As we near the end of the universally maligned dumpster fire that was 2020, one of the few upshots is the release of ‘Best Boardgames of 2020’ videos by the internet’s favourite boardgame reviewers and critics. There’s a whole day’s worth of video viewing in these videos below, along with the promise of confirmation bias and the perennial risk of feeding your acquisition disorder.
As more of these are released, I’ll post a ‘meta-score’ style list of the critics’ favourites, but to be honest I’m not sure that the meta-score approach works that well for determining the quality of releases during the year. That said, there are some recurring choices in the games approved and recommended by these reviewers.
There is a lot of love for the pattern-puzzle tile-layer Calico, the co-op trick taker The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine, the heavier Euro Tekhenu: Obelisk of the Sun and cutely themed deck-builder from Leder Games Fort.
Garphil Games continue a run of success with the 2020 release of the third game in the The West Kingdom Trilogy, Viscounts of the West Kingdom.
The combination of deck-building and worker placement emerged as a popular mechanic this year, with both Dune: Imperium and Lost Ruins of Arnak receiving high praise. And legacy-style games continue to be popular too, with Reiner Knizia’s My City, Pandemic Legacy: Season 0, Plaid Hat’s newest Crossroads installment Forgotten Waters and Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion appearing across multiple lists.
I can’t help but wonder if public health orders and the requirements of social distancing have influenced some of these choices, especially given the presence of many solo games (or games with solo variants) on these lists.