My 2019 in Review
David Hammel
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I run a board game Meetup, so I see my way around a few games in a year. What got my attention in 2019?
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1. Board Game: Point Salad [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:446]
Board Game: Point Salad
David Hammel
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Biggest surprise of 2019. I am surprised I even tried this, nothing about this really spoke to me at all. But as far as I am concerned, this totally fires Sushi Go as the gateway-ish drafting game. This has been a big hit with other gamers and casuals alike.

Runner-up: Marvel Champions. I wasn't even going to try this since I was already entrenched in Arkham Horror LCG, but they don't really cross streams and I really, really enjoyed it a lot more than I expected.
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2. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth [Average Rating:8.10 Overall Rank:94]
Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth
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Most Played Game of 2019 (12 plays). My girlfriend Jennifer and I wrapped up the campaign this year, which is a testament to how engaging it is, as we typically just don't have time to invest in a game like that. I will admit that, by game 8 or so, it started to feel a little bit like our characters had become OP and I think it could have been better written, but all in all, quite fun and a worked for us where Mansions of Madness 2E did not.

Runner-up: Star Wars: Outer Rim (6 plays). This game totally fired Firefly and Xia for me, but it is in sore need of an expansion.
 
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3. Board Game: Wingspan: European Expansion [Average Rating:8.49 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.49 Unranked]
Board Game: Wingspan: European Expansion
David Hammel
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Best expansion of 2019. Wingspan was problematic for my first few play-throughs, eggs felt a bit too obvious as the mainline strategy, but I feel like the expansion opened it up. It made a good game much better for me, so I gotta give it props. Plus, there is no denying the wide reaching appeal this game has had outside of our community. Good job, Elizabeth Hargrave and Stonemaier Games.

Runner-up: Pearlbrook
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4. Board Game: Black Angel [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:692]
Board Game: Black Angel
David Hammel
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My favorite game of 2019. Honestly, of the games I played that were released this year, there wasn't much competition for this slot. However, that should not in any way suggest Black Angel isn't absolutely deserving of the slot. Solenia + Troyes is a good recipe. I would like to see an expansion open up the strategy a bit, as I feel tech / yellow in general, is definitively optimal.

Runner up: Marvel Champions
 
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5. Board Game: Everdell [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:38]
Board Game: Everdell
David Hammel
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Best games I played this year (new to me) :

1.) Everdell - excellent tableau builder
2.) Black Angel - excellent dice drafting with gimmicks
3.) Empires of the Void II - excellent 4x lite
4.) Vindication - excellent cube pushing Euro / adventure game
5.) Arkham Horror 3rd edition - refreshingly streamlined experience, great new edition of a game that was fun thematically but too long and too lucky in earlier iterations
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6. Board Game: Tapestry [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:242]
Board Game: Tapestry
David Hammel
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Biggest disappointment of 2019. Man, I gave this two shots, and I don't ever need to go back. A rare miss for Stonemaier for me; I enjoy so many of their other games. But the board is boring and not as interactive as I'd have liked, the tapestry cards are poorly executed, the thing with the buildings on the side board should have been cut out entirely, the factions are not balanced (the "fix" was very sloppily done) and my biggest complaint is that all of your actions are restricted to where you push up on a track, and it is very possible to no longer be able to do anything on the map after a certain point. The space tiles felt so dull and uninspired. I mean, really, at the end of the day, absolutely nothing about it grabbed me at all.

Runner-up On Tour. There is no fun in this game, like at all. Guess numbers and try to place them in order on a map, gnash teeth when you don't roll what you need, ever. Rinse, repeat.
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