I was thinking that I didn’t get that many board games in 2020. But, then when I went back and had a count, the number is 14. That may not seem like a whole lot for a hobbyist, but it works out to more than 1 a month, and this doesn't include games that I got this year that have been published in previous years. In fact, of those published in 2020, I haven’t even played them all. So, that seems like more than enough for me. I thought it might be fun to run down my top 10 games from 2020. (These are the 10 that I played!)
10 - Mint Cooperative
I have some 2020 games in my collection that I haven’t yet gotten to the table that might easily push Mint Cooperative off my list. Julie and I liked this okay, but I don’t think I can call it a favorite. The main draw of the “Mint-Series” of games is portability, but we actually got another cooperative game in 2020 that fits that bill, which we like a lot better. This one is just, okay.
9 - Kingswood
This is an odd little rondel style game. After we played the game, I received an expansion that was part of my Kickstarter. We haven’t played that yet, but I think it will elevate the game play quite a lot.
8 - Gate
This is a solo game. I only own a few of these. Mostly, I don’t play solo games. I would rather play with my wonderful Julie. So, those few solo games that find their way into my collection must be really good. This one is. Gate is a dark fantasy themed tower defense game where you must use the townsfolk (a deck of cards that you build as you play) to defeat monsters that threaten the town. It’s a solid game. It’s quick to set up and play, and it comes in a tiny tin that can be carried anywhere. Plus, the designer: Jason Glover once sent me a little fan-email regarding one of my RPG designs. How cool is that!
7 - Fox in the Forest Duet
Fox in the Forest is a great two-player only trick-taking game. Julie and I loved the original game, so when this cooperative version came out, we had to try it. While I like the original game better, Julie and I did like this one, and I will be happy to get it to the table again. So, here we have a small cooperative game that I like better than Mint Cooperative, but this isn’t the game that I was talking about above.
6 - Fossilis
This game is high on the “toy” factor. You have little plastic tiles that represent bits of sand, stone, and clay that you must shift in order to reveal dinosaur bones that you are working to excavate. Digging up the best dinos and making the best sets gets you the most points to win the game. This one is light, family fun!
5 - Mint Condition Comics
While this might sound like one of the “Mint-Series” games, it’s not. “Mint Condition” is a collector’s term, which is commonly used by comic book collectors. As a comic book fan, I was hoping to enjoy this one, but I wasn’t necessarily expecting to (if that makes any sense.) I bought it for the theme and held my breath with fingers crossed that it might actually be good. As it happens, it is great. It manages to capture the theme of collecting comic books well with simple set collection mechanics, and is a really satisfying little card game.
4 - Solar Storm
In this small portable cooperative game, players work together to save their damaged spaceship from crashing into the sun. This one is quick to setup and play, but contains all the tension and excitement of a larger game. On our last play through, Julie and I finally beat the thing, which is a real accomplishment for us! THIS is the game that I was thinking of when I mentioned a small cooperative game that we like much better than Mint Cooperative.
3 - Parks: Nightfall
This might be a little bit of a cheat. Parks came out in 2019, but it’s a new game for us, and the Nightfall expansion came out this year. Parks is a great game where you are campers exploring the National Parks. Nightfall adds a camping option that expands what players can do on their turn. It’s a great add-on that increases player options without ramping up complexity. We love it!
2 - Rallyman: GT
This is a race car game, and I love it. You use dice to control your car. For every space you move ahead on your turn, you roll a die. The dice have bad stuffs on them that can make you wreck your car, so you have to be careful about how many dice you roll (aka how fast you go.) It’s a great press your luck mechanism and an interesting puzzle!
1 - Marvel United
This was my favorite game this year! Superheroes! Cooperative play! Easy setup and game play! Many heroes to choose from! Three different arch villains / scenarios to challenge players! It’s great! GREAT!
I just realized that 4 of the 10 games are cooperative games. So, 2020 must be the year of cooperative games. Other games that we got that didn’t make this list because we haven’t yet played them are: Godzilla: Tokyo Clash, Sweet Existence, Small World of Warcraft, and Talisman: Kingdom Hearts. I’m sure that we will get these to the table soon!