February traditions are important. Much like the lesser-known Presidents’ Day (the third Monday) and the Hallmark Greeting Card Company Annual Earnings Holiday (the 14th), the Space-Biff! Retrospective is our chance to revisit nominations of years past and see how they held up. It’s also a chance to see me cop to the mistakes I made along the way! Surely you’re here for the first reason.
You can kill your own units for magic.
That’s something I always tell people when I teach them how to play Summoner Wars. Over the past decade, I’ve taught Plaid Hat’s inaugural game to perhaps forty people. In person, that is. Online, the number gets fuzzier. Whether through my match reports, faction discussions, or that one rudimentary strategy guide, whenever somebody mentions they began reading Space-Biff! through Summoner Wars, it warms my heart. Maybe that’s because there aren’t many games I’ve felt such a need to talk about. Which is why, after introducing the phases, the way units move and attack, and the clever magic system, I always share three pieces of advice — because, as this game’s advocate, there’s nothing I’d want less than to stomp a newcomer. One, you should try to block the spaces around my walls. Two, keep in mind that units also cost the magic you aren’t gaining by discarding them. And three, you can kill your own units for magic.
Ten years later, with even its would-be successor dead and gone, I want to talk about Summoner Wars one last time.
Accountability. It’s the ability to be honest that, yes, I just used the same intro line as last year. Because introductions are difficult.
Today we’re revisiting my selections for Best Week 2016, the forty games that stood head and shoulders above the rest by my reckoning, and discussing whether they’ve held up over the intervening year. Basically, this is my reality check. Speaking only for myself, these are the games that stuck around, as well as the ones that disappeared from my table. Or worse, my memory.
This is going to be a long one. So if you’d rather skip straight to a particular list, you can take a look at the best overlooked, adorable, iterative, educational, and unique games of yesteryesteryear.
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.