As in the past, I’d like to look at some of the best games that I’ve tried for the first time (relatively) recently. Things were even tighter than usual among the new gems I’ve discovered in the past six months, and while I did order this based on my feelings at this exact moment it can really be labeled “too close to call” for me among several of these great games.
- The only qualification for this list is that I personally played the game for the first time since my late-2016 list.
- I’ve tried 10+ new games since then, so as usual it was difficult to narrow this down. Honorable Mentions include, but aren’t limited to Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, Mottanai, and The Daedalus Sentence.
For a game that’s essentially “memory,” Kabuki is incredibly well designed and addictive. The art design is key, as the mask cards are just different enough to be recognizable and distinct side by side while making it difficult to remember exactly which cards of each color are in each stack. Incredibly easy to learn, and a lot of fun.
One of the best possible ways to make an excellent abstract is to have simple rules that combine to form deep and compelling gameplay. It is of course easier said than done, and Santorini deserves ample credit for the success it achieves. Add in great theming and production value and special power cards that completely transform the game into something distinctly different but just as compelling and this is definitely a keeper.
At first glance Yokohama could be a bit overwhelming in terms of the sheer number of components and disparate elements, but it all comes together really well. The basic actions taken each turn are straightforward, but the implications of executing those actions become complex and far reaching. It’s the type of game that could take a few plays to really wrap your head around, but is immediately engaging regardless. This is a game of meaningful choices and immense replayability.
(First impressions review forthcoming.)
2. Ars Alchimia
Ars Alchimia is the crafting side system of rpg video games turned into a board game in a gloriously fun way. If that sentence alone adequately explains why it’s my #2 on this list definitely check it out immediately. 😉
Of course if more info’s needed, there’s my full review.
The gorgeous little card game called Hanamikoji takes a simple majority collection core concept and builds it into a deceptively deep game through the use of innovative playing actions. The give and take way in which opponents get to play a few select cards from each others hands is wonderfully done and provides and incredible hook for a fantastic game
That’s it for now. Continues to be a great time for gaming, and everything here is well worth at least giving a try.
What are everyone else’s new favorites?