Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Obligatory End of 2014 Post Part II: Top Interests of 2014: Top 10 List (Part I)

2014 is done and gone. My honorable mentions post (check it out at http://www.alittlelatetothetable.blogspot.com/2015/01/obligatory-end-of-2014-post-part-i-top.html) is up and ready for reading. If you haven’t read that post yet it does go over how I categorize 2014 releases from 2015 releases. If you’re curious about my categorization, check out that post. Now onto the good stuff! This post will be the latter half of my top 10 list of gaming interests from 2014. What will follow will be numbers 6-10. Enjoy and feel free to comment or let me know what games you haven’t played from 2014 that you really want to try out! 

#10 – Kanban: Automotive Revolution (Stronghold Games) Kanban is a fairly heavy simulation where you place workers on different parts of an automotive plant in order to design, build, and collect cars. This game is by designer Vital Lacerda and is distributed in the United States by Stronghold Games. This game uses worker placement as its main mechanic in order to create the façade of controlling the day-to-day running of a plant. You are able to place in many different options in order to design a car, build a car, test a car, collect a car, or even take a meeting. 

I think the meeting option in the game is the most interesting as this is the way you time the game and get mid-game scores. It is an interesting mechanic that looks like it works incredibly well! I also love that there is a non-player character (Sandra) that is controlled by the game in order to score the players at each option. Sandra moves around the plant checking up on each player to make sure they are doing their jobs well. The game actually has a “nice” Sandra and a “mean” Sandra built in so that the players may choose to play the easier or the more difficult versions of the game. Kanban is a fun-looking, heavy, Euro-style game that definitely has the possibility of ending up on my shelf this year! 

#9 – Tragedy Looper (Z-Man Games) Tragedy Looper is quite an interesting addition onto this list. It may be the most original idea of all the releases on both my 2014 and 2015 lists! This game was created a few years ago by Japanese game designer, BakaFire, and was finally picked up for United States distribution by Z-Man Games. This was widely considered one of the most innovative games of a few years ago and even this past year at Gen Con and Essen Spiel

Tragedy Looper uses deduction and co-operative play in order to solve the mystery of a murder. It is a one versus all game where one player takes the role of the mastermind against one to three other players who take on the roles of the protagonists. What really makes this game interesting is that the players may lose a round but they then go back in time to try again and now have more information with which to work out the mystery. There are a set amount of times the players can go back in time which creates a timer of sorts for the game. This looks so incredibly interesting and I really want to play it! I think this would be a play-before-buy but it still makes it very high on my lists of interests from 2014! 

#8 – Lords of Xidit (Asmodee) Lords of Xidit is an interesting programming game that is a re-implement of an older game called Himalaya. Himalaya was originally created by Régis Bonnessée and has now been re-implemented as Lords of Xidit and distributed in the United States by Asmodee. Lords of Xidit takes place in the world of Bonnessée’s other hit, Seasons, but they are very different games. While Seasons takes on hand management, card drafting, and dice rolling, Lords of Xidit uses programming and area control mechanics. This game not only looks beautiful, but also looks like a ton of fun. You go around the board programming your moves ahead of time and then everyone simultaneously show where they are going. It is possible to continuously run into other players and have stuff taken before you get there. Along with the great mechanics, it has an interesting scoring mechanism where you need to make sure you are never last in any of the scoring areas. A cool looking game that is like nothing else I own.  

#7 – Dead of Winter (Plaid Hat Games) Dead of Winter seemed to come out of nowhere this year. It was a game that wasn’t on everyone’s radar until just before Gen Con of this past year. Dead of Winter was designed by Jonathan Gilmour and Isaac Vega and distributed in the United States by Plaid Hat Games. This game holds the same distinction as all of Plaid Hat Games, they develop and produce everything in house. That being said, the game itself looks quite interesting. This is the first in a line of Plaid Hat Games titles that will feature the “A Crossroads Game” subtitle. The crossroad’s cards add decisions into the group’s game that are both interesting and at times incredibly difficult to make. All of this happens while each player has a secret agenda they are working on during the game. Often times, there is a traitor in the mix. All of this together makes for what appears to be quite an interesting game.

#6 – Panamax (Stronghold Games) Panamax is another fairly heavy Euro-style game that has hit my top 10 interests of this past year. It was designed by Gil d’Orey, Nuno Senteiro, and Paulo Soledade and distributed in the United States by Stronghold Games. This game is more on the economic end of Euro-games while Kanban (the other heavy Stronghold Games title on this list) has more of a worker placement mechanic. Panamax has the players controlling shipping companies as they are attempting to get their ships and cargo through the Panama Canal. It uses heavy economic mechanics as well as interesting dice-rolling and placement. Your goal is to have the most money in your personal coffers (as opposed to your companies vault) which can be obtained in many different ways. This game looks interesting, fun, and beautiful and thus hits #6 on my top ten interests of 2014.

There you have it. These are the bottom five games in my top 10 of 2014 list. Let me know if you think something should be higher on the list, lower, or not on it at all. Stay tuned in the next few days for my top 5 game interests in 2014! Until next time, game on!

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