10 Best "new to you" games of 2011
Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
Among those games that you played for the first time, what were your favorites?
Note: this doesn't have to be games published in 2011, just something you played for the first time in 2011.
Since this is my first year into the hobby, all my games are new to me!
1. Biblios-Addictive, intriguing, fun and it's just a bunch of cards!
2. Ra: The Dice Game-gets more play than anything else as an after dinner game on weeknights because of it's combination of fast play, luck, and sheer fun.
3. Macao-love this game! All the paths to victory, the many options you have available to you on your turn coupled with the fact that turns are so quick, the fun rondel, set number of rounds per game, interesting card combinations, innovative and fun use of dice--well, as you can see, I love this game!
4. Ticket to Ride (with 1910 exp)-was at the top of the list for most of the year. A chaotic, noisy and fun time at our house.
5. Thurn and Taxis-another set collection game, quieter but intensely interesting.
6. Finca-I can't help it! Had to have this when the reprint came out because of the rondel and beautiful bits! Lots of fun.
7. Metropolys-I'm amazed every time I think of this game because by all rights I shouldn't love it so much. I mean, c'mon! It's CHESS-LIKE and I never liked playing chess. But this game is the one that finds me holding my breath, hoping my opponent (esp in 2p) doesn't see what I'm up to and will allow me to maneuver him into giving me the space that I really really want.
8. Airlines Europe-whoa! I got this game because of my two guys, hoping that it would help lure them further into my hobby--and what a success! I didn't expect it to be so much fun to collect stocks and drive the price up. Simple but can be some devious game play at times!
9. Lords of Vegas-pure Ameri-trash fun! Love throwing those dice to hopefully take over a casino!
10. Palazzo-this game deserves more love than it gets! The slick auction mechanic that works for 2 makes this game way better than Alhambra (IMO). Quick, satisfying and fun!
And I have a whole bunch of games that I haven't had a chance to get to the table yet. Can't wait!
2011 was my first year as more than a casual gamer. I'd played a number of games before, but in 2011 I branched out and started trying heavy games, war games, ameritrash and more. I virtually quit video games as a result, and have played at least twice a week all year, with one of those nights usually involving something completely new to me. In my list I cover the best 10 of the 50 odd games I played this year, as well as my goals for 2012.
So pretty much all of my top 10, are games most of you are already very familiar with, but it's all brand new to me.
1. Railways of the World
Railways has to be my number 1 game for 2011. I love economic games, and trains, so this was just great. The game is like sex. It starts slow, burns to a fever pitch, and leaves you tired but satisfied. One of those games that will never leave my collection.
Goal for 2012: Play Age of Steam and a 18XX title (preferably 1830).
2. Commands & Colors: Ancients
My first wargame. I'm a big history buff, so this game scratched a few itches. I'm absolutely in love with it. The fact that my wife likes it too makes it even better, because it gets to the table frequently.
Goal for 2012: Play SPQR.
This game was a revelation for me. My first really hardcore "euro". (Okay, that's not really true. But this was the heaviest game I had played to this point).
Goal for 2012: More heavy games!
Light fare but lots of fun. It takes such a high place because I can play it with my kids and anyone else. Great gateway game. It also holds this place because I have won every single game I have played. What can I say? I'm an Alhambra monster.
Goal for 2012: Try out more SdJ winners for games I can play with my kids.
5. Power Grid
I've only played this on Brettspiel. However, I thought it was spectacular. I suggested it to my group, but the response was lukewarm, so I've held out on buying it lest it hold a similar place to Agricola for me, sitting on my shelf largely unplayed and taunting me.
Goal for 2012: Play "First Sparks" in hopes that it makes the cut for a group favourite.
In January this year, I went to my first "game night" at my FLGS. This was the game I played that night. The experience, from the wonderfully terse gameplay, to the great people I played with (who I have played with many times since) the experience hooked me, and made a gamer of me.
Goal for 2012: Deepen my involvement in the community. Play and trade with more people.
For those of you that aren't familiar with me (and I'll assume at this point, that's still most of you), I own an insurance brokerage. I write commercial insurance, and generally specialize in contractors, and light manufacturers.
However, I thought to myself, "I love gaming". Why not call up the FLGS's and see what they're paying and see if I can't help them out. Turns out they were all getting shafted. One store in particular I asved about 1200 dollars a year for, and afterwards, I went to a game night they host. This is the game the owner and I, and a friend of his played. It was a fantastic experience on all levels. Tasty Minstrel has my attention.
Goal for 2012: Insure more FLGS. Do my small part to help the industry. (As a caveat: Yes, I do profit when I do this, however, to be blunt, these are very small accounts compared to what I generally deal with, and I approach them because they are ignored, and I can help, and frankly, it makes me love my job. The savings record so far is $2400, you might be reading this, and you know who you are, cheers).
8. Mission: Red Planet
This game introduced me to the joy of thrift, and was my first contribution to the "Your Thrift Finds" geeklist.
I was in Winners (a Canadian liquidation outlet) looking for a present for my 2 year old. I looked at the board game shelf and saw this game. I'd never heard of it, but I recognized the name 'Bruno Faidutti' (sorry Cathala, I hadn't heard of you yet, don't fret, I have now). So for 8 dollars I snagged it. My son LOVES it, and is a complete prodigy at it.
Goal for 2012: Major thrift SCORES! Thrifting has scored me a few solid titles: HeroQuest, Crokinle, Carcassone and Bazaar to name a few.
Oh this game should not be this far down, however, it seems I'm the only one of my friends that likes it. Sad really. It's such a wonderfully painful game. Perhaps some other Uwe might be more to my people's liking. As it stands, the Gric has to sit in 9th, because actually getting to play my games matters to me.
Goal for 2012: Play Le Havre and Ora & Labora to see if one of them may be more to the preference of my people.
10. Dominant Species
Why so low?!?!?! You gasp in horror seeing this game hold anything other than a top spot! I agree, however, I've never played it.
DS takes spot 10 because it's my first "grail game". My group will never play it. It'll see table time once in a blue moon. However, after reading the rules, I was in love. I have to have it, even if I don't play it much. I've held off, because there's so many other things I CAN play, but this has to happen.
Goal for 2012: Buy the March release of the upgraded 3rd edition. Play it.
My "Worst game I played in 2011"
(I'm not including a link on this, as I don't suggest you even bother).
1. On the Underground.
Blech. Deterministic, detached, boring. More cardinal design sins than I can name. What a heinous experience. First game I had ever played where I wished I could quit.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed my year 1 retrospective.
1. Modern Art Loved this one. Bought on whim, is one of my favorite games.
2. Chrononauts This game is great, best part is my girlfriend loved it! We play all the time and any game that makes her happy is worth its weight in gold.
3. Diplomacy I discovered this gem this year, better yet my friends discovered it and they still are my friends!
4. Eat Poop You Cat If you are not playing this with your gaming group you are missing out. I discovered this game this year and have played it every weekend since.
5. Merchants & Marauders More board-y then I usually like, but I loved the theme. Weighty and a bit overly complex, but battles are the most fun RP experience I've had in a long time!
6. Cards Against Humanity Great game! Hilarious and deserves more respect then it gets.
7. Small World Fun game, not my favorite but it makes up for it by having a really cool race creation system. Also expansions are high quality and well priced.
8. Perikles I want to rate this higher but honestly I have not yet played it! I saw it played once and can't wait till my group plays!
9. D-Day Dice Can't wait!
10. 1000 Blank White Cards Same as EPYC, great fun low budget.
I know I'm behind the times but I'm just getting into board games, and its been a wild scatterbrain year of different genres and different games!
Powers:Coleridge:Milton: Faith...must be, if anything, a clear-eyed recognition of the patterns and tendencies, to be found in every piece of the world's fabric, which are the lineaments of God.
That's Tim Powers' fictional Samuel Coleridge "quoting" John Milton in _The Anubis Gates_.
My top 10 for (the first 11 months of) 2011:
#1 South African Railroads (the vast majority of the fun of Pampas Railroads in a third the time.)
#2 1860: Railways on the Isle of Wight (so many levers in a small package.)
#3 1830: Railways & Robber Barons (why hadn't I played this before?)
#4 Pampas Railroads (subtle and devious.)
#5 Vanuatu (lovely precedence order manipulations.)
#6 Baltimore & Ohio (the expansions are interesting, too.)
#7 Rolling Stock (hard-edged and unforgiving, yet still compelling.)
#8 Colonial: Europe's Empires Overseas (even if Christophe can't stop fiddling with the rules.)
#9 A Few Acres of Snow (despite any "broken-ness"; I've had fun with it.)
#10 Kogge (a cool mutable board, with lots of opportunity for messing with your opponents.)
While I can't assert its preeminence with confidence (at this late date), I've gotta say that Mage Knight Board Game is really cool - and very likely belongs on this list somewhere.
1. 7 Wonders
2. Ascension: Deckbuilding Game
3. Mansions of Madness
4. Urban Sprawl
7. Survive: Escape from Atlantis!
8. Elder Sign
9. Tales of the Arabian Nights
As Tom Vasel says every year, "20xx was a great year for games".
Well, I would have to agree with him this year. 2011 WAS a great year for games for me. I have been lucky enough to come across a wide variety of games from light to heavy to thematic to having a thin veneer of theme.
I have found myself this year generally shying more and more away from the classic 'Euro' and graviting more towards games that have a strong, central narrative element. The number of thematic games in this list should tell that story easily enough.
Despite this however, 7 Wonders easily tops the list because of its simplicity, accessibility, flawless scalability from 3 to 7 players, short play time and all out sense of FUN!
For me, games are a social experience that should be fun. I formed my list on this principle ie. I chose the new (to me) titles that I felt provided the most fun group experiences of 2011.
James To My Friends
Another Vanuatu entry on this list. This game is properly properly fun. It has a killer central mechanism, but the rest of the game is just as good too.
Urban Sprawl. Brilliant! Has a great narrative, some nice decisions, and more strategic than the 'chaos' haters give it credit for.
Prêt-à-Porter. One of the best themes on a euro that integrates with the mechanisms. Love just how much control and flexibility this game gives you.
Spanish Main. The whole merchants and merauders done elegantly and without forcing decisions on people. Select your character, equip your ship, explore an un-known Carribean, trade or steal it's up to you. All in place nearly 30 years ago. Proof that some things cannot be improved upon by fancy art and plastic pieces.
Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan. Pretty much the perfect wargame for me. Not too complex, with some bluffing and calculated risk taking. Love it!
Circus Train (First Edition). Superb economic, route optimization, screw people over game. Theme makes this game even better. Bought the Victory Point Games version and expansion on sight.
Hotel Life. Really nice enconomic game, but the chain reactions of the guests and how it can affect everything and everone is just amazing. Great fun.
American Rails. Quick, clean, elegant. Simply magnificent.
Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game. Really gives a great feel of the computer game. Nice 4x. Though probably wouldn't be on the list if I managed to get Space Empires played.
Zoom Zoom Ka-Boom!!. Best fun I've had in a race game. Great use of dice and pressing your luck. Has beautiful hand made wooden track. Pre-order the 2nd edition if you can.
Board Game: Troyes
[Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:54]
♬♪♪ ♫ ♩ ♫♫♪ ♩♬♪ ♫
All reality is a game. Physics at its most fundamental, the very fabric of our universe, results directly from the interaction of certain fairly simple rules, and chance... (Iain Banks)
I am not certain about the order of this list after the first item. Oh well...
Troyes has been the most interesting game of the year. The interplay of cards, bonus point conditions and available dice makes each game very challenging.
#2-4: Seeland, Paris Connection, Olympos
These are all excellent, rated 8. Very different games, but each one repays concentration.
#5: Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game
Pure fun! Not a serious game for deep thinking gamers - but I play with a lot of people who don't fit that description. F&G is a great [-]toy[/i].
#6-7: Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ? and A Few Acres of Snow
I would love to play Labyrinth more. My games have felt balanced and tough. A Few Acres was enjoyable - I have not played enough to know if it is "broken"
#8-9: Biblios, Letters from Whitechapel
Wildly different games! Biblios works really well with two or three and is a handy filler. Letters is a quicker alternative to Fury of Dracula, another game we like a great deal- variety is the spice of life.
#10: Paths of Glory.
Hmm. PoG comes laden with so much expectation: "the highest rated wargame". Well- yes. But it is going to be very hard to get to the table, and I'm struggling to play a turn a day on Vassal. It sounds rather lame, but without a chance to play regularly I don't see myself really loving Paths of Glory. There's a Catch-22 somewhere there. I'll persevere, it is clearly worth the effort.
Games, games and more games!
1. Ascension: Deckbuilding Game
This is my most played new game in the last few months of this year, the only game I tried this year that I rated a 10, and the expansion has just added new life to it. Great addition to the deck building genre!
2. Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization
Discovered this one recently, and only play the advanced game as I don't like long games. The best heavy long game of the year, and one I'm hoping to play a lot more soon. The fiddliness means it's not one I can play with kids around though, which limits plays a little.
3. Eminent Domain
Another deck builder, although in many ways its more reminiscent of Glory to Rome than deckbuilders. A lot more to it than first meets the eye - grew on me as I played it more. Currently only rated a 9, but could become a 10 in future, if it proves to have enough replay value.
Great little filler - dice building this time instead of deck building. Short and sweet, usually. Quite luck dependent, but fun!
5. The Castles of Burgundy
I like most Feld gams, but they don't wow me, but this is the best of his I've found. Got a lot of play when we first got it, but its newness has worn off. A keeper though, and I'll happily play it a few times a year.
6. Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon Board Game/Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game
I've played both of these twice and loved them, and am getting Ashardalon as a Christmas present. These may well move up the list after that, but it depends on how much replay value they have.
7. Letters from Whitechapel
I really really want to buy this game, but as its out of print, I'm resigned to waiting until I see a secondhand copy appear on the market somewhere. It's just Scotland Yare really, but the extra bells and whistles make this into a much better game - and it's really quite scary being chased as Jack!
This is a very old game we picked up - a little 5 minute speed filler, but it does what it does very well!
Who doesn't like bashing other people over the head with inflatable clubs? Combine this with silly speech, and a lot of frustration, and it makes for a fun game. Not one to play too often though - you remember the cards, and you get too good at it - one that's better when you're doing badly!!
10. LEGO Creator
This was my favourite game new to me to play with the kids this year. Roll and move, as you move around the board collecting Lego pieces, but then get to make up a Lego model at the end.
but I'm not the only one
My hands are small, I know, but they're not yours, they are my own
Out of 39 (I think) "new to me" games this year, some of them were bad or mediocre, and some of them were very good, but flawed, or need a rules update or FAQ to be good. None have gotten a 10 rating from me, but there are several 9s and 8s, which I will now list:
1. Space Infantry -- solitaire, tactical, science fiction wargame -- the rulebook as released was holey and confusing, but after I asked a zillion questions , the designer rewrote it, and it is pretty clear now. One of the better solo games, IMHO.
2. Elder Sign -- Thematic co-op (or solo) dice and card game based on H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos -- the rulebook is a mess, but the game is fun and has much more strategy than it appears at first. I'm finding it to be addictive.
3. Pergamon -- bidding/gathering/set collecting game with an archaeology/museum theme -- this game was a nice surprise -- well written, and plays well with 2 or more players. Also, I seem to be very good at winning it!
4. Forbidden Island -- Thematic co-op (or solo) game by the same designer as Pandemic. I really like Forbidden Island's artwork, gameplay, and even the theme. It's not a complicated game, but it's fun.
5. Hornet Leader: Carrier Air Operations -- Solitaire wargame about controlling a squad of fighter aircraft to complete missions -- I actually like the older version (Hornet Leader) a bit better, but this game gives you a lot in the box, including several campaigns and more pilot/planes than you would likely expect. I've played it numerous times, already.
6. Sumeria (with 2-player expansion) -- a multi-player game (although there is a 2-player expansion) about controlling ancient trade routes -- I think I will even like it more if I get a chance to play it with more players at the table.
7. Commands & Colors: Ancients -- 2-player blocks and cards ancients wargame -- I like BattleLore from the same designer, which uses a similar rules system, and I am an ancient history buff, so I don't know why it took me so long to get around to playing this (probably because it takes so long to sticker all the blocks!).
8. Sector 41 -- a space-themed, exploration and gathering game for 2 or more players that has uses special tiles to create the board and control movement and actions. The game changes as it progresses, from exploration to gathering, with the endgame being an escape from the guardian -- my only complaint is that some of the tile backs are distinguishable from others, which essentially marks the hidden tiles.
9. DungeonQuest (third edition) -- 2 or more player (or solo) game with a fantasy, dungeon-crawling theme, where probably everyone is going to die horribly! -- but it's fun if you realize that from the start.
I couldn't decide for the 10th game, but these are all good candidates:
Yggdrasil -- co-op or solo Norse gods-themed game
Conflict of Heroes: Price of Honour – Poland 1939 -- expansion for the CoH wargame which totally changes the rules for the better
River Dragons -- a cross between Robo Rally and Chinese Checkers
Strat-O-Matic Baseball -- I can't believe it took me so long to play this detailed player stats baseball game. This was Strat-o-matic's 50th anniversary, which convinced me to get the game and some expansions. Unfortunately, their shipping department is careless, and I'm not even going to go into what it took to get the rest of my order shipped.
Phantom Leader -- another Air Leader game, like Hornet Leader, but with a different historical them and with politics mattering. There is a new version in the works which will have more cards and campaigns, I think, but this version is pretty good.
A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game -- a horror-themed game that can be played co-op or solo with various characters and villains.
Gears of War: The Board Game -- A science-fiction-themed dungeon crawler that can be played co-op or solo.
Warriors of God -- a light 2-player wargame mostly about the English invading France, which is a lot of fun to play. There are leader counters for Jeanne d'Arc and Robin Hood.
Bionic Woman --
generously offered to send me this game when he saw it was on my wishlist. It's a kid's game, but my partner and I were were both fans of the Bionic Woman/Lindsay Wagner as kids) and we really enjoyed playing it recently. The fact that we were so tired that we had the giggles might have increased the enjoyment some. We added a couple of rules to give the players a bit more strategy decisions (allow players a hand of two cards, no limit on number of bonus missions, no 100-point final bonus).
Runs with scissors
The die is cast.
You say OCD like it's a bad thing.
There were a few other games that were pretty good, too, and some bad ones.
EDIT: the "new to me" gameslist for 2011 has now risen to 44. Added Warriors of God and Bionic Woman.
AaAaAaAaAaAaA! Oh no! You shanked my Jenga ship!
"We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can't think what anybody sees in them."
This was the year I finally got hold of this long sought grail. I'm happy to say it was everything that I had hoped it would be! A great setting, with multiple, interesting plot lines, and a great experience. I'm still hoping that this gem will get reprinted. Better still, that some game company will take up the torch and move forward with the once planed sequels or expansions!
2) Glory to Rome. It took me a while to get around to this game, but I'm really glad I did. I love the multiple uses for each card and the variety of paths to victory. This is a great game that I will gladly play any time!
3) Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon Board Game. This was my first play with the successor to Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game, and I like the changes that it makes. I also am pleased by how much variety it adds. I think many are disappointed that this system hasn't been the second coming of Warhammer Quest, but I think it does what it sets out to do very well. An easy to grasp cooperative dungeon crawl. I'm still debating whether or not to get Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt Board Game, but I'm glad I have the first two.
4) Runebound (Second Edition). Economic game fans will cry, 'Heresy' but this is without question my favorite Wallace design! I can see why so many people don't recommend it with too many players, but it's a great experience, and isn't that the point of playing a thematic game?
5) Tikal. My first play of one of the well known Mask Trilogy, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. We played without auctions, so I'm not sure we got the full experience, I'm looking forward to trying it again, using those rules, and with more players. The tension should be delicious.
6)Brass. Another excellent Wallace design. This is a tough game, and you need to weigh your choices very carefully, which goes a long way to explaining why it has the enduring popularity that it does.
7) Ascension: Deckbuilding Game. I think this might be my current favorite for deck building games (though I need to try Thunderstone again to be sure). It's quick to learn, quick to play, and still provides a nice amount of theme.
8) Ra. Yes, it took me this long to get around to trying this classic, and I'm really glad that I did! I tend to like auction games in general, and this one is particularly good. The randomness can hurt you, but skillful play is ultimately rewarded. I think there's a lot more too this game, and I hope I get the chance to try it a few more times.
9) Elder Sign. Some folks dismiss this as 'Arkham Yahtzee', but I think that does it a disservice. Given enough time and a choice between the two, I will always prefer Arkham Horror to this, but for a similar experience in a shorter amount of time, this is a great option. I'm going to deliberately avoid the app, as part of what helped kill my interest in playing Dominion face to face was playing it constantly on my phone.
10) Condottiere. Another older game that I finally got to the table. There are those who feel this game was overlooked, and I agree. The potential for negotiation and backstabbing is every bit as high as Diplomacy but the game plays in a much shorter period of time. If you can, I highly recommend the first edition (which I own) over Fantasy Flight's silver box. It's a bulkier game with a bigger table foot print, but the gorgeous art makes it far superior to the later edition.
1.Space Alert. I had gotten this from my Santa and didn't even know anything about this game, it wasn't on my wishlist, and I absolutely love it! I quickly ordered the expansion and started teaching my friends to play it so we can start a campaign soon. I really enjoy how it simulates the panic you would feel on a space ship (not that I've been on a spaceship, but real time game play is exciting!).
2. Sentinels of the Multiverse Another great co op game that was introduced to me by a friend at my FLGS. I really enjoy the epic stories you can take away from it (Like how The Wraith destroyed all 7 of her equipment cards to deal Omnitron the final blow). While it is really fun I find that with 5 players it is a little too easy (even when playing hard villains in difficult environments on advance).
3. Quarriors! The mechanic was just so unique to me. The dice were beautiful and the replayability is great. So excited to get the expansion.
4. Catacombs I never realized how much I enjoyed dexterity games until this moment. I'm not a total fan of the artwork and was tempted to do some of the redesigns here on the geek but the gameplay more than makes up for it.
5. Black Friday One of my favorite economic board games right now. It's funny because I really don't like these types of games but for whatever reason I really enjoy it (Maybe it's all of the little breifcases).
6. Eminent Domain Another great deckbuilding game. I like it better than I do Race For the Galaxy and Glory To Rome. And I really enjoy how you decide the start player, I'm hoping it catches on.
7. Mansions of Madness Put Cthulhu on anything and I'm pretty much sold. I enjoy this a lot more than Betrayal at House on the Haunted Hill and while I don't think it is entirely replayable with different choices for the stories, I do appreciate how quickly and easily Fantasy Flight has been bumping out expansions.
8. Urban Sprawl I did sort of like Dominant Species but I really love what Urban Sprawl does. On paper it wouldn't sound like my kind of game but just the way the board is built is quite astounding to me. I'm eager to do the 3D models that they have posted on here.
9. King Of Tokyo Another simple game that I really enjoy.
10. The Resistance Totally better than Werewolves of Miller Hollow, in my opinion. I enjoy that you can make more educated guesses, and that no one gets eliminated.
There were so many games introduced to me this year as my collection continues to grow at such a dramatic rate(over 400 in a little under 3 years). There are a few I didn't name here that I still did really enjoy. Alien Frontiers, Nightfall, A la Carte, and many others. I just picked up some expansions for the Call of Cthulhu LCG so I'm hoping to get some more plays of that.
Love the world.
Wow! What a good year!
1. A Few Acres of Snow. The combination of interesting spatial constraints, deck management, and direct conflict combines to make a game that is engaging and fun, without being exhausting.
2. Age of Industry. I really like the resource management, with shared infrastructure on this one. I think I'm also becoming a fan of Treefrog's austere graphic design style (though I hate those plastic coins).
3. Le Havre. More resource management with shared resources. A lot fiddler than AoI but I'm enjoying all of the mixed up options that the buildings offer.
4. London. First Wallace title that I really connected with. Played mostly as a 2er, with the variant suggested to tighten things up. I really enjoy the flow and progression as you work your way through the deck.
5. Ascending Empires. The combination of a relatively simple 4x rules set and the wonky disk flicking navigation makes for a fun game that doesn't take itself too seriously but still offers enough control to be meaningful.
6. Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries. I'm not a big fan of vanilla TTR, because the number of players leaves me feeling too out of control. Nordic narrows things down to a nice tight knife fight for 2 or 3. Plus I love the Christmasy art design. Ho ho ho!
7. Chaos in the Old World. Asymmetrical, fighty, dripping with chrome. Quite a nice thematic slugfest.
8. Taluva. Beautiful components and interesting 3D spatial play. An enjoyable after dinner contest.
9. Tammany Hall. Based on one intriguing play. Need to try this again.
10. My Little Pony Hide & Seek. Enough said. Let's move on.
A top nine from me. The rest was mediocrity.
Really clever twist on card drafting and hand management.
Trick-taker with variable objectives, special powers, clever plays, chaos and hilarity.
Fast and brutal two-player dungeon crawler with stellar production values.
The Eagle and The Star
Innovative simulation of a little known conflict.
Hanabi & Ikebana
Antoine "7 Wonders" Bauza does a neat little cooperative firework making game (Hanabi) with information and communication deliciously limited.
Columbia tweak their block wargame system again; somehow yet another game with a distinctive feel results.
Angsty sharing mechanic wedded to Ra-esque scoring.
Railways of the World: The Card Game
Age of Steam stripped down to track building and cube delivery fundamentals. Somehow it works, despite the fiddliness of using cards for track.
Tier auf Tier
A nice little stacking game. Opportunities for barnyard humour plentiful.