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  • List : Drew's games of 2015

    List : Drew's games of 2015

    We ended last year with a series of posts where we picked our favorite games which we had played for the first time that year. Now we are back at it again highlighting our top picks for 2015 out of the games which we played for the very first time…

    By our count I (Drew) played 64 games for the first time this year and surprisingly Courtney had me beat having played just one more game than I, though we each had about a dozen or so which were not yet played by the other. That’s well over a new game every single week of the year which is pretty wild! I’d definitely be interested to hear what some of your favorite firsts were this year and also if you are excited to have a chance to play any of mine, so be sure to let us know.

    Vault Wars

    If you’ve made it to any of our recent events then you probably already know that this is my favorite game played this year. Vault Wars very closely mimics the television show Storage Wars. You all play as aspiring adventurers who need some loot and it just so happens that some folks out there abandoned their treasure vaults, which contain literal Junk alongside various items of value. Just like the show the players are all auctioning / bidding for the vaults and what they might contain. I am starting off with Vault Wars because it is my favorite game of the year but the others will be in no particular order.

    Fury of Dracula

    Twilight fans need not apply! Fury of Dracula is a thematic hunt featuring Van Helsing and crew which takes many cues from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. One player is Dracula himself who operates with a hidden movement mechanic meanwhile the other four characters work together to find his trail and bring the villain to an end. The game was just recently reprinted this past October and I can’t wait for another opportunity to play it again in the new year. If you’re in the mood for an truly epic gaming experience I highly recommend checking this one out!

    XCOM

    I remember receiving a demo disk in a PC Gamer magazine and discovering one of the earlier X-COM games when I was probably twelve. While Fantasy Flight’s recent release shares the name it bears similarities to the much more recent reinventions of the series. X-COM the board game is a co-operative game which integrates the use of a digital app from your tablet (or phone). You are part of a super secret international agency tasked with defending earth from an imminent alien invasion. The game has a real-time element to it which requires strong communication and decisive action from the players in what becomes the most stressful board game I think I have ever played… IT IS GREAT!

    Cosmic Encounter

    Cosmic Encounter has become quite a phenomenon and I really have no excuse why I hadn’t played it sooner. A regular to our events brought it out one night and I was practically begging her to bring it out again. Its stab your neighbor in the back style game play is great for larger groups and is very approachable for newer gamers.

    Ashes : Rise of the Phoenixborn

    A card game which came out during the middle of this year. It uses a model similar to Fantasy Flight’s “living card games” and has absolutely AMAZING art. Really though the art is amazing, it sold us on the game instantly and lucky for us it turns out that the game play is also exceptional. Plaid Hat Games has recently announced a whole slew of expansion content and we can’t wait.

    Trains: Rising Sun

    My favorite deck-building game played this year. Having a board that is effected by the cards you acquire makes things really interesting and perhaps a little bit more tangible for people who are new to the genre. I also particularly like the “Waste” cards which work as a sort of price of progress style mechanic.

    Alchemists

    Alchemists feels like a game that people will either love dearly or hate deeply. You are all squabbling alchemists trying to discern the mystical properties of various ingredients and it involves what feel like a series of mini-games which all form this very tight logic puzzle that fits the theme perfectly. It involves all sorts of ups and downs throughout the game. My favorite aspect of Alchemists is that it often rewards players for participating in “bad science.” The complexity of the game means that it caters to a very specific type of gamer and I’m still learning new things about the game each time it comes to the table.

    Star Wars : X-Wing 

    I used to play a lot of tactical miniature war games when I was younger and X-Wing really scratches that itch. It doesn’t help matters that after seeing the most recent movie all I want to do is play this game more and more. In essence it is a dog-fighting game that feels like something that could almost as easily be themed around World War 2 era aerial combat. X-Wing stands out in that is incredibly simple to learn but also has game play which is deceptively intricate if you want it to be.

    Star Wars : Imperial Assault

    Okay, so I put the two of these back to back and I have no shame in admitting that Star Wars fever caught on very hard for me late this past summer. Imperial Assault is a narrative driven dungeon crawler pitting a team of Rebel players against a solo player controlling the Imperial menace. The game takes the Star Wars franchise and puts it into this great choose-your-own-adventure style experience.

    Shadows of Brimstone: City of Ancients

    The locals have dug perhaps a little too deep in this Wild West meets H.P. Lovecraft themed dungeon crawler. It is incredibly brutal and the theme of this game really comes out in an incredibly satisfying way. If unloading your six shooter on a spider monster or creating a chaotic maelstrom of death by chucking dynamite down the mine shaft sound at all like fun you should definitely wrangle a posse of friends together and give this one a go.

    Honorable mentions for two games which I need to dedicate some more time for in 2016 so that I can fully appreciate them:

    Landed

    Memoir 44

  • List : Courtney's games of 2015

    List : Courtney's games of 2015

    Since we’re still discovering a ton of older games, we’re continuing with our tradition of highlighting our top 10 games we played for the first time this year [some new, some not].

    As Drew mentioned yesterday, we played a lot of games for the first time this year, I beat him with 65 new titles!

    Trekking the National Parks

    I’ve gone on enough about this game this year. Check out our profile from a few weeks ago. It just hit all the right notes for me when I played it at GenCon and it became a game I wanted to share with everyone.

    Great Dinosaur Rush

    I’m really glad I got a chance to play this at GenCon this year, and we backed it on the first day of the campaign. It brings two of my passions, board games and natural history/science, together in a way that is creative, engaging and a little educational. 

    Eminent Domain

    Fact: I love deckbuilding games. I hadn’t actually heard of Eminent Domain, but Drew had been curious about it, and Tasty Minstrel were kind enough to send us a copy. I was hooked! The limited card pool, ability to take actions on other people’s turns, and the mechanism of planetary exploration really set it apart from other deck builders and make it stand out.

    Harbour

    Worker placement games are my other bread and butter, and this game brings a lot of substance to the table for such a small box. After a short demo at GenCon, we were sold and picking up a copy on the spot. The theme of a goblin-run port is fun [the custom meeples are an added bonus] and the ever changing economics of selling goods makes things challenging.

    Landed

    A tile laying, zone control game by local publisher Argyle, hitting Kickstarter soon! It’s easy to introduce to new gamers, but has enough complexity and strategy built in to be interesting for more experienced players as well. We’ll be bringing this out to more pop-up events the next couple months, so be sure to drop by and check it out!

    Teen Titans

    The DC Deckbuilding game is what made the genre click for me. This newest installment, based around the Teen Titans brings some new strategy and game play style to the franchise by focusing on having cards in play that either help over multiple turns, can help boost other cards, or can be sacrificed on a later turn.

    One Hit Kill

    Someone brought this out to one of our pop-ups recently and I was instantly taken with it. It’s a quick play game where each player is trying to collect cards to complete the requirements of “building” their super weapon. Which may or may not be a cuddly bunny. Best super weapon ever?

    Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn

    Ashes is a BEAUTIFUL combat-y card game with some interesting features. Dice serve as your energy source to play cards from your hand, and you choose your starting hand?! Crazy right?

    Lanterns

    This is another game that someone brought out to an event that I was instantly taken with. It’s a beautiful tile laying, set collection game where each person is competing to make the best lantern display on the palace lake.

    Raiders of the North Sea

    Have I mentioned I like worker placement games? Raiders has an interesting “place one, take one” aspect to it, which allows for 2 actions per turn. The art is dynamic and really sets the scene.

    Honorary mention, I got to play about half a game at GenCon at their table, and I enjoyed it enough that I’m still thinking about it.

    The New Science