The 2014 Good Gift Game Guide

The 2014 Good Gift Games guide appears in The Morning News today. Here are the ten games featured:

Game Rules Purchase
Splendor PDF AmazonFunagain
Machi Koro PDF AmazonFunagain
Concept PDF AmazonFunagain
Marrying Mr. Darcy How to play AmazonFunagain
Tokaido PDF AmazonFunagain
Star Realms How to play AmazonFunagain
Terror in Meeple City (FKA “Rampage”) PDF AmazonFunagain
Camel Up PDF Amazon, Funagain
Mascarade PDF Amazon, Funagain
Quantum PDF Amazon, Funagain

It’s often difficult to whittle the selections down to 10, but this year was especially tough. Here are five more that were on the list at one time or another, but eventually pushed below the fold.

  • Thunder Alley (GMT Games, 2-7 players, 90 minutes): I name-checked this one in the main list, as a possible alternative to Camel Up. Stock car racing games are often uninspired — roll a die, move your piece — but Thunder Alley has players managing a team of cars rather than a single vehicle, trying to maximize a score rather than simply cross the finish line first. [Boardgame Geek | Amazon | Funagain]
  • King of New York (IELLO, 2-6 players, 45 minutes): King of Tokyo is a perennial suggestion as a Good Gift Game (see “A Decade of Good Gift Games”, below), and King of New York improves upon it in nearly every way: it accommodates more players, it introduces buildings to destroy, and you can even gain an ally in the form of an animated Statue of Liberty. I still recommend Tokyo to non-gamers for its accessibility, but for everyone else, this is the one. [Boardgame Geek | Amazon | Funagain]
  • Istanbul (AEG, 2-5 players, 50 minutes): Where most pick-up-and-deliver games have players transporting freight across a nation in a train or across the galaxy in a starship, Istabul is confined to a marketplace, where you shuttle goods using your trusty wheelbarrow. The core mechanics are simple but there are a plethora of special spaces and actions available, making it unsuitable for the game Good Gift Games list due to its complexity, but also one of the best strategy games of the year. [Amazon | Funagain]
  • Tiny Epic Kingdoms (Gamelyn Games, 2-5 players, 30 minutes): TEK packs a lot of game into a tiny package, although perhaps not as much as it boasts: it claims to be a 4X game when, truth be told, it is more of a hybrid between an action selection and an area control game. Classifications aside, Tiny Epic Kingdom offers a pretty amazing gameplay-to-footprint ratio. [Boardgame Geek | Amazon]
  • Eldritch Horror (Fantasy Flight Games, 1-8players, 180 minutes): I spent more hours playing Eldritch Horror in 2014 than on any other game. I’ll write a full review shortly but, suffice it to say, I will likely never play Arkham Horror again so long as EH is in my collection. [Boardgame Geek | Amazon | Funagain]
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A Decade of Good Gift Games

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Good Gift Game Guide’s publication in The Morning News. Not all of the selections over the last decade have withstood the test of time, but here are 20 that hold up (and are still available) today.

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Other Opinions

Don’t trust the yeti? Here are the highlights of some other “2014 best game of the year” lists. German Game of the Year:

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

  • First PlaceRussian Railroads (I haven’t yet played, but my strategy game group loves this one)

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.