Here it is for your viewing pleasure, my favorite cardboard heroes of 2009. Just like in previous years, these games did not necessarily come out last year, but I played them for the first time last year and these are my rules -- I make em up.
10. Drakon - 3rd Edition
This simple game from Fantasy Flight involves heroes escaping from a dragon's lair. Six men enter, one man leave. It's a neat design as the board is created new each game via tiles and each tile performs a nasty little trick on the other players. Not something to play every week but a great game for young gamers as it forces you to use your noggin. And it's quick.
One of the "hot" games of 2008/2009 Dominion was fantastic the first 4 or 5 times I played it. Then it started to get a tad too procedural for me. It's a cash cow, though, and most people cannot get enough of it.
8. Tales of the Arabian Nights
A reprint of an old classic, this is more of a story telling game than a strategy game, and when people play this game to "win" they are really missing the point. This is all about telling a wild adventure story. Ashley absolutely loves this. Would I play it with my adult game group a lot? Prolly not, but with Ashley it's a great, great time.
7. Richard III: The Wars of the Roses
If you read this blog with any consistency you know I love a good 2-player wargame and I also love block wargames in particular. This MIGHT be my favorite block wargame, even over Hammer of the Scots. That says a lot. I just don't get to play it often enough.
6. Galaxy Trucker
Crazy game. Basically you build a spaceship and fly it through the galaxy and hope it doesn't fall apart as it's attacked by asteroids, aliens and space pirates. That's the game. But it's a riot, and I can play it with Ashley and Mary so...bonus.
5. Small World
I have played this several times in '09 and enjoyed it quite a bit. I really like the various race/trait combos that pop up. This is a good, quick, game group game that fits great with 4 players. A Brief History of the World sort of inspired Small World and that game should arrive any day now.
4. Middle-Earth Quest
The LOTR craze will never truly DIE but it has waned since the films. And this is not the LOTR game many expected as it contains no heroes you have ever heard of and takes place in a time that has never (to my mind) been written about. But it's neat. It has some Arkham Horror elements and plays the theme to the hilt. Plus the Sauron player plays a 100% different game than the heroes. I like that. But you need to be a fan to like this, and it really helps to know the book lore, at least a little.
3. Neuroshima Hex!
I got this one late in the year and I love it. It's a battle in a tight space using unit hexes -- it takes place in this post-apocalyptic setting with 4 factions fighting it out. And man ..totally cutthroat. If you are looking for a pretty quick 2-4 player game I highly recommend this one. No dice. Now, I LIKE dice -- I play FFG stuff after all, but this one is diceless and is extremely tactical.
2. Chaos in the Old World
I love Warhammer, especially Warhammer fantasy and this game really surprised me. It's basically a Eurogame set in the Warhammer world. It's procedural but violent and not at all predictable. I'll play this whenever it's suggested -- I have played this as all four chaos gods and it plays differently depending on the god you play. A very good sign of a solid design.
1. Battlestar Galactica
A 2008 game that I didn't get to play til 2009, BSG is a game I don't get to play often enough, but every time I play it I love it more and more. It's hard to find 5 other people who want to play and you need 6 for it to shine. You need the right group -- but if you get a group of players who are into it it's hard to find a better one than this. And for the last time, Todd -- I am not a Cylon.