Top 12 Boardgames Played in 2019 - #8 to #5
Updated: Jan 1
The list continues with the next set of games as we count down the middle third, from #8 through to #5 of the top games played in 2019!
#8 - Sagrada
Published: Floodgate Games
Designed: Adrian Adamescu, Daryl Andrews
Sagrada has the basis for a good game for the same reasons that Sushi Roll earlier on my list did, you get a big bag of 90 dice, you get to reach into the bag and take a load out, and then roll them across the table all giddy like.
In Sagrada players draft dice in turns to try and place them on their individual stained glass windows to score objectives for getting certain patterns. The mechanics are super simple, you can't place a die orthogonally of the same colour or number, but the objectives in each game are randomised from a set of cards so what you're trying to do will always change. There are also multiple player boards which can have squares which restrict where you can place certain colours and numbers. It's a simple framework that leads into quite amazing puzzle design as you attempt to plan out where to place the dice and in what order to maximise your grid.
The game also looks great, the small coloured dice really do look like little glass panes when they're covering your board and everything about the presentation is high quality. It can be a bit of a solo puzzle with players concentrating on their own boards, but the dice drafting does add some element of interaction. It's a simple to explain game that can be played in under half hour that also has depth, and is therefore definitely a winner to me.
#7 - One Night Ultimate Werewolf
Published: Bezier Games
Designed: Ted Alspach, Akihisa Okui
Werewolf is one of those "board games" that doesn't need a board, and isn't too much of a game, but is great fun for all groups of people. The One Night version takes what is good about Werewolf and distills it down into quick 10 minute games that don't drag or have any player elimination, one of my main problems with original Werewolf and Mafia.
Players will each receive a hidden role, either a type of villager or a Werewolf. In the night phase the various villagers wake up and do stuff, like swap cards around or look at other peoples roles, and then in the day phase you all have to argue and point to a Werewolf, killing them and winning the day. The werewolf's job is to sow confusion and not get caught, if the villagers decide to kill one of their own then the Werewolf's win.
It's quick, simple, customisable, can be played in a pub, at parties, at home, with board game nerds, and with people who don't like board games at all, at birthdays, Christmas, anywhere. Easily one of the best games to play if you happen to have 8 or more people and all want to play something together.
#6 - The Fox in the Forest
Published: Renegade Games
Designed: Joshua Buergel
The Fox in the Forest is for me, one of the best 2 player travel games there is. It takes a simple mechanic that most people already know, trick taking, and tweaks it slightly in ways that are easy to explain. It fits in a small box that can be put in a purse or backpack, it can be played on almost any surface, and can be played in around 20 - 40 mins depending on the score you want to go to. It's the perfect size and time for the type of game it is, and will always be with me when I travel with my wife.
The changes it makes to a normal trick taking game are ingenious. Firstly there are only 3 suits instead of 4, which speeds things up. Then every odd card has an associated card power which will be written on the card. These are the cards you can use to plan your play order around, and knowing when to win or lose a trick and which power to use is the main crux of the game.
But the absolute best part is the scoring system, as you can deliberately lose tricks and end the round by taking only 0-3, meaning your opponent got 13-10, but you win the most points for being Humble while they were too Greedy. It's a clever twist to the scoring that means both players are usually in the round until the end which is always more entertaining. A well deserved entry in this or any top games list.
#5 - Arkham Horror: The Card Game
Published: Fantasy Flight Games
Designed: Nate French, Matthew Newman
If I was making a list of my favourite games of all time then I am pretty sure Arkham Horror: The Card Game (AH:LCG) would still be at the top of the list. I didn't get to play it much this year and had a couple of better experiences with friends and family with some other titles though so this year specifically it finds itself down in number 5, which is still high!
AH:LCG is a fantastically thematic card game that has players work together as investigators to find out what is happening in a given scenario, and fend of the elder gods and their cultists. Each adventure pack is completely different, with different tasks, abilities, and goals that the players are working towards. Every is visually amazing, and the gameplay, art, and flavour text all work together to really bring each scenario to life.
Playing through a campaign is immensely satisfying, as you get to know your investigators strengths and weaknesses, build their deck further around them, and find out what is going on in the story. I love that if you fail a scenario some bad stuff happens, and then you just keep going, it really keeps things moving and means you never get bogged down in an immersion breaking repeat of a round over and over.
A great game that I would recommend most people try, and definitely one that will be near the top of my favourite ever games list (if I just got to play it more!)