TOP 10 GAMES PLAYED IN 2022 – #5-1

Wow, the second part of my Top 10 Games played in 2022 is being posted just a week after the first part.

I’m already scoring a blog win!

Last week I posted games 10-6 of my Top 10 Games played in 2022, and there were some great games on there.

So this one has to be even better, right?

I played 111 games in 2022, and there were some games that just missed the cut and would be in my 11-20 list if I was making one (maybe I should?).

I mentioned Underwater Cities last week, but I would also have to give an honourable mention to Fantastic Factories and Dune: Imperium, two games that I greatly enjoyed.

But enough about that.

You want to know what my #1 pick is.

Did you guess it last week?

You can find out after the break.

5) Architects of the West Kingdom (2018) – Garphill Games/Renegade Game Studios (Last year: #4)

Designers: Shem Phillips, S J MacDonald

Artist: Mihajlo Dimitrievski

Players: 1-5 (6 with expansions)

This one has dipped a bit but being in the Top 5 is still awesome, right?

With Architects of the West Kingdom, you’re doing worker placement with a bit of a twist.

Raiders of the North Sea gave us the “place one worker into an open space and then take another worker back from the board” mechanic.

Architects gives us the “place one worker on your turn; if you already have workers there, the effect is stronger, but somebody can come along and arrest all of your workers” mechanic (I think they should put that mechanic on BGG with the name of it copyrighted to me).

I love that mechanic. The “arrest workers” is a bit of take-that mechanism, but not too bad. It just delays you a little bit and you may have to spend some money.

In the game, you are trying to become the most prestigious architect trying to beautify the city. You’ll be building new buildings or perhaps contributing to the building of the town cathedral.

That’s a lot of chalk outlines. How many people die here?

You’ll be hiring townsfolk in order to use their skills. They not only will have skills that enhance your actions, but also one (or more) of three required abilities for constructing the building cards in your hand.

The artwork is amazing (as is usual with these games) and the game now has two expansions.

Age of Artisans is an essential expansion, I think, taking an already-great game into the stratosphere.

Works of Wonder is a good one but not nearly as essential and it didn’t wow me like the first one did.

In my version of the West Kingdom, Apprentices are ordered to stand on their heads to be more attractive to those who are hiring them

I managed to get 3 plays of it in 2022, two with the newest expansion, and they were all a ton of fun.

You can check out my review of the base game here.

And it even has a Collectors Box for storage! Though sadly it doesn’t have removable trays, which would make setup a lot easier.

4) Ark Nova (2021) – Capstone Games (Last Year: New)

Designer: Mathias Wigge

Artists: Steffen Bieker, Loïc Billiau, Dennis Lohausen, Christof Tisch

Players: 1-4

Ark Nova came out of left field for me last year. Everybody was raving about it, but I wasn’t sure.

Then I played it.

Then I played it again.

And again…well, you get the point.

Seven times! This is a 2-3 hour game (sometimes longer) and I played it seven times in 2022!

That’s how much I love this game.

I’m not going to get into too much detail on how it plays, since I did a review of it and you can see that there.

Basically, you are trying to create the most prestigious yet ecologically sound zoo, bringing in animals to appeal to the masses even as you attempt to amass conservation points by studying animals, maybe even releasing them to the wild, or forming associations with other organizations to study animal life.

This is the game I mentioned where I would get even more points for covering my zoo and then not upgrading my Build card.

You’re building enclosures onto your player board in order to house animals, which you will play from your hand.

As the sun shone over the zoo, the tigers basked while the birds screeched, looking for food

You’re also forming partnerships with other zoos around the world.

Many thanks to BGG user Cookie Monster for letting me use this picture.

I love the “getting points two different ways and when the two point tracks meet, the game ends” mechanic (I’m just on fire with these mechanic names, aren’t I?)

This is simply an amazing game and it’s too bad I couldn’t manage to get a game in at OrcaCon.

But I’m sure that it will be coming back to our Sunday game day at some point and I will play it then.

Maybe this week?

(I still say the game’s cover combined with the name using “ark” makes it look like you are taking animals on a space ship in order to save them from the Earth’s collapse. But maybe that’s just me)

3) Viscounts of the West Kingdom (2020) – Garphill Games/Renegade Game Studios (Last Year: #6)

Designers: Shem Phillips, S J MacDonald

Artist: Mihajlo Dimitrievski

Players: 1-4

Yes, it’s now official (at least for now).

Viscounts of the West Kingdom has surpassed Architects of the West Kingdom in my esteem.

It really was only a matter of time.

Once I actually played it completely correctly (it took us 4-5 tries!), I knew this one was a keeper.

Check out my review of it for more detail on how to play.

The Virtue/Corruption are the two discs above the cards. When they meet, you get what’s on top while others get what’s on the bottom

One thing these West Kingdom games do is take a tried and true mechanic and turn it on its head, just a little bit.

In standard deckbuilders, you have a hand of cards and you play them all to get more cards and otherwise amass points somehow.

In Viscounts of the West Kingdom, you play one card at a time but all of the cards that are in your play area will affect your turn somehow.

The red Viscount built a building but the Green could build something or get more Stone with a Trade action.

It also has the rondel mechanism where you are moving your viscount around the board in order to do actions.

There are so many ways to possibly score and if you concentrate on one and dabble in at least one of the others, then you can do ok.

As long as you do it better than your opponents.

There’s the Castle, constructing your buildings, transcribing manuscripts, or all of the above!

This game is just so great. I played it six times in 2022, twice with the new expansions (which I will review as soon as I get another game or two in with them).

Such a great game, and easily my favourite of the bunch.

2) Combat Commander: Europe (2006) – GMT Games (Last Year: #3)

Designer: Chad Jensen

Artists: Lee Brimmicombe-Wood, Chad Jensen, Rodger B. MacGowan, Leland Myrick, Mark Simonitch

Players: 2

This should be no surprise to anybody who follows this blog (this and my #1).

I have yet to play Combat Commander: Europe on the table, but all of my live plays online have just cemented how great this game is in my opinion.

Playing it on the VASSAL engine makes playing online a breeze.

I love the chaos of the game, how your dice rolls are controlled by the cards rather than just rolling dice.

Random events could cause massive fires to break out all over the board. You could get get lucky and the squad that is about to die instead rallies by random event

With the expansions and battle packs, there are so many interesting (though some are extremely unbalanced) scenarios to play.

I just managed to pick this game up in November at Bottoscon so hopefully I will be able to get it on the actual table soon!

Meanwhile, this has to be some of the most fun I’ve had playing wargames.

1) Combat Commander: Pacific (2008) – GMT Games (Last year: #2)

Designer: Chad Jensen

Artists: Lee Brimmicombe-Wood, Chad Jensen, Rodger B. MacGowan, Leland Myrick, Mark Simonitch

Players: 2

Of course, my #1 has to be the Pacific module for Combat Commander!

These haven’t changed order since last year, but really they are kind of interchangeable.

Pacific is slightly less chaotic than Europe. Your guns don’t jam randomly. Instead, your opponent has to play an Asset Denied card to break one of your guns.

They aren’t fixed randomly either. Your opponent can play another Denied card to eliminate the gun or you can play an Asset Request card to fix it.

You may be able to get a radio when the scenario didn’t give you one! Surprise artillery is always fun.

The Japanese have the Banzai charge which can be massively fun (and just like in real life, can either be devastating for the Japanese or overrun Allied positions if they’re not careful).

Neither game is necessarily a great simulation of history, but you do get the feeling of events unfolding on the battlefield, sometimes (many times?) out of your control.

The Combat Commander system is simply sublime (say that three times fast).

I love it to death, and that’s why these two games are my #1 and #2.

My #1 game last year, 1960: The Making of a President, didn’t manage to make it to the table in 2022, or it probably would still be my #1.

Hopefully that will change in 2023!

There you have it.

My Top 10 Games played in 2022.

You could call this a Garphill Games/GMT Games lovefest, with a bunch of animals horning their way into the party.

If, you know, you had my comedic talent.

Everyone’s a critic.

What about you?

What games did you play in 2022 that you loved?

Let me know in the comments.

6 Comments on “TOP 10 GAMES PLAYED IN 2022 – #5-1

  1. Pingback: Top 10 Games Played in 2022 – #10-6 – Dude! Take Your Turn!

  2. Pingback: Highlights From the January 2023 GMT Games Update – Dude! Take Your Turn!

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