Shelfside's Best (and Worst) Board Gaming of 2023 -

Shelfside’s Best (and Worst) Board Gaming of 2023

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Here’s Shelfside’s best and worst games of 2023, and we did get to play TI4! This is not a review, but covers many popular games like Prophecy of Kings and Civilization by Sid Meiers (2010), which are big 4x/ameritrash games. We also cover some new Bezier games like Scram, or the Twilight struggle-like 2 player Votes for Women, that felt a little flat with weird hand management ideas. However, this is not a top 10 list of all time, so some of these, including experiences are not my favorite games. Will there be area controls and euros here? More fantasy flight games or frosthaven? We also cover strange games like Hanamikoji and Primal Showdown.

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Table of Contents:
Intro- (0:00)
Game Theory Tables – (0:12)
Hardest Review – (0:58)
Most Surprising Game – (1:47)
Worst Gaming – (2:52)
Honorable Mentions – (3:47)
Best of 2023 Gaming #5 – (5:56)
Best of 2023 Gaming #4 – (7:21)
Best of 2023 Gaming #3 – (8:03)
Best of 2023 Gaming #2 – (8:43)
Best of 2023 Gaming #1 – (11:13)

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#boardgames #tabletop #tabletopgames


  1. Wow! I JUST played Acquire on New Years Eve. First time being ahead of the review curve for me!

  2. Have shelfside tried Clash of Cultures?

  3. Ready, Set, Bet has a really great app that can run the race for you, letting all the players play the betting side of the game. If you have a friend at the table that enjoys and is good at the banter, then great, let them run the race. I don't. My group all love betting, so the app is wonderful. Do note: set the roll timer to half a second, the fastest setting. It makes the racing really fast and exciting. The default of two seconds is excruciatingly slow.

  4. Hanamikoji and Air, Land and Sea are swapped around for me… The first feels kinda repetitive after a bit, the second present much more variety and different game states

  5. My favourite game for this year has been Life of the Amazonia. It's gorgeous, I love the theme, and I love the puzzly gameplay.

  6. I've only tried TI4 once; I want to play it again! We "finished" but we played on TTS and we played with house rules to speed the game up, like playing with all objectives revealed from turn 1.

  7. My first time seeing you guys was with your takenoko review, but recently saw your last light review and I really loved the nuance and it resonated with my experience with the game

  8. I bought spellbook on a buy one get one half off sale in October at my local game store. I had a lot of fun until i had played at least one game with every spell, and then realized that there really isn't much going for it in terms of replayability. Ill probably give it to my sister at some point, since she really loves the aesthetics of it.

  9. I discovered dungeon fighter this year and I played SOOOOoOOOO much of it. Top 5 of all-time for sure

  10. I wonder how your group would get on with Mega Empires (Western & Eastern Empire combined)? With up to 18 players and 12 hours, it would probably fill your conservatory. The designer Francis Tresham did so much for our hobby, yet others often steal his thunder (Sid Meier). Else, one of the 1825 units could provide some fun.

  11. Happy new year! This was a huge year for y'all, looking forward to the next year on this channel 😀

    7:50 FEET

  12. i hope you were playing a game of TI 4 and didn't just unpack the whole game and set it up as a prop…or if you did…props to you (pun intended)

  13. also, i still think that Oath is an excellent shorter option of TI4 with politic-ing, betrayal, and story arcs naturally arising over 3 hours max game time. I've played TI at least 6 times now and will pretty much never play it again as it is a 10-12 hour ordeal (every. single. time.). I don't have the patience for that and by hour 8 I want to strangle at least one of my friends. Oath gives me all of that in a much more condensed and intriguing package. thanks for the video!

  14. My group finally got to play TI this past year in August. year, and we are already on game 4 coming up this month! 7 players will likely be our count this time. We are eager to play it and I'm happy I've got a group willing to play it so regularly. It's an amazing time and day well spent that just flies by.

  15. With TI we play from 9am until we finish … which is around 7-9pm. We typically play 6-7 players. You really do need to just allow a day.

  16. Eclipsre review pls 🙁
    Great video btw.

  17. Ay, @shelfside team can you take a look at "company of heroes" board game and can you do some more of reveiws of the other undaunted games?

  18. Welp. Calling Votes for Women the worst game of the year is an easy way to get me to unsubscribe. Best of luck with the channel. We just have different tastes.

  19. How is Civilization vs Clash of Cultures: Monumental Edition?

  20. Ummm…isn't the games supposed to be in 2023? It's 2022 everywhere in the video…

  21. Root continues to be my all-time favorite game and most played by far. Some of my favorite games from 2023 are Apiary, Arborea, Expeditions, and Hegemony. I'm super looking forward to playing Dune Imperium – Uprising soon too. And a couple older games I was introduced to in 2023 that I found really fun were El Grande and Road to Canterbury.

  22. Hi from another Cal Poly grad. I saw the sweatshirt in the TI4 segment. Don't know how many of your friends went there, but it was great to see. All the best in 2024

  23. If you like TI4, check out Last Light. Its a 4X just like TI4 but it finishes in about 1.5hrs w/ teaching. I'm a big fan of it and havent played TI4 since I got my copy of Last Light.

  24. I’m lucky to have time and friends to play TI4 a lot (like 10 games this year), but yeah it’s REALLY long. The one negative on an otherwise perfect game🙁

  25. That Proliferation game looks really good.. Anywho, hope you guys have a great 2024 and thanks for all the awesome videos. 🙂

  26. TI is a game you need to plan to play for a long time. It’s a full day game where the host has to have it setup ahead of time and you have food and drink already stocked. The newest two editions actually play faster than the older versions and they still regularly take 8 hours to complete. It’s a fun game but it’s one you have to commit the day too. Back in the day we use to play it the Friday after Thanksgiving ever year.

  27. Ohhhh – I see hegemony in the upcoming reviews. I own like 170 board games and I got hegemony like early December. In 2 weeks it became my most played game of all of 2023 and I play A LOT of games. It is super fascinating. But it is super duper long and I have SO much trouble trying to get the capitalist class to win. If you someolhow get them to win – please tell me haha. But despite that seeing the economics in it is so cool.

    Also the length of ti4 is my main gripe with it. I used to love ti3 but then the length over time just degraded it for me. Emotions are much worse after 10 hours of playing a game and getting suddenly destroyed 😂

  28. Hanamikoji tickles my brain in a way no other game has. It almost feels random, but there are some serious strategies that emerge play after play. However, I think it needs a retheme. Bidding over geisha's influence is a little… maybe patriarchal or objectifying. There was a version made with male geishas, but I feel that this rethemed with bidding over pretty much anything else would make it a little bit better. For example, what if players had types of ingredients for local restaurants? So many other options might make it a little bit more sound.

    I still haven't managed to play TI4… someday.. someday.

  29. I also only really get to play TI3/4 on birthdays or christmas where enough folks I know will buckle in for it. Also didn't finish the Christmas game with just the base game as it is always a re-teach. Still, it is a very good game that deserves its play time. Perhaps there should just be a hard time limit to negotiations in the Agenda phase to prevent runaway negotiation times.

    edit: i only focus on 6 player these days, and have had suboptimal 3 player experiences ages ago. Would anyone be able to vouch for how decent/good 4, 5, 7 and 8 players are? if not great, I'd probably opt for a different game.

  30. Pleeeeease do Every Character for Frosthaven! Or whichever you guys played. That series of vids was hilarious!

  31. My friend group always plays TI4 with 4 players and we still never finish in a single day. Like, starting at 11 am type beat.

  32. Last year we played Twilight Imperium several times and introduced it to quite a few newbies. It is my favourite game and I am happy that I have more and more people to play it with.

  33. 3-4 players for TI4 lets the game finish, but everyone's actions affect everyone at that player count, so its harder to sneak in the big plays. I have played an 8 player game online where we played only 2 turns every Friday night. That was interesting.

  34. Man, now I really want the Civ's both expansions!! So hard to find.

  35. I’m watching this but I’m still a little upset about your review for AEON.
    because you were obsessed with getting every single rule right instead of playing the game.

  36. Wow!!! I am inactive, but was part of the Prolif team for the early days. This game is a massive labor of love and seeing it featured warms my heart.

    It is so surreal seeing us featured in your top 5 games for 2023!!! Thank you Shelfside!

  37. Proliferation is a great game. I got to watch it get made and play the demo versions so seeing the full versions is really cool. I’m really glad you liked it! Oh, and VIVE LA FRANCE🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷

  38. I printed out a custom set of box organizers for TI4 and it cuts down setup by almost 80%. With a group that plays it on a semi regular basis we knock out a game in about 5~6 hours.

  39. Have fun with Acquire, my favorite game of all time! (although for largely sentimental reasons)

  40. Man, I just want to roll up to play Twilight Imperium. Always had my eye on it.

  41. Hanamakoji seems like its been forgotten. A very good quick little two player game.

  42. I will be waiting with bated breath for your Hegemony review

  43. Hi Shelfside. Been watching you guys since 2020.

    I recently bought TI4 and POK, after watching and replaying your TI4 review vid for over a year.

    I had TI4 for a Month now, and we played it 7 times. Its kinda a shame you dont get to play it or finish it as much as you want though.

    The game time really made me believe that the game wasnt for my group, so Im glad I stayed hype and bit the bullet its a fantastic experience. Thank you.

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