Well..... about time I write a blog post, eh? Life kinda got away from me the end of last year - serious operations for our dog and work stress and everything else just made this here bloggy thing a little less of a priority. But from prompting of my co-blogger, Daryl, I think it's time I get back in the swing of things.
So without further ado, since I did still play some stellar games last year, here are some of my favourites which hopefully will receive a review or two in the future (maybe not a top 10 like Daryl, as he tends to play a breadth of games whereas I stick with what I like). I preface my list with the usual warning that I have not played a 10th, a 100th even of the games that were released last year so I don't claim this list to be comprehensive. At all. But I know what I like, and here it is:
Favourite Board Game of 2013 - Relic Runners, designed by Matthew Dunstan
Days of Wonder. But what makes the game so good to me is how simply and brilliantly it transforms from movement and exploration in the early and mid-game to a race for the relics in the end game that feels so wholly different but entirely appropriate. For such a simple family strategy game, nothing I've played this year has provided such a thematic and narrative arc to its gameplay.
I could go on and on about the positives of RR (board and tile variation each game, hidden points till the end, long-term strategies, plays in under 60 minutes EVERY TIME!) but perhaps I should save it for a full and glowing review. This may not be my most played game this year but, in my opinion, it is the most well-developed and original strategy game I've seen in the past 12 months. It also happens to have the nicest damn pieces of any game I've seen in years, totally justifying the higher-than-usual price point.
Cinque Terre, designed by Chris Handy
Palaces of Carrara, designed by Kramer and Kiesling
Asara in 2012 that Kramer and Kiesling are kind of an unstoppable duo (Kramer's been going for decades!) Much like Asara, the mechanics in this Euro have all been done before but it still feels totally fresh. Resources are bought, resources become buildings, and buildings score points. Pretty standard stuff. However, allowing people to decide when and what they score, the clever market mechanism, and the variety of endgame cards in the full game (the only way to play) elevate this game to greatness. And while playing, the game is constantly giving you that same feeling that you get when you find that great deal at Ikea. "Start the car. START THE CAR!!!"
Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar, designed by Simone Luciani and Daniele Tascini
here for a look. This a tough game to play well that I am utterly terrible at. But I'll always play it and I'll screw up the timing every time. The expansion arrived 2 weeks ago at our place which should add a few, er, "wrenches in the gears" of a game that was already tricky enough. Can't wait to try it.
Rondo, designed by Reiner Knizia
Qwirkle and kind of a perfect game to play in front of the fireplace with some Bailey's in hand.
Targi, designed by Andreas Steiger
Lost Cities and Balloon Cup will eat this one up.
Love Letter, designed by Seiji Kanai
Hanabi, designed by Antoine Bauza