Six Picks – Best games of 2008

These are my picks for the best games in 2008 in alphabetical order.

Agricola was the most eagerly awaited game of the year and, although it didn’t quite live up to the hype it received, it is still a very good game with lots of replay value due to the massive variety of cards. However, the family version without the cards is also a fine game in its own right.

Dominion was another game with lots of hype and is a fantastic deck-building game that is fast to play and very accessible. As you play with only 10 out of the 25 sets of cards, this one can be varied so you never have to play the same game twice. And with lots of expansion cards planned, this should continue to get lots of play.

Kamisado may seem a strange choice as I am not a fan of pure abstract two player games but this is an extremely clever design and plays ever so simply. The idea of you determining which piece your opponent plays by moving to a space of that piece’s colour is pure genius.

Kingsburg is a truly fun game where you allocate your dice to gather the resources needed for buildings, which not only give you victory points but other abilities for later in the game. However, each of the five rounds ends with the game attacking you and you potentially losing the stuff you’ve acquired.

Stone Age is another in the line of games where you allocate workers to various locations to gain resources for buying or building things, along the lines of Pillars of the Earth. There is nothing terribly new in the way it is done but it all fits together extremely well and plays in a reasonable length of time.

Uptown was our biggest surprise of the year. It is a very clever abstract game of placing your tiles to form the fewest connected groups as possible and the rules are so simple that you could be deceived into thinking the game is also simple. Far from it – There is a lot to think about every turn with plenty of opportunity to mess with other players’ plans over the course of about 30 minutes.

Next SBC session

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and received lots of games from Santa. To give you an opportunity to play one or two, here’s a reminder that the first session of the Shrewsbury Boardgames Club in 2009 will take place on Friday 2nd January at Garry’s house.

Bits and Pieces magazine

Jason Kimmings is hoping to launch a new boardgames magazine in February 2009 and, if the sample pages I’ve seen are anything to go by, this could be really good. This is what Jason said in a BGG article:

I’m trying to start a new printed review magazine based on Eurogames. Everyone I’ve talked to thinks it’s a great idea and likes the way it looks and reads (including many publishers I met with in Essen). The advert has been running on BGG for a few weeks now and there seems to be lots of people interested enough to click on it and look at the site, but the take-up is depressingly low. As it is a professionally printed product I need a minimum number of subscriptions before it becomes viable and the price has been set low to attract people but it doesn’t seem to be working. I wonder whether people are still interested in a print product anymore when you can get so much here on BGG? Any thoughts would be welcome, especially if you’ve seen the site and decided against it. The site is:

An initial annual subscription for 3 issues is just £10 and I’ve gone ahead and subscribed. Take a look and maybe you’ll like what you see.

Reiver Games to release Sumeria at Essen 2009

Jackson Pope has announced a new Reiver Games release for next year:

“Just a quick note to let you all know that Reiver Games will be releasing Sumeria by Dirk Liekens (Wind River) in time for Spiel ’09 in Essen next October. The game is a fairly abstract Euro where players move their traders to temporarily boost the standing of the city-states of ancient Sumeria. Featuring very simple rules, but surprising depth I hope it will be a big hit there.”

UK Games Expo 2009





Richard Denning has just sent me some advance information about next year’s event:

“Everything about games”
5th-7th June 2009
The Clarendon Suites
2 Stirling Road, Edgbaston,
Birmingham B16 9SB
Uk Games Expo is back at the Clarendon on 6th and 7th June 2009 with two days of demo board games, tournaments and role-playing game sessions alongside the UK’s most exciting and diverse exhibition of games companies from across the spectrum, as well as costume groups and the Living Dungeon.  

Pretty much the whole British board game industry expected again (JKLM, War Frog-Tree Frog, Surprised Stare, Ludorum. Reiver Games, Ragnar Brothers, Fragor Games and others. New Board Game releases expected from Tree Frog (War Frog) and others.

To add to that we will build on the already successful evening games rooms at the Strathallan Hotel by offering board gamers and role-players longer to play free play drop in games and organised play sessions there from noon on Friday 5th June till late and on Saturday 6th June after the trade halls at the Clarendon close.

More news in the New Year.