Top 10 Board Games of 2014
Once again, we are releasing our annual list of Top 10 Games, which encompass our favorite and most popular games released in 2014 or late 2013 (if we hadn't had a chance to try them before last year's list went up). 2014 has been a challenging year for games, with many of the latest games not available for regular stocking due to high demand. That does also mean that we've seen a lot of games with unprecedented popularity and quality.
As always, this list is not in any particular order:
1. Star Realms
is one of the biggest hits this of year, and one game that we have incredible difficulty actually keeping in stock. It's a space combat deck-building game that plays very fast, is simple to teach and can be expanded to 4 players with the addition of a new deck. Its core mechanic of "ally abilities" that build powerful synergies between cards of the same faction adds strategy and depth without a ton of rules weight. There is a good amount of randomness in the base game, but the new expansion will balance the game a bit more, for players who aren't a fan of that aspect.
2. Coup: Guatemala 1954
Coup: Guatemala 1954
is re-theme of the highly popular game of bluffing and deduction. Along with adding a modern history setting, Coup: Guatemala includes a total of 25 unique character cards, with only 5 character cards being used each game. That adds a huge amount of replay value and variability to the base game, while keeping the original game’s simple game mechanics, fast play, and tight focus on bluffing.
3. One Night: Ultimate Werewolf
One Night: Ultimate Werewolf
is a streamlined version of the classic Ultimate Werewolf game. It simplifies the game to make it last only one night, and adds a few new roles to the mix that are designed to sow confusion. Players must make their deduction with only one night’s worth of information, raising the stakes significantly. This game works great as both a filler and a highly interactive large group game and is sure to hit the table often.
4. Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game
Dead of Winter
is a semi-cooperative zombie game where players lead a faction of survivors who must work together to reach a collective goal; however, each players has their own victory conditions that may put them at odds with the rest of the group -- or even make them a traitor. Dead of Winter has been incredibly popular as a result of it's ability to recreate the tension, suspicion, and action of a zombie apocalypse in only 1-2 hours of gameplay.
5. Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck-Building Game
Taking the basic deck-building elements of Marvel: Legendary and making it a fully cooperative game set in the Alien universe was a smart move by Upper Deck. Players take on roles from the four hit movies, playing as Ripley, Dallas, Bishop, or Corporal Hicks, and must work together to stop the Xenomorphs. Legendary Encounters: Alien
is a tightly-designed, cooperative deck building game that is quite possibly one of the best in the world.
6. Marvel Dice Masters
Whether you are looking at the original Avengers vs X-Men
or the new Uncanny X-Men
version, this has been an incredibly popular reimagining of Wiz Kids' popular dice game, Quarriors. Adding both a collectible element to the game as well as streamlining some of the rules to allow greater choice in the beginning, Dice Masters adds a bit more strategy and a lot more variety to the overall game. If you are interested, make sure to grab a starter pack fast, as they are going out of stock extremely quickly.
7. Machi Koro
is a city building game with a twist – you have to use a die to determine which buildings activate. Players are in a race to build the landmarks demanded by the citizens of their town the fastest and to do so, must build additional buildings to aid in generating income. A fast-playing, colourful, and quick game, Machi Koro maintains a surpising degree of complexity due to the building cards' interactions and the die in play.
8. Warhammer: 40k Conquest LCG
The latest Living Card Game from Fantasy Flight Games, Warhammer: 40,000 Conquest
is a two-player strategy game of mass combat. You’ll get a chance to use the factions from the Warhammer 40k world -- from Space Marines to Orks and Eldars -- to battle over control of planets and ultimately triumph over your opponent. Well-balanced gameplay with a ton of cards in just the base set and unique factions that play very differently add a ton of replay value to this game.
9. Eldritch Horror
is both an update to the cooperative classic, Arkham Horror, and an entirely independent game of its own. The debate rages on whether this or Arkham Horror is the better game, with fans of Eldritch Horror enjoying the simplification of rules, faster gameplay and worldwide setting. Even if you love Arkham Horror just the way it is, or are taking your first steps into the world of H.P. Lovecraft, this game is worth a try for its immersive setting, attention to detail, and simple, entertaining gameplay.
10. Sheriff of Nottingham
Sheriff of Nottingham
seems like a simple game at first, with players acting as traders attempting to get their goods (illicit or otherwise) through the Sheriff's checkpoint by bluffing. However, there is a lot of subtle strategy in this game, from how and when you bluff to the make-up of the bag of goods you try to bring through.The differences in the value of the goods and consequences for an incorrect guess make the entire game interesting, and a strong set-collection component encourages players to watch their opponents carefully and try to work out hteir next moves. This is definitely a game for groups that enjoy bluffing and deduction, or ones that prefer fewer rules (but still lots of strategy) in their games.