If i listed my top 10 games of all time it would be relatively repetitive as there would only be minor changes from one year to the next. Instead i am writing about the top 10 games i’ve managed to play in 2012 at least two times. That means games like Puerto Rico which i haven’t played at all this year will not be making an appearance on this list. Also, as the first experience with a game is not representative only the games that have been played at least twice have been considered.
Overall it was a good year for board games in terms of the number sessions organised (around 150 board game plays) but maybe not in the quality of games. I played too many new games instead of replaying older games. When i say new i mean new to me and not newly released. My board game group has a weakness towards introducing new games while i prefer to replay games which we already know are great. This is something i’d like to address in 2013.
Without further ado here they are my Top 10 of Board Games played in 2012! Galaxy Trucker, Warhammer Invasion, In The Year of The Dragon and Agricola just missing the top 10 list.
10. Merchants & Marauders
I only played this game twice. The first time i hated and loved it. I hated the actual game experience of playing as a pirate while loved the theme, the board and the potential it promised. The second time, with the experience of how to play gained from the first session, i enjoyed my pirate career. M&M promises to give you many, many stories to remember and tell. With the right crowd this has great potential. (not in my collection)
One of the most thematic and unique games i have in my collection. It’s a component crazy game (tons of tokens in box) and it has a relatively lengthy rules explanation which may intimidate people at first glance. However, after 1-2 plays it feels very natural to play it. A hugely enjoyable game to play even though some contracts seem to allow people to gain points at the end more easily than others. (in my collection)
8. Summoner Wars
This game (much like Warhammer Invasion) would have been a lot higher in this list had i managed to get it to the table more often. It thrives when people know, not just the rules, but also the races and strategies that go along with each one. It’s strange because its low level of complexity and duration should have helped it see more table time. Unfortunately, i don’t get to play as many 2 player games as i would have liked and Summoner Wars was the main casualty this year. (in my collection)
The best introduction to more serious board games in my opinion. It almost has everything one looks for in a game. Dice, player interaction which comes in the way of blocking other people’s dice, limited downtime, war, demons and some good decision making. All this in just 1 to 1.5hrs depending on the number of people playing. Excellent! (in my collection)
6. El Grande
Light on rules but heavy on interaction and substance. I love playing El Grande and it’s a game i can teach easily to many people even though it is a very “in your face” kind of game. The main drawback however is that even though It’s still good with 4 it definitely needs 5 players to shine. (in my collection)
5. Survive: Escape from Atlantis
Any game that gives me the opportunity to have a blast playing boardgames with my dad, sister and brother in law deserves to be at least in the top 5. The best family game i own, it has never failed me. It’s good with 4 but it’s even better with 5 as there is more chaos and less control over what is happening on the board. It has good player interaction, enough luck to make everyone accept losing a game and of course back-stabbing. Feels so mean and satisfying at the same time. A must in everyone’s collection in my opinion. (in my collection)
4. 1960: The Making of the President
Two games have been fighting it out in the 2 player genre. Both are fantastically balanced games in terms of depth, complexity, decision making, duration and theme. 1960 Vs Manoeuvre. I love this game and it only lost out because….. (in my collection)
I found a partner or should i say opponent to play the game with/against. I introduced it to a friend of mine who really enjoys the game now and we fight it out. French Vs Austrians, British Vs Ottomans and on and on. In fact i am always on the losing end of our games so far. Yet, it’s my favourite two player game of 2012. (in my collection)
Hands down the best new game played in 2012. This is the game i hoped Through The Ages would be. Excellent mechanics (apart maybe from the combat), interesting and with different races to play and good interaction with other players. It is long (usually 3-3.5hrs with 4 players) but it never feels long, even on a weeknight which is a sign of a great game. However, it still feels border line epic though and that’s where it loses to the No.1 game of 2012. (not in my collection)
1. Dominant Species
Oh yes. Dominant Species plays and feels like an epic story of species fighting for survival and ultimately dominate the world against the ice age threat. If it wasn’t for the chaos of the Dominance cards i would have rated it as the first game with a 10 rating. However, it still sits high up on my top games i’ve ever played. I love everything about this game. It’s mean, brutal, requires excellent decision making, has enough luck to keep things interesting and the theme is just unique in terms of what i’ve played so far. My best and favourite game of 2012. (in my collection)