As I mentioned in the previous post, this list was difficult to make. Overall this section of the list was a bit easier to make than the bottom half of the list because I knew going in what my number 1 and 2 games would be. Choosing between 4 and 5 was hard, but the top 3 were easy to choose between. Any idea what my number one might be? Here we go. . .
Number 5 – Transatlantic
Transatlantic was published in 2017 by PD-Verlag. It was published in the United States by Rio Grande Games. The designer of the game is Mac Gerdts, who is probably most famous for his game Concordia, which I have not yet played. The artwork was done by Dominik Mayer. This game is an economic strategy game with a nautical theme.
I have to say up front that the rule book is not the best, and that is probably an understatement. Yes, you can learn the game from the rule book, but there are so many unanswered questions that you will probably need to get some help from FAQs. Aside from that, there is a lot to like in this game, which it is why it made this list. I love the theme – my dad was in the Navy, so the sea is in my blood. There is actually a booklet included with the game that gives a brief history of the ships that are in the game, all of which were real. I like that touch.
I love the card play in this game. You play a card on your turn and then take the action related to that card. You can earn other cards throughout the game which give you more actions to take or ups the abilities of one of your starting actions. There is also a set collection element to this game as you are trying to get sets of either passengers, mail, and freight in order to score more points. Fun, fun game.
Number 4 – Hyperborea
Hyperborea was published in 2014 by Asterion Press. The English copy of the game that I have was published by Yemaia. The designers of the game are Andrea Chiarvesio and Pierluca Zizzi. The artists for the game are Miguel Coimbra, Fabio Gorla, Federico Musetti, and Robert Pitturu. This is a euro game that features an exploration theme.
I am not sure why this game seems to have flown under the radar for euro gamers because this is a good, solid game. The only reason I can think that it has not gotten the recognition it deserves is because it looks, based on the game’s cover, like an Ameritrash game. Hidden behind that cover is a euro game that features bag building, which I absolutely love. I have three other games that feature bag building (although I have not yet played Altiplano), Orleans and Automobiles, and would happily play them at any time.
The game can be played in 2 different modes, one of which is played with no player powers and the other of which is played with the variable player powers. Each race in the game comes with 2 different powers and the players must choose at the outset of the game which they would like to use. I definitely prefer to play with the player powers rather than without them. This game deserves more love.
Number 3 – Near and Far
Near and Far was published in 2017 by Red Raven Games. The game was designed by and the artwork provided by the incomparable Ryan Laukat. This game is a sequel to Laukat’s Above and Below, which is set in the same universe.
This game can be played as a one off game, the so-called “arcade mode” of the game or it can be played as a campaign. There are actually two campaign modes to the game, one of which follows the same characters through their story lines. In the other campaign mode, the players play through all the maps that come in the map book that comes with the game. The expansion to the game, Near and Far: Amber Mines, also adds a cooperative mode to the game.
I love exploration games. I love storytelling games. A game with a world that you explore and get to tell stories along the way? I am in! This game comes with its own storybook along with the map book, so there is a huge amount of variability right there. Even if you played the same map twice in a row, the stories that you tell along the way are likely to be completely different. To me, this is Ryan Laukat’s best title to date, although I am very hopeful that my much anticipated Sleeping Gods will surpass it.
Number 2 – Root
Root was published in 2018 by Leder Games. The game was designed by Cole Wehrle with artwork by Kyle Ferrin. This game is a strategy game that features asynchronous player powers.
It is unlikely that I would have played Root at all if not for the Root: The Riverfolk expansion which introduces a cooperative mode to the game, along with a couple more factions. As I have mentioned elsewhere on this blog, Beth and I are care bear players and do not enjoy fighting each other or tearing into each other’s work in order to win a game.
In the cooperative version of the game, the players band together to beat the Marquise de Cat, who has decided that he should be in charge of the woodland realm. The factions, each of which plays differently than the others, must meet a score of 30 points each before the Marquise does or lose the game to him. Because each of the factions must meet that goal, the players have to work closely together, helping each other to score points if they can to ensure that each of them can beat that 30-point goal.
Number 1 – Anachrony
Anachrony was published in 2018 by Mindclash Games. The game was designed by David Turczi, Richard Amman, and Viktor Peter. The artwork for the game was done by Villo Farkas, Laszlo Fejes, Laslo Forgach, Marton Gyula Kiss, and Peter Meszlenyi. This game is a worker placement game that features time travel.
There was never a doubt for me that this was going to be my number one “new to me” game from 2018. Not only does this game feature time travel, but it features time travel that makes sense. There are quite a few board games that purport to have time travel in them, but the way it is incorporated into the game makes little to no sense. This game does time travel correctly, in my opinion. You want that item from the future? Fine, you can have it, but you need to make sure you pay it back before the moment in time you borrowed it from happens again – and before the next Cataclysm occurs. You know that another Cataclysm is on the horizon, so you best get everything done before it is here!
There is a built in timer in this game in the form of a Cataclysm that all the players know is going to arrive, so there is pressure on them to get everything done so that they can safely make it to the Capital. Every action has repercussions for the present and for the future. You best use your actions well. Oh, and if you get the Anachrony: Exosuit Commander Pack, there are mechs. . .
Will 2019 Be a Better Year for Board Games?
I have no idea how 2018 matches up in the history of board games as far as good years go, but judging by the games that we got to the table in 2018, it was a great year! This list was hard to make, although my top 3 were easy to pick. The rest of the list, I have to be honest, I struggled with.
Do you think that 2019 is shaping up to be a better year for board games than 2018 was? Comment below and let us know your thoughts!
As always, please check Board Game Geek (www.boardgamegeek.com) for information on these and thousands of other games!