Spoiler for an upcoming top ten list but I think that Quacks of Quedlinburg is one of, if not, the best “new to me” game I played in 2020. 2020 was a dumpster fire of a year, but I actually got to play around 30 new games and I had a lot of fun with them but Quacks has gone down a storm in multiple play sessions with different groups.
Quacks is a bag building game where players have a bag of chips, seven of which are white and the white chips are bad. Each round you draw chips from your bag attempting to get further along a track than your opponents. However if you draw white chips worth more than 7 points you explode and the round is over for you. At the end of each round the player who got the furthest gets a bonus, usually some points or an extra chip etc. Then everyone who didn’t explode gets points along with cash to spend buying new chips. Everyone who did explode must choose cash or points.
The game then continues like that for 8 more rounds as players buy more chips, getting further and further along their track and scoring more points. Each chip type also has a special power, giving you interesting combos and additional ways to score points.
When you put Quacks out on the table it looks incredibly complex, there are bits literally everywhere and it is an incredible space hog, but it is actually deceptively simple. Not only that but the game builds slowly, adding new components over the course of the first three rounds so as to not overwhelm you with options in turn one. It also has a set of event cards to shake things up each round, this way each of the 9 rounds of the game feel slightly different.