The 2015 Good Gift Games Guide

My 2015 Good Gift Games Guide appears in The Morning News today. Here are the ten games featured:

Game Rules Purchase
Patchwork PDF Amazon
Codenames PDF Amazon
Pandemic Legacy BGG Amazon
Lanterns BGG Amazon
Colt Express PDF Amazon
Ca$h & Guns PDF Amazon
Sheriff of Nottingham PDF Amazon
Mysterium PDF Amazon
Looney Quest PDF Amazon
Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition: Starter Set D&D Basic Rules Amazon
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Additional Picks

The G3 guides focus on games that are easy to learn and play, so some of my personal favorites for a year if they are long or complex. That said, the circles in the Venn Diagram of games I most enjoyed in 2015 and games listed above perfectly overlap — with one exception:

Dead of Winter (Plaid Hat Games, 2-5 players, 90 minutes): Cooperative games with potential traitors are nothing new, but Dead of Winter is the first to do it right, in my opinion. Each player owns a faction of followers in a colony besieged by zombies, and can use them to kill the marauders, barricade windows and doors, search nearby locations to for loot, or shore up morale in the face of unrelenting doom. Loyal players work toward a common objective (killing a set number of zombies, say, or surviving for X rounds); the betrayer — if there is one — only wins if the main objective fails. The traitor element works in DoW because all players are a little treasonous — each loyalist has a secret goal in addition to the main objective, and to meet it they must often act a bit shady. Thus, the traitor is incentivized to behave “good” (to stay hidden), and the team players are incentivized to behave badly. The end result is an game where the humans have as much to fear from one another as they do from the shambling dead. [Boardgame Geek | Rules (PDF) | Amazon]

And here are the “greatest hits” from over a decade of Good Gift Game guides:

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Other Opinions

Don’t trust the yeti? Here are the highlights of some other “2015 best game of the year” lists.

German Game of the Year:

Deutscher Spiele Preis (the “other” German Game of the Year award):

Golden Geek Awards:

International Gamers Awards:

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Where to Buy

I dunno about your hometown, but board game stores have recently been cropping up in Seattle like toadstools after a rain. Plug “games” into Google Maps and see what you get. As for online, Amazon now carries just about everything I recommend. Funagain Games is one of the oldest board game retailers and remains one of the best. Others that I’d recommend include:

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Need additional info, or want a more specific recommendation? Don’t hesitate to drop me a line.