Best boardgame of 2017


My issue is that while I have a number of 2017 board games:

High Frontier 3rd
Time of Crisis
Colonial Twilight
Wild Blue Yonder
Next War Poland
Nemo’s War
The Expanse
Escape from 100 Million BC
Sidereal Confluence
Lovecraft Letter
Battle for Rokugan

I have only played:

High Frontier 3rd
Time of Crisis
Colonial Twilight
Wild Blue Yonder
Nemo’s War
The Expanse
Escape from 100 Million BC

And, I’ve not even scratched the surface of some of those. But here goes:

5 - Colonial Twilight - The first strictly 2 player COIN by master of counterinsurgency Brian Train. A great game in a great series. It’s too bad I haven’t been able to play Pendragon and rank that yet.

4 - The Expanse - This was a surprise. I was skeptical at first but despite some low production values I’ve enjoyed my time with this Twilight Struggle like game. And, it’s a four player game at that.

3 - Time of Crisis - This game is exactly the fresh take on deckbuilding I needed.

2 - Wild Blue Yonder - I never played Down in Flames. This version of the system has been really great so far and I just keep finding more and more in this box.

1 - High Frontier 3rd edition - One of my top games ever got its third and best version out in 2017. So yeah, you better believe it’s up here.

Tom Mc


Magic Maze definitely - it ramps up the difficulty by introducing more elements as you go along, but the early scenarios are very straight forward.

Lost Expedition maybe towards the upper end of that age range. I am not sure it’d be quite as fun for younger kids as Magic Maze.


Ha! I haven’t played It, but I must have heard of it somewhere and forgotten, since I rather doubt I just reinvented it from whole cloth there. Although I note that it actually takes the side that seems to me most suited to such a treatment and relegates it to non-player status. Have you played it?


At least 6-8 times. Favorite game of 2015 by a mile.


Thanks @moss_icon and @TheRockSal!


#5 Mrs. Thatcher’s War (White Dog Games - R. Ben Madison)

Banned in Argentina? So the Argentinians lost the war and they also had to lose their sportsmanship by banning a wargame about them being the losers?

I’m pretty sure it was done with tongue in cheek :p

I’m really glad you recommended Mrs. Thatcher’s War as I was wondering is it any good? or is it good enough to replace Where There is Discord as the go-to Falklands War solo game and it’s not just a poor man’s WTID? Still, is MTW offer enough gameplay depth to rival WTID?


At this point it would literally be a poor man’s WTID, since the latter costs a fortune.


Yeah, WTID is just not the game I’d like to sell my kidney for… yet.


The Mrs Thatcher’s War / WTID review comparison is actually going to be the main topic of my next wargame podcast, but as a sneak preview:

Where There Is Discord is a narrative game par excellence. I think it’s one of the best narrative wargames I have seen. However, in order to do this, it focuses everything on the diplomatic situation and the sea battle. I don’t think many people realize (including me, until I read Martin Middlebrook) what a close-run deal that whole war was. The loss of Atlantic Conveyor was huge, and had the Argentines put up a more competent defense, even with the forces they had, it could have gotten very sketchy for the Brits. Unfortunately, you really don’t get this in WTID as it just assumes that if the Brits get ashore everything is peachy. This is where Mrs Thatcher’s War gets it really right, I think, by giving you a taste of the whole logistical nightmare on East Falkland. I like the way Ben Madison makes the escorts fulfill a bunch of missions and have to be the guarantors of supply, which gives you some real choices to make. The more I played Mrs Thatcher’s War the more I started to question WTID’s décision to end with Operation Sutton. It gives you a great game but then stops what feels like halfway through. I think what I can say about MTW is that it has made me seriously reconsider my favorite solitaire game of all time, and to me at least, that’s a big deal.

I absolutely recommend Mrs Thatcher’s War as a solitaire game, because it taught me that you can own two games on the Falklands War. No one questioned that you could own twenty games on the Bulge (besides me) but somehow even a second game on the Falklands was too much. Believe me: it’s not.


Very interesting, Bruce! I confess I had always thought of the Falklands War as a bit of a fait accompli. I’m now looking forward to that podcast!


Over here in the shallow end of the board game pool, over Thanksgiving I roped my parents into playing a couple rounds of Kingdomino with me.

It went over great! Neither of them are much for board games outside of something like Trivial Pursuit or The Logo Board Game—my Dad going so far as to sort of obliquely remind me that he doesn’t really like games, trying to temper my expectations I think. But about halfway through Kingdomino as the game started to click, I could see he was actually getting excited and invested in the game, and by the end of our second game, he’d told me to put this on his Christmas list.

So of course, I obliged and got him a copy for Christmas. But the story continues! I got the whole family into a game of Codenames while everyone was still in town, which of course everyone enjoyed, so there’s another win for “doesn’t like games” Dad. I was around for one more night after the rest of my siblings left, and coincidentally I received Sushi Go from my future brother-in-law, and I had also put that in my Dad’s stocking since I knew it was supposed to be a pretty simple, quick card game.

Since neither of us had played it I suggested to my parents that we give it a shot, but the night got away from us and my Mom headed to bed; I assumed my Dad wouldn’t be far behind. But then he surprised me when I walked through the dining room and found him shuffling the cards, reading the instructions and suggesting we give at least learn the rules.

So we sat down to play Sushi Go, which if you’ve played it, you probably realize is not really great with two players, but we were having a really good time just talking through the limited strategies and how it would work with more players. Just talking about how the game would work got me discussing in broad strokes the other games I’d played, common mechanics I enjoyed, that sort of thing, and I also started explaining how I thought Photosynthesis worked. I got that for Christmas but it was another game I’d never actually played. After a couple rounds of Sushi Go, I got out the board just to show him because I thought the whole sun movement thing was cool, so I threw some trees on the board as an example, and then suddenly my Dad’s saying things like “well how would this actually start?”, “let’s just set up the board like a new game”, and “so an actual first turn would go like this”.

I honestly had no intention of trying to get my Dad to start playing Photosynthesis at 11:00 pm, I really did just want to show him the game board (and I thought the trees were pretty!), but he was hooked pretty quickly on at least understanding how the game would work. Before I knew it, we were actually involved in a real game! At this point it was far later than I expected either of us to be up, so we didn’t play a full game. By the end of the second “year” (or whatever you call each full rotation of the sun) we both pretty fully understood the shape of the game and decided to wrap it up. We were both really excited though and had a great time!

I don’t think my Dad’s about to start his own board game collection, but it’s been a lot of fun seeing him surprised by how much he likes them in the last month, and he’s going to be much more interested in seeing whatever I bring home and try to make the family play next time.

Boardgaming in 2018!

That’s a super-cool story, @WhollySchmidt! That moment when you are showing someone a game and you see that you’ve hooked them, especially when you didn’t expect them to be that interested, is pretty magical. Even cooler that it was your dad!


Yeah I don’t know how you could turn down a game of that after looking at it! It’s so interesting sounding and looking. Sounds like a great experience!

I think Photosynthesis might be one of my favorites of the year, but I’ve only played it 3 times. It’s a brilliant game! So many interesting moves and things to think about in a such a simple game.


I still haven’t played a real game of it, but I’m really excited to after that intro with my dad. I think someone mentioned it favorably earlier in this thread, but not in detail. That combined with it looking pretty on the shelf at my local game store were the reasons I took a gamble and put it on my Christmas list in the first place, and I’m glad I did!


Oh shoot, I thought I posted this in the general boardgaming thread, didn’t mean to put this in the “Best of…” thread, though that was one of the more fun gaming experiences of 2017.


Great story, Wholly! I think when gamers think carefully about what kind of games might appeal to the non-gamers around them (instead of foisting on them their favorite experiences), there is a lot of opportunity to make converts.


So Awesome.


No mention of Scythe? Outstanding game. My vote for 2017.


Scythe released at GenCon 2016, though was not widely available until 2017.


For me the top 2 (with a plus one for when I play with my daughter) are:

#2 Whitehall Mystery

It’s a streamlined version of Letters From Whitechapel. I love hidden movement games and everybody has really enjoyed the game every time I have played it with the family.

#1 Outlive

I’ve played this one both with my boardgaming group and several times with my kids. We can’t get enough of it. It’s just so much fun to turn into a fallout shelter leader and scrounge resources to ensure the survival of your group. The game is also simple to teach and seems to have room for varied tactics so far. Definitely one we’re always happy to bring to the table.

Bonus nomination when playing with my daughter or non boardgaming friends - Meeple Circus


Who knew piling up all kinds of meeples to circus music could be both so fun and stressful. Not one we play more than once a session. But it’s also always fun to bring out and see people attempt a masterpiece that collapses at the last second.