I’ve played a fair number of new games so far this year, so I decided to do a midpoint look at games that really impressed me. I did a similar list at the end of 2015
- The only qualification for this list is that I personally played the game for the first time in 2016.
- I’ve already tried around 15 new games this year, so it was again difficult to narrow this down. Honorable Mentions include, but aren’t limited to And Then We Held Hands, Catacombs, Monstrous, and Onitama.
5. Tumult Royale
Tumult Royale is a unique game that combines a couple of diverse mechanics beautifully. The real time resource collection is done in a way I haven’t seen and trying to get what you need while worrying about the total limits among all players each round adds a wonderful “press your luck” element. These resources are then used in an area control aspect that is also very well done.
4. Hostage Negotiator
Board games are such a social experience I feel it’s difficult to make single player games compelling. It can be done though, and Hostage Negotiate is a great example. It takes a tight core concept and just the right amount of luck and expands them into an engaging game with varying levels of challenge due to different Hostage Takers to be faced. Full review.
3. Relic Knights
I backed the Relic Knights Kickstarter and received a large collection of models I’ve been slowly working on assembling and painting. I recently finished enough to finally try out the game itself, and found it fun with a lot of potential. There are a ton of terms and concepts that force a lot of referring to a rulebook that could be a but more clear, but I still found this pretty accessible at its core and am looking forward to learning more of the mechanics now that I have the gist down. There’s a lot to absorb and get used to but I really enjoyed my first experience with it overall.
Trickerion has a lot of “moving parts,” and uses them to provide a very cool game that integrates the theme of making and performing magic tricks excellently. We played with a slight rule misinterpretation regarding trick placement, whose correction should add even more strategy to the game. The production quality is high and the game looks great, and I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of the depth it has to offer.
Speaking of excellent production value, Samurai is gorgeous, from the graphic design on the board and tiles to the plastic statues whose capture the game revolves around. I fell in love with this game immediately, particularly with regard to the simple concepts and mechanics that mask meaningful choices and fairly deep gameplay. I fear it might be prone to analysis paralysis for certain players, but so far that’s the only even remotely possible negative I see. Full review.
That’s it for now. Great year so far, with hopefully more to come. What are everyone else’s new favorites?