Gaming Year 2017

In 2016 I tried 133 new games. That, I felt, was too much, and in 2017, a move was made to correct that. 17% of my plays were spent trying new games, and it felt too much.

In 2017, I tried just 67 new games. The total number of plays was also slightly reduced, mostly as a function of playing less shorter children’s games. Overall I’m quite satisfied with the raw numbers.

I created another Top 100 list.

I also got together with a bunch of Finnish board game bloggers and created a new board game award called Pelaajien valinta, Players’ Choice. Our first winners were Flamme Rouge for the best family game of the year and Agricola for the best strategy game of the year. We also gave the award for the best board game good deed, which went to Taverna, the first Finnish board game cafe.

Our instant message group has also been a great thing and a constant source of good board game banter for the last half of the year, which has been great.

Moderation

I decided to go for moderation in my game acquisitions. That was a partial success. The first half of the year was very good; I bought just a few games. In September, things got a turn for worse, and I ended up spending over 1,000 euros in game purchases.

However, I also sold games for more than 1,000 euros, so the end result is not that bad. Also, the turnover is somewhat boosted by the three extra copies of Dawn of Peacemakers I had to back in order to make sure the campaign was a success. I was able to sell those games immediately, balancing it out.

All said and done, I ended up buying 35 titles and selling 71.

Kickstarter-wise, I backed a few projects. In 2016, I backed 19 projects, so there the reduction was successful. I participated in four campaigns: I got a bunch of Monikers expansions, the new edition of Brass (and I already have a buyer for my old copy), Root and Dawn of PeacemakersRoot is pretty much the only wild card: I knew what I was getting in Monikers and Brass, and got a preview copy of Dawn of Peacemakers to try out before making the decision.

I also avoided getting review copies of games and only asked for games I really wanted. Many reviews were made with the games available at the local board game cafe.

But moderation is difficult, when you’re faced with the barrage of interesting games. That is something I will continue practising in 2018.

As part of the process to focus on good old games, I started a fifty by fifty challenge, in which I attempt to play fifty games fifty times. Seven new titles made that list in 2017, compared to just one in 2016.

Good new games (2016–2017)

A Feast for Odin was a big one for me this year. It took some effort and some patience to get a copy, but I did get mine in May, and oh yes, it was worth the wait. It immediately shot to the top of my top 100 list. It is really very good, and I love the challenges of handling your workers, filling out your board with items and so on. I’ve only played it once multiplayer, and have mostly played two-player games with my son.

Yokohama I ended up backing due to Hisashi Hayashi‘s reputation and good buzz from people who had played earlier editions. I ponied up the money for the deluxified edition, which was a great idea: the game turned out to be very good and the deluxified edition looks splendid compared to the retail edition. I like this game a lot: it does lots of good things and is refreshing change from the usual worker placement fare.

Dawn of Peacemakers offered the thriller of the year. Not the game, though, but the Kickstarter campaign. 48 hours before the end it seemed unlikely to succeed, and in the end it was really close. For a moment I was in for seven copies, but managed to drop my pledge to just four copies before the campaign ended. I fortunately found buyers for the three extra copies pretty much immediately. Quite the thriller! And yeah, the game is good, too. My review sums up my feelings, and I’m really looking forward to August when we can play this for real.

Nusfjord is a new Uwe Rosenberg worker placement game with a cool Norwegian theme (outside the all male panel of the elders). This is a much simpler game than A Feast for Odin, somewhere on the same scale as Glass Road. That means the game is quite playable even with five players, which is great. The more I’ve played this game, the more I’ve enjoyed the challenge it provides.

Sidereal Confluence is a trading game in space, with highly asymmetrical player powers creating lots of opportunities to trade. The player count goes from four to nine, and since it’s all mostly simultaneous, it plays in two hours or less with all player counts. It’s a huge hog for table space with larger counts, though.  I’ve only played this once so far, but even based on that I’m ready to say it’s one of the best games of the year.

Escape rooms were a thing this year. I finally got around to try one, and was hooked on the first go (largely because we did so well, escaping in pretty much a record time). I also tried out couple of escape room board games: Unlock! is good and the free games are very much worth printing out. Escape the Room: Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor is a bit easy but well done. EXIT: The Game is my favourite series, though, these I like the best.

Good older games I haven’t played before

A Few Acres of Snow may be a flawed game, but it’s still good entertainment and a fresh take on deck-building. The rules updates should fix the broken parts anyway. I’ve played this couple of times, mostly against my son who isn’t really into the warfare part of the game yet, and I’ve love to give this one a go against an adult opponent.

Mombasa was something I had to check out after Great Western Trail, and once I’d played it, I had to buy it (so much for moderation). But it is a splendid, solid game, highly recommended for the fans of the heavy euro game.

Pax Pamir was part of my interest in the works of Cole Wehrle (my Cole Wehrle interview was by far the most-read article on this blog this year), sparked by John Company which hasn’t arrived yet. So far Pax Pamir is the best one: lots of really clever stuff in this game, with an interesting setting and lots of good ideas.

Children’s games

Here’s a list of games that we played at least five times. It’s interesting to see how the games change year after year.

Hero Realms was my son’s favourite game for the most of the year. We ended up playing more than 60 rounds. That’s pretty solid return on investment.

Santorini was also pretty solid: we played it a lot for couple of months, until it hit about 50 plays, and my interest in it waned.

Love Letter is still the most popular family game in our family. It just doesn’t get stale at all.

Coconuts was skipped in 2016, now I made some effort to play it again, and guess what? It’s still very addictive and very entertaining.

Fashion Show still got lots of plays. Those plays are super fast, so it’s something I can play with my daughter to keep her happy.

Afrikan tähti still gets played almost every time we visit the grandparents.

Innovation got on the rotation when I made the effort of translating it to Finnish. This got the attention from my son, and we played the game about ten times. Fun fact: he can win the game if he gets to spam Agriculture. Otherwise, it’s likely I’ll win.

Ty Beanie Boo’s Friends Game is a game for toddlers my daughter found at a library, loaned and then we played it ten times. Fortunately it was then returned to the library, never to be seen again.

Joylings is a terrible game, a combination of Top Trumps and roll-and-move, with cutesy horses. This is definitely something I only do for my daughter.

Klack! is a reaction test game, and mercifully short one.

Europa Tour used to be a thing with me and my son, but we haven’t played it in a while. My daughter has picked it up, though, and requests it occasionally. She still isn’t very good in it, though; this seems like such a random game, but I still win a lot.

The Mysteries of Peking is another game we play at the grandparents. It’s a harmless roll and move mystery, and I can clearly see why it captivates the kids so much. It’s pretty well done for what it is.

Da ist der Wurm drin is not really a game, just a roll-and-move raffle. But it’s pretty fun for something like that.

Super Rhino keeps entertaining, it’s such a fun little dexterity game. People have been hyping up the new Super Battle version, but I’m not sure if I’m interested in that.

The Magic Labyrinth still works, it’s one of the better memory games.

Tumbling Tower is a Jenga variant, and the kids played a ton of it while at a summer cabin that was somewhat low on entertainment.

Dungeon Rush is a speed game, and I’m a bit lukewarm on it. It’s pretty good in the genre, but the genre just isn’t doing much for me these days. This is somewhat problematic as a family game because of the skill differences.

Guess Who? was a Christmas gift for my daughter. I’m sure this will see lots of play. It’s not very painful, and the new edition is somewhat developed from the one I played as a kid: the characters are on a sheet which can be replaced. The sheets are double-sided, with animals on the other side, and you can print out new sheets to increase replay value.

Little Prince: Make Me a Planet is one of my daughter’s favourite games. We play two-player games only, so the meanness in the game doesn’t really come up. It might be a problem.

Games I’ve kept on enjoying

Tigris & Euphrates made a nice comeback. I got a copy from a math trade, as I wanted my son to be able to experience this classic. It was really fun to get back to this game after so many years. This is one of Reiner’s finest, no doubt about that.

Mechs vs Minions eventually got almost 20 plays. I’ve now played all the campaign scenarios and haven’t really returned to the game since. My son has played this a little, and I still have the game. It was well worth buying.

Terraforming Mars has turned out to be a fine game. I managed to buy a copy in March after long wait, and played it almost ten times. That’s pretty good, as the game hasn’t really sparked in my game group: there are some folks who just don’t like it. It’s a bit on the long side, I agree, which is why I rather like it as a two-player game and without the Corporate Era stuff. But the length is part of the charm: this is a tableau builder that doesn’t end too early.

South African Railroads was on a break for couple of years, but I played it couple of times this year. It’s a good one, one of the better Winsome games. Unfortunately it’s not available anymore. I did a new map for it, trying to learn a bit of graphic design.

The Great Zimbabwe made a comeback after many years of not playing the game. My son turned out to be a fan. It’s a curious two-player game, plays really really fast. I also played my second play of Duck Dealer: the first was one 2010 when the game was released. It’s still a good game.

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

Near and Far was a pretty game, but we played it couple of times and decided to pass it along. It just isn’t very interesting, and I’ve learnt now that outside few exceptions, campaign games are not my thing.

Savage Planet: The Fate of the Fantos was on Kickstarter and was interesting enough that I made a print-n-play copy. After all, the game leaned heavily on Vampire: The Eternal Struggle, one of my favourite CCGs and had pretty cool art. Too bad it was awful, and none of my friends wanted to ever see it again.

Arkham Horror was a great math trade catch: I got a fine copy for two euros. We played it once, figured out the game is absolute garbage, and I sold it for 40 euros. So can’t say I’m disappointed, really, the game was pretty much as awful as I expected it to be.

Cat Tower looked like a fun thing, but wasn’t actually at all fun to play.

BONK also looks like it’s fun, but it was a bit too fast and furious.

Mountains of Madness has a really cool idea, but doesn’t really work as a game, I think. Too heavy for a party game, too bizarre for a strategy game. I’m glad I gave it a go, but no, there’s no need to revisit those mountains.

Where are they now

Pandemic Legacy Season 1. We’ve yet to finish the first season, and I’m pretty sure we never will. It just wasn’t all that interesting; I don’t like Pandemic and while I think the Legacy stuff is a nice added layer of interesting stuff on top of it, it still is Pandemic under all that.

The Colonists has failed to hit the table at all. It’s just too big, and I have so few opportunities for big, heavy two-player games.

Blue Moon fell out of fashion. Time will tell if that was a disturbance caused by Hero Realms, or a permanent change. Same happened to Burgle Bros., which I don’t really miss.

Fives and dimes

Dimes

  1. Hero Realms (66)
  2. Santorini (53)
  3. Love Letter (21)
  4. Coconuts (18)
  5. Mechs vs Minions (17)
  6. Fashion Show (15)
  7. Afrikan tähti (11)
  8. Joylings (10)
  9. Innovation (10)
  10. Ty Friends (10)

Fives

  1. Halli Klack (9)
  2. Kingdom Builder (8)
  3. Splendor (8)
  4. Terraforming Mars (8)
  5. Tzaar (8)
  6. Europa Tour (8)
  7. The Mysteries of Peking (8)
  8. Unlock! (7)
  9. Da ist der Wurm drin (7)
  10. Tumbling Tower (6)
  11. Super Rhino (6)
  12. Century: Spice Road (6)
  13. Dungeon Rush (6)
  14. Fugitive (6)
  15. Nusfjord (6)
  16. Dawn of Peacemakers (6)
  17. Majesty (6)
  18. Guess Who (6)
  19. The Magic Labyrinth (6)
  20. A Feast for Odin (5)
  21. Concordia (5)
  22. Little Prince: Build Me a Planet (5)
  23. Tokaido (5)
  24. Gnomi (5)
  25. Imagine (5)

Year metric

  1. Battle Line (Schotten-Totten) (16/17)
  2. San Juan (14/14)
  3. Attika (13/15)
  4. Dominion (10/10)
  5. Carcassonne (13/17)
  6. Ta Yü (12/15)
  7. Memory (9/9)
  8. Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation (12/16)
  9. Animal upon Animal (9/10)
  10. Samarkand: Routes to Riches (8/8)
  11. Innovation (8/8)
  12. Schildkrötenrennen (8/8)

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 San Juan fourteen 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.

H-index

My H-index for this year is 10 (10 last year). My total H-index is 40, up three points from last year.

Gaming Year 2010

Gaming year 2009 wasn’t terrific, but 2010 was. By numbers alone, I played a lot more games than last year. However, the biggest reason 2010 will go down in history as a good board game year was Nooa. I played well over hundred games with Nooa — actually, I played with Nooa about as much as I played games in 2009, total.

My son’s a bit of a gamer, then. Unfortunately his going to part-time daycare in August (or actually moving from morning group to afternoon group) really cut into the time we could spend playing games (since we can’t play games as well when his sister isn’t sleeping), otherwise we probably would’ve played 200 games this year, easy.

Well, he’s just four now and we still spend lots of time playing with the games, but I’ve also seen good development during the year. When we started playing games, a loss or even an impending loss might make him cry. Not so, anymore, he takes losses much better now. He’s also pretty good in some games, like Gulo Gulo.

So, I’m definitely looking forward to 2011.

Most of this was written in 2010, so wherever I say “this year”, it means 2010.

Good new games (2009-2010)

Samarkand: Routes to Riches boxSamarkand: Routes to Riches. Easily the best new game this year. I love it! Exactly the right mix of interesting decisions and easy-going game play in a swift 30-minute setting.

Then again, a big part of why I like this game is the weekend I was visiting Jyväskylä and played 11 games (see my Samarkand notes from that weekend). I think there are plenty of games that would shine a lot brighter with that kind of attention. It’s a shame I can’t give it in most cases, as the drive to try new games is that strong.

Of course, not every game deserves that kind of attention or gets any better with more plays. Samarkand does, and I’d still like to play more, but opportunities have been rare. Perhaps I’ll take it with me to Jyväskylä next time I’m going…

7 Wonders. Another game to get the Jyväskylä treatment (see Notes on 7 Wonders). Not quite as good as Samarkand, but still solid. A good filler, but perhaps not much more. Lots of hype, mostly deserved. Looks like few people hate this, which always helps — at Lautapeliopas, the game has received a bunch of five-star ratings, lots of four-star ratings and the weakest rating is one three-star rating. Well, it’s still a new game and I suppose there’ll be more of those three-star ratings, but still, it’s impressive — this is not a game many people hate.

Vasco da Gama. Now, here’s another of those Jyväskylä treatment games (relevant blog entry here; I should probably add “Jyväskylä treatment” as a tag for the blog). This one I sold to my mother, so it’s conveniently available whenever I visit Jyväskylä. We’ve played it few times since and they’ve played it more. It’s not a particular favourite of mine, but sure I’ll play it, especially when we can just whip it out, play a game without going through the rules and 30-40 minutes later we’re done. A solid game, and I can see how someone could really like it.

Innovation. I made it to five plays this year, despite the resistance — some folks flat out decline to play without even trying the game, some tried and don’t want to play again… Mostly two-player games, I think I’ve played only one three-player game. That was probably the best game, though the last duel against Hannu was an epic match which I eventually won by drawing to 11. So far I like Innovation a lot. It’s chaotic, but the novelty factor in each game is still strong. Will I be bored? With the current pace of play, not soon.

Nile. This was a bit of a surprise hit. It’s a fairly simple set-collecting game, but especially with just two or three players, it’s great fun as it plays really fast and while luck plays a big role, the game is so quick it doesn’t really matter. The art is pretty, but the card quality is abysmal. Sleeves fortunately fix that problem.

Homesteaders. Only two plays so far, but here’s definitely something I want to play more. Homesteaders does the resource management auction thing well, with lots of possibilities, but also delightfully tight finances. Very strategic game. Some copies are apparently badly water-damaged or poorly printed, I secured mine from an auction so I knew I’d get a good copy.

String Railway. Lovely filler, cutest box ever. Fun game, but there’s a danger of taking the game too seriously, leading to extensive analysis and slow play. When players get more serious, the game materials prove lacking, as the strings tend to squirm around a bit, making exact play difficult. Players should just relax a bit, but that’s a bit hard, as in the other hand the strings make clever plays very attractive. “Ah, managed to visit all seven stations without crossing over any of your strings, ha!” But it’s fun, train-themed and very portable, so thumbs up for String Railway.

Marrakech. Here’s a real surprise. I wouldn’t have believed Marrakech would be such a good game. It’s a good family game, fun filler for adults, looks great, has some luck, some control over that luck and so on — all in all a very charming package.

SNCF. Only two games so far, but shows much promise to be a quick, yet thoughtful game. There’s clearly room for variation depending on how the group dynamics go. With the family game potential and all, this should get steady play in coming years.

Roll through the Ages. I’ve been interested in this one, yet haven’t gone and bought it. I eventually got it from a math trade, and it was a very good acquisition. It’s a great, simple filler that has a somewhat evocative theme (for a such a small dice game, at least) and the basic idea just works.

Eclipse. Trying Eclipse in Helcon was an interesting experience. Getting a great designer preview article for Lautapeliopas (in Finnish, sorry!) was also one of the highlights of the year. I’m glad to hear they’re likely to have the game published in 2011. If that happens, I’ll buy a copy.

Quick impressions: Charly Surprisingly entertaining filler. Greed, Inc. Blog post here; very favourable impression, but a long game, so hard to play. American Rails Blog post here; good, but for some reason the Winsome — or Winsome-like — games haven’t hit the table a lot. Finca — Game of the Year in Finland, and for a good reason.

Good older games I haven’t played before

Lokomotive Werks. One of the many Winsome reprints and actually got played twice. I like it a lot, even though it’s very, very dry. The supply and demand mechanism with the dice is brilliant. Bunch of dice are rolled to show demand for different locomotives, players fulfill the orders and reduce the dice. When new models arrive, old ones are slowly (or quickly) obsoleted.

Tzaar. Almost a new game — I tried this once, quickly, in Helcon 2008, but now I introduced it to my brother and we played almost ten games. It’s a good game, one of the best in the Gipf series.

Cannes. A cheap auction purchase that turned out to be kind of geeky, but fun game of network building and logistics. Rough edges here and there, but it’s fun. First impressions post here.

Die Aufsteiger. Very neat climbing game. The second game was much better than the first, maybe the third gets even better? Don’t know, but want to try. Neue Heimat got just one short game, but would deserve more.

Fladderadatsch. Amazing family game. Move around the track, trying to avoid the piles of shit. Can you remember where the shit fell? Watch out for that revealing click sound when the magnetic shit attaches to your feet… Fun!

Railroad Dice 2. Bought the whole Railroad Dice set (1, 2, Germany expansion for 1) from a friend. Have only played this once. Would love to play again, but unfortunately this wasn’t that warmly received. Blog entry here.

Dampfross. Dated, but also fun. Has family game potential, but unfortunately won’t work with just two. Blog entry here.

Duck Dealer. Just one play, but seems very promising, but also very AP prone. Very delightful. Blog entry here.

Children’s games

Gulo Gulo coverHere’s a new segment to the year review! I’m listing here the notable children’s games for the year. What we’ll play will of course change as time passes, so here’s an attempt to document what’s going on. These games are listed in the order of most played games first, and all games on the list got at least five plays.

Gulo Gulo. The best. No doubt about it, and a damn shame to hear this one’s out of print from Rio Grande. This is so much fun to play, even with just two players. Kids will figure this one out soon and only little adult guidance is necessary. This is my number one recommendation for someone who’s looking for a good game for kids from 4 years up.

Click Clack. Very simple, works for three-year olds. There isn’t a terribly much of a game in it, and I hear it’s expensive, so maybe not worth the effort, but it’s surprisingly entertaining for what it is, and the click clack magnet mechanism is a joy. The huge and unsteady box isn’t.

Mago Magino. Not bad for such a simple game. The fix is mandatory with two players, otherwise there’s very little to this game. As it is, Nooa has liked it, but it wouldn’t be this high on the list if I decided.

Settlers of Catan Junior. Nooa likes this, perhaps because of the pirate theme, but it’s way too difficult for him. Basically I play for both of us. Also, this isn’t the best two-player game. Still, ten plays. This works wonders with six-year olds and is a great gateway to Catan proper.

Viva Topo! Fun little game, it’s fun to see how the strategy evolves. So far there’s very little. This is a good one to have, as the game has use as a filler for adults as well.

Kids of Carcassonne. Carcassonne simplified. I’d like to play this more, but for some reason Nooa doesn’t really fancy this one. He actually likes the real Carcassonne more, not that he really gets it. I think we should focus on this one for now. This is a good game.

Kayanak. A charming classic, this ice-fishing game where players must punch holes through paper sheets and fish for magnetic fish. I’ve wanted this since I first saw the game in Essen 2005 (photographic evidence back from 2005, blog entry), now I have it and it’s great. Slightly too difficult for Nooa, though, but he does ask for it.

Das kleine Gespenst. Very cute memory game. The difficulty is pretty good, perhaps a bit on the easy side, but works well. The game looks gorgeous. Die kleine Hexe is another Preussler novel turned into a Haferkamp game, but that one should be avoided. It’s pain to setup and not fun to play. Avoid.

Villa Paletti. I stored the game in the children’s room (mostly to have more room for better games in my actual game cabinet) and Nooa wanted to play it and hey, we’ve played eight games of it. Often Nooa wants to invent new rules, but the basic tower-building works in two player game in any case. Solid game.

Das magische Labyrinth. Find your way through the invisible labyrinth. This is a clever game I like a lot. Some folks don’t like the die-rolling involved, but so far I don’t mind. I can see how that could be seen as a problem. It’s fairly easy to fix, I suppose (say, move three steps every turn). Charming little game, looks absolutely stunning.

Memory. Can’t get much more classic than this. We’ve got several copies (including Bob the Builder, Agricola and Tatu ja Patu for you Finnish folks). A good game, sure, but still a bit difficult for Nooa, whose concentration isn’t yet up to the game. He’s getting closer, though, and can now play fairly well if he wants to.

Schildkrötenrennen. Here’s a game I like more than Nooa. This is a fantastic game, particular for adults looking for a quick filler. I’m sure this’ll work as a kids game, but not yet.

Animal upon Animal. A classic, but still more of a toy than game for Nooa.

Mouse Carousel. A fun memory game. Nooa has been able to play this well for a while now, but his success varies a lot based on his concentration. But it’s a good, pleasantly tactile game that works well.

Games I’ve kept on enjoying

Dominion. There’s no denying it: Dominion is one of my favourites and got over 20 plays this year. I don’t really play it in the club, because lugging the huge box (two boxes these days) of cards is just too much of a pain. I’ve been thinking about doing a smaller set in the Alchemy box as a carry-on set, that might work. But, I’ve found Dominion Online, that’ll help too. Of the new sets this year, Alchemy was interesting, but perhaps sort of ho-hum, while Prosperity was nothing short of amazing. A must-have, if you ask me. (Of course I have all of them.)

San Juan. I’ve played exactly two games of Race for the Galaxy, while San Juan got 12 plays. I like San Juan better, especially with the expansion cards. Also, it helps that my brother prefers San Juan.

18xx. Of course! Two games of 1846 and one 1889, 1825 Unit 3 and 1830. Of these, 1830 didn’t impress me much, but it was a newbie game (at JunaCon). I could play again, but I’m not terribly thrilled. 1889 was better, when it comes to that kind of game. 1825 is still my favourite. 1846 was interesting, but the route calculation is a bit heavy and it’s generally a slightly heavy game for the local players. Next year I’d like to play more 1825 and try 1886 and 1853. 1889 will be my choice of game for newbie situations.

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

Saba: Palast der Königin. Just pointless.

Atlantic Triangle. Didn’t work for us, probably a decent family game.

Sturgeon. We did not want to finish the only game we played — the fun simply ran out before the game was over. Review here.

Fives and dimes

Dimes:

  • Dominion (24 plays)
  • Gulo Gulo (19)
  • Click Clack (18)
  • Samarkand: Routes to Riches (15)
  • San Juan (12)
  • Mago Magino (12)
  • Flash Duel (11)
  • Settlers of Catan Junior (10)
  • Viva Topo! (10)

Fives:

  • Tzaar (9)
  • 7 Wonders (9)
  • Arvuutin (8)
  • Kayanak (8)
  • Kids of Carcassonne (8)
  • Das kleine Gespenst (8)
  • Villa Paletti (8)
  • Memory (7)
  • Das magische Labyrinth (7)
  • Nile (7)
  • Schildkrötenrennen (6)
  • Charly (5)
  • Animal upon Animal (5)
  • Vasco da Gama (5)
  • Innovation (5)
  • Mouse Carousel (5)

Year metric

  • Battle Line (9/10)
  • Age of Steam (8/8)
  • Attika (8/8)
  • San Juan (7/7)
  • Einfach Genial (7/7)
  • Ta Yü (7/8)
  • Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation (7/9)
  • Gang of Four (6/8) *
  • Race for the Galaxy (4/4)
  • Tarock (4/4)

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 eight 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.

H-index

My H-index this year is 9. My total H-index is 24.

Duck Dealers running wild

Hooray! I bought a copy of Duck Dealer right after Essen 2008. It took couple of months to arrive, I think, as it was delayed, as were some other games in the same order. Still, I’ve had the game for almost year and a half, unplayed on my shelf. Now was finally the time for it. I knew there were three of us, so I took Greed, Baltimore & Ohio and Duck Dealer with me and eventually Petri and me decided to play Duck Dealer, with Klaus joining us.

Duck Dealer cover

Duck Dealer is a strange game. Actually, now I’ve played it, it’s not that strange. It’s just like Neuland! Get stuff, move it elsewhere, process it into better stuff and eventually score big points with the developed stuff. Basic logistics.

This one’s a bit difficult, though. Our game started with three clueless players with very little idea what to do. It took us a while to figure out things, but eventually it dawned to us that most of the points are in the big factories and flipping consumer tiles — those big 50 point blasts.

So, off we went, collecting energy and setting up trade runs. Klaus and I got a swifter start, but Klaus eventually lost some momentum — he went the whole game with the starting ship, which meant his energy collection was slower. Me and Petri upgraded our ships more, so we could collect more energy.

Still, it was a fairly even game. I was the first to build a 50-point factory and I think I managed that and two customers or so. I even made a 30-point customer run in the end and almost got another. I won, with the final point spread being approximately 330-290-260 — so fairly close.

Our game took 2.5 hours, which is pretty well. I don’t like the flow of the game: quick energy rounds, lots of thinking and calculating (should I run, do I have enough energy? and then after minutes of thinking it’s no, let’s just take some energy) and eventually when someone runs, it takes several minutes to figure out what happens. Lots of waiting, that is, and like in Neuland, the turns other people take tend to mess with your plans, so your advance calculations may be in vain.

So, I don’t want to play this game with just about anybody. However, with reasonably swift players this game isn’t complete torture. Also, this is one of those games were newbies and experienced players don’t really mix (but all newbie games aren’t likely to be completely satisfactory either). So, it’s a bit complicated, but I believe the game is worth it. I’m glad I finally played it and I would like to give it another go. When I was waiting to fall asleep yesterday, I was still thinking about Duck Dealer strategies…

Orange ship in Duck Dealer
Orange ship waiting on a planet. Photo: KAS (kneumann) / BGG

Board game club: Steel Driver, Torres

I had a great time at today’s board game club (yeah, the baby’s still waiting for a nice day to be born — perhaps next week?). I started with quick five-player game of Formissimo, which is a simple speed test pattern recognition puzzle. Cards have images with different attributes. 30 cards are laid on the … Continue reading Board game club: Steel Driver, Torres

It’s Essen time again

The Christmas is coming, by which I mean Essen. There’s a pile of new games getting published, but I’m really not very interested in most of them. I mean, there’s plenty of nice stuff coming, but in the end, I don’t really care. I must say we’ve had excellent service on the Board Game Society … Continue reading It’s Essen time again