128 – Best of 2018 – The Family Gamers Podcast

Best of 2018

What We’ve Been Playing

Deblockle – abstract strategy for two players.

Bad Doctor – tile-laying game to keep patients alive – at least on your turn!

Unlock! The Adventurers of Oz – hard but fun.

Supertall – build the best “tower” from 4 types of available floors at 6 different values. Very compact (it’s Button Shy after all), but a lot to balance.

IceCOOL mega game (combined IceCOOL and IceCOOL 2) – zany fun for our whole family

ShutterBug – travel around the country and capture pictures of odd-looking mythical creatures. Not our favorite, but not bad.

Fire Tower – big shout out to Gwen and Sam at Runaway Parade! They made sure Asher got his copy in time for his birthday.

Discoveries: The Adventures of Lewis and Clark

Rocky Road à la Mode – Asher learned his lesson – make sure you’re actually at the front of the pack if you’re going to pass the 9-point threshold that ends the game!

Cloud 9 – Andrew’s take: “best rendition of Liar’s Dice”

Ricochet Robots – speed logic game; make the low bet to move the robot to the goal in as few moves as possible.

Poetry Slam – “a party word game for gamers”. We had two 10-year-olds playing; they did OK but we would not recommend it any younger.

In Vino Morte, Get the MacGuffin, Caverna: Cave vs. Cave

Boardgame in the Middle

Our newest segment: which one has the middle “average rating” on BGG?

Two weeks ago was Smallworld (7.31), Jumanji (4.44 / 4.67 depending on version), and Kingdomino (7.40) – SMALLWORLD takes the middle!

This week’s picks: IceCOOL (original), Caverna: Cave vs Cave, and Rocky Road à la Mode

(Anitra guesses Rocky Road, Andrew guesses Cave vs. Cave for the middle. Find out next time!)

Best of 2018

Let’s start with our kids! What were their favorites from 2018?

Asher’s favorites were playing Fire Tower (naturally), and Tiny Ninjas.

Claire’s favorite new game in 2018 was Fluff (a rendition of Liar’s Dice from Bananagrams), and her favorite game to play was Tokaido.

First, the Numbers

Would you be surprised to learn that our most-played game in 2018 is one we had never played until December? Drop It was our #1 most-played game of the year, and the first time we ever played it was December 1st.

Rounding out our top 3 most-played are Ancestree and Deep Sea Adventure, which should not be a surprise to anyone.

Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters also made our top 10 most-played, even though we tried it for the first time in September.

Games from 2018 that Impressed Us

We had completely forgotten that The Grimm Forest was a 2018 game! It’s fantastic, with light gameplay, but art and organization that set a new standard for what we expect from new boardgames.

Drop It is an obvious choice. We gave it a perfect rating because it works for any age range, any skill level, and equally well at all player counts.

Dinosaur Tea Party also got a perfect rating from us this year. It’s so nice for a family group with different ages. We can be silly together and not worry too much about winning.

We took a quick look at the list compiled by the Smithsonian. Interestingly, in a list full of heavier “gamers” games, it includes Bob Ross: Happy Little Accidents. We love the ease of this drawing game. Instead of getting people to guess what you drew, you just do the best you can. You can explain your clever ideas, and at the end of the game, pick your best drawing – the rest don’t matter!

That list also included Azul. We’ve played it, and although it’s a good game, Azul wasn’t one of our favorites.

Andrew wants to mention Spy Club – it is immaculately crafted, and we really enjoy playing, even though it’s really hard. This is not a terribly accessible game, unfortunately, so it hasn’t made it to our table as much as we’d like.

Anitra wants to mention Anomia Kids. Admittedly, we’re a little biased, since we already loved Anomia and Duple. But it’s worth mentioning that the creators managed to tweak this game to be approachable for kids, without making it less fun for adults! There are so few word games that kids can play with adults without giving the adults a distinct advantage.

Honorable mentions:

(Games we haven’t played but that are widely acclaimed).

Stuffed Fables

Everdell – expect to see a rise of 3D boards and gameplay.

Keyforge – are these dynamically-generated card decks a fad or something worth pursuing?

My Little Scythe – the initial PnP was 2017, but it’s only been available as a retail game since this summer. We hope to get a chance to see this in person soon!


We won’t take it from our kids, but we love it from you!

Listener Sam wrote an email. He’s expecting his first child, and asked us how old our kids are – and when he should start playing board games with his child!

An iTunes review from “Martyuc”… Thanks, Marty!

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