Top 5 from 2015 (in clickbait dramatic suspension style listing 5th-1st)
5 -- Arboretum -- 30 min 2-4 players 8+
A simple yet beautiful game in which players create paths of trees consisting of different species that combines the elements of hand management and tile placement. Players take turns adding cards to their hand, playing a card to their Arboretum, and discarding a card, which will then be available for other players to draw from. The game plays in 30 minutes and is accessible to the entire family that allows for light play as well as deep strategic planing to maximize your score and/or deny your opponents the chance to score.
4 -- Elysium -- 60 min 2-4 players 12+
A new take on the tableau building drafting game themed around Mythic Greece. Elysium is a game of set collection and combinations in which players take turns selecting cards from a pool of face up cards available to all players to build their legend. Players must balance utilizing the powers of cards to leverage advantages with transferring the cards to be able to score them. The game offers a module style play in which 5 of 8 different Olympian Gods are represented, allowing for multiple styles of play within one game.
3 -- 7 Wonders Duel 30 min 2 players 10+
If you have played the original 7 Wonders and desire a solid 2 player variant, or are just looking for a strategic yet quick empire building game, 7 Wonders Duel does it just right. Similar to its parent 7 Wonders each player is acquiring cards and building wonders to advance their civilization and assert dominance, be it scientific, military or civil over the opposing civilization. Players select cards from any uncovered card in a 'mahjong solitaire' style in which selecting some cards will uncover previously unavailable cards for your opponent. Iconography is right at home for a veteran of 7 Wonders but as a beginner it may take a bit to grasp, however once learned is very easy to read.
2 -- Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 60 min* 2-4 players 13+
*This game is played over the course of 12-24 game sessions, acting as a story telling experience. This game is recommended for veterans of Pandemic who have a steady group (or family) to play with consistently.
Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 challenges players with the global outbreak of disease, requiring them to play each passing month with an ever changing game environment simulating the experience of possibly the worst year the CDC has ever seen (until Season 2 hits maybe)? In familiar Pandemic style play, players work cooperatively as unique characters with a special ability to find a cure for a disease, requiring the collection of 5 cards of the same color at a research station. At the end of each turn players draw 2 cards, which may include an outbreak card - causing all uncured disease to spread. Each game represents a month giving you one retry each month, leading to a play span of 12-24 plays before the game is exhausted. This is a must if your family plays regular games of Pandemic and is looking for an exciting challenge.
1 -- Codenames 15 min 2-8+ players 14+
In Codenames players break into two teams and compete to see which team can make contact with all of their agents first. Each team consists of 1 spymaster, whose job is to give one word clues about their team's agents(words) The teammates attempt to guess the words corresponding to the clue given by the spymaster in their color, while avoiding words belonging to the opposing team and the assassin word, which when guessed causes an immidiate loss for the guessing team. A great party game that can be played lightly, competitively and cooperatively stretching the players thinking to try to create the best, and guess the clues.