Best Board Games – H1 2018 Update

Over the last few months I’ve become more involved in board gaming as a hobby. At the end of last year I outlined some of my favorite games. Here is an update of some of the best games I’ve played over the last 6 months.

Clank!

This is a great game for families. It utilizes several mechanisms that are common in other games including deck building, press your luck and dungeon delving. You are an adventurer trying to steal a dragon’s treasure. However the more you adventure the more noise you make, therefore the more likely you are to awake the dragon. How deep will you delve to get better treasure and will you be stuck in the caverns when everyone else escapes?

Scythe

One of the games with the most buzz over the last couple of years. This is an area control and worker placement game set in an alternate 1920s. Each player also has a set of mini figure mechs to fight other players. One of the most complex games on this list, it is highly atmospheric with some great art and production values.

Codenames & Codenames Duet

A highly decorated series of party words games, Codenames (and it’s various varieties) is a great icebreaker game. Your team-mate tries to determine your words based on a series of clues without finding the assassin word. Codenames Duet is a two player variant, which is easier to bring to the table as regular Codenames requires at least 4 people.

Terraforming Mars

A high concept game that requires you to compete with other players to terraform the red planet. This is what is known as a Euro game, in that it rewards efficiency and “engine building”. The theme can be quite dry to some as it requires upgrading such exciting things as microbes and power plants. It is also a long game that may take up to 3 hours. However there is some deep strategy and complex interactions.

Flamme Rouge

A game based around cycle races such as the Tour de France, on the surface it looks very straight forward, however deck building elements and trying to outwit your opponent makes this much deeper than expected.

Century : Spice Road

A deceptively simple game where you collect and play cards to upgrade your collection of spices (colored cubes!) to try and fulfill various contracts. This again is an “engine building” game where you want the most efficient set of cards to allow you the most flexibility to create the scoring conditions. This is the first game in the Century Trilogy, a set of 3 standalone games that can also be combined together to create a bigger game. The second game, Century : Eastern Wonders is available this summer.

Sagrada

A dice rolling and pattern matching game based around building stained glass windows in the Sagrada Familia. This is a good gateway game as it plays easy and looks beautiful. It also plays quick so is easy to get to the table at the start of a games night.

Azul

Like Sagrada this plays easy and is simple to learn. However this game is based around placing tiles and building walls. There is a certain similarity to Sagrada in the game play, but the strategy and mechanics are very different.

Great Western Trail

Probably my current favorite game on this list. A complex Euro game about transporting cattle from Texas to Kansas City. Many paths to success and multiple strategies make this a very deep game. Do you upgrade your cattle, or improve your transportation infrastructure. Alternatively do you invest heavily in workers or creating new buildings. Very strong replayability and interesting interactions make this a lot of fun. This is also a great game for trying new things and not being overly worried about winning.

These games have a broad price range spectrum for all pockets too. Codenames runs about $20, games like Sagrada and Azul fall at close to $40. High end games like Scythe are closer to $70.

Obviously you can buy these cheaper at Amazon or similar (links included above) but please consider buying from your local games store as they will likely have copies of some of these to demo as well as people available to teach. You will have to pay MSRP most likely but you will be helping a local business and possibly making new friends as well!

We will be on vacation for the next 3 weeks so the blog will take a break until early July.

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