Best of 2016

While this year was a pretty bad one for many of us, it was a great year for gaming. I played a ton of new and exciting games, and really enjoyed spending time with friends. This year I moved on from working as the event manager at the Comic Book Shop to work at USPS, so my gaming cut down dramatically, unfortunately.

I do run a weekly D&D game (my players will disagree, as we’ve been spotty over Christmas), and I end up gathering a group of players every couple of weeks for a board game night on Sundays. We’ve played a lot of games, and some really great ones.

This list isn’t necessarily about games which came out this year, so much as games I played this year.

Best RPG

Torchbearer

We ran a couple of great sessions of Torchbearer before everyone decided to move on to our Star Wars campaign, including the session where my players refused to step into the dungeon I had planned for them. I really enjoyed how the game played, and it made for a very dangerous and deadly short campaign. I loved the lightness of it, while feeling like an old-school RPG. It really is the only game I’ll play that cares about encumbrance, due to how it deals with those mechanics. I highly recommend getting out there and picking it up.

Best Board Game

Colt Express

I enjoyed the hell out of Colt Express this year. As you can see, it’s got a 3D train, which is pretty cool. You play as bandits robbing a train, while avoiding the marshal who wanders the train shooting your banditos. The game is a programming game, meaning you set up a series of actions without always knowing what others are up to before you finally act. It can create some great havoc, and it’s very entertaining. Lots of great strategies to employ. I need to pick up the Horses and Stagecoach expansion, as it looks really, really nifty.

Most Played RPG

Dungeons & Dragons

No surprise here. I started the year with one campaign and group and ended with another. Our in-store game of Out of the Abyss went completely off the rails and caused the heroes to jump through Dark Sun, Ravenloft, Greyhawk, and Eberron. It was a bit chaotic, in the best way possible. We all had a blast.

After the campaign ended, we ended up breaking up, and I started to run a new group, where we play in Brian Patterson’s Karthun. The campaign includes two players who have never played an RPG before, and it’s been a blast teaching them about RPGs. You can follow my campaign over on Twitter, where I post up a lot of pictures during the games.

Most Played Board Game

Tie: Star Wars Rebellion / One Night Revolution

Since getting Rebellion for my birthday, I’ve played the game about ten times. My buddy Gabe and I have each played the same sides (I play as Empire, he as Rebellion) in order to master the roles each side plays. The two factions work very differently, so we stick to our roles, and have a great time trying to throw off the other person. We’ve both had a blast.

One Night Revolution got quite a few play-throughs while running D&D at the shop. After each game, we’d play two to three rounds of ONR before wrapping up each night. If you are looking for a game to play with a large group, this is the game to do it. It takes very little time, and leads to lots of arguments and accusations. It’s great stuff.

RPG I Wanted to Play But Didn’t Get To

Durance

Durance is designed to be a one-or-two shot game, following a prison colony as it survives on a new and brutal world. Each player plays a large variety of characters, exploring the planet and the relationships between the guards and the prisoners. I really want to play it, but we haven’t been able to. Soon, I hope.

Board Game I Wanted to Play but Didn’t Get To

Federation Commander

I’ve picked up a ton of expansions for Federation Commander, but have only gotten to play it twice, and neither time in 2016. Trying to convince someone to sit down with a ton of little chits and tables doesn’t work out so well. But the game’s so good! My goal is to find someone who wants to play so I can get more games of this in in 2017.

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