Home Board Game News 2018 Board Game Award Winners

2018 Board Game Award Winners


2018 Board Game Award Winners

A couple of weeks ago we announced our nominees for our 6th Annual Board Game Awards. 2018 had some great offerings for tabletop gaming and we always enjoy taking one last look back at the year to recognize the best and most creative among them.

Today we are excited to announce the winners for our 2018 Board Game Awards. As usual, the voting was difficult and some categories were extremely tight. But our editorial staff (along with input from our readers) have made their selections. So without further ado, here are the winners of our 6th Annual Board Game Quest Awards. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees.

2018 Board Game Award Winners


2018 Best Coop GameBest Cooperative Game

Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game
Designers: Przemysław Rymer, Ignacy Trzewiczek, Jakub Łapot
Portal Games
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Detective took the investigative genre and give it a shot of adrenaline with its computer-integrated gameplay. My favorite moments in Detective were from losing myself in the police database, reading case files, backstory on criminals, and even watching videos. Players have to put their heads together and think hard to try and piece together all clues in the short amount of time they have to solve the case. We tore through the first 5 cases and have been excited for the upcoming expansion that will let us jump right back in.

Runner Up: The Reckoners


Best Tactical/Combat Game


2018 Best Tactical GameWildlands
Designer: Martin Wallace
Osprey Games
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Who would have though that a veteran eurogame designer like Martin Wallace would have made one of our favorite tactical games of the year. Wildlands is an accessible and clever skirmish game that allows anyone to jump in and start playing, no matter their experience level. And yet behind that simple ruleset are some really innovative mechanics (like the interrupt actions) that will have players glued to the board until they collect the last crystal.

Runner Up: Lords of Hellas


Best Digital Board Game

Terraforming Mars

2018 Best Digital GameTerraforming Mars
Developer: Asmodee Digital
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One of our previous games of the year made the jump to digital last year with Terraforming Mars on Steam. While we are still looking forward to playing this on our tablets, we’ve still been having a ton of fun with the constantly evolving digital version. This engine building game allows players to get their Terraforming Mars fix in a fraction of the play time.

Runner Up: Ganz Schon Clever


Most Innovative Game


2018 Most Innovative GameKeyForge: Call of the Archons
Designer: Richard Garfield
Fantasy Flight Games
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This was a tough year for the innovative category as there were many excellent choices. In the end, we had to give the nod to Richard Garfield’s Keyforge: Call of the Archons. I fully admit I was skeptical when the game was introduced at Gen Con 2018, but darned if he didn’t pull it off. The “every deck is unique” system works really well and allows players to stay on even footing and avoid having to “chase the meta”. For players that just want to jump into the CCG waters and not worry about deck construction or hunting down rares, this is your game.

Runner Up: Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game


Best Game Expansion

7 Wonders Armada

2018 Best Game Expansion7 Wonders: Armada
 Antoine Bauza
Repos Production
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The fourth major expansion for 7 Wonders is probably one of the best. Not only does it let us forget about Babel, but it solves some of our minor gripes with an otherwise amazing game. No longer are you limited to military action against your neighbors, but now you can sail across the see to harass other cities. Not only that, the shipyards in 7 Wonders: Armada help make every decision in the game more meaningful, even if you are passed a hands of subpar cards. This is the expansion I’m always going to want to play with.

Runner Up: Scythe: Rise of Fenris


Best Production Values


2018 Best Production ValuesBrass: Birmingham
Gavan Brown, Matt Tolman, Martin Wallace
Roxley Games
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The followup to the acclaimed Brass, the heavy economic strategy game from Martin Wallace, deserves every bit of praise that’s been heaped upon it. It’s rare when a eurogame can impress us this much with its production values, and without a miniature in sight! Brass: Birmingham not only is excellently produced, but the thematic artwork is also top notch. Publisher Roxley Games hit a home run with this title.

Runner Up: GKR Heavy Hitters


Best Thematic Game


2018 Best Thematic GameDetective: A Modern Crime Board Game
Przemysław Rymer, Ignacy Trzewiczek, Jakub Łapot
Portal Games
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Collecting its second award this year is Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game. To piggy back off what we said above, it’s Detective’s integration of tabletop elements and digital app that work so well together. Players are immediately sucked into a world where they are detectives, trying to solve a series of crimes. The overall experience between cardboard and digital elements seamless, with the website able to enhance the play experience, instead of distract from it.

Runner Up: Western Legends


Best Game from a Small Publisher


2018 Best Game from a Small PublsiherVindication
 Marc Neidlinger
Orange Nebula, LLC
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Publisher Orange Nebula Games made us take note this year with their cube pushing game Vindication. Not only were the production values outstanding, but the gameplay had the chops to back it up. The box is overflowing with content, giving this one tons of replay value. Even after quite a few plays, I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of all the content Vindication has to offer.

Runner Up: Tokyo Metro


Best Strategy/Euro Game

Architects of the West Kingdom

2018 Best Euro GameArchitects of the West Kingdom
 Shem Phillips, S J Macdonald
Garphill Games
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This worker placement game gives players a fresh look at the genre overflowing with options, thanks to its unique play style. Instead of the usual “start with a couple of workers and unlock more”, Architects of the West Kingdom goes the opposite route and dumps a pile of them on you at the start. The key is that not only can multiple workers boost your actions, but you can actually round up other players workers and ransom them off!

Runner Up: Brass: Birmingham


Best Family Game

Welcome To...

2018 Best Family GameWelcome To…
 Benoit Turpin
Deep Water Games
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This unique “draw and write” game took the rolling and write genre by storm by forgoing the dice for 3 decks of cards. Each round you’ll flip three cards, giving you a number to write and an action to take. While the rules in Welcome To… aren’t super simple, they are logical enough that you can enjoy this one with family or non-gamer friends. And the gameplay is deep enough that you won’t find yourself wishing you were playing something else while you attempt to make your perfect subdivision.

Runner Up: Ticket to Ride: New York


Game of the Year


2018 Game of the YearRoot
 Cole Wehrle
Leder Games
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I’ve played Root more times than I can count over the past year and have enjoyed every game. Publisher Leder Games seems to have learned a lot from their first asymmetrical offering of Vast, because Root take on the asymmetrical is nothing short of stellar. Each player controls a wholly unique faction, yet there are enough common rules in this light war game to help make learning the game a breeze. And since the factions all feels so different, players are constantly torn between replaying a faction to learn it better, and trying a new one out. Combine all that with a great theme and some fantastic artwork from artist Kyle Ferrin, and you have an easy choice for our 2018 Game of the Year.

Runner Up: Architects of the West Kingdom

Note: Per award rules, because it won Game of the Year, Root was removed from consideration from other award categories.


  1. Always enjoy this list – and I very much agree with a number of the games you’ve highlighted. Not a bad year at all!

  2. A review of Vindication please! I’ve seen positive reviews in a few places on the web, but have been eagerly awaiting a review from my favorite board gaming website! What earned it the 2018 Board game Quest Award?

    • We were actually trying to get a copy to review, but Orange Nebula ran out of stock before they could get us one. We’ll see what we can do though!

  3. Terraforming Mars winning the best Digital Board Game tells me that you haven’t played it beyond a cursory level – the game released with so many bugs not all of which have been fixed and the UI is an object lesson in how NOT to design a UI. This makes me question the rest of your awards

    • AnnaMaria, our original reviewer of the Terraforming Mars digital edition replied to someone else with a similar comment on Facebook a while ago. Here is what she had to say:

      “I generally play a game at least 5-6 times before I write a review. TM was different, because I’ve actually played a few dozen times since downloading it.
      It’s a shame you’re having so much trouble, but any issues I encountered I mentioned in my review. I generally don’t report other players’ experiences in my reviews – the medium is expected to be my thoughts, perception, and opinion, not others’. Based on my experience in tabletop and video gaming I found it to be a fun little port that offered a lot to gamers that enjoyed TM and were looking for a digital experience.
      Sorry to hear you’re having problems – hopeful you can find a way to rectify that. Good luck!”

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