Around the Table with Punchboard: What Was Your Favorite Game Published in 2017?

Hello and welcome to another Around the Table with Punchboard Media – we, once again, joined our friends and put together a big post filled with wonderful goodies! This time, we’re focusing on our favorite games that were published in 2017!

Marti Wormuth – @fluffymeeple
Open Seat Gaming – www.openseatgaming.com

I had to think about this a lot before I actually made a decision, but my best game of 2017 was Stop Thief!, published by Restoration Games. This game really caught my attention this year, even though I’m too young to have played the original – but that didn’t stop me from checking out what Restoration had to offer. The game is well made, and they are always adding improvements to the app in order to offer more variability in terms of gameplay. This is a game I will rarely say “no” to, and I think that it was a fantastic game for Restoration to come out with for their first restored title.

Honorable Mentions: Werewords, Sagrada, Downforce, Jump Drive, Codenames: Duet

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Joe Sallen- @goodboardugly
The Good, the Board, and the Ugly
The Sallen Coefficient
The Long View

It’s a bit early for me to call a best of 2017 at this point; most of the good stuff for my taste comes out at Essen and I’m just now getting the trickle of it stateside. I had a couple amazing Kickstarters arrive recently and got a chance to play them quite a bit. First off, Clans of Caledonia offers a nice entry point to a network building map game (think Terra Mystica), with a wonderfully executed Scottish theme and a recipe-fulfilling system I actually appreciate. The next KS I got in, and the one I’m ultimately going to give the preliminary best of 2017 to, is Iberian Rails. It takes cube rails games to the next level by adding juicy role selection to a solid foundation. The way stocks work here cranks even more from cube rails than I would expect. I’ve already logged almost 10 plays and can’t wait to get it back to the table. That’s tough to do with a jaded heavy gamer like me!

Best of 2017 (currently): Iberian Rails

Honorable mentions: Clans of Caledonia, Gaia Project (only played this once though it’s phenomenal!)

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Oscar Gonzalez – @ElDocLogan
El Doc Logan – https://www.facebook.com/eldoclogan

After a lot of thinking and analysis, I’ve got to say that, for me, the best of the games published in 2017 is Sagrada. There is so much I love in a good game and Sagrada happens to have a lot of it. Firstly, the colorful theme. I also enjoy that it uses dice as a resource – it helps to keep the game replayable in different ways, but also prevents it from being completely random due to the dice drafting mechanism. Each player can apply their own strategy and make the board they’re filling as difficult as they wish to – so you’re calling all of the shots. Common goals and different goals also make it unique as well. Add in a short play time and you’re ready to go. While I definitely haven’t played all of the games published in 2017, of the ones I have played, Sagrada is my favorite. 

Honorable Mentions (in order of greatness): Ex Libris, Viral, Century: Spice Road, Werewords, Mint Works & New York Slice.

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BJ Rozas – @boardgamegumbo
Board Game Gumbo – https://boardgamegumbo.wordpress.com/ 

I still have a lot of games from 2017 just in our own game group left to play. But, to date, my favorite game so far this year is Near and Far from Red Raven Games. My favorite mechanic is worker placement, and I love story games, so combining the two has been a big winner for me. Even with all the added elements as compared to Above and Below, N&F is still very simple to teach and lends itself to lots of different strategies for winning. And sometimes it’s just fun to explore the land and hear the stories, so the focus doesn’t even have to be on reaching first place to enjoy the game — which is a hallmark of a great game

Honorable mentions: Fate of the Elder Gods, Sagrada, Warhammer: Shadespire, Downforce, Flip Ships

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Brandon Kempf – @Vacabck or @WDYPTW
What Did You Play This Week – www.wdyptw.com

This is that time of year when we all look back and wonder what was the best game that we played. This is also the time of year you all call me out for never picking the same game each time I do one of these, I’ll probably do about 5 of these lists and convince myself that there are 5 different games that should be picked. On this list I am going to go with Azul. Quite honestly, I think it was a down year for heavier weight Euros, but I think this was a fantastic year for Family Weighted hobby games and Plan B and Michael Kiesling led the way with this wonderful tiling game that has a wonderful way of bringing out the vindictiveness of players while playing. Beautiful production and wonderful tactical gameplay makes Azul the best game of 2017.

Honorable Mentions: NMBR 9, Majesty For the Realm, Sentient, Whistle Stop & Modern Art

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Jamie Maltman from What Did You Play This Week
Twitter: @jmaltman

This has been a pretty fantastic year for Kickstarter deliveries. So many different small and medium sized publishers are knocking it out of the park. From heavy Euros to beautiful abstracts to story driven games, it’s been quite the year. The one that rises to the top, at least for now, for me, is Spirit Island. It combines the amazing theme of the spirits of the island driving out colonial invaders who are ravaging the land, gorgeous art from a stable of artists that Fabled Nexus/Greater than Games brought together for the project (and I had the delight of meeting one of them, Nolan Nasser, at Origins), with deep and compelling card play and interaction. It has a completely different progression from most co-op games – instead of lulling you into a false sense of security until things ramp up to kill you (like our game of Pandemic: The Cure at Origins!), it applies pressure from the beginning, increasing as the game goes on and your spirits become more powerful until it seems like you’re certain to lose, until either you do, or you break through for the sudden victory. I love that. The complex asymmetry of the spirits and what you’re individually facing in your corner of the board wards off the quarterbacking problem, making it a really fantastic team experience. It has shot up to become my favourite co-op of all time, and one I would play or teach anytime, solo or multiplayer.

Honourable Mentions: Gloomhaven, Lisboa, Clans of Caledonia, Keyper, Pandemic Legacy: Season 2, Sagrada

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Sarah Mahood – @confuzzldmeeple
Open Seat Gaming – www.openseatgaming.com

First off, I have not yet played all of the games that were released this year that I would like to play.  There are still several games I am highly anticipating that we have yet to play. That aside, my favorite game of 2017 is Sagrada. I love building your own unique stained glass window via dice drafting. It is easy to learn but difficult to master. Your stained glass window pattern is like a mini version of a Sudoku puzzle with colors, the number of pips, and free spaces. The component quality, art, and production value is excellent. It is a game that I love showing and teaching to people who haven’t seen it yet.

Honorable Mentions: Downforce, Queendomino, Stop Thief!, WereWords, the Fox in the Forest, Sundae Split

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What was your favorite game that was published this year? Are you like us and had a bunch of honorable mentions as well? Do you agree (or disagree) with some of our favorites that we have listed here? We want to hear from you! Leave a note in the comments, or tweet @openseatgaming on Twitter (or any of the Twitter names that are listed in the post!)

Happy Holidays!
Your Friends from Open Seat Gaming and Punchboard Media

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