I couldn’t have done this list a year ago but now I’ve played over 10 of them, and I have even more on my shelf that I need to play. Roll and Write games (or flip and write or flick and write) are a very …
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.
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.
So, Gencon is upon us, and last year I picked up a whole mess of games from Gencon that I’ve enjoyed over the past year, all sorts of fun new releases and cool older games that I wanted to add into my collection. This year, as I have said before, no in person Gencon and actually, a good number of what would have been Gencon releases have been delayed, but that doesn’t mean that game companies aren’t trying to get you to buy. A number of them are doing sales or bundle specials for Gencon, so I picked up a couple of things for that, and my birthday that’s coming up soon.
So first I ordered from Greenbriar games, during Gencon use the code GENCANT to get 50% off your order. The game I ordered from there was Champions of Hara, this game is a competitive and cooperative game with two different parts. The first part each player race to protect the lands of Hara from monsters and rifts that are opening and completing goals in order to get a wish of their fulfilled. This can be done with combat of both monsters and the other players. The second part is that the winner gets their wish and then they have to, along with the other players deal with the fallout of that wish. This game just seems like a lot of fun as you level up skills and get new cards to play giving your already unique character even more unique things to do. I like that it has the two modes as well.
Checkout a playthrough from GloryHoundd that sold me on this game:
Cool Stuff Inc
So Cool Stuff Inc normally has a big booth selling random games as well at Gencon even though they aren’t a game development company. As a sale they have a code GENCON5 to get 5% off your order. Since I’ve bought a fair amount from them, I also got an additional 3% off my order.
The first game I am getting is Sonora a flick and write game from Pandasaurus. In this game you are doing two main things, you are flicking disks around a board to try and land in specific areas. These areas then translate into what you are filling in on your board. What seems fun about this game is that you can strategize some with your flicking or knock people out of a spot where you’d want, but then when filling in things on your board, you have a ton of different options which can then lead to getting more things filled in on your scoring sheet. There are four different areas there and four areas on the board, and each scores well, and you can really focus in on a single area if you want or maybe two, and score well in those, but if you try and do everything you might spread yourself too thin.
I’m also getting Dig Deeper and LA Crime expansion for Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game. I have really enjoyed my playthroughs of that game, and we’re going to be getting back to it shortly, so I just want to get some more games in of it, and I think more cases are going to be great for it. I like that these are smaller box expansions as well, so I don’t need to get everything for it again, I can just get more content without it feeling like a whole new game. I’ll let you find more of why I love that game here.
Finally, I got Camel Up. This is a camel racing game, but one that is light and silly. On your turn you can guess who will be the lead camel at the end of a round, you can put a booster or something to back-up a camel on a track, you can bid on who is going to win or lose overall, or, you can roll the dice. When you roll the dice, you shake a pyramid that has all the camel color of dice, plus a die for the two crazy camels, and whatever die falls out falls out. So there’s a lot of randomness with that, but what makes it even sillier is that the camels can stack on top of each other. So if the blue camel ends up on top of the red camel, and then the red camels die is rolled it moves with both itself and the blue camel on top of it, and whatever camel is on top is the leader. It’s a silly game, but it can play a large number of players, so I think it’ll work well for game nights coming up.
Which of these games seems the most interesting to you? Do you have any of them in your collection?
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