The new year has come, and January is a great time to reflect on the highlights of the year before. In the tabletop world, 2013 certainly was a big year. I got to play most of the games that I was anticipating throughout the year, and of those, I present to you my favorite 5 games of 2013.
Puppet Wars : Unstitched – Wyrd Miniatures
I was a little late to the game with Puppet Wars, but was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of Puppet Wars : Unstitched, and it quickly became one of my favorite games from this past year. I like having a miniatures game that is somewhat quick for set-up and doesn’t require that you spend a lot of money over the years to build an army. I’ve changed up my puppet list many times while playing, and I’ve found some great combinations. The game has clear rules and fun mechanics that make each individual puppet unique and powerful, especially when combined with other puppets. I’ve recommended this game to anyone who has ever shown interest in it or in miniature games.
I mean seriously, who doesn’t think that tearing voodoo puppets apart is fun?
Conflicted : The Survival Card Game – Survivalogics, Inc
Survivalogics, Inc poked into the tabletop world this year with the production of Conflicted : The Survival Card Game, and gave us a different type of party game. While many of the party games we see now are focused on humor and don’t require you to examine your humanity and instincts, Conflicted puts those traits on the table. This was my game of choice for a few of my gaming groups to see how people reacted when faced with a hypothetically realistic SHTF scenario. More decks are planned for the future with more of a central theme for future decks, but the original game examines if you are ready for a societal collapse and pushes you to explore your boundaries, or lack thereof, when it comes to survival for yourself and your loved ones.
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game – Paizo
When Paizo announced the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, I was excited to see and play it, but wasn’t expecting how fun it would be. I approached it thinking that it’d be somewhat cut and dry, without the ability to affect the game much. What I found was a very in depth dungeon-crawling, enemy-vanquishing, treasure-collecting card game in which I actually felt like my class mattered to the group. This game requires a lot of communication and assistance among the players, which I loved. I think that gamers who don’t want the commitment of an actual RPG group but want the feel of a cooperative RPG, I would point them towards this game. With more adventure packs on the way, you’ll certainly have plenty of content to get through!
Letters From Whitechapel [Revised Edition] – Fantasy Flight Games
I know that this isn’t a *new* game, but the first time I played this was with the 2013 Revised Edition, so it made the list. I really expected this to be a game that I’d break out all the time in large groups, but I found that I was much more selective. If you don’t play with people who are confident in their trust with you, this game turns into a frustrating trainwreck. I actually enjoyed the 2 player mode for Letters from Whitechapel greatly. It is a much more serious game that does require a lot of focus, but when I want a challenge, this is my game of choice.
Ascension : Rise of Vigil – Stoneblade Entertainment
I was intrigued when Stoneblade Entertainment first announced the next Ascension game, Rise of Vigil. The use of Energy shards took the game to a new level, and enhanced the already great deck-builder. While I played with some that felt it made the game unfair, especially if a player only bought cards because of the number of Energy shards beneath it. While I do agree with that logic, oftentimes a good strategy, with or without, those shards can still win you the game. If you have nothing useful to draw with those Energy shards, you still have a large hand of nothing. This game was only made better with the release later in the year of Darkness Unleashed, which introduced Dark Energy shards.