Announcing: The 2018 Laurel Nominees

Well, here we are for the next 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 2018 Laurel nominees:





Altiplano Calimala Catch the Moon
Architects of the West Kingdom Coimbra Decrypto
Dice Hospital Heaven & Ale Just One
Dinosaur Island Newton The Mind
Everdell Nusfjord Welcome To…




Empires of the Void II Chronicles of Crime Cerebria: The Inside World
Feudum Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game KeyForge
The Quacks of Quedlinburg Kitchen Rush The Legend of Korra: Pro-Bending Arena
SEAL Team Flix Obsession Root
Vindication Western Legends War Chest


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.