Category Archives: Board Game
While Grant Rodiek is possibly best known for Cry Havoc, it’s his smaller games that stand out as the purest expression of his design ethos. With offerings like Hocus and Solstice — the latter of which was one of the most devious games of last year — Rodiek seems determined to present slick, carefully tested, and, perhaps most importantly, interesting games, often with a footprint smaller than an actual footprint.
Enter Five Ravens. This is Rodiek’s newest game, and it’s easily one of his best yet.
It’s with a note of sadness that Space-Biff! Best Week! comes to another close. For all its turbulence, 2017 was a grand year when it came to cardboard, and after the jump you’ll find every day of bests, compiled into one location for easy access. Just click a pic and internet magic will whirl you away to the corresponding list.
See you in 2018.
Not every game is as it first appears. Today is about them. These are the pleasant surprises, the ear-worms, and the ones that smile right before slugging you in the nose.
Everybody loves smart people. Especially smart people. Perhaps only smart people.
Today we’re looking hard at the best games of 2017 that have something to say, are too smart for their own good, or would like to see you walk away from a gaming session feeling a little bit more enlightened than you were going in.
Everyone wants to laugh. Everyone. Even ancient cat ladies. Even the guy bagging your groceries. Even you, when you’re bagging groceries while contemplating adding another cat to your menagerie.
Which is why today we’re celebrating the year’s funniest, silliest, most whimsical, and most delightful games.
Fun fact: Nine out of ten oceangoing pirates read Space-Biff! Best Week! It’s true.
Perhaps it’s because pirates appreciate simple games that yield hidden depth. If so, today is the day for them, because we’re looking at the eight best elegant games of the year. These are the ones that are simple to learn yet hard to master, or simply ingenious, or just downright simple.
If there were a list of all the best Best Of 2017 lists, the Space-Biff! Best Week! would easily be number one. Just saying.
Today we’re celebrating the most refined games of the year. No, not the most hoity-toity games, but the most improved. Whether accomplished by an expansion, a new edition, or a new game entirely, these are the games that stood atop a predecessor’s shoulders and looked good doing it.
Between Space Cadets: Dice Duel, The Dragon & Flagon, and this year’s The Expanse — which even made the book series’ stupid James Holden a little more appealing — you’d think I would have learned to trust Geoff Engelstein. And yet The Fog of War sat on my shelf for months before I finally got around to figuring out how to play the dang thing.
Part of this is the game’s fault. To put matters bluntly, its rulebook is about as coherent as roadkill outside Las Vegas in late July. Worse, in between learning a handful of legitimately complex games this year, I bounced off The Fog of War’s puzzling array of new concepts, out-of-place rulings, and ponderous layout on more than one occasion.
Okay, enough harping about the manual, because here’s the thing. Now that I’ve learned The Fog of War, I’m smitten. This one of the smartest, most devious, and absolutely gut-wrenching game systems I’ve ever had the pleasure to interact with.
To this day, Catacombs remains my preferred way to flick wooden discs around a piece of cardboard. Where most dexterity games are blink-and-you’ll-miss-them affairs, Catacombs was smart enough to take its time, chewing its band of heroes down to the gristle over hours rather than minutes.
As you might expect, this was also the great weakness of Catacombs. For a flicking game, it tended to ramble. By the time it reached its final showdown, it had begun to resemble one of those twenty-part fantasy novel epics that are probably the linchpin strategy of a shadowy organization’s plot to discourage literacy.
Enter Catacombs & Castles. This time around, designer Aron West’s goal was to harness the mighty long-winded power of Catacombs, while compressing the experience into a single battle rather than an entire campaign.
My first memory of Fallout was the guy cashiering the tech section of my local supermarket refusing to let me purchase Fallout 2 on the grounds that it was “for adults.” My moral fortitude lasted all of two weeks before I nabbed a copied disc from a buddy. The rest of my affection for the series — right down to my snobbish adherence to the Fallout 1, 2, and New Vegas canon — is history.