Best 5 Board Games of 2018

I’m lazy. Which means instead of writing a news article, or figuring out which of these board games came out in 2018. I’m instead quantifying this list by saying that these board games were all new to me last year.


5. Arkham Horror 3rd Edition

Arkham Horror is becoming the village bicycle.

Everyone has ridden it. Or one of its offshoots. I own Eldritch Horror, and I like it well enough. But it suffers from the same randomness and a disjointed story beats that I criticised Tales of the Arabian Nights over.

The 3rd Edition of Arkham Horror does a lot of unique things that ties the overarching story together. Making this the first game that actually has me invested in the narrative outcome of the game.

I haven’t played it enough to review it. But I’ve played it enough to know that this is one to look out for.

Dale of Merchants box cover - features a hiker overlooking a small town by a waterfall

4. Dale of Merchants

One of the best experiences of this hobby. Or any hobby that involves collecting. Is finding that diamond in the rough.

In 2018 that was Dale of Merchants.

I came across the game in an unassuming reddit comment with two upvotes. That was enough to take the chance. And it paid off. Big time.

I love this game.

Read my review.

3. Azul

Last year introduced me to a lot of abstract games.

Turns out they’re awesome.

One stood out among the rest. Santorini. But my wife still won’t play with me since the last crushing defeat.

However, she will play Azul. And playability is one quality of board games that can’t be ignored. It’s also a fantastic game at two players and easily ranks as my number 3 game of 2018.

Read my review.

2. Terraforming Mars

It isn’t a best board games list without some controversy. So here:

I’ve only played Terraforming Mars once.

This isn’t enough to provide one of my patented in depth reviews. It is enough to leave a long lasting impression. That one play has been on my mind since August. And I’ve been looking to repeat since.

Even at one play. You immediately realise how deep the game is. You immerse yourself in choice and strategies. You build an incredibly robust and satisfying engine. And most importantly, you flip the bird at Elon Musk and say this is how you do it.

1. Spirit Island

This should be no surprise.

I bought this game early in the year. January, or maybe February. It was my first “heavy” game. It took me so long to get around to reviewing it. Not because I didn’t want to or had nothing to say. But because I didn’t want to stop playing it. I didn’t want to move onto the next game.

Which is why it’s my most played game of 2018, and also the one that I’d recommend to everyone!

Read my review.

Five, four, three, two, one! We’ve done the countdown. I hope you’ve enjoyed the content from 2018, and look for more this coming year. In the meantime. What are you thoughts? Are these games all worthy? What were your top 5 of 2018?

Answer in the comments below.

David Norris

Lover of dogs, books, comics, movies, anime, television, video games and most importantly board games. My site is all about the latter, and my journey through the glorious hobby.

5 thoughts on “Best 5 Board Games of 2018

  1. David, overall a nice list. It sounds like you need to get into heavier games now! I agree with you about Santorini — but I need to get more people to play it with me. For me, the top game I played in 2018 was probably Brass: Birmingham. Awesome game. I also really enjoyed several others, but the second most fun was probably Commands and Colors: Napoleonics which I played the most last year. In fact, that game triggered a boost in my love for GMT games, and I ended up playing Thunder Alley and especially Sekigahara, both of which were just a lot of fun. I also really enjoyed London (2nd Edition), another Martin Wallace hit. A friend of mine owns Grand Austria Hotel, and I really want to play that again this year. We live in an age where there are so many great games. I just wish I had more time and plenty of opponents to get more games out. Keep rolling!


    1. I’m definitely headed into the heavier game section. But they’re a double edged sword. As they take even longer to learn than your regular games!

      I have only played a learning game of Brass Birmingham, and it was great! Looking forward to facing other people at that. Though it will take a while to get a hold on the strategy.

      London is such a devastating game! I’m not sure how I feel about it just yet. But having to destroy your engine all the time makes me sad. 😦

      Another Martin Wallace that I got to play and enjoyed was Auztralia. Really interesting, and fast and frantic. Although I got destroyed, it made me wonder about a Study in Emerald.

      How was Grand Austria Hotel? It’s a dice worker placement isn’t it?


  2. I really need to pick up Spirit Island, especially because it’s also great for solo gaming, which I am going to focus on this year.


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