Dave's Top 10 New-to-Me Games for 2019
Dave Lartigue
United States
Springfield
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Socialism will win.
badge
Space Cabby!
Avatar
Microbadge: Twitter userMicrobadge: Roses are red...Microbadge: "This is fine."Microbadge: You found life!Microbadge: Hellboy fan
Recommend
12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
The games that were new to me this year were a decidedly mixed bag. I played more NTM titles than in 2018, but with fewer total plays of them. Part of this is because recent trends in board games are just not my style of game, so I didn't seek out repeated plays of a lot of what I first encountered. That's fine; I prefer to focus on games I already know and like, and as I get older and deeper into the hobby it's natural for the novelty to have diminishing returns.

Still, I do enjoy finding new favorites and this list is a celebration of those which rose to the top.

Here are my play stats for 2019 (the numbers in brackets are 2018's values):

353 logged gameplays (164 new to me) [330/180]
199 unique games (88 new to me) [149/72]

124: 1 play [97]
42: 2-plays [30]
11: 3-plays [17]
9: 4-plays [2]
6: 5-plays [5]
6: 6-10-plays [6]
0: >10 plays [4]

I didn't quite make it to an average of one game played per day. Maybe in 2020? Even with the leap day?

As usual, it was clear to me what the top 10 were, but choosing the order within them was tricky.

Previous notable games lists:

2018 2017 2016 2015
2014 2013 2012 2011 2010
2009 2008 2007 2006 2005
Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
  • [+] Dice rolls
1. Board Game: Shards of Infinity [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:670]
Board Game: Shards of Infinity
Dave Lartigue
United States
Springfield
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Socialism will win.
badge
Space Cabby!
Avatar
Microbadge: Twitter userMicrobadge: Roses are red...Microbadge: "This is fine."Microbadge: You found life!Microbadge: Hellboy fan
A dueling deckbuilder, similar to Ascension, but without a lot of the fiddliness that makes that game more suitable to the electronic platform? Sure thing!

Plays in 2019: 7
Current rating: 8
Own? Yes
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
2. Board Game: Underwater Cities [Average Rating:8.11 Overall Rank:44]
Board Game: Underwater Cities
Dave Lartigue
United States
Springfield
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Socialism will win.
badge
Space Cabby!
Avatar
Microbadge: Twitter userMicrobadge: Roses are red...Microbadge: "This is fine."Microbadge: You found life!Microbadge: Hellboy fan
This was billed as a competitor to Terraforming Mars, and while I sort of get that, it's not really the same much at all. Where they compete is in the space of euros that have a fair amount going on but aren't the hyper-heavy piles of mechanisms that flourish in the hobby. With so many of those coming out and doing well, a game like Underwater Cities, content to pick a theme and stick to it without adding a lot of curlicues and flourishes, was a welcome relief.

Plays in 2019: 2
Current rating: 8
Own? I don't need my own copy.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
3. Board Game: Trade on the Tigris [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:3955]
Board Game: Trade on the Tigris
Dave Lartigue
United States
Springfield
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Socialism will win.
badge
Space Cabby!
Avatar
Microbadge: Twitter userMicrobadge: Roses are red...Microbadge: "This is fine."Microbadge: You found life!Microbadge: Hellboy fan
Billed as "Civilization, but just the trading", this game delivers. I didn't think I was much of a fan of negotiation and trading games, but this one really helps me get into it for some reason.

Plays in 2019: 4
Current rating: 8
Own? The copy I have access to isn't going anywhere, so I'm good.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
4. Board Game: Deep Sea Adventure [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:672]
Board Game: Deep Sea Adventure
Dave Lartigue
United States
Springfield
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Socialism will win.
badge
Space Cabby!
Avatar
Microbadge: Twitter userMicrobadge: Roses are red...Microbadge: "This is fine."Microbadge: You found life!Microbadge: Hellboy fan
I'd had my eye on this for a while but never played it. Once I did, I wanted a copy. It's a dumb, nasty push-your-luck game that seems super easy on first glance but soon the meanness of it shines through. It's vicious in all the right ways, and though I don't like games where you can take everyone down with you if you're failing, having it baked into this one is just brilliant. I can see why others may hate it, but I found it a load of fun.

Plays in 2019: 8
Current rating: 8
Own? I got one as soon as possible
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
5. Board Game: Crisis [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:1062]
Board Game: Crisis
Dave Lartigue
United States
Springfield
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Socialism will win.
badge
Space Cabby!
Avatar
Microbadge: Twitter userMicrobadge: Roses are red...Microbadge: "This is fine."Microbadge: You found life!Microbadge: Hellboy fan
I wasn't sure how I felt about this one the first few times. At first it seemed too easy, with an obvious winning strategy. Then it seemed too hard, with a difficult curve. Eventually the plays shook out and I came to really appreciate its heft and depth. I'm not sure others I've played with appreciate it too much, but I found something here I really like. Heavy (by my standards) without being convoluted, and tough without being overly punishing (usually).

Plays in 2019: 4
Current rating: 8
Own? Bought on a whim, glad I did.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
6. Board Game: NEOM [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:1245]
Board Game: NEOM
Dave Lartigue
United States
Springfield
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Socialism will win.
badge
Space Cabby!
Avatar
Microbadge: Twitter userMicrobadge: Roses are red...Microbadge: "This is fine."Microbadge: You found life!Microbadge: Hellboy fan
I'm a sucker for a good city building game, so when I saw this available to play at a convention I Was eager to try it out. Sure enough, this is a 7 Wonders type of drafting game with an urban development theme on it, and I love it. It's also been a pretty good hit with everyone I taught it to.

Plays in 2019: 6
Current rating: 8
Own? Yep
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
7. Board Game: The City [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:2131]
Board Game: The City
Dave Lartigue
United States
Springfield
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Socialism will win.
badge
Space Cabby!
Avatar
Microbadge: Twitter userMicrobadge: Roses are red...Microbadge: "This is fine."Microbadge: You found life!Microbadge: Hellboy fan
I enjoyed Jump Drive in 2018, but didn't see it having many legs in my group for some reason. When the same game was being Kickstarted with a city theme, I decided to bite the bullet and jump on it. While waiting, I played a copy of the German edition and instantly felt like I'd made a good choice. I like the speed of the game, the graphic design, and, of course, the city-building theme. The watercolor art, which I Was iffy on at first, has even grown on me. When my own copy arrived it proved to be something of a hit, becoming my most played game for 2019.

Plays in 2019: 10
Current rating: 8
Own? Kickstarted a copy.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
8. Board Game: The Quacks of Quedlinburg [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:64]
Board Game: The Quacks of Quedlinburg
Dave Lartigue
United States
Springfield
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Socialism will win.
badge
Space Cabby!
Avatar
Microbadge: Twitter userMicrobadge: Roses are red...Microbadge: "This is fine."Microbadge: You found life!Microbadge: Hellboy fan
Not much to say on this one. It's a funny game that's light on rules and "interaction" but heavy on fun. And as much as I hate to admit it, the blinged out plastic bits for it really do add to the experience. Just a delight to play.

Plays in 2019: 4
Current rating: 8
Own? No, I don't want to go down that rabbit hole.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
9. Board Game: It's a Wonderful World [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:129]
Board Game: It's a Wonderful World
Dave Lartigue
United States
Springfield
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Socialism will win.
badge
Space Cabby!
Avatar
Microbadge: Twitter userMicrobadge: Roses are red...Microbadge: "This is fine."Microbadge: You found life!Microbadge: Hellboy fan
Here's the only game actually from 2019 to make it here. I Kickstarted this based on very little info, which was dumb, but it turned out to be a winner for me. A drafting game with a tableau-building element to it and a city/empire building theme -- all my buttons are being pushed here. It's also short -- possibly too short -- but easy to shuffle up and play again. This is my favorite of the few 2019 releases I played in 2019.

Plays in 2019: 4
Current rating: 8
Own? Yes
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
10. Board Game: Xia: Legends of a Drift System [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:142]
Board Game: Xia: Legends of a Drift System
Dave Lartigue
United States
Springfield
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Socialism will win.
badge
Space Cabby!
Avatar
Microbadge: Twitter userMicrobadge: Roses are red...Microbadge: "This is fine."Microbadge: You found life!Microbadge: Hellboy fan
GAME OF THE YEAR

I can already hear the howls of outrage at this choice. Not only is it a game from five years ago, It's not even on my New to Me list because I played it first in 2016! How can this be? This entire process is now suspect!

It's true, it's true, but let me explain. The one play of this in 2016 I had was a sample play (to 5 points, which is nothing) at a con, barely taught by someone who wasn't super interested in doing so. At the time I wanted a taste of Xia and felt like I got one. IT was fine; I moved on.

In 2018 it got Kickstarted again and once more I hemmed and hawed over it until finally I decided I'd back it. I still thought there might be something there for me, especially with the expansion. It delivered in 2019 and I played it in earnest -- and loved it. There was so much more going on than in the baby example game I'd played three years previous. We quickly added in expansion materials and extended the points we played to.

It's clunky as hell and still has some issues, but it's also a lot of fun and goofiness. Xia is the story of second chances and really -- shouldn't that be celebrated? No? Too bad, it's my list.

Plays in 2019: 5
Current rating: 8
Own? You bet!
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
11. Board Game: Food Truck Champion [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:4628]
Board Game: Food Truck Champion
Dave Lartigue
United States
Springfield
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Socialism will win.
badge
Space Cabby!
Avatar
Microbadge: Twitter userMicrobadge: Roses are red...Microbadge: "This is fine."Microbadge: You found life!Microbadge: Hellboy fan
HONORABLE MENTIONS

Food Truck Champion - A multi-use card game similar to Glory to Rome or Mottainai, but with a fun theme. Only an honorable mention here but a champ when it comes to Using Bad Fonts.

Cartographers - The roll/flip-and-write craze marches on, with this standout title. Drawing a little map is fun!

Sol: Last Days of a Star - An intriguing near-abstract that almost but not quite made me want to track down a copy.

Watergate - Gotta give it up for the category of 2p card-driven games based on current-ish events, a theme I enjoy. Played twice as Nixon and lost, which is good because he should lose.

Wingspan - Truth be told, I want to like this more than I do, but I like it well enough to give it a shout out.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}