Patrick's Top Games of 2017 (Patrick Hillier)
Patrick's Top Games of 2017
This list also appeared over on Patrick's Website.
Over at What Did You Play This Week Podcast they asked us to all submit our top three or so games we played that were published in 2017 - I had a hard time coming up with that list. Per BGStats I played 202 different games in 2017 but BGG will not let you sort by year very easily. I did a quick search and it appears there were 35 published in 2017. I've kind of went away from the "cult of the new" and started to focus on playing some older games and unplayed games in my collection so there are not as many as I'd expect.
None the less I did come up with a list but felt I needed to add some categories first:
Best Expansion: Clank!: Sunken Treasure by Renegade games.
This adds a new board and cards to the base game. It also added cards with a discard function that sort of acts as a "cull" that many felt were missing from the base game. The app was quickly updated and I was able to play it solo with the app many times.
Best Reprint: Notre Dame: 10th Anniversary by Alea/Ravensburger
This is a well loved game by Stephan Feld. I have heard the stories and seen it played and wanted to give it a try. The bonus of a mini expansion of some cards for The Castles of Burgundy was an added bonus that made me decide to get it having never actually played it. I found the interaction of play racing your carriages between the neighborhoods to get the tokens, yet building up your own buildings and fending off your rat plague an interesting balance.
Biggest Disappointment: First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet Portal Games
My disappointment mostly lies with a long history of Portal having issued games with no blind play testing and it clearly showing in the final result with dozens of pages of questions on BGG within a few days if it hitting the market. I was very excited about this theme and decided to give them another try and ordered it and was unable to play it from the rules/video and app when it first arrived. They have since updated things but too little to late. The game is also just very negative. You start with everything and the game continually beats you down, it just isn't fun.
Played but Missing, games that you will likely see on others' top list but not mine:
Spirit Island: by Greater Than Games - Fabled Nexus
I went into this soured by the delayed Kickstarter delivery - maybe this clouding my thoughts also. I enjoy this game, but do not love it. I've played it solo a few times and felt it needed more players to have the powers to react to each other. The only time I played as a group was with four and it took too long. Maybe 2-3 is the sweet spot. It is solid but just not grabbing me to push to play it more.
Wasteland Express Delivery Service: By Pandasuarus Games.
I enjoy a good pick up and delivery game. The play length, some confusing play - why do I need to wait a turn to do this or why are there cards that effectively make me "miss a turn". These make this less fun that it could be. Amazing art and game production.
Gloomhaven: by Cephalophair Games
I jumped on the second wave kickstarter bandwagon thinking I'd play this solo. Too much going on for my brain to keep track of solo. I've played it once two player and I see the interest but due to the size and complexity it can't really travel well and set up/tear down is complex so it just doesn't get played very often.
Have not played yet, but want to try:
- The 7th Continent - rave reviews but the huge size and repeat nature scared me off.
- Charterstone - normally I'd like this but some of the reviews I've heard have me concerned.
- Lisboa - I'm sure I'll try it but unlikely to want to own it.
- Azul - I really enjoy this tile game with gorgeous bits. There can be some "take that" with how you draft the tiles. I definitely want to play it more than I have so far.
- Sagrada - I think I'm just burnt out on this. Played it a lot early in the year but moved on. This is how I am - not necessarily a reflection of the game.
- The Fox & the Forest - amazing two player trick taking game. I've just not played it much but I wanted to mention it.
Ok, here is the final list, the one you have been waiting for....
My top games published in 2017:
#3 Sid Meier's Civilization: A New Dawn by Fantasy Flight Games
A relatively new to me game with only two plays. I'm a long time civilization builder game player, but with board games and digitally. This game claims to fit that bill in 1.5-2 hours and seems to work. Starting with one city and limited tech and you expand your civilization, growing out, learning tech, fighting off barbarians, and building wonders - all the things I like to do in these types of games.
#2 Nmbr9 by ABACUSSPIELE
A fairly abstract tile building game. All players have to stack roughly number shaped based on the card drawn if they can or put them on the lowest level that scores nothing. Although there are other similar game the third - vertical dimension is what sets this one apart for me.
#1 Near and Far - Red Raven Games
The next story telling game in the Above and Below universe. This adds a bit more game and a little less story telling. The addition of a campaign mode with multiple maps along with the arcade mode for single play games adds more variety and long term interest. The usual fantastic art from Ryan and great kickstarter coins and bit are added plus.