Accountability. It’s a word. It means many things, though perhaps some things more than others. For instance, perhaps most people don’t consider the adjective that means you’re a really good financial worker to be one of the word’s primary definitions. To me, it means being honest. Frank. Open. Which is why I want to revisit my Best Week 2015 picks and talk about how they held up. Which games do I still play a lot, which have disappeared to the Basement of Forgetting, and which ones truly deserve to be called the best?
Since this is going to be a long-winded bit of self-reflection, feel free to skip to whichever retrospective you like. We’ve got the best rebaked games, consternating games, overlooked games, surprising games, and everything else of 2015.
Once again, we had a fantastic Best Week, perhaps because 2016 was a pretty terrific year for board games. Down below are the links to each day of lists — just click the picture to be whisked away to that day’s compilation, courtesy of Internet Magic!
Best Week 2016 has come a long way. A very long way. We’ve looked at all sorts of bests. And all of it has led us here, to the final bests, the best unique games of the year.
These are the games that caught me by surprise. Critical darlings, some of them, the sorts of games that appeal to us weathered old sea-hags who write about the things. We’ve seen too much, and regular pleasures no longer delight us, so we seek ever-more peculiar novelties. Or so the conventional wisdom might claim. On the contrary, the games listed here are ones I’d stack up alongside all the others I’ve highlighted thus far. Welcome to day five.
One of the things I’ve always loved most about board games is their ability, with proper consideration and rules, to transpose difficult concepts into the simplified languages of play. To distill, to crystallize, to render out the most crucial pieces of information, conflicts, and interactions for our consideration, and to do so while we’re goofing around. We’re spoiled, basically, to be alive and playing in an era when games are so readily handling tricky issues and ideas and not sucking at the same time.
What follows are my favorite “lesson” games of the year. This doesn’t always mean that the lessons were particularly deep or insightful, but rather that these are the titles that pay their subject matter that extra level of consideration and are all the better for it.
Innovation is tough. Not just in the sense that being innovative is sort of like being told to sit on your couch and produce the finest cheeses from thin air. But also in the sense that it doesn’t always pay off. Most people don’t chow down on fine cheeses, for one thing. Why not craft the perfect cheddar? Everybody loves cheddar.
Today is a celebration of the year’s best iterative games. That is to say, the games that do the same old stuff all over again, but do it so well that I’m glad they showed up for the party, like friends from elementary school who never changed all that much, just grew up and became better versions of who they’ve always been. These are the games that refine the formula, that snobby critics call “workmanlike” and “uninspired,” while the rest of us slather ourselves in their goodness like a piece of toast before the fondue vat. Apparently I’m hungry tonight. On to the games.
Sometimes, all you need to achieve greatness is a dash of cuteness, the nutmeg of game design. What follows are the best adorable games of the year, which means these are probably the games I’d play when I’m not in a particularly serious mood, or perhaps with a young child. Though, yeah, you caught me: I’d play almost anything with a young child because I lack any filter for what’s appropriate at any given age. So it goes.
Like the slow release of a long-held breath, Best Week 2016 has begun. For the vast majority of the internet, this is old news, to be expected, and all’s well now that it has arrived. For the rest of you, the first-timers and late-goers, we welcome you to the most objective, least biased, most correct of any Best List in the history of this year. Five days, 40 games, only the best.
Today we celebrate the games you probably didn’t play — only worse, you probably didn’t even hear about them. These are the short geniuses in a tall crowd, the unsung heroes in a battle of choirs, the board games with insufficiently-staffed public relations departments.
Once again that sad moment is upon us. Best Week 2015 is over, leaving us with nothing to do but say goodbye. Below are links to each day’s catalog of the best games of the year. Just click any of the pics to be magically whisked away to the correct list. Until 2016’s compilation, take care of yourselves!
Some games simply can’t be categorized, especially when the categories are as subjective as Best Week 2015’s have been. To make sure all the greatest games of the year get their due, what follows are the best that didn’t quite fit anywhere else.
I’m not one for complaining about my moonlighting as a critic. Mostly because it always comes across as sort of “I play too many games, it’s so hard. So hard! How can anyone even begin to comprehend my plight? Nobody but me can write these words, nobody.”
On the other hand, my life is super hard & stuff. For example, when you play well over a hundred new games every year, some of the sheen will inevitably wear off. Which is why a particularly good game — one I didn’t see coming — can be such a delight. Here are ten examples.