2020 has been an interesting year for tabletop gaming. The social aspect of the hobby has taken a huge hit with a lot of us social distancing, leading to a surge in popularity of solo play games and multiplayer games getting solo modes created for them. Roleplaying through video calls and social media programs, which was hugely popular before, has seen a huge rise, and wargamers have started to finally make progress through their hobby backlogs. But despite all the world issues, we've seen some incredible tabletop releases this year, and just narrowing it down to the top 6 was difficult enough, and then we had to pick a winner from among them.
Here are all the nominees for our Tabletop Game/RPG of the Year (and check this link for all of our awards):
- Cyberpunk Red Core Rulebook (Our Review)
- Forgotten Waters (Our Review)
- Hues and Cues (Our Review)
- Infinity CodeOne/N4 (Our Guide to CodeOne)
- Pandemic Legacy Season 0 (Our Review)
- Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Enemy in Shadows (Our Review)
So here's the winner of TechRaptor's Tabletop Game/RPG of the Year 2020 for the best tabletop game of the year, whose sum of its parts is greater than any other.
Readers' Choice - Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Enemy in Shadows
Enemy in Shadows was a standout release for me this year, and while I didn't feel right to have it as our tabletop GotY, as it's a supplement and not a game in its own right, I'm extremely pleased to see it as the Reader's Choice. Enemy in Shadows is the first of a 5 part campaign for the 4th Edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay by Cubicle 7. It was originally published in 1986, and C7 has done an incredible job of bringing it into 4th edition, keeping what made it what it was while adding in elements for players who've played the original. Combined with the Companion book, it provides an incredible experience and an extremely well presented and useful resource for the games master.
Third Place - Pandemic Legacy Season 0
Pandemic: Legacy Season 0 took an already great concept, that of creating a legacy version of the hit cooperative game Pandemic, and brought it to soaring new heights with this “prequel” to Pandemic: Legacy Seasons 1 and 2. Unlike the other Pandemic entries, this game (set during the events of the Cold War) sees Allied heroes working not to contain the spread of a virus, but to contain the spread of USSR agents, and to uncover their secret plots and hidden plans. Though not intentional (because the game was developed long before COVID-19 began its spread), it’s nice to play this familiar game without focusing on the eradication of virulent plagues, which is normally the focus of a Pandemic entry. With high intrigue, a truly twisting and thrilling branching plot, and unique customization options, Pandemic: Legacy Season 0 took old concepts and completely reinvigorated them, and that’s why it's one of our favorites of the year.
Second Place - Forgotten Waters
Forgotten Waters gets so much right. I could talk about its fantastic grasp of theme and well thought out mechanics, but honestly, it's just awesome fun. Players take on the roles of a ship's crew in this app-driven board game with an immersive narrative experience. Players explore oceans, islands, and ports, picking tasks to complete to keep the ship running, grow their own characters, and hear the captain's stories. It's playable with 1 to 7 players, as well as remotely, but having the maximum 7 players around the tabletop is the best way to experience the game. Even if that's not possible for you at the moment, it'll be worth the wait.
Winner - Infinity Code One/N4
Infinity, the anime style cyberpunk wargame from Corvus Belli has always been known as a complicated game. My experience started with the 3rd edition of the rules, and I would get anxious playing it, not wanting to move my troops out of cover, but I still kept coming back for more. This year, Corvus Belli released a new edition of the Infinity rules, Infinity N4, but prior to that, they released Infinity CodeOne, a streamlined system of the Infinity rules to help bring new players in that also offer a quick game for veterans.
The CodeOne system is stellar, and the clean packaging and releases for the 4 available factions make entry and collecting Infinity CodeOne incredibly simple, as well as making it easy for retailers. The Infinity Operation Kaldstrom 2-player starter pack has a great onboarding process for beginners, some incredible miniatures, and everything else you need to play, offering a great experience out of the box. Following it up with the new N4 rules, which still has its issues—but no wargame is ever perfect—along with the new Starmada sectorial for the O-12 faction, made this the year for Infinity.