Posted Wednesday, 4-Jul-2018
Six months into 2018, these are the board games that are shaking the charts and have critics abuzz. BoardGamePrices.com proudly presents our Best 2018 Board Games.
Counted down by the BoardGamePrices Staff
Lords of Hellas is an epic board game experience that clocks in at a sleek 90 minutes and hasn’t any dice in sight.
Playtime: 90 minutes
Best Time to Play: When you’ve got a whole weekend afternoon so you can get revenge on whoever won.
Lords of Hellas is a board game of territory control, combat, and maneuver set in a technologically enhanced Ancient Greece. Construct gigantic monuments that tower over the landscape. Recruit robot Cerberus and equip laser weapons in service to Achilles, or Helen – and follow one of multiple arcs to victory.
Lords of Hellas embraces the tactile and over-the-top nature of the ‘minis on a map’ genre – as you slowly assemble your statue of Athena that will be visible from six provinces over, it’s inevitable to want to plant your lightning-spear and declare in one’s best Charleston Heston impression: ‘None shall wrest this testament from me!’
Fans of Greek myth, head-to-head territory control board games, and incredible production values should absolutely buy Lords of Hellas.
Beautiful, tactical, and exquisitely balanced, Crystal Clans is a cel-shaded card combat board game that elevates the genre to new heights.
Playtime: 60 minutes
Best Time to Play: As an after-dinner game with your regular gaming partner.
Crystal Clans is a card game of tactical depth and incredible beauty. From the adaptable Water Clan with their mermaids and trident-bearing warriors to the relentless Skull Clan and their re-animating hordes, do not be fooled by its aesthetic; Crystal Clans is a thinking gamer’s game.
From the hard choices of choosing just how much initiative to cede to your opponent, the brilliant squad system that lets your units rapidly re-order into a more effective fighting force depending on what they face, and six clans in the starting box with another half-dozen already available to get your mitts on – whether you want to deploy bee cavalry or meteor mages, you’ll find a clan that suits your style.
The gameplay is brisk, intelligent, marches to a killer tempo courtesy of its initiative track, and knows how to land a punch. This starting box just might be the beginning of something great.
Set in a gorgeous new universe from Plaid Hat Games, architects of Dead of Winter and Summoner Wars, buy Crystal Clans for a quick-playing tactical experience of fantasy combat.
How did a single deck of cards and rules you can teach to a five-year-old become one of the hottest and most critically acclaimed games of the year?
Playtime: 15 minutes
Best Time to Play: When you’ve got a bunch of friends around for a couple drinks.
The Mind has taken the board gaming world by storm, with social media luminaries all raving over how much fun is packed into such a simple system. The Spiel des Jahres judges agree, bestowing a coveted nomination for its most prestigious award.
But what is The Mind? Co-operatively, two to four players are dealt a number of cards which are numbered anywhere from 1 to 100. These cards must be played from lowest to highest – except no one is allowed to communicate which cards they’re holding. You simply have to stare into each other’s eyes and divine, absurdly, preposterously, painfully… whether your 42 is the lowest card at the table.
The Mind is a “game” that shouldn’t work, a sort of gamerati “Emperor’s New Clothes,”… and yet it is one of the most fun experiences I’ve had at the tabletop so far this year.
It sounds too simple to be true, but at under fifteen bucks in our store, why miss out on the only SdJ-nominated game on this list?
Take command of the ground war with Star Wars: Legion, the two player board game of land-based battles. Whether elite Rebel strike teams or a legion of stormtroopers – from Luke Skywalker to Darth Vader himself, command the battlefield and prove your skills at fire and maneuver.
Playtime: 120 minutes
Best Time to Play: Sunday afternoons, in the basement with all your terrain laid out on the big table.
Star Wars: Legion is the latest in Fantasy Flight Game’s line of ‘let everyone relive the original trilogy’ games and every effort has been made to tune this miniatures-based game of tactical combat to be easy to pick up and play.
With simplified rules to make the arrays of stormtroopers easy to move and line of sight rules that aren’t a total headache, the learn-to-play book even includes basic instructions for painting the game and how to DIY your own terrain with materials you can grab at any hardware store.
The game itself is dozens of unique miniatures, ordered into squads of your choosing and allowing for your choices rather than dice rolls to reign supreme – beyond of course, the chaos of combat.
The rules make operating large groups of infantry feel easy when many games turn it into a chore… I can’t overstate how wonderful these systems and others felt in play. It’s effortless. A resistance you didn’t even realize was slowing you down suddenly disappears, like that moment you get out of the pool. Everything about it is smooth.
A Legion core set can be had for 70 bucks – and if you get sucked into the world of lightsabers and walker-mounted blasters, there’s a giant pool of new units to acquire. – although most recommend simply acquiring a second core as ones first big purchase.
Decrypt the secret messages left to you by your teammates, but don’t make the patterns too obvious – or the enemy secret agents will be able to intercept your code!
Playtime: 45 minutes
Best Time to Play: When a big group is over and ready to laugh their heads off.
A team-based board game of interpretation, communication, and deduction, Decrypto puts four words in front of both teams and challenges the team leader to tell the others which words are in play this round and in which order…
…while keeping in mind that the enemy is hanging off every word you say. If the enemy team can guess your four words, you lose – if your team makes too many mistakes, you lose.
I have never, in my life, seen so much frantic, last-minute lying. A game of discord and deception that somehow ends up fraught, funny and absolutely fantastic.
Push forward and deduce the enemy agent’s codewords before they decrypt yours – this is Decrypto.
Are you ready to master the elements? IT’S PRO-BENDING TIME!
Playtime: 45 minutes
Best Time to Play: Whenever anyone says ‘Hey, do you like The Last Airbender?’
The Legend of Korra: Pro-Bending Arena is a two-player competition of wits, tricks, and speed as players take control of Republic City’s favorite sport. Take control of your favorite bender team and overwhelm your opponent with the powers of earth, fire, and water in an attempt to knock them off the arena or advance into their half.
Whether you choose to fight fair or play dirty, you’ll draft cards, position your elemental benders, and claim the championship as yours!
Every turn is filled with choices about whether to press your attack, protect your Benders, avoiding penalties, and saving/using your Chi to purchase the best Advanced Techniques available to you throughout the game. The game captures to feel of the sport so well… I’m eager to get my hands on more teams for even greater flexibility and custom team formations.
Buy The Legend of Korra: Pro-Bending Arena for a two player take on the sport from the hit animated TV series co-designed by Akrotiri’s Sen-Foong Lim – and pick up the Amon’s Invasion expansion to add co-op play!
Epic space empire action, with exploration, resource gathering, combat, tech trees, all that good stuff – Ninety minute game time.
Playtime: 90 -180 minutes
Best time to play: Late into the night, with your favorite science fiction soundtrack underscoring the tension.
The Kurross Empire emerged from the deep, endless pool of space, dark and undetectable. They crushed Earth’s paltry fleet within a week, and broke through the great planetary shield that protected the surface. Bright blue oceans turned to an irradiated wasteland as they bombarded the planet, shredding the remnants of thousands of years of human history.
Now the last of the humans – as well as its longtime enemies – are determined to stake their claim on the fringes of the galaxy. Empires of the Void II is a board game of war, diplomacy, and construction.
Using an action-selection mechanism that lets players choose whether to take the initiative or ride on your enemy’s coat-tails, ally with the species of the fringe, or invade and rule with a cruel hand – but be ready to meet the Kuross once more.
A solid 9. This is an excellent game. If you enjoy space epic style games but you don’t wanna play ’em for 6 hours long, this is definitely one you should look at.
Buy Empires of the Void II for a gorgeous game of space-faring exploration from the creator of such beloved games as Islebound and Near and Far.
An adventure board game of brave stuffed animals taking on a quest to save the child they love, Stuffed Fables sends players exploring a world of wonder and danger and curious discoveries.
Players: 2-4 children of any age
Playtime: 90 minutes
Best Time to Play: In place of a bedtime story or animated movie
In this family-friendly adventure game from the creator of Mice & Mystics, play through chapters and read from a book of adventures as you explore the many milestones of growing up.
With simple rules and beautiful miniatures, Stuffed Fables will help bring the adventure to life as you and your fellow players craft a memorable tale of childlike wonder.
Mundane beginnings quickly give way to fantastical adventures in the realm under the bed, playing out on the beautifully colored pages of an adventure book. The adventures are rollicking and it’s a sweet way to end family game night, something I’m looking forward to doing with my son when he gets a little older.
Buy Stuffed Fables for a game of dice, daring, and fluffy adventure filled with heart and a beautiful tale to remember.
The ring travels from the Shire to Rivendell, where the council of the ring will decide how best to deal with its power. But until then, the Nazgûl hunt the hobbits…
Players: 2-5 (2 recommended)
Playtime: 45-180 minutes
Best Time to Play: With exactly one other person, as a quick, light hidden movement experience.
Hunt for the Ring is a hidden movement board game played on two entire different boards as Frodo and his companions attempt to evade detection while moving to Bree and Rivendell, and resist the power of the Ring’s corruption.
Gorgeous components, art, and theming make this a must play for Lord of the Rings fans who haven’t got an entire weekend to sacrifice to War of the Ring (by the same designers) – but reviewers note that the game is best as a lighter experience between two players than an epic contest of wits for the full player count.
An amazing Lord of the Ring game for 30 dollars, buy Hunt for the Ring for a hidden movement experience of charm and theme alike.
Welcome to the biggest sport of the future – GIANT KILLER ROBOTS : HEAVY HITTERS!
Playtime: 120 minutes
Best time to play: As an afternoon-eating slugfest
Featuring gigantic pre-painted miniatures produced by Weta Workshop, the special effects team best known for Lord of the Rings, Avatar, and Mad Max: Fury Road, GKR Heavy Hitters is an advertising-driven, televised combat sport where mega corporations fight for lucrative salvage rights and advertising dominance in Earth’s abandoned cities.
Piloting a Heavy Hitter and controlling your combat, repair, and recon support units, play cards and control your GKRs as you tag buildings for corporate sponsorship (or destroy them) or simply out-fight your opponent’s Heavy Hitters. Any mech-jockey can shoot, but can you STRAT? Guess we’re gonna find out!
Simply striding in and unleashing on your opponents is a viable option, but it feels amazing when you line up the perfect alley-shot—firing between two adjacent buildings, giving your opponent no cover, and you full cover—or use your support units to out-maneuver your opponent and rain down missile attacks. Very accessible game and great for bringing players in to a possible competitive skirmish game environment.
Buy GKR: Heavy Hitters for its incredible production values, high replayability, and MECH FIGHTS.
Published by BoardGamePrices.com
In this edition of our Road to Essen 2018 coverage, we venture into the wildlands with Osprey Games and their Spiel releases!
New Azul, a Caverna expansion, and an XCOM-style board game returns in the second edition of Level 7: Omega Protocol