Top 10 Board Games 2019 (That I actually played)

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My first list in over 18 months!

It has been far too long since I have done a list like this. Once thing I noticed when I compiled my list was the numebr of games I meant to review but didn’t get around to! So these lists have helped from a roadmap for a lot of reviews this year already ๐Ÿ™‚

As you may have guessed from the title, this list is made up of games I actually played this year. I tried to also restrict it to games that were released in 2019, and no expansions. As I didn’t do a 2018 list I kind of fudged that rule a bit though as you will see.

Think I missed a great game? That is a possibility. It might also be on tomorrow’s list – Top 10 Games of 2019 I Wish I Played!

Any list like this is very subjective. Even without bending the rules a little bit for eiligability this year, I may have played a game you loved but it didn’t make the cut. That doesn’t mean I don’t like that game or think it’s bad – I just liked these games better. I would love to hear what games you think should be on this list!

All that said and done, let’s get on to my favourite games of 2019.

Number 10 – MegaCity: Oceania

MegaCity: Oceania is an exciting game. Not quite a dexterity game, not quite a city builder, but something in-between. And it is better for it.

Right off the bat, MegaCity: Oceania won’t be everyone’s first choice to play. It might not even be their second choice. But I can’t see many people that wouldn’t play it if it was in front of them.

Not into deep strategy games? Just have fun building your cities. Not the greatest at building blocks? Go for the ‘safe’ buildings and use location to your point advantage.

I played this right at the end of 2019, so it has the ‘fresh in my mind’ advantage. But while a review will be coming, if you get the chance to try MegaCity: Oceania, give it a go and enjoy a light but fun experience.

MegsCity Oceania

So I heard a lot this year that Pandemic: Rapid Response isn’t a ‘Pandemic’ game. That it’s theme was not there or too hard to immerse yourself in.

I don’t understand most of these arguments. These are all things I will cover in the full review later. For now, all I can say about Pandemic: Rapid Response is that is was a fun time on the table. I felt that the theme made sense for the gameplay, with certain leaps of logic that Pandemic already asks you to make in other games.

Was it perfect? Nope. But we did have a lot of fun, and that is what counts most of all.

Pandemic Rapid Response

Number 8 – That’s Pretty Clever

So I really got into That’s Pretty Clever last year, both physically and digitally. A tremendous mental puzzle that allowed you to zone out while playing, I really enjoyed playing this game.

My biggest complaint about it has nothing to do with the game at all. What was my gripe? I always played solo. You can play against other people, but I just never really found the time to start a group game. And the digital implementation is basically solo only, so there goes that idea.

For my full review, click here.

Thats Pretty Clever

Number 7 – Disney Villainous

Well, Villainous took me by surprise. I only got to play a few rounds with Alpal, but they were really, really fun.

There are usually two drawbacks to multiple themed card games. The first – learning curve. You have to learn all of the decks to know what works and what doesn’t. Secondly – mashing the ‘wrong’ cards together. Having Genie face-off against Snow White’s the Hunter doesn’t always work.

Prospero Hall took care of both issues with elegant simplicity – you pick a deck, and your opponents use your cards against you. You are even given tips on how to win/what to watch for on all of the other characters.

Is Disney Villainous a top tier competitive game? Of course not! But it is a quick and fun game that you can have new players getting into straight away, and that is always appreciated.

Disney Villainous

The first Roll Player ‘universe’ game I played, I was a little confused about Lockup when I first saw it. How could you take the dice placement of Roll Player and make it work as a bluffing worker allocation game?

The answer is you don’t. You let it be its own game within the world of Roll Player and enjoy.

Lockup was a game that I wouldn’t have seen for a while without Alpal’s influence, and I can imagine a lot of other gamers being in the same boat. If you get the chance, give Lockup a try – even if you didn’t like Roll Player. The game is entirely different and deserves to be judged on its own.

Lockup A Roll Player Tale

Ahh, Funko Pops. I have too many, and not enough. I will not let myself buy any Kingdom Hearts ones though. If I get just one, I will need to get the rest. And we already don’t have enough room!

Why am I going on about Funko Pops? Because now they have their own strategy game! Games? They have lots of things coming out!

The Funkoverse Strategy Game is no Memoir 44, Warhammer, or even Imperial Assault. It is very streamlined, quick to play, and with an expanding universe of characters and missions, here to stay. The only pack I am missing so far is The Golden Girls. I knew I had to try this when on the internet someone was complaining that Bea Arthur was the most overpowered character in the game.

Just let that sink in – Bea Arthur is seen as stronger than Batman, Rick Sanchez, The Joker, or even Voldemort.

Whether in amusement or disbelief, you must be smiling about that. And that moment of silly suspension coupled with simplified tactics and Pops replacing minis makes Funkoverse a great experience.

Number 4 – Escape the Dark Castle

So this one may be seen as a cheat, as I have definitely played it before 2019. But 2019 is when I got the collectors big box and expansions. I also didn’t do a 2018 list. So, it’s on the list!

Escape the Dark Castle is a light narrative dungeon romp that is still fun to play. Similar to a Fighting Fantasy/Choose Your Own Adventure game with randomised ‘pages’, each run is different. And that is just with the original base cards!

For my full thoughts, you can check out my review here. For something a little different, you can listen to Alpal and I playing here ๐Ÿ™‚

Escape The Dark Castle

Wolfgang Warsch seems to have come out of nowhere in the last couple of years. The Mind, That’s Pretty Clever, Twice as Clever, and now The Quacks of Quedlinburg. The man has yet to design a game I haven’t enjoyed.

Quacks of Quedlinburg is my favourite to date though. It contains a ‘rubber band’ catch up mechanic similar to Mario Kart. What is this? If you are behind, you are given some advantages to help you catch up to the leader, keeping it competitive. And it is implemented so seamlessly, it was a couple of games in before I realised how good it is.

Yes, there are some random elements. Push your luck is also a more significant part of the game than I usually give it credit for. I enjoy it so much, and we are yet to play an ‘advanced’ game.

If you have a mixed group of players and are looking from something different, play The Quacks of Quedlinburg.

The Quacks of Quedlinburg

Another game not released in 2019, but I have had a ball playing it through the year. Also, this would have been on my top games of 2018 list, but that didn’t happen! Replacing the mancala like movement strategies of the original board game with dice rolling sounds disastrous, but it works well.

I know plenty of players that love the idea of Istanbul but get frustrated at various aspects of the gameplay. For these people, the dice game works wonderfully. You get the same sense of tension and racing your opponents as you do with the board game but in a fraction of the time.

If you are new to gaming, Istanbul: The Dice Game is a fun introduction to an intense euro game with a natural learning curve. The tactics you learn in the dice game can carry to the board game quite easily, even if it doesn’t look like it at first.

If I want to play a game, Istanbul: The Dice Game is usually on the list of options. For more information, check out the review here.

Istanbul The Dice Game

Number 1 – Chronicles of Crime

Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective remade for the digital age. There are plenty of new deduction games out there, including Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game and Detective: City of Angels, both with their own twist.

Chronicles of Crime is probably the most accessible to play and works well in small sessions. Lucky Duck Games have outdone themselves with this setup.

The use of QR Codes makes reading easier to digest for most people. Instead of being faced with a wall of text, everything is in smaller bites. Plus you can actually interrogate people about items, something that is very difficult in the preprinted document format a la Consulting Detective/Legacy of Dragonholt.

The look on new players faces as they use their phones to actually examine a crime scene is priceless as well.

I am yet to make it through all of the original cases. I also have both expansions to look forward to. Chronicles of Crime is easily my choice for the best game of 2019, and I look forward to playing it through 2020 as well.

Chronicles of Crime

Honorable Mention

Deep Space D-6

I was really tempted to give Deep Space D-6 a spot on this list. A solo game only game that came out a few years ago, I still love to pull this out now and then.

Released in 2015, I only got my hands on it this year. By my bedning of the rulesfor thiis year, I could have found a way. The main reason I marked it off the list is that it is only solo, where as every other game on the list you can play with others.

All that said, for 2020 the follow up is now live on Kickstarter – Deep Space D-6: Armada. Check out my review of the original Deep Space D-6 here., then check out the Kickstarter here.

Deep Space D-6

What do you think? Is there a game you saw me talk about in Last Week’s Gaming that you think should be on this list?

Or even better, what were your Top 10 games of 2019? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – September 16th, 2019

Gaming so light, it’s like I was in the Lockup!

Well it’s been a week! Unfortunately, it wasn’t for all the things I like that take up all of the time ๐Ÿ™

Less than 25 days to PAX means a lot of extra time spent working, which cuts into my gaming time. Adulting is hard!

That said I still got a couple of games in, let me tell you about them below ๐Ÿ™‚

Game night was mainly catching up, which is always great because that is a big part of holding the night ๐Ÿ™‚

We got in a game of Lockup: A Roll Player Tale at maximum players, and it was a lot of fun. Teaching four different people that take in rules differently was a bit of a challenge. It’s not that Lockup is hard to teach, but there are a lot of moving parts to explain to everyone. When everyone takes in information differently, it is a challenge.

But by the third round everyone had a handle on the game, and it went down well. Expect a formal review in the next couple of weeks now I have played with more people.

Lockup: A Roll Player Tale is a hard one to describe, but a lot of fun when you are into it

Tetris 99 – Switch

Of course I logged in for a couple of roudns of Tetris 99 this week. There was one night I was absolutely wrecked, and Tetris 99 is a great way to clear my mind.

The new additions have been great, and the addition of the daily challenges gives me something to aim for. But.

I have found during the last weeks I have been logging in less and less. It’s no fault of Tetris, it’s still great and the new 2.0 additions have been challenging. It’s just I have so many other games I want to try that it seems to be knocked back a lot.

Still all in all, Tetris 99 is still a fun diversion for me ๐Ÿ™‚

The Daily Missions are a nice addition, but I find myself logging in less

PS4 Troubleshooting and reinstallation

Now I know what you are thinking – that’s not a game! But bear with me for a minute.

Sunday afternoon, I was too sore and too tired to jump back into Astral Chain. I was a bit too tired for Fire Emblem: Three Houses. I had a chance to sit on the couch and play a game with Rabbit next to me, and I thought ‘Now I can play Pheonix Wright!’

Well, no I couldn’t. What started wtih the controllers being unable to correct ended up with a complete reinstallation of the PS4, so no gaming Sunday afternoon after all.

Well, it wasn't the Pheonix Wright I was going to play. But getting the PS4 back up was a game in itself!

The thing is, because of the way the PlayStation site is setup, it took me 3 goes to find the correct files – and another two to get the reinstalltion file in the right folder!

So I have chalked up the experience of reinstalling the PS4 software after what I am guessing was a bad update as a game. A game with a bad manual :p

What about you?ย  I hope you got some great games in.ย  Or are you looking forward to a new one?ย  Let me know!ย  Shout out onย Facebookย or @JohnHQLD me onย Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – September 2nd, 2019

It was cold in New Zealand!

So finally back in nice warm Queensland, but while Queenstown was gorgeous it was so cold. The only thing that hurt was it was apparently warming up last week.

But travel and a work conference couldn’t stop me from getting some gaming in. On to the games!

When travelling, there is limited space to take some solo gaming. I would love to travel with Arkham Horror the Card Game or some Tiny Epic games, but size and weight are a factor.

Deep Space D-6 has a bit of size to the box, but not much weight. In the suitcase it went!

I have started branching out with other ships. This was probably the right move, as I had my rear handed to me every game. It just shows how replayable Deep Space D-6 is – same base rules, different conditions make for a unique experience when changing things up.

Every hotel room I stay in has a table. Nothing else needed!

I really enjoy playing Quacks, but I have yet to progress to the advanced rules. I need to fix that sometime.

But while I welcome a game anytime, the arrival of the Geek Bits from the BGG store prompted a game ASAP. Possibly two games ๐Ÿ™‚

Alpal had a slow start in the first game, mainly becuase it took me a couple of turns to realise she was adding up all the potions for an explosion rather than just the blossoms. She kicked my butt the second game though ๐Ÿ˜€

A bit of fun, Quacks of Quedlinburg was a welcome session. And now it looks prettier ๐Ÿ˜€

Same classic game, but with a touch of bling!

So Alpal nabbed this game in the Roll Player universe that I didn’t even realise was a thing. And as usual, she steered me towards a real winner.

While Lockup is set in the world of Roll Player, that just means it’s set in a fairly generic fantasy setting. Lockup is specifically set in a prison, where you need to use cunning and force to set yourself up as top dog.

The amount of elements in the game are amazing, especially for a game so simple to play. There is worker placement, a small amount of hidden information, set collection and resource management all wrapped into a simple streamlined experience.

Expect to see more about Lockup in the future.

Worker placement, card counting, set collection and bluffing - Lockup is a lot of fun

Warlock of Firetop Mountain (Switch)

Way back in the before years (2015), I backed an Australian development company bringing Fighting Fantasy back in a new way. Tin Man games did something new with the genre – actual turn based tactical combat within the set story.

I played it for a few minutes when it was in pre-release for backers, then left it alone. Because that is what happens when you don’t have much time.

Then I used my Nintendo gold to buy it on Switch, and I have finally started playing it again. It transitions well to the handheld, and all going well I will have a complete review in a few weeks.

I kickstarted this years ago. Time I finally play it, since I bought it twice!

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

I finally started the latest installment of this gem of a series. I was tucked up warm in the hotel room, my switch connected to the TV, and off I went.

Did the first encounter, the tutorial if you will. Setup a few things then began the main thrust of the game.

And got Persona flashbacks. This isn’t a bad thing – Persona is a great series, it’s just one that takes 100+ hours to ‘finish’. No idea if Three Houses is like that, and I might start again with Rabbit watching. She likes watching me play games, and there is enough story being setup it could be fun.

6-7 hours in, I am enjoying it. But like all huge RPGs, I am waiting to actually start the game ‘properly’.

Luckily, power up animation doesn't take as long as Dragon Ball Z :p

What about you?ย  I hope you got some great games in.ย  Or are you looking forward to a new one?ย  Let me know!ย  Shout out onย Facebookย or @JohnHQLD me onย Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD