Tabletop Madness 2015 – Rounds 1-2

This is one of my favorite times of year.

The weather is nicer, baseball spring training is underway, and the NCAA college basketball tournament is about to start.

In the spirit of our 2014 World Cup event, BGA wanted to commemorate the event with an obligatory bracket pitting the best of the best board games against each other in the ultimate VS. feature.

This is Tabletop Madness and for the next three weeks we will be working our way through the full bracket of 68 board games chosen by us and our listeners to square off in the BGA board game tournament.

How the Bracket Works

To create Tabletop Madness 2015, we pulled games from two sources. We started with the BGG Top 100, pulling all games that AT LEAST two of us had played from the list (and no we haven’t played nearly all of them yet).

Second, we asked you the listeners and readers out there to submit your favorites to us on Twitter, Facebook, and via email. We received a TON of submissions – so many that we had to bump a few of our own picks and still leave a few out.

Finally, we created four thematic Regional Brackets and seeded them based on BGG Ranking. Here are our final rounds based on those seedings:



Gateway screenshot26

Card and Dicescreenshot23


Selecting the Winners

Here’s the fun part. We didn’t want to just vote on games and pick winners that way. After all there are four of us and a good chunk of matches would end up in a tie if we did that. At the same time, there’s ALWAYS a chance for an upset in college sports. Where would the sport be if one of our favorites ran away with the whole thing.

So for clear matches we broke it down by vote, but for ties or matchups without a lot of input, we used the dice. Games selected by roll-off are marked with a ** below. Trust me, there was much lamenting when the dice rolls didn’t go someone’s way. You’ll want to listen to Episode 61 – it’s a LOT of fun.

Tabletop Madness Round 1

To start we added our “last 4 in” and created an eight team Round 1 set of matchups.

Here’s how the vote broke down:

(15) Die Macher II vs. Bruges I
(12) Gravwell III vs. Alhambra I
(15) Battlelore 2.0 I vs. Defenders of the Realm III
(12) Doomtown Reloaded I vs. San Juan III

If anyone had not played a game, they abstained from voting (in this case, Daniel had not played Die Macher or Bruges). No game pulled it out without a bit of argument – but here were our four first round winners:

  • Die Macher
  • Gravwell
  • Defenders of the Realm
  • San Juan

Tabletop Madness Round 2

Now for the BIG one. This is where things get interesting, with 32 total matchups. Let’s go through each region, one at a time:

Euro Games

This was one of the most contentious groupings, with three ties out of eight matchups. The initial bracket looked like this:


And here is how the voting broke down:

(1) Terra Mystica II vs. (16) Spyrium I
(8) Russian Railroads vs. (9) Suburbia IIII
(4) Puerto Rico II vs. (13) Lewis and Clark II **
(5) Power Grid III vs. (12) Concordia I
(2) Caverna III vs. (15) Die Macher I
(7) Lords of Waterdeep II vs. (10) Stone Age II**
(3) Agricola II vs. (14) Alien Frontiers II**
(6) The Castles of Burgandy III vs. (11) Goa I

Americlash Games

This was another very close bracket, with three out of eight coming down to a tie, and only one unanimous winner.



And here is how the voting broke down:

(1) Twilight Struggle II vs. (16) Yggdrasil I
(8) A Game of Thrones Board Game vs. (9) Runewars III
(4) Dead of Winter II** vs. (13) Ghost Stories II
(5) Star Wars X Wing Miniatures II vs. (12) Civilization Board Game II**
(2) War of the Ring I (15) Defenders of the Realm III
(7) Battlestar Galactica vs. (10) Kemet IIII
(3) Mage Knight Board Game II vs. (14) Cyclades II**
(6) Eldritch Horror I vs. (11) Cosmic Encounter II

Card & Dice Games

Much more cut and dry in this group. Every matchup was decided by the vote with no deviations. There were interesting (and surprising!) votes in here though.


And here is how the voting broke down:

(1) Android: Netrunner III vs. (16) Battlecon I
(8) Lord of the Rings: Card Game II vs. (9) Glory to Rome I
(4) Dominion vs. (13) Imperial Settlers III
(5) Mage Wars I vs. (12) Citadels III
(2) 7 Wonders IIII vs. (15) Space Cadets: Dice Duel
(7) Star Realms I vs. (10) Dice Masters II
(3) Race for the Galaxy III vs. (14) San Juan I
(6) Summoner Wars I vs. (11) Roll for the Galaxy III

Family Friendly / Gateway Games

Finally, there is the family friendly and gateway game grouping. We had a lot of fun with this one – not only because of the great matchups that were created but because of the strong performance of some of our long time favorites:


And here is how the voting broke down:

(1) Pandemic III vs. (16) One Night Ultimate Werewolf I
(8) Small World III vs. (9) King of Tokyo I
(4) Ticket to Ride III vs. (13) Catan I
(5) Galaxy Trucker I vs. (12) Gravwell III
(2) Splendor III vs. (15) Hanabi I
(7) Mice and Mystics IIII vs. (10) Forbidden Desert
(3) The Resistance I vs. (14) Tokaido III
(6) Love Letter II vs. (11) Dixit II**

And that’s where we currently stand, with 32 games left, all of which will square off in Episode 61 of the Board Gamers Anonymous Podcast due to be released on Sunday March 15th. Check back then to hear who makes it to our Fab Four Final in two weeks!

  • Anthony lives and plays games in Philadelphia, PA. A lover of complex strategy, two-player war games, and area control, Anthony is always eager to try a new game, even if he's on rule-reading duty.

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