Hello and welcome to Big Boss Battle’s ‘2018 Best 50 Board Games We’ve Ever Reviewed’ list. It may not be as definitive an opinion as suggesting that these games are the best we’ve ever played, but it is a list of the best games that we’ve played through in detail, more than four or five times and in most cases, still return to when the fancy takes us.
Here’s rank 20 through to 11 in our countdown. You can find buttons to navigate to other pages at the bottom of the article.
Game: Dead of Winter
In brief: Whilst already superseded by its own semi-sequel and more recently by Gen 7, which also features the Crossroads system of play, Dead of Winter remains perhaps the best zombie-centric survival horror game on the market. With hidden roles and secret scenarios, a dynamic story, a ton of unique characters and the excellent use of standee’s, Dead of Winter is well worth your time. Here’s our review.
In brief: One for the wine lovers, or especially for the lovers of both wine and board games at the same time, Viticulture is a richly satisfying and deep in flavour worker placement game about making fine wine. The Essential Edition which is now most commonly available includes a few minor features from the Tuscany expansion based on feedback into the designer, creating a much finer vintage. Read our tasting notes here.
Game: Blood Rage
In brief: They say the oldies are often the best and there isn’t much to say about Blood Rage that hasn’t been said… Except perhaps that whilst it is exceptionally good and features some of the best miniatures in any game, it isn’t by any means the highest rated area control game on this list. Keep reading to see what else we have in store, or check out our Blood Rage write up here.
In brief: Do you remember when I said that Hotshots was the last surprise in the list? Well, I lied. Majesty is another title that I felt delivered on its brief almost flawlessly. It’s a fast paced, beautiful card game that is perhaps a little overproduced thanks to the poker chips that it uses to track score, but even so, it’s a superb gateway game that has been somewhat overlooked during 2018. Don’t make the same mistake — here’s our review.
In brief: Orc-Lympics may be a simple, small card game, but it’s a fantastic one that features several mechanics and a lot of personality. Draft your team, compete in events, win medals and admire the gorgeous artwork. A truly versatile game that combines travel game dimensions with a simple learning curve and a lot of depth, Orc-Lympics is worth reading about in detail.
In brief: Jamey Stegmaier and his team appear twice in this list, with both games from Stonemaier Games in our top twenty. That should say enough about the quality of games like Viticulture and Charterstone, but with regard to Charterstone specifically, this lighter worker placement and euro game is packed full of charm and surprise. It’s the first legacy game on our list, meaning that there are several hidden compartments within the box that will be revealed over time. It also means that the game introduces new players gently, before later introducing new mechanics over the course of about fifteen games. We felt that Charterstone was close to masterpiece quality when we reviewed it, so why not check it out.
In brief: As far as building games are concerned, Quadropolis is one of the best out there. We do have a review for Suburbia coming in 2019 that might mean Quadropolis suffers a minor knock to its confidence, but it is nonetheless an attractive, exciting and very enjoyable game. Simple and complex modes make it ideal for family buyers as well as experienced gamers. You can read more about it here.
Game: Black Orchestra
In brief: As I discussed in my review earlier in 2018, no one should feel aggrieved about the idea of plotting to kill Hitler. Black Orchestra is a game focused on doing exactly that — using some interesting pick up and deliver mechanics, as well as automated AI that ranges from hard to very, very hard to defeat. Gather up your mates, get a few beers in, it’s time to plot a murder!
In brief: Possibly the heaviest game we’ve ever reviewed at BigBossBattle, Feudum is the singular vision of designer Mark Swanson, who has poured his heart and soul into every intricate rule and beautifully crafted component. This isn’t a game for newcomers to the hobby, but it is a game filled with deep, powerful mechanisms that deserve to be explored in detail. It looks like a work of art when setup and trust me, it’s worth persevering with.
Game: Sailing Towards Osiris
In brief: The Pharaoh is dead, long live the Pharaoh! But wait…. Who will it be? The dignitary who builds the greatest structures in honour of the old Pharaoh, of course. Sailing Towards Osiris is a beautiful, thematic worker placement game about good timing, bartering with your opponents and doing whatever it takes to win. It’s a fast, clever game that allows the players to make powerful choices. I highly recommended it in my review and it remains one of my go-to games to this day.