My Top 10 Favorite Games of 2017

I played a lot of games (hundreds?) for the first time in 2017, and I greatly enjoyed learning something from each and every one of them. I love looking for interesting mechanisms in games (even in games I’m not compelled to play again), and I talk about those mechanisms on my YouTube channel.

Unless otherwise noted, all of the games in the lists below were released in 2017 (some venture a bit into 2016), and I played them for the first time this year.

Random Mentions

  • Favorite Expansion: TIME Stories: Lumen Fidei (I’ll also say Orleans: Invasion, even though it wasn’t released this year)
  • New Stonemaier-Related Products Released This Year (I don’t pick my own games for the top 10): Charterstone, Scythe: The Wind Gambit, Scythe Legendary Box, Leaders of Euphoria
  • Favorite New-to-Me Games Released Before 2017: 7 Wonders Duel, Hanamikoji, and Arctic Scavengers, Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle, The Last Friday, Adrenaline
  • Best Game That Just Isn’t for Me: I absolutely admire the ambition and scope of Gloomhaven. It’s just that tactical combat games–even the best tactical combat games–don’t hold my interest.
  • Favorite Game That I Enjoyed a Lot More This Year Than Previous Years: Celestia. This actually made my top to list last year, but I didn’t fully realize just how great this game is until this year.
  • Favorite Game That I Completely Rediscovered This Year: Scotland Yard
  • Favorite Reprint/New Edition: New York Slice
  • Favorite Game That I Can Only Play Once: Escape Room in a Box
  • 2017 Releases I Haven’t Had the Chance to Try Yet (that I’m eager to try): Vengeance, When I Dream, Indian Summer, The Quest for El Dorado, Brides & Bribes
  • 2018 Releases I’m the Most Excited About: Rising Sun, Who Goes There?, The Grimm Forest, Brass – Birmingham, Barker’s Row, Oaxaca, TradeWorlds, Epoch, Visitor in Blackwood Grove, Legends of Sleepy Hollow
  • Honorable Mentions That Didn’t Quite Make the Top 10: Coldwater Crown, Chimera Station, Spirit Island

My Top 10 Favorite Games of 2017

In no particular order, because I really don’t have a clear favorite this year. I love all of these games for different times, moods, groups, and reasons.

Gaia Project (video): This is my favorite heavy Euro game of the year. I think it may be the heaviest game I’ve ever played. I’m really loving the tech trees in it. This game is all about the tech trees.

Near and Far (video): This is my favorite campaign experience of the year. I really loved the journey through the various maps, the colorful encounters, and the interesting Euro-style decisions.

Roll Player (video): This is my favorite “twist” of the year. Instead of designing a character and using that character for most of the game, the entire game is character building. I particularly love the decisions during setup.

Sagrada (video): This is my favorite light game of the year. The mechanisms, theme, and art direction are all just so welcoming.

Flip Ships (video): In a year of great cooperative games, I think this is my favorite specifically as it relates to the cooperative element. I love cheering for my friends as they flip their ships, and it feels good when I land a direct hit for the team.

The 7th Continent (video): The scope of this game is incredible, and I love the stories it enables you to tell. My favorite play of it was a few days ago when a friend suggested that we just explore the world for a while. By not holding ourselves to the overall goal, which can be a bit frustrating in its nuance, we had a wonderful time just walking around, discovering, and surviving.

Summit (video): This is my favorite free-form game of the year. There are plenty of restrictive mechanisms, just like any game, but there’s true freedom to choose how much stuff you’re going to carry up the mountain and how it impacts your speed. Also, I love that it plays up to 6 players.

Pandemic Legacy Season 2 (video): Other than Charterstone, which isn’t eligible for this list, PLS2 was the only legacy game I played this year. Fortunately, it’s been a lot of fun, and I look forward to completing our story the next time we play.

Meeple Circus (video): This is my favorite silly game of the year, though it’s full of interesting decisions and moments of tension. It features a “performance” mechanism unlike anything I’ve seen in a tabletop game.

Clans of Caledonia (video): This is my favorite economic game of the year. It’s a delight to play, it looks great on the table, and for its weight, it isn’t hard to teach.

What were your favorite games of 2017?

Here is last year’s list, and here is my latest overall top 10 list.