According to my Board Game Stats app, in 2018 I played 104 different games for a total of 354 plays.* Using the number of plays as the metric of measure, 18 of those games comprise the most played games of the year. All of the games were played at least five times (“nickel” or fives) with nine actually having ten or more plays (dimes) and one having more than 25 plays (quarters). Here are the RockyMountainNavy Top Wargames & Boardgames played for calendar year 2018.
- AuZtralia (Stronghold Games, 2018) – At first I thought this game suffered an identity crisis as it mixes so many mechanisms together (time management, resource management, railroad building, tower defense). The more I play it, though, the more it grows on me. I selected AuZtralia as my Boardgame of the Year.
- Patton’s Vanguard: The Battle of Arracourt, 1944 (Revolution Games, 2017) – From designer Michael Rinella; my first introduction to the Area Impulse game mechanic.
- Cataclysm: A Second World War (GMT Games, 2018) – More a political game with a combat resolution mechanic. Every time I play I get a deeper understanding of the game and appreciate the narrative it delivers.
- Root (Leder Games, 2018) – Asymmetric conflict with furry little creatures. Have to respect designer Cole Wehrle and Leder Games for bringing this “waro” to the larger boardgaming community. Not mechanically complex, but build a wonderful narrative. I have grown to appreciate the game much more than my initial impressions conveys. Root is also my Game of the Year.
- Silver Bayonet: The First Team in Vietnam, 1965 (25th Anniversary Edition) (GMT Games, 2016) – The closest to a classic “wargame” in my Top 10 Played of the Year. The many smaller scenarios provided ease learning the game and help it get to the table more often.
- Survive: Escape from Atlantis (30th Anniversary Edition) (Stronghold Games, 2012) – Sure, the game has a very strong “take that” mechanic but sometimes its needed. The RockyMountainNavy Boys actually introduced this game to several non-boardgaming friends who liked it!
- Rhino Hero: Super Battle (HABA, 2017) – This is a family game that masquerades as kid’s game. A title that we can pull out when a non-gaming family visits that appeals to all ages.
- Enemies of Rome (Worthington Publishing, 2017) – This is the go-to Game Night title according to the youngest RockyMountainNavy Boy. Popular because of its theme and ability to support more than two players.
- Queendomino (Blue Orange Games, 2018) – Sister game (no pun intended) to the Spiel des Jahres- winning Kingdomino, this title is more the gamers-version with additional mechanics that don’t add much overhead. Whereas Kingdomino is a gateway or filler game, Queendomino is meaty enough to make it to the table on Game Night.
- Table Battles (Hollandspiele, 2017) – Given this game arrived early December and is already on the list should tell you how enjoyable the gaming experience is. Doesn’t hurt that it can play in filler game time (less than 30 min).
- Ticket to Ride: New York (Days of Wonder, 2018) – Ticket to Ride reduced to 15 minutes or less. A great gateway game or quick filler!
- Quarto Mini (Gigamic, 2014) – A thinky, puzzling “connect 4-ish” game. Easy filler game that the youngest RockyMountainNavyBoy prefers (I have to stop accepting his challenges since he always seems to win). The RMN Boys took this game to Korea with them on their summer trip and challenged cousins. I also recently discovered that the game made an (uncredited) appearance on Star Trek: Voyager:
- ICECOOL (Brain Games, 2017) – Picked this one up as a kid’s game for Mrs. RockyMountainNavy to use with her students but it’s actually a great family game. Another game to bring out with non-gaming guests.
- Tiny Epic Galaxies (Gamelyn Games, 2015) – Picked this one up as a travel game but the short play time means it gets used as an extended filler game.
- Animal Upon Animal (HABA, 2017) – Bought for Mrs. RockyMountainNavy’s youngest students. It’s amazing how many fundamental skills this game hits, from fine motor skills to learning how to take turns to simple decision making.
- Kingdomino (Blue Orange Games, 2017) – Already mentioned as a great gateway or filler game. In addition to the 5×5 base game can play the 7×7 two-player or Royal Wedding-variant when added to Queendomino. Don’t forget Kingdomino Expansion: Age of Giants from this year too!
- Happy Salmon (North Star Games, 2017) – A game that I never expected to see on my list. After all, it’s a Party Game. The RockyMountainNavy Boys took the game with them to Korea leading to one of the highlights of the year when Mrs. RMN called home in tears from laughing so hard as all the family played the game.
- Rhino Hero (HABA, 2011) – Another kid’s game that is a great family game. In one of the more recent games we got to 13 levels before collapse. Truly epic!
* Actually, one needs to add one more game (Battle of Issy 1815) and three more plays for a total of 105 games played 357 times. The game submission in BoardGameGeek has languished for over a week now and without it added to the database BGStats won’t count it!
Featured image from HABA USA.