A Critical Look at 2012

2012 was a great year for gaming!  Let's face it, no matter what genre you like, there was goodnes all over the place!  Whether it was big name publishers providing beautiful, exciting, and adventurous fun, or it was Kickstarter/Indiegogo sites providing creative avenues for others to bring their creations to light, there was a LOT of fun to be had on tables everywhere that'll likely bleed into 2013!


As we close out the old and ring in the new, I'm a big believer in looking back to know where we've been before moving forward to even more greatness!  With that, I give you the 5 awards I made up semi-randomly, that obviously mean everything! (Tongue, planted FIRMLY in cheek as said!)


Are there other games that should be in all these categories?  Sure.  The arguments can, and should, be made for them.  I encourage you, our Critical Fans, to tell not only me, but the world, what you think by discussing below, or on our social sites! Whatever you do though, enjoy your games and the experiences they bring you!  Everyone has their favorites and these are merely mine, with some thoughts and suggestions for discussion by the best fans anyone can ask for... YOU!


Crit of the Year:


Some people tell you that their "game of the year" was hard to choose. To me, this was a no brainer this year.  Mage Wars is by far, the most fresh, fun, exhilirating time I've had sitting across from an opponent in years, let alone through all of 2012!  


Mage Wars is a beuatiful work of art, with stunning picutres on it's cards, but also is a fabulously designed game! At first glance, the rule book seems daunting, but aside from needing their codex for a few keyword look ups for those you don't normally use, the game is extremely logical. If true magic was real, Mage Wars would be the documentary about it!  


It scratches the miniatures itch (as each card feels like a mini you are pushing around the board), it scratches the card flipper itch, it scratches the strategic combat itch... it scratches hundereds of itches, and out of the box, is one of the best values, best designs, and most fun you can have over an evening of gaming this year, or ever!



Runner Ups: Fleet, Netrunner, and Lords of Waterdeep

Hit of the Year:


This was a more interesting look back at 2012.  While there were a lot of GREAT games, there were a lot of "almost" great but still completley acceptable fun-filled games!  The Hits this year were from all over, from all genres and from all walks of life!  


Without a doubt though, the one game in the Hit category that stands above the rest is Marvel Legendary! UDE, Jason Brenner, and Devin Low have crafted themselves an amazingly fun deck bulding game, built on the backs and capes of some of the icons of comics!  The gameplay is well done and the art is unique (albeit we all seem to want more of it) but add to it, the ridiculous amount of replayabilty this game offers and it's sure to proide quite a bit of fun for a while to come, true believers!


Sure it's from UDE and sure people are worried about long term support, but for the moment, we have a well designed, fun and ever changing experience to let us don our capes and lace up our knee high boots over our spandex tights in an evening of card flipping fun!



Runner Ups: Evil Baby Orphanage and Kaijudo


Best "Crowdfunded" Game of the Year:


I struggled with this one a lot!  I really still feel, that aside form the challenges that Kickstarters and Indiegogo backers deal with, that the developers work through to deliver us the games, and all the press (positive and negative) that both sites, and others, offer a breeding ground for creativity!


It was hard because there are so many great games!  I decided to only include games that finished and delivered their projects in 2012. So anyone wondering why things like Pixel Lincoln or others aren't mentioned, well, that's the deal.


One game though, continously hits our table, continously is fun, and continues to provide a deep amount of strategy in both solo and pvp play... 




It's a mouthful, but one that I ensure if you try out, won't dissapoint you at all!  It's gladiatorial combat at it's best and offers some of the most basic gameplay, yet highly rewarding strategic gameplay I've seen in an indepenedent game in ages! Are you not entertained!?  Yes, I am!


Hoplomachus easily incorporated the best utilization of a Poker Chip in gaming, well, since Poker!  Moving your champions around and pummeling your foes is fun, but throw in solo capability, strategic difference between cities, and an enticing enough backstory to make you desire expansions, and you get a game that, even when losing, makes you want to play again and again and... 



Runner Ups: Fleet, Zombicide, Viva Java, and Evil Baby Orphanage

The "Game I didn't get to review" of the Year:


This was my most favorite to look over.  There was a LOT of amazing games that released in 2012 that I didn't get a chance to do Critical Reviews of, and hopefully in 2013 that list will be much smaller!  The boundries of space and time conspire agianst me though, but there are still plenty to be recognized, so with that, I give you the best game I didn't review... Seasons!


Seasons was the first thing I went after at Gen Con this year, and while I missed it, I was thrilled when I finally got my copy.  This game is literally, a work of art!  It's gorgeous artwork, beautiful components, unique world, and simple, yet strategic gameplay will please nearly anyone I can think of that likes to game!


Dice drafting?  Check.  Card drafting?  Check. Strategic set up? Check.  Cute undead bunnies that can make you lose the game unless your dragon whelp takes them out while drinking from a magic goblet?  Check.


This game is without a doubt a Crit, but unfortunately didn't get in front of the camera this year... but that said, you should definately check it out!  Asmodee is known for high quality and this does not dissapoint.  I highly suggest you try the suggested starting formations of cards for your first few games, but after you have the just of things, you'll discover an amazing amount of strategic depth and replayability engulfed in a gorgeous package!



Runner Ups: X-Wing Miniatures Game, Zombicide and Mice and Mystics

The "Game that provided the most gut busting fun" of the Year?


Guy Fawkes, as a baby you are trying to rehabilitate, and he can blow the board up... yup, seriously, this game is ridiculously fun!  


Evil Baby Orphanage provides one of the most hilarious, fun, crazy, whacky and downright good gaming experience of the year!  It still makes us laugh today and is something I've even used as a "gateway" game with much success!



Runner Ups: Cards Against Humanity 2nd Expansion and Cthulhu GLoom: Unpleasant Dreams Expansion

2012 has been a great year, for gaming, for fans, and for our site!  Crits Happen has been able to give away signed copies of games, we've met fans at Gen Con, and collaborated on videos with other great industry friends... and we're looking forward to more this year!


All our success is, quite frankly, due to you, our Critical Fans, so as we wrap up 2012, tear into 2013 and look ahead, I want to make sure I wish you all the best at this special time of year!  I thank you from the bottom of my lil' meeple heart for all your support, your interaction, your feedback and your thoughts!  You are the best and I can't wait to see what 2013 brings us all!

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Comments: 2
  • #1

    MrShadestep (Friday, 04 January 2013 08:06)

    Truly, what a year for the tabletop gamer! I am looking at getting my first personal experience into Hoplomachus soon. Not game industry 'soon', but reality 'soon'. Definitely interested in the solo play of that one. My gaming opportunities were becoming few and far between, so solo play is a welcomed thought. This Christmas though, the Shadestep family started getting into gaming with me and I could not have been handed a greater game than Seasons to introduce the Mrs. to so many wonderful mechanics of tabletop gaming. The game has it all... or at least most of it. I was recently asked about what games I would like to see brought to the table this weekend and I need to thank you for reminding me of Evil Baby Orphanage. A guaranteed laugh to start back into this new year sounds like a wonderful idea! Thank you and the family for keeping the site going and the crowds informed. By the way, I am looking at more consistently putting efforts into The Con this year. Maybe something to star in next year's list. Keep your eyes open!

    - Back to shadows for now though...

  • #2

    critshappen (Friday, 04 January 2013 18:33)

    Thanks Shade! Yes, laugh as much as possible! That's great the family is getting into it! Mrs. Tox loves Seasons and is very good at it! Would love to get more into The Con! We need to connect on that. After the first week in Feb, some things will slow down (including me who hits a milestone birthday) so perhaps after the first week we can connect on that!?

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