We made it! Another year, another buncha board games, another Best Week. Below the jump, you’ll find images linking to every day of this hallowed event. May it keep you occupied while I take a week off. And while our parting is sweet sorrow, rest assured—
Space-Biff! will return.
The wheel has turned once more. We’ve heard some good advice about how to keep hold of our fractious sanity. From me, the sage advice-giver. Make something. Learn to rely on each other. Be strong. Reject orthodoxy. And now, last but surely not least…
No, really. Get out. Use a nail wrested from a rotten floorboard to pick the lock. Pry the handle from the rusted door. The billionaires are doing it. Look at them, fleeing into orbit or the depths of digital consciousness. They know where the days ahead lead. So run, run, run into the night. And although the magic circle offers scant protection from the cold, take some solace in the year’s best games of escape and evasion.
Orthodoxy. What is it, anyway? It will surprise approximately zero of my readers that I was raised in an intensely orthodox environment. But one person’s orthodoxy is another person’s heresy, and nothing challenges norms and traditions quite like going through a global crisis. Oh, there’s a way we’ve always done things? Institutions don’t like change? Have a plague.
For one reason or another, this year featured a number of very good games about challenging, rejecting, or otherwise giving orthodoxy a good poke in the ribs. Today we celebrate our hobby’s troublemakers, reformers, and heretics.
Enough of yesterday’s hippie-dippie kumbaya nonsense. Teamwork is great and all, but sometimes you’ve got to stick up for yourself. Pare away your fleshy parts. Make of your heart a stone. Become a creature of iron. Run in one of those mud marathons. Et cetera.
Today we’re celebrating the best games about asserting yourself in the face of irreparable differences. These are the two-player games that require you to plant your feet, lean back, and heave until you either win or tumble into the chasm.
When my first daughter was born, there was a mantra I would whisper whenever she cried out in the middle of the night, when I had chores but felt too exhausted to propel my limbs into motion, when the prospect of reading another history book for grad school felt like climbing Everest. “Nobody’s coming to save you. You have to save yourself.”
Turns out, that same mantra works in the middle of a global pandemic. Today we’re celebrating the games that remind us that we can survive almost anything. Because nobody’s coming to save you. You have to save yourself.
I don’t mean to brag, but after nearly two years of a global pandemic, I’ve become something of a professional when it comes to keeping hold of my waning sanity. So what better categorization for the best board games of 2021 than the five pieces of advice that have kept me afloat?
Take today’s motif, for instance. Need to survive another lockdown? It’s easier if you make something with all that spare time. Model airplanes, a novel, stacks of newspapers bound in twine and arranged into a hoarder’s maze — it doesn’t matter what you make, just so long as you make it. Today is a celebration of the board games that let you do exactly that. These are the makers.
Every time. Every dang time.
Whenever I write about a board game, a certain sort clamors to my inbox like ants chasing a line of sugar cubes. “Yeah yeah, but what’s its score? Would you say it’s a 7.18 or a 7.19 out of 10?”
Know what? I surrender. As of today, Space-Biff! will be assigning a score to every game we review. But seeing as how you’ll be skipping past every word I write from now on, you can bet your butt you’re going to have to wade through seven hundred words to understand the scoring criteria.
As has become a February tradition around these parts, it’s time to rewind a whole year and a month to Best Week 2019. But this is no warmhearted jaunt down memory lane. Oh no. This is an interrogation. This is when we take a look at the titles I proclaimed the best of the year and discuss whether I was right, wrong, or somewhere in between.
The wheel has turned. Below you’ll find links to every day of Best Week 2020, which despite the year’s expectations has hosted some of the finest games ever featured here on Space-Biff! Simply click the image to be transported to the relevant page.
See you on the other side, friend.
Common sense is overrated. I’ve known that since I was a boy and my mother kept insisting I find some. I’m more interested in uncommon sense. Piercing observations. Repudiations of the norm. Self-awareness. Now those are qualities to celebrate!
Which is why today, for the final entry of Best Week, we’re taking a look at the games that thumbed their noses at common sense. They took a long look at their genre, gave a gentle shake of the head, and decided that if anyone was going to do it better, it had to be them. Even if it meant turning the genre upside down in the process.