Hey, everyone! We're a couple of weeks into 2016, and before we put 2015 to rest, we'd like to share with you our favorite games we played in 2015.
Remember, this is a list of games we played in 2015. They're all recent games, but it could be that some are actually from 2014--or even 2013. We don't care! We played them this year, so they're on the list.
Our tastes often overlap, but not always, so we decided to each create our own list. That's like a bonus 10 picks! (Minus the ones we both picked, of course.)
Without further ado, here are our lists!
Firestone's 10: La Granja
This meaty Euro came out of nowhere for me. It has a farming theme but doesn't feel like Agricola. Well, not really, anyway. It combines mechanisms from various classic games--including Glory to Rome, Castles of Burgundy, and Luna--into a cohesive whole. Usually with mashup games I'd rather just play one of the original games, but La Granja holds up on its own.
Jeremiah's 10: Best Treehouse Ever
A nice addition to the recent card-drafting trend. Scott Almes gives us a streamlined drafting game that's just a bump up from Sushi Go! in terms of complexity. Great little filler for both gamers and family game night! Our review.
Jeremiah's 9: Spyfall
This is the only game on the list that I don't actually own. But I still liked it enough to include it. It didn't get rated higher simply because this one is for a very specific gaming group, but when you find the right folks to play with, watch out! You'll have a hard time moving on from this one! Lots of fun!
Firestone's 9: Spyfall
A brilliant twist on the social deduction game. Everyone is at a location (a hotel, a polar base, or a submarine, for example), and everyone knows that location. Except for the Spy. He has no idea where you are, and the players have no idea who the Spy is. So players take turns asking each other one question. For example, "Luke, isn't it cold here today?" The Players are trying to find the Spy among them, and the Spy is trying to figure out the location. It's a bit fragile, but still hilariously fun.
Firestone's 8: Elysium
Elysium is a card-drafting game of Greek gods. You play with five of the eight included Families, and each one plays and feels differently. That's fun in itself, but there's also a super clever mechanism for drafting those cards, using colored columns. It's a fun game of creating card combos, making tough decisions, and building an engine just to tear it down again. Our review.
Jeremiah's 8: Flip City
Finally there's a new, fresh mechanism for the deck-building genre! Flip City gives you a game with 10 different card types with only 5 different cards... figure that out! You'll be flipping cards to gain their alternate abilities and bonuses. This one is much deeper than meets the eye. Our review.
Jeremiah's 7: Mistfall
We've talked about this one on the Podcast a few times. The rulebook needs some serious help, but it's still a great fantasy adventure card game. Deep game play, and some amazing artwork to boot. I love the unique life-point tracking system, and the gnarly card combos! Our review.
Firestone's 7: Gold West
Gold West was an unexpected surprise. It's a resource-management game, with area control elements thrown in for good measure. You've also got variable goals that change each game, making each game feel unique from the get-go. Add in a beautiful overall aesthetic and you've got a solid Euro we heartily recommend. Our review.
Firestone's 6: Roll for the Galaxy
Race for the Galaxy is a justified classic--but if we're honest, the symbology and gameplay can be very obtuse. Roll for the Galaxy takes that core gameplay, streamlines it, and adds dice. It combines clever mechanisms and gorgeous dice to create something that stands alone next to its big brother.
Jeremiah's 6: Dead Drop
Jason Kotarski's Dead Drop is one of my favorite micro games--if not my very favorite! Thirteen cards and TONS of fun. Dead Drop is a very nifty social deduction game that plays super fast, and has a ton of replayability. Crash Games was able to include 3 complete sets of the game each featuring unique fun artwork which was a great little touch!
Jeremiah's 5: Tiny Epic Galaxies
My favorite in the Tiny Epic series, and my favorite dice-roller, period. Tiny Epic Galaxies is a dice roller with resource management, engine building, and some great mechanics that reduce your downtime to zero. This game never gets boring--never. It's the whole package! Our review.
Firestone's 5: Burgle Bros.
At first blush, Burgle Bros. sounds like just another co-op. But five minutes into my first game, I knew this was something else. First, it's highly thematic. You're a team of thieves trying to break into the safe on three floors of a building, and everything in the game makes you really feel as though you're doing just that. You're peeking into rooms, running blindly into rooms, and using your skills and tools to try and outwit the guards patrolling the building. Second, the aesthetic is super cool. It's got a hip 60s art style that feels like you're in a Rat Pack heist movie. Finally, and most importantly, it's FUN. Our review.
Firestone's 4: Aquasphere
I played Aquasphere very early in 2015, and immediately knew this was my front-runner for Game of the Year. Well, it didn't quite make it, but it's still a ridiculously good Euro from the brilliant Stefan Feld. You're researchers on a deep-sea research station. Each turn you'll be programming a robot to do a specific task, or sending an already programmed bot out to do a task. That sounds simple, but there are lots of things going on here, and everything interacts with and affects every other thing. If you like meaty Euros, this is the game for you. Our review.
Jeremiah's 4: Nautilus Industries
I find myself really enjoying economic games, and it turns out Nautilus Industries isn't just an economic game, it's an AMAZING economic game. Mining for resources, riding the market value, and making the most of your resources. It's wrapped in a really cool nautical theme that makes the game even more engaging. Our review.
Jeremiah's 3: Two Rooms and a Boom!
*Disclaimer* If you've read or listened to us, you know that I've got a growing friendship with Alan Gerding of Tuesday Knight Games. But I played this game only having just met Alan, and loved it right away! One of the best social deduction games to come along in a long time, 2r1b plays well with any group, from gamers to grannies! Our review.
Firestone's 3: Warhammer: Conquest
Okay, this was on the list last year, but at that point I'd only played the base game, and only a couple of times. Now that I've played many games with many Factions, and many expansions--including the excellent The Great Devourer expansion--I'm putting this on this year's list as a whole new game. The expansions REALLY change things up, and help this game shine--and I have no problem putting Conquest on the list again this year. Our review.
Firestone's 2: Codenames
Codenames was very nearly my Game of the Year. VERY nearly. From the moment I first played it, I knew it was an instant classic. It's so simple on the surface. Two clue-givers on two different teams are trying to get the people on their team to guess the correct words from among the 25 on the table. What seems simple becomes an exercise in cleverness, insight, and taking chances. And what elevates it to brilliance is one, simple mechanism: One of the words will instantly lose your team the game. I can't recommend this highly enough. It's perfect for gamers. It's a perfect party game. Any other year, and it's my Game of the Year.
Jeremiah's 2: Between Two Cities
Stonemaier's latest release, a design by Ben Rosset and Matthew O'Malley, is a unique tile-placement game that's "sort of" cooperative. You'll be working with the players on your left and right, but you're trying to score the highest and win for yourself. You only score your lowest-scoring city. A delicate balance of both of your cities is the only way to win, but you have to make sure your partners are also scoring lower on the cities you don't share with them. Lots to keep track of, lots of fun, and yet another solid release from Stonemaier Games! Our review.
Jeremiah's Game of the Year: Gold West!
Gold West won me over before turn one. A solid medium-weight euro, Gold West has a touch of familiarity, a ton of replayability, but is accessible and enjoyable for both gamer and casual gamer alike!
Firestone's Game of the Year: Pandemic: Legacy
What can I say? Pandemic: Legacy was my favorite gaming experience of the year. Four of us played through the entire campaign--sometimes playing five games in a single evening--and I never got sick of it. I wanted to see what would happen next. I wanted to see how our actions in this game would affect the rest of the games. I wanted to see which of our predictions came true. I wanted to save the world. I've always enjoyed Pandemic, but this experience was next-level. Bring on Season 2! Our spoiler-free review.
2015 was an excellent year for games. And we can't wait to see what 2016 has in store for us. Thanks for reading, and joining us on the journey. What's your Top 10? Post your list in the comments!
You can also watch our Top Ten of 2015 video right here! Let us know what you think!