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The Best Board Games of 2021 According to The American Tabletop Awards

Two of the winning games from the American Tabletop Awards
American Tabletop Awards

Board games have been keeping us entertained for years, so it makes sense that the best ones would win some awards along the way. The American Tabletop Awards (ATTA) just announced its 2021 lineup of winners, which are spread across four categories and represent an excellent variety of games.

Though the American Tabletop Awards is a newer institution, founded just three years ago, it’s hoping to act as the United States equivalent of Germany’s prestigious board game award—the Spiel des Jahres. The judges comprise the institution’s diverse committee and are held accountable by its transparent code of conduct. This year, it announced the winners of its annual awards across four categories: Early Gamers, Casual Games, Strategy Games, and Complex Games.

Anyway, I digress. Here are the winning titles:

Early Gamers: Abandon All Artichokes

Abandon All Artichokes won the award for the Early Gamers category and is a great game for anyone who has a green thumb. The simple, yet exciting, card game is for 2-4 players aged 10 and up, and to win all you have to do is be the first person to draw a full hand of cards … without any artichokes. During each turn, players will weed the garden and add artichoke cards to the discard compost pile. The concept is simple, but it’s a great way for kids to work on their strategy and planning skills.

Early Gamers Award

Abandon All Artichokes

This adorable and simple card game is great for teaching young gamers about strategy.

Casual Games: The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine

In The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine, you’ll work together as a team of 3-5 players to complete over 50 dangerous missions. However, the trick-taking card game increases in difficulty each turn, and you’ll also have to deal with setbacks like interrupted communications. The game wins ATTA’s award for best Casual Game, and also won the Connoisseur’s Game of the Year award at last year’s Spiel des Jahres competition.

Casual Games Award

The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine

In this collaborative trick-taking card game, you'll work with other players to complete difficult missions.

Strategy Games: Calico

Calico board game box
Alderac Entertainment Group

Though Calico‘s cover looks adorable and sweet, it took home the gold in ATTA’s Strategy Games category, so be prepared! The game is for 1-4 players and plays in 30-45 minutes. In it, players compete to make the coziest quilt by combining aesthetically pleasing and attract cuddly cats. The popular game—currently on its second print run—is sold out; however, the third print run will arrive in 4-6 months so be sure to sign up to receive availability notifications.

Strategy Games Award


Compete against other players to sew the prettiest quilt and attract all the cute cats.

Complex Games: Dominations: Road to Civilization


Looking for something a little more challenging? How about Dominations: Road to Civilization, winner of ATTA’s Complex Games category. The concept of the expert-level Eurogame is simple: world domination. But it adds a thrilling twist—with no armies and no wars—that’ll require you to bring your best strategies to the table if you plan on winning. You’ll use the triangular Domino tiles to expand your civilization and attain knowledge to shape your society and win all of the points. The game is for 2-4 players aged 13 and up, and takes about two hours to play through.

Complex Games Award

Dominations: Road to Civilization

In this game, you'll work to expand your civilization and conquer the world ... all without armies.

via Polygon

Suzanne Humphries Suzanne Humphries
Suzanne Humphries was a Commerce Editor for Review Geek. She has over seven years of experience across multiple publications researching and testing products, as well as writing and editing news, reviews, and how-to articles covering software, hardware, entertainment, networking, electronics, gaming, apps, security, finance, and small business. Read Full Bio »