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 2015.
My top five games are 7 Wonders Duel, Broom Service, Codenames, Food Chain Magnate, and Pandemic Legacy: Season 1.
Honorable mention include: Between Two Cities, Burgle Bros, and Viticulture Essential Edition.
This is the first year where I truly struggled with more than one or two options as to what I thought was the game of the year. In addition, picking just five for my top five was difficult as I could barely keep myself to my own arbitrary rules and ended up with three honorable mention games instead of two. One of my favorite games ever is an honorable mention.
Similar to Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small, 7 Wonders Duel is an off-shoot of the popular classic, 7 Wonders. The game is a complete stand alone so while it shares some familiarity with 7 Wonders, you don’t need to have played that to understand this game. The set-up and face-down cards offer repeated chances of replayability and the science and military tracks are thematic to their purposes. The game can sometimes offer decisions that are completely obvious, thus robbing a player of making a strategic choice, but that’s my only real gripe with the game. I prefer it to 7 Wonders but I also didn’t grow up playing 7 Wonders so the emotional attachment isn’t there.
Broom Service is a game I adore. It scales well and offers enough strategy and interaction without being a full-blown area control game. It can be frustrating if your plans keep getting usurped but the design that exists is so enjoyable. For a full review, check out my post here.
Codenames exploded onto the scene in 2015 and since then has had several standalone editions released to further its brand. A simple word association/deduction game, Codenames is part of that new era of gateway games. For more, please check out my previous review here.
Food Chain Magnate had the hype of being a Splotter title behind it, in aesthetics and gameplay. I think it’s one of the more accessible titles from Splotter that I’ve played, second only to Bus. My only real gripe with the game is that in our sample size of scores, there tends to occasionally be a runaway winner who is known early in the game and there’s no way to catch-up.
Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 took the initial offerings of Risk Legacy and tied them to one of the most popular modern board games ever designed. That marriage resulted in one of the greatest gaming experiences I’ve ever had and for that, Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 is my game of 2015. For a non-spoiler review, click here. If you want spoilers, click here.
Between Two Cities receives an honorable mention because it provides a gaming atmosphere to a group of up to seven players. Rarely if ever do games get to be played at that number that aren’t just some offshoot of a social deduction game. The components are high quality too. For a full review, check here.
Burgle Bros. took a genre (co-operative gaming) that in my opinion was struggling to branch out from the shadows of Pandemic and Flash Point: Fire Rescue and created a lightweight accessible game with some pizzazz. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel by any means but it does create a thematic experience that plays fast.
Viticulture Essential Edition took what was already a well-received game in Viticulture and trimmed some of the fat to make a well-received game an all-time great. While the game has some luck involved that can be offsetting, it has fostered several expansions that add to the game and while the base game is great, it’s the addition of Tuscany (review here) that really cements this game as a classic. Due to that almost necessity, I have Viticulture listed as an honorable mention. For a deeper dive into Viticulture Essential Edition, check out my review here.