The last 12 months or so have seen many, many great games released. There were a ton of great light game releases, and among those a great deal of fabulous card games that have made a lasting impression on me. Having enjoyed so many, I felt like I needed to share a slice of that with you all, so here’s the rundown of 5 of the best – in no particular order!
Like all of the ingredients in a very delicious cake, the various aspects of Lux – card drafting, tableau building, area control and hand management – come together as a beautiful finished product. Capital Lux is a beautiful struggle – and I mean that in the best board game struggle way possible. When the decisions you make about the cards to take and play come together, and you can anticipate your opponent/s well, that’s where the real satisfaction comes to play. With surprising depth for a short 3-round game, and incredibly gorgeous art, you just gotta have this one.
So simple and satisfying. You can get playing this in about 30 seconds of teaching, including a good shuffle! You’re looking to be the first to empty your hand of cards by forcing others to discard those they’ve played, by playing something higher than them. If you play the same card as another person, you “team up” and the numbers now represent a combined total most likely pushing someone else out of the round. Fuji Flush really gets a group of people having fun and interacting – you will be having fun shouting “team 4, team 4!” in no time – until you’re flushed and start all over!
This was my pick for 2016’s game of the year, so it should be no surprise it’s on this list too! With a decently interactive round of simplified trick taking that leads to puzzling away to lay cards and build your tidy little city, there’s a lot on offer in Honshu. Brilliant, simple and contained gameplay, with options to complexify that if you want, will keep you coming back for more.
I quite enjoy Broom Service the board game, but feel like I will get this to the table more often. It’s boiled down to the fun, interactive aspect of pushing your luck to be the “brave” type of witch each round, which – if successful – wins you potions. You’re hoping to create sets of like potions for points, and also sets of various potions for the chance to win shared goals. So simple and fun, and great for a slightly larger group than the board game offers.
When the Kickstarter for Herbaceous went live, I was drawn in by Beth Sobel’s gorgeous botanical art – it definitely makes things look delicious on the table. I was equally intrigued after watching a video of one of the designer’s (Eduardo Baraf) mom in a quick how to play overview video. She made it so clear that this was a simple and enjoyable game, and I have definitely experienced this. I love the push your luck element of the community garden offerings, and the on-the-fly decisions you have to make to optimize your set collection.