Despite feeling like I don’t get as much chance to play games now that I have two little ones at home, I still managed to play 111 games in 2018 that were new to me!
So I decided I would try come up with my top 10 New-To-Me games from 2018 – not an easy task as it turns out.
Without further ado, and in no particular order, here is my list, followed by a bunch of honourable mentions:
Ganz Schön Clever: Easily my most played game of the year, due to the fact that it is so quick, easy, portable and, most importantly, playable solo. I just love playing this game to see if I can finally break the 300 point mark. I haven’t got tired of it yet, but I’m looking forward to the sequel ‘Doppelt so Clever’ that is coming out this year.
Space Base: This was a surprise hit for me, that I hadn’t heard of until I tried it. I enjoy dice games, and games where you are involved every turn, so this scratched a good itch for me. It’s very satisfying when you have a great turn and activate multiple abilities!
Reef: For me this follows in the footsteps of Azul, as a great short to medium length game with enough interesting decisions to appeal to heavier gamers, while still appealing to more casual players due to it’s simplicity, ease of learning and great looking components.
Brass: Birmingham: I was a fan of the original game so was keen to try this version to see how the new map and rules would change things up. I actually prefer this version as I enjoy the addition of the Breweries and the map feels a little more open.
Let’s Make a Bus Route: This Japanese game is a card-flip-and-write game where you are driving your bus around and picking up different passengers on the way to score points in a variety of ways. It’s light, quick and fun and was another surprise hit for me.
Teotihuacan: City of Gods: I’m a big fan of Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar, both for the theme and the gameplay, and this is another similarly themed game by one of the designers of Tzolk’in, so I knew there was a good chance it would be my kind of game, and it totally is. I love the worker upgrade mechanism, and the way the strength of the action is tied to the power of the workers, as well as the number of workers. Lots of interesting decisions and strategies to try. Love it!
Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra: This takes the same basic mechanism from Azul of drafting tiles from the factory spaces, but this time you are placing them into stained glass windows, attempting to fill them up to score them. There is a different mechanism for how you place the tiles, and how they score, and for me I find it to be a great spin on the ideas from the original Azul.
Gizmos: I enjoy tableau-building games, and games with combos and this has both, along with a very cool looking energy dispenser for randomising the energy marbles. If you like games where you can build up and then have awesome turns where you combo off then you should check it out!
The Quacks of Quedlinburg: This is a fun, push-your-luck, chit-pulling game, where each player is simultaneously pulling ingredients from their bag to try to fill their potion as much as possible, but if you draw too many white ingredients your pot explodes! The simultaneous play, along with the excitement of the random draw and the fact that there are four options for each type of ingredient make this a winner for me.
Welcome To…: A second card-draw-and-write game, so you can probably tell I’m a fan of those, as well as the more traditional roll-and-write games. This one is great because if you have a copy of the score sheet and can see the cards then you can play. Simultaneous play again makes the game flow quickly, but there are still interesting decisions along the way.
The Honourable Mentions:
It was very tough to leave some of these out of the top 10 because there are a lot of great games, but some had to give way. Here are the ones that didn’t quite make the cut but that I enjoy a lot as well:
The Mind, The Grimm Forest, KeyForge, Dice Throne (Seasons 1 & 2), Cat Lady, Century: Eastern Wonders, Raiders of the North Sea, Altiplano, Just One, Dice Settlers, Cursed Court, the Legend of the Cherry Tree that Blossoms every 10 Years, Decrypto, Micropolis, Gloomhaven, Pulsar 2849, Noria, Wendake, Axio, Century: Golem Edition, Clans of Caledonia, Endeavor: Age of Sail, Everdell.