The Other Tony Awards (My Best of 2013 List)
Tony Hodge
United States
Hanover
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Recommend
23 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
I would like to consider myself a pretty prolific gamer. I play a lot of games and I play almost any kind of game. Even games I'm sure I won't like I tend to subject myself to out of curiosity.

If you look at my profile you will see that I write comments for almost every game I play. I like to put down my thoughts and at this time have going on 600 comments that nobody ever reads.

So this list is my attempt to both get my comments on games seen by a few others and also find out if my views are considered at all any good or well written.

So please let me know what you think of my list and my comments. Tell me I suck or you like it and I'll either crawl back under my rock or write a little bit more and try to get it seen.

This list is in the style of a top 10 with there being more than 10 items but I consider the first item in the list the best game of 2013, the second item the second best, etc. I will also follow the list up with a post with quick comments about some of the other games I've played this year.
Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
  • [+] Dice rolls
1. Board Game: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:286]
Tony Hodge
United States
Hanover
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is currently my second favorite game of all time. If there is one cooperative game every gamer should play, it's this one. Most cooperative games, and most games of any archetype in general, tend to follow a certain system. This game is no different but what it does to set itself apart from the same tropes we've seen time and time again is what really makes it shine.

Almost any cooperative game you play is going to have unique player abilities. However, those abilities can tend to be very on the nose. Your character can break the rules in a very specific way, either moving an extra space or taking an extra action for example. In The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game (heretofore just called Pathfinder) the characters are different by a factor of miles instead of inches. Each character has a completely different profile of abilities, stats, and deck makeup. Playing your character and knowing how and when to use your abilities to best effect is a lot more in depth and carries with it real weight.



I think this also contributes to the eradication of one of the common complaints about most cooperative games in general, the Alpha Gamer. For those unfamiliar with the term, an Alpha Gamer is a player who not only leads the group but takes over for everyone, telling them exactly what to do and making all the decisions for them instead of working with them to make the best decision. In Pathfinder, with such different character profiles, this doesn't become a problem. My character is so different from the other ones at the table that I can focus on what I'm good at and contribute in a very real way to all the decisions.

Pathfinder does an excellent job of capturing the feel of a tabletop RPG and distilling it for board gamers. Each of the adventure paths has a story and thematic sets of locations, monsters, villains, and special rules of play to go along with it. There is a story that ties everything together and players need to play to their class's strengths to succeed. The game, in reality, is just a ton of cards (and dice). Stacks of cards represent everything from the game's timer to the possible encounters at a location, to your own hero's stock of equipment and "life bar". This gives players the tabletop RPG experience is just a fraction of the time and also makes it incredibly accessible.



What really caught me hook, line, and sinker was the breadth of content in this game. Even without buying any of the adventure decks after the first included with the game there is just so much stuff to experience. An adventure consists of a half dozen scenarios each with a different story, villain, henchmen, and set of locations. The loot and monsters for each location are randomly seeded each time so the experience is always new and the prospect of improving your character with new, better loot is immensely exciting.

And that really leads into the selling point of Pathfinder for most people; the continuous campaign. People in the board game community, myself included, love persistent, living games. Each adventure, like I said, consists of a half dozen connected scenarios as part of a larger story and your party is meant to tackle them together, growing in power and experience after each adventure. Each time you play you will find new loot; weapons, armor, spells, allies, and other assorted items to add to your arsenal. That is yours to take with you as you tackle the next obstacle. After many scenarios your powers, stats, and even life/inventory space increase permanently making you overall a better adventurer and ready to take on the next challenge, each one increasing in difficulty to match you head to head and giving you a tense and exciting experience each time.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
2. Board Game: Nothing Personal [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:763]
Tony Hodge
United States
Hanover
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
2013 was a pretty good year for gaming in my book. Two games made my top 10 of all time last year. The first is number one on this list and Nothing Personal is the other. Negotiation games aren't even really my thing most of the time. The problem I have with them is that the negotiation components of many negotiation games are the lion's share of what makes it a game. Which is great if that's the kind of experience you are after but for me to enjoy a negotiation game I would like the negotiation elements to be supplemental, not the main focus. I get that feeling from Nothing Personal, there is a lot of game there and the negotiation elements just enhance that in all the best ways.

First of all, this game has charm oozing out of its ears. This is the kind of game that catches the eye without anyone knowing anything about it. The board has well-drawn and colorful art all across it. Players have their own private family boards with their own unique seals and mottoes and pull several chits bearing their family seal out of a matching tuckbox that came with the game. There are huge stacks of cards and each of the gangsters is drawn beautifully in an amusing caricature style. All around the board there will be stacks of thick cardboard money and metal blackmail tokens. This is a good looking game.



Like I said, there is a lot of game here. Each phase of the game players will need to consider a lot of information and make decisions based on that. There's money and respect income to consider. The powers of both the gangsters and their position. Many of the influence cards have multiple abilities to choose from. And with the ever-changing mob hierarchy players will need to adapt to fit a shake-up on the fly. Add to all that the negotiation elements and this is a reasonably deep game with a lot of interesting decisions to consider. The power position is of course the Capo. The Capo, aside from being a big respect and money maker, breaks all ties for influence over lesser gangsters. On paper this seems like such a slight power and in that there is some brilliance. The amount of control you have over the game through something so seemingly trivial as breaking ties is immense.



The amount of content in this game is incredible. When a game comes with a lot of stuff it immediately becomes more attractive to me. There are tons of gangster cards, especially, and you will only go through a small portion of the deck each game. The gangsters do such a wide range of different things that there is incredible combo potential and no game will feel the same. They also fuel the negotiation aspect of the game as each gangster will provide tangible abilities to trade in. Even without such a huge number of options to pull out of the gangster deck they are so different and there is so much information to consider that combined with the human element of the negotiations you could play this game differently ad infinitum and never feel like your treading the same ground.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
3. Board Game: Duel of Ages II [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:963]
Tony Hodge
United States
Hanover
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Everything about Duel of Ages II is epic in scale. The amount of content is simply staggering from characters to items to map tiles. The amount of information on all of this content is equally lengthy. The amount of time and attention this beast demands of its players is not for the feint of heart. But most importantly, the amount of entertainment and replayability you get in one box is equally incredible.

The content in this game and variability between it all is what really makes this game come alive. The core mechanics are reasonably simple and borrowed from so many basic combat and tabletop RPG systems. Each character has a set of ability scores that are used in combination with dice rolls (represented in this game by a deck of cards that mirrors 1-for-1 the outcomes of the dice results matrix) to determine success or failure of almost every action. Add to that though the vastly different characters and equipment available in the game and every experience should feel brand new.



Many games provide the player with a different play experience based on changes in the player's or board's makeup which facilitates different decisions each time. Duel of Ages II provides players with a different experience by varying both to a huge degree. There are so many characters and they are each so different that you need to plan how to approach the game to best take advantage of their strengths and weaknesses and change up your play style based on that each time. That's just during setup. During the game you will acquire equipment of countless different types from a skateboard to a cannon to a football helmet each with their own special abilities.

The greatest boon of this game is how it provides a framework for how to play. Even following the printed rules where you are trying to accomplish a certain number of achievements to win the game, the way you go about it can take an infinite number of different forms. But with the simplicity of the system yet vast amount of information used to describe each aspect of the game the possibilities for modifying it are equally numerous. There are very few other games where you get so much value in one box.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
4. Board Game: Nations [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:94]
Tony Hodge
United States
Hanover
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nations felt, to me, like the next step up from 7 Wonders but with teeth. This is a mean game that makes a point of punishing somebody every turn and resources are so tight that you just want to be a little bit better than everyone else to make sure it's not you. The game also demands balance in the player's civilizations while also making space such a premium that this doesn't seem possible. And within all of that contradiction lies the puzzle that makes this game so fantastic. There just doesn't seem to be a way to make it through the gauntlet but there is and you need to find it.

Looking through this list you will find a common theme, with me many times content is king. I suppose I just like value from my purchases and typically the more content available in a game the more replayable they are and the more I get for my money. The number of cards that comes in this game serves a very valuable design purpose as well though, providing tactical decisions for the players as well as making the game less susceptible to being solved.



I had a player in one of my games that came into it thinking a military strategy was an easy win only to find so many military cards come out that if he started to spend all his resources on military the rest of the players could easily garrison against him. The game has so much content and so many different variables that you need to adjust each game to what is available and how your opponents are playing. I love that feeling of being able to play the game in a new way each time.

It is also worth mentioning that Nations is clearly a civilization builder but because it is mostly just giant decks of cards plays in a fraction of the time of most other civ games. It is still a large game but is nowhere near as ravenous for your time as many other games of this ilk yet it still manages to provide that same feel without cheating you of anything you might get in those others. Also because the game is mostly just stacks of cards you don't have to spend all that extra time organizing, setting up, and putting away a gargantuan plethora of different components.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
5. Board Game: Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:529]
Tony Hodge
United States
Hanover
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy (heretofore just called Legacy) is a worker placement game with a very strong theme and some original mechanics. There is this nice balance where the action spaces available to each player are located both in the center of the table and on your own personal player board. Players will also somewhat frequently receive extra workers to place of a specific color meaning they can only use a specific space on the central board. This facilitates a healthy amount of player interaction as you try to block your opponents without taking less efficient actions with your limited supply.



The main crux of Legacy is to marry the right person, have children, and marry them off to the right people to have the most powerful family legacy at game end. The right people can mean any number of different things throughout the game, every man and woman in the game has something to offer so maybe it makes more sense for your game strategy to marry your son to that fisherman's daughter as opposed to that noble lady. Also, more prominent figures typically have a dowry cost associated with them so even if you wanted to marry your son to that noble lady you might not be able to afford it.



Since you are in competition with other players, most powerful family becomes something very relative. All of the people available to become a part of your family come from a central pool, as do the title and contribution cards which provide different bonuses to your family. This introduces even more player interaction as becoming the most powerful family could be achieved by promoting yourself above your peers, keeping them down, or some combination of the two. And the people that do marry into your family will provide a diverse set of special abilities that will help guide your hand into what course is best.

If you are interested in this game, take note that when having a child in this game there is a chance to draw a complication at birth card forcing the player to discard either the child or mother. This can be a very sensitive subject to many but it is both historically accurate and mechanically relevant. I mention that it is mechanically relevant because the designer has suggested if you enjoy the game but this is too sensitive of a subject for you, you can simply remove the cards from the game. However, without these cards the game suffers. One of the primary goals of the game is having children so without the chance that you will draw these cards a great deal of the tension in this game when taking that action is lost.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
6. Board Game: Francis Drake [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:331]
Tony Hodge
United States
Hanover
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The first thing that needs to be brought to attention with Francis Drake are the absolutely fantastic components. Just looking at this game it's impossible not to want to play it even knowing nothing about it. I don't know that I've ever seen another game put this much care into the pieces. All the cardboard is thick with beautiful art on it. The board is humongous and equally gorgeous. The player pieces are solid plastic ships in that player's color. The goods crates are actually little rubber crates. The gold, silver, and jewels are different colored glass beads that go into these little cardboard treasure chests. And this is all separated and stored neatly in a plastic tray inside the box, also with beautiful artwork on it.



Of course, none of that would matter if Francis Drake wasn't a good game but this is a very good game with reasonably simple gameplay. The mechanic that makes this game stand out among so much other worker placement fare is the street along which players place their workers in the first phase of the game. Each round the tiles depicting what action can be taken on them are shuffled up and placed at random along a street. Each tile has a limited number of spaces and some spaces are more beneficial than others so the first player to stop on any tile will get better use out of it. The catch is that you can never go backwards along this street so you are forced to make decisions on which tiles to skip over and miss out on entirely in order to get to others first.

Those decisions are incredibly interesting and very well balanced with the rest of the game as a whole. Consider also that the first one to finish during phase two gets to select their stop first during the following round's phase 1. There is always an opportunity cost in this game and considering those costs is the key to the best strategy. There's not as much going on in this game compared to many others on this list and there certainly isn't as much variability as most of them but what is here is so elegant that I can't help but be won over every time I play.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
7. Board Game: Madeira [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:300]
Tony Hodge
United States
Hanover
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Madeira is easily the heaviest game I played during 2013. It is incredibly deep and complicated and yet I don't feel like it bludgeons you over the head with it. Quite the opposite, actually. I feel like Madeira,despite its barriers to entry, is very inviting. There is so much going on but if ever you find yourself stuck, Madeira seems to provide an out. Almost like a participation ribbon for trying your hardest, maybe you'll do better next round.

As an example, the driving mechanic of Madeira is worker placement through dice rolls. The dice are six-sided but only range from 1-3 and can be placed on action spaces of their number or lower. But if you want to use a higher action space, that's okay, just use one of the community pirate dice or pay a bread. And most of the resources in this game seem to strike the perfect balance of being tight enough that collecting them is meaningful but not so scarce that you feel suffocated trying to get stuff done. If ever you don't have enough resources to pay for upkeep, that's okay too, just take some piracy tokens. You can get rid of those later. And to help coddle you through it all are bright pastel colors on a beautiful board where all of the game's reminder information is printed without looking too cluttered.



Because of the game's depth and complexity I spent most of my first play without a real end game in mind. I was simply exploring everything the game had to offer and kindly saying thank you every time it let me off the hook for a mistake. Once you do have a deeper understanding not only of how Madeira works but what you're actually supposed to do then a whole world of opportunities presents itself. Madeira's complexity is indicative of the huge breadth of options players have and many varied paths to the end game available. And each of your options truly are just as viable as the others.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
8. Board Game: Bora Bora [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:155]
Tony Hodge
United States
Hanover
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Stefan Feld famously released 4 titles during 2013. Half of them are on this list and I consider Bora Bora to be the better of those two. Feld has always been one of my favorite designers because he's incredible with mechanics. All of his games, despite typically being similar in focus, do something original that I just find fascinating. In Bora Bora the mechanic in question is the descending dice requirement used for action selection. Players take actions based on the roll of 3 dice. A higher numbered die placed on an action space provides more or better options but each subsequent die placed on that action needs to be lower. So by placing a die with 1 pip showing, for example, you might not have as many options but you prevent anyone else from using that action for that round.



There are of course ways to cheat the system, which is good. I think without flexibility the game would go from brilliant and fascinating to suffocating and frustrating pretty quickly. The rest of Bora Bora is a motley assortment of mini games that provide points in different ways. There is variation in almost all of the components so which of those mini games to tackle will change each time you play giving it a lot of replayability. Not to mention the tactical decision making required when opponents lock you out of planned actions.

A month ago Bora Bora probably wouldn't have been this high on the list. I got a severe case of sensory overload every time I played. There are bright colors everywhere and the reasonably small boards are packed with hieroglyphics detailing all your many available options. I just adored that dice mechanic too much to get rid of it and I discovered you just need a bit of experience to corral your options in your mind. Once you have a handle on how everything works you can enjoy the ride a lot more and what a fantastic ride it is.

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
9. Board Game: Bruges [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:198]
Tony Hodge
United States
Hanover
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My second favorite 2013 Feld game isn't far behind my first. Bruges is a very accessible game for a middle weight Euro, I've been able to get people to play this game at all levels from non to hardcore gamers. I think it is because the basic rules for this game all revolve around color matching and every one of the half dozen actions is taken with the same deck of cards. That's actually my favorite part of this game, is how the hand of cards you have is used for every function of this game so each time you play a card there are several other things you can't do with that card. Specifically the people on the cards which are the most varied part of the game.

Each card has a person on it with a special ability. But to play a person you first need to build a house so that house can never be played for his person card. But to build a house you need that color of meeple so the card you discarded for meeples can never be used for his person card. The people also cost money, you get the idea. Every action you take in this game has immediately obvious opportunity costs and measuring the value of each action is the challenge of this game. There will always be something useful to do but it may not be the useful thing you wanted to do. What I like about this system is that nobody is ever going to finish Bruges thinking they completely messed up. There are no wasted actions and you can always feel yourself moving forward.

4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
10. Board Game: Eldritch Horror [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:46]
Tony Hodge
United States
Hanover
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Eldritch Horror occupies a unique game space for me. It just squeaks into my top 10 from 2013 but it isn't a game I would recommend for everyone. The reason why should be somewhat obvious; it is incredibly similar to Arkham Horror which is itself a great game. The reason I got it myself was simply because my wife enjoys cooperative games but Arkham was a bit much for her and she had heard Eldritch was more accessible. And it is. In fact, I think that is the perfect audience for Eldritch Horror; people who really want to enjoy Arkham but just find it to overwhelming.

I, myself, even though I greatly enjoy Arkham, much prefer Eldritch Horror. It does a lot of what Arkham does after all but improves on it in almost every way. It has done an incredible job of simplifying the Arkham system while keeping all the delicious bits intact. I was of the opinion that the structure of Arkham too often boiled down to the same routine; you moved about the map trying your hardest to kill monsters and close gates while also bolstering your arsenal for the fight with the Great One that more often than not capped off the game. Don't get me wrong, like I said, I enjoyed Arkham, this was an entertaining routine and the amount of content in the cards varied the experience quite a bit. But with Eldritch the experiences are even more unique each time.



Eldritch has completely replaced Arkham for me. It's a more accessible, less fiddly, more thematic, and in my opinion, better game. That's coming from a hardcore gamer, which I consider myself to be to some degree, so it's not just a watered down version of Arkham to sell more copies. Like I said at the top of these comments though I doubt it is worth getting if you already own and enjoy Arkham. It's not different enough to justify the expense in my opinion and even though I prefer Eldritch I can see many others preferring the much deeper Arkham system.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
11. Board Game: Bruxelles 1893 [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:251]
Tony Hodge
United States
Hanover
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
2013 was an incredible year in gaming. That becomes even more clear to me when a game like Bruxelles 1893 comes in just under the wire of my top 10. Bruxelles 1893 is an incredible game and one that I think should be a model of how you turn a potentially dry Euro into a thing of beauty. At first glance this game looks like it would give you cottonmouth but instead it hits all the right notes. Almost everything in the game has a variable setup, the mechanics are fresh feeling, and there is a huge amount of player interaction. Every game of this is going to be tense and enjoyable and feel unique.

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
12. Board Game: Glass Road [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:209]
Tony Hodge
United States
Hanover
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
If I told you an Uwe Rosenberg game existed that played in under an hour but still had an astronomical amount of depth and two very unique game mechanics, would you believe me? I present to you Glass Road. The two unique mechanics are what make this game phenomenal. The first is the resource wheel that often times forces you to transform basic goods into refined goods whether you want to or not. The other is the card play system that has you trying to figure out which cards your opponents will play and when so you can get the most production out of your choices. The decision trees are endless and yet the game ends after just 4 rounds of play giving you just a taste of all this magic.

4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
13. Board Game: Blueprints [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:722]
Tony Hodge
United States
Hanover
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I can be a bit of a gaming snob. You could look at the rest of this list and tell I'm not usually a fan of the small, lighter fare of games and would almost always rather stay up too late to play a heavy 2 hour game than wind down with a light filler. Blueprints has defied the odds though and is one of my favorite games of 2013. This is a light, 30 minute dice chucking jaunt but actually packs quite a wallop of interesting strategic and tactical decisions. I think most fellow gamer snobs would be pleasantly surprised at how much this little package has to offer.

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
14. Board Game: Russian Railroads [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:67]
Tony Hodge
United States
Hanover
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I am a worker placement junkie. Close to half of the games on this list are worker placement games and they each stand out from so much chaff by doing something amazing and Russian Railroads is no exception. Russian Railroads is a marvel of design. It is heavy, complex, and deep, providing such a gigantic wealth of interwoven options to players but does it with so much elegance that it runs smooth like a well oiled machine. Russian Railroads is also mean and unforgiving to mistakes. It demands respect from its players, which it deserves. This may put many others off but for me I just want to keep coming back and prove my worth.

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
15. Board Game: City of Iron [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:821]
Tony Hodge
United States
Hanover
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
City of Iron is an interesting game, I think it probably gives players more control than any other game in recent memory. It also has a lot going on, almost like a simplified civilization builder. Players are each trying to balance economics, military, science, their available citizens, and more. I love games with so much going as it provides players with different options each time they play the game. With so much control over at least your piece of the game you really know at the end that you lost or won by your own hand. This could be good or bad depending on how it ends for you.

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
16. Board Game: Caverna: The Cave Farmers [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:14]
Tony Hodge
United States
Hanover
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It's interesting that in 2013 two games made my list that I feel were among the best from 2013 but also I wouldn't recommend for everyone. They are also both games that won me over with their accessible reform of another game. Caverna is Agricola simplified. Agricola is my favorite game and Caverna lands far from replacing it but is still good in its own right. I do feel that Caverna did away with the best parts of Agricola, the cards, but in doing this many more people take to Caverna than Agricola. Caverna also introduces a weapon and quest system which I am a big fan of but the main selling point for me is that Caverna is a game with a lot of Agricola in it that more people are willing to play.

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Tony Hodge
United States
Hanover
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The Also Good

City of Remnants - Nice array of choices and interesting blend of area control, combat, and deck building. The starting decks aren't all very well balanced though which hurts it some.

Concordia - Simple trade and small deck building game. Very interesting scoring mechanic. Not so great with 2 players though.

Dungeon Roll - One of the best press your luck dice rolling games I've played. Variable player powers makes it more interesting but not much more to it than that and is just a simultaneous solo experience.

Freedom: The Underground Railroad - Nice, puzzley, cooperative game. It's very thinky and I like having to manage two different win criteria.

Guildhall: Job Faire - Same as Guildhall but with new, although similar, professions. Neat mechanics and nice amount of player interaction.

Kings of Air and Steam - Accessible pick up and deliver game that plays smoothly. Not as much interaction as I would like.

Kings of Artifice - Great game in theory. However, lacks incentive for interaction and ends up being a solo experience.

Pixel Tactics 2 - Same as Pixel Tactics 1, neat two player battle game. Decent amount of content and I like how each card can be played in 5 different ways.

Terror in Meeple City - Probably the best dexterity game I've ever played. More of an activity than an actual game. Silly fun.

Rialto - My third favorite 2013 Feld game. Interesting card drafting and playing mechanic. I felt like it was a little lacking in tension though.

Steam Park - Fun and simple Yahtzee style game with real time mechanics. Not as much variety as I would like and the bonus cards are kind of bland.

The Duke - Neat twist on a chess style game that plays quickly. Experience differences between players hurts the game some.

The Not so Bad

Amerigo - My least favorite of the 2013 Felds. I like the tower gimmick but it doesn't work well and the game lacks end game meaningful decisions.

BioShock Infinite: The Siege of Columbia - 2 player area control game with some pretty interesting mechanics. The board felt a bit too claustrophobic to me.

Dead Panic - This year saw a lot of game rehashes. This is just Castle Panic with a couple variations. Kind of plays itself, not enough interesting options.

Forbidden Desert - Another game rehash. This is just Forbidden Island and like Island is simply overshadowed by other, better coops.

Heroes of Metro City - This is a fine and thematic deckbuilder. But there are so many better deckbuilders out there.

Space Cadets: Dice Duel - Pretty much just silly chaos. Fine if that's what you're after.

Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends - I'm not an abstract guy usually and the theme here doesn't come through for me.

The Little Prince: Make Me a Planet - Very interesting tile drafting game. Not enough decisions though and the ones there are typically came easy to me.

Time 'n' Space - Neat gimmick but there's not enough going on to hold my interest for too long.

The Ugly

Boss Monster: The Dungeon Building Card Game - Way too random for my tastes with some balance issues.

Castle Dice - Some serious balance issues and skimpy scoring possibilities. Also, an obnoxiously big box.

Cinque Terre - Super simplified pick up and deliver. Way too breezy with not enough to do.

Colonialism - Simple area control that's been mutilated with unnecessarily convoluted rules. One of the ugliest games of the year.

Quarantine - Feels horribly unfinished with some unnecessarily convoluted mechanics and so few points to pass around.

Serpent's Tongue - Original idea that just doesn't work in practice.

Storm the Castle! - Worst game I've ever seen come out of Kickstarter. Horribly convoluted rules and worst component quality of 2013.

The Great Heartland Hauling Co. - Lucky draw, the game.

Ultimate Werewolf: Inquisition - Werewolf where the werewolves always win.

Games from 2013 I still want to play:

Archon: Glory & Machination
Battle For Souls
Carnival Zombie
Craftsmen
CV
Lewis & Clark
Patchistory
Plunder
Rococo
Shadows over the Empire
Yunnan
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.