Favorite Board Gaming Experiences of 2019

I have a shitload of board games. Like almost 200. I started collecting games a few years back and pretty much any disposable income I have (if that even exists…) goes towards games of some sort, but mostly board games. I primarily play games with my wife, but occasionally I play solo. I’ve decided to list my favorite gaming experiences of 2019. This doesn’t mean games published in 2019, but just memorable or fun experiences I’ve had playing games. Here they are below in no particular order.

  • HATE

A game that I was worried about getting to the table due to my wife not being huge on heavy conflict games, but it turns out she’s much better at slaughtering my tribe and cannibalizing them. This is a fun skirmish game and the only one in our collection. The theme appealed to me instantly as I feel like there are very few games that go this dark other than Kingdom Death: Monster. However, I think the game plays up how over the top it is, so I like that is has a dark sense of humor as well. For example, after a battle, if you have any KO’d units, they roll for getting Scars. One Scar might be that you eat your own hand or get a smashed-in head that causes you to forget one of your Upgrades. This was a Kickstarter exclusive, so unfortunately I think it will be difficult to get for others. That’s why I’m glad I succumbed to FOMO and bought it. Bring the HATE!

  • Dominion

One of the few games that I bought after hemming and hawing about it for years, Dominion should have been something I bought a long time ago. This is the king of deckbuilders and it shows. We first played this game at a board game cafe and decided after a few plays that I wanted to get it. It’s very easy to teach and has enough variability to keep people coming back to it over and over again.

  • Mage Knight

This was a game that probably wouldn’t have made the list as I’d only played it solo a handful of times this year with mixed results. During my Winter vacation though, me and my wife had time to delve into this game more. And wow, what an experience! It combines exploration, hand management, deckbuilding, and all sorts of other things to make it one of the best games in our collection. It’s not for everyone for sure, but I can see why so many people praise this game as one of the best of all time.

  • Mystic Vale

After only one play of Mystic Vale, I decided this was a game to go all-in on. By that I meant I bought three expansions for it. It’s that good! It uses a unique card crafting mechanism in which you add abilities by sliding them into the sleeves of your cards. This is an easy game to come back to multiple times due to the sheer amount of combinations one can create.

  • Aeon’s End: New Age

This is really just Aeon’s End in any iteration, but The New Age is the newest standalone expansion that was recently released through Kickstarter. Aeon’s End is one of our favorite deckbuilders in our collection. You get to fight monsters, especially unique “bosses” called Nemeses that have different strategies to defeat them. The New Age is interesting because it has campaign elements, but still functions as a regular game as well.

  • Splendor with Cities of Splendor Expansion

Splendor is a gateway game that we play every so often. I think the Cities of Splendor has breathed new life into this classic. We played with my sister-in-law not long ago and it was a big hit. The theme of Splendor hasn’t always appealed to me, but the gameplay is always wonderful.

  • Scythe: The Rise of Fenris

Scythe has been a favorite of our for a while, so buying The Rise of Fenris, the 8 game-campaign expansion, was a no-brainer. We’ve really enjoyed this one and it adds some interesting components to an already remarkable game. It’s difficult to talk about it without spoiling anything, but it’s definitely worth picking up if you’re into Scythe.

  • Nemesis

With a strong flavor of the Alien movies, Nemesis puts players in the roles of survivors of a space ship infested by aliens. You have to explore the ruins of the ship and try to achieve your objectives without alerting the aliens and blowing up the ship. The tension is incredible, so it’s an awesome game to have in our collection.

  • Call to Adventure

An interesting “rune-casting” game, this allows players to forge the path of their own heroes. It has strong story-telling elements and it’s fun to think of what choices your character would make (even if though it’s not necessary). It’s also easy to pick up and offers a lot of intriguing choices.

  • Wingspan

A game I would probably have not bought otherwise, Wingspan got a lot of buzz this year for its elegant gameplay and ease of learning. I wasn’t super excited about the theme, but now I’m quite interested in birds due to this game. It’s worth checking out if you like engine-building games or medium difficulty games.

  • Dungeon Mayhem

This is a highly recommended game for anyone who like Dungeons and Dragons and wants a light, filler game before playing something bigger. Each character has their own unique deck with different abilities and it’s fun attack each other and see what happens.

So those are my top board gaming experiences of 2019. If you have any questions about any of these games and want to know more, please leave a comment or ask on the Negative HP Facebook group!