Gaming Year 2009

Time for another of these yearly reports, huh (see the 2008 report). This was a fairly quiet year for games. Last year was really good, but we got the second kid this year (see Gaming impact of children)… So, from last year’s 284 plays to this year’s 130 plays and some very quiet time (just one 90-minute session in February and only a single 18xx game in September).

That’s quite a drop, as I’ve had 300-400-play years from 2001 to 2006. 2007 was the first drop, then I recovered nicely in 2008 to almost 300 plays and now hit the worst year ever. There are many factors to this. I can make it to fewer sessions, I’ll have to head home earlier, I don’t have time to play in BrettSpielWelt and so on.

Then again, I’m seeing signs of better future. I already played almost 20 games with Nooa this year and he’s real keen on playing games. Right now his skills aren’t quite there yet, but he’ll learn and he’s already much better.

I’ve been busy, though. This year’s big thing was of course Lautapeliopas which I started building year ago and got ready in June. Since June we’ve already published over 150 articles — even though that number includes a bunch of small news items, it’s still a major leap from Lautapelaaja.net’s recent rate of a review each month or so.

Good new games (2008-2009)

Dominion box

Dominion is still heading this list, thanks to Intrigue and Seaside, two great expansions. Both are good, but I think Seaside is a bit better. Dominion is by far my most played game this year, accounting for 1 of 6 games I played.

It’s still a great game I enjoy a lot and there’s no sign of getting bored in it. The expansions have helped a lot and I think I’ll keep on buying new expansions as they come. With the basic set alone, I wouldn’t have played the game as much. Still, I’d say it’s a fairly cheap habit to maintain.

Kids of Carcassonne. Another big hit. Nooa likes this, which is the key here. I like it too. The game is still a bit too difficult for Nooa to really understand, but he likes to play it and I help him a bit and it works — we have fun.

The game is really well done, with at least some illusion of skillful play amongs the luck of the draw and the components are really top notch. Excellent game. See my blog entry about it.

Steam turned out to be a good game and seems like worth owning, despite Age of Steam. I only managed to get two plays in, once with the basic game and once with the advanced rules. Both are fine and I think I actually prefer the basic rules a bit, because the advanced rules are closer to Age of Steam and there I prefer the original.

In any case, Steam is a worthy train game in my opinion. I’ve got Steam Barons in the closet waiting to be played, it’ll be interesting to see how that turns out. The concept is interesting, but some bits of the execution raise some questions.

Last Train to Wensleydale is another interesting Wallace train game. I’ve only played once, with partially wrong rules, but the game seems promising and what’s most important, pleasantly different from most train games.

Good older games I haven’t played before

Greentown box

Greentown is an obscure little game, yet quite a find. Unfortunately I only got it on the table once, but I certainly would like to play it more. It takes a small bit of 18xx games and makes it a whole game. It’s one of the least favourite parts, actually, route calculation, but what Greentown makes out of it is quite the pleasant brainburner.

Games I’ve kept on enjoying

Box front: Age of Steam

Age of Steam is always on this list. This year was pretty bad, just four games, but all were excellent fun nevertheless. Of the expansions, I really enjoyed Zombie Apocalypse and Finland.

Preußische Ostbahn continued to charm me. So does Gulf, Mobile & Ohio. Too bad I only played them total of three times. I should really concentrate on playing these really good games more, yet at the same time it’s really hard to say no to new games…

1825 Unit 3 box

1825, particularly Unit 3 definitely belongs to this list. I managed to play two games with Olli and a bigger Unit 1 game in Helcon (see Helcon notes). It’s really pleasing to just start playing the game, no rules explanations, no fuss, just quick setup and off you go.

The not-so-good, the disappointing, the plain bad

Bunny Bunny Moose Moose should be the best party game ever. I thought it was unpleasant, boring and annoying.

Formissimo didn’t impress me much, even though I like the genre (quick reflex pattern matching).

Quick look on the good games of the previous report

Everything’s still good, I just haven’t had time to play them… Well, I’m thinking about selling Steam over Holland, but that’s just because I have too many 18xx games already…

Fives and dimes

Games played ten times or more in 2009:

  • Dominion (23)

Games played five to nine times in 2009:

  • Kids of Carcassonne (7)
  • Blue Moon (6)

Total 130 games, 67 different titles.

Month metric

Dominion is pretty much the only game to register anything here…

Year metric

  • Battle Line (8/9)
  • Age of Steam (7/7)
  • Attika (7/7)
  • San Juan (6/6)
  • Ingenious (6/6)
  • Gang of Four (6/7) *
  • Ta Yü (6/7)
  • Modern Art (6/8) *
  • Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation (6/8) *
  • Mahjong (6/8) *
  • Lost Cities (6/9) *
  • Trivial Pursuit (6/9) *

First number is the years I’ve played the game, second is the number of years since the first time I played. So, I first played Age of Steam seven years ago and have played it every year since that. With Battle Line I’ve missed a year. I didn’t play games marked with an asterisk this year.

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