Best new games of 2013
Damean Rendell
New Zealand
Auckland
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2013 was one of the best gaming years for me. I played more individual games, 52, more overall games, 178, and more new titles, 23, than any time previous. Some of those 23 were actually pretty good and will get some more play in 2014. This is my list of the best new to me games I played this past year.
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1. Board Game: BattleLore (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:130]
Damean Rendell
New Zealand
Auckland
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Battlelore was the last new game to be played. It arrived just before Christmas.

I was not a fan of the original battlelore mostly due to the theme and unit selection. When I heard it was being remade and set in Terrinoth I got interested.

So far I like what I see. I am still not sold on the command card system, the lack of control bothers me a little. But not having a command deck for each faction, or at least a way to customize a deck to your force list or tactics disappointed me. But overall I have enjoyed the few plays I have had and am looking forward to trying it out more.

The miniatures are all good quality and I really like the scenario system. I do hope Fantasy flight don't wait to long to get out the elves and undead factions as those are the two factions I really want to play (I try to pick them in Runewars if possible!).
 
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2. Board Game: City of Remnants [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:1584]
Damean Rendell
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Auckland
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City of Remnants has been a strange game for me, I like so many of the individual parts but at the end of a game I often feel a little disappointed, though I always have fun during the game. I have a feeling the reason could be our group is looking for the game to be something it's not. Optimization seems to be the name of the game and our group tends to want to fight each other.

I really want to like the game more than I do. I am still looking to play it more and getting my head around the nuances of the game. The deck building and area control aspects along with the limited number of actions the variable gang powers and buildings I like. My biggest gripe is the random nature of how the authorities turn up on the board. In the limited number of games I have played they have had a major roll in how the game plays out. I am hopeful that more plays will allow for better planning for these unfortunate occurrences.
 
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3. Board Game: Eldritch Horror [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:46]
Damean Rendell
New Zealand
Auckland
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I am a big fan of Arkham horror but apart from solo play it is almost impossible to get it on the table....to long, complicated and fiddly!

Enter Eldritch Horror. Same theme, even a lot of the same mechanics but FFG have managed to almost eliminate those 3 gripes my friends had with Arkham. And they managed it without taking away any of the elements that made Arkham so great. No longer do I need five pages of flow charts to run the game.

Eldritch Horror has made a solid case for being my game of the year. It will need more cards to avoid to much event repetition (just as Arkham did)but other than that I really don't have any complaints. Fantasy flight have done a great job of streamlining the Arkham experience without losing the flavor that made it what it was. The biggest downside will be I will not be able to get Arkham to the table anymore.
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4. Board Game: Kemet [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:77]
Damean Rendell
New Zealand
Auckland
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Cyclades is one of my favorite games, so when I saw Kemet I had to get it. I have not been disappointed. I love the art and the different sculpts of the miniatures for each player the board is fantastic and the tiles nice and thick. The little cards could be bigger, but that's a minor gripe.

On top of the great components the game play is top notch, tense and filled with options. I almost always do something different each game just to try out the myriad of different power combo's. It has taken a little bit to become ok with the card combat only because I like dice but I am coming around. I am eager to get the Cyclades cross over monster expansion so I can use the beasties from each game in the other.
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5. Board Game: Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:123] [Average Rating:7.62 Unranked]
Damean Rendell
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I have found a number of deck builders to merely be Ok. I enjoy Thunderstone and Core Worlds well enough and I think Legendary will go into the same list, I like it but it has not blown me away.

The art overall is good, especially in the Dark city expansion which I felt was necessary to make take the game from merely Ok to being pretty good. I am not a fan of the semi co-op aspect and we tend just to play full co-op. I am eager to add the fantastic four and spider friends to the mix.
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6. Board Game: Mage Wars Arena [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:136] [Average Rating:7.75 Unranked]
Damean Rendell
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A good number of years ago I played magic, just casually with some friends. But even in that environment if one of us went and brought a bunch of cards the others fell behind. The game ended up being an arms race. Eventually I stopped playing.

I picked up Mage Wars in the hope it would give me a similar experience to magic, because I really did enjoy the game, but take out what I felt was the negative aspect. I think I have found what I was looking for.

Deck construction, fantasy theme, no more mana scew, great art and solid game play! We only have one set plus a couple of the two mage expansions (have to get the Necromancer one as I think that will be my go to mage). We have made up decks for each of the mages and have a lot of fun. Now and then we tinker with the decks but have found them to be fairly balanced over all.
 
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7. Board Game: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:286]
Damean Rendell
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Auckland
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Pathfinder has been a real hit around here. The game play seems very simple but is rather engaging and the character leveling aspect makes each game interesting, I don't think I have ever been so attached to a deck of cards.

The art and layout are not amazing and the rulebook is not the clearest or all that easy to reference. Fortunately the game is straight forward enough once you get going that rule questions wont come up that often.

I am eager to crack open the first set of the ongoing campaign and get into the game proper.
 
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8. Board Game: Seasons [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:159]
Damean Rendell
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Seasons was a game I was not sure about before I played it. It seemed rather....boring. But it did have dice and some of the most amazing art I have seen in a boardgame.

I am so glad I gave Seasons a go. The card drafting and abilities reminds me a little of magic. I enjoy planning out my strategy from the cards I draft and watching it hopefully unfold. The dice are nice and chunky and add some agonizing decisions about which to take at times.

I would like to get the expansion but do not feel any rush to do so as the base game has so many card combos as to keep the game fresh for a long time. The rulebook is nice and clear and easy to follow. My one gripe would be that it plays long with four players, but with two or three Seasons is great fun.
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9. Board Game: Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:61] [Average Rating:7.83 Unranked]
Damean Rendell
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Auckland
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I brought a bunch of ships for this last Christmas in a sale but didn't get to play it for about six months.

I really enjoy X-wing and will continue to add a few ships now and again. I am a casual player and this is a great game just to grab a few ships and go at it. The miniatures are just amazing, pricey for sure but you do get great quality. I have as yet not ventured into to many of the expansions, just Tie advanced and Y-Wings from the original wave.

Game play is simple and fast but gives me the feeling of Star Wars dog fights which the kid in me just loves. I have found it to be well balanced with the Ties being hard to catch up to but fragile while the X-Wings are robust but out numbered.
 
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10. Board Game: Super Dungeon Explore [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:1069] [Average Rating:6.91 Unranked]
Damean Rendell
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Auckland
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I brought Super Dungeon Explore some time ago and it took me some time to get the figures constructed and painted up (so far I have only managed the heroes and primed the bad guys). I mainly got it for that purpose, it was going to be a window into miniatures.

Game play wise SDE is a lot of fun, the mini's and art style are very cool and I love the old school video game theme. I am not usually a fan of the one v many concept but in this I don't feel I need to go easy on the heroes when I am the bad guys. Both the heroes and consul (bad guy) have lots of cool powers to throw around.

The rulebook is not the clearest however but overall I did not find to many problems with figuring it out. The mini's are great quality but the cards are a bit thin and the cardboard is just ok...I may be spoiled by the great quality of FFG stuff!

I will certainly be picking up some of the expansions....especially the Von Drakk manor as I apparently have a thing for undead stuff. (see the entry for Battlelore and Mage Wars!)
 
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11. Board Game: Deadzone [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:2805]
Damean Rendell
New Zealand
Auckland
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I did not actually get to play Deadzone as it arrived just before Christmas. I loved Necromunda back at university and this looks to be a great replacement for the neglected GW game. I have been busy putting the models together and constructing the fantastic scenery. I am really hopeful of getting into Deadzone once everyone returns from the holidays.

Just from reading through the rules I like the look of the system and campaign game. The models are good, I have not decided if I want to paint them all or just prime them in a single colour per faction yet. The play mats from the kickstarter are very nice but the best part is the scenery. I have a great many buildings to fill the battlefield with.

Really looking forward to getting this to the table in 2014.
 
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