Well 2014 draws to a close and some thoughts on my favorites of the year. I'm including games with their first general introduction at Essen 2014 as well as games released in 2014. There are still plenty of games I haven't tried yet so I'll addend this as necessary.
The English edition of The Ravens of Thri Sahashri was released at Essen 2014. I choose Ravens as mt top game of 2014, because of it's unusual theme and the mechanism of play also feels unique to me.
I love deduction games and Ravens provides that nicely while still being challenging. It's really rare to have a good 2 player deduction game that doesn't feel like Battleship. I like the fact that it is 2 player and that it works so well as a cooperative game to boot. So often 2 player games are "take that" or conflict driven it's nice to have one that is not. You also really can't tell the other person what to do since you are not supposed to have much table talk. While I guess you could compare it to Hanabi to me it had a totally different feel. I've heard rumors(semi confirmed) this might get a reprint or it might be picked up by another publisher, I hope so as it deserves a wider audience.
Five Tribes was a pleasant surprise from Days of Wonder. Heavier than their usual fair, it seemed about the right amount of complexity for a nice middle weight game. The multiple paths to victory seems fairly well balanced in my plays. The meeple movement adds a nice little puzzle.
The new edition of Fresh Fish makes my list as well. I have always admired the original version and love the puzzle aspects. One of the few games where I don't mind the blind bidding too much. I think Fresh Fish 2014 nicely simplifies the game for new players while still keeping some of the tension and challenge of the original game. I haven't yet tried playing the original game with the modular board but I look forward to it.
Terra Mystica: Fire & Ice. I mean the hype, the expectations! Surely the TM expansion couldn't live up to it right? Well it does. The expansion does a great job of adding new races which are very different in their special powers. So far I've only had a chance to play of them, the Acolytes and the Yetis. Both were extremely fun. It also added a new double sided board and the new end game tiles which certainly make the game more interesting. The turn order board works well and I think balances that aspect of the game a bit better.
Deus makes my list for being a decent civ lite. It balances the card play and board play enough to get the game done in an hour. The game is one of hand building and requires cycling your hand through the deck. There is some luck since it's a card game but the different types buildings are fairly well balanced and it's short enough that I don't feel overly invested if I get a bad draw..
Colors of Kasane is my pick for nicest presentation (with honorable mention to Colt Express for the train). The game is a nice set collecting game. You draft cards trying to make the best meld possible. The cards are beautifully designed to go along with the theme for making kimonos and the designer included buttons as scoring markers hand covered with kimono cloth.
„The game is a nice set collecting game. You draft cards trying to make the best meld possible.“
Tajemnicze Domostwo is another game I was a bit surprised that I would enjoy so much. The rules have been a bit confusing since there were a couple of sets floating around. It is a cooperative mash up of Dixit and Clue. The "Ghost" gives clues ala Dixit size card and vague pictures so the team of pshychis can deduce like in Clue location, weapon and person. Even though the rules were a bit a point of confusion the game is flexible enough to bend them around in some semblance of a working game for everyone to have fun. Tajemnicze Domostwo