During 2017 we've definitely been more active in following the hot new releases, so there’s a lot more choice to select a top 5 games of the year than I’ve had in previous years. For me, there have been three or four stand out games this year, followed by a large number of very good games.
Overall we’ve had a fantastic year in board gaming, where we’ve simply been overwhelmed by good games to play, and here’s my top 5 board games releases of 2017 – games that I’m very keen to play more and more!
Ticket to Ride Germany
Ticket to Ride: Germany is a new Ticket to Ride base game, which I understand has some elements of Ticket to Ride Marklin. It offers passengers as an additional strategy for getting points in addition to completing tickets. It's been interesting to watch players win with different strategies, but also to note that it has a simplicity that makes it a great map for new players. This simplicity means it's now my Mum's choice for favourite Ticket to Ride game, so it continues to see lots of play for us, at a time when we're overwhelmed with new games.
Kitchen Rush is a frantic real-time co-operative game that is very reminiscent of the video game Overcooked. Each player takes on orders for different meals and needs to collect the right dish, ingredients and seasoning, as well as cooking the dish for the required amount of time. Your workers are sand timers who need to spend a certain amount of time at the limited number of stations on the kitchen board.
It's a difficult game to win, depending on the win conditions that you draw at random at the start of the game, but, with sufficient communication and co-operation, it's beatable and the fact that it's challenging is what makes it fun for us.
Flatline is another game aimed squarely at what we enjoy - a co-operative game with a real-time element. It's fast, has some luck because it is a dice rolling game, but it also plenty of luck mitigation and it definitely provides us with a challenge. In a real time game, it's really hard for one player to take over and with Flatline, I always feel like every player needs to think independently but be very aware of the dice everyone else at the table is rolling.
Flatline is just a well produced, puzzly, co-operative challenge that I think we'll enjoy playing for a long time to come.
Wasteland Express Delivery Service
Wasteland Express Delivery Service is a game I initially only had a passing interest in because of how great the production quality looked. The first game I played was fraught with rules errors and the whole game dragged, but for once I saw through it all and realised that I could really enjoy this game. Wasteland Express made me realise that I love the pick up and deliver mechanic, and in particular when there are clear objectives that allow you to come up with a strategy for the game based on a set of goals.
I really love the challenge of picking a route, planning ahead on how much to upgrade your vehicle to just scrape through with enough resources to win the race to complete three contracts and win the game. The theme, the production quality and the mechanics just create a fantastic game for me.
Pandemic Legacy Season 1
Pandemic Legacy Season 2 was destined to be at the top of this list, after all, Season 1 was probably my favourite ever gaming experience. We are currently playing October and are trying to savour our final few games, but we've really enjoyed the exploratory nature of this game and have found it challenging, but not too punishing.
The design is so clever and it impresses me even more than Season 1, although I did prefer the story in Season 1. Nevertheless, it's hard to fault Pandemic Legacy Season 2 as a great couple's gaming experience and it's my number one of 2017.