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.
“Asbestos and its use have a long history. A naturally occurring mineral, asbestos was once celebrated for its seemingly wondrous resistant and strengthening properties until it was declared a human carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer in 1987. […] This odd dichotomy between the recognition of the harmful effects of the mineral and lure of the potential to make a profit on it is by no means new to industry or unique to asbestos. As game designers and game players, however, this is thought provoking.” From the rulebook of The Cost by Spielworxx.
Looking back, building that last pottery had been foolhardy. Investing in the rail network would have been much more lucrative and sensible, but you had wanted to compete with your contemporaries. Maybe if you had been more careful and had planned further ahead when you first started out as an entrepreneur, things would have worked out differently. But then, nobody could have predicted the Industrial Revolution to be so transformative as it had been. Yet, overall you had done well and were certainly top Brass: Birmingham by Roxley Games.
The task in hand wasn’t going to be simple, but the rewards were huge. You could become ruler of Naqala if you were able to influence the people of the land to help you reach your goal. You were hoping to get the help of the djinns, but they would only listen to you if the people were on your side. It seemed impossible, but you knew that you could talk to each group individually and over time you would eventually have the help of all of the Five Tribes by Days of Wonder.
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.
Our heighliner was positioned safely in Arrakis’ orbit. With a steady stream of Spice filling our coffers gradually, we had to be patient and observe from afar the goings-on down on the planet itself. It was clear that House Atreides was pivotal in the unfolding events and our scheme had to remain hidden until the right moment was reached. The cogs were set in motion and doubts had been planted in the Emperor’s mind that would lead to their unavoidable conclusion. The Spice needs to flow on Dune by Gale Force Nine.
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.
The four armies have landed on the beach of the abandoned island and deposited their troops with intent. They are here to claim their stake and become the new rulers. Yet, battles are rare. The invaders mostly compete for majority, tolerating their opponents’ presence, while brave cohorts cross the seas to reach neighbouring islands in this tiny archipelago. Cities are built to establish a permanent presence, but it doesn’t take long until it is all over. In Eight-Minute Empire: Legends by Red Raven Games, you and up to three other players try to manoeuvre your armies over eight to eleven rounds to come out victorious.
You build track on either the London or Berlin underground maps to get passengers to travel along your routes in On the Underground London/Berlin by LudiCreations.
I guess it has become tradition now for boardgame blogs to suggest a number of games that people should play with their friends and family over the festive period. As I love tradition, I will do what everyone else is doing and give you a selection of games some of which may suit your taste and may also be a good match for whoever you choose to play with when you enjoy some time off over Christmas.