Best board games of 2016

Well, writing a ‘Best of’ list for 2016 sure seems like cheating, as there was just so much good stuff that was released, but then again it is exceptionally difficult for that same reason. Just looking at the BGG list of games restricted to 2016 is a veritable Hall of Fame, so I will try my hardest to look at the games that have had the greatest impact. This is the year when I really feel that the hobby exponentially took off in terms of the quality of both games and components.

Best Overall

Terraforming Mars – I have to admit that my first play of Terraforming Mars was less than ideal. It was one of those situations that an experienced player taught the game and took every liberty of neglecting rules that would advantage them. Needless to say, I left it alone until recently when I resdiscovered it with a new group – and what a game it is. Even as the base game it plays well, moves constantly and there is always a combination of cards that you have never seen before.

The expansions, especially Prelude and Colonies, apparently add extra depth and play ability to the base game and with a new expansion on the horizon – Turmoil – this game is the one that constantly gives. (Affiliate link)

Great Western Trail – I have talked about how I was put off by the box art previously, but when I finally played the game it was well worth it. A deck building Euro where you are travelling through the Wild West and delivering your prized stock to numerous stations may sound a little dry, but the game has plenty to keep you going.

Great Western Trail is still very high on my list of games and is a game that I will happily play whenever it is suggested. With the new Rails to the North expansion it also continue to build it’s reputation as one of the best. (Mighty Ape – Affiliate link)

Scythe – Scythe is the game that, in my opinion, really kicked the hobby into high gear. Jamie Stegmaier is a Kickstarter genius and everything from the gameplay to the (and especially) art design makes Scythe stand out on the shelf. Not to mention that there have been several expansions, from added players to campaigns and rule changes over the years which have built the replayability of this game immensely.

A game that still makes it regularly to my table. It may look confusing to the beginner, but it is a really easy concept to get once the play gets moving.

Best Family

Codenames: Pictures – The picture version of this team game is the perfect addition for the family with younger children, or to add to your Codenames base set. Simple play, quick setup and ease of access makes this an all time favourite for me.

Santorini – This had been around for a while as an abstract strategy game and it was only in 2016 that it hit the shelves in it’s current iteration. This is a great game to introduce kids to strategy games (with or without the cards) and get them interested in the hobby.

Some of the incredible art of Santorini

Kingdomino – It’s dominoes essentially, but with a great family theme. You must use the tiles that you get to create the highest scoring land, and that is pretty much the extent of it. Playing at around 10 minutes per game and suitable for 6+ this is a game that will hit your table very regularly if you have children.


2016 was a massive year for gaming with some of the biggest names releasing that year. All of our top picks for Overall have newly released (or releasing) expansions and show how strong this industry and it’s supporters are. So, after reading our list, what are your favourite games from 2016, what are some of the gems from that year that we haven’t considered?

Cameron B Author

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