• James Hewlett

2017 Board Games


Continuing on with my year end round up today I’m going to talk about my favourite board games of the year. We play a lot of board games and while some of these might not be new for this year, a bunch of them are as we got a bunch of games via kickstarter this year, either as backers or once they made it to retail.

I don’t think we played as many different games this year compared to 2016 but some of the games we did play, we played a lot!

  1. Gloomhaven - So I wrote about Gloomhaven at the start of the month and we haven’t had a chance to play it again since. This game is a beast. It might well be the panicle of modern board games in terms of design and game play. Its a strange sensation as the game is so good that on one hand I don’t want to over play it and get burnt out but on the other hand it is so dense with content I do want to play it more and more and discover more of its secrets.

  2. Outlive - This was a game I very nearly backed on Kickstarter but I’d already committed to a few other games at the time so I decided to pass. When it made it to retail though I showed Sara and she liked the look of it too so we picked it up. We have only played it a couple of times but its good. Its a strategic worker placement game. My one criticism is that it might be a bit too short. It is limited to eight rounds, which is good as it keeps the game tight but it also doesn’t allow it room to breath and for you to develop as much as it seems like you should be able to. The quality of the components is really good and the artwork is really nice. This is a nice easy to learn difficult to master game. I look forward to checking it out with a larger player count.

  3. T.I.M.E. Stories: Prophecy of Dragons. T.I.M.E Stories divides people more than most other board games. The base game is more like just a box of components and rules and the first scenario of an ongoing narrative. We’re currently playing the second expansion of the currently seven available. Each one is totally different from the last in terms of design and some game play. This adventure is a fantasy story set in an alternate time line (unlike the previous games which have been set in the past) and it feels very similar to a D&D style story. We have had one attempt at the adventure so far and we didn’t succeed but as the game has a time travel theme replaying scenarios is part of the design.

  4. Adventure Land. We bought this French game on a whim. Never heard of it before or since but it looked like a bit of fun and it was cheap. This is a very simple game to learn, the sort of thing I’d happily take round to my mums on a Sunday to play after lunch or something. Sometimes thats just the sort of game we want to play though. It has an element of checkers to it and an almost Carcassonne aesthetic. There are a few different game modes to play out of the box and we have yet to dig into the alternative play types.

  5. Dead of Winter: The Long Night. I got this for xmas last year after hearing nothing but outstanding things about not just the original game but this stand alone expansion as well. The game is solid, the crossroads cards add a real level of tension every round. Playing with two is not ideal as it removes a lot of the potential betrayal and bluffing elements but at a higher play count the game is awesome. Thats the only problem though, we generally just play games just the two of us.

  6. Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition. Mansions is great, I’ve written about it previously but it is an mystery/adventure game where the board starts out as a series of tiles and then expands as you explore the mansion or streets or what ever the game requirers. As the game and enemies are controlled via an app there is a ton of games at various difficulties and lengths available and they seem to be adding more as in app purchases as well as physical expansions that add new map tiles, enemy types and investigators to play as. This is a personal favourite of mine.

  7. This War of Mine The Board Game. Another game I have written about previously, one that I backed on kickstarter and have played a ton of since it arrived earlier this year. Its now made it to stores and reviews are all agreeing with me that this is such a unique and interesting game that should definitely be checked out. The setting is very dark and some of the text you uncover as part of the story is very grim and disheartening, but it really helps to set the tone and get you immersed in the world. The struggle to scavenge supplies, build heaters and board up your home is very real and you really need to focus on getting these things done as soon as possible in order to take some of the pressure off the night time phase. An element of luck is needed as well, but should not be counted on. The game will not be kind to you, but if you play smart you can make it. The components in the game are really good, we actually took the time and effort to paint the miniatures, it was fun. I think we’ll end up doing our Gloomhaven characters as well eventually.

  8. First Martians. I can’t really say too much about this one as we’ve yet to play a full game. We started and set up for one, but it really is going to require a time sink to properly learn it as the rule book is a bit of a mess. Despite the criticism online, I do think there is a great game to be had here, it is just going to take some time to find it amongst the messy rule book.

  9. Fugitive. This is a super fun little two player card game from Kickstarter, its a game of bluffing and counter bluffing, very simple to learn and can be played in ten minutes. The biggest thing worth mentioning is the art and aesthetic. Think about the into animation in Catch Me If You Can or a colourised version of Darwyn Cooke’s incredible Parker series of graphic novels. The art has a real 1960’s heist/cops n’ robbers/mad men style and it is beautiful to look at. I haven’t played the designers other games yet but if I see a copy of Burgle Bros in a store at any point it is going to be a blind buy for me.

  10. Pandemic Legacy: Season 2. I don’t really need to say more about this game, it would just be gushing more. I’ve been writing a regular series of posts telling the story of our game. Its been one of the most creatively fulfilling things I’ve done since starting this blog and I’m hoping to maybe even expand it at the end and possibly do something more with it.

Theres a bunch of new games I either haven’t got to yet or are coming in 2018 and I look forward to playing more. The hobby is only going from strength to strength in recent years and theres never been a better time to get involved. Its a much more social and nicer way to spend time with friends and loved ones than so many other options. I look at our growing collection and look forward to coming back to some of these games in years when there are smaller Hewlett people to teach them to.

It looks like I'm wearing lipstick! In actual fact my lips are just super sore thanks to this cold that I've got.

I hope your week is going well so far, I’ll see you tomorrow.

#nerdy #hobbies #boardgames #pandemic #marriedlife #friendship

©2017 by James Hewlett.