2021 Gaming Challenge – Part 2: Sarah’s Picks

Sarah explains why she chose the games she did for this year’s challenge. Sarah, it’s over to you…

It has now become a tradition to begin the new year by creating our list of challenge games, and New Year’s Day 2021 was no exception. In previous years we have chosen 11 games (five each and one together) that will all be played best of three, meaning that every year we will have an overall challenge winner (thank you for my 2020 victory burger Bryan – it was delicious!)

This year, as we sat together with our game lists and cups of tea, we decided to make 2021 a bumper year! In previous years, there has been a lot of crossover with our choices, so picking 11 games has not been a problem. However, this year we did not have a single crossover and both of us were struggling to eliminate games from our lists. So, why not increase the number of games to 15? It’s not like we have anywhere to go or anyone to see for the next few months – thank you Covid!

With that being said, here are my seven picks for our 2021 Bumper Gaming Challenge:

Sarah’s choices for our 2021 Gaming Challenge

Bärenpark (with The Bad News Bears expansion)

I knowBärenpark is a slightly lighter choice, but throw in The Bad News Bears expansion with its grizzly bears and monorails and I think this will be a really fun game to play as part of our challenge. Although we have played a fair few games of Bärenpark, we only picked up the expansion last year, so I’m really keen to play it more and see what it brings to the game.

Chocolate Factory

After playing a very early demo at UKGE a few years ago, and then the real thing the following year, I was excited to finally pick up a copy of Chocolate Factory last year. I don’t think I stand any chance of winning this one – I find it incredibly hard to plan my turns and this really is a bit of a brain burner for me. For that reason, it’s on my list – hopefully I will improve!

Deep Blue

My Christmas game last year, Deep Blue seems to have been slightly glanced over – maybe it just came at slightly the wrong time, when we were suddenly not seeing other people for game nights. I have enjoyed all the games I have played, and I think the ‘push your luck’ element will make this a really fun challenge game.


This was one of the early games in our collection, and for a long time I would have said that it was my favourite game. Of course, over the years it has had a lot of competition and unfortunately slipped off the Number 1 spot. However, I’m sure it’ll still be in my Top 10 and I’m looking forward to playing one of our older games that does not get as much love these days. Who knows, it might even creep back to the top spot!

Great Western Trail

Staying true to the reason we started doing these challenges in the first place, which was to make sure we set time aside to play the longer, heavier games in our collection, this game fits the bill perfectly. We only picked up Great Western Trail last year, and it has taken a couple of plays to really get into it. I thoroughly enjoyed our last game, and I can see this becoming one of my Top 10 games of all time. I can’t wait to play it as part of our challenge.


I was incredibly excited to pick up a copy of Mariposas last year. I’m ashamed to say we have only played it a couple of times and I feel I have barely scratched the surface of the game. I’m looking forward to getting some more plays in this year, and trying to work out just how to move my butterflies to get the most out of them.

The Quest for El Dorado

I picked this game for no other reason than the fact I absolutely love it! I enjoy the deck-building element of the game, and because it is a race, this should be a really exciting, tense challenge game. We will certainly be playing the moderate or difficult paths, and using the cave tokens, to add to the complexity of the game.

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