As December rolls on, I continue my reflections on 2023. If you have followed this blog for any amount of time, you know I love playing games. While I played quite a few games in 2023, I still have a large Shelf of Potential (sometimes negatively called the Shelf of Shame), some of the games are sadly still in shrink wrap. So, there are quite a few more games I might yet get to play over my Christmas holiday, but this is a moment in time to reflect on 2023.
This is not a top 10 list of new games this year, nor my all-time favorite games list. These are games that impacted me personally in 2031, no matter when they were originally published. Why did these games impact me and thus stand out for the year? As I share about my standout games of 2023, I hope you will gain some insights into why I am so passionate about gaming.
Once again, tabletop rpgs make my list because they bring me so much joy as I spend time with friends and family. TTRPGs are one of my all time favorite creative outlets as I love to tell stories. I am continuing to run my homebrew D&D 5e campaign set in Greyhawk, playing in a D&D 5e Spelljammer campaign, and playing in a Pathfinder 2e campaign (just getting ready to restart with the new Remastered edition). I’m preparing to run a Traveller campaign, so that might make my game list next year.
Feels like we are back in 2020 again as two games from that year have new editions I have been enjoying. My brothers-in-law and I returned to the world of Trine for our weekly Playstation gaming and are prepping, once that is complete, to play the new Baldur’s Gate III. What started as a way to spend time together during the pandemic has become a very special time to chat and play games with my extended family. I feel I am so much closer to my brothers-in-law after years of these weekly game nights.
We continued or play of Pandemic Legacy: Season 0 that we started last year. We are up to July so far and the story has gotten very interesting and the game much more difficult. My weekly gaming group has really enjoyed playing these various legacy and campaign style games. It is so fun and emotional to be tearing up cards, placing stickers on the board and cards, writing on things, and making other changes to the game as we go. Legacy games are such a unique experience.
I have enjoyed spy shows and movies for as long as I can remember. I was so excited when the Epic Edition of Agents of SMERSH was announced as I had enjoyed my friend’s copy of the original version. This year the game arrived and we got it to the table. It did NOT disappoint. So many crazy and random adventures with spies and supervillains.
I grew up watching Scooby-Doo! and love any chance I can to enjoy the old show. So I picked up yet another Scooby-Doo! themed game and love it! This one has some amazing figurines of all the main cast and the villains they thwarted. Looks as fun on the shelf as it does on the game table. This games is a fun, fast, and family friend foray in to the world of the Mystery Machine.
The newest game in my collection did not disappoint. I enjoy post-apocalyptic movies like Mad Max and early in my gaming hobby I played a lot of a game called Car Wars and a friend introduced me to the original board game Thunder Road. This new edition of Thunder Road improves on those old game to create hilarious and chaotic fun! A racing game with a post-apocalyptic twist! Just perfect for this child of the 80s that grew up in the Cold War with all the post-apocalyptic movies and TV shows.
What games stood out for you in 2023, and what made them stand out? I am curious what makes a game special to you.