Posted by: Zach Smith | August 31, 2011

Dice Tower Awards

Recently the Dice Tower awarded its yearly top games honors.  The nominees for Game of the Year 2010 were Alien Frontiers, Merchants and Marauders, Fresco, 7 Wonders, and Dominant Species.  I thought this was a good, well balanced list of great games from last year.  While it was not my favorite of the year, I think 7 Wonders was an excellent pick for game of the year – it really is a game that is loved by many types of gamers and works in many situations with its length and # of players.

My personal favorite of the Nominees was Merchants and Marauders.  It was such a great implementation of the pirate theme, and it tells a exciting, swashbuckling story for each captain through the course of the game.  It also had fun combat and excellent components/art.  This game is quickly moving up my Top Ten list.

Finally, I thought Alien Frontiers was a fantastic game, but it is too bad the print runs have been so small.  It is still hard to get!

Anyone else have any thoughts?


  1. The list is certainly diverse, and I cannot quibble with the ultimate winner — 7 Wonders. It is an excellent game with wide appeal. It has also made the finalist list for the International Gamers Awards, and many consider it a favorite.

    I was not as enamored with Alien Frontiers, though. I am a big fan of Kingsburg, and this is an adaptation of that system. I was completely put-off, however, by the one space wherein you can steal resources from opponents. I was the victim of this several times — even after securing a card that was supposed to protect me but was promptly stolen — and it completely knocked me out of the game. Blech.

  2. I have only played Alien Frontiers once, In that game, the stealing was spread around equally among the players, so it did not seem too frustrating. This is definitely a game I need to play a few more times.

  3. Kingsburg has nice presentation, but as time as gone by I feel more and more like it takes far too long to play for what it is. Even the iPad version takes a fair time to play! Alien Frontiers keeps the action moving more quickly.

    I’m intrigued by the comments about Merchants and Marauders. I haven’t had a chance to play that one nor even looked into it much.

  4. It looks like the 3rd printing of Alien Frontiers will only be available in local game stores and online at Game Salute. No other online retailers will be allowed to sell it. With this model, the game will only be sold at full MSRP. There is a discussion on the positives and negatives of this business model on BoardGameGeek in the Alien Frontiers forums.

  5. I have played all of the nominees and would play any of them if asked. 7 Wonders was my pick as well.
    We played Alien Frontiers last night (Richard, Zach, me). There was very little stealing and I don’t think it hurt anyone very much when it did happen. I like the first 75% of the game but once everyone gets most of their dice the board fills up and players have to look at every card, space, combination and the wonderful speed of the early rounds goes out the door. I still like the game but it does seem to drag toward the end.

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