Board Games with Panda

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Our Top 10 Board Games Released in 2017 (BGP018)

Brad Scaggs
United States
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Hello everyone! 2017 was a great year that saw many wonderful new board game releases. A few of my favorite games of all time were released this year. Let's get into the lists. Lists? That's right. My wife, Amanda, joined in and made her own top 10 list as well. We play a lot of games together, so I was surprised that we only had 5 games that appeared on both lists.

Here were our rules: The game has to be listed as a 2017 release on BGG. Otherwise, Word Slam would have probably made the list. Also, we had to have played it.

Let's start with Amanda's #10: Purrrlock Holmes Furriarty's Trail from IDW games. This is a semi-cooperative deduction game that we play fully co-operative. Players are tasked with solving a case by determining what their card is that's facing away from them. The clue process involves asking the other players if the card shares similar features to the one that's played. It's a fun puzzle style game that's worked really well for our group.

My number #10 is Rhino Hero: Super Battle from Haba. This is the only dexterity game that made my list and it's because of the awesome time that we have playing it with the family. We picked up two copies so that we could make giant structures and play at 6 players with the family. It's a light and easy game to play, but it's a blast as everyone helps to not be the one to knock everything over.

Amanda's #9 is Flip Ships from Renegade Games. This is another dexterity game but this one is a cooperative battle where players are trying to save the planet from invading aliens! Players flick disks from a launch platform at an array of cards that looks similar to Space Invaders. If the disk lands on an enemy ship, it does damage. Players are also trying to damage the mother ship my flicking the disks into the center of the standee. What's great about this game is that the ships have special powers and you unlock more ships with better powers as the planet takes more damage.

My #9 is Azul and is higher on Amanda's list.

Amanda's #8 is Werewords and is higher on my list.

My #8 is Downforce and is higher on Amanda's list.

Amanda's #7 is Downforce from Restoration Games. This racing game has players bidding on cars that they'll be owning in the race. The race uses cards that control the speed of all of the cars on the track. Players will play a card on their turn and move the cars listed in order their full speed value. What's really interesting is that you can block people in so that the movement on the card can't happen so it wastes that movement for them. I'm really excited to see the new maps for this one!

My #7 is 7th Continent from Serious Poulp. I've only had the chance to play this once and it persuaded me to go all in on the kickstarter especially with how interested Amanda was in playing it. We both love choose your own adventure and exploration style games so this one was perfect for us. I'm really excited to see what they're able to do with the expansions and can't wait to get my own copy!

Amanda's #6 is Azul from Plan B Games. This tile drafting abstract game has players trying to complete a wall of tiles following strict placement guidelines. The drafting uses the idea that players must take all of one color from a location even if they're not able to use all or any of the colors. It feels like you're doing your best to not get stuck at the end of lower player count games while there's a lot less cutthroat activity in higher player count games. It looks gorgeous and is well produced.

My #6 is Werewords by Bezier Games. Originally, we planned to just play insider because it was simpler and we really didn't need more werewolf games on our shelf. After hearing the buzz, we decided to give it a go and we instantly loved it. The game is basically 20 questions, but the player powers really kick it up a notch on the fun factory. In the game, there's the standard villagers, mayor, werewolf, seer, minion, and beholder. The Mayor knows the word and is giving the yes/no/maybe answers to the questions. The Seer knows the word and is trying to steer the questions toward the answer without being too obvious because they don't want to get eaten by the werewolf. The werewolf is trying to get the group to not answer the question while trying to figure out who the seer is. It's a lot of fun and really easy to each and play.

Amanda's #5 is the entire series of Exit: The Game from Kosmos. If she had to pick her favorite, it has to be Abandoned Cabin. We've played may of the escape room style games and the Exit series is our favorite by a pretty decent margin. We love the way the puzzles work especially the ones where you need to manipulate the components to make things work. So far, we've played four of the games and have two more on our shelf to be played.

My #5 is Sagrada and is higher on Amanda's list.

Amanda's #4 is Bärenpark from Mayfair Games. It was a great year for tile-placement games and this one was Amanda's favorite most likely because of the bears. I really love the way new tiles are acquired in this game by playing tiles over certain icons on the boards. I also really like the race to complete the individual squares so that you can build a bear statue.

My #4 is Clans of Caledonia by Karma Games. I really love how you're slowly building up this resource engine over the course of the game. The design is really simple when it comes to understanding your income each round thanks to the player boards telling you what you've played out on the map. I also love the varying price of imports based on how much of the good has been brought in by the end of the game. I think my favorite part of the game is the economy where prices of standard/produced goods fluctuates based on how often those goods are bought and sold.

Amanda's #3 is Near and Far from Red Raven Games. Ryan's art is so gorgeous and this game has plenty of it. The main campaign plays over the course of several maps that are found in a book. Each location has certain stories written for it and the terrain/environment shifts as the story grows. I love that there's quest lines that continue from one game to another as well. I really like that there's a campaign mode that can be played as well as individual character story arcs that can be experienced as well.

My #3 is Gloomhaven from Cephalofair Games. This is a tactical dungeon crawl style game that lives in a larger living world thanks to an amazing campaign of stories that splinter and diverge based on things the group does along the way. I love the character progression and the hand management aspect of the encounters. There is a ton of game in this box and that's probably why it weighs 22lbs. I still have barely scratched the surface of this game, and I'm excited to play it more.

Both Amanda and I had our #2 as Pandemic Legacy Season 2. This is a great continuation of the events unfolded in the first season. We really enjoyed the way that the game changed while still being the same at its heart. I won't get into spoilers because I don't want to ruin the experience for everyone. We really enjoyed it and we're ready for Season 3.

Amanda's #1 is Sagrada from Floodgate Games. Few games released in 2017 were as pretty in art and design as Sagrada. The dice are beautiful colors and the player boards have magnificent art of stained glass windows on them. The player boards are also nice and thick quality with insets where players will play their dice. Sagrada is a dice drafting game where players fill out a grid that has requirements that must be followed. There's also special scoring each game based on rows, columns, number of certain things, and even based on the color of the dice. This variety in scoring makes the game more interesting to us and it's just so nice to look at the completed board once the game is over.

My #1 is Spirit Island from Greater Than Games (Fabled Nexus) . I have to admit that I had my doubts about this game when I first saw it. It wasn't until I actually sat down with GTG at Origins that I saw the potential for the game. The board wasn't as busy, crowded, confusing as it appeared in the images I'd seen online. The art is fantastic and the individual spirits have really interesting powers that separate them from the others. There's so much variety in just the spirits that the variety from the enemies is just a really great bonus. I haven't had the chance to all of the spirits yet, but I'm looking forward to getting a group together again to play it.

That's our list! How does it compare to yours? Were there any games that you think we missed and should have added? Do you have games you'd think we'd like based on the list?

TLDR: If' you'd rather hear us talk about the list, check here
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