The Best Tabletop Games Of 2014

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Each year, as we wrap up our end-of-the-year video game coverage, I also like to offer up some selections from the other side of the gaming world – the ever-growing field of tabletop games. As has been the case for several years now, the tabletop scene continues to offer some phenomenal social and strategic games. Whether you’re looking for cooperative or competitive, simple or complex, the tabletop scene in 2014 has you covered.

In recent years, I’ve kept role-playing games classified in the same broader tabletop sphere, but this year I’ve selected 10 excellent board, card, and miniature games, along with a separate selection of four of my favorite role-playing game experiences. Selections include games that saw their major public release in the United States sometime in 2014. Each list is alphabetical. 

The Battle at Kemble’s CascadePublisher: Z-Man Games

Opinion – Publishers Should Stop Mistaking Gamer Enthusiasm For Stupidity

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I am guilty. I have pre-ordered games. I have purchased season passes without full details of the contents. I have done these things based on my enthusiasm for the medium and faith in the publishers. That time has passed.

As a reporter covering the gaming industry, I have to look at things with a critical eye. I try to see things from multiple sides, including from that of the bottom-line driven publishers. 

I understand that season passes and a la carte micro-DLC are crucial for a number of reasons. $60 per customer isn’t quite enough anymore. Jobs are on the line, and DLC creates bridge projects to keep developers from being let go before they are needed for the next big game.

Ten HD Remastered Horror Games We're Dying For

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Say what you will about the influx of HD remastered versions hitting the latest consoles, but in most cases they end up being the best way to play our favorite games. The graphical overhaul to horror titles like Resident Evil (2002, GameCube) and The Last of Us not only makes them prettier, they also make these gritty, unsettling worlds even more realistic and terrifying. With HD remastered versions on our minds, we've come up with 10 awesome horror games we'd love to see get the current-gen treatment.

The Suffering HDThis PS2-era third-person horror game is criminally unsung. Torque is a troubled inmate in jail for the murder of his family - which he may or may not be responsible for. His incarceration gradually becomes more uncomfortable as twisted abominations crawl from the cracks of the old penitentiary. These monsters are the embodiment of grisly forms of formal execution, from beasts with syringe limbs to apparitions composed of toxic gas. An update of The Suffering would not only make Abbott State Penitentiary an even more gruesome place to be, but it's also an opportunity to polish up the third-person action controls. Now if only one lucky publisher could snatch up The Suffering's license. 

Top 10 Game Trailers Of 2014

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Top 10 Game Trailers Of 2014

Creating an exceptional trailer is not easy. The best ones are a nebulous fusion of gameplay, cinematics, music, and atmosphere all working together to ignite viewers’ excitement. The right combination of these elements can surprise and delight gamers, and we saw plenty of great examples in 2014.

Regardless of how the final game turns out, we can still appreciate trailers for the ways they capture our attention and imagination. Maybe they convey the mood of a game just right, or maybe they showcase innovative mechanics we can’t wait to get our hands on. These are the trailers from 2014 that hit the sweet spot and elevated our excitement to a new level.

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It's Another Dose Of Gaming Haikus From GI's Poet Laureate

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Remember when people wouldn't stop debating whether or not games were art? Do people still care about that? I don't know the answer to that one, but I'm confident of this: Haikus are the purest form of poetry, which is definitely a form of artistic expression. By combining my talents as a poet with my love of gaming, I've created a supersaturated form of art. Here are the last 10 games I've played transformed into powerful, expertly crafted haiku.

In case you doubt my credentials, you can check out my previous work here, here, here, and (you guessed it) here. As always, you're welcome.

Dragon Age: InquisitionSixty hours in,I have an inquisquestion:
Where's the damned storage?

Opinion – Valve's Wasted Year

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Opinion – Valve's Wasted Year

The beginning of 2014 started well enough for Valve and its initiative to bring Steam fully into the living room with the SteamOS, controller, and Steam Machines. However, with Valve delaying Steam Machines and the controller into 2015, what momentum there was for Valve's plans have dissipated; further calling into question the whole enterprise.

At the beginning of the year the new home console systems were still finding their footing, and the previous announcement in the fall of 2013 that Valve was going to make a push for the living room gave hope to PC and home console gamers alike that they could ditch home consoles in lieu of a single box unified around Steam and the promise of usability.

But with each passing month of 2014 home consoles – the PS4 in particular – gained more and more sales momentum, and this holiday we've finally seen games that truly belong on the new systems. This continued ascension will make the timing of Valve's Steam Machine program harder to sell to the public. And let's not forget – this initiative's whole reason for being has been questioned from day one. Since you can already hook up your PC via HDMI to your TV, use Big Picture mode, upgrade your PC to your liking, and play Steam games via a controller, the gaming world doesn't have to hold its breath for Valve.

Game Informer’s Most Anticipated Games of 2015

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Game Informer’s Most Anticipated Games of 2015

If we could stare into the future and find out which games are going to turn out great, our jobs would be a lot easier. So many changes happen to a game in the final months before release that it’s quite common for a game-of-the-year candidate to come out of left field to surprise everyone. But until all of 2015’s games are finished, we can only guess at their final quality. However, that doesn’t stop our editorial team from doing what every gamer does: dreaming about awesome projects on the horizon. We’ve voted and tallied our top choices for games that are targeting release in 2015, and compiled them here.

This story was originally published on November 3, 2014.

To complete our list, we asked each of our editorial team members to look at a list of all titles with announced release dates in 2015, as well as titles that we deemed likely to hit sometime during that year. Everyone ranked their top 10 choices, and then we added up the combined results. 

Opinion – In The Wake Of Online Problems, Give Players Something Back

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It’s hard to imagine the frustration of a player tearing off the tinsel of a holiday gift, plugging the console into the wall, connecting all the bells and whistles, eagerly gripping the controller, and then turning on the power to find that that big bundle of gaming nirvana that was just received is nothing more than an expensive space heater because the online services aren’t working.

It’s particularly devastating this time of year to have multiple days of spotty or nonexistent online services in an industry that sees itself becoming more reliant and symbiotic with online services and functions each and every year.

While I’m firmly in the camp that believes online services have done a ton of good for gaming and most of my games are “always online” options, when services go down like this it’s easy to make the case for the untethering times of gaming, where everything came on the cart and no connection was needed. Sometimes, especially when you’re hyped up to play with a new gift, an already annoying situation is made even more loathsome.

How I Completely Murdered Thaddius: A Hearthstone Love Story

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Despite not being a huge collectible card game fan, I completely fell in love with Hearthstone this year. Here's a recap of the ridiculous boss match that won my heart (again).

One of the reasons I (along with everyone else) love Hearthstone so much is the sheer variety of unique abilities cards offer, and how they can be combined in countless different ways. The Naxxramas expansions do a great job of highlighting this facet (while giving you some pretty awesome cards), to the point of completely breaking the game in some interesting and fun ways.

I managed to beat most of the Naxxramas bosses on the first try, but The Construct Quarter was more challenging, and forced me to build some new custom decks. The Construct Quarter's final boss, Thaddius, gave me the most grief, thanks to the fatally flawed strategy I devised going into the fight.

Replay – The Mummy

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This week we're taking a look at the video game adaption of the 1999 special effects blockbuster, The Mummy.

Join Andrew Reiner, Jeff Marchiafava, Bryan Vore, and myself as we explore the tombs underneath the pyramids and get a real Dark Souls-vibe. That comparison gets thrown around a lot for difficult games, but here it's more about the oppressive atmosphere, the excruciatingly slow roll mechanic, and enemies that jump out from the darkness without notice.

Make sure to stick around for our roulette where we take a look at an animated take on Greek mythology.