Favorite new game of the last twelve months.
Ye gods, this one is hard. Mostly because I haven't got a clue. With my Gamer ADD, today's favorite is tomorrow's also-ran. Also, I don't get a chance to actually play most of the stuff I buy in a given year. And the two "new" games I've actually played in the past twelve months are both revisions. Also, I really can't choose between them, so I'm going to talk about both.
First up is Dungeons & Dragons, 5th Edition. I wish I could play this more often, because it really scratches my D&D itch better than any version published in the last fifteen years. Don't get me wrong: I played the hell out of 3x/Pathfinder, and my 4e Swordmage just ticked over to Epic Tier last night, but "my" D&D is equal parts exploration, conflict, and story and 5e seems to sit in a sweet spot between all three. Granted, 3x and 4e CAN deliver that experience, but they're not really built to deliver it and the spackle over the cracks in the system show through. 5e feels like my memories of my best 2e games, but streamlined and easier to play and run.
(I just wish it had a set of digital tools for character building and campaign management for something other than virtual tabletop play. Maybe we'll get something this year.)
The other is ICONS Assembled Edition. Big surprise, huh? Like D&D 5e, it's a revision of an existing rules set. But ICONS didn't need to be a different game, just better. And the Assembled Edition does this beautifully. It incorporates new ideas from later products, streamlines an already rules-light game, adds some terrific new examples and explanations, and puts it all in a beautiful little hardback package. I've just kicked off a new campaign with it and everyone's having a blast with it.
Honorable mention: East Texas University for Savage Worlds. Hopefully, I'll get to play it some day.