Top 10 Board Games 2019 (I Wish I played!)

The list of games I wish I had more time and/or money for

Today I am going to take you through the top 10 games I wish I had played in 2019. The ones that others talk about with that certain gleam that reminded me of a moment of excitement or gave a moment of envy.

Like any list of favourites and wishes, they are very personal and different for everyone. As I haven’t played any of these games, the list order should not be seen as “In my opinion, this game is better/worse than that game”.

This list is more “If I had all 10 in front of me, which one would I play first” style ranking. If I happen to own (or know someone that does) a specific game, it will probably have a higher position than one I would love to play more but have to track down.

Make sense? I hope so because we are going in!

It’s a Wolfgang Warsch game, so of course, I am interested. Like a lot of his games, it takes a bit of coaxing to get players excited initially.

The premise of Taverns? Compete against other players to build the most successful pub in your little valley. It has dice drafting and deck management.

By itself, it sounds a lot like so many games out there. But. Wolfgang Warsch has proven himself a designer that takes known mechanics and adds that magical X factor to make them work better than the originals. And for that alone, I wish I had been able to get a copy of The Taverns of Tiefenthal and play it last year.

2019’s Ridiculously Big Box Delivery Kickstarter Champion (if you see the boxes of all in pledges arriving, leaves CMON to shame!).

It’s not only the size of contents and boxes delivered that brings on comparisons to Gloomhaven. That really isn’t fair though, as Gloomhaven is more combat-based where Tainted Grail is more exploration-based. Tainter Grais is closer to (but still different from) The 7th Continent.

Either way, I missed the Kickstarter, and both Gloomhaven and The 7th Continent are on my shame shelf. If I am given a chance for go, I feel it will be 2-3 hours well spent 😀

Number 8 – Nemesis

So Alpal and I have a running laugh about Kickstarters I thought I backed but didn’t. Nemesis was one I could have sworn I backed, and I did. And then cancelled. I don’t remember why, and I am kicking myself.

Nemesis is a semi-cooperative survival horror game. You all need to work together to survive, but you also have your own objectives to complete. Sometimes at the cost of other players, and hopefully not at your characters!

I have Lifeform for solo ‘Alienesque’ board games, and a few one-vs-many games, so I have options. The reception to Nemesis has been so positive I am really kicking myself for cancelling my pledge.

Number 7 – Cthulhu: Death May Die

Summing up Cthulhu: Death May Die as ‘Cthulhu Zombicide’ is both a quick summary and an unfair comparison, like so many games in our hobby.

Cthulhu: Death May Die is a CMON game with beautiful minis and lots of ‘stuff’. Zombicide. Where it differs is Death May Die is split into specific chapters and closer to a strategic mini-game than a fun ‘dice-chucker’.

And did I mention this is a collaboration between Eric Lang and Rob Daviau? Why didn’t I back it! Well, the cost, but we won’t dwell on that.

I already have heaps of exploration/survival games on my shelves of shame, so I don’t think I will try and track down Cthulhu: Death May Die. But I would love to play a chapter/episode to see if it is as good as I think it will be.

I really love the Roll Player universe. The original Roll Player made character creation into a dice worker placement game. Lockup became a bluffing area control game. And now Cartographers brings Roll and Write to the series.

I generally try not to be one of those people that says games need to stay in a specific genre. If there are alternate ways to bring people into the lore, go for it. And that is precisely what is happening with the Roll Player universe.

On its own, the gameplay description isn’t unique. Roll dice, create your map and try and group things to earn more points than your competitors. But everything so far in the Roll Player universe has appealed to me, so I would love to give Cartographers a play or five.

Number 5 – Marvel Champions

When I first heard about Marvel Champions, I was pretty meh about it. I still need to get through my Arkham Horror LCG (Living Card Game) packs, and I didn’t want another retheme of the same core mechanics.

Well, I guessed wrong apparently. Marvel Champions is being praised as a story-driven, yet casual friendly, LCG. I cannot say that Arham Horror is exactly casual friendly, hence the rarity of getting it to the table.

A casual-friendly story-driven version with a streamlined ruleset, where I can mix in only the packs I want going forward? Yep, I am interested.

Number 4 – Wingspan

Well, this has been an interesting release. Demand far outstripped the initial supply, and there seems to be a ‘love it’ or ‘hate it’ mentality on the net. It’s rare for me to hear an “It’s fine” opinion about Wingspan.

I was a little upset initially that almost everything I heard about Wingspan was about everything but the game. Supply issues are unfortunate, but they happen. It also made me laugh that the US was complaining so much that the game didn’t have enough releases to go around. Try buying initial runs in Australia :p

I don’t have an overwhelming urge to add Wingspan to my collection, but I would love to have a game and see where it falls for me. Competitive without being cutthroat and a unique theme have my curiosity well and truly piqued.

Number 3 – Star Wars: Outer Rim

I love Firefly. A universe that has (had?) so much promise, cut short just as it had begun to make its mark.

I am not as big a fan of Firefly: The Game. Essentially a hand management/pick up and deliver game, it was overly complicated admin wise and needed streamlining. Also, it was huge – a single-player game took up more space than my 8 person poker table provided!

Star Wars: Outer Rim is being described as a streamlined version of this, and in the Star Wars universe which fits thematically. So I really want to play this. Alpal and I have this in a shared library, I just need to be able to play it!

I have had Detective: City of Angels for ages. I backed it on Kickstarter, I was so excited, but I haven’t had the chance to get it to the table yet. Boo!

If you think of Detective: City of Angels as “L.A. Noire the Board Game”, you won’t be too far off the mark. An actual interrogation/threaten system instead of other deduction “Here is all I say” mechanics intrigues me. And I can play it solo then help others play game night.

I really need to get this played over the coming weeks so I can make that happen.

So you may know I am a fan of Penny Arcade. This was the one game I was praying would be available at PAX Aus 2019, and it wasn’t so I didn’t get to play it though.

I did get my hands on a copy just before Christmas, so yes this will be one of 2 Legacy games I will be running this year. The other? Betrayal Legacy 😀

Clank! is a popular push your luck/hand management series, of which I own Clank! In! Space! (Yes, you have to pronounce it like that :p). Adding the silliness of the Acquisitions Inc. world by having your group starting their own franchise is appealing. You also get to build up your own world similar to Charterstone, a mechanic I appreciated. Still, as a game, I felt Charterstone missed the mark. By all accounts, Clank! Legacy nails it.

My plan is to run a couple of Clank! In! Space! sessions once the regular games night resume, then find players for the campaign. Expect to hear more of Clank! Legacy from me later this year.

What do you think? Are there any games you wish you could have played in 2019? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

And your Spiel des Jahres 2019 nominees are…

It’s awards time again!

It’s time for the Spiel des Jahres again.  On Monday the 20th, the nominees for this year’s award were announced.

What does this mean for you?  If you have the game, not much except the knowledge you have a game recognised as a quality experience. If you have been on the fence, it means you need to go shopping now, because all of these games are about to be snapped up by gamers looking to add some great games to their collections!

Without further delay, below are the final nominees for this year’s awards.

Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year) 2019 nominees

Just One

A cooperative party game where you must discover as many words as possible with the assistance of everyone around you.  The catch?  The clue you are given to help you guess is made of Just One word!

I am a little surprised that Just One has made it into the list.  Not because the game isn’t fun – far from it, it’s great! I am surprised because it was originally a game called ‘We are the Word’.  Obviously, the panel thinks that the changes are sufficient to warrant being considered.  If you haven’t played it, give it a go – it’s a heap of fun!

If your group enjoys wordplay, Just One is a great party choice
I haven't heard of Lama before now, but hey it's a Reiner Knizia game!

L.A.M.A.

I haven’t heard of this game until now, but it’s a Reiner Knizia game.  There isn’t much that the good Doctor has made that I don’t enjoy so I will need to keep an eye on this one.

It looks like a simple card counting game, where you want to play all of your hand of cards.  Playing the cards is just playing one card higher than is what is on the discard pile.  What could be easier than that?

A lot of things could be easier.  Really, a whole lot of things 🙂

Werewords

A game I haven’t been able to get to the table like I want to, I back Werewords Deluxe just over a year ago.  There was also a bit of controversy with Oink Games accusing Bezier Games of copying the game Insider.

Werewords is an interesting mix of hidden role and word elimination.  There is a word that the group must guess, but can only ask questions that can be answered “Yes” or “No”.  There is a Seer that knows the word, but they must be careful not to be found by the Werewolf!  Likewise, if the group (the ‘village’) can’t guess the word, they can still find the Werewolf for a win.

A clever twist on the 'One Night' formula that should appeal to a wider group of players

Kinderspiel des Jahres (Children’s Game of the Year) 2019 nominees

Fabulantica

Another nominee I haven’t heard of – that’s one thing I really enjoy about these awards, you get to hear about games that you wouldn’t have otherwise!

Described on Board Game Geek as ‘a fairy-tale memory game with a catchy travel mechanism’, it looks like you mix good old Memory with movement cards adding a layer of strategy over the old favorite.

I will have to see if I can talk Alpal into giving it a whirl with me sometime…

It's a Pegasus Spiele game. Like HABA, it's a good indication of a fun little time 🙂
Go Gecko Go! Looks like an interesting puzzle, but I don't think I will try for this one

Go Gecko Go!

Another game I haven’t heard of, Go Gecko Go! looks like it could have some appeal, but I don’t think I will look at hunting this one down.

A simple Roll and Move, players have to get their animals (a crocodile, turtle, frog, and gecko) from one bank to another Frogger-style.

The catch?  While bigger creatures can give smaller ones a lift, there are also bridges that will knock off animals that are stacked too high!

I can see where it would be a lot of fun, but I think I will stick with some Roll and Writes for similar problem solving.

Valley of the Vikings (Tal der Wikinger)

And once again, a game I have heard absolutely nothing about – and it’s a HABA game!

I am pretty sure I will be playing this with Alpal at some point.  There are a number of pegs that need to be knocked down for the annual barrel bowling contest.  That’s right – it’s a dexterity game!

Knocking the correct barrels will give you coin, but it also looks like there is a bit of worker placement like shenanigans as well.  If you fall in the water though, you will be out!

A fun little dexterity game. I can see this one being on the order list, as long as it makes it out this far!

Kennerspiel des Jahres (Connoisseur/Expert Game of the Year) 2019 nominees

Carpe Diem

I have heard of Carpe Diem, but I kind of wandered by it as a complicated Lords of Waterdeep type game.  I am thinking I may have misjudged it, and I will need to take a closer look.

Players do play Lords of a sort – this time, it’s Roman Patricians that are trying to build up their sections of Rome.  Based on Card Trading and Tile Placement, you are trying to build up combinations to score as many points as possible for yourself.

I don’t know if I will go out of my way to get a copy, but I will definitely find a couple of hours to pour over the rules and give it a more thorough look.

I might have to have a much better look at Carpe Diem
It's a beautiful game to be sure, but I still don't think it has what I am looking for

Wingspan

I don’t think anyone with a partial interest in Board Games and/or Birds hasn’t heard of Wingspan.

But after watching and reading up on Wingspan for the last few months, I think I have come to the decision that I won’t be playing it.  Not unless someone has it and invites me to play.

It’s not that I don’t think Wingspan has then foundations of a good game, it’s just that I have a lot of deck builders with themes that really interest me already that I don’t play as often as I would like.  But that’s just my position – Wingspan from everything I have seen and heard is a strong contender for the Kennerspiel this year.

Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game

The game I know most of the three of these games though I have already talked about on the site.

Taking the Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective Base and bringing it well and truly into the modern age, the AR based narrative story is deep, intriguing and wonderfully put together.

For this category, Detective is a fine nomination and a fun (if brain-busting) time to be had.  It does make me a little sad that Chronicles of Crime didn’t make it into the Spiel des Jahres category though.

If you like detective stories and want layers upon layers in your game, stop now and go grab Detective – the first expansion L.A. Crimes is available as well!

If you like deep investigations with a great story, grab yourself Detective

So there you go – a lot of fine games up for nomination, as well as plenty of suggestions for games you can play!

Who do you think will take out the awards this year?  Let me know in the comments, or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD