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Top 5 – Board Games 2020 Edition

Continuing on the top 5, we’re going to look at board games that I have played, for the first time in 2020. This is a bit of a more challenging list to do this year. It might seem like that shouldn’t be the case because I have gotten a number of new games this year, but obviously there’s been more limited capacity to play them. Still, I do have a number of new games for me that can make this list. Now, not all of these games, or even most of these games are 2020 releases, but still played them in 2020.

5 – Cross Clues

This was one of the games that I grabbed for digital game nights. Cross Clues, which I saw on The Dice Tower, is a fun game where you get coordinates on a grid, could be something like A2, and in the A column you have a word and the 2 row has another word, you have to come up with a word to get people to guess that intersection, and it’s just going to be one word. It might be something like banana and shoe, what would you give for that clue? I’d probably give the clue “slipper”. That makes a fair amount of sense, but what if in the columns you also have the word “grease” now does slipper mean a banana shoe or a banana grease? And you’re working together as a group, so it’s a cooperative party game. Lots of fun, and with a camera on a table, you can easily play it via Hangouts or Zoom.

4 – TIME Stories: Under the Mask

I have an expansion on this list, but I will say that I think the TIME Stories expansions/modules, almost count as their own game. You do need the base game to play it, but one story/scenario might be very different from another. I enjoyed this one a lot, I thought that it was an interesting story and an interesting challenge. Some of the modules are more puzzles and some have more story, and I felt like this one had a solid amount of both, but had more story than some. I also liked some of the new mechanics it introduced for it, which is another I really like about TIME Stories in general is that you can do some interesting and different things with it that are new for every scenario.

3 – Sonora

Another 2020 game release that made it onto the list, and Sonora is a very unique game in that it’s a flick and write game. So building off of a roll and write or a flip and write, in this one you are flicking discs onto a board and then depending on what section they land on the board, you then fill in specific areas on your board. It’s a clever idea that works well, and it is a bit of a twist on the genre. I also like how combo-tastic the writing part is. It almost feels bad when filling in something in a section just gets you more points and doesn’t allow you to combo into another area. I also think that the components are solid, and I could see some fun expansions or almost new versions of the game to come out with more flicking options.

2 – Lords of Hellas

This seems like ages ago that I played this, which would be accurate, I played it in February before most gaming went away because of Covid. Lords of Hellas is a really intriguing game by Awaken Realms that had caught my eye when it was on Kickstarter but that I hadn’t backed. In this game you take on the role of a hero in a cyberpunk, almost, Ancient Greece setting, where you are building temples, statues of the gods, trying to take over territories, and more. What I love about this game is how it has multiple paths to victory, controlling temples, controlling a tower once it’s built, taking over two areas, and killing three monsters all can cause you to win, and they are all viable. I think that we had 3 of the 5 of us within a turn of winning when the game ended, and the other players weren’t far behind. This is a table hog of a game but it’s so much fun to play.

1 – Marvel Champions

Now, this game I should have played sooner, but I got it just around the end of 2019, and I didn’t get it to the table until 2020. And it is still a game that I need to play more of, because it’s a really good solo game. Marvel Champions is a living card game from Fantasy Flight Games. That means that it has character packs released that you can add to the game over time. Unlike a collectable card game, you know exactly what you are getting. This is nice because that means if you don’t feel like you want Ant-Man, you don’t have to pick up Ant-Man. If you want Black Widow and Doctor Strange but no other heroes besides the base set, you can do that as well. But they are always coming out with more heroes and villains to face off against, and I really need to get this game back to the table sometime soon.

Image Source: Fantasy Flight Games

Those are the Top 5 games that I played for the first time in 2020. An honorable mention if you don’t want to include an expansion would be Silver Bullet or Silver Dagger, and also Hues and Cues, another one that I got for streaming. I wish I’d gotten a chance to play more games, as I’m sure everyone does who is reading this, but that wasn’t in the cards. Hopefully 2021 will be a year that I can get a lot more games to the table, and I’m excited for a few games, Star Wars Unlock mainly, that I hope to still play this year.

A little bonus, my most played this year:

Gloomhaven, Dice Throne, Point Salad, Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game, and finally Criss Cross and Marvel Champions tie for fifth most.

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