This year saw a lot of milestones for the hobby, not least of all being the 50th anniversary of Gen Con– the first time the gargantuan convention sold out. Along with the industry, the games themselves have grown: games like Gloomhaven, 7th Continent, and Massive Darkness made a giant splash both with critics and players as well as promising hundreds of hours of replayability. Even the mammoth game that– arguably– started it all: Twilight Imperium got an upgrade. One might think this year would be my favorite year for the Big Game– capital B, capital G.
Except, my attention has been elsewhere, and I might argue so should yours. This year has also made great strides in small games as well. Now, I have nothing against the grand, complex, narrative driven behemoths. But game innovation isn’t only about adding more, it’s also about refining simplicity. As Eric Lang said, “Complexity is a concession.” My 2017 picks epitomize this notion. Even still it was a difficult task to narrow down, but for the sake of brevity– as I do want to say a bit about each game on the list– I’m only including my top 3 from both traditional and crowd funded publishing; 6 in total. These games have managed to make experiences that are not only simple and inclusive, but also fun as hell. Continue reading CJ’s Board Game Picks of 2017