Hey, everyone! With one month down in 2018, we thought we'd give you our list of the best games we played in 2017. Not all of these games came out in 2017 (but they're all new-ish); these are the best games we played in 2017. We each created our own list of 10, so it's like a bonus of 10 games! You're welcome... So without further ado, lets head into it!
Firestone's Top 10
This is a fantasy-themed re-working of Shadowrun: Crossfire. It's a cooperative game where you're trying to complete a scenario with enemies coming at you hard and heavy. It's a brutal game--too brutal for some people--but I've enjoyed the challenge so far. And the theme is much more appealing than the dark Shadowrun world.
This ladder game from AEG has you trying to get rid of your hand of cards before your opponents. The gimmick here is that, like Mystic Vale, this is another game where you're placing cards into sleeves, and then adding new cards to those sleeves to adjust the cards in unique ways. You can increase or decrease a card's power, add special abilities, and more. Each hand is a puzzle--and a fun one! We need an expansion, AEG!
This simple game surprised me. It's similar to Spyfall, in that everyone has the same knowledge (in this case, a secret word among 30 or so). The one person who doesn't know the word has to blend in and act as though he does. Going around in a circle, each player says exactly one word relating to the secret word. But don't be too obvious or the Chameleon may be able to blend in easier, or guess the word and escape completely. As much as I love the question-asking mechanism of Spyfall, it's often difficult for nongamers to pick it up well. But I would bring Chameleon out with any person of any gaming level.
Whenever a game is this gorgeous, I'm always afraid the gameplay won't live up to the aesthetics. With Sagrada I had no need to worry. It's a dice-drafting game of building stained-glass windows, and scoring points. It plays quickly. It’s clever. It’s easy for nongamers. And most of all, it’s lots of fun! Way to go Floodgate Games!
This behemoth of a game is about being a CCG player. You'll spend the first half of the game turn building your deck by buying, trading, and selling "packs." Then in the second half, you play out your crafted deck against your opponents. You do this three times, and declare a winner. It comes with a TON of cards, only a fraction of which you'll use in any game, which makes for a TON of replayability. It's a hot, clunky, mess of a game, and I've had SO MUCH FUN playing it. And I've just scratched the surface, and haven't even touched the large expansion. I'll be playing this for years.
I'll admit it. I thought designer Vlaada Chvatil had overreached here. Sure, Codenames Pictures, Disney, Marvel, etc. makes sense. But a 2-player cooperative version? Madness. Well, I was completely wrong. This game works, utterly. It's a unique experience using that same brilliant core. And you don't have to play it 2-player--most of our games have had 2 or 3 people on each side, and it still works. And even if you never use it as a co-op, it comes with a slew of new cards for the base game, so it's still worth picking up!
4--Mechs Vs. Minions
If you're looking for bang for your buck, look no further. Riot Games produced this lavish co-op loosely based on their video game League of Legends. It comes with 4 huge, painted miniatures, 100 adorably menacing Minions, and the best game insert in the history of time. But the gameplay matches this attention to detail. You're programming your Mechs, and slowly getting more powerful, until you're wiping out those ever-approaching Minions—all over the course 10 missions. It's an absolute blast.
The premise sounds crazy: 20 questions with hidden roles. It shouldn't work. It completely works. As a team you're trying to guess a word or phrase before time runs out, by peppering the Mayor with yes/no questions. The Seer is trying to steer the team toward the correct answer without being too obvious. The Werewolf is trying to steer the team away from the correct answer without being too obvious. Only a month into the new year, and we've already played this more than every other game combined. It's our go-to filler, and I can't see this ever getting old.
In any other year, this would be my Game of the Year by a mile. It's a heavy euro that takes the great gameplay of Terra Mystica, ports it to space, and makes an even better game. The modular board means it scales better, and the map doesn't get stale. The variable skill, bonus, and scoring tiles mean every game will be different. And the thematic development tracks make it easier to wrap your head around the new powers. I've played this beast four times in the last month. I bought a copy after my first game. It's an instant classic that I'll be playing for years to come.
Firestone's Game of the Year--Gloomhaven
I fully admit that I've only played this twice with my kids. But halfway through the first play I knew this was something special. It's a dungeon-crawler with Euro mechanisms--and 99 scenarios! It'll take years to get through this, but I'll enjoy every minute. Only 6 characters are open at the beginning of the game, and the other characters are unlocked over time. I have no idea what they are, and I can't wait to find out! It's smart, tense, puzzley, and more fun than I've had in a long time. It's a little early to say it the best dungeon-crawler ever, but it's certainly looking that way. It's worth the hype.
Jeremiah's Top 10
10--Spoils of War
Spoils of War is essentially Liar's Dice with set collection. Why add to Liar's Dice? Great question, one that I asked when I first heard about the game. But once I played it I had my answer. It's great. There's no player elimination, a fun betting system, and even with the added elements it's not clunky at all! It's a great kick-off to this year's top 10!
9--Oracle of Delphi
From the prolific Stefan Feld. There are many comparisons to Castles of Burgundy, except that this is a race game in a sandbox. Everyone's trying to be the first to accomplish a specific set of tasks, and then return to Zeus. If you like dice-rollers this is also a great game to check out.
Element is a super fun little abstract from Rather Dashing Games. Each player is trying to capture the Sage of the player on their right, by surrounding them with element stones. Each of the elements (earth, wind, water and fire) behave differently when you place them on the board. Really fun strategy that doesn't overstay its welcome!
A light, casual filler, with amazing artwork, and fun simultaneous action selection as you send out your creatures each turn to capture the mortals that are on the table! Seriously folks! Check out the artwork on this one! A great accessible game for all ages and groups from Keymaster Games!
Kingdomino won this year's Spiel. It's light, strategic, and super fun! My kids love it, and my gamer friends enjoy it as a filler--it works on a lot of levels. To be honest though, it only made the list this year because I didn't play Queendomino until after our lists were made. Queendomino is all this and more! Congrats to Blue Orange Games on a great year of games!
The freshman offering from Floodgate Games, Sagrada is a lightweight dice-drafting game with amazing components, gorgeous artwork, SUPER high replayability, and of course REALLY fun gameplay! An outstanding showing from Floodgate!
4--Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time
The only co-op on my list this year, Professor Evil has stolen artifacts and icons throughout history by use of his time machine. It's your job to break into his mansion and rescue them. But the clock is ticking! Literally. In the middle of the board is a huge clock that will advance during the Professor's phase. Sneak in and rescue four artifacts before the Professor locks four of them away! This game is one of my favorite co-ops to hit the market in the last few years: original concepts, mechanics, and lots of fun! A great offering from Passport Game Studios
Custom Hereos is the latest in card crafting from AEG. A ladder, trick-taker that starts off with plain hero cards ranked 1-10. As the game progresses players slide in enhancements to increase, decrease the power of the card, give it special powers, and more! A great use of card crafting in a fun game for all levels of gamers!
Yokohama is probably the heaviest game on my list this year. Deep worker placement strategies with touches of area control and soooo much more! Point salad anyone? A sprawling modular board will fill your table and is sure to make its way to your Instagram account! It's huge and gorgeous and fun and thinky! It's a lot of what I look for in a worker placement game! Another solid title from Tasty Minstrel Games!
Jeremiah's Game of the Year--
The Godfather: Corleone's Empire
Another worker placement game (I really enjoy a deep worker placement game!). The Godfather is often (and rightfully so) compared to Lords of Waterdeep. The big difference is that you can kill off other players' workers (gang members). A unique set of components that are seamlessly integrated into the gameplay, great miniatures, and super elegant game design helped The Godfather climb its way to the top of the heap for 2017! Congrats to CMON Games!
Well that's it! What do you think of our lists? What did we miss? What was on your list? Let us know in the comments. And thanks for reading!
Don't want to read!? You can listen to the list on our latest podcast episode, we're also joined by AJ Skifstad who gives his Top Ten as well!