Top 10

Our TOP 10 Games of 2021

James Wilson

10 Descent 2nd Edition

In Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition), one player takes on the role of the treacherous overlord, and up to four other players take on the roles of courageous heroes. During each game, the heroes embark on quests and venture into dangerous caves, ancient ruins, dark dungeons, and cursed forests to battle monsters, earn riches, and attempt to stop the overlord from carrying out his vile plot.

9 Scythe
Scythe is an engine-building game set in an alternate-history 1920s period. It is a time of farming and war, broken hearts and rusted gears, innovation and valor. In Scythe, each player represents a character from one of five factions of Eastern Europe who are attempting to earn their fortune and claim their faction’s stake in the land around the mysterious Factory. Players conquer territory, enlist new recruits, reap resources, gain villagers, build structures, and activate monstrous mechs.

8 Rising Sun

Rising Sun is a board game for 3 to 5 players set in legendary feudal Japan. As the Kami descend from the heavens to reshape the land in their image, it is up to each player to lead their clan to victory. Use politics to further your cause, negotiate to seek the most profitable alliances, worship the Kami to gain their favor, recruit monsters out of legend to bolster your forces, and use your resources wisely to be victorious in battle. Created by acclaimed designer Eric M. Lang, Rising Sun reunites the same creative forces responsible for the smash hit Blood Rage, with stunning artwork by Adrian Smith and intricate miniatures sculpted under the direction of Mike McVey.

7 Wingspan

Wingspan is a competitive, medium-weight, card-driven, engine-building board game from Stonemaier Games. It’s designed by Elizabeth Hargrave and features over 170 birds illustrated by Natalia Rojas and Ana Maria Martinez.

You are bird enthusiasts—researchers, bird watchers, ornithologists, and collectors—seeking to discover and attract the best birds to your network of wildlife preserves. Each bird extends a chain of powerful combinations in one of your habitats (actions). These habitats focus on several key aspects of growth:

  • Gain food tokens via custom dice in a birdfeeder dice tower
  • Lay eggs using egg miniatures in a variety of colors
  • Draw from hundreds of unique bird cards and play them

The winner is the player with the most points after 4 rounds.

6 Dead of Winter

Dead of Winter is a meta-cooperative psychological survival game. This means players are working together toward one common victory condition, but for each individual player to achieve victory, they must also complete their personal secret objective, which could relate to a psychological tick that’s fairly harmless to most others in the colony, a dangerous obsession that could put the main objective at risk, a desire for sabotage of the main mission, or (worst of all) vengeance against the colony! Games could end with all players winning, some winning and some losing, or all players losing. Work toward the group’s goal, but don’t get walked all over by a loudmouth who’s looking out only for their own interests!

5 Transforming Mars
In the 2400s, mankind begins to terraform the planet Mars. Giant corporations, sponsored by the World Government on Earth, initiate huge projects to raise the temperature, the oxygen level, and the ocean coverage until the environment is habitable. In Terraforming Mars, you play one of those corporations and work together in the terraforming process, but compete for getting victory points that are awarded not only for your contribution to the terraforming, but also for advancing human infrastructure throughout the solar system, and doing other commendable things.

4 Blood Rage
In Blood Rage, each player controls their own Viking clan’s warriors, leader, and ship. Ragnarök has come, and it’s the end of the world! It’s the Vikings’ last chance to go down in a blaze of glory and secure their place in Valhalla at Odin’s side! For a Viking there are many pathways to glory. You can invade and pillage the land for its rewards, crush your opponents in epic battles, fulfill quests, increase your clan’s stats, or even die gloriously either in battle or from Ragnarök, the ultimate inescapable doom.

3 Twilight Imperium 4th Edition
Twilight Imperium (Fourth Edition) is a game of galactic conquest in which three to six players take on the role of one of seventeen factions vying for galactic domination through military might, political maneuvering, and economic bargaining. Every faction offers a completely different play experience, from the wormhole-hopping Ghosts of Creuss to the Emirates of Hacan, masters of trade and economics. These seventeen races are offered many paths to victory, but only one may sit upon the throne of Mecatol Rex as the new masters of the galaxy.

2 Mansions of Madness
Mansions of Madness: Second Edition is a fully co-operative, app-driven board game of horror and mystery for one to five players that takes place in the same universe as Eldritch Horror and Elder Sign. Let the immersive app guide you through the veiled streets of Innsmouth and the haunted corridors of Arkham’s cursed mansions as you search for answers and respite. Eight brave investigators stand ready to confront four scenarios of fear and mystery, collecting weapons, tools, and information, solving complex puzzles, and fighting monsters, insanity, and death. Open the door and step inside these hair-raising Mansions of Madness: Second Edition. It will take more than just survival to conquer the evils terrorizing this town.

1 Gloomhaven
Gloomhaven is a game of Euro-inspired tactical combat in a persistent world of shifting motives. Players will take on the role of a wandering adventurer with their own special set of skills and their own reasons for traveling to this dark corner of the world. Players must work together out of necessity to clear out menacing dungeons and forgotten ruins. In the process, they will enhance their abilities with experience and loot, discover new locations to explore and plunder, and expand an ever-branching story fueled by the decisions they make.


Nathan Wilson

10 Xia Legends of Drift System

Xia: Legends of a Drift System is a 3-5 player sandbox style competitive space adventure. Each player starts as a lowly but hopeful captain of a small starship.

Players fly their ships about the system, completing a variety of missions, exploring new sectors and battling other ships. Navigating hazardous environments, players choose to mine, salvage, or trade valuable cargo. Captains vie with each other for Titles, riches and, most importantly, Fame.

The most adaptive, risk-taking and creative players will excel. One captain will rise above the others, surpassing mortality by becoming Legend!

9 Scythe

Scythe is an engine-building game set in an alternate-history 1920s period. It is a time of farming and war, broken hearts and rusted gears, innovation and valor. In Scythe, each player represents a character from one of five factions of Eastern Europe who are attempting to earn their fortune and claim their faction’s stake in the land around the mysterious Factory. Players conquer territory, enlist new recruits, reap resources, gain villagers, build structures, and activate monstrous mechs.

8 Pandemic Legacy Season 2
Pandemic Legacy is a co-operative campaign game, with an overarching story-arc played through 12-24 sessions, depending on how well your group does at the game. At the beginning, the game starts very similar to basic Pandemic, in which your team of disease-fighting specialists races against the clock to travel around the world, treating disease hotspots while researching cures for each of four plagues before they get out of hand.

7 Downforce

Downforce is a card-driven bidding, racing, and betting game for 2-6 players based on Top Race, the award-winning design by the legendary Wolfgang Kramer. Players first bid to own the six cars in the race, then they play cards from their hand to speed them around the track. However, most cards will also move their opponents’ cars. So figuring out just the right time to play a card is the key to victory. Along the way, players make secret bets on who they think will win the race. Whoever has the most money from their prize money, winning bets, and remaining bank wins.

6 The Crew: Quest for Planet Nine

n the co-operative trick-taking game The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine, the players set out as astronauts on an uncertain space adventure. What about the rumors about the unknown planet about? The eventful journey through space extends over 50 exciting missions. But this game can only be defeated by meeting common individual tasks of each player. In order to meet the varied challenges, communication is essential in the team. But this is more difficult than expected in space.

5 Wingspan

Wingspan is a competitive, medium-weight, card-driven, engine-building board game from Stonemaier Games. It’s designed by Elizabeth Hargrave and features over 170 birds illustrated by Natalia Rojas and Ana Maria Martinez.

You are bird enthusiasts—researchers, bird watchers, ornithologists, and collectors—seeking to discover and attract the best birds to your network of wildlife preserves. Each bird extends a chain of powerful combinations in one of your habitats (actions). These habitats focus on several key aspects of growth:

  • Gain food tokens via custom dice in a birdfeeder dice tower
  • Lay eggs using egg miniatures in a variety of colors
  • Draw from hundreds of unique bird cards and play them

The winner is the player with the most points after 4 rounds.

4 Mechs vs Minions

Mechs vs. Minions is a cooperative tabletop campaign for 2-4 players. Set in the world of Runeterra, players take on the roles of four intrepid Yordles: Corki, Tristana, Heimerdinger, and Ziggs, who must join forces and pilot their newly-crafted mechs against an army of marauding minions. With modular boards, programmatic command lines, and a story-driven campaign, each mission will be unique, putting your teamwork, programming, and piloting skills to the test.

3 Terraforming Mars
In the 2400s, mankind begins to terraform the planet Mars. Giant corporations, sponsored by the World Government on Earth, initiate huge projects to raise the temperature, the oxygen level, and the ocean coverage until the environment is habitable. In Terraforming Mars, you play one of those corporations and work together in the terraforming process, but compete for getting victory points that are awarded not only for your contribution to the terraforming, but also for advancing human infrastructure throughout the solar system, and doing other commendable things.

2 Gloomhaven
Gloomhaven is a game of Euro-inspired tactical combat in a persistent world of shifting motives. Players will take on the role of a wandering adventurer with their own special set of skills and their own reasons for traveling to this dark corner of the world. Players must work together out of necessity to clear out menacing dungeons and forgotten ruins. In the process, they will enhance their abilities with experience and loot, discover new locations to explore and plunder, and expand an ever-branching story fueled by the decisions they make.

1 Mansions of Madness
Mansions of Madness: Second Edition is a fully co-operative, app-driven board game of horror and mystery for one to five players that takes place in the same universe as Eldritch Horror and Elder Sign. Let the immersive app guide you through the veiled streets of Innsmouth and the haunted corridors of Arkham’s cursed mansions as you search for answers and respite. Eight brave investigators stand ready to confront four scenarios of fear and mystery, collecting weapons, tools, and information, solving complex puzzles, and fighting monsters, insanity, and death. Open the door and step inside these hair-raising Mansions of Madness: Second Edition. It will take more than just survival to conquer the evils terrorizing this town.


Dan Regewitz

10 Euphoria Build a Better Dystopia

In Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia, you lead a team of workers (dice) and recruits (cards) to claim ownership of the dystopian world. You will generate commodities, dig tunnels to infiltrate opposing areas, construct markets, collect artifacts, strengthen allegiances, and fulfill secret agendas.

Euphoria is a worker-placement game in which dice are your workers. The number on each die represents a worker’s knowledge—that is, his level of awareness that he’s in a dystopia. Worker knowledge enables various bonuses and impacts player interaction. If the collective knowledge of all of your available workers gets too high, one of them might desert you. You also have two elite recruit cards at your disposal; one has pledged allegiance to you, but the other needs some convincing. You can reveal and use the reticent recruit by reaching certain milestones in the game… or by letting other players unwittingly reach those milestones for you.

9 Fortune and Glory

Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game is a fast-paced game of high adventure, vile villains, edge-of-your-seat danger, and cliffhanger pulp movie action. Players take on the role of a treasure hunter, traveling the globe in search of ancient artifacts and fending off danger and villains at every turn in a quest for the ultimate reward of fortune and glory!

8 Xia Legends of Drift System


Xia: Legends of a Drift System is a 3-5 player sandbox style competitive space adventure. Each player starts as a lowly but hopeful captain of a small starship.

Players fly their ships about the system, completing a variety of missions, exploring new sectors and battling other ships. Navigating hazardous environments, players choose to mine, salvage, or trade valuable cargo. Captains vie with each other for Titles, riches and, most importantly, Fame.

The most adaptive, risk-taking and creative players will excel. One captain will rise above the others, surpassing mortality by becoming Legend!

7 Mystic Vale

In Mystic Vale,
2 to 4 players take on the role of druidic clans trying to cleanse the curse upon the land. Each turn, you play cards into your field to gain powerful advancements and useful vale cards. Use your power wisely, or decay will end your turn prematurely. Score the most victory points to win the game!

6 Grifters
Grifters is a hand-building game that has all the fun of deck-building games, without the deck. Set in the Dystopian Universe, players take on the role of powerful crime bosses, building their criminal organizations by carefully recruiting new operatives with specialized skills and directing their team’s nefarious deeds. All of your specialists are either in play or in your hand, ready to be used as you command. This unique hand-building mechanism gives you total control of your strategy.

5 Quacks of Quedlinburg

In The Quacks of Quedlinburg, players are charlatans — or quack doctors — each making their own secret brew by adding ingredients one at a time. Take care with what you add, though, for a pinch too much of this or that will spoil the whole mixture!

4 Arkham Horror 3rd Edition
Arkham Horror (Third Edition) is a cooperative board game for one to six players who take on the roles of investigators trying to rid the world of eldritch beings known as Ancient Ones. Based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft, players will have to gather clues, defeat terrifying monsters, and find tools and allies if they are to stand any chance of defeating the creatures that dwell just beyond the veil of our reality.

3 Terraforming Mars
In the 2400s, mankind begins to terraform the planet Mars. Giant corporations, sponsored by the World Government on Earth, initiate huge projects to raise the temperature, the oxygen level, and the ocean coverage until the environment is habitable. In Terraforming Mars, you play one of those corporations and work together in the terraforming process, but compete for getting victory points that are awarded not only for your contribution to the terraforming, but also for advancing human infrastructure throughout the solar system, and doing other commendable things.

2 Concordia

Concordia
 is a strategy game that requires advance planning and consideration of your opponent’s moves. Every game is different, not only because of the sequence of new cards on sale but also due to the modular layout of cities. (One side of the game board shows the entire Roman Empire with 30 cities for 3-5 players, while the other shows Roman Italy with 25 cities for 2-4 players.) When all cards have been sold or after the first player builds his 15th house, the game ends. The player with the most VPs from the gods (Jupiter, Saturnus, Mercurius, Minerva, Vesta, etc.) wins the game.

1 51st State the Masters Set

51st State is a card game in which players control one of four powers trying to build a new country. Players put new locations into play, hire leaders, and send people to work in buildings to gain resources and new skills. To do this, every card in 51st State can be used in three different ways:
  • Raze a location to gain many resources once.
  • Deal with this location to gain one resource every turn.
  • Build the location so that you can use its skill each turn.


Peter Bess

10 Carcassonne

Carcassonne is a tile-placement game in which the players draw and place a tile with a piece of southern French landscape on it. The tile might feature a city, a road, a cloister, grassland or some combination thereof, and it must be placed adjacent to tiles that have already been played, in such a way that cities are connected to cities, roads to roads, etcetera. Having placed a tile, the player can then decide to place one of their meeples on one of the areas on it: on the city as a knight, on the road as a robber, on a cloister as a monk, or on the grass as a farmer. When that area is complete, that meeple scores points for its owner.

9 Wingspan

Wingspan is a competitive, medium-weight, card-driven, engine-building board game from Stonemaier Games. It’s designed by Elizabeth Hargrave and features over 170 birds illustrated by Natalia Rojas and Ana Maria Martinez.

You are bird enthusiasts—researchers, bird watchers, ornithologists, and collectors—seeking to discover and attract the best birds to your network of wildlife preserves. Each bird extends a chain of powerful combinations in one of your habitats (actions). These habitats focus on several key aspects of growth:

  • Gain food tokens via custom dice in a birdfeeder dice tower
  • Lay eggs using egg miniatures in a variety of colors
  • Draw from hundreds of unique bird cards and play them

The winner is the player with the most points after 4 rounds.

8 Glory to Rome

Glory to Rome is a card-based city building and resource management game with a novel mechanism. Each card may act as a building, a client, a raw material, or a valuable resource, frequently forcing players into difficult decisions regarding how each card should be used. In addition, much of the game is played from the discard pool, giving players some control over what cards are accessible to opponents. Actions are triggered by a form of card-driven role selection — the active player leads a role, and other players may follow if they discard a matching card from hand (to the pool). Players who don’t follow may ‘think’ to draw more cards. There are thus strong interactions between the different uses of cards. Scoring is a combination of completing buildings and storing resources, with end-of-game bonuses for storing a diverse assortment. Game length is player-controlled, and is triggered in a few different ways.

7 Firefly the game

In Firefly: The Game –
based on the popular Firefly television series created by Joss Whedon – players captain their own Firefly-class transport ship, traveling the ‘Verse with a handpicked crew of fighters, mechanics and other travelers. As a captain desperate for work, players are compelled to take on any job — so long as it pays. Double-dealing employers, heavy-handed Alliance patrols, and marauding Reavers are all in a day’s work for a ship’s captain at the edge of the ‘Verse. Firefly: The Game is a high-end thematic tabletop boardgame from Gale Force Nine (GF9) and the first in a series of tabletop hobby board games and miniatures games from GF9 set in the In Firefly: The Game – based on the popular Firefly television series created by Joss Whedon – players captain their own Firefly-class transport ship, traveling the ‘Verse with a handpicked crew of fighters, mechanics and other travelers. As a captain desperate for work, players are compelled to take on any job — so long as it pays. Double-dealing employers, heavy-handed Alliance patrols, and marauding Reavers are all in a day’s work for a ship’s captain at the edge of the ‘Verse. Firefly: The Game is a high-end thematic tabletop boardgame from Gale Force Nine (GF9) and the first in a series of tabletop hobby board games and miniatures games from GF9 set in the Firefly Universe.

6 Concoridia

Concordia
 is a strategy game that requires advance planning and consideration of your opponent’s moves. Every game is different, not only because of the sequence of new cards on sale but also due to the modular layout of cities. (One side of the game board shows the entire Roman Empire with 30 cities for 3-5 players, while the other shows Roman Italy with 25 cities for 2-4 players.) When all cards have been sold or after the first player builds his 15th house, the game ends. The player with the most VPs from the gods (Jupiter, Saturnus, Mercurius, Minerva, Vesta, etc.) wins the game.

5 Mansions of Madness

Mansions of Madness: Second Edition is a fully co-operative, app-driven board game of horror and mystery for one to five players that takes place in the same universe as Eldritch Horror and Elder Sign. Let the immersive app guide you through the veiled streets of Innsmouth and the haunted corridors of Arkham’s cursed mansions as you search for answers and respite. Eight brave investigators stand ready to confront four scenarios of fear and mystery, collecting weapons, tools, and information, solving complex puzzles, and fighting monsters, insanity, and death. Open the door and step inside these hair-raising Mansions of Madness: Second Edition. It will take more than just survival to conquer the evils terrorizing this town.

4 Lords of Waterdeep
In Lords of Waterdeep, a strategy board game for 2-5 players, you take on the role of one of the masked Lords of Waterdeep, secret rulers of the city. Through your agents, you recruit adventurers to go on quests on your behalf, earning rewards and increasing your influence over the city. Expand the city by purchasing new buildings that open up new actions on the board, and hinder – or help – the other lords by playing Intrigue cards to enact your carefully laid plans.

3 Betrayal House on the Hill
Betrayal at House on the Hill quickly builds suspense and excitement as players explore a haunted mansion of their own design, encountering spirits and frightening omens that foretell their fate. With an estimated one hour playing time, Betrayal at House on the Hill is ideal for parties, family gatherings or casual fun with friends.

2 Dune

In DUNE you will become the leader of one of six great factions. Each wishes to control the most valuable resource in the universe – melange, the mysterious spice only found at great cost on the planet DUNE. As Duke Leto Atreides says “All fades before melange. A handful of spice will buy a home on Tupile. It cannot be manufactured, it must be mined on Arrakis. It is unique and it has true geriatric properties.” And without melange space travel would be impossible. Only by ingesting the addictive drug can the Guild Steersman continue to experience visions of the future, enabling them to plot a safe path through hyperspace.

Who will control DUNE? Become one of the characters and their forces from the book and . . . You decide!

1 Blood Rage
In Blood Rage, each player controls their own Viking clan’s warriors, leader, and ship. Ragnarök has come, and it’s the end of the world! It’s the Vikings’ last chance to go down in a blaze of glory and secure their place in Valhalla at Odin’s side! For a Viking there are many pathways to glory. You can invade and pillage the land for its rewards, crush your opponents in epic battles, fulfill quests, increase your clan’s stats, or even die gloriously either in battle or from Ragnarök, the ultimate inescapable doom.

 

 

Our TOP 10 Games of 2020

 

James Wilson:

10 Scythe   

Scythe is an engine-building game set in an alternate-history 1920s period. It is a time of farming and war, broken hearts and rusted gears, innovation and valor. In Scythe, each player represents a character from one of five factions of Eastern Europe who are attempting to earn their fortune and claim their faction’s stake in the land around the mysterious Factory. Players conquer territory, enlist new recruits, reap resources, gain villagers, build structures, and activate monstrous mechs.

9   Dead of Winter  

Dead of Winter is a meta-cooperative psychological survival game. This means players are working together toward one common victory condition, but for each individual player to achieve victory, they must also complete their personal secret objective, which could relate to a psychological tick that’s fairly harmless to most others in the colony, a dangerous obsession that could put the main objective at risk, a desire for sabotage of the main mission, or (worst of all) vengeance against the colony! Games could end with all players winning, some winning and some losing, or all players losing. Work toward the group’s goal, but don’t get walked all over by a loudmouth who’s looking out only for their own interests!

8   Wingspan   

Wingspan is a competitive, medium-weight, card-driven, engine-building board game from Stonemaier Games. It’s designed by Elizabeth Hargrave and features over 170 birds illustrated by Natalia Rojas and Ana Maria Martinez.

You are bird enthusiasts—researchers, bird watchers, ornithologists, and collectors—seeking to discover and attract the best birds to your network of wildlife preserves. Each bird extends a chain of powerful combinations in one of your habitats (actions). These habitats focus on several key aspects of growth:

  • Gain food tokens via custom dice in a birdfeeder dice tower
  • Lay eggs using egg miniatures in a variety of colors
  • Draw from hundreds of unique bird cards and play them

The winner is the player with the most points after 4 rounds.


7   Twilight Imperium 4   
Twilight Imperium (Fourth Edition) is a game of galactic conquest in which three to six players take on the role of one of seventeen factions vying for galactic domination through military might, political maneuvering, and economic bargaining. Every faction offers a completely different play experience, from the wormhole-hopping Ghosts of Creuss to the Emirates of Hacan, masters of trade and economics. These seventeen races are offered many paths to victory, but only one may sit upon the throne of Mecatol Rex as the new masters of the galaxy.

6   Blood Rage   
In Blood Rage, each player controls their own Viking clan’s warriors, leader, and ship. Ragnarök has come, and it’s the end of the world! It’s the Vikings’ last chance to go down in a blaze of glory and secure their place in Valhalla at Odin’s side! For a Viking there are many pathways to glory. You can invade and pillage the land for its rewards, crush your opponents in epic battles, fulfill quests, increase your clan’s stats, or even die gloriously either in battle or from Ragnarök, the ultimate inescapable doom.

5   Terraforming Mars  
In the 2400s, mankind begins to terraform the planet Mars. Giant corporations, sponsored by the World Government on Earth, initiate huge projects to raise the temperature, the oxygen level, and the ocean coverage until the environment is habitable. In Terraforming Mars, you play one of those corporations and work together in the terraforming process, but compete for getting victory points that are awarded not only for your contribution to the terraforming, but also for advancing human infrastructure throughout the solar system, and doing other commendable things.

4   Lords of Waterdeep  
In Lords of Waterdeep, a strategy board game for 2-5 players, you take on the role of one of the masked Lords of Waterdeep, secret rulers of the city. Through your agents, you recruit adventurers to go on quests on your behalf, earning rewards and increasing your influence over the city. Expand the city by purchasing new buildings that open up new actions on the board, and hinder – or help – the other lords by playing Intrigue cards to enact your carefully laid plans.

3   Descent Journeys in the dark 2nd edition  
In Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition), one player takes on the role of the treacherous overlord, and up to four other players take on the roles of courageous heroes. During each game, the heroes embark on quests and venture into dangerous caves, ancient ruins, dark dungeons, and cursed forests to battle monsters, earn riches, and attempt to stop the overlord from carrying out his vile plot.

2   Mansions of Madness 2nd edition   
Mansions of Madness: Second Edition is a fully co-operative, app-driven board game of horror and mystery for one to five players that takes place in the same universe as Eldritch Horror and Elder Sign. Let the immersive app guide you through the veiled streets of Innsmouth and the haunted corridors of Arkham’s cursed mansions as you search for answers and respite. Eight brave investigators stand ready to confront four scenarios of fear and mystery, collecting weapons, tools, and information, solving complex puzzles, and fighting monsters, insanity, and death. Open the door and step inside these hair-raising Mansions of Madness: Second Edition. It will take more than just survival to conquer the evils terrorizing this town.

  Gloomhaven   
Gloomhaven is a game of Euro-inspired tactical combat in a persistent world of shifting motives. Players will take on the role of a wandering adventurer with their own special set of skills and their own reasons for traveling to this dark corner of the world. Players must work together out of necessity to clear out menacing dungeons and forgotten ruins. In the process, they will enhance their abilities with experience and loot, discover new locations to explore and plunder, and expand an ever-branching story fueled by the decisions they make.

Nathan Wilson:

10 Blood Rage    
In Blood Rage, each player controls their own Viking clan’s warriors, leader, and ship. Ragnarök has come, and it’s the end of the world! It’s the Vikings’ last chance to go down in a blaze of glory and secure their place in Valhalla at Odin’s side! For a Viking there are many pathways to glory. You can invade and pillage the land for its rewards, crush your opponents in epic battles, fulfill quests, increase your clan’s stats, or even die gloriously either in battle or from Ragnarök, the ultimate inescapable doom.

9   Mechs vs Minions        
Mechs vs. Minions is a cooperative tabletop campaign for 2-4 players. Set in the world of Runeterra, players take on the roles of four intrepid Yordles: Corki, Tristana, Heimerdinger, and Ziggs, who must join forces and pilot their newly-crafted mechs against an army of marauding minions. With modular boards, programmatic command lines, and a story-driven campaign, each mission will be unique, putting your teamwork, programming, and piloting skills to the test.

8   Scythe
Scythe is an engine-building game set in an alternate-history 1920s period. It is a time of farming and war, broken hearts and rusted gears, innovation and valor. In Scythe, each player represents a character from one of five factions of Eastern Europe who are attempting to earn their fortune and claim their faction’s stake in the land around the mysterious Factory. Players conquer territory, enlist new recruits, reap resources, gain villagers, build structures, and activate monstrous mechs.

7   Dead of Winter    
Dead of Winter is a meta-cooperative psychological survival game. This means players are working together toward one common victory condition, but for each individual player to achieve victory, they must also complete their personal secret objective, which could relate to a psychological tick that’s fairly harmless to most others in the colony, a dangerous obsession that could put the main objective at risk, a desire for sabotage of the main mission, or (worst of all) vengeance against the colony! Games could end with all players winning, some winning and some losing, or all players losing. Work toward the group’s goal, but don’t get walked all over by a loudmouth who’s looking out only for their own interests!

6  Pandemic Legacy Season 1 and Season 2 
 
Pandemic Legacy is a co-operative campaign game, with an overarching story-arc played through 12-24 sessions, depending on how well your group does at the game. At the beginning, the game starts very similar to basic Pandemic, in which your team of disease-fighting specialists races against the clock to travel around the world, treating disease hotspots while researching cures for each of four plagues before they get out of hand.

5   Cosmic Encounter       
In Cosmic Encounter, each player is the leader of an alien race. On a player’s turn, he or she becomes the offense. The offense encounters another player on a planet by moving a group of his or her ships through the hyperspace gate to that planet. The offense draws from the destiny deck which contains colors, wilds and specials. He or she then takes the hyperspace gate and points at one planet in the system indicated by the drawn destiny card. The offense vs. the defenses ships are in the encounter and both sides are able to invite allies, play an encounter card as well as special cards to try and tip the encounter in their favor.

4   Wingspan    

Wingspan is a competitive, medium-weight, card-driven, engine-building board game from Stonemaier Games. It’s designed by Elizabeth Hargrave and features over 170 birds illustrated by Natalia Rojas and Ana Maria Martinez.

You are bird enthusiasts—researchers, bird watchers, ornithologists, and collectors—seeking to discover and attract the best birds to your network of wildlife preserves. Each bird extends a chain of powerful combinations in one of your habitats (actions). These habitats focus on several key aspects of growth:

  • Gain food tokens via custom dice in a birdfeeder dice tower
  • Lay eggs using egg miniatures in a variety of colors
  • Draw from hundreds of unique bird cards and play them

The winner is the player with the most points after 4 rounds.

3   Mansions of Madness 2nd edition   
Mansions of Madness: Second Edition is a fully co-operative, app-driven board game of horror and mystery for one to five players that takes place in the same universe as Eldritch Horror and Elder Sign. Let the immersive app guide you through the veiled streets of Innsmouth and the haunted corridors of Arkham’s cursed mansions as you search for answers and respite. Eight brave investigators stand ready to confront four scenarios of fear and mystery, collecting weapons, tools, and information, solving complex puzzles, and fighting monsters, insanity, and death. Open the door and step inside these hair-raising Mansions of Madness: Second Edition. It will take more than just survival to conquer the evils terrorizing this town.

2   Terraforming Mars     
In the 2400s, mankind begins to terraform the planet Mars. Giant corporations, sponsored by the World Government on Earth, initiate huge projects to raise the temperature, the oxygen level, and the ocean coverage until the environment is habitable. In Terraforming Mars, you play one of those corporations and work together in the terraforming process, but compete for getting victory points that are awarded not only for your contribution to the terraforming, but also for advancing human infrastructure throughout the solar system, and doing other commendable things.

1   Gloomhaven        
Gloomhaven is a game of Euro-inspired tactical combat in a persistent world of shifting motives. Players will take on the role of a wandering adventurer with their own special set of skills and their own reasons for traveling to this dark corner of the world. Players must work together out of necessity to clear out menacing dungeons and forgotten ruins. In the process, they will enhance their abilities with experience and loot, discover new locations to explore and plunder, and expand an ever-branching story fueled by the decisions they make.

Dan Regewitz:

10 The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire     
The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire the game is a streamlined, confrontational worker placement game filled with murder and intrigue. You play as competing mafia families who are vying for economic control of the organized crime networks of New York City, deploying your thugs, your don, your wife, and your heir on the board to shake down businesses and engage in area-control turf wars.

9    Catan    
In CATAN (formerly The Settlers of Catan), players try to be the dominant force on the island of Catan by building settlements, cities, and roads. On each turn dice are rolled to determine what resources the island produces. Players build by spending resources (sheep, wheat, wood, brick and ore) that are depicted by these resource cards; each land type, with the exception of the unproductive desert, produces a specific resource: hills produce brick, forests produce wood, mountains produce ore, fields produce wheat, and pastures produce sheep.

8   Grifters   
Grifters is a hand-building game that has all the fun of deck-building games, without the deck. Set in the Dystopian Universe, players take on the role of powerful crime bosses, building their criminal organizations by carefully recruiting new operatives with specialized skills and directing their team’s nefarious deeds. All of your specialists are either in play or in your hand, ready to be used as you command. This unique hand-building mechanism gives you total control of your strategy.

7   Terraforming Mars   
In the 2400s, mankind begins to terraform the planet Mars. Giant corporations, sponsored by the World Government on Earth, initiate huge projects to raise the temperature, the oxygen level, and the ocean coverage until the environment is habitable. In Terraforming Mars, you play one of those corporations and work together in the terraforming process, but compete for getting victory points that are awarded not only for your contribution to the terraforming, but also for advancing human infrastructure throughout the solar system, and doing other commendable things.

6   The 7th continent    
In The 7th Continent, a solo or cooperative “choose-your-own-adventure” exploration board game, you choose a character and begin your adventure on your own or with a team of other explorers. Inspired by the Fighting Fantasy book series, you will discover the extent of this wild new land through a variety of terrain and event cards. In a land fraught with danger and wonders, you have to use every ounce of wit and cunning to survive, crafting tools, weapons, and shelter to ensure your survival.

5   Betrayal on the House on the Hill        
Betrayal at House on the Hill quickly builds suspense and excitement as players explore a haunted mansion of their own design, encountering spirits and frightening omens that foretell their fate. With an estimated one hour playing time, Betrayal at House on the Hill is ideal for parties, family gatherings or casual fun with friends.

4   Eminent Domain      
Eminent Domain is a civilization-building game in which your civilization’s abilities are based on a deck of Role cards. At the beginning of the game each player has the same deck of cards, with just two cards for each Role in it. Every turn you must choose a Role to execute (and like Glory to Rome or Puerto Rico, your opponents will get a chance to follow suit), and in doing so you will add one of those Role cards to your deck. When executing a Role, you can boost its effect by playing cards out of your hand matching the Role you have chosen. For example, the more you Research, the better you get at Researching (because you’ll have more Research cards in your deck).

3   Fortune and Glory       
Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game is a fast-paced game of high adventure, vile villains, edge-of-your-seat danger, and cliffhanger pulp movie action. Players take on the role of a treasure hunter, traveling the globe in search of ancient artifacts and fending off danger and villains at every turn in a quest for the ultimate reward of fortune and glory!

2   Glory to Rome      
Glory to Rome is a card-based city building and resource management game with a novel mechanism. Each card may act as a building, a client, a raw material, or a valuable resource, frequently forcing players into difficult decisions regarding how each card should be used. In addition, much of the game is played from the discard pool, giving players some control over what cards are accessible to opponents. Actions are triggered by a form of card-driven role selection — the active player leads a role, and other players may follow if they discard a matching card from hand (to the pool). Players who don’t follow may ‘think’ to draw more cards. There are thus strong interactions between the different uses of cards. Scoring is a combination of completing buildings and storing resources, with end-of-game bonuses for storing a diverse assortment. Game length is player-controlled, and is triggered in a few different ways.

1   Magic the Gathering   
 In the Magic game, you play the role of a planeswalker—a powerful wizard who fights other planeswalkers for glory, knowledge, and conquest. Your deck of cards represents all the weapons in your arsenal. It contains the spells you know and the creatures you can summon to fight for you.