Well, we've made it yet again. A lot of familiar titles, here, from last year, and finally some stability. Can't wait to see what next year brings! In case you missed them:
BGG Rank: 30
Last Year's Rank: 5
Designed by: James A. Wilson
Art by: Andrew Bosley, Dann May
Released: 2018 from Starling Games
Well, I've written about Everdell before, and it's holding its same spot in the Top 5 of this list, so I must really love it...and I do. So does my partner; it's her number 2 game of all time. It's gorgeous, and the components are very tactile; the worker placement and seasons timing is great; and the combo chain of buildings and critters is just the bees knees. I can't say much more about this game other than it's just absolutely a blast. We've played this game probably close to 50 times and never get tired of it, and it scales well from 1-4 players. If you are curious, do yourself a favor and grab it.
4. The Castles of Burgundy
BGG Rank: 17
Last Year's Rank: 3
Designed by: Stefan Feld
Art by: Julien Delval, Harald Lieske
Released: 2011 from Alea and Ravensburger
Well, this is an old one but a good one. I won't dive too deeply into the mechanisms, as you can read about that, here. But the action selection and chaining from just two dice per round is superb. This one has a fantastic app implementation as well and is getting a gorgeous new production that actually looks nice. But, yeah, it's a Stefan Feld point salad game, and I absolutely love it. I'll never sell my copy, and I can't be more evangelical about this game. If I had $100 to spend on board games and that was it for the rest of my life, half of it would go to buying this gem. Everyone I've ever taught it to loves this design, and I don't see it dropping out of the Top 5 for many years.
3. A Feast for Odin
BGG Rank: 22
Last Year's Rank: 4
Designed by: Uwe Rosenberg
Art by: Dennis Lohausen
Released: 2016 from Feuerland Spiele and Z-Man Games
Well, this one and Castles flip-flopped spots from last year, and that's just because I got to play this one more than last year, mostly due to the fantastic implementation on Board Game Arena. I've played at all player counts (1-4), and I can confidently say that it is Uwe Rosenberg's magnum opus. Don't get me wrong, this game has a lot going on, but it's not nearly as hard to pick up as it looks to be when set up on the table. I can't recommend it enough, even though it's a bit pricey, but you get so much stuff in this one box. Some people swear by The Norwegians expansion, but I'm very happy with my base game as is. This one isn't going anywhere on my list.
BGG Rank: 59
Last Year's Rank: 2
Designed by: Vital Lacerda
Art by: Ian O'Toole
Released: 2017 from Eagle Gryphon Games
Ah, yes, Lisboa. This game, my favorite from Lacerda, is a beast to teach and learn, but once you do, it's simply the best board game ever made, in my opinion...it has a chance to be my number 1 someday. For those who don't know, Lisbon, Portugal suffered a devastating earthquake in 1755, followed by a tsunami and days of fires around the city. You take on the the role of Portuguese entrepreneurs working with the prime minister, the king, and the master builder to rebuild the city. It's also the most thematic euro game I've ever played, and mechanically it's so rich that I can't stop playing it. All around incredible experience.
1. The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
BGG Rank: 147
Last Year's Rank: 1
Designed by: Nate French, Lukas Litzsinger, MJ Newman, Caleb Grace
Art by: Various
Released: 2011 from Fantasy Flight Games
Well, here it is, number 1 again. I own everything for this game, and I haven't gotten tired of it after nearly eight years of playing. It's my most played game, and I love the deck construction challenge of each quest. There's too much to go into mechanically, as it's pretty complex all things considered, but now is a great time to enter into it if you're at all curious, as Fantasy Flight is re-releasing the game in a revised packaging that's more friendly to game stores and new players in terms of purchasing. I'm a massive Lord of the Rings nut, and this one really hits the spot thematically and mechanically for me. Will it ever be dethroned? I'm not certain, but I don't ever see it dropping off this list...ever.
Credit: All images come from Boardgamegeek.