Compared to this time last year, we’re a lot more experienced with board games. The 2015 Dice Tower awards were really a list of games we should try over the course of last year, whereas this year I feel I can actually pass judgement, having played a lot of the winners.
So this morning I watched the live stream of the Dice Tower Awards taking place at Dice Tower Con. There were 14 awards and a number of duplicate winners, so there were only actually 9 winning games – of those I’ve played and enjoyed five, so just over half and for the most part I agree with the panel’s choices, having also played a fair few of the nominees. From the unsuccessful nominees, we’ve played Lanterns, The Grizzled, Murder Deception in Hong Kong, Two Rooms and a Boom, Flick ‘Em Up, Raptor, New York 1901, Tides of Time, Mysterium, XCOM, Five Tribes Artisans of Naqala, Elysium, Roll for the Galaxy, The Voyages of Marco Polo. I find this list pretty amazing given last year we’d played just 5 of the winners and nominees!!
So firstly, let’s luck at the winning board games we’ve actually played;
Codenames – Best Party Game and Best Family Game
Definitely a good choice here and a party game I really enjoy with 4+ players. It can suffer a little when players over-think it, but overall the fact that you can stop any time you want and add extra players at any time makes this one perfect for parties.
7 Wonders Duel - Best Two-Player Game
I don’t think we’re as enamoured with 7 Wonders Duel as many people seem to be. It’s definitely an improvement on the two-player variant of the original game and we are enjoying it, but it’s just taking us quite a few games to really get into it. I did finally win my first game though, so it will probably get a needed boost up the priority list for gaming sessions.
T.I.M.E. Stories - Best Game from a New Designer, Most Innovative Game and Best Theming
T.I.M.E Stories is a game we’ve really enjoyed playing every new expansion for. It really is innovative and unique – it feels unlike any other game we’ve played. It’s definitely very story driven and each expansion is thematic. I’m not entirely sure it really captures the theme of time travel, but it certainly captures well the theme of each location you travel to – we’ve often based a lot of our decision making on what makes sense thematically and we’ve done quite well every time we’ve played.
Pandemic Legacy - Best Co-operative Game and Game of the Year
Given that I recently chose Pandemic Legacy as my favourite game of all time, I obviously approve of it as Game of the Year. I love the legacy mechanic in this co-operative game. Each new game brought new challenges and relied heavily upon previous decisions – for better or for worse. We had to deliberately hold back on playing this one quickly and managed to stretch it out over about a month, playing it as a fantastic 2-player game.
Ticket to Ride: UK and Pennsylvania - Best Expansion
We’ve not played this expansion enough, but own it and have really enjoyed both sides of the map. The UK in particular is the star of the show, adding tech-tree elements to the simple but satisfying game of Ticket to Ride. I’m yet to master the pacing enough to have a convincing win, but I can’t wait to play more!
Out of the other winners, I think they’re all on my list to try for one reason or another, but are just not that high up there. None of the games below are my typical choices, so I’d only be playing them to see what all the fuss is about. Hopefully I’ll get the chance soon if these games are owned by players in our new local area.
Stockpile – Best Game from a Small Publisher
Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn - Best Artwork
Blood Rage – Best Components and Best Strategy Game
Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilisation - Best Re-Print
So thanks again to the Dice Tower Awards for confirming a few of the next games in the queue for me to play and buy and well done to all of the winners. Again I think they’re a pretty true reflection of popular opinion, but 2015 was pretty predictable in terms of the big hits. So far I’ve been far less excited by 2016 releases, so I’m looking forward to seeing what the big conventions have to show us later this year!