The Meeple Guild - The top board games of 2020 - Part II

When it came time to do a 'Top-5' of 2020, the lists compiled by participating 'guilders' ranges from games reviewed in the last year, with a few games first played but not yet reviewed sprinkled in, but ultimately the games that follow this week and next are all fun, so enjoy the list and keep gaming as best you can.

Without further explanations the countdown continues with #3;

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Calvin Daniels - Infinity N4 - Miniature games come and go with near startling regularity, but the elite games from top-drawer companies that just go on and on producing high quality miniatures, expanding their rule sets and simply staying fresh for their fans.

One such company is Corvus Belli and the game is Infinity.

While at its heart Infinity is a skirmish game, so a limited number of minis are required.

Infinity, which launched back in 2005, has a rather diverse range of character miniatures for the various factions, so players have tons of options.

Since Corvus Belli designs minis with as good a detail as the hobby allows, with amazing action poses, it’s hard not to want them all, even if you only need a small force to play.

If the game last V.4, which is where Infinity is, then the release of what it calls N4, a two book set, one the Core Book with tonnes of background and fluff on the Infinity universe and the rulebook with the latest version of the rule set.

So from the rulebook; “Infinity N4 is a competitive game that pits two rival armies against each other in a struggle to complete a series of tactical objectives. The game lasts three rounds, or until all a player’s units are eliminated. Mission details and the different end-game modes that determine the winner are described further below.

The two books are to begin with gorgeous. They are both full colour with loads of art, photos and graphs, all served up on glossy paper. This is as nice as rulebooks can be.

The books are softcover, but while that might seem a bit of a letdown, the two books come in a box slipcover, so they are well protected between game sessions and look great on the bookshelf too.

If you like miniature games, Infinity is about as good as it gets.

If you have always wanted to try a mini skirmish game, well N4 is an ideal jumping in spot for Infinity, and you can be rather confident Infinity will be around for years to come.

Check it out at www.corvusbelli.com

Trevor Lyons - Wingspan A fun game about birds, 170 of them in fact! This game can play 1-5 players and was fun when we played with three players. The object of the game is to collect the highest point total after four rounds of play. Each bird has a point value, habitat, an amount of eggs that it can hold, and the type and amount of food needed to play the bird from your hand. It was fun to play and kind of cool to be able to learn about different birds and where their habitats are. With a playing time of 40-70 minutes, this could be a good game for younger (8-10yrs) players to learn about some feathery friends.

Adam Daniels - Paiko – Paiko is fun abstract strategy game, there is somewhat of learning curve. Each piece does it’s own thing, and you have a choice of which pieces you start with and which ones you place on the board. This mechanic makes the game unique enough that each game is different and they never seem dull. Because they is a learning curve it can lead to some moments, where you misplay a piece and let your opponent have an easy win. These times are great for learning and after they happen you know never to do them again. The board and pieces also look great when set up to play, some pieces look similiar which can pose a problem to learn the game. The game however is fun enough to look past that and see the good game that it is.

At #2;

Adam Daniels - Alice Chest – This is just a fun chess variant, that left me with a headache in a good way. The game is played on two chess boards and when you move a piece it teleports to the other board. Which means you need to be aware of what is going on, with both boards. Every other aspect of the game is played like normal chess. With pieces teleporting from board to board it leads to a lot of failed plans and a lot I did not see that coming. Chess is a game where if one person is more skilled they tend to win more often than not. I am not saying this levels the playing the playing field, but what it does do is make the game of chess more fun and chaotic.

Calvin Daniels - King's Cribbage - King’s Cribbage is most certainly a pure variant, interestingly one that is played without a deck of cards involved. It was created by Gary Cowley and released in 1997.

Crowley borrowed heavily from Scrabble in terms of the core mechanic in King’s Cribbage. The game uses tiles that instead of having letters on them, they are the cards from a deck. There are 104 tiles, so two decks, one light coloured, the other dark.

You reach in the bag, draw five tiles per player, and start the game laying out the tiles with each having to factor into a count in cribbage, pairs, three-of-kind, 15s, straights etc.

The maximum length of any line (think hand) on the board is five, with both horizontal and vertical lines playable.

You peg for the points you lay out – so you need a regular crib board to peg on.

With two decks, and the bonuses, you score tons in this game. You will be well into the third circuit around the cribbage board at the end, so around 350 points. Don’t worry it plays quicker than that point total might suggest.

We have only played two-player, and that is likely the optimum way to go at King’s Cribbage, although team play is an option, and it can be played three-handed too.

This is a game every cribbage player needs to own, and I suspect Scrabble players will appreciate it too.

Trevor Lyons - Guildball A miniature game of tactical soccer. The object of the game is to score 12 points before your opponent. Each person has six players on the field and each player contributes influence according to the number on their card. Every player has a number of moves depending on how much influence the coach (you) assigns them, up to the maximum number on each card. Some of the options are move, attack, and kick the ball. I disliked the game at first because I was playing the game incorrectly. I was in it for the fights and forgetting about the soccer aspect of the game. I was trying to score points by knocking players out (you score two points), which is fine, but should be secondary to scoring goals (you get four points). Once I understood this, the game became much more fun to play, figuring out the strategy to get your one good kicker in a relatively clear position to make a kick on the goal.

The top games of 2020 can be seen in next week at www.yorktonthisweek.com

 

See part I here

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