As a member of the lowest caste in our colour-coded society, I worked extremely hard every day. I believed that my blood and sweat would create a better world for my children. I prayed that one day, Mars’ surface would become habitable. However, my caste and I had been betrayed. I and others like me were nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class. So now was the time for my caste to revolt. It was time for the Red Rising by Jamey Stegmaier and Alexander Schmidt from Stonemaier Games.
Nectar, when you think about it, is just a sugar-rich liquid, produced by plants, to attract pollinators. Depending on where in the world you are, pollinators could be humble insects, such as the highly adored, busy bees, or they could be magnificent hummingbirds or other birds, or they could even be bats. A free source of sugar is highly prized, as it will give a quick boost of energy, and possibly a little sugar rush too, which make for a valuable reward for all pollinators. So it’s no surprise that this source of food as one of the new resources in the Wingspan: Oceania Expansion by Stonemaier Games.
We were at the dawn of a new civilization. We didn’t know it yet, but we were going to embark on an exciting adventure that would offer us a lot of new opportunities, some challenging times and many new discoveries. It would take a very long time indeed, but we would not only master fire, but eventually reach the stars. We would explore the world and stamp our mark on it. We were ready to make a reality of our Plans & Ploys by Stonemaier Games.
As is customary at the end of a calendar year, it’s time for my top 5 board games of this, rather odd, year and for me to announce the winner of the Top Table Award 2020. Let me say that this year, I happily allowed games into the top 5 list that were published before 2020, as long as these games were new to me this year. There is a clear winner for me, not just based on the number of plays, the amount of enjoyment the game brought and the nostalgia factor that the game has for me, but because this game took a well-established genre and took it to the next step, making it more accessible to a wider range of people. However, let me not spoil it for you, but start at number 5 and work my way to the top slot.
The irrigation system was ready, but there was still work to be done on the trellises. The windmill, cottage and tasting room were still just ruins and only the first third of the wine cellar was accessible. The crush pads were all clean and ready to receive the first harvest of grapes, yet the fields were still bare. Orders for some red and white wine had already come in and two types of grapes were ready to be planted. It was the beginning of a vineyard that was going to be splendid. Mama and Papa were looking forward to putting the work in and creating a heritage that would make the family name proud. At the same time, it was daunting, because they knew nothing about Viticulture by Stonemaier Games.
You were constantly tired from working endless hours day in and day out. You had very little time to think about the world and when you did, you didn’t have the words to describe what you saw and felt. However, you had used every spare moment to puzzle together scraps of clues into a bigger picture and had created new words with meanings that your heart dictated, but that were otherwise unknown. You felt that you were now so close to wrestling away the power from your oppressors and turn this world into a better place – but you knew you had to make sacrifices to build your Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia by Stonemaier Games.
Your tribe is sitting around the fire – a new invention that will prove to be the spark of great things to come, things that nobody can yet predict or even dream of. It feels like you have been here before though. The scene seems very familiar. The faces may be different and so is the location, but the warmth of the flames and the crackling of the embers trigger memories in you – memories of a bright future, memories of generations to come, of a civilization rising out of the plains and large structures reaching into the sky. Yet, something is different this time. It seems as if your tribe of Traders has an extra coin and an extra food in this more balanced version of Tapestry by Stonemaier Games.
“I know,” said the King’s master builder, “if we use modular rooms, all of them square, we could manufacture several of them, all at the same time, in our many workshops, transport them to the site as they are finished, and connect them on-site to build a magnificent castle, befitting our Highness’ standing and reputation. In fact, we could build several castles all at the same time, all as glorious as each other.” ”That’s madness,” his apprentice exclaimed in horror. ”Exactly,” the King’s master builder replied, “but imagine the wonderful feeling of amazement our Royal Highness will get when he surveys the construction from a vantage point Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig.”
You sit quietly in your hide, binoculars in hand, peering out over the lake, with the grassland on the other side and the woodlands in the background. You have already spotted a fair number of birds that frequent this nature reserve regularly, but suddenly you spot something new. You think you glimpsed a read head and black and white back. Slowly scanning the woodlands, you see it again, hanging onto the trunk of a dead tree. It’s a white-backed woodpecker, which is a new visitor and comes with 80 other birds in Wingspan: European Expansion by Stonemaier Games.
For the first time, the Tabletop Games Blog is giving away an award: the Top Table Award for the best game released in 2019. As you know, a lot of new tabletop games were released this year, probably around 3,000 to 4,000, excluding expansions. That’s more games anyone will ever be able to play in a year, and I have probably only seen 20-30 of those. However, I still thought it’d be good to share with you my top 5 games that were published in 2019 and crown the winner.