The last time I wrote a blog about board game awards was the Dice Tower awards back in June 2015. As we were quite new to gaming at the time I had only played one winner – Star Realms. Now, reading through the Golden Geek Awards after over 12 months in the board gaming hobby I can actually feel quite accomplished.
2015 is definitely the year of Pandemic Legacy. It took the award for Board Game of the Year, Innovative Game of the Year, Strategy Game and Thematic Game! Given that Pandemic Legacy is my favourite game of all time, I feel I have to say it deserves all of these accolades, however I do question Strategy Game in particular. Perhaps my perception of ‘strategy’ is just wrong, but I would say Pandemic Legacy is a bit too reactionary to be called a strategy game. I think both the runners up – 7 Wonders: Duel and The Voyages of Marco Polo fall much more easily into this category and of the two I’d say Marco Polo is strongest.
7 Wonders: Duel also did particularly well, taking home the awards for best Card Game and best Two-Player Game. I can appreciate that this is a great game design and a good reimplementation of 7 Wonders, but personally I am struggling to get invested in the game. We’ve played it numerous times and I’ve not had many games where it hasn’t very obviously swung in favour of one player at a tipping point and there’s no coming back for their opponent. It was quite obvious that this would be a winner, but personally my vote went to Tides of Time - a much quicker, simpler 2-player drafting game.
Mysterium was the winner of best artwork. I haven’t actually played the Asmodee release of Myserium, having played the older Portal Games versions many times, but in my understanding some of the artwork is unchanged and in other areas component quality has improved so I can understand this vote. However, there have been other games, such as T.IM.E. Stories with artwork that I’d say was more interesting since in Mysterium the artwork is kind of for artworks sake rather than thematic.
Finally the new Ticket to Ride map pack with United Kingdom and Pennsylvania took home the award for best expansion. For me this is absolutely the right winner. This expansion solves many of our problems with getting TTR to the table – bringing us something new and unique in both sides of the map, giving us a great 2-player game with the UK side and giving us a simple variant which could introduced non-gamers like my parents to stock-markets in games.
I have managed to play many of the major releases from 2015, but there is still some inspiration on the list for me.
Above and Below is definitely on my ‘want to play’ list, but I’ve not noticed any friends who own it.
Baseball Highlights 2045 intrigues me because it is 2-player deck-building, but the baseball theme is still off-putting, no matter how many reviewers tell me the game is still enjoyable even if you don’t like theme.
Between Two Cities also sounds interesting and I am waiting for an opportunity to try this with a larger group. Given that we tend to play with just two of us, it’s harder to try and get involved in games which thrive with 3+ players.
Tiny Epic Galaxies is a game I can’t believe we’ve not tried yet. Our shelves might be full, but a box this small could easily fit. I didn’t enjoy Tiny Epic Kingdoms, but Galaxies appears to be getting much more positive press and might fill a niche for us since most space/epic games are just too long for us to get to the table.
War games, print-and-play games and solo games are really something that doesn’t feature on my radar, so I’ll leave it to others to comment on the popularity of these winners.