2016 Top 25 2016 5-1 (Brandon Kempf)
5. Santorini designed by Gord!
Last played 6/8/17
I love abstracts, but rarely do abstracts grab my family like Santorini did as soon as we got it. It's a simple premise, get one of your pieces to the 3rd floor of a building, and honestly, even without the God powers that Roxley Games added to this wonderful game it plays like a dream. But you add in those God powers and the game takes on something completely different. It changes everything, literally. Top it all off with some absolutely gorgeous production and you've got yourself a classic remake of what was already kind of a "cult" classic game that literally could be played with rocks.
4. Captain Sonar designed by Roberto Fraga & Yohan Lemonnier
Last played 9/3/16
Captain Sonar is that rare social game that I absolutely adore, it's one part strategy, one part deception, one part social interaction and one part paying close attention to your opponents. I just wish I had times when we could play this, I rarely have 8 people together at one time, and that's the only way I will play, oh, and in real time as well, we don't need no stinking kids gloves here. I love the role of manning the Sonar and carefully listening and plotting the courses of both boats, trying to lead your Captain to strike at the correct time. Just an absolute romp each and every time we play. Just be warned, I have been known to curse like a sailor when playing this though, so buyer beware.
3. Clank! A Deck Building Adventure designed by Paul Dennen
Last played 12/31/17
Clank is a deck builder at heart, but what makes the game is the push your luck nature of what you are doing on the board. It gives you a reason for doing everything that you do. You all know the game by now, you are adventurers diving into the dungeon to try to get the most loot and make it out alive, because what good is the most loot if you are dead. All the while you are running around pillaging and looting you are making noise that sounds like CLANK! and you getting dangerously close to having the dragon that lurks below zero in on you and eat you as an appetizer. The game plays simple, play your hand of 5 cards in the best possible way possible and hope that you do everything fast enough to get out. Just a wonderful game and one of the few games to take deck building and actually do something fun with it around other mechanisms and have it make sense.
2. The Colonists designed by Tim Puhls
Last played 10/9/2017
22 hours of play logged
There really isn't a lot to say about The Colonists. It's big, it's bulking and it's long. I don't care who is playing it, it plays long. But it is a wonderful heavy Civ-like game where you are building the board each era to hopefully benefit you the most. This is so far out of our wheelhouse that it ultimately really surprised me that Kerensa sat down and played this with me, not once, not twice, but three times since we picked it up. I do feel like I am missing out on some things by not really wanting to play the new scenarios that have popped up, and I do have The Colonists: Ante Portas waiting to be tried at some point when we have all day to sit around and enjoy each other's company and fight each other.
1. Kingdomino designed by Bruno Cathala
Last played 10/9/17
I really wasn't expecting this to be my number one game of 2016, but looking back, I don't know that anything else could have truly competed with it. It's an absolutely wonderful tile placement game with a drafting mechanism that keeps the game moving forward at a brisk pace. Ultimately the game is really simple, build like land types together and make sure that you have crowns in there to multiply your total points. You see each land mass square together is 1 point, but if you don't have any crowns, it's zero. So get those crowns. It's fun, it's just thinky enough to make you pause from time to time, but not get bogged down in your choices. An absolutely wonderful design from Bruno Cathala, and a worthy Spiel des Jahres winner in 2016 and a worthy number one here.
You can also see this Top 25 list over on Board Game Geek by clicking HERE!