Announcing: The 2016 Laurel Nominees

Well, here we are for the second annual Laurels of the Republic. The Laurels are our way of highlighting and rewarding some of the best games of the last year among their respective gamer archetype categories. Just like our reviews, the Laurel nominees are broken down not among traditional categories or our personal favorite games, but rather along these six archetypes. Each of them caters to a different philosophy of what gamers prefer in their gaming experiences, both accentuating and celebrating the variety of play styles that exist within board gaming overall. (If you’re curious, you can find out yours here.)

After poring over hundreds of titles, months of research, and more playthroughs than we can count, it is finally time that we present our findings. And so, without further ado, here are the 2016 Laurel nominees:





 2016 Architect Laurel Nominee  2016 Tactician Laurel Nominee  2016 Socializer Laurel Nominee
Imhotep  Arkwright Beyond Baker Street 
Mystic Vale Crisis Captain Sonar
Scythe Great Western Trail Ice Cool 
Star Trek: Ascendancy Hands in the Sea Potion Explosion
Terraforming Mars Nippon World’s Fair 1893 




2016 Daredevil Laurel Nominee 2016 Immersionist Laurel Nominee 2016 Striker Laurel Nominee
A Feast For Odin Black Orchestra  13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis
Get Rich Quick Defenders Of The Last Stand Adrenaline
Ponzi Scheme Millennium Blades Cry Havoc
The Oracle Of Delphi The Networks Inis
The Pursuit of Happiness Star Wars: Rebellion Onitama


Starting on March 1st, stay tuned to the site as we begin a month-long series of articles where we will elaborate on how each game earned their spot, as well as announce the coveted winner of its category.

Until then, let the speculation begin!

As a technical note, you may wonder how we determine cutoff criteria for game eligibility of a given year. Well, it mostly boils down to availability. There are only three primary rules, which are as follows:

  1. Games deemed to be purely reskins or new editions / versions of older games without substantial (20% or more) changes to the rules are not eligible for consideration.
  2. For Kickstarter games, the date for consideration is based on when it starts being shipped to US backers and is irrespective of when the campaign itself started or ended. Only fulfillment matters. If backers start receiving their copies in January, then it’s eligible for that year.
    • We do reserve the right of flexibility on this rule in cases such as considering games shipped in late December of the previous year or deciding to evaluate games from well-established publishers leveraging Kickstarter as a preorder system by using Rule 3 instead.
  3. For all traditionally published games, the game’s eligibility starts from when it becomes available in the US via wide-scale or direct retail distribution. In practical terms, this often means annual Essen Spiel releases won’t be eligible until the next year’s award cycle, and many games only available via import or a single website may not be eligible at all.