While 2020 was (as expected) a down year in gaming, I still played about 60 games released last year, plus about 30 new expansions. The OG will have a big list of the group’s top games later this month, but I wanted to do mine in the form of a short list, with room for honorable mentions and my favorite expansions.
Without further ado, here are my top 10 games from 2020! Links are to my reviews.
Clever hoch drei
Loot of Lima
The Search for Planet X
Viscounts of the West Kingdom
10. My City – Reiner Knizia did this legacy game exceptionally well, and it got a SdJ nomination as a result!
9. Feierabend – Feierabend is a tense and engaging push-and-pull puzzle, and I think this is one of the cleverest designs designer Friedemann Friese has released in recent years.
8. Whistle Mountain – A well-designed, well-developed mashup of several cool mechanics, this is one of the games my game group has asked to get to the table more often.
7. Lost Ruins of Arnak – One of the better mashups of Euro mechanics this year, this feels part deck-building, part tech tree, part exploration, all in a beautifully produced package.
6. Bites – Extremely simple and incredibly well produced, there’s a lot of variety in this reimplementation of Big Points. Publisher BoardGameTables is proving to be one of my favorites.
5. Paleo – One of the most innovative cooperative games I’ve played it years, this game is fun because you can kind of teach while playing, and there is a genuine feel of discovery in the stone age.
4. Iwari – Web of Power and China, two of my favorite “gateway” games, got reimplemented in this strikingly beautiful game, which now has some really cool extras (especially in the deluxe edition).
3. Rococo Deluxe Edition – I had never managed to play Rococo, but I went out on a limb and ordered the Deluxe Edition, and it did not disappooint.
2. Silver Coin / Silver Dagger – The Silver series is a big hit with my family. Silver Coin and Silver Dagger show just how combo-licious the series can be, and would be a great introduction to the series for gamers.
1. Pandemic Legacy: Season 0 – My favorite of the famed series! It is quite a gaming experience, and I can’t wait to finish the campaign.
My Favorite Expansions
7 Wonders Duel Agora – I love 7 Wonders Duel, and this expansion makes the game truly exceptional, adding a new path to victory that ramps up the game’s tension!
Azul: Crystal Mosaic – The plastic overlays and the different boards make this a must-have for fans of Azul.
Everdell: Spirecrest – I think this is the least important of the Everdell expansions, but it is still wonderfully done, and I loved it. This is probably my family’s favorite expansion for the game.