We are now well underway into 2016, but before I get too carried away with deciding what games to play this year. I thought I should reflect on my top games from 2015. As I think back on what games hit the table the most, I noticed that a lot of my previous favourites are still in the running because of the ever revival power of expansions! But first let’s kick it off with a new game that came out last year.
This game was nominated for the 2015 Kennerspiel des Jahres (the gamer’s category). Elysium is a set collection game of matching combinations together in order to maximise their powers, while in turn, balance transferring them into victory points (legends) and losing their powers. First off, it is a great looking game with the theme based on mythological Greece and fantastic artwork and components. Second, it is actually a fun game, but with enough strategy to keep it interesting. Beware of the Poseidon card effects and the player who loves to mess with others! If you are like me and don’t like too much confrontation in a game then this is easily fixed by swapping it out with another family which give different card combos.
Yes this game came out in 2014, but it didn’t really gain momentum here in Australia until it arrived in 2015. I loved Race for the Galaxy, but I love Roll for the Galaxy even more! It is a dice building game, so of course there is a bit of luck in dice rolling, but it’s how you use those dice to maximise your actions in the phases that is interesting. The game can seem a bit intimidating at first with all the symbols but once you’ve played through once then you are most likely to become addicted. Guilty as charged! The Ambition expansion at the end of the year proved to be a great addition. It adds a few more dice powers and some objectives. Not enough to change the game completely but enough to provide a variability and keep the game rolling.
Again with another 2014 game that got a lot of play time in 2015. The arrival of the expansion The Artisans of Naqala (yay purple meeples!) gave that extra layer of strategy on a game that is already known to induce the much dreaded “analysis paralysis” But never fear, play it a few times and you begin to automatically see patterns until, of course, another player decides to completely derail your plan by their own move. It’s one of those everything gives you victory points games as you maneuver the meeples around the tiles in a mancala type mechanism.
This game was late comer in the year, just sneaking into stock in November. But it sure did pack a punch. I love Prodigal’s Club! It is themed in Victorian England appeals to the euro player in me with worker placement, but it also adds in set collection and actions with cards and symbol matching to get the best combinations. You do have to remember that contrary to normal thought you have to do your best to get the lowest score. Not only do you have to get the lowest score, but the lowest score in all three (or two, depending on which setup you play) areas of your competition because it is your highest lowest that you will compare with the other player’s. Whoever then has the lowest number in comparison to other players will win. I love the complexity of the game and the balancing act of it, you can’t focus too much in one area because you have to try and bring all your scores down evenly.
Yes, an expansion tops the list for 2015. Viticulture was my top game for 2014 so I guess it’s only natural that Tuscany tops the list for 2015. But it is well deserved. The base game of Viticulture is amazing but Tuscany adds a whole new level, or rather a whole new lots of levels. It has about 12 new components to add to the base game and I’m still trying to get through them all. The new board of Tuscany brings a lot of changes. There is now worker placement across all four seasons, not just the two previously, a lot more cards have been added to the game for variability and not to mention the extra structures, vineyards and special worker expansions! This provides a lot of replayability and I will not be surprised if this continues to be on my list to play in 2016.