This year had a significant lack of new game play for me. I honestly wasn't even able to come up with 10 games that stood out enough to make a list, so 9 it is! On that note as well, I've *thought* about games a lot less this year than previous years as well, so my list is going to be a bit less wordy that Kurt's or Drew's.
I'm horrible at improv, and I hate debating, so local game developers Road to Infamy's latest offering should not be a game I liked, at all because it is both of those things. Boy was I wrong! This fun little party game tackles the debate aspect well by borrowing the "yes, and" rule from improv so everything your opponant says is true and you have to work with that. The time limit debates, and follow up questions also help keep it civil and lively. They lauched on Kickstarter last year and a larger publisher has since picked it up so look for it in stores under the name Cosmocracy after March!
The unique board and characters bring you in, the fun "stab 'em in the back" mechanics keep ya playing! We demoed this at GenCon and insta-bought it. There's just a lot of really cool stuff going on in this game, with the rotating board and trying to be the first to make it to the launch pad while trying to throw your opponants to the robo security guard.
I'm not a video gamer. I rage quit over really simple things, I rage quit Portal 2 when Drew tried to get me to play it. That said, Portal: The Uncooperative Cake Acquisition Game is a great adaptation of Portal The Video Game. It has a hex based board that is in constant flux, expendable test subjects and irreplacable cake pieces, what more could you want? It captures the spirit and humor of the video game, while being a totally fun and unique board game.
You're stacking cute cats hoping you're not the one to knock the tower down. There isn't much to say about it except that really. Great for families, great as a drinking game or while waiting for people to show up, just any time you have time to stack some cats!
Another great little filler game, that is kind of like one of those 2d slide puzzles. You're trying to be the first to get your animal tiles to match the design in the middle of the table by sliding and shifting rows and columns. I did a full profile of it a few months back that you can find here.
Scoville is a fun set collection game themed around hot pepper farming! Each round consists of a bid/auction phase, a planting phase and harvest phase. Ultimately you're trying to plant/harvest peppers to complete receipes for victory points.
Fuji Flush is a quick paced game of eliminating all the cards from your hand by playing the largest card and forcing other people to discard and draw. What makes it really interesting is you can either play the largest single card to do this, or temporarily team up with other players by playing the same number card they have out, which adds your cards together! We played a bunch of rounds of this on NYE and it was a great way to bring in 2017!
I love deckbuiling games, and anything that takes that core mechanic and adds a twist automatically has my attention. Mystic Vale does that with what they call "card crafting" where your start deck is essentially just a few cards with some power, but mostly empty cards, and you buy cards to create your own unique cards. Your deck will always be 20 cards, but what those cards do is totally unique each time. The amazing art is just an added bonus.
Evolution is one of my top games, and Climate brings it to a whole new level. It's the second expansion to the Evolution system, but it *cannot* be played with the previous one, Flight, which I like. It can be too easy to get bogged down trying to play with ALL THE EXPANSIONS so this makes it easy to just focus on one way to play. With Climate there is a new tracker added and trait cards now have either suns or snowflakes, and based on the number that are played the tracker moves to change the climate, which can cause species to die out. You're no longer just fighting other species for survival, but the environment as well!
I also wanted to give shoutouts to two prototypes that are hitting Kickstarter in early 2017 that were faves of mine.
Pinball Showdown: I played this at GenCon and loved it! It's a great little card game that captures the spirit of pinball really well. They just launched their KS today [1/10] and are crushing their goal too! Can't wait for this one!
Shut Up Cat! The newest offering from local buds Argyle Games, a fun little memory based filler about trying to get a full nights sleep while being a cat owner. Keep an eye out for the KS coming this summer!