Most Surprising Game
The answer that leaps to mind is Tenra Bansho Zero, though I don’t know if the intent here is to limit answers to games released in the last year or not. I’ll proceed regardless.
I originally backed TBZ solely because I’d seen Andy Kitkowski talking about it for, literally, years and years on various fora. I’m not really much of an anime fan, and I have no special attachment to Japanese tabletop RPGs, but #TBZ seemed like such a herculean labor of love that I felt obligated to give it a look-see. The fact that luke crane was doing layout (and heaping praise upon the game) also was a selling point for me.
The surprise, of course, was that I totally fell in love with the game, actually managing run more than a few sessions. I also found it one of the best-written RPG texts I’d ever read, a testament to both author Junichi Inoue and to Andy’s wonderful translation. Honestly, I felt like I learned something just by reading the book; I think it made me a better gamer, maybe even a better person.
Plus, it was hella fun to play. I’d really like to get back to it at some point.
Really, if you give a shit about RPGs, you should have a copy of TBZ on your shelf.