2017 Top 25 20-16 (Brandon Kempf)
20. Rocky Road A La Mode(8 plays) - The first of two Green Couch Games’ titles on this list, and probably the most wonderfully themed, at least to this ice cream fiend it is. Another wonderful set collection game with a fun theme, imagine that. This time you are ice cream truck drivers and you are trying to get the right type of tasty frozen treat to your customers. Fun thing about this one is that as you complete orders, you are going to be more known for certain types of frozen treats so you will always have some in your supply. It’s a neat mechanism that really builds the pace of the game as you go. Absolutely a wonderful game in that small Green Couch Games box from designer Joshua Mills.
19. Stop Thief!(3 plays) - I know, this is an OLD title. I think that enough was changed in this version to warrant calling this particular Stop Thief! a new title for 2017. It takes that wonderfully futuristic piece of plastic from the original and turns it into a wonderful app for you phone, no more being confused by sounds. It also gets rid of the roll and move with a hand of cards for each player that has specific amounts of movements on them and some special abilities. It really modernizes a classic family game with mechanisms that match the current trend in board gaming and gets the tech perfect. Restoration Games narrowly missed having 3 titles on this list, oops, I’m spoiling something for the future.
18. Dragon Castle(2 plays) - Have you ever asked a friend to pick up a $60 game and drag it halfway across the world for you just because you don’t know if you’ll be able to get it at home for quite awhile? If you answered yes, we’ll start having a support group next week. This was that game that I asked for from Essen 2017. I love the idea of this game and I love the look of this game, but the first couple plays, while very serviceable and enjoyable, they just didn’t inspire a lot of back to back plays. It’s a good game, don’t get me wrong, but with the setup taking almost as long as the game, it suffers a bit there. But ooh boy is it a beautiful game and it is good, I just hope it has some staying power.
17. Ladder 29(5 plays) - A climbing game, themed around FireFighters. Really, that’s all I need to say, right? This year has been a year for me in which I have rediscovered my fondness of card games. Thanks to a certain someone in our game group pushing them a bit. I’ve discovered old ones like Tichu and Sticheln and new ones like Claim, Fox in the Forest, Indulgence and this one from Green Couch Games and the Fleeples. I love the Hot Spot Cards in Ladder 29. They present a new challenge to try to overcome each and every round. Fantastic, inclusive art on the high quality cards make this one a possible classic card game in the making, which you have to feel is what they were going for, and they nailed it.
16. QueenDomino(1 play) - Oh boy, another 1 play game on the list, but not the highest. I wanted to put the absolutely wonderful Kingdomino on the list, but just because I first played it in 2017, doesn’t mean that it was actually published in 2017, which I found out. So I’m putting Queendomino on here both because I love KingDomino and because QueenDomino is pretty damn good on it’s own. I was honestly worried that QueenDomino would add things to the mix and make a great short game bogged down in completely superfluous actions and stretch the original out past it’s welcome time vs fun point, but it doesn’t, it works absolutely fantastic.I’m going out on a limb here, but could Blue Orange repeat their SDJ win with this one? We’ll see, but I almost bet it gets a nomination at least.