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Any game can have a fun theme regardless of how it plays, but these 2019 titles go one step further by making the theme and the mechanics completely inseparable. You don’t just play these games; you live them!

Don’t forget to cast your ballot in our 2019 Fan Favorite voting.

We’ll be announcing the rest of the nominees over the next few weeks; then check back on Friday, January 17th when we announce the winners of the 2nd Annual Diamond Climber Awards.

Adventure Games: The Dungeon

The Adventure Games series is known for offering compelling narratives alongside its puzzles, and The Dungeon is no exception. This exciting fantasy tale keeps players engrossed across three chapters full of sidequests and world-building. To say any more would spoil it!

Publisher(s): KOSMOS
Designer(s): Matthew Dunstan, Phil Walker-Harding
Artist(s): Martin Hoffmann

Detective: City of Angels

If you’ve ever wanted to step inside your favorite noir film or book, now’s your chance. Detective: City of Angels turns you into a hard-boiled gumshoe working a variety of homicide cases in 1940s Los Angeles. This competitive mystery title includes a glossary of vintage slang to set the mood, a gorgeous map of the city, and an absolutely unique interrogation system that makes you feel like you’re really shaking down uncooperative witnesses.

Publisher(s): Van Ryder Games
Designer(s): Evan Derrick
Artist(s): Vincent Dutrait

Horrified

Speaking of Old Hollywood, Horrified brings classic movie monsters like Dracula back to life as the villains of this charming co-op game. Each monster has its own thematic setup and win condition, so grab the popcorn and stop those spooks!

Publisher(s): Ravensburger Spieleverlag GmbH
Designer(s): Prospero Hall
Artist(s): Prospero Hall

MegaCity: Oceania

It’s hard not to feel immersed in a city-builder when you’re actually building a city, even if that city is supposed to exist on floating platforms near a futuristic version of the Australian coast. MegaCity: Oceania requires players to build in three dimensions, literally balancing their desire for growth against the limits of their own dexterity in a competition to determine which player is the most masterful builder.

Publisher(s): Hub Games
Designer(s): Jordan Draper, Michael Fox
Artist(s): Winnie Shek

Warehouse 13

Warehouse 13 is a semi-cooperative game based on the SyFy series of the same name and fans of the show will be delighted by how well it captures its source material. From character details to the episode/season structure to the specifics of gameplay, Warehouse 13 gets all the little things right to make it feel like an extension of the show.

Read our review of Warehouse 13.

Publisher(s): Conquest Gaming LLC, Infinite Dreams Gaming
Designer(s): M. Shawn Smith, II, Michael Aldridge, Russ Rupe
Artist(s): Aaron Yung

Wingspan

Wingspan stands out as much for its unusual theme of bird-raising as its total commitment to that theme. The ornithologically accurate game abilities are supported by nearly 200 unique avian illustrations, with more on the way thanks to the European expansion.

Read our review of Wingspan.

Publisher(s): Stonemaier Games
Designer(s): Elizabeth Hargrave
Artist(s): Ana Maria Martinez Jaramillo, Beth Sobel, Natalia Rojas

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Ian Howard

Ian Howard is a stay-at-home dad with a background in academic libraries. Though gaming and writing are his two major passions, he also enjoys watching hockey, hiking and traveling. He currently lives in the Nashville area.

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