Righteous fury. It’s what makes me holler and huff at game night. Not very many games can spark it in me, but a few are experts at grinding my competitive side to a razor’s edge.
Today we’re talking about the year’s best games for getting hot under the collar, steamed in the head, and so spanking mad you can hardly see straight. These are the titles that make you drop the f-bomb at that one guy in your game group. They are reminders that we are reasonable beings second, that for uncountable eons before we sat down on the couch to talk it out, our first and original nature was that of tooth and claw. We have incisors and canines for a reason. These games are that reason.
Like a mat of bacteria growing fuzzy on reliable feedstock, it sometimes seems like this industry thrives on imitation. But that’s only possible thanks to a rarer sort of game, those that step beyond assumed limits to create something truly unique. Thus the cycle perpetuates itself: imitation spawns innovation, which breeds further imitation. So shall it continue until sentient life is extinguished by atomic entropy.
Today is for the pioneers, those games that took a chance and, even if they were flawed in some way, managed to stick the landing. The year’s concept albums, in other words.
It wouldn’t be a good year without at least a handful of games that know how to spin a yarn. Like any good storyteller, these understand that while the destination matters, the journey is the more important portion. Also like a good storyteller, nobody would describe them as “tight.” To be frank, some of these are flabs. Some have sharp edges. They make mistakes some folks argue should have been eliminated from board games centuries ago.
Not me. The joy of these games is found in the stories they tell. Sharp edges? Psh. You know what has sharp edges? Books, baby.
Another day, another fraction of Best Week come and gone. Gone, too, are countless possible categories. To tell you the truth, the process of sorting these lists is so tricky that I’ve considered defaulting to “prettiest games.” Problem is, have you seen games these days? They’re crazy. Entire mountains of colorful plastic. Louvre-worthy art out the wazoo. One of the handsomest games of 2019 wasn’t even eligible for consideration because it was an unreleased prototype.
Which is why today’s victors are more than merely pretty. These are the titles where visuals are the gameplay. Where your decisions are based largely upon the visual information spread before you. In many cases, the math takes a backseat to the arrangement and spacing of the pieces. And often, this visual shorthand prompts both a synesthetic reflex and unexpected consequences.
Ah. Welcome. The wheel has turned once again, my friend. Here we stand upon the precipice of a new year. Let us then consider the best games of 2019. There is no better time for looking backward than when we look forward.
Today is a celebration of the charmers, the dashers, the titles you could bring home to mom and not worry about getting asked whether you’ve had your immunizations. It isn’t that they’re soft, although it’s true enough that some of these palms haven’t been worn rough by hard labor. Rather, they’re enticing. These are the games designed to appeal to weathered gamers and pine-scented newcomers alike. They beckon. Oh, how they beckon.
Best Week is over. But that doesn’t mean we are! Down below you’ll find the full index of the whole thing. Five days, five games apiece, twenty-five titles in total, all the best. Click any of the images below to be launched via internet magic to the selected list. Thanks for reading, and see you in 2019!
It’s with the faintest hint of sadness that we arrive at the fifth and final day of Best Week 2018. Fortunately the sadness is fleeting, because I’ve compiled the five best hybrid games of the year. What’s a hybrid, you ask? Good question. These are the titles that take familiar systems and ideas and transform them into mutated monstrosities, some lurching and some sleek, some elegant and some trashy. Their sole commonality is that they’re all worthy of a look.
Take my hand. We’re almost there.
It isn’t exactly rare that I’ll laugh while playing a game. But that’s usually because Geoff made a mistake, not at the game itself.
Which is why today is about the year’s five most hilarious games. These are the titles that will likely prompt a smile, extract a bellyful of laughter, or provide an amusing anecdote that nobody will understand when you try to tell it at a family dinner. They’re silly, they’re amusing, they’re not about clowns.
Every so often, I’ll play a game that lends a new perspective. Not necessarily anything transformative, but a greater appreciation for a moment in history, or a certain cultural function, or an abiding curiosity about how injection molding works. What can I say — I’m easily astonished.
For today’s Best Week entry, we’re talking about the year’s best message games. These are the titles that had something to say and said it with clarity, style, and hopefully a really cool map.
When I say purity, what does it conjure? Morality, perhaps? The state of your heart? The criteria for entrance into the cult operating beneath your local import shop?
Today isn’t about those things. Rather, it’s about the five best games of 2018 that did one thing and one thing only. These are the games that didn’t need a dozen event decks or special edge cases or unexpected dexterity elements. They’re games, dammit, and that’s all they want to be, with all the cruft pruned away. In other words, purity.