It’s the classic recap of the past year! This is each of our Top 5 Board Games from 2017. Keep in mind that this is based on games we’ve been able to actually play this year. There are so many games that we would have loved to play this year, but didn’t have time. And there are definitely some honorable mentions that did not make the list for various reasons, but the most likely reason is that we were unable to play the game enough to judge it.
5 – NMBR 9
NMBR 9 is a game that we picked up at Gen Con because it looked pretty interesting. The game is basically a puzzle where every player has all the same pieces, but they need to figure out the best way to lay them out. The game is extremely easy to learn and plays quick enough for you to fit a handful of games in a small timeframe. The game can be played by anyone and we’ve been able to pull it out for many family events and the beginning of game nights since we got it in August. Look for our review of it early next year!
4 – Santorini
Santorini is another game on my list that is extremely easy to learn and difficult to master. There’s so much variety with all the different God powers and how they interact with each other. The parts of the buildings are unlike any other game we’ve played before with the high-quality pedestal to place your play area on. It’s quite a sight to see by the time you finish the game and it’s extremely rewarding when your plan goes exactly right.
3 – Too Many Bones
I’ve always been a big fan of RPG games, and I felt like Too Many Bones did a really good job of making itself stand out in a year filled with great games. The high-quality components are something you’ll notice immediately. The weighty monster chips, neoprene player mats, and nice dice holding trays are all great, and make you feel like the hefty price tag on the game is worth it.
On top of that, you’ll also be getting a fun and challenging game. There are a good amount of Tyrants included in the game, all with unique mechanics that will require different strategies to defeat. I’m excited to try out the new expansion coming out next year that will add even more variety to the game with new heroes and scenarios.
2 – Great Western Trail
Who would have guessed a game about delivering cows would end up as my #2 game of the year? Great Western Trail combines a bunch of mechanics together to make a really enjoyable gaming experience. There are a lot of different strategies to try, and each decision you make throughout the game really matters because it can come back and be your downfall later. I’d definitely recommend anyone who enjoys heavier strategy games to give this game a try.
1 – Yokohama
Not surprisingly, the game that I thought was one of the best of the year actually ended up being #1 on my list. Yokohama had everything I was looking for in a game. It has a ton of options for you to choose from at every turn and every strategy feels like it can win. The variable setup of the tiles creates a different experience every game because the combo you had in one game may not be as easily accessible in another. It plays well at all player counts and also has a different feel because the board will shrink or expand based on the number of players. If you have any interest in worker placement games, I would definitely suggest getting Yokohama.
This year, my top 5 is based on my favorite game from each category. From speed games to worker placement, 2017 was a great year for games! I didn’t think it was possible to top 2016, but this year managed to have some of the best games I’ve played. I can only imagine how much better next year’s games will be!
5 – Catacombs & Castles
This year, dexterity games seemed to rule the market. With such a large number of this type of game releasing in 2017, it was hard to decipher which one was the best to play. Of all the ones we played this year, Catacombs & Castles makes my list as the top dexterity game.
With it’s excellent replayability, use of female heroes, and amazing gameplay, this one is a standout in the dexterity game category. Add on to it that it plays super quick, and you’ve got a near perfect game to kick off game nights.
4 – 5 Minute Dungeon
I typically am not a fan of speed games, so to find one that I actually liked was surprising. 5 Minute Dungeon was one of my most memorable gaming experiences from 2017. We played this many times with my family and everyone loved it. We had such a good time that I think back very fondly on the great family-bonding time this game helped create.
Each game plays super quick (hence the name 5 Minute Dungeon), but it’s still very challenging. The key to this game is having someone yell out the symbols you need in order to keep things moving. This is a great game for people of all gaming levels – from super casual to high-strategy lovers. I love how universal this game is and the experiences it creates!
3 – Ex Libris
I’m a pretty big fan of set collection games and worker placement games. The mechanisms are simple and easily understood by gamers of all experience levels. But Ex Libris tops my list as one of my favorite set collection/worker placement games of all time. It manages to incorporate simple game mechanisms and a very rich, strong theme.
The theme of Ex Libris is what makes the game for me. Every action you take makes sense with the theme. In addition, the replayability of the game is so much higher than I’d expect for this type of game. With randomized locations, over 12 different libraries and special assistants, and six different book categories the replayability is off the charts.
2 – Whistle Stop
Another of my favorite types of games is real-life themed games. Whistle Stop is one of my top games from 2017 because it combines an often stale mechanism (pick up and deliver) and theme (trains) and manages to keep it fresh.
It takes a unique spin on a type of game I’ve played many times before. I love how many different strategies you can take in the game and the challenge the game brings with collecting resources. I would highly recommend this game for anyone looking into a pick up and deliver style game. Or someone who just really loves train games.
1 – Yokohama
Finally, my number one game from 2017 is, not surprisingly, a worker placement game. It is probably my favorite game mechanism because it keeps things simple and easy-to-understand but there are so many ways to apply it. But it can be tough to do it right. And Yokohama definitely did it right.
From the strong theme to the masterfully implemented worker placement mechanism to the incredibly high replayability – so many worker placement games feel like you are playing the same game. There’s often one thing that differentiates the games from one another, but Yokohama is different. The gameplay is so interesting with a variety of decisions that makes every play feels so different.