Board Games

New Hotness

With 2020 come and gone, I’ve been reflecting on which games I have enjoyed most from 2020. Most articles or people I have come across haven’t had the opportunity to explore games during the year. I was scratching my head thinking of games released in 2020 that I played, as well. With the rise of virtual gaming and my exploration into solo gaming, I found titles that have dazzled me, along with releases that I am excited to explore further. I wanted to highlight some of the latest games that I found in 2020, which left me wanting more.

Curious Cargo by Ryan Courtney

Curious Cargo by Ryan Courtney is one of my favorite titles from last year. You play as a factory manager constructing conveyor belts to ship and receive goods at your factory. I loved Pipeline by the same designer, and this game takes the pipe-laying mechanic from Pipeline and brings it to a whole different level. This game is teasing and devilish with its hidden edges. Trying to time your cargo shipments is pivotal to success. The verticality of the tile-laying puzzle also offers ways to use the tiles that never seem to fit. I love this game as a two-player duel game and will always bring it up when wanting a heavier game for two people. I would warn those who are easily prone to analysis paralysis away from this game.

Under Falling Skies by Tomáš Uhlíř

Under Falling Skies by Tomáš Uhlíř was a game a lot of people needed last year. With the inability to gather around a table, a solo tabletop game shined bright. Under Falling Skies was initially designed as a 9-card “print and play” game that won awards and noticeable recognition. Czech Games Entertainment saw a fantastic opportunity and released a premium copy of Under Falling Skies. In Under Falling Skies, you play as Earth’s last defense against an alien menace that is descending upon the surface. Through careful dice use, you want to build a base and repel the alien threat. In the CGE box, there comes an entire solo campaign and a replayable mode you can enjoy after the campaign is over. Under Falling Skies is a great solo game and one I will continue to pull off the shelf whenever the reservation for game night is a party of one.

Hallertau by Uwe Rosenburg

Hallertau is Uwe Rosenburg’s final entry into the series of games that Agricola started many years ago. In Hallertau, you play as a “farmer” in the Hallertau region of Germany. You will be placing workers, raising sheep, farming, and playing a lot of small cards. Those familiar with Mr. Rosenburg’s games will notice that there isn’t a whole lot different you’re going to be doing in this game, thematically, versus other titles. However, with the new crop rotation mechanic and the ability to play cards whenever you like, Hallertau reveals itself as a tactical playground. Each card offers a milestone to achieve and either a one-time or recurring reward to help push your strategy along. The solo play was brilliant, but I cannot wait to get this to the table with more.

My City by Reiner Knizia

My City by Reiner Knizia was a game that initially I overlooked. It seemed like a simple family game that was not going to satisfy my gaming itch. I was wrong. My City is the only legacy game that I’ve played that I have wanted to finish. Reiner Knizia is excellent at adding subtle little twists that completely warp how players play games. For example, in Ra by Dr. Knizia, you must bid if you start an auction and everybody else doesn’t want what you put up for auction. This small rule has resounding effects on core gameplay. You are placing Tetris-shaped pieces on your board in My City, attempting to cover up or leave exposed certain parts of the board. Each turn, a card is drawn, and each player must place down the tile drawn on the card. The formula to My City is simple. Over the 8 Chapters of gameplay, there is a lot of fun variation and experimentation of that initial idea. I loved my time with My City and highly recommend it to those who want a compelling, light-weight experience.

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