With the decade coming to a close, I wanted to look at my top games of the past ten years. As someone who got into the hobby in 2011, this seemed like a perfect reflection of not just the hobby, but of my decade of playing as well.
Without further ado, lets look at 2010.
My top five games are 7 Wonders, Dominant Species, Fresco, Hanabi, and Lords of Vegas.
Honorable mention include: K2, and Merchants and Marauders.
7 Wonders gets the top spot for the year in my opinion. It’s not my favorite game by any metric but the longevity and impact it had speaks towards why it fills the top spot. The game tackles a universal theme with easy to follow rules and mechanics. 7 Wonders isn’t the best two-player game in my opinion which definitely attributes to my personal ranking of it but it has spawned several expansions, many promos, and a complete re-implementation (7 Wonders Duel) that stands aloft on its own right. That stand alone game also knocks 7 Wonders down for me as I feel like it’s superior in every way however, I cannot ignore the following that 7 Wonders has created since its release. There’s a reason it’s still sold in big box stores.
Dominant Species is easily a top five game for the year as it’s brilliant design with incredibly deep and engaged game play. This is an abstract game with a theme that relates to the actions taking place on the board. It is one of the heaviest games I’ve ever played but that’s strictly due to the record keeping that is dominance. The actual rules and the design of the iconography on the board help create a streamlined experience.
Fresco was a game that I enjoyed immensely when we first got it but it has quietly fallen out of favor as it just doesn’t stand out with worker placement games that have been released since. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t great when it was first released however. The theme definitely helps the game as players are painters decorating the ceiling of a chapel with ornate flair. My only real gripe about Fresco is that it doesn’t really shine by itself. It needs several expansions to really standout. Review here.
Hanabi is a simple game that stands the test of time because it takes a simple cooperative mechanic of counting and adds a twist: players can only see the cards of other players and not their own. This simple twist has created an outstanding party game that can be played quickly and easily by almost anyone yet it adds a depth of difficulty that wasn’t found in most social games at the time of its release.
Lords of Vegas would be the final top-five game for 2010. When we initially played Lords of Vegas, we hated it. We had a rule wrong and it made the game tiresome and boring. Once we corrected ourselves, Lords of Vegas shot into our top ten and years after its release we still get this to the table several times a year. The ability to push your luck with the dice-based economy creates a game unlike anything else we’ve played. I can’t speak enough about this game.
Worthy of honorable mention, in my opinion is K2, one of my favorite games. K2 has players trying to climb to the summit of the infamous mountain. Similar to The Cave, K2 puts players in a tense situation that has players truly managing their hand of cards as they try to climb the mountain. The player interaction can be downright mean as players can get blocked at the summit and die as they can’t escape.
Merchants and Marauders deserves a mention as well as it’s one of the first real sandbox games that lets players decide how to experience the game. With the help of player variants and an expansion, the game has a ton of variability and replayability and helped pave the way for other sandbox games like Western Legends and games such as Dead of Winter, that let you play a character more than a strategy. I wasn’t necessarily a fan of the game but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t one of the best to be released that year.