2015 was an excellent year to be a board game fan. Numerous excellent games came out in all categories. Some of these games came out of nowhere, taking us completely by surprise, while others had been lingering in the background for years only to finally hit the ground running when they were finally released. So many excellent games were released this past year (or thereabouts) that it was difficult to narrow down the list to only 5 games.
This category was handled a bit differently than the others, but only because the number of staff who had been covering board games was so small. That is changing for 2016 though, so keep an eye out for expanding tabletop coverage on TechRaptor throughout the coming year. Without further ado, here are our five best board games of 2015.
Quick, intuitive, stylish and fun, Castle Assault took me completely by surprise and has earned itself a permanent place in my board game collection. Each faction has a unique art style and play style. Using any card as a resource avoids the “mana-screw” issues that other card games can have and adds tactical depth, and the tower-defense style gameplay is unique and refreshing. In addition to the great two player game, the single player campaign is a ton of fun and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that MomentumVolsk releases not only new armies but also new solo content as well."
Castle Assault plays so quickly that it's always tempting, and always rewarding, to play "just one more game".
Star Wars: Imperial Assault
Star Wars: Imperial Assault is fantastic. It is the best ‘1 vs Many’ game that I have played to date. Fantasy Flight have absolutely refined the game system that they have created for their “Descent” style games. The campaign structure is thematic, the missions are fun and the theme is awesome. In addition to the campaign game the inclusion of the skirmish game, which is very good in its own right, means that you get an incredible value for your money with Star Wars: Imperial Assault.
3rd Place – Three Kingdoms Redux
From our review:
Three Kingdoms Redux could easily be renamed to "Three Player Excellence." This grand strategy game requires exactly three players. That might seem like a limitation at first blush, but once you play the game and see just how delicate the balance between the three asymmetrical factions is, you realize that the game couldn't work with any other player count.
Three Kingdoms Redux is a wonderful experience. The mechanics are deceptively simple and belie the absolutely incredible amount of strategic depth that the game offers. Balanced asymmetrical factions, exciting and tense game-play, excellent component quality and a wonderful theme set it apart from the crowd. Unless you are adverse to the three-player-only restriction or to games that last 2+ hours, you are sure to find something to like in the game. Fans of strategy board games and fans of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms video games shouldn’t hesitate to pick it up.
Three Kingdoms Redux isn't just the best strategy game of the year, but one of the best strategy games we have every played. The balance is superb, and smart—important choices abound. Three Kingdoms Redux offers incredible strategic depth, made all the more appealing by its use of straightforward mechanics.
Runner Up – Shadows Of Brimstone
From our review:
Shadows of Brimstone is one of the best cooperative board games I have ever played. Every single aspect of the game fits together to form an evocative, entertaining whole. The narrative that emerges based on character choice, interactions, exploration and luck, both good and bad, create incredibly memorable experiences that leave players wanting more.
Winner – Kingdom Death: Monster
How did we do? What game would you say was the best board game of the year?