Last week we picked the top games we reviewed in 2019.
Of course not every new game we play gets reviewed, so here we delve into those games for our readers – the top games we played for the first time in 2019, but did not do formal reviews of (at least yet).
#5 - Adam Daniels - Dead Men Tell No Tells: Co-op games are probably my second favorite genre of board games, which is probably why this game makes the list. It’s a pirate game where you have to plunder a burning ship before it sinks, also the ship is filled with undead skeletons and gunpowder that will inevitably explode. As with most co-op games things will escalates quickly and give you a feeling of hopelessness. I really enjoyed this game, the impending sense that you are about to lose never bothers me in a co-op game, it just makes me want to try again until you win. Dead Men Tell No Tells does enough things new and different that it does feel like one of the many co-op games on my shelf.
#5 - Calvin Daniels – Alice Chess: In a world where there are dozens upon dozens of chess variants, one of the more intriguing in Alice Chess.
Alice chess was actually invented in 1953 by V. R. Parton, but we only twigged onto it a few months ago. The variant utilizes two chessboards rather than one. The game is named after the main character ‘Alice’ in Lewis Carroll’s work Through the Looking-Glass, where transport through the mirror into an alternate world is portrayed on the chessboards by the after-move transfer of chess pieces between the two boards. You make a legal move on either board, with the piece moved ending on the matching space on the alternate board (the space needing to be open to allow the move to happen).
The movement between boards is simple as a rule to follow, but it does change how you must play in terms of what we tend to think of as a reasonable strategy in chess,
You have to respect a chess variant that keeps the rules simple to learn, yet offers a completely different game experience.
#4 - Adam Daniels – Frostgrave: Frostgrave is mini game where you can use fantasy minis that you have laying around house. In the game you have a band of mercenaries lead by a wizard, while your opponent has the same. The goal is to get the most treasure that is scattered around the map. The rules are simple, combat only uses a d20 which makes things quick and easy. The most difficult thing about this game is line of sight and cover, but that is every mini game ever so that is not a knock on the game. I like how the leader of band is wizard that uses spells you can pick from and again you use a d20 to determine if a spell works or not. Frostgrave is a fun game, with stream lined rules that anyone with minis laying around should try.
#4 - Calvin Daniels – Tiny Epic Zombies: Since Adam has this one rated higher, I’ll just let you read one, save to say amid a number of ‘Tiny Epic’ game titles played, this is the best. A load of fun in a small box.
#3 - Adam Daniels - Legendary Firefly: Firefly might be one of my favorite shows of all time. This game allows players to play out episodes of the show while playing a deck builder. Each game has goals and objectives that you need to do in order to win, at the start of the game you pick a character that played an important in the current episode. There are bad guys to shoot, reapers to run from and cargo to steal just like in the show. This game would be fun for anyone, but for fans of the show it is a must play. I am not sure about the replay ability long term, the show only had like 14 episodes. Would the game still be fun doing to same episodes over and over again? I am not sure, but then again I have lost count how many times I have watched the only season of the show.
#3 - Calvin Daniels – Battle Sheep: I will cheat here a bit and suggest you read Adam’s #2 since I have Battle Sheep just a spot lower. It looks like a kid’s game from box top to pieces, but is ultimately a lot of fun.
#2 - Adam Daniels - Battle Sheep: This game is meant for children, the art of the sheep is childish and yet the game is great and fun for adults. It is a simple game where you try to control as much as the pasture as you can with your sheep, while also trying to cut off your opponents. The board changes every game because each player decides how they want place their 4 tiles. This game is all about area control, a type of game I really enjoy.
#2 Calvin Daniels – Blooms: This goes to a game from designer Nicholas Bentley with his game Blooms. Played on a hexagonal board this one is about area control. Each player has two colours of pieces, so the board looks nice during play, even in blacks and whites and grays as is mu PnP copy. Easy to learn, quick to play, deep enough to long hold your interest. An honourable mention to Circle of Life from the same designer that can be played on the same board.
#1 - Adam Daniels - Zombiecide/Tiny Epic Zombie: More co-op games this time you trying to survive against a zombie horde. Again as with most co-op games things can escalate quickly and get out of hands. Both these games are pretty simple, players move, shoot zombies, then it’s the zombies turn to spawn and attack. Most co-op games have a flow like this, players go then the game counters both of these games are no exception. I like the fact that Zombiecide come in a big box and uses minis, I also like the fact that the base game comes with many scenarios so the games never feel stale. There are many expansions to choose if that is something you would be into, there’s also a book filled with scenarios that could give you hours of enjoyment of Zombiecide. While I really like Zombiecide the main draw back with this game is it is on the expensive side, which is why for those people who balk at the price I would recommend Tiny Epic Zombies which is a wonderful game as well just on a much smaller and cheaper scale, but still loads of fun. Both of these games are great and play rather similar so pick the one that works for you.
#1 - Calvin Daniels – Through the Dessert: I struggled mightily coming up with my top one but finally settled on Through the Dessert. The game has great little camel pieces which you use to create caravans to control areas of the board and to get to oasis spots for points before your opponent. It plays two to four, but is best at two since there is more of a ‘kingmaker’ feel in a three-player and less board control by careful planning in a four-player game. But overall this is a great looking, fun to play one that is worthy of being number-one.