Best Board Games 2013 – Nominees are in!

best board games

Let’s hear it for the 2013 Best Board Game nominations!

What are the best board games and card games from 2013?

We don’t quite have that answer for you yet. But we do have the list of nominations.

The annual Dice Tower Awards recognize the best board games published every year and it’s about that time again. While the award winners won’t be announced until the summer, we’re happy to share the list of nominees for 2013.

With more than 3,000 new board games published last year, finding the best is a tough job for sure. (But not one that reviewers from all over the world shy away from.)

best board game 2013

Russian Railroads has received many positive reviews.

Without further ado, here’s the list of nominations for Best Board Games of 2013.

Game of the Year:

Forbidden Desert board game

Forbidden Desert is a great family board game.

Best Family Game Nominees:

Best Strategy Game Nominees:

Best Two-Player Game Nominees:

best board games 2013

Freedom is a very thematic and good cooperative board game.

Best Cooperative Game Nominees:

Best Party Game Nominees:

Best Game Expansion Nominees:

best board game 2013

Ready for a fun auction game?

Most Innovative Game Nominees:

Best Game Reprint Nominees:

best board game 2013

Can you really beat destructive monsters terrorizing a meeple city?

Best Game Theming Nominees:

Best Board Game Components Nominees:

Best Game Artwork Nominees:

best board games 2013

Ready to set of on an expedition?

Best New Game Designer Nominees: (for any designer’s first or second published game)

Best Small Publisher Nominees: (five or less published board games)

As you can see, there are a number of board games that show up in multiple categories. Out of 14 categories, the ones that show up the most are:

While we haven’t yet played most of the games on these lists, we’re familiar with most of them. And we’ll give it our best shot to play as many as possible to vote on the categories where we can.

The final judging won’t take place until mid-summer since that will give judges more time to play the nominated games for final judgement.

We also know that truly judging the merits of a board games takes time. Some games may be good initially, but will fade when the shiny “hotness” wears off. That’s why we also like to take a look at winners from years past and see if those games are still considered great board games.

Check out the top board games from years past:
2012 – Best Game of the Year Winner: Star Wars: X-wing Miniatures Game
2011 – Best Game of the Year Winner: Eclipse
2010 – Best Game of the Year Winner: 7 Wonders
2009 – Best Game of the Year Winner: Smallworld
2008 – Best Game of the Year Winner: Dominion
2007 – Best Game of the Year Winner: Race for the Galaxy

> Receive New Board Game Reviews and Articles in your Email


9 Funny-themed Board Games

Board games are all about fun!

That’s why funny themes can make board games a blast.

Here’s 9 of our favorite funny-themed board games that are great to play with your family.

Abandon Ship board game

Get ready to save the rats!


Abandon Ship

With a sinking ship out at sea, of course our first thoughts will be for the rats – right?

In Abandon Ship, players are cheering for the rats to make it safely to the top of the sinking ship. Well, each player is actually working to get some of the rats to the top at the expense of the others. Abandon Ship is a great family board game with an off-the-wall theme. And the board itself – as a sinking ship – is very cool. Who would have thought maneuvering rats on a sinking ship could be so fun.

See our full review of Abandon Ship.

Monkey Lab board game

Save the monkeys!


Monkey Lab

Now that the rats are safe, let’s save the monkeys!

In Monkey Lab players take on the roles of monkeys racing through a lab trying to rescue their fellow monkeys from cages while staying clear of the guard. Of course, just because players are on the same mission to save monkeys, it doesn’t mean they’re working together. The player that saves the most monkeys wins, so it’s still every monkey for himself/herself.

See our full review of Monkey Lab.

Read more »


It’s Easter Time – let’s celebrate

What a great week we have ahead of us.

This coming Sunday we celebrate Easter.

But the celebration doesn’t have to last just one day.

All week we can take time to reflect on the miraculous resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This past Saturday we spent time in an Easter egg hunt with our kids and their cousins. It’s always fun for kids to find eggs with hidden gems inside (read “candy”).

But a memorable lesson can be taught with an Easter egg with nothing inside.
Because the Garden Tomb was empty.
Jesus rose from the dead.

And because of Him, so will we.

Because of Him, so much is possible.

I love this new Easter video, “Because of Him”.
Take a couple minutes to watch and reflect on what Easter means to you.

Jesus is the Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer. Because of Him, death is not the end, and life takes on new meaning. We can change, we can start over—and we can live again with God. This Easter, celebrate His life and discover all that’s possible because of Him.

This is what we’re grateful for as a family.
This is why we spend time together in uplifting pursuits.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news for all.
This joy is what we want to share with the world.

May your Easter week be full of love and joy.

See more Easter messages.


Think Again – party game review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Think Again party game

Think you know the right answer? You better Think Again.

Don’t you love it when you know the right answer in a trivia game?

When you hear a question you actually know the right answer to, you want to shout it out as fast as you can.

Well, what if you played a trivia game where you know ALL the answers?
Would you have as much fun?

But what if the Right answer may be the Wrong response and cost you a point?

Yep – Think Again is that kind of game.

You’ll know the answers, but you’ll have to Think Again before blurting it out because your Right answer may not be so Right.

Read more »


Careers – Classic board game I still love!

Careers board game

A blast from the past.

Today we go back in time to review a game that I, dad, absolutely love from my childhood – Careers!

Many visitors to our site know that each year I’m a part of The Dice Tower Awards and occasionally contribute to The Dice Tower podcast. In preparing my response/segment for a recent Dice Tower episode, I got so excited thinking about the game, that I wanted to share it here as well.

Careers board game

The Careers board with one outer and many inner paths.

Episodes #349 and #350 that are out this week include segments from contributors where we were asked “What game from your childhood do you remember the most?”

I didn’t hesitate at all.


I remember playing Careers over and over and over.
I thought it was such an awesome board game.

It opened my mind to new possibilities in board games that pulled me right in.
Read more »


Had a blast at SaltCON!

saltconThis weekend was SaltCON – the annual board game convention in Utah, USA – and it was a blast!

Although the event runs for 3 days, I just attended on Friday and Saturday. And even though I ended up leaving earlier than I had anticipated Saturday evening, I left feeling very full.

Full from a lot of great game playing and full from meeting a bunch of new friends.

Overall, I played 16 different board games!

Read more »


Jungle Ascent – Race to the treasure

Jungle Ascent board game

We love the art style of Jungle Ascent.

Jungle Ascent is a fun family board game that young and old can enjoy together.

Like many jungle games, players compete to claim treasure. But unlike other jungle games where players have to find and uncover the treasure, in Jungle Ascent the treasure is out in the open.

It just happens to be perched at the top of a steep cliff.

The first player to make it to the top of the cliff gets to claim all the treasure.

But to get to the top, players need to scale the cliff by adding rope ladders and wooden bridges. Players also need to avoid all the hazards other players throw in the way.

Get a quick understanding of how to play Jungle Ascent in Caleb’s video review.
(Note: We’re publishing this video review as part of The Dice Tower network.)

Can the whole family enjoy Jungle Ascent?
Read more »


Fluxx The Board Game – Less Random & Fun

Fluxx The Board Game

Still random, but with a board!

Fluxx is an extremely random card game that can be fun to play in the right situation. With the right group, in the right mood, it can be a lot of fun.

Just expect random.

Because with Fluxx, the rules and goals of the game change constantly.

So when Looney Labs announced Fluxx The Board Game, we wondered what was in store.

Since the name “Fluxx” remained in the game title, we knew to expect randomness. But we were very curious as to what else was in store.

We’re happy to report, to those that don’t like total chaos, that Fluxx The Board Game is less random than the typical Fluxx card games. Not a by a lot, but by enough that it definitely feels like a different game.

Read more »