2017 Top 25 Games-Chad

#25 Target For Today/2017 (New) This is the only pure solo game on my list and allows me to revisit my childhood.  This is an updated version of the 1981 release, B-17 Queen of the Skies.  I named my plane Paradise City and is full of rock stars manning the different stations.  My only complaint is that the charts to look up your results are a little spread out when you typically use a certain set that is common across the missions.

#24 Karuba/2015 (Honorable Mention) An excellent family game with a little Bingo built in.  One of the players will randomly turn over a movement tile and calls out the number.  All players then use that tile to as they attempt to connect their explorers to the temples by either building paths to them or discarding the tile to actually move the explorer.  Beyond that, there isn't a lot of interaction as players race to connect all of the temples.

#23 Cosmic Run/2015 (Honorable Mention) One of my favorite push your luck dice games as you attempt to get sets to get further up a track to get to different planets before asteroids hit and destroy the planets.  The further you progress, the more points you score.  You also have the ability to draft alien cards which allow you to manipulate your dice and also give you bonus points at the end of the game. <Review>

#22 Elysium/2015 (New) A set collection game based in the world of the Greek Gods.  What makes this game stand out is the variability.  There are 8 different sets of God cars (21 cards each) and you only use 5 of them each game.  They are each very different and get mixed together.  You purchase cards for their powers but then lose their powers as you transfer them to your Elysium to score points.  You must pay attention to other players to know which cards they may be attempting to draft and to score points for themselves.

#21 Santorini/2016 (New) Yet another game that has so much variability.  The components are top notch in this somewhat abstract game where each player uses a single Greek God that gives them a very unique player power.  The rules are super simple, you either move or build.  When moving, you move one space to an adjacent spot on the board, up one level in the buildings or down as many as you wish.  To win, you have to simply get to the third level.  Easier said than done as the third level can be capped by the other player to prevent anyone from getting to that spot.

#20 Battle Line/2000 (Last Year #16) This went down just slightly from last year, but still very much enjoy it as a great two player battle game.  The art will not catch anyone's attention but the game stands by itself on the game play.  You try to play groups of like colors and/or numbers to capture a flag when comparing your cards to what your opponent has played.  Capture five flags or three in a row and you win the game.  Not having control of the cards you get makes this a head scratcher at times figuring out what is the best play for yourself.   

#19 Dice Throne/2017 (New) I haven't played this a lot just yet, but from what I have seen this could stick around in the games of the year.  There are six characters who each have their own unique dice, cards, and player boards.  The player boards have different abilities and defenses that can be achieved based on your dice rolls.  The cards allow you to manipulate dice, upgrade abilities, or obtain additional combat points.  What makes this stand out for me is that the characters are so unique in their game play.  Are they all equal or are there any over powered characters?  That is still to be determined.

#18 Sentinels of the Multiverse/2011 (Last Year #8)  Still very much enjoy this game and all of the characters, villains, and locations that are available.  I have maxed out what I can purchase for a single box and probably won't go beyond that even though many more options still exist.  When this gets to the table it is usually as solo or with just one other player, which made it drop down a little because it is harder to get to the table than some of the other games.

#17 Spike/2014  (Last Year #15) A train game that is about connecting up cities and fulfilling contracts by hauling your assigned goods from one city to another.  This is a game that Cade has really taken to and seems to win almost every time.  There is a lot of strategy involved with figuring out the best way to maximize your points before the game end, which never occurs at the same time.  <Review>

#16 Drum Roll/2011 (Last Year #9)  My favorite worker placement game based on a traveling circus that you must manage.  This year I added some of the expansions and makes the game even better for us.  The only reason this dropped is that worker placement games just don't get played very often with our family.  The game can easily be played by two people and flows just as smoothly at a four-player level.  The game does a really good job of immersing you into the theme of the game.  You really have to keep a close watch on all players to see what they are trying to accomplish.

#15 Nefarious/2011 (New) We have played this a lot and I always enjoy the game.  What makes this game really stand out is how the normal game rules can and will change with every game when you use the twists.  You actually use two of them each game.  The game itself is a race to build inventions with each one costing a certain amount of money.  At the start of your turn, you are choosing what actions you will do that round (  Work/earn $$, Invent/play invention to table to earn victory points, research/get a new invention that they can build, or place a worker onto the board to earn additional money when players choose that action.   <Review>

#14 Unearth/2017 (New) Although the theme was kind of lost on me, the unique way that dice are used made this a highly ranked game for me.  Choosing one of your dice (3-six sided, 1-four sided, and 1-eight sided) that is rolled and then placed onto a ruin card as you try to obtain it for points based on set collection.  Lower rolls also allow you to obtain stones, which provide another means to score points by obtaining lost wonders.  Not a fan of the luck of the dice?  When you get kicked off a ruin, you get cards that will allow you to impact both your dice rolls and other players as well.   <Review>

#13 Downforce/2017 (New) A racing game that everyone can get into!  Initially you draft race cars using the cards dealt to you.  The amount that you spend will impact you in the scoring as this is subtracted from your final score.  On a players turn, they play a card that will have from one to six colors.  These represent the cars on the track and you have to move them the spaces notated on the card in the order that they are listed.  You are moving both your cars and the other players cars as well.  Want to be evil?  Jam up the track so your opponents cars can't move when you play your card.  At certain parts of the track, you are placing bets on a single car.  If they get 1st, 2nd, or 3rd at the end of the race, you will earn bonus points.  Each player will also have a special ability that they can use throughout the game.  Easily the top 2017 release for me.

#12 Oregon/2007 (Last Year #18)  This moved up in the rankings as it has turned out to be a great two player game for me and my wife.  Still plays great at four players, but gets played more often at two.  The game concept, seems very simple as you play cards that represent two pictures on the board.  Wherever those pictures intersect, you can place settlers or place buildings into a grid location.  However, there is some real strategy involved as other players can use your buildings to earn points for themselves. 

#11 Boss Monster/2013 (Last Year #5)  A small drop for Boss Monster.  Coby and I still really enjoy this game and have most of the expansions, which really provides a lot of replay ability to the game.   The art is fun to look at as there are so many references to old video games hidden in the cards.  I rarely win this game, but still very much enjoy building up the dungeon, to send the heroes through it.

#10 Unholy Upheaval/2016 (Last Year #10)  An unsuccessful Kickstarter deck builder game that we got a prototype to review.  I really hope that this game gets produced in the future as it is an excellent game all around.  The art is amazing and the different factions that are available to you, which may help you create amazing combos is well thought out.  Also, being able to play cards in front of other players to affect them each and every turn until they pay to remove them, was unique to us.  We always enjoy this game every time we pull it out.  <Review>

#9 Thunder Alley/2014 (Last Year #2)  Still my favorite realistic racing game.  Why the drop from #2 to #9?  It just hasn't found the table enough. I always think about playing it, but always choose something else.  Being a huge NASCAR fan, this game is perfect for me. It has both amazing components and a very solid game play.  Sure, some things are not necessarily accurate but being able to strategize and have your cars move based on card play and keeping your cars together in a pack that benefits you the most makes this game stand out compared to all other car racing games. <Review> 

#8 Hot Rod Creeps/2012 (Last Year #13)  This racing game continues to move up the charts with the way each of the racing characters/teams is so unique.  A game that doesn’t get the love that I think it deserves.  You have the ability to create and design a different race track each and every time with the different track pieces that snap together like a puzzle piece.  There are multiple unique character decks that have their own abilities during the race.  As you burn off your gas, you have to get rid of cards from your draw pile.  Run out of gas and you have to go backwards on the track to the previous pit stop space.  It has a nice combination of strategy on playing your cards and pushing your luck on drawing the high level octane cards that could deal damage to you or burn off a lot of gas in exchange for a boost down the track.

#7 Camel Up/2014  (Last Year #7) This is always enjoyable to sit down and play this game with the family.  Is there a lot of strategy, involved?  Not really.  Sometimes it is all about making certain choices first before the other players and hoping it comes out in your favor.  However, everyone is engaged with each player’s turn.  Especially when you roll the die for a specific a camel as lots of cheers and jeers come out from all players.

#6 Hero Realms/2016 (New)  Last year, Star Realms held this spot and Hero Realms was an honorable mention.  Just the base games, it would be the same as I prefer the space them over the hero theme.  However, Hero Realms added character decks, allowing you to play using those instead of the normal deck.  This gave Hero Realms more variability and each character is indeed unique, giving it this spot this year.  Add in the campaign deck and boss decks, adds to it even more.  The Kickstarter for Star Realms is now adding the unique character decks, so this may change again in 2018. 

#5 Splendor/2014 (Last Year #3) Still my favorite game to play with my wife, keeping it in the top five.  An easy game to teach and play but has great replay ability making each game different with different cards coming out each time.  At first, I could not win in this game.  That has started to turn but it really isn’t based on a single strategy that I have taken. 

#4 Castles of Mad King Ludwig/2014 (Last Year #4)  Coby and I played this at a convention and immediately fell in love with it.  Being able to build up a castle in your own way and then having an impact on the other players by setting the cost of rooms, is such a fun take on the game.  The strategy involved with the game can be a head scratcher at times.  You want certain rooms that you can purchase when setting the prices but you have to keep in mind what everyone else is doing.  This is another one that I rarely win at, but so enjoy playing it.

#3 Pandemic Legacy-Season 1/2015 (New) The story that builds and not knowing what will happen next, is just an amazing journey that you take and easily puts this into the top 3.  We haven't finished it yet, but plan on finishing it up soon so we can take on season 2.

#2 Clank!: A Deck Building Adventure/2016 (Last Year #12)  The combination of deck building, push your luck and staying in the dungeon, and dungeon crawling makes this one of my favorite games of all time!  We have had a lot of good experiences with the tame from the pulling of the clank cubes to players dying just before they leave the dungeon and losing out on a 20 point bonus.  So good in every way.  We have the Sunken Treasure expansion and Clank! in space, to keep this game near the top for years to come.

#1- 7 Wonders/2010 (Last Year #1) There are so many things that I like about this game.  From the theme to the ever changing different strategies and to the card drafting mechanic.  Even though it is ranked as my number one game, it is one that I haven’t won at very many times.  Part of that may be that I try all kinds of different strategies and many times they change on the fly.  I haven’t played the two-player version and not sure I would want to.  I have only played up to four players but really want to play it with even more players.

Honorable Mention: