My Top 10 Games of 2017
Michael W
United States
Texas
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So, another year of playing amazing board games go by. Here are my top 10 games I played that came out this year! There's still December, but I don't expect to be playing any new games next month. Enjoy!
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1. Board Game: Sagrada [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:168]
Michael W
United States
Texas
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#10

The theme in Sagrada is that you're constructing a stained glass window, and you'll be doing this through dice drafting and placement.

I really enjoy this game, and the aesthetics certainly play a big part. Very colorful, beautiful game. Being a rather light-weight game, it's easy to get to the table with nongamers, the theme is easy to understand, and the gameplay is simple and fast.

It reminds me of a game I played last year-- Roll Player. Similar idea, where you draft dice, and you have restrictions on where these dice can go in your tableau. I think I enjoy Roll Player slightly more, but if I want something quick with a similar feel, I'll grab Sagrada first.
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2. Board Game: Azul [Average Rating:8.01 Overall Rank:48] [Average Rating:8.01 Unranked]
Michael W
United States
Texas
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#9

Azul is an abstract game where you'll be drafting beautiful, solid tiles, and place them in your array. If you draft enough tiles of the same color, you'll be able to place them on your board and immediately score some points.

At the end of the game, there will be some additional scoring based on completed rows, columns, and sets of colors.

Like Sagrada, this is another light-weight, easy to bring out game, especially on busy days to help unwind. I think this game easily plays best with 2, and there's plenty of strategic decisions on which grouping of tiles to draft from.
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3. Board Game: Ethnos [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:244]
Michael W
United States
Texas
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#8

Ethnos is amazing. I've heard some people compare it to Ticket of Ride, and there are definitely a few similarities. On your turn, you'll do one of two things: Take a card face up from the row, or play a set of cards from your hand.

Cards represent different races in Ethnos, and when you play sets of these cards, they'll activate their special ability. Your main goal is to play sets of cards to place tokens in regions on the board, area control style. One interesting twist is that when you play a set of cards (a band), the rest of the cards in your hand are discarded.

At the end of each age, regions will score based on majority, and then you'll go again.

My favorite part is how misleading the cover is. Still, a great game.
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4. Board Game: Century: Spice Road [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:218] [Average Rating:7.47 Unranked]
Michael W
United States
Texas
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#7

So far, all the games on my list have been relatively light, and that trend is continues with Century: Spice Road.

In Century: Spice Road, you'll be collecting spice to deliver to locations--cards that will award you points. You'll do this by playing cards, cards that will let you gain more spice, upgrade spice you already have, or gain a new card to add to your hand.

Century: Spice Road does something I really enjoy. When you play a card, it stays in front of you, and you'll have to spend a turn to collect them all back in your hand. Mission: Red Planet and Concordia do a similar thing, and it works here too.

Quick game, I enjoy it at all player counts, and it was a great buy this year for me. If the spice trading theme doesn't work for you, check out the Golem Edition!
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5. Board Game: Viral [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:1198]
Michael W
United States
Texas
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#6

When I first heard about Viral, watched a couple of videos, and read the rule book, I knew I had to have it. Area control games are some of my favorite-- I've mentioned Mission: Red Planet already on this list, but this game has a bit of Small World in it too.

In this game, players will take the role of viruses infecting some poor soul. The goal of the game is to spread your virus through the system, and gain control of certain regions by attacking other viruses, spawning new ones, or even absorbing your enemies so that they don't affect scoring that round. At the end of each round, players score based on majority (and perhaps a special event card), and a new round starts.

The card play is really interesting, because each player will play two cards: One that is an action, and one that is a location where that action will occur. And once this pair of cards is played, it'll take a couple rounds before you get those cards back in your hand.

Lots of fun, so check it out!
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6. Board Game: Clans of Caledonia [Average Rating:8.16 Overall Rank:60]
Michael W
United States
Texas
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#5

I had to include at least one heavy euro on my list, and Clans of Caledonia is the one.

In Clans of Caledonia, you'll take the role of a clan in Scotland, and your goal is to, well, gain the most victory points. You'll achieve this goal by creating buildings, or upgrading, or selling goods and purchasing goods from a market. Scoring happens based on the current round (kind of like Isle of Skye if you've played that, though they are very different otherwise).

I think there are a few things that make this game one of my favorites for the year, and if this game lacked of any them, I might not have even enjoyed it. One-- the different clans. They all provide some kind of amazing special ability in the game, akin to the explorers you choose in The Voyages of Marco Polo. Two is the modular board, which can help vary things from game to game.

There's just way too much to go into on this list, but if you like heavy economic euros, give it a try!
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7. Board Game: Dinosaur Island [Average Rating:7.98 Overall Rank:321] [Average Rating:7.98 Unranked]
Michael W
United States
Texas
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#4

I played Dinosaur Island almost on theme alone, and I'm glad I did. It is, for the most part, Jurassic Park, the board game.

In Dinosaur Island, players will be creating their own dinosaur park, attracting guests, creating new dinosaurs using DNA, and using security to make sure none of your guests get eaten in the process.

The main mechanic here is dice drafting. At the start of the round, players will draft dice and use those dice to do actions. These actions include increasing your DNA reserves, creating Dinosaurs which require specific amounts of DNA, purchasing employees that'll give you special bonuses, and increasing your security, which directly correlates to the threat in your park based on how many and what type of dinosaurs you have.

I'm glad that there's a good game included in this great theme. Some people have criticized the design, but personally I love the 80's look the cover has. It really helps it stand out. Great game!
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8. Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 [Average Rating:8.53 Overall Rank:33]
Michael W
United States
Texas
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#3

Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 is the sequel to Pandemic Legacy: Season 1.

If you've played Pandemic, you know the basic idea. Your job is to help control the spread of viruses.

I feel kind of bad that this game is on this list, because honestly, there is so little I can say about it without spoiling the many twists and turns you'll experience. I will say that although you can play this game without ever playing Season 1, I highly recommend you play this after.

If you didn't like Pandemic Legacy, you won't like this one, but if you did, I think you'll be in for a treat.
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9. Board Game: Gloomhaven [Average Rating:9.01 Overall Rank:1]
Michael W
United States
Texas
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#2

Gloomhaven is my second favorite game of the year, and very well may be my favorite eventually.

Gloomhaven is an epic fantasy, open world style, dungeon crawling, light RPG-ish adventure board game. You and three others will take the role as heroes(?) who'll team up to go on quests situated in and around the town of Gloomhaven. With 90+ scenarios to work through (though some choices you make will lock some paths), you'll have a ton to explore.

The reason I enjoy Gloomhaven so much is the tactical card play. Each player has a hand of cards, and each card is split into two halves. You'll choose two cards to play, performing the top action of one card and the bottom of another. They'll also affect turn order that round. If your card involves an attack, you'll also be drawing from a modifier deck that'll either increase or decrease the power of your attack. Finally, the cards you have are essentially your life, and the longer a scenario goes on for, the higher chance there is for you to run out of cards to play.

Gloomhaven is huge, probably the largest board game I have, and I can't even begin to describe all the different mechanisms found within. It's also definitely not a game for everyone. To get the full enjoyment out of it, you may have to set aside several weeks of playtime for your gaming group. But if you can get invested in the story and the theme, and you enjoy a euro-style hand management tactical card play, you may want to give Gloomhaven a try.
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10. Board Game: Wasteland Express Delivery Service [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:851]
Michael W
United States
Texas
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#1

Wasteland Express Delivery Service is my favorite game of 2017, and after multiple plays, I think it might be somewhere in my top 10--or even top 5 of all time.

In Wasteland Express Delivery Service, you'll take the role of, essentially, a delivery truck driver, where you'll be purchasing goods and selling them elsewhere. Along the way, you'll be able to upgrade your truck with a variety of mods, like machine guns or more space for cargo. Your main goal is to complete priority objectives, of which there are 3 public ones, and you can find more by doing jobs for factions in the wasteland.

These objectives define the game, and you'll be doing all kinds of interesting things-- one of my favorites being stealing a nuclear bomb from a raider enclave and driving all the way across the wasteland with raiders constantly chasing you down, and delivering the nuke to ANOTHER raider enclave. So thematic, and so fun.

I can go on and on about this game, and I know it will not even get on the radar of a lot of people's lists, and that is fine. I think I can sum up my enjoyment for the following reasons: Great, amazing theme, smooth and very quick turns, and satisfying game play when you unload a ton of cargo for a lot of cash or complete an objective.

I'd recommend checking out gameplay videos before you buy, but if you enjoy the theme and the pick up and deliver mechanism, I think this is one you'll really want to try. My number 1 favorite of 2017, Wasteland Express Delivery Service.
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