Top 5 Games of (and I reviewed in) 2023 (Saturday Review)

Announcing the annual Top Table Award is always a pleasure and an honour at the same time. Choosing and deciding the order of the top 5 games I reviewed in 2023 is never easy. There usually isn't much between the games and they are all great for their own reasons. So, irrespective of which one won the coveted award, all of the games are worth a closer look. Here goes...

Gold n’ Grog (Saturday Review)

Ho, ho, ho and a bottle of rum! That was the song that accompanied the small boat being rowed by a motley crew of scallywags. We were heading to our secret pirate treasure island to retrieve the loot we had stashed over many, many years. The problem was, none of us knew exactly where we had buried our spoils. We had packed plenty of shovels though to make short work of this small patch of land. After we pulled up on shore and spread out on the island, it was time to dig for Gold n' Grog by Jake A Smith from Next Adventure Games.

The Battle of Versailles (Saturday Review)

This week, Hope Thompson joins us on the blog with her review of a game about the fashion show held in 1973 in Versailles, France that pitted newcomer American designers such as Anne Klein, Halston, Oscar de la Renta, Stephen Burrows and Bill Blass against the stalwart French designers such as Yves Saint Laurent, Hubert de Givenchy, Emanuel Ungaro, Pierre Cardin and Christian Dior. Hope's father, David Thompson, talks to her about her experience of playing The Battle of Versailles by Eloi Pujadas and Ferran Renalias from Salt & Pepper Games.

Trick-Taking it to the Next Level – my fascination with trick-taking games (Topic Discussion)

As you probably know by now, I absolutely love trick-taking games. I have long wanted to share this love with other people, but found it can be hard to teach trick-taking to people who have never come across it. Luckily, in recent months, I have found one or two games that are great for introducing people to trick-taking. They have allowed me to share my passion for this genre of card games. They are great stepping stones. I can start to draw on this giant collection of games that are often great for all the family and key to many of my social interactions as a teenager - but let me explain.

Puppy Pile (Saturday Review)

There was a lot of yapping and barking, jumping and tail-wagging. Everyone was excited, but eventually, everyone settled down and lined up in a neat row. There were a few last-minute alterations, with dogs having to change spaces. However, when everyone was ready, it was time to choose the best dog, the winner of this Puppy Pile by Mike A Pratt from Thing 12 Games.

Gingerbread Towers (Saturday Review)

The house smelled of cinnamon, golden syrup and ginger. It was no surprise, because our oven was full of gingerbread rectangles on two trays. It wasn't long until they were done and needed to come out of the oven to cool down. We had small bowls full of sweets and a piping bag ready to decorate them. Suddenly, I had an idea. Rather than building a traditional house, we could instead make Gingerbread Towers by Jessica Metheringham from Dissent Games.

Expeditions (Saturday Review)

Siberia: a vast area of over 13 million square kilometres, which consists of taiga, tundra and even temperate forests. From the north of this region, where temperatures regularly drop below -25°C, come reports of a massive meteor having crashed. Not only that, the team who went to investigate the impact crater lost contact and never returned. Rumours are spreading of a strange parasite that possesses all living things in the region. After a team sent to rescue the first group also fails to return, heroes from the now long-forgotten war in Europa decide to explore for themselves. They borrow mechs and head to base camp. From there, they start their Expeditions by Jamey Stegmaier from Stonemaier Games.

Enemy Anemone (Saturday Review)

Off the coast of Queensland, Australia, in warm tropical waters, you can find the amazingly colourful Great Barrier Reef. It is home to over 40 different types of sea anemones, which are home to a lot of different kinds of sea life. Clownfish use sea anemones as shelter, taking advantage of their toxin-filled stingers as protection. Yet, while these two are friends, if you touch one as a human, the resulting painful stings can make them feel more like Enemy Anemone by Daniel Newman from New Mill Industries.

16 Candies (Saturday Review)

"I got candy!" comes the shout. Taken aback, you look across the counter and see the eager and very happy face of the youngster staring up at you. Another sugar-loving customer has come to your amazing sweet shop to pick and mix their favourite delights. Below the face, on outstretched arms, cradled in cupped hands are 16 Candies by Dickie Chapin from Envy Born Games.

River Wild (Saturday Review)

The first snow of winter had fallen. Underneath the cosy blanket of snow, new life was stirring. The land was coming alive with creatures trying to carve out a life. It wasn't long until the warm sun melted the snow atop the giant mountain overlooking this realm. A slow trickle soon turned into a stream, which grew and grew and threatened to flood the animals with a giant River Wild by Steven Aramini from Button Shy.