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Jason Panella

Best Tabletop Games - 2012 (Critics' Lists, etc.)

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There were a fair number of high-profile board and card game releases in 2012, not to mention miniatures games and RPGs.

Tom Vasal — the Roger Ebert of the tabletop gaming world — released his top 10, along with the list of his Dice Tower co-host Eric Summerer. The Dice Tower team also started implementing a "People's Choice" vote too, and it's interesting to see the contrast between all three.

Paste has some....interesting...choices in their top 10.

Video game site Kotaku posted five very good games (even though three of them are technically 2011 releases).

Boardgamegeek's Golden Geek award winners list also include some 2011 releases, but hey — it's still an impressive list. Also includes RPGs.

(Silly me...some of these lists run November to November, hence the 2011 releases.)

Edited by Jason Panella

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Are tabletop games and board games the same thing?

Board games are tabletop games. Card games, miniatures games, and pencil and paper role-playing games are also tabletop games, too.

I was hoping there'd be more "best of" types lists for minis and RPGs, but, well...there aren't too many new game systems that came out this year (just lots of supplements and expansions).

Edited by Jason Panella

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Which of these have you played, Jason? I need a new board game to play with my kids.


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Well, let's start with the ones I've played.

-Android: Netrunner. My vote for game of 2012. It's fantastic, though definitely not for kids.

-Eclipse. This has a lot of hype around it, and for good reason: it blends more European game mechanics with hard-core sci-fi combat/exploration, etc. Also, has one of the best uses of iconography I've seen in a board. That said, it's way too much for kids, and most adults. Also, it's a 2011 game. (Grumble.)

-I've read the rules for Seasons, Lords of Waterdeep, and the X-Wing minis game. Seems like they're great games too, but maybe a little too much for a family game.

Now, from what I've heard:

-Mice and Mystics is supposed to be a fantastic game, especially for families. I guess Rich Sommer (from Mad Men) also recorded some audio for the game.

-Space Cadets is another one that could work really well for a family, though I'd check out some videos to get an idea of what it's like. All of the players are members of a space ship's flight crew, and you all have different tasks to keep the ship from blowing up.

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