Bevan’s Top 5 Tabletop Games of 2014
Well, 2014 was a cracking year for tabletop gaming and I was very lucky to get a chance to play A LOT of games. Some were great, some were terrible, and some just went past with nary a blip on the Game-O-Radar. Since it’s a new year though I’d like to start on a positive, hence my list of my Top Five games of 2014. Enjoy!
1. Waggle Dance
Top of the list is the Kickstarted Waggle Dance. A worker placement game featuring dice, the theme of workers building a hive to produce honey is beautifully realised through the well-meshed mechanics. The use of dice for the workers also adds an element of chance which then turns to pure strategy as canny players keep tabs on the values of the other players’ dice. Wonderful to play, wonderful to look at, this is a classic in the making.
2. Camel Up
Winner of the Spiel des Jahres in 2014, Camel Up is the game of punters (the players) betting on the outcome of a camel race around a pyramid that double as a dice shaker. Gameplay is simple, inclusive yet with a touch of analytical thought that gives some meat to the mechanics. Featuring the stacking camels and aforementioned pyramid as components, Camel Up has seen a lot of play at our table as it is easy to teach and quick to play. A great gateway game.
3. Golem Arcana
A blend of board game and war game, Golem Arcana features the innovative use of a Bluetooth stylus connected to a smart phone or tablet to take all the crunch out of the statistics used to represent movement, attacking and continuous effects. This takes all the admin out of what could be a cumbersome system, speeding up the game significantly without loss of depth. Add in beautiful miniatures and continuous support via the app and this one is hard to fault.
4. Love Letter
The micro card game Love Letter sits comfortably in the middle of my list. I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve played this. Short and sweet, LL can be played before, after, and between games as its play length, complexity and size mean it can be chucked in a pocket or bag and be toted literally anywhere and played with anyone.
5. Age of War
The second micro game in this list, Age of War is a Reiner Knizia riff on the yatzhee dice set mechanic and feels very much like Elder Sign lite. Don’t let this fool you though; AoW fills a very different niche as a much smaller game, with players conquering (read:collecting) Japanese castles and scoring victory points based on each castle’s difficulty. It’s not super strategic since dice rolling will never be fully predictable, but it works perfectly as a light filler or evening starter.
Some honourable mentions include the cube drafter Hyperborea which has some excellent miniatures and a very epic feel, the party game One Night Ultimate Werewolf which would have made the top 5 if I hadn’t played it so much, and King of New York, the spiritual succesor to King of Tokyo.
So what do you guys think? Any games you’d include in your own personal top 5? Anything you thought was an odd choice? As always, we’d love to hear from you!