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...
There was all sorts of Xiaochi and other street food on offer, as well as a variety of speciality drinks. It was still rather quiet, but already the stall owners were busy. The streets were heavy with the scent of various herbs, spices and all sorts of wonderful flavours. As it was getting darker, more and more people found their way into the wonderful maze of this amazing Taiwan Night Market by Zong-Ger from Good Game Studio.
The canal era was over. It was the time of the steam railways. The industrial revolution was in full swing and coal was at the heart of new, booming industries. A lot of steel was needed to build the infrastructure that would allow resources and goods to be shipped around the country. The workforce needed to be kept happy and beer was the perfect lubricant for this task. The rise of cotton mills, potteries and manufacturing gave us the opportunities to earn our Brass: Birmingham by Gavan Brown, Matt Tolman and Martin Wallace from Roxley Games.
In the Qing dynasty, camels were one of the main means of transport. People would travel for days to cross deserts, wilderness and plains to reach the city of Pingyao, where they would trade their wares to increase their wealth. So an agency of bankers was established to help grow the economy and slowly build up a financial network. Soon, wealth began to accumulate in the city of Pingyao: First Banks of China by Wu Shuang from Jing Studio.
There is one genre of games that really stands out for me: economic simulations. These types of games scratch a very specific itch, right in the middle of my back, that other games just can't reach. I get an immense feeling of bliss when the tingling finally subsides as I invest money to make more money. In this article, I want to explain in a bit more in detail why this genre makes me feel so good.
Most of us will have a lot of spare time over the holidays and if we have board game enthusiasts among the family, this is the perfect time to set up and play some heavy games. We might also have more time to meet up with our games group and again, now is the time to get those heavy games to the table that we might not feel like playing of an evening after a busy day at work. So, here are 5 heavy board games I think you should play over the holidays.
The stock market is in turmoil. There is a financial crisis. Companies' solvency is in doubt. Panic selling has started for some securities. The year is 1792, and 24 stockbrokers meet in Wall Street in New York under a buttonwood tree to sign an agreement that creates a new way of securities trading, which creates a closed market where everyone can trust each other to honour payments and where investments are legitimate. In Exchange: A Stock Trading Game of Strategy & Wit by Eric Sillies, you are one of the group of 24 and you have to use your wit and cunning to take the beginnings of a new stock exchange to what will eventually become the New York Stock Exchange.
You're on the phone to the real estate agent talking about this great piece of land near a school and park, which would be ideal to develop into modern housing. At the same time, you see an email from a small local business owner who is interested in renting one of the units in your newly built office complex. Things are going really well for your growing empire, but you also realize that property prices are at an all-time high. The big crash isn't far away now - you can feel it. It will be crucial to sell everything at the right moment and make the most profit. However, if you leave it too long, you'll lose it all and destroy your chance of becoming the greatest magnate in history.
It was around this time last year that I came back from my first visit to a UK tabletop games exhibition, all elated and happy. I had felt welcome and saw a lot of opportunities for the little venture I had in mind at the time. I spoke to a lot of people, looked at a lot of games, bought more than I probably should have and realized that I wanted to work a lot more in this wonderful industry. Of course, I'm talking about UK Games Expo, and I was back again this year, and it was even better - if that's possible.