Thankfully this post isn’t coming to you really late, like in mid-February. That would be a bit stale, wouldn’t it?
I wanted to get this posted last week, but a bad cold did me in.
Yes, Gollum, I agree.
I know you’ve been waiting with bated breath. I’m sorry for those of you who may have keeled over waiting.
Hopefully it will be worth it.
What were the Top 5 games I played in 2017? These are games not necessarily published in 2017 (though the oldest is 2015, actually), but just the top 10 games I played.
The top #10 – #6 can be found here.
The honourable mentions (11-17) can be found here!
Let’s find out, without further adieu (I think I generate a lot of adieu when I have a cold)
Designer: Paul Dennan
And now we see why I wanted to do my “New to Me” December 2017 post before finishing this.
I first bought this game in early December and played it on Christmas Eve for the first time.
And I fell in love with it.
Everything I say about it in the post still holds true (I should hope so, since I just wrote it last week, but I was sick…)
This deck-building adventure game just hits all of my sweet spots.
Interesting mechanics on the board: check
Game with Player Elimination that still involves those players after the fact: check
I really want to play this game again, and considering how badly I lost the first time, I think that’s really saying something.
I can certainly see this being on my Best Of list next year as well.
The full review of the game can be found here.
This is the only game that was also on last year’s list. And it’s not just that I haven’t played the other 9 games this year, either.
This game is just that good.
I’ve always been a big fan of Last Will, that game where you’re inheriting money and trying to blow as much of it as you can, going broke faster than your opponents and thus winning the game.
In The Prodigals Club, you are in a contest with your fellow players, trying to see who can totally destroy their reputation faster than anybody else.
You do this on two of three (or perhaps all three if you wish) different areas: Finance, Politics, Social Status.
You start out high in each area, and are trying to work yourself downward steadily through interesting card play.
Basically, you start out with people liking you.
That has to change!
For example, the social area you have two female and two male friends, and you are trying to destroy their opinion of you. You can play cards that will harm these relationships, bringing them down either vertically or diagonally (what row and column they are on can end up being very important at the end of the turn).
Politically, you are trying to bring yourself down to zero votes. Financially, you’re trying to go broke (you can even substitute the Last Will game for the financial part of this game, though I’m not really interested in doing that).
I love the intricate card play in The Prodigals Club. Some cards will affect multiple areas, so it’s good to get those if you can. If you can chain some other cards together, you can bring down your level in an area really quickly too.
The key to this game is balance, though. Your final score will be the highest of the three areas. So you can’t just tank your friendships and let the political side stay high. You’ll lose that way.
It does seem kind of complicated, and I always go into the game wondering how I’m going to do this.
But I consistently do very well (not always winning, but close), so I seem to have a knack for it even when I don’t feel like I know what I’m doing.
And isn’t that the mark of a great game?
I will play this game any time if I have the time for it (it can be 90-120 minutes plus setup time, which is another knock against it.)
Designer: Jacob Fryxelius
Artist: Isaac Fryxelius
A game I played 4 times this year, one time each on the new expansion maps of Hellas & Elysium.
Considering this game can take up to 3 hours, that’s saying something!
But I really do love this game.
Sure, the artwork can be hit or miss. The components are kind of crappy, though that’s never an issue for me because my friends who have the game have supplemented it with either Broken Token or some other third-party sources of bling.
And really, there’s nothing about the game that screams that I should like it.
But I do. I love getting my opening corporation and seeing what I can do with it and with the cards that I get during the game.
It’s an interesting mix of card play and terraforming the map, and I usually find myself concentrating on the cards to my detriment. On the other hand, in my last game I took a corporation that my friend said never does well in his experience, and I came in second.
The game changes every time you play, and I can’t wait to try out the Venus Next expansion and see how the new cards and corporations work.
I know the game doesn’t work for everybody, but I jump at the chance to play this if I get an opportunity.
Designer: Peter Lee, Rodney Thompson, Andrew Veen
Another game of deck-building and board play, this time you’re trying to control areas of the board with your troops.
This is not your grandma’s deck-builder, as it’s designed to be quite cutthroat. You are using cards to generate power and eliminate your opponents’ troops (or neutral troops too, you don’t have to discriminate).
The board encompasses the Underdark in the Forgotten Realms Dungeons & Dragons universe, with all of the known cities and areas, all available for the taking.
You use the Influence generated by your cards to buy other, more powerful cards, thus hopefully creating a powerful deck that will help you take over as much territory as possible.
Or, since cards have greater value when “promoted” out of your deck, you may have a strategy of card promotion and a little area control.
There are multiple strategies to win, and I love that about the game.
This game quickly became one of my favourites after a couple of plays, only reinforced by the Aberrations & Undead expansion that came out this year.
I think one thing I really love about this game is that you have four factions (six with the expansion) of cards, mashing together two of them into the deck where you will be buying cards from.
This creates a lot of variability. How will the Undead mix with the Drow? With the Demons? Who knows?
The artwork, although dark and kind of dreary, is phenomenal.
Also, the components are not the greatest quality. Who thought making one player colour purple and another dark blue? And then a third black?
Heck, why am I talking so much?
There’s a review on this site of the game.
As soon as I played this game, I knew it would be my #1 this year. Nothing even threatened to dethrone it.
This is a game about the Roman Empire in the time when there were about 50 emperors in 50 years.
Each player is head of a household that is vying for power, trying to make one of their governors Emperor of Rome. You are amassing influence in various Roman provinces to get enhance your power. The more provinces you govern when you’re Emperor, the harder you are to dislodge.
Until somebody becomes a Pretender Emperor. Then all hell breaks loose.
Time of Crisis has aspects of deck-building, but used in a way I’ve never seen before. You can trash the cheap starter cards that just clutter your deck as the game goes on. When you buy cards you put them in your hand for next turn.
When your turn is over and you discard all of your played cards, you look through your deck to decide what your next 5 cards will be. Thus, there is no randomness as far as the cards go. You can use whatever is left in your deck that you want.
The only thing is that once you’ve used and discarded a card, you won’t see it again until you’ve used all of your other cards and your deck is replenished.
So planning is a must!
Great card play, the randomness of events as well as invading barbarians that you have to deal with (annoying, but they can be a great source of legacy points if you make your name fighting them), I just love everything about this game.
I love Roman history anyway, and this captures the feel of it using unique mechanisms that just make me want to play it as much as possible.
The three-hour play time is the only reason that it’s been limited to two plays so far.
Expect that to go up this year, and it may very well be on my Top 10 next year as well.
The full review can be found here.
So what are your top 10 games played last year?
Let know in the comments.
And stay tuned! What about those games that barely made the cut?
A list of those might be coming up soon.
If I can stay well.