Top 10 Board Games of 2021 - What a Year! -

Top 10 Board Games of 2021 – What a Year!

Man vs Meeple
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It’s time for our Top 10 Games of 2021, and the whole team is here (Chit Chat style) to share their lists! We’ve taken a little more time to play a few games a little more to make sure we felt confident with our respective Top 10s. So are you ready for the rundown?!

Thanks for Funagain Games, our sponsor for Chit Chat, and our 2021 Top 10!

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With: Emily, Ryan, David and Jeremy

Time Stamps:
1:13 Number 10
9:25 Number 9
18:25 Number 8
25:06 Number 7
33:30 Number 6
40:15 Number 5
45:52 Number 4
53:18 Number 3
1:03:17 Number 2
1:10:20 Number 1


  1. Oh, Ankh…. Beautiful game, some lovely mechanics…but then The Merge which was just truly dreadful. The two of us that merged were strong annd weak in completely different elements of the game and it ended up that the merged character fell into the worst of both rather than the best of both and it was just a suck to play as all the good things you'd achieved fell away and you had to grind and come even more distant last than if we'd come without it. UGH . Loved the rest of that game but the merge was just horrible and made it so unfun to play the second half.

  2. I didn't like the 2021 crop very much compared to other years, but I think Cascadia is my perfect game. Not heavy enough to be my favourite of all time, but it will outplay all of my favourites. It doesn't need an expansion, but if they come up with a good one I'm in.

  3. I'm having the most epic delivery of games later today (Anno 1800, Ark Nova, Boonlake, Golem & Origins: First Builders), so kinda fun to see so many of them mentioned here. Seems like I made some good purchases 😀

  4. Great games. Great lists.
    Ark nova is amazing but if it had dinosaur park theme I would love love it.
    (Plus vincent dudrait as artist)

  5. Cascadia is so accasible that my 5 year old daughter can play this and even win and I do not have to hold back! That is why it is amazing! But Golem and Ark Nova are even better games for me.

  6. Here's my top 13 games that I'm mad about right now regardless of release date. So in no particular order, these are the 13 games we have enjoyed and played most over 2021 and up to now in 2022 . Most are great @2player. Chai Deluxe with chunky add-ons (recent addition, addicted to chunky pieces, fun and light tea time game), Botanik (recent addition, also light, quick, easy to teach), Le Havre (tight, but great variation), Merchants of the Dark Road (recent and already love it! enjoyable and gorgeous, will see if they continue to expand this game), Guild Master (so fun @4players, not sure yet about 2), Folklore Affliction campaign game (continuing to play thru the expansions), Merchants Cove (love the variations profession mechanics, very fun game), Nidavellir (fast and fun), Dinoblivion (hillarious, fast, 2 player, will definitely seek out Goblivion by same company), Hall of the Mountain King (poly plus tableau and very good and thematic), Tapestry w/expansion, Sea of Legends (pirate theme, App needed, like gameplay a lot, keen on upcoming KS for expansion), and Obsession (fast to setup and play). Still have to make time for Adventures of Robin Hood, Lizard Wizard, Unsettled with 6 planets (-if we love it we'll consider their next Unsettled KS), Lost Ones, Destinies KS and expansions, Tidal Blades KS and expansion, and Roll Player Adventures, and still have to integrate a bunch of expansions (Arnak, Res Arcana, Imaginarium, Haspelknecht (Ruhr), Feast for Odin).

  7. Great lists! My favorites were:
    1. Excavation Earth
    2. Botanik
    3. Bitoku
    4. Meadow
    5. Savannah Park
    6. Land Vs. Sea
    7. Witchstone
    8. LUNA Capital
    9. Funfair
    10. Dungeon Decorators

  8. My top ten for the year:
    1. Sleeping Gods

    2. Ares Expedition

    3. Mind MGMT

    4. Golem

    5. Hadrian's Wall

    6. Destinies

    7. Cascadia

    8. Ark Nova

    9. Tabannusi: Builders of Ur

    10.Dinosaur World

  9. Rise of Ix… When in 2022 does that come out?

  10. Azul: Queens Garden… Estimated Release Date: January – March 2022

  11. My top 5:
    After the Empire
    Terraforming Mars :Ares Expedition
    That Time You Killed Me
    Ankh: Gods of Egypt

    I played Oath a few times and still don’t know if I really like it….

    Also I can’t tell you how much I disliked Red Rising. It over complicates Fantasy Realms and the Deluxe version is one of the most color-blind unfriendly games I have ever owned. The. standard one is better but not enough to make this worth playing.

  12. From pushing poo balls to campaign insights and other summary elements, those post-production banners are phenomenal…I bet they take a lot of effort on your part, and it really elevates this video…excellence!

  13. Thank you so much for inviting us all into your fireside chat…it really felt like we were friends chatting around a table and that is a heck of an achievement. Occasionally it was hard to hear something, but that was rare. When it was all done I thought we'd get out a great game and play it together!

  14. One of the great things about your group is I can't really tell who's "the leader"…Usually I'm sure it's Ryan, but then I think maybe it's David, and then Jeremy or Emily pop in to say something and I think…wait, maybe it's them? The fact you are all individual leaders and lend so greatly to each other is…fantastic. Great videos, great content.

  15. I'm intrigued but worried about Hadrian's wall for much of what you've said…I'm worried not only about the teach and learning it, but also a concern that I need an abacus and a trigonometry-enabled calculator in order to play it, and most of the people I play with don't want mental acrobatics to play a game…thoughts?

  16. I love love love love love Mind MGMT…but 2 player. Have you played it multi-player though? I don't have a lot of confidence about how it would play multi-player…

  17. Ark Nova is DESTINED to be one of my best games of all time… Mind MGMT will take over my life…but it was nearly all over the your lists…I'm a little surprised Ares Expedition wasn't on more lists…

  18. I'm really surprised that Furnace isn't anywhere on here…how did that happen? Did you guys play it? Didn't like it? Thoughts? And Vagrantsong and Sleeping Gods…shocked those didn't appear somewhere also…what is your list of top games you didn't get tabled that are "top candidates"?

  19. Just now watching this and heard mention of a Origins First Builders promo pack. But when I checked on the Kickstarter, it was from two months ago before the game was even available. How do I go about getting that promo pack? And what does it even have in it? Thanks!

  20. Verona Twist is a great filler-level investment hidden movement/ deduction game. Downside is it's bit easier to deduce, but that actually makes me want to try to conceal even more!

  21. You mentioned "alternate end conditions" to change up how you play Origins, where can we find a copy of these? Thanks!

  22. My top 5 is:
    1. Oath — 2. Pax Renaissance 2nd edition — 3. Boonlake — 4. Messina 1347 — 5. Destinies

  23. My top 5 games I played in person from 2021 were – 5. Hadrians Wall 4. Brian Boru 3. Anno 1800 2. Bitoku 1. Witchstone. Played Ark Nova and Messina on TTS but want to hold judgement until I play them in person hopefully sometime soon.

  24. Thanks so much for considering MIND MGMT! So happy that you liked it so much! 🙂

  25. you can't even find Riverside here in the states. I happen to win one over at Meeple University. I don't think it should be considered a 2021 game. I know it's been talked about. I think this would do very well if it was available to all in the states.

    That being said. My top games of 2021 are Imperium Classics/Legends 2. Hadrians wall 3. Viscounts of the West Kingdom, 4. Rolling Realms

  26. Thought Tom Vasel was making an appearance from the thumbnail

  27. Not the same without Kira and Jeremy, the original I mean.

  28. My Top Pick: Dark Ages: Holy Roman Empire.
    Oath is my runner-up.
    I have pre-ordered Ark Nova. Haven’t played it yet, but I can tell it will hit well at our house.
    I am very intrigued by Hadrian’s Wall. Good chance I’ll get it.

  29. Great video – Ark Nova is definitely my top 2021 game but there are so many games on your lists which haven't even landed here like Boonlake, Bitoku, Roll Player Adventures, Mind Mgmt etc. Can't wait to play those titles in 2022

  30. I think Jeremy needs to just have a Roll Player Adventure solo shout out video to make up for his critical mistake! Give this game some more love.

  31. Shout out to the Dusky Leaf Posse! Great video and conversation. I want to hang out with you all and play games. I’ll bring beer and chips.

  32. I wonder where Tabannusi fell on Ryan’s list…

  33. Board Gaming Indy Loves MvM!!! I'm very curious about Origins. I've been on the fence about this one. After I watched this video, I have updated my Wishlist: Riverside, Ark Nova, So Clover, NidaVillir (already played it, but I want to pick it up), Mind Mgmt.

  34. I'm really surprised no one mentioned Sleeping Gods

  35. I anticipate that once my Capstone pre order for Ark Nova and Boon Lake arrive both of those games will occupy high spots on my top 10 for the year. That being said here were my top 5 for 2021:
    1) Coffee Traders
    2) Excavation Earth
    3) Dominant Species Marine
    4) Bitoku
    5) Imperial Steam

  36. Would be much more interesting if you based this on titles that are actually available to the public in 2021.

  37. Jeremy mentioned Cascadia being a permanent (keeper) to his collection. I'm curious to hear what each of your criteria(s) are when deciding to keep, sell, trade….or even purchase to begin with.

  38. Where da heck can I buy Riverside? Just played my copy of Three Sisters and I'm quickly falling in love with these new breed of roll n writes

  39. Oof, Red Rising is on too many lists. LOL This one did not land for us at all. Too random, no game arc, pure reaction (Ryan mentioned that as a good thing); everyone we played it with did not like it at all. It’s also far too big of a production for what it is. Could be a $15-$20 game, not $50.

  40. At this moment I’m just so happy I decided to preorder two game that happen to be on your top 10, Ark Nova and Boonlake. Ark Nova’s arrived already, waiting on Boonlake.

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