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The best board games of 2016

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The Board Game Geek community weighs in on the best of the best

a photo of miniatures from the board game Scythe
Scythe
Charlie Hall/Polygon

Over the past few years the team at Board Game Geek has grown to become a powerful force in the tabletop space. It boasts an exhaustive database on games, both new and old, that is constantly refreshed by its well-informed community. This week, that community finished voting on the 11th annual Golden Geek Awards, and the big winner is Scythe by Stonemaier Games.

Scythe won in five different categories including game of the year, strategy game of the year and solo game of the year. It’s a complex, Euro-style title that wowed us at this year’s Gen Con, thanks in part to its stunning art.

Other big winners include Fantasy Flight Games’ Star Wars: Rebellion, a taut two-player game which we also enjoyed but faulted for its poorly constructed manual. Thankfully, there are a selection of helpful player aids and guides over on Board Game Geek to get you started. Mechs vs. Minions, from League of Legends developer and publisher Riot Games, also won for best cooperative game.

Here's all the winners, by category. We’ve linked to related previews and other stories here at Polygon throughout. For more details and links on all of the games, check out BGG's original post here.

Board Game of the Year

Winner — Scythe

Runner Up — Terraforming Mars

Runner Up — Star Wars: Rebellion

rebellion_naboo
Star Wars: Rebellion
Charlie Hall/Polygon

Two-Player Game

Winner — Star Wars: Rebellion

Runner Up — Arkham Horror: The Card Game

Runner Up — Hero Realms

Artwork & Presentation

Winner — Scythe

Runner Up — Mechs vs. Minions

Runner Up — Inis

Card Game

Winner — Arkham Horror: The Card Game

Runner Up — Sushi Go Party!

Runner Up — Clank!

Yes, Mechs vs. Minions is technically Riot’s second game.
Riot Games

Cooperative Game

Winner — Mechs vs. Minions

Runner Up — Mansions of Madness: Second Edition

Runner Up — Arkham Horror: The Card Game

Expansion

Winner — 7 Wonders Duel: Pantheon

Runner Up — T.I.M.E Stories: A Prophecy of Dragons

Runner Up — Dead of Winter: The Long Night

Family Game

Winner — Codenames: Pictures

Runner Up — Imhotep

Runner Up — Quadropolis

Captain Sonar is a four-on-four, real-time submarine strategy game. No, really.
Asmodee

Innovative

Winner — Captain Sonar

Runner Up — Scythe

Runner Up — Vast: The Crystal Caverns

Party Game

Winner — Codenames: Pictures

Runner Up — Captain Sonar

Runner Up — Secret Hitler

secret hitler trump
The team behind Secret Hitler sent a copy of their game to every U.S. senator.
Goat, Wolf & Cabbage

Print & Play

Winner — Star Trek: The Dice Game

Runner Up — Mini Rogue

Runner Up — 30 Rails

Solo Game

Winner — Scythe

Runner Up — Terraforming Mars

Runner Up — Arkham Horror: The Card Game

Strategy Game

Winner — Scythe

Runner Up — Terraforming Mars

Runner Up — Great Western Trail

Mansion of Madness: Second Edition from Fantasy Flight Games requires a companion app, available free on Android, iOS and Steam.
Charlie Hall/Polygon

Thematic Game

Winner — Scythe

Runner Up — Star Wars: Rebellion

Runner Up — Mansions of Madness: Second Edition

Wargame

Winner — Falling Sky: The Gallic Revolt Against Caesar

Runner Up — Liberty or Death: The American Insurrection

Runner Up — Comanchería: The Rise and Fall of the Comanche Empire

Best Podcast

Winner — Shut Up & Sit Down: The Podcast!

Runner Up — Rahdo Talks Through

Runner Up — Ludology

Twilight Struggle, available on Steam.
Playdek, Inc

Best Board Game App

Winner — Twilight Struggle

Runner Up — Patchwork

Runner Up — Mansions of Madness