocket. Chinatown is most interesting in the way that it approaches trade as a completely open game – you can trade anything for anything and I’ve seen those trades include ‘walking home from Perth if you don’t agree’ or ‘It’s easy to get a new wife’ as qualifiers. I love the cut and thrust of negotiation that comes from a game that doesn’t try to regulate the free market. If you end up stabbed in a car-park at the end of Chinatown, that’s just how Capitalism works. I like to think Chinatown is helping me develop genuinely useful knife skills. Did I say knife-skills? I meant life-skills.

Haha.

It’s really an amazing game.

Chinatown tiles

Michael: I really wasn’t expecting you to pick Chinatown for #1. You seemed a little bit pissed off when I said in the last game that we were going to split up if you didn’t accept my offer of two laundry tiles for a factory.

Pauline: No – really, all that threat did was sweeten the deals that other people were offering.

Michael: That’s only because you weren’t factoring in that I was actually your only transport home at the end of the evening.

Pauline: A girl with a full laundry to her name will have all kinds of gentlemen offering to drive her home.

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