Top 10 Games of 2018

As 2018 draws to a close, everyone is posting their top games of the year. But personally, I’ve always had trouble finding a good way of quantifying what makes one game better than another, when they have different themes, mechanics, play times & player counts. How should I compare Ticket to Ride to Exit: The Abaondoned Cabin to decide which game I think is better?

So I’m going to list my Top 10 most played games, as that seems a fair indication of what my favourites are. Actually, a fairer way is probably some formula that takes into account the time spent playing each game, and maybe the amount of money spent on it, but I don’t have any of that data available for this year. Maybe I’ll start keeping track for 2019, but for now we’ll just have to make do with the number of times I have played games in 2018.

Happy New Year everyone. And I wish you all the best for 2019.

Tiny Ninjas Box
No 10. Tiny Ninjas – My youngest daughter and I play tested a PnP of this a heap in 2017, but we still got a few games in this year, whilst following the Kickstarter, and the journery to getting the game delivered. It arrived just before Christmas, and my daughter opened it on the 25th, to see her name in the rule book under the list of official “thank you”s.

The first release from Ryan Leininger of 2niverse Games, it is small and compact, and holds everything you need to play in a sturdy little box, including a dice tray, so it can be played literally anywhere. It’s a solid 2 player game, that plays in about 10 minutes.

Skyward Box
No. 9 Skyward – Designed by local Brisbane lad, Brendan Evans for Rule & Make, I enjoyed playing the game with my son-in-law so much, that he bought me my own copy. It’s a quick game that can come out at any time, to get a few games in whilst waiting for part of your game group to arrive, or after the main event to wind down for the evening.

I have played quite a few games of this during the year, including some play tests of the new expansion which will be out on Kickstarter in 2019. Lots of fun to be had. Everyone enjoys a Rocket Cat.

Legendary Villains Box
No. 8 Marvel Legendary Villains – Playing my son-in-laws copy of Marvel Legendary was the game that really got me enthused with modern board gaming, and literally the next day I bought Legendary Villains so I would have a base set after he returned home. We have collected most of the expansions between us, and we always play a couple of games during the school holidays, when they visit, so it’s likely to be in my top 10 most years.

My starting decks are getting pretty worn by now, and I have thought about getting my open copy of the Heroes game, especially now with the rerelease with screen grabs from the MCU, but for the moment I use the DC version I created that has Gotham Police and SWAT as the starter cards.

Keyforge Boxes
No. 7 Keyforge – For a game that was released mid November, I have really cranked up the plays, and am starting to get the hang of it. Tournament nights at my FLGS have helped with the number of plays, and got this game into the top 10 in such a short time.

Not having to worry about deck building means the game has no barrier to entry, save the enormous amount of keywords you need to get your head around. I currently have 4 decks, but I am still on the hunt for my first Logos deck. Maybe at the next “Sealed” event that will kick off 2019.

Everdell Box
No. 6 Everdell – Probably my favourite Kick Starter release of the year, estimated delivery to be just before Christmas, it actually arrived 5 months early in July! The 3D tree makes such a great presence on the board, and the clever implementation of worker placement and resource collection, means that everyone that has played it with me, has requested to play it again.

Designed by James A Wilson, and published by Starling Games, it has already had an Expansion on Kickstarter, which I didn’t feel the need to grab just yet. There is just so much play and variability in the base game.

Betrayal Legacy Box
No. 5 Betrayal Legacy – Another November release, I am in the middle of 2 campaigns; with my Legacy Game group AND my family; so I have played enough games for this to make the top 5.

Designed by Rob Daviau, the creator of the Legacy format, and someone who worked on the original Betrayal at House on the Hill, it is the perfect fit for a Legacy game. Fans of the original will enjoy seeing the origins of some of the haunts, and building their own personal version of the game to play in the future.

SeaFall Box
No. 4 SeaFall – The 3rd game played by my Legacy Game group, we started this game aware of the bad press, and made a vow to stop playing if we weren’t having fun. While we did think the campaign ran a little long, and the suggestion was made that “Maybe we don’t really have to play the Epilogue game?”, there was never any real danger of us not finishing it. The basic mechanics of exploring the open seas, and the Islands you find there are again, a perfect fit for a Legacy game. Add to that, the ramp up of the game with each opened chest, and that one of the hidden components (found in Chest 5) adds the greatest twist found in a Legacy game, and you have a really incredible experience.

Rob Daviau’s nod to an age of exploration is an amazing experience, and totally worth the price of admission. We played it a lot more coop than competitive, which probably made for a better experience.

Terraforming Mars Box
No. 3 Terraforming Mars – Released in 2016, I received a copy for my birthday in March, and bought the first 2 expansions in the months following. This variability meant I got a heap of plays in, and made this the only non campaign game to make my top 5.

A great take on resource management by Jacob Fryxelius, there were 2 more expansions released this year I will be procuring soon, meaning this game will probably be in my Top 10 again next year. Rumours of a Legacy version have me salivating.

Pandemic Legacy Season 1
No. 2 Pandemic Legacy Season 1 – The second game tackled by my Legacy Game group, our failed (and thus repeated) months just snuck this game into the number 2 spot. I had never played Pandemic before, so this whole experience was fun for me, and I have since picked up Pandemic Iberia for my collection.

This instant classic, by Rob Daviau and Matt Leacock, is locked pretty firmly in the number 2 spot on Board Game Geek, and for good reason. A solid story, told over the course of a year, the game is a compelling narrative that takes the players on a great ride. Season 2 is on the cards for my game group during 2019.

Charterstone Box
No. 1 Charterstone – The only game where I got more than 20 plays in, because I played parts of 3 Campaigns during 2018. The number of blog posts dedicated to it, should indicate how much of a fan I am. This is the first game played by my Legacy Game group, and so far our favourite of the 4 games we have played. I cannot recommend it enough.

Likewise, I cannot say enough good things about designer Jamey Stegmaier of Stonemaier games. He stands out as one of the nicest people, in a community jam packed full of nice people. As such he has created and fostered a community of fans, who are all keen to support other fans. If you haven’t played this game you should, and make full use of the 2 Facebook groups and the Rules forum at BGG, to help you with any questions you might have.

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