I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and is looking forward to a Happy New Year! This is my fourth year doing this list and as usual, it was really difficult to pick favorites. The stinkers aren't necessarily bad games, they just didn't work for me and my group.
One final note. These games weren't all released in 2017, but were first played by me this year.
Let's start with the GOOD in no particular order:
Fields of Arle - I enjoy games that make me think. This is one of those "thinky" Euros just for two.
Burgle Bros. - one of those co-op games where people are really working together and cheering each other on. Great fun!
Terraforming Mars - I resisted the hype on this one for a long time. Once I finally played it, I was hooked. The asymmetrical starting corporations, the card drafting, and the building aspect really appeal to me. Great game.
Hero Realms and Hero Realms: The Ruin of Thandar Campaign Deck - this is a great deck building game by the same folks who delivered the awesome Star Realms. Buy the Hero packs to add more greatness to this game. I recently played the campaign expansion solo and it is just icing on the cake.
Gold West - my friend Tom taught me this and I loved it almost immediately. Very simple but with lots of tense decisions and jockeying for board position.
Ulm - another "thinky" Euro that uses a really cool action selection grid.
KLASK - I haven't laughed so hard when playing a game!
Aeon's End - I just picked this up and have played two games. I am already looking for the expansions to add to this awesome cooperative deck builder with a twist.
Azul - only played this once but I will be buying once it comes back in stock at my FLGS. Great components and tense game play for such a simple idea.
Seikatsu - beauty and tension all in a 15 minute package.
13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis
Kashgar: Merchants of the Silk Road
Now, the NOT SO GOOD, in no particular order:
Super Dungeon Explore - sells itself as a fast-paced dungeon romp. It's really a fiddly, confusing, overblown slog through unclear rules and trying to figure out what mini goes with what card. Played this twice at Gen Con and was physically angry after we finished each game.
Captain Sonar - real-time games are not my thing. Add that to trying to yell out what you are doing while another team is yelling the same thing and you get something I want no part of.
Tokaido - I wanted to like this game but I didn't feel like there were any decisions to be made. Each turn felt scripted and it just fell flat.
The Networks - after the initial humor wears off, you realize the game is rather dull.
The Oracle of Delphi - I usually like Stefan Feld games, but this one was an exception. It is a race game but I didn't feel any tension whatsoever.
FUSE - again, real-time games are not for me.
Rolling America - boring dice chucker that I got rid of quickly.
I was lucky to play a heck of a lot more good games than bad ones this year. Given the right circumstances, I would even probably play a few of the dishonorable mentions again just to make sure I didn't like them.
I hope you played a lot more Favorites than Stinkers in 2017 and I hope you don't find any Stinkers in 2018.
Thanks for reading!