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Pearple's Choice 2018--The Year of the Firehose



…wait is it 2019 already?

oh shI…


My deepest apologies for those of you who have been waiting for these results with bated breath (or even baity breath–in which case please stop delaying your personal hygiene for marginally consequential internet polls!).

But, if you’re like me, your 2018 (and particularly the end of it, not to mention the beginning of 2019) was just jam-packed with holidays, family, drama, illness, more drama, infuriating news, more barfing (not necessarily because of the news, but quite possibly), more family illness, and then finally maybe a present or two to get and receive (once your kids stopped expelling various bodily fluids).

Another (less gross) way you might have been like me in 2018 is that–in addition to being overwhelmed with real-life responsibilities–you were more than likely overwhelmed by the absolutely massive number of board game releases that smashed over our hobby like a tsunami made out of all the plastic minis and eurogame wooden bits in the world–truly terrifying!

According to the most recent BGG catalog, there were some 3900 games published last year, and 1900 expansions. Add that to the deluges of 2017 and 2016, and, by jove, it would seem board gaming has become flooded–absolutely cardboard-logged.

I believe the flood affected voting this year: I know as I perused the nominations, there was a huge swath of games I hadn’t even seen in the wild, much less played. That makes it hard to vote authoritatively on many of the nominees, and I feel like that that may have made forum voters more careful with their votes.

Which is fine! I think that added circumspection will serve us well, now that we’ve all survived the year of drinking from the board game firehose. Hopefully, 2019 will be a year of more discernment and critical evaluation…if not, perhaps it will become the year of the dreaded cardboard bubble burst? Time will tell.

But, no one’s been waiting for reflections and predictions–you came for the certainty that only red-hot democracy in action can provide!

So, without further ado: finally, finally–here is the SUSD’s community’s word on the best games (and people and companies and stuff) of 2018.

2018 Games

Best Game Released in 2018
(128 voters, 418 votes)

10. Ganz Schoen Clever & Champion of the Wild & The Estates (7%)
9. Men at Work (9%)
8. KeyForge: Call of the Archons & High Society (11%)
7. Lowlands (13%)
6. Root (18%)
5. The Mind (19%)
4. Railroad Ink (20%)
3. Brass: Birmingham (24%)
2. Welcome To… (27%)
1. Decrypto (28%)

Best Expansion Released in 2018
(76 voters, 142 votes)

5. Sagrada 5-6 Player Expansion (14%)
4. Concordia: Venus (15%)
3. Great Western Trail: Rails to the North (17%)
2. Scythe: The Rise of Fenris (18%)
1. Root: The Riverfolk & Arkham Horror: The Card Game – The Forgotten Age: Expansion (21%)

Best Kickstarter Delivered in 2018
(97 voters, 231 votes)

6. Dinosaur Island & Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar (11%)
5. 7th Continent (2nd printing) (12%)
4. Hardback (14%)
3. Champion of the Wild (18%)
2. Root (30%)
1. Brass: Birmingham (36%)

Best Game Production of 2018
(110 voters, 204 votes)

5. Rising Sun (13%)
4. Everdell (17%)
3. Decrypto & Treasure Island (20%)
2. Men At Work (24%)
1. Root (55%)

Most Unique/Original Concept in a Game Released in 2018
(113 voters, 224 votes)

5. Stuffed Fables (11%)
4. Holding On: The Troubled Life of Billy Kerr (22%)
3. Nyctophobia (23%)
2. The Mind (44%)
1. KeyForge: Call of the Archons (48%)

Best Digital Board Game App as of 2018
(65 voters, 112 votes)

4. Jaipur & Pandemic & Ganz Schon Clever (15%)
3. Through the Ages (16%)
2. Tabletop Simulator (20%)
1. Galaxy Trucker (26%)

Pre-2018 Games

Best Game of the Previous Year (2017) I Only Got To Play For The First Time This Year (2018) (The Erik Tengblad Award)
(130 voters, 332 votes)

10. 7th Continent & Clans of Caledonia (7%)
9. Sagrada & Sidereal Confluence (8%)
8. Ethnos (10%)
7. Whitehall Mystery (11%)
6. Twilight Imperium 4th Ed (13%)
5. Spirit Island (14%)
4. The Fox in the Forest** (16%)
3. Fog of Love (18%)
2. Gloomhaven (22%)
1. Azul (36%)

** Fox in the Forest appeared twice in the poll–only the higher vote total was counted.

Best Game of ANY Year Previous to 2017 That I Only Got To Play For The First Time This Year (2018) Award (The Grand Tengblad Award)
(114 voters, 317 votes)

8. Modern Art & Scythe (9%)
7. Race For the Galaxy (10%)
6. Hive Pocket (11%)
5. Terraforming Mars (12%)
4. Inis (14%)
3. Arkham Horror: The Card Game (15%)
2. Concordia (18%)
1. Flamme Rouge (24%)

2018 Game Industry

Best Designer as of 2018
(102 voters, 342 votes)

10. Paolo Mori (11%)
9. Richard Garfield (12%)
8. Jamie Stegmaier & Phil Walker-Harding (13%)
7. Cole Wehrle & Mac Gerdts (15%)
6. Reiner Knizia (17%)
5. Tim Fowers (18%)
4. Wolfgang Warsch (22%)
3. Uwe Rosenberg (23%)
2. Alexander Pfister (28%)
1. Vlaada Chvatil (32%)

Honorable Mention: Roland Wright :wink:

Best Artist as of 2018
(88 voters, 184 votes)

7. Kyle Ferrin (write-in) (12%)
6. Andrew Bosley & Ryan Goldsbery (13%)
5. Medusa Dollmaker & Vincent Dutrait (22%)
4. Kwanchai Moriya (23%)
3. Chris Quilliams (26%)
2. Ian O’Toole (31%)
1. Beth Sobel (32%)

Best Publisher/Studio as of 2018
(95 voters, 250 votes)

9. Fowers Games (11%)
8. Osprey Games (12%)
7. Plan B Games (13%)
6. Roxley Games (14%)
5. Plaid Hat Games (16%)
4. Renegade Games (18%)
3. Matagot & Stonemaier Games (27%)
2. Czech Games Edition (37%)
1. Fantasy Flight Games (38%)

2018 SU&SD Awards

Best SU&SD Review of 2018
(127 voters, 409 votes)

10. 878 Vikings (13%)
9. Container (15%)
8. Sidereal Confluence (16%)
7. Railroad Ink & Welcome To… (17%)
6. Bargain Quest (18%)
5. Lowlands (20%)
4. Brass: Birmingham (22%)
3. Root (28%)
2. War of the Ring (30%)
1. Fog of Love (31%)

Paullicino Award for “Best Pearple’s Choice Paul Dean Tribute Category”
(119 voters, 287 votes)

5. Best Paul Award (20%)
4. Memorial Best Pear-son Award for Writing and General Tomfoolery (22%)
3. Best Dean (25%)
2. Best Paul as of 2018 & SUSD Hall of Fame Nominee (26%)
1. Lifetime Pear-chievement Award (58%)

When does the Pearple's Choice End?
Pearple's Choice 2018--The First Annual Grand Tengblad “Best Game of ANY Year Previous to 2017 That I Only Got To Play For The First Time This Year (2018)” Award:

A couple of quick notes about the polls this year:

  • you’ll see these are not all top ten lists–this year, qualifications for being noted in a category were thus:
  1. get at least 10 votes
  2. only a maximum of 10 place slots per category

…so some categories will have slightly more than ten games or people or things (due to ties), and many have less.

  • Because of the vagaries of the forum software, vote tallies are presented as a percent of the total voters participating in a poll, not the total number of votes cast. I decided to leave the percents this year, rather than covert to votes. If you really want to know the vote totals, you can of course multiple the percent attained by the total number of voters (not votes) and get a close approximation (the forum software rounds weirdly, so it’s not always exact). Just FYI.

  • There are two Tengblad awards–the reasons why are explained in the voting thread.

  • Fox in the Forest was mistakenly included twice on the Tengblad award slate. I decided to only count the highest vote FiiF, since I could not determine which votes might have been duplicates. No matter how you slice it, it’s a great 2 player trick-taker.


Good job clg!


Excellent work!

I hope I’m not the only person annoyed with the number of “2018” titles here that weren’t available in North America until 2019… I mean it’s not a big deal to me… But talk about fragmenting the voting pool


Imo an annual awards list in Boardgames (and video games) should happen a few months after Essen rather than a few weeks.


Thanks for doing this!

I’m pleased about nominating and voting for Wolfgang Warsch. I am really impressed with him last year.


Very apropos… I just received notification that my pre-order of Men at Work is available and can be shipped from my preferred online game store… No big deal… it’s just February


Thanks for doing this @clg6000 !


This year will be remembered as the “YEAR OF THE FOX IN THE FOREST SCANDAL”. Unbelievable treachery at play to fix the votes.

Biggest scandal since Burgle Bros in the 2017 Tengblad awards


Thank you SO much for putting this together, @clg6000. Matt and I are gonna have a great time discussing it on for the podcast we’re recording tomorrow.


Well, like some say, even bad publicity is good publicity–so if being “slighted” by controversy helps shift public opinion to Fox in the Forest’s side and moves a few more units (it really is a quite fine euchre variant)…justice will be served. I hope it is!


Always a pleasure to be the vessel of the Vox Pearpuli!

Happy to contribute, and glad you guys can use it, as always.


It lines up nicely with the end-of-season SU&SD content, but I’d second perhaps bumping things back a hair in future, perhaps on a lunar calendar. There were multiple topical games I played immediately afterwards. :stuck_out_tongue:


The SDJ time frame is from beginnig of April the year before to end of March the award year.
Concerning games not yet published, that’s not a problem exclusive to US citizens, it also works the other way round (albeit less frequently). There are games on the list that have been impossible or hard to find in Germany last year.


Along the lines of what webs said above. Distribution channels are a complicated and mystical animal that I don’t quite understand and seem to affect various countries completely differently. Because of this you can’t even lump all of North America into the same box when it comes to distribution. There are lots of games with European publishers that I can get in Canada quite a bit earlier than people in the U.S. seem to be able to, and vice versa for games with U.S. publishers. Similarly, products shipped from Europe always seem to arrive in my part of Canada way faster than products shipped from the U.S. That said, not sure there will ever be a way to ensure everyone has a chance to play the same game in the same year.


It’s about danged time @clg6000! Took you long enough!

(JK, this is awesome)


I wasn’t so much thinking of it for completeness and equality as for something a bit more of a middle-ground. A lot of games will get attention from early fall through end of the year and not be released anywhere until right around the holidays let alone reviewed, ordered and played. Shifting just a little bit might cover that better. It might not, I haven’t crunched any numbers. But even just within Europe, the gap between available at conventions and available generally can be significant.