2017 is more than half over, so I thought I’d go back through all my tabletop reviews from the first half of the year and see how they stack up against each other. It took a while, but I’ve narrowed down the list into a Top 10 Best Tabletop Games I Reviewed in the First Half of 2017.
What a mouthful.
There were some clear winners in my mind, but after the first 4-5 games I had a bit of trouble. I’ve reviewed a bunch of great games this year, and picking the last few got pretty tough. Keep in mind these are only games I’ve reviewed up until the end of June of 2017. We’ll see how this list changes at the beginning of next year.
Let’s get to it!
10. Dungeon Time – Ares Games
As a filler Dungeon Time provides a lot of fun in a very quick package when playing with the basic rules and a one-shot scenario. As a longer game playing the campaign, with Heroes, and/or Adventure Cards, the game evolves into something a bit larger and more in-depth. You can easily play the campaign over the course of a couple of gaming sessions and alter the way you play by adding in the extras and playing the bonus scenarios. Combine that with a solid solo experience and playing the game over with only 7 backpack slots and you’ve got a lot of game in a $30 package.
9. Brass Empire – Rock Manor Games
Brass Empire is currently one of my favorite deckbuilding games. The combination of theme, artwork, and mechanics really strikes the right chord. The player interaction achieved through the use of units and buildings brings out many different strategies during play and provides the game a great deal of replayability as you try each company and various tactics for each.
8. Rhino Hero – HABA
It’s hard not to love Rhino Hero. With its loveable hero, simple mechanics, and engaging gameplay, it’s quickly become a family favorite in our household. Our 3-year-old and 7-year-old love stacking the cards and watching the tower topple, whole our 10 and 11-year-old enjoy trying their hand at the harder difficulty, starting the tower with just one support.
7. Stratos – Board & Tale
I really enjoy the game. While there’s certainly a bit of randomness, there’s plenty of strategy to the game when it comes to how to use your actions, what units to field, when to activate/upgrade them, what areas of the board to try and control, etc… There’s a lot of game to go along with the multitude of bits inside Stratos’ box.
6. Santorini – Roxley
Santorini has already seen a lot of play in our home in the short amount of time that we’ve owned it, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. This is one I’d love to bring to work for some lunchtime gaming with co-workers as it’s simple, attractive and something we could fit multiple games in the time we have. Unfortunately I don’t think my kids are going to let me take it out of the house.
5. Mole Rats in Space – Peaceable Kingdom
All four of my kids and I have been having a blast with Mole Rats in space. It’s the first Peaceable Kingdom game that even the older kids have requested to play. My 3-year-old son loves it because of the mole rats, space theme, and snakes. The older kids love it because of the challenge.
Let me be very clear here. This isn’t your typical Peaceable Kingdom game where the players can win a majority of the time. Mole Rats in Space is brutal.
4. Planetarium – Game Salute
The real beauty of Planetarium is the long game, trying to get planets ready, not only for the Final Evolution Card in your hand at the start of the game but for any that you draw during play. Strategies will need to be adapted as your hand of cards changes and other players foil your current plans by snagging that last Metal or changing a planet from Habitable to Hostile.
3. Cytosis – Genius Games
I was a bit blown away by Cytosis, mostly because I was kind of expecting something completely different that the game I played. Cytosis is more than just a worker placement game. It’s an extremely good worker placement game. Between the different ways to score during the game, the goal mechanic, and the event deck, there’s plenty of paths to victory. The board has just enough worker spaces to make sure there’s always options but holds back just enough so that strategic areas can be blocked off my cunning players.
2. Unearth – Brotherwise Games
Unearth offers lighter fare gameplay with multiple routes to victory. It’s also highly interactive as players constantly battle for control of ruins. Tough choices need to be made every turn. Which die to roll, which Ruin to choose, whether or not to go straight for claiming Ruins or taking your time and trying to gather enough stones to build Wonders.
My recommendation? Unearth is certainly a game that deserves a spot on your game shelf. Brotherwise has put out an amazing experience both visually and mechanically.
1. Dead Man’s Doubloons – Thundergryph Games
I was a huge fan of Dead Man’s Doubloons since the first time I played. It’s fast, even with a full compliment of players, fun, and so full of pirate theme that you’ll be grabbing booty (heh) and talking like a pirate within a few short turns into the game. The changes I’ve seen from when I played in July and the latest prototype streamline the game while providing players with meaningful choices, all while keeping the game into that 1-hour sweet spot.
Media personality Rob Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of A Pawn’s Perspective, Rob focuses on board game reviews, events, and news. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.
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