Prediction for 2021 Board Game of the Year

As the year comes to a close, the lists of all the best board games released in 2021 lists are going to start coming out.

What are your predictions for the top five games of the year?

here are a few games you see people talking about - #Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile, #Unfathomable, #Furnace, #Hadrian's Wall, #The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine, #Kabuto Sumo, #Cubitos, #Dinosaur World, #Tiny Epic Pirates, #Dune: House Secrets. Do you think any will make the cut?

Look at the current list of 2021 games by popularity -


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5 months ago

Top 5 according to who? Right now my favorite is #Magnate: The First City but I've got a lot of games still to play. From what I've heard #Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile might be the most important game of the year, but I've still got to play it. #Furnace will be on a lot of lists but perhaps because of it's broad appeal more than anything exciting it does. But I bet #Sleeping Gods probably wins overall if it gets in enough list-makers people's hands. Gotta play that one too but I don't remember the last time I heard a game described by so many as a "masterpiece".

3 months ago

Always a very good challenge and personally I find the boardgame community's obsession with top10s, top100s etc a little bizarre, along with the desire to '*rate games'.

*As an aside, I find it a little annoying that if writing a 'review' of a game for theis site, we're forced to enter a score out of 100. I really have no desire to add such a score, feeling that it' very much a matter of personal taste. Using such faux precision can mislead people, especially newcomers to our hobby, into thinking such scores are reliable assessments of inherent 'quality'. At the moment I'm resigned to only using '70' if this remains mandatory. 

From games published in 2021, I've enjoyed #Etherfields and #Furnace, plus #Die of the Dead was more enjoyable than I expected (and I like it's innovative design, more so than it being something of a 'memory game' - not a genre that appeals). Not many others played though, as I was ultra-cautious until getting the booster jab, so wasn't gaming for most of 2020/2021.

I remember looking hard at Sleeping Gods during the campaign, loving the idea of bound map exploration, but being unconvinced the combat appealed to me, plus residual concerns that Ryan Laukat's narrative style is a little light / whimsical for my tastes. A game I'd definitely try if offered the chance.

5 months ago

RE: According to Who

The board game community and its content creators. All the people that put out the "best 10 games of the year" type of lists. And then thinking about the key board game awards. I would have said whoever you think is going to win the Spiel des Jahres, but recently that has become more about general games and the real action tends to be whoever the Kennerspiel des Jahres ( #Paleo, #The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine, #Wingspan, etc).

I feel like your rationale is on the right track.

Moderator Level 15 months ago

Sleeping Gods is a good pick. Epic story based game with great art and components.

Partner5 months ago

That's my pick so far!  Easily my #1 game of the year, #Sleeping Gods especially enjoying the expansion content. I am ready to go through my fourth campaign! 

Moderator Level 15 months ago

Wow, four campaigns?? I guess there's enough content in there to keep it fresh several times through, huh?

Partner4 months ago

I'm back from a little family time, sorry so slow in responding! 

Yes, the beauty of Sleeping Gods is in how much content there is. I've played 2 1/3 campaigns so far, and have seen maybe 10-20% of the same stuff (mostly the first map or two).  And yet, after about 45 hours of playing, I'll bet I haven't seen 1/3 to 1/2 of the content available. (Caveat: I do have the expansion, too). 

If we did a fourth campaign, we've already committed to heading off to different areas of the world to see what else is out there. It's like playing an open world video game where you can geaux and do whatever you want! 

Moderator Level 14 months ago

That is awesome. Campaign games don't appeal to me or my wife in general, but this would have to be at the top of the list if we ever have the itch for something like that.

5 months ago

I forgot about #Sleeping Gods, such a good game. I think that is the type of game that will be a consistent in the top five for everyone making a list if it doesn't take top spots.

5 months ago

I am basing this on how I feel content creators in the community are going to make their lists. They like buzz, they like complexity and they like finding that diamond in the rough - 

  1. #Furnace
  2. #Cascadia
  3. #Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile
  4. #Hadrian's Wall
  5. #Sleeping Gods

I would say that The Crew sequel makes it, but people dont like to include sequels on their best of lists.


Moderator Level 15 months ago

I'm guessing that #Cascadia and #Furnace are going to be on quite a few lists. I could see #Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile being on a lot of lists as well, but that doesn't quite have the broad appeal that a lot of these games do. Another one could be #Bullet♥︎ - I remember seeing a lot of praise for that this year.

5 months ago

Bullet, good one. I havne't played but everyone does have nice things to say.

I agree that #Cascadia seems like it is the clear cut winner based on the buzz out there, but I don't think it is outside the box enough to be the game that all the content creators put at the top of their list. People try to really tout innivation, and Cascadia seems like an amazing version of something we have seen before.

Moderator Level 15 months ago

Yeah, you may be right about that. I could see Cascadia being #2 or #3 on a lot of lists but not #1 for that reason.

Premium User3 months ago

I think Canvas has a chance at some awards, given its broad appeal as a gateway-type game with interesting art. Terraforming Mars Ares Expedition is something that could get some love too.

I'm really impressed and have enjoyed Destinies. Though it is as much a fail forward story as a game. It is just such a low bar to entry as a story game. I've seen Sleeping Gods as well loved, but I've read a lot of comments that you have to spend a lot of time in the rulebook, which can ruin game flow. I love Ryan's art and style in general though. 

Ark Nova seems to be the game with the most momentum right now for 2021. I don't feel pulled to play it though.

Another year where we were all blessed with a ton of great games. I still need to get Hadrian's wall and the Great Wall to the table...

5 months ago

Given Covid has kept me away from the game group (that should change in the new year), it would be crazy of me to put a top 5 in, given I've basically not gamed in the year, excepting a very small few solo / multi-handed solo games.

However I will mention the game that has given me the most enjoyment in seeing it from formative stages to now arriving on people's doorsteps. Not a game for me, nor one I expect I will ever play, but the Coraquest journey has been wonderful to watch, with the enthusiasm of young gamers coming through strongly in the images I've seen shared. Add to that, with Cora herself going from being rather shy, to being confident speaking on national television! 

The future of gaming is bright.