February 22, 2022 – Dice Tower has South Park creator Trey Parker on to Give Top 10 Board Games of All Time. On November 13, 2019, something big in the world of board games happened. That was when the 304th episode of the animated Comedy Central show South Park premiere an episode entitled “Board Girls”. It was chaulked full of very meaningful board game mentions. We are not talking Monopoly, we are talking very well-chosen hobbyist titles like Western Legends or Nemesis.
Based on this episode, as well as others, it really became clear that the people behind the stories of South Park are very legitimate board game people. We put together a guide of every single South Park board games mention. This dives in and shows that there are tons of different board games that come up and in many different ways (including an original song).
And not just games, but terminology and personality references. In the song from “Board Girls” about games and completion, one line is “They watch Rodney Smith, Tom Vasel, and Becca Scott”. Rodney Smith is the man behind the top how to play video series, Becca Scott is just a delightful actress / board game personality that does how to and other things and then there is Tom Vasel, founder of Dice Tower and basically considered to be the top board game critic working today.
In a Reddit AMA, and elsewhere, Tom Vasel was asked about the South Park mention. “Did you know you were going to be mentioned in South Park? What was that like?” Tom responded “No I did not! Stephen Buonocore called me and told me about the show. I’ve played with Trey (Parker). It was weird, neat, and weird.”
This odd connection grew so much, and dominated questions coming to Tom, that in last year’s Dice Tower Kickstarter (2021), the guys decided to add a related stretch goal. If they hit $250k, they would have Trey Parker as one of the guests on their show. That Kickstarter ended with $347k raised.
Well, it finally happened, today Tuesday, February 22, 2022. The Dice Tower did a 1-hour live stream with Trey as their guest. He revealed his top ten board games of all time with Tom Vasel, Zee Garcia, and Mike Delicio of Dice Tower trying to guess and sharing their thoughts along the way.
Trey gave them clues and had a very rational positioning for the types of games he liked to play and what would make the list. According to him, he likes “games where you create your own narrative. Very thematic, obviously, but the choices you make set the story.” Not choose your own adventure, but opportunities to pretend. Games with a point, “we are these people and we are trying to do this.” More about having a goal than earning victory points.
10. Western Legends
If you want to go back to being a kid and saying hey let’s go outside and play cowboy, this is the game to do it. I can decide how I want to do it and who I am, I am not being told by the game. You can feel out what other people are trying to do and you do not need to decide everything right away.
This is to being a pirate as the above is to being a cowboy. This is that game where as you are setting it up and trying to get through the rulebook it promises so much. You get to decide. Are you going to be a pirate or are you just going to try to make a lot of money selling goods.
This is the only Euro on my list and the only caveat is that it is good because a company came up with a brand new set of rules that made it so much better. I think it is a Euro with the best amount of theme. Sure there is all this worker placement stuff going on but it is about trying to accomplish something, you are trying to bring your monster to life.
This is another great horror one and a game I love playing with non board gamers to show them what games can do. The cool thing about it for me, given my D&D days, is that I am basically GMing what is happening, story and strategy. The combat system here is so underrated, it is rock paper scissors with so much more.
One of the best “goals” out there is just the plain and simple “can we survive?” This is great with 2 (not more) and does that so well. This is actually a great couples game and I love it solo, even though I don’t often play solo.
The thing that is cool about this one is that it is a game that is competitive but if we don’t work together, no one is going to win. There is a thing we all can’t let happen but there will be a winner. I can’t say who I am but I love the goal and the setting, with the monsters, you need to achieve it.
You really feel like an Alchemist playing this one. The worker placement is there and cool but the whole time you are trying to deduce these combinations. The companion app to this is so cool. It only does one thing, show you if elements will match secretly, but you hear a little ding and you get so excited when it works.
This is a tie because they are basically the same game. These are based on two of the most iconic story properties of all time. If you want to play these properties (Star Wars and Lord of the Rings) in board game form, these are the two games to do it with.
2. Sub Terra
This is another title I go to often for people who are new to modern board gaming. I can put this on the table, we all start in a place and then I can say “we need to get it out here.” It is great because it is a nice little tile-laying game where everyone has something to do and it is very clear. Extra bonus, the tiles work in black light so you can play in the dark. This blows the minds of people that don’t know about board games.
A big caveat, this has both a competitive and cooperative version which was a mistake. The cooperative version is amazing and the competitive version is awful. I think the art is cool but it is very divisive. The setup is “we need to make it to the top of the mountain and then we need to make it back alive,” which is such a fantastic narrative. You have to decide things like how much food to bring, oxygen, etc, and it just all fits together so well.