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Top 10 Board Games Overlooked in 2017's Top 10 Lists
Head in the Clouds
Updated: Wednesday, Dec 20, 2017
Hello, usually these videos count down some of the most popular board games of the last month. But other games, while generating interest, didn’t stick around long enough to rank in the Top 10. So in this bonus episode, I’m listing the Top 10 games that I wanted to talk about, but didn’t get a chance to. I’ve been waiting months to feature some of these, so let’s get started!

First up is a game that I never thought I’d see, but now can’t imagine living in a world without. It’s the Bob Ross: Art Of Chill game by Big G Creative. In this game, based on the incredibly talented public television painter Bob Ross, players collect art supplies, configure their paints, set up their palettes, and play actions to paint canvases in a race to amass artwork against the legendary Bob Ross. As the players and the game-controlled Bob Ross complete paintings, they move along the game’s painting track, accumulating Chill Points. This continues until someone reaches 30 points of chill, at which point they win the game instantly. I think the best thing about this game isn’t it’s unique theme, but the fact that the feedback I’ve seen about it suggests that it’s actually a pretty decent game. And it’s nice to see Bob Ross’ memory respected with a game that can actually stand on its own merit. Of the 492 games that have been tracked since this countdown started in May, Bob Ross: Art Of Chill peaked at number 20 on our list, and ends the year at number 166.

The game in spot number nine is the upcoming new edition of Brass by Roxley Games, Brass: Lancashire. This version of Brass is on my list for two reasons. First is that I’m quite intrigued by the rules revisions and fantastic artwork and components planned for the Roxley version. The second reason is Roxley themselves. A few years ago, Renegade Game studios seemed to come on to the scene, and quickly become a top tier publisher - a lot of people are eager to check out everything Renegade produces, and are keeping an eye out for the next Renegade. Well, after publishing Super Motherload (a game which I adore), Steampunk Rally, Santorini, and Dice Throne, I think Roxley has the potential to become one of THE publishers to watch over the next couple years. For now, I’m looking forward to not only seeing how they apply their touch to Brass: Lancashire, which peaked on our countdown at number 6, and ends the year at number 68.

With so many tabletop games being released each month of the year, publishers periodically try to create more buzz about their latest game by trying to market it in a new way. This was the case with the game in spot number ten on my list: Raxxon by Plaid Hat Games. Raxxon is cooperative card game set in the Dead of Winter universe just as its infamous zombie apocalypse is beginning. In the game, players try to fight back the morbid infection that’s spreading across the land before the sinister Raxxon corporation gains enough influence to take over the city. Raxxon’s pre-release marketing campaign over the summer took a unique approach, in which copies were only made available to a select few who received invitations to purchase the game from other players. Raxxon was eventually made available to everyone through regular retail channels in late October. The game’s publicity stunt sparked the imagination of some customers who thought it matched the theme of the sinister and secretive corporation the game is named after, but the approach left a sour taste in the mouths of others. I’m not sure if Raxxon’s PR ploy helped or hindered its popularity, but I do know that it peaked at number 10, but didn’t stay there long enough to earn a spot in a monthly countdown, and ends the year at number 109.

Every now and then, an existing game, or series of games, will come out with an expansion or new edition that makes you say “wow! I’m only playing this version of the game from now on!” Such is the case with number 7 on my list: Vegas Wits & Wagers by North Star Games. This casino-style version of the classic trivia game caught my eye for two reasons: first, it adds several new ways for players to bet on the answers given each round, including wagering on a specific player or range of answers to win. And secondly, these new betting options are presented on a thick, double-sided neoprene mat. Yeah, I’m letting myself be partially swayed by a component upgrade, but it’s a component that’s so fundamental to the game itself that I can’t help but never want to play the game without it ever again. These subtle little additions had made the Vegas version my go-to edition of Wits & Wagers, which reached spot number 4 on the BGG Hotness list, and ends the year at 488.

One of the games I am waiting for with great anticipation is the one at number 6 on my list: Hunt For The Ring by Ares games. Hunt for the Ring is a hidden movement game played in two chapters, with each chapter being played on a different game board. The first chapter follows Frodo attempting to move from the Shire to Bree, and the second chapter continues the journey from Bree to Rivendell. Both chapters incorporate different mechanisms, keeping all the players on their toes. My anticipation for this game’s release wasn’t helped by the fact that I sat next to a group playing it one night at PAX Unplugged. It was all I could to do keep myself from reaching over, and scooping the game up in my arms while wheezing, “my precious!” And I’m not the only one waiting to wrap my fingers around Hunt For The Ring, as it peaked on the BGG Hotness at number 2 this year, and finishes the year in spot number 140 on our countdown.

Whereas spot number 6 was a hidden movement game, the game in spot number 5 has a hidden traitor. The Thing: Infection At Outpost 31 is set in the isolated, Antarctic Outpost 31, which comes into contact with a bizarre, extraterrestrial lifeform which infiltrates the facility by cloning members of the outpost’s crew. And things only go downhill from there, as players race to purge this alien infection and escape before succumbing to either the alien, the elements, or each other. The Thing: Infection At Outpost 31 appeared on the Hotness list at least 30 different times, peaking at number 12, and finishing at number 74.

The game in spot number 4 caught my eye earlier this year because it seems to do a great job of meshing board games and tactical miniature gaming. And that’s because Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire by Games Workshop was designed to provide not only an accessible introduction for people to small-scale tactical games that can be played relatively quickly, but also allow customization and deck building options that provide multiple layers of depth that players can dig into as they become more accustomed to the game. I recommend any board game hobbyists that may be interested in tactical miniature gaming, and wargamers who have been curious about hobby board games, to both give Shadespire a try. It reached number 9 on the BGG hotness and end up in spot number 69 overall for the year.

Next up are the top three picks on my list. And before we get into them, this is a good spot for a reminder to subscribe and click the notification bell icon so you don’t miss out on any of the videos posted on the channel, including special surprise Top 10s like this one. And speaking of videos, videos like this are made possible by viewers like you who support the channel by donating to Pair Of Dice Paradise’s 2018 fundraising campaign. Every contribution helps and is appreciated. And now, the top three games on the list!

Some games that I’ve previously wanted to talk about didn’t rank high enough on BGG’s Hotness list to crack its monthly Top 10, but one game on my list didn’t appear on the Hotness list at all. And that’s the game in spot number three: the upcoming Railways Of The World 10th Anniversary Edition by Eagle Gryphon games. Now, Railways Of The World is already a mammoth game with tons of superfluous plastic bits. But its 10th Anniversary Edition aims to up the ante even further with updated and revised rules, the inclusion of multiple expansions, several updated maps, revised cards, new map markers, and other updated components. I have waiting for a copy of Railways Of The World to become available for a couple years, and seem to always just miss out. But you can bet your caboose that I won’t be letting this 10th Anniversary Edition pass me by when it becomes available, hopefully within the next few months. The Railways Of The World 10th Anniversary Edition didn’t rank on the BGG hotness, but it ends the year in spot number 3 on my list.

The company Gamelyn Games may be best known for publishing tiny, epic games, but the game in spot number 2 on my list is anything but. Heroes of Land, Air & Sea has been on my radar for quite some time, but then, I had a chance to speak with Gamelyn about it at Origins this year, and I was absolutely blown away by the level of detail and craftsmanship that they’re putting into the design and production of this game. Heroes of Land, Air & Sea is a 4X-style board game with miniatures that tells the epic tale of orcs vs. humans, dwarves vs. elves, battling kingdoms, and the individuals who turn the tides of war. Players begin with just a basic town hall, a couple of peons, and a single warrior. From there, they’ll explore the land, increase their population, fortify an army, and develop their kingdom — all through careful action selection, exploitation, war, and resource management. Heroes of Land, Air & Sea is absolutely one of the games I am anticipating most in 2018, and I’m not alone, as the game reached all the way to number 2 on the BGG hotness list, and averages out the year in spot 103. Will it have a resurgence when it finally starts shipping to it Kickstarter backers and retailers? Hopefully, we’ll find out within just a few more months!

The game at the top of my list of games that I wish had received more buzz on BGG’s hotness list so I could have discussed it on a previous countdown episode, DID appear on the Hotness 24 times, reaching as high as number one on July 5th. And that game is: Container: 10th Anniversary Jumbo Edition by Mercury Games. In its 10th Anniversary edition, Container returns with oversized ships and realistic containers for them to carry as cargo. Container is a game of building, and trying to manipulate, the game’s economy by building factories and warehouses to produce goods you will export to other players, and by importing the goods that they make. This edition of the game not only includes an all new add-on ruleset called "The Investment Bank", but also features resin miniature ships that are over 7 inches long, guaranteeing a striking table presence as you play. As with Railways Of The World, I’ve had an eye out for a copy of Container for quite a while. And when I discovered this upcoming jumbo anniversary edition, which is currently scheduled to become available in January, I just couldn’t resist. It looks to be a fantastic version of a game that I enjoy and have been waiting on for quite a while. And that’s why, even though Container’s 10th Anniversary Jumbo Edition settles in at spot number 84 for the year on our countdown, it still tops my own personal list at spot number one.

And, there you go, ten games from the BGG hotness list that burn even hotter on my own personal list. How does my list compare to your own? In the comments, tell me about a game either from this year, or coming up next year, that you think should get a little more buzz than it has been getting. And for countdowns, check out this playlist, and remember to subscribe for more board game news, reviews and commentary. Until next time, I’ve been Chaz Marler, and take care.
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