All posts tagged "board games"
Going Deep in 2020 - Part 2
In my previous post, I went a little bit into what it meant to be “Going deep in 2020”; in this post, I’ll look into the why and the how.
My main hobby is board games, I love collecting them, researching them and perhaps most importantly playing them. I have been involved in the hobby for the last 6 years, collecting games and immersing myself in the community as much as possible. I dedicate time and effort into going to meetups, hosting my own and trying to introduce as many people to what I think is a brilliant way to spend time in the day and age.
However, board gaming as a hobby is also one of excess. You’ll often hear terms such as “cult of the new” and “acquisition disorder” thrown around in community forums where comment on my collection (COMC) posts become virtual dick-measuring contests.
I’m no better at any of this, I find it difficult to fight the impulse when I hear about a new game which fills a supposed hole in my collection. In the past couple of years, I’ve managed to become more realistic about what games I will actually play given my regular board gaming groups and adjusted my buying habits accordingly however I still haven’t played 11 of the games in my collection.
I have all these board games that I enjoy, but there is 101 of them in total; the trouble is I don’t have enough time to go deep into each one of them. Most games I take off the shelf once a year, relearn the rules, play it once only to understand the strategy on a surface level before it collects dust for another year.
This year it stops, this year I’ll go deeper into the games I have, this year I won’t succumb to the “cult of the new”.
This boils down to 2 main objectives:
- No more acquiring board games as long as I have unplayed board games in my collection.
- If a new board game is completely necessary then it must replace an existing game in my collection.
Although I’ve mostly looked at board games in this post; it doesn’t make sense to just apply it to them when my other hobbies are just as prone to the same issues.
One look at my Steam account will highlight this issue manifesting through video games and my Github account is mostly a collection of prototypes that have been started but fallen away for one reason or another.
This gives rise to a further 3 objectives:
- No more buying video games, full stop.
- Finish at least 12 video games this year.
- No more new side projects until I finish or close off all of my existing side projects.
I’m hoping to keep myself accountable to this by making monthly posts about how I’m going deeper in 2020 so I look forward to telling you about my journey.
My Top 10 Board Games as of the End of 2018
January 04, 2019
10. Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective - Thames Murder and Other Mysteries
Not Rated Last Year; Designed by Raymond Edwards, Suzanne Goldberg, Gary Grady; Published by Space Cowboys
If there is ever a game to make you feel like a detective this is it; everything about it oozes theme and takes you back to 1880s London. I love just pouring through pages of possible clues, maps and newspapers in search for possible leads and each case we have played so far has felt challenging but not frustrating. My only gripe with this game is the scoring versus Sherlock; it often feels unfair and ruins the experience at the end of the case.
#6 Last Year; Designed by Isaac Childress; Published by Cephlofair Games
Well considering the game was delivered 2 weeks before I did the list last year, I couldn’t justify putting it in my top 5 back then but I did expect it to be one of my top games this year. The reality of it is the game takes forever to set up, teach and play that I have come to the realisation that I may never get to experience a significant portion of it.
Having said that, when I do get to play it and get into a bit of a groove, this game is a fantastic, puzzling, edge of my seat brain burner which I could play for days and thats why its still in my top 10 games.
Not Rated Last Year; Designed by Régis Bonnessée; Published by Libellud
One of the greatest feelings in games for me is being able to build upon a combo throughout the game to unlesh on all the other players and score a ton of points. Seasons certainly gives that satisfaction through the combinations and synergies between a lot of the cards and how you can manage your resources. I also like how there is a highly visible way for players to influence the pace of the game and there is just the right amount of luck involved which can also be mitigated.
Not Rated Last Year; Designed by Andrea Chiarvesio, Luca Iennaco; Published by Giochi Uniti
Yet another game with just enough luck involved which can be mitigated. In short, I love the dice placement mechanism and how building up your village feels like building up a village in Age of Empires 2. Its quite a thinky game where you have to keep adapting your movements based on your dice results and the actions of the other players.
6. Clank! A Deck Building Adventure
#2 Last Year; Designed by Paul Dennen; Published by Renegade Game Studios
Clank! has more suffered this year from a bit of deck-builder fatigue in both the industry and within my gaming group. Having said that, this is my favorite deck-building game by far and it is only improved by additional maps and cards.
I love that you have to keep an eye on what other players are doing while also having that element of push your luck to see how deep into the dungeon you can go.
Not Rated Last Year; Designed by Dr. Gordon Hamilton; Published by Roxley Games
I initially held off Kickstarting Santorini because I didn’t want to give into the hype and it was around the time when I was trying to cut down on the number of games I backed. It is just so good as a 2 player game and the chunky pieces and thematic board just add so much to the experience. I love having to balance between managing your position on the board along with the player powers in the game and although there are some unbalanced matchups it is so entertaining.
#10 Last Year; Designed by Karsten Hartwig; Published by Z-Man Games
This is the purest negotiation game that I have played; although some people could argue that luck may play too big of a part, there is nothing more satisfying than being able to negotiate yourself out of a tough spot. This game is #4 purely because every time it gets played there are some wild multi way deals being thrown around which also tend to involve anything from personal vendettas to household tasks.
3. Camel Up
Not Rated Last Year; Designed by Steffen Bogen; Published by Eggertspiele
It is Camel Up, not Camel Cup and the second edition cover confirms that. Its a relatively light game that never fails to bring the tension in terms of what is going to come out of the pyramid next. Although I’m not the biggest fan of some of the expansion modules, the addition of “catch-up” dice makes for even tighter races and more tension.
Not Rated Last Year; Designed by Richard Garfield; Published by Fantasy Flight
From the moment it was announced, I was so excited about Keyforge and finally getting to play the game in mid November confirmed that I had every right to be excited. Since my gaming group has picked up Magic, the disparity between players that have been playing for ages and those just starting out with basic decks is ridiculous which isn’t a problem with Keyforge. Also every game that I have played has felt like each player is just 1 turn away from coming back but it also doesn’t feel so swingy that the choices you make don’t matter. Overall, this is one game I see having staying power for a long period of time.
1. Rising Sun
Not Rated Last Year; Designed by Eric M. Lang; Published by Cool Mini or Not
Area control has always been one of my favorite mechanics however games that use it often suffer from being overcomplicated or put a high emphasis on luck. Rising Sun however is so streamlined, from the negotiation of allies to having only a limited number of options depending on which tiles you draw and finally the war phase. The mind games that go into what you can spend your money on is amazing. Rising Sun has so much replayability in the base box let alone the expansions and each clan feels unique and overpowered in its own way giving it great balance. The models and the board really convey the theme well and its the one game that I just can’t wait to get back to the table over and over again.
Removed from Last Year
- #9 Salem 1692 - Still makes it to the table, its a staple.
- #8 Kingdomino - Love the simplicity of it, I prefer Queendomino though.
- #7 Mission: Red Planet - Absolutely love this game, it will always have a place in my collection.
- #5 Robinson Crusoe - Falls victim to the same problems as Gloomhaven, long setup, long rules explanation but still great game.
- #4 Mechs Vs Minions - Is the best implementation of a programming game, just can’t get it to the table often enough.
- #3 Lords of Xidit - Had a really bad experience playing it last time and it has soured my impressions of it.
- #1 Blood Rage - Completely replaced by Rising Sun simply because it benefits much more from repeat plays.
What Did I Play Monday (Jan 16 - Jan 22)
What I Play Monday is a weekly look at the games I got to the table and any good stories that came out of them.
So on Saturday I had a board game day and it was the first time I tried setting what games we are going to start with and set them up prior to people arriving. This came about because I was struggling to get lower player count games to the table so I wanted to set the expectation prior to the event. I set up both Inis and Mechs Vs Minions because a couple of people had already played MvM so it was easy enough to leave them to teach any new players while I taught Inis. So here are the games I played this week:
- Inis (4p) - The first time anyone in our group had played this and it was really enjoyable. I find it the easiest of the “dudes-on-a-map” games to play but it doesn’t sacrifice any depth. The game ended rather spectacularly when my girlfriend managed to preside over 6 other clans in a single territory then cancelled the start of a battle using an Epic Tale card and then cancelled the Festival card with an Advantage card. Overall a very fun game and I can’t wait to play again and not lose both my clans in the first round.
- Grifters (4p) - Another game we were only playing for the first time and again it turned out to be really good. The mechanic of using cards for their abilities or to complete jobs is really good and difficult to get right. It was hard to catch a player with 3 Veteran cards in their hand though because it allowed them to complete jobs with ease and use their other cards for their abilties. It is one I look forward to playing again.
- Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu (4p) - I really enjoy Pandemic and I really love the Cthulhu theme they added to this game. It feels like it has gone from a “cube-pusher” to a highly thematic game with the addition of the Old One cards that occur whenever Evil Stirs or there is an “Outbreak”. We managed to get pretty lucky with the Old One cards and the only one that would have done some decent damage was cancelled by a Relic card. Everything was looking good until we realised we were running out of player cards and we ultimately came up one turn short. I can’t wait to get this one back to the table and try out the other player abilities and hopefully get a win.
- 3x Secret Hitler (8p) - In one of the games all was looking good for the Libs, we had 4 of the 5 Liberal policies on the board with no Fascist policies in play. Smooth sailing right?! WRONG! Knowing most of the remaining policies in the deck would be Fascist we could be forgiven for not casting suspicion on a couple of Fascist policies being revealed. A Fascist player got the ability to investigate someone else, she investigated another Fascist and said they were a Liberal, of course everyone believed them. Another couple of rounds and a Liberal player managed to get the first kill power and confusion ensued. She asked the Liberal players who to kill and silence! Turns out a Liberal was killed and on the very next vote Hitler was elected Chancellor by a Liberal player. It was quite the turn around.
- Mansions of Madness: 2nd Edition (5p) - We played the 2nd mission where we have to investigate the Marsh family and then escape Innisport. It was my 2nd time playing this mission and it was much easier with 5 people compared with 2. We made really quick progress throughout this mission because we were wary of taking too long but in the end 2 people ended up going insane and were delaying our escape. In the end 3 of us made an escape leaving the other 2 behind so it was mostly a success.
- 2x King of New York (6p) - Became something quick and fun to finish the night off. The first game went very quickly since me and another player dealt 8 damage from Manhattan to everyone else. That same turn I was able to get enough energy to buy double damage and proceeded to do 10 damage in a single turn to everyone in Manhattan. However this put me right in the firing line with only 2 health and I died a turn later. The second game drew out a bit more and I tried to destroy as many buildings as possible and then use the military to damage everyone else but it wasn’t as effective.
Normally I would take photos of each of these games to put in this blog post and on my Instagram account but unfortunately my replacement phone is still on its way.
So until next week, play more games!
2016 Goal Retro
Following on from my previous post about my yearly personal goal, I would like to write about how I went with my 2016 goal. In 2016 my goal was to play more board games, my collection had ballooned to the point of me struggling to play many of them so I decided to try to:
- Play 10 games at least 10 times (the 10x10 challenge)
- Play 100 games at least once (the 100x1 challenge)
- Play all of the games in my collection at least once (the wall of shame)
So lets have a look into how I went.
The 10x10 Challenge
I chose at the beginning of the year to not do the strict 10x10 challenge where you have to predetermine what 10 games you are going to play. My reason for this is my collection was still growing and it was really hard for me to choose only 10 to play. This one I got pretty close with, I managed to get 7 games played at least 10 times and the remaining 3 were within 2 plays of reaching 10. These games were:
- Secret Hitler (58 plays)
- Deception: Murder in Hong Kong (45 plays)
- Codenames (22 plays)
- Splendor (13 plays)
- Captain Sonar (11 plays)
- Zombicide: Black Plague (11 plays)
- One Night Ultimate Werewolf (10 plays)
- Coup: Rebellion G54 (9 plays)
- Control (8 plays)
- Tsuro (8 plays)
The 100x1 Challenge
This one I also got pretty close with, I managed to play 90 different games throughout the year. This one definitely got harder throughout the year since our gaming group loved to play a small subsection of games and everyone enjoyed them. I really could have tried harder to get this one done but the end of the year really crept up on me and it became difficult to get people together since everyone was busy.
The Wall of Shame
The Wall of Shame is a list of games in my collection that I have not or did not play in 2016 and its a ridiculously long list. I did very poorly trying to play all the games in my collection in 2016. My poor effort pretty much came down to 2 factors, my acquisition of board games increased throughout the year and I was struggling to get new games to the table. I fell victim to a lot of hype around some games and sometimes it worked out very well but others I haven’t managed to get to the table yet. Overall there was 50 games in my collection that I did not play and at the start of the year I said to myself I would sell the ones I didn’t play.
A lot of the games on my Wall of Shame are set to be culled from my collection to make room for new ones. Below is my Wall of Shame with the games that are being culled marked with an *.
Overall in 2017 I look forward to playing a more diverse range of games by setting up game days to play specific games and setting expectations prior to meetups. As Wil Wheaton would say:
Play more games!