So, what were the Best Board Games of 2020?

Posted by Sherralyn Jobes on

2020 was an interesting year to say the least. People bought more board games due to the pandemic and being stuck at home. What were the games you loved this year?

 

GameSanctuary.co.uk 
Top 10 Games for 2020

(Based only on games we stocked, how many we sold and how quick they flew off the shelves!)

 

10 Codenames Duet – Arguably one of the best two player games out right now. A modern classic that now comes in a few different flavours, Codenames Duet, Codenames Marvel and regular Codenames (plus a few more that we don't stock yet!)

How to Play: Players have rows of words in front of them and need to find a code word (or two!) based on a one word clue. For example: "Carry" might be "Purse" and/or "Suitcase". 

No. of Players: 2 player

Time to Play: 15 minutes

BGG Rating: 7.6

Our Review: We love this two player version of Codenames. All the fun of the original game but it plays a lot quicker with just 2 players and it's nice to have a co-op version. You're playing as part of the same team, trying to find the agents and avoid the assassin. A good game when you don't have time to get into a more heavy board game and want something light hearted and fun. Minimal set up time and easy to get straight into. Perfect for a couple's night in!

 

9 Unstable Unicorns – There's no doubt anything about cats or unicorns seems to get attention and this game sold well for us in 2020. It has an exploding kittens feel about it and appeals to casual gamers as well as serious gamers that want a quick play game. There are a lot of expansions available now as well as a travel version - perfect for the upcoming lockdown easing!

How to Play: You start with a baby unicorn in your 'stable' and five cards, then have to build an army of unicorns. Each turn you draw a card and do an action, the person to complete their unicorn army wins!

No. of Players: 2-8 players (Best played with 4-5)

Time to Play: 30-45 minutes

BGG Rating: 6.3

Our Review: A cute game for when you're done exploding kittens and want something different, but familiar. Easy to pick up and play, entertaining and cute artwork. We like the fact there's so many expansions to spice up the base game a little!

 

8Disney Colourbrain – This was one of our Christmas bestsellers! A great family board game, perfect for including younger gamers as well as older guests. This is the Disney version of the regular Colourbrain from Big Potato Games.

How to Play: This one is super simple! You all have a hand of colour cards, there's a deck of questions in the middle of the table. You need to guess what colour the 'thing' is and place down your answer. The teams with a correct answer get a point!

No. of Players: 2-20(!) players (Best played with 3-5)

Time to Play: 20 minutes

BGG Rating: 6.2

Our Review: This is a great family game which explains why it was one of our top Christmas bestsellers. It's really easy to pick up and play, kids love it but so do the adults! There's a lot of nice easy questions such as the colour of scar's mane, but a lot of trickier ones for the die hard Disney fans too ;)

 

7 Trapped Escape Room Game (Now completely sold out) – With everyone missing escape rooms in 2020, it's no wonder we wanted to re-create that experience in our own homes. A great price point and family friendly, this was the game that that scratched that itch!

 

How to Play: Each pack varies, but comes with everything you need to turn any room into an escape room! These include puzzle cards, riddles, clue reader, sercet envelopes, a door lock, posters, ID badges and more! Follow the set up for all the bits and bobs as per the 'How to Play' booklet then make your way through the puzzles and clues!

No. of Players: 2-8 players (Best played with 3-4)

Time to Play: 1-2 hours

BGG Rating: N/A

Our Review: A good way to kill an hour or two, not quite the same as the real escape room experience but much cheaper and does the job! A lot of fun trying to solve the puzzles and not too tricky for older kids to join in too. Definitely recommended.

 

6Gloomhaven – Originally released in 2017 but still selling well due to winning lots of awards, being at the top of the BGG charts and being a thoroughly awesome game. Weighing over 10kg and with an RRP over £100, it's not for the faint-hearted.

 

How to Play: In simple terms, Gloomhaven is a co-operative dungeon crawler that mixes tactical skirmishes with RPG combat in a huge box of miniatures, tokens and cards. You and your party will embark on quests to collect loot and defeat monsters, however, in true RPG fashion, the world evolves based on decisions you make. Solo mode also available which is a huge plus!

No. of Players: 1-4 players

Time to Play: 1-2 hours

BGG Rating: 8.8

Our Review: It's a massive investment when you purchase this game, but we hope you'd agree it's a worthwhile one! You'll get hours and hours of fun with this behemoth of a game. High quality components – lots of them (over 1,500 cards and nearly 240 monster standees). We also like the fact you can retire a character and start with a new one, then completely change how you're playing the game. Setup is quite long, the rulebook is massive but don't let these put you off.

Also, sidenote, Frosthaven (sequel) has been announced and is due to release in the spring, keep an eye out for it!

 

5 New York Zoo – A beautiful tile placement game about building enclosures and filling your zoo with animals. 

How to Play: Another nice easy-ish game with just two actions per turn, build an enclosure on your zoo plan and/or add animals to the enclosures. The aim of the game is to completely fill your zoo with enclosures or attractions. The first zoo that is completely full, wins!

No. of Players: 1-5 players

Time to Play: 30-60 mins

BGG Rating: 7.3

Our Review: We love this game. Beautiful artwork and quality components. It reminds me a bit of 'Planet', but with animals added in! We found some of the rules a bit fiddly when trying to work out what to do on each turn, especially around placing extra animals from your house or through 'bonus breeding' but think this may be as we've only played the game a couple of times. Solo mode is good for a little practice run but playing with friends is best.

 

4Wingspan – An award winning game from designer Elizabeth Hargrave all about discovering and attracting the best birds to your nature reserves.

 

How to Play: Discover and attract the best birds to your network of wildlife preserves. There's four rounds to play, which involve drawing cards, playing bird cards, gaining food tokens and laying eggs. It's a medium weight, card-driven, engine-building board game (which is lots of fun!).

No. of Players: 1-5 players

Time to Play: 40-70 mins

BGG Rating: 8.1

Our Review: This game is beautiful! Love the artwork and the little eggs and the dice tower! Aside from looking great, it's fun to play too. I think the BGG rating shows we aren't the only ones who think so, it's really popular and all over instagram so I'm not surprised it's in our top ten. Well worth a play, especially if you like Terraforming Mars & Gizmos.

 

3Pandemic Legacy Season 1 (Red/Blue– The first legacy version of the popular Pandemic board game. There's now two more of these, Season 2 and Season 0 (released in 2020).

How to Play: Pandemic Legacy is a co-operative game where you take turns to treat & cure diseases, share knowledge and travel around the globe trying to beat the pandemic. The twist in the legacy version is that each 'month' something happens (depending on whether you win or lose) which changes the game as it goes on. This means the game can only be played a maximum of 24 times technically (up to 2 times per 'month').

No. of Players: 2-4 players

Time to Play: 60 mins

BGG Rating: 8.6

Our Review: Our favourite version of Pandemic. As a family, we own the regular Pandemic plus the expansions, but are currently playing through Season one (we're in Sept) and absolutely love it. Our first thoughts were that it's an expensive game for something that has a limited life as parts of the game are destroyed/changed as you go on (one family member was adamant we wouldn't 'destroy' anything and would try to preserve the game) but we got stuck in and have played it as it's meant to be and it's fantastic! We absolutely love it and find the game makes it to the table every gaming night as we're all looking forward to seeing what happens next. Just don't leave it too long between plays or you'll find yourself writing notes to your future self on the back of the rule book ;)

 

2Muffin Time – Skateboarding cows, exploding turtles, talking muffins, the list goes on! Based on the ultra-popular ‘asdfmovie’ series on YouTube.

 

How to Play: Deploy over 100 action cards, lay trap cards for other players, foil your opponents plans with counter cards. The first player to collect 10 cards and shout "It's muffin time!" is the winner.

No. of Players: 2-6 players

Time to Play: 20-40 mins

BGG Rating: 6.7

Our Review: This game flew off the shelves at Christmas and we haven't been able to get anymore since! It's a brilliant little card game, think exploding kittens but without the kittens or defuse cards. It's got lots of action cards and then counter cards (like 'Nope' cards) and has one really simple aim - get 10 cards. Easier said than done when everyone is out to steal your cards or mess up your hand! Really good fun party card game, would recommend – if you can get a copy! Also, we have heard that the expansions should be available soon too, we're keeping an ear out for those too...

 

1Herd Mentality – This was the game featured in our first ever instagram post. A game about not standing out and being part of the herd, with a beautiful touchy feely box. Officially our bestselling game of 2020!

How to Play: Answer the question cards with the answer you think everyone else will give, you don't want to stand out! If your answer is the one that's different, you get saddled with the pink cow - eeeek! If your answer matches everyone elses, collect a cow token. Collect 8 cow tokens to win the game.

No. of Players: 4-20 players

Time to Play: 30 mins

BGG Rating: 7.1

Our Review: A great family game that's easily adapted to play over zoom (or other video conf software). Easy to set up and get into, great for non-gamers and gamers alike. We thoroughly enjoyed playing this at Christmas and would recommend for families or friends planning to get together once lockdown allows!

 

We hope you enjoyed our bestsellers! What game/s did you enjoy playing in 2020? Let us know in the comments below 😀


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