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Top Ten Tabletop Games Of 2013

This year brought us a wealth of awesome video games to explore, but they’re not the only stellar games from 2013. From time to time we like to take a step back and examine the growing world of tabletop games. Board games, card games, and tabletop role-playing games have seen a renaissance in the last decade, with hundreds of amazing titles that run the gamut in genre, theme, and style of play.

I’ve selected ten of my favorite titles from 2013 to highlight here, representing a spread of competitive and cooperative play, licensed and original works, and a range of complexity from family-friendly games to highly strategic titles of conquest and control. The games chosen all released in North America in 2013, or at least saw their major rise to awareness by the public during that time.

Take a look at my selections, and then share your picks for the best tabletop games of 2013 in the comments below. 

Since the games discussed are from so many different genres and styles of play, I’ve ordered the following list alphabetically.

BioShock Infinite: The Siege of Columbia
Publisher: Plaid Hat Games

Many video gamers count BioShock Infinite among their favorite games of 2013. If you’re in that camp, or if you just like a highly original competitive game, you owe it to yourself to check out The Siege of Columbia. 

Two players (or two teams of two players) take on the role of the Founders and the Vox Populi, and build of an army of followers led by charismatic leaders to try to control the floating city of Columbia. As you play, two wild card elements wander the board in the form of Booker and Elizabeth, often sowing chaos where they pass. 

Plaid Hat Games has found a multitude of ways to tap into the game features of the BioShock Infinite video games, like including sky-lines which units can use to traverse the board at high speed (but at great risk),  and Elizabeth’s ability to alter reality as she moves. The game presents a gorgeous map of Columbia, and the over 50 miniatures included help the table come alive. 

Smartly written rules and beautiful art are the icing on the cake of this excellent release – it’s a perfect transition game for players hoping to make the jump from video games to the rich world of high-end tabletop gaming.

Eldritch Horror
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games

Arkham Horror has been a staple of the board game scene for years – a cooperative game in which players work together to confront a rising ancient evil in a small Massachusetts town. This year, Fantasy Flight released a successor to Arkham Horror that draws on many of the game’s best features, but streamlines play, and expands the scope onto a global scale.

In Eldritch Horror, players each take on the role of an investigator wandering the continents in an attempt to solve mysteries related to the emergence of a world-shattering Lovecraftian creature. Depending on the group’s choice of adversary, the flow of your adventure and objective changes, offering tons or replay value. 

Every part of Eldritch Horror exists to serve the cause of compelling narrative. Your character has death-defying adventures, fights battles, and faces horrible ordeals. Even once a character is defeated, other players can come to have adventures about resolving their fellow hero’s demise. The game also encourages fun risk-taking, where some cards are acquired that might randomly flip later in the game if not resolved, often leading to tragedy. The sense of impending doom and constant setbacks works because all the players are in on the challenge together, and working toward a common goal.

Gameplay moves faster in Eldritch Horror than its predecessor, and it’s a great choice for large gaming get-togethers, since the game supports up to eight concurrent players (albeit with a much longer playtime). Its dark themes might not be a great fit for younger players, but everyone else should enjoy its pulpy plots. For a great entry into higher end cooperative games, look no further than this title.

Publisher: Asmodee

The Greek mythology game Cyclades was an excellent game of conquest and fantasy that released a few years ago, and the newly released Kemet seeks to explore a similar concept rooted in the myths and monsters of Ancient Egypt. 

Two to five players each take control of an Egyptian tribe as they try to capture and control the rich lands along the Nile. Along the way, players call on the Egyptian gods to rain down their powers and aid in attaining victory. 

Kemet features a smart organizational mechanic for each turn, in which players take actions during a day phase to deploy their massive armies, raise pyramids, and take over temples, and then a night phase during which players gather prayer and victory points based on the current state of the board. I especially like the combat mechanic, which demands players choose attacks between a set of six cards, with the knowledge that use of any one card depletes it until the rest of his hand is spent. I also really enjoy the mythological creatures that join your forces, each of which brings its own special abilities into play.

Kemet includes a bevy of detailed minis to represent your armies, the coolest of which are the mythical monsters that populate the land. Its two-sided board allows for customized play that works well for whatever group size is playing. In addition, fans of Cyclades will be happy to find that a crossover kit (purchased separately) is available that lets you draw creatures from either game into the other.  Kemet is one of the more challenging and complex games on this year’s list, but if you’re up for a little groundwork, its strategic options are top-notch. 

[Next up: A great new role-playing game, and a family game inspired by a classic arcade title] – The Feed

The Last of Us survivor makes GLAAD intriguing LGBT characters of 2013 list

GLAAD, a media monitoring organization promoting LGBT imagery, has recognized Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us for introducing a complex gay character to its to its post-apocalyptic narrative.

“[Bill is] an unstable loner in the town of Lincoln with a …
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War Never Changes, But Classic Fallout For Sale On GoG Does

Remember when we told you that you could get Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics for free on GoG? We’re hoping you did that, as the games are no longer available for new purchases on the GoG service at all. Don’t worry if you’ve put them in your library though, you’ll still have access.

“Due to circumstances beyond our control, we needed to pull the three classic Fallout games, that is Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics, from sale and remove them from our DRM-free catalog,” GoG writes. “These classic titles have been with us since day one, that is for over 5 years now, and they were always one of the highlights of the selection of games that we offer.”

The Fallout property is in Bethesda’s control exclusively now, with the last of the older titles scheduled to transfer from Interplay to Bethesda on January 1, 2014. The titles are currently available for sale on Steam with Interplay still listed as the publisher. 

If you’re planning on making a purchase of Fallout, Fallout 2, or Fallout Tactics, it might be advisable to do so sooner rather than later. When the clock strikes midnight in the US, those titles might become unavailable on that platform, also.

[Source: GoG via Destructoid]


Our Take
Licensing, copyright, and ownership are often tricky, especially when a transfer is involved. I’m pleased that these important games are still available, and I hope you were able to secure them for free when that opportunity was available. If not, having these in your collection is a wise use of funds. – The Feed

Double XP event delayed for Battlefield 4 Premium members

A double XP event for Battlefield 4 Premium members has been delayed, according to an alert posted on the Battlefield forums. Originally slated to take place yesterday, the event has been “postponed” and will “run at a later date.” Unfortunately, …
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This Year in Video Game Criticism: Farewell, 2013

This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us Eric Swain’s year-end roundup of the best of the best of 2013 games criticism. …

Gamasutra News

Humble Bundle Winter Sale Extended To January 3

Did you miss a sale on the Humble Store or Steam this week? Are you kicking yourself for missing low prices on Gone Home, Papers, Please, Guacamelee!, or Rogue Legacy? Humble Bundle is giving you a second chance, but you’ll need to move quickly.

The best selling games of the Humble Bundle Winter Sale are discounted once more through January 3, 2014.  All of the purchases can be redeemed on Steam, and 10 percent of proceeds are donated to charity. 

Note that Europa Universalis is discounted to $ 9.99 from its regular price of $ 39.99, but that price won’t last. You only have until tomorrow at 2 PM Eastern to cash in on that offer.

[Source: Humble Store]


Our Take
With lot of this year’s indie gems back on sale in the Humble Store, it’s worth checking out. Be sure to scroll down and tab through the different pages as there are far more offers than war appear in the graphics. And, since some of the titles are available in DRM-free versions, you’ll have some options that you wouldn’t have elsewhere. – The Feed

Hacktivists and Watch Dogs: How real-world threats inspired Ubisoft Montreal’s new open-world

Once relegated to campy and inaccurate parodies in Hollywood movies, hacking is increasingly becoming a part of our daily lives. With the PlayStation Network, LinkedIn, Twitter and, most recently, Target all being attacked, as well as the countless …
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Blog: I Get This Call Everyday’s David Gallant reflects on 2013

From unknown to notorious: David Gallant’s I Get This Call Everyday got him noticed, but how did it affect his life as a game developer? He reflects. …

Gamasutra News

Sideshow Collectibles Darth Malgus Figure To Menace Collections Soon

Last year, we shared with you the $ 6,000 life-sized The Old Republic Darth Malgus figure from Sideshow Collectibles. Some of you suggested that might be a little rich for your blood. Now, there’s a less expensive (and slightly smaller) version for fans of BioWare’s MMO.

The sixth scale figure is only three one-hundreths of the price at $ 184.99. He’s fully articulated and comes with removable respirator mask and hooded cape. Two versions of his bladed lightsaber are included for lit (in traditional Sith red) and unlit poses. He also comes with four sets of hands.

He’s scheduled to ship in January 2014. Note: Darth Malgus figure does not shoot lightning and cannot force choke your enemies.

[Source: Sideshow Collectibles via Rebel Scum] – The Feed

Humble Store Winter Sale encore discounts best-sellers for 72 hours

The Humble Store’s Winter Sale wrapped up (with a bow on top) today, but there’s one more surprise: It’s not over. The Humble Store’s 72-hour encore sale begins now, starring the best-selling games from the Winter Sale.

Games on sale include Gone …
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