The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine
(2-5 players; 20 minutes; ages 10+)
The Crew is the best cooperative gaming experience since Hanabi. It is a trick taking card game in which everyone must work together to ensure that certain players win tricks containing certain cards. Progress from challenge to challenge – increasingly complex – guaranteed to make you think in delightful mind-twisty ways.
Runnerup Game of the Year
Jon Perry's Air Land & Sea impressed me immediately with its inspired rule that allows players to withdraw from a battle at any time. The game improves with play as the first games will be slowed down because each card has critical text... however there are only 18 cards in total. This game is a gem for those with a limited budget.
Game of the Year
Elizabeth Hargrave's Wingspan does not have the most innovative mechanisms, but it is infused with natural beauty like no other game I've played. Unlike all previous winners, the game did not "wow" me on the first play, but over many plays, I came to love the anticipation of each new bird entering play. It is a sumptuous game.