Many would consider from 2010 and on to be the decade to see some of the best board game released. Even condensing it down to just the last five years as we have for today’s Quest List, games released from 2015 to 2020 makeup 68 of the Top 100 games on BGG. It’s easy to see that more people are playing games today than ever before and more releases are hitting shelves as a result. As I mentioned, we are looking at the best games (in no particular order) released in the last five years, because there are some fine games to discuss.
Best Board Games from 2015-Present
Chosen by Spencer
Scythe sits atop a lonely category of games that tried to please every type of gamer with a wide variety of mechanics and thoroughly succeeded. A blend of euro resource management, area control, and oh-so-satisfying engine building come together in a tight and compelling package. Scythe is the perfect “next step” game for those that are looking to get into medium-heavy games. Plays are quick, downtime is low, and every decision feels like it matters. While the game is by no means combat-heavy, the ever-present threat of combat is unique and tense. Finally, three really strong (and a couple of not-so-strong) expansions keep it feeling fresh well after 50+ plays. And I can’t forget to mention the art and production quality are both phenomenal.
Chosen by Tahsin
If you’re new to BoardGameQuest, it’s no secret that Eclipse is still my favorite even after 10 years of focusing on board games. The setting, the economic mechanisms, and tradeoffs, and even the playtime speak to me as that compartmentalized epic offering of space conflict, discovery, research, and delicate calculations that great space 4X games are meant to be. For me, there is no finer experience for a Saturday afternoon of gaming.
2-6 Players • Ages 12+ • 60-180 minutes • Out of Print
Lorenzo il Magnifico (review)
Chosen by Michelle
Combining a tableau with worker placement, navigating the luck of the die roll, and mitigating the effects of debilitating punishment from the Pope every other round is the most fun I’ve had during the years of these board game releases. Lorenzo il Magnifico is still in the Top 100 on BGG and continues to deserve the recognition it has since its release in 2016. I love building satisfying engines, and this game has quite a few to try out depending on the state of the board. The tension between available resources and relative costs to get worker spots that you want to have been the main reasons why this game has a permanent place in my set of answers to “What should we play?” Adding in small expansions to change up starting resources has made the base game even better. While this does have one of the longer teaching times and drier themes it’s still worth the investment to keep this mid-weight euro on the shelf and played at the table.
Gaia Project (review)
Chosen by Dylan
This was the obvious choice for me. I remember playing Terra Mystica for the first time and thinking “this is about as good as a game can get.” But then Gaia Project was released and improved the Terra Mystica formula. The cult track is replaced by a tech track where your actions and abilities are bettered. The fiddliness is minimized through the removal of the terrain tiles and all the individual resources. The board is now modular and scales for player count. It comes with a solitaire mode that, apparently, is quite good. Gaia Project is one of the heavy-weight Euros that gamers widely respect.
Marvel Champions (review)
Chosen by Tony
I feel a little weird choosing a game from only last year as one of my favorites over the past 5 years. But here we are. Since its release, Marvel Champions has become a game I just can’t stop playing. Be it solo, or with my gaming group, I’m always itching to get this one to the table for some cooperative superhero action. I love how diverse the lineup of heroes and villains have become since launch, and I’m eagerly awaiting a campaign expansion with more story (Rise of the Red Skull was kind of lacking in that department). But for the gameplay, the theme, and the sheer amount of fun I have playing it, it was the only choice for me.
Terraforming Mars (review)
Chosen by Alex
I remember the first time I played Terraforming Mars, sitting in Jon LC’s house, playing at his kitchen table (which was actually our old kitchen table). The theme was the hook and the variety in gameplay and strategies between the players at the table grabbed me and didn’t let go. We poo-pooed the draft mechanic at first, saying the game was elegant enough as it was, but after giving it a whirl, we realized it was the only way (for us) to play. While some of the expansions have not added positively to the game in a way we had hoped, we have found that Terraforming Mars has staying power in our collection and at our table that is unmatched. By far the game that we played the most in the latter half of the 2010s.
Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 (review)
Chosen by Andrew
While Pandemic wasn’t the first legacy game, it seems to have been the one to ignite the flood of legacy games we are seeing now. And for good reason. The original Pandemic is a certainly good cooperative game and is in every big-box store for a reason. It’s easy to learn, thematic, and leads to a bunch of tense moments and good stories. Season 1 took that story that mostly existed only in abstract and put characters, locations, and events around it. It begins a lot like your average Pandemic game but morphs into something different by the time it’s over and makes you feel a real connection to the world it builds.