BattleTech has that “just one more mission” aspect to it, and salvaging, upgrading, and the white-knuckling my way through a salvo of SRMs hitting my exposed weapon mounts make this my #1 game of the year. I love the mech tinkering, the slot-machine salvage, the starmap full of places I can’t go (yet), it’s just… it’s everything I want in a BattleTech game. If the first expansion is any indication, it’s going to hit XCOM-levels of classic status.
- Return of the Obra Dinn
Obra Dinn is just transporting and delicious and different, with a massive logic puzzle hidden behind striking art and sound, and a story worth telling. By the time I’d grokked what I was actually supposed to do to win the game, I was so invested in learning the fates of specific characters I had no choice but to shotgun the whole game in a day. It’s also probably the best ******* game made yet (can’t spoil it for ya)!
- Arkham Horror 3E
A reworking of the granddaddy of the dice-n-tentacles genre of boardgaming, the design here incorporates so many good ideas from other boardgames like Fallout, Pandemic, and, yes, Eldritch Horror that it captures the claustrophobia and melancholy of AH2 while increasing the amount of player agency and (more importantly to me) narrative coherence. Its scenario-based design offers the promise of some truly crazy avenues the game could take with the inevitable expansions, but for now it’s exactly what a new edition should be.
- Into The Breach
I bounced off it, went back and thought about it, played it some more, bounced even harder off it, but for some reason couldn’t get it out of my head. Some 80 hours later, it’s become my go-to game jam when I have 30 minutes to kill. It’s fun, goal-oriented, endlessly replayable, and a perfect little pocket of deep turn based strategy that’s just as good as everyone says it is.
It’s been a looooooooong time since I actually finished one of these open-world hoo-has, but Spider-Man did the trick by making getting around such a joy. Amazing production values in every area (they didn’t HAVE to give Peter two sets of line readings, one for when he’s talking while swinging around and one when he’s just standing there, but they DID), soaring music, and a plot with fun twists on classic Spidey stuff, I was prepared for it to be terrible; it was outstanding.