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Our Festive Selection

Over the course of this year I have played a large variety of games and had a lot of fun finding new titles for the webstore and sharing my finds with you all. We have played all sorts from games that have been out for many decades to brand new titles that have not seen the market yet with a wide range of mechanics. In this article I will talk to you about my Top 10 favourite games that I played this year and why I enjoyed them so much.

In at number 10 we have the newest Trading Card Game to the market Disney Lorcana by Ravensburger. This game has many similarities with other popular trading card games though for me the art and the cards capture the Disney animated universe very nicely and the game play is fast paced and fun. The other interesting part with this game is that you are trying to accrue lore rather than destroy your opponent or his creatures as the main way of teasing out victory which was a nice direction for the game. I also enjoyed the fact the starter decks were reasonably well balanced and comes with a booster pack so you can customise your deck slightly from the get go.

Our game at number 9 is one that was super popular at UK Games Expo and still is with both our household and our customers. Stomp the Plank by The Flying Games is a simple, family weight, push your luck your game where you flip over cards attempting to get different symbols in a row to reach the victory spot at the end of the track though if you get a duplicate of a symbol you must stomp the plank or you can stop before flipping over all your possible cards and force the other players to add barrels to the end of their planks to try and knock them into the water. The last elephant standing is the victor. It has brought hours of fun to our table with people young and old and a game I would definitely recommend for families.

Coming in at our number 8 choice this year is the engrossing strategy game Distilled by Paverson Games. We got to see this game at UK Games Expo and had to get a copy of it due to how brilliant it looked. In this game you are building up your own distillery collecting ingredients, purchasing goods, upgrading your distillery and crafting the finest spirits from the cards available. The game plays very smoothly considering its size and has a great selection of options and you feel as though you are actually crafting the spirits. We really liked the aging process they used for this game where barrels in your warehouse age by tucking a flavour card under it allowing it to gain you extra points. If you like your heavy strategy games this would be one to look at getting.

In at number 7 we have Scythe Expeditions by Stonemaier Games which we played 3 times back to back when we first got it and I have played it a few more times since this year. The production of this game is amazing as are many of the games published by this games company and the game play is very stream lined. In the game you take control of a mech in the Siberian wilderness and are exploring the area in search of a mysterious meteorite trying to be the most successful research team. Each player has an asymetric power for their mech and two character cards that add extra abilities to your team making it fun from the get go as you build an engine around your starting resources. I would highly recommend this game to people who are looking for a game with asymetric powers and enjoys exploration games as these two mechanisms sing in this title.

The lucky game that took our number 6 spot on this list is the very clever and beautiful, roll and write, Three Sisters by 25th Century Games. In this game you are growing beans, corn and pumpkins in unison while also tending to flowers, beehives and orchards to gain points to win the game while upgrading tools in your shed to unlock new abilities. The game is very in depth for a roll and write which can be overwhelming to start with though once you get your head around it, it is a brilliant experience. The game has so many strategic choices and options though has an easy set up and a smooth action selection mechanism making the difficulty more about selecting the right choice for your garden than working out how to play. I love a good roll and write and this one has made it onto my top 10 list as I feel the game is so different from the others I have played. It is refreshing due to the gear change even if it is very strategic.

As your probably expecting the new Ticket to Ride: Legends of the West by Days of Wonder has made it onto my top 10 at number 5. This is so much fun and is always full of surprises taking the original ticket to ride and twisting it into different shapes as you unlock new parts of the game. This is a campaign style legacy game where the game will change as you progress adding new rules and opening up the boxes adding more parts to the map and new components. If you enjoy legacy games like Pandemic Legacy and Clank! Acquisitions Incorporated I think you would enjoy this as well. For me I enjoy this legacy game as it takes a new stance compared to others I have played because instead of working co-operatively you are in it for yourself trying to build the greatest railroad company. So if you are looking for a new legacy game ready for the New Year, this would be my go to.

All the way at number 4 we have the newest rendition of a popular favourite, Everdell Farshore by Starling Games. This game uses many of the same mechanics that the original Everdell has though brings several new additions including the disappearing action spaces, windrose tiles, anchors that can link characters to location making it less rigid than the original as well as the boat track that gains you extra points along with the map tiles. Initially I was unsure about this game though once we received our copy and played it I could not help but want to play it again as I really enjoyed the pace of the game, how easy it was to pick up and how fun the windrose tiles were to use. I have even played this game Solo which is not very common for me as it is a format I don't normally enjoy but I was pleasantly surprised by how fun it was playing against the AI in this game. In conclusion if you are looking for a new tableau builder to add to your collection I would definitely recommend this, due to the hours of fun I am sure it will bring you.

So here we are at our top 3. Scraping into third place is Tinderblox by Alley Cat Games. A brilliant little dexterity game that can fit in a coat pocket and brings a bit of silliness to your table. In this game you are flipping over cards and then trying to stack the blocks as depicted on the card on the fire without knocking any other blocks off. The twist is that you are doing this with a pair of tweezers and sometimes you have to use your non dominant hand. This is by far our most played game this year with new groups of people as it is a great way to break the ice and everyone can have a bit of fun together. My personal favourite thing about this game is how transportable it is as well as how well made the components are.

In at number 2 is the word game Crack List from Hachette Boardgames UK. This compact party game is the perfect game for getting everyone talking as it brings fun of games like UNO to games like Scattergories. In this game you will have a statement on a card such as "Something you find in the bedroom" in the centre of the table and you will each have a hand of cards with letters on them, with some special cards that can change the direction or category. The objective of the game is to use up all the letters in your hand by coming up with words that relate to the category in the centre of the table and the first person to get rid of all their cards wins. After playing this with several groups this has become one of my very favourite party games and will be one I'll be taking to my family this Christmas. I am yet to have a game that does not end in laughter due to someone saying something rediculous.

At number 1 we have my most loved boardgame in my collection, I must of played it nearly 30 times this year including my solo plays and as a pair with my wife. It is Winspan Asia by Stonemaier Games. This takes the original action selection and engine builder that is Wingspan and provides it in a two player variant as well as allowing the base game to go to 7 players. The two player variant is what tips this one for me into first place, this is due to it bringing in the duet board which adds a really interesting dynamic to the game. This addition makes you have to strategise both on your player board to be able to get the most out of your actions but also think about how you are going to score the goals using the duet board which is impacted by what birds you play. Every game I have played of this has been super close with my opponent and no two games have been identical. The production of this game is lovely and the artwork of the birds is incredible. If you are in need of a new 2 player game I could not recommend this game enough, especially if you also enjoy a nature theme with an engine building mechanic.

We hope you have enjoyed reading our top 10 favourite games of the year. I have enjoyed having the opportunity to play them all and share them with you. We cannot wait to see what next year brings for us all. Let us know in the comments below what your Top 10 games this year are as we would love to hear what you have to say.

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