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 2011

2010 was a good year. Well, 2011 was even better. I played more games than on any year on my records. Quality matters, too, but I can control quality more than I can control quantity and if quantity is good, quality tends to be good as well.

I played lots of games with my son. My daughter, who is soon three, has started to become interested in games. We’ve played our first real games, and spent lots of time playing with games. Her favourites are Blokus, Kids from Catan and Kayanak.

I had to miss couple of cons early in the year, but managed to visit Ropecon and stay overnight at Helcon (or Lautapelaamaan, as it is called now).

I played lots of PBEM 18xx earlier this year. It was fun, but takes a bit too much time. It’s still nice to have that option. All in all I’d say my interest in 18xx has waned a bit. The games just take too much time. There’s a game or two running in every con, yet I had no interest in playing at Helcon, for example. I did play a game of 1865 in Ropecon, and kind of wish I hadn’t.

I’ve added some of my best board game photos taken in 2010.

Exploring Africa

Good new games (2010-2011)

South African Railroads. A new Winsome game, or actually a remake of an older Veld Railroads, which had the same game under more chrome. I had Veld Railroads, too, but sold it unplayed after SAR was published. This leaner remake has everything I need, I can’t see how adding more stuff would improve the game. It’s rather good as it is, a quite delightful game of small dividends and player-triggered dividend payouts that shorten the game. Players are given plenty of tools to work wonders in this game.

Dobble. Probably better known as Spot It! Lovely pattern-recognition game. May be difficult to get on table, as these kinds of games are polarizing, but I like it a lot.

Puzzle Strike. I’m intrigued by this game. It’s supposed to be the Better Dominion, but I’m not seeing that yet. Then again, I did play nine games and I’m still not sure what to think about this game. Looks like I need to play more. This may end up a keeper or in the trade pile, I’ll try to make up my mind until Ropecon next summer, but it sure is an interesting game and worth trying if you’re interested in deck-builders.

Rattus. Maybe a bit of a flash in a pan? We quickly played five games of this in May, then afterwards I only played this once. Still, it’s a fun game of bashing the other players. The Pied Piper expansion is fairly important, I think, as it gives the game a lot more variety, which is good.

Pantheon. Bernd Brunnhofer is a very reliable designer, who has done three very good games. Pantheon is the most recent, and a very good game. Good dose of luck, but also timing, strategy and opportunity. Mechanically the game is very solid and well-executed. This is something I’d like to explore further in 2012.

1865: Sardinia. The one face-to-face 18xx game I played this year. I also played a PBEM game. Not bad, not at all, lots of good ideas in this one. Might be interesting to try with just two players.

Ascending Empires. The idea here seemed crazy enough to be interesting: a 4X flicking game. First, though, the game didn’t fit on the tables of our regular meeting place (that has been fixed now by a change of venue) and then the first game took two hours… Well, the second game took just 60 minutes or so, which is much better. This game offers lots of promise, too bad the rules are a bit too vague for my tastes.

Eclipse. It’s been great fun to watch how successful Eclipse has been. It’s come a long way in a year or so, from November 2010 when I first played the prototype to now when the game is in BGG Top 100 and I have my own copy. It’s a very good game and overall one of the highlights in 2011.

Jishaku. I’m not sure what to think of this one. Not much of a game, but plays in couple of minutes and I did play it more than ten times, so it can’t be garbage. Not a keeper, but a fun filler with a nice gimmick.

Rats in Italy

Good older games I haven’t played before

Lamarckian poker. I finally took the effort to learn the rules to this classic. It was well worth it, as this is a great little filler. Very simple, uses standard playing cards, easy to teach if people know the Poker hands, and plays fast. It rarely takes more than five minutes to go through a pack. This is something everybody should know, just in case.

Stone Age. Another Brunnhofer game. This is my favourite worker placement game now. The dice work well here, you can take risks or play it safe. There’s several valid approaches to the game and the starvation strategy is an interesting twist to try. All in all very well done. I’ve left my copy at my mom’s place, because they love the game and I mostly play it with them, so I’ve been mostly playing this with experienced players — always a good idea.

Lords of Vegas. An interesting game with a theme of gambling and property development and game mechanics to match. In the long run this may be too luck-heavy, but as it is, I’m rather interested in the game right now.

Oregon. I had completely dismissed Oregon as a boring family game when it was published. I played it, and it turns out it’s a pretty good game! Family game, yes, but the game plays fast, 30-45 minutes, and has quite enough strategy and tactics in a simple, easy-to-teach package. All in all rather lovely game.

Cavum. Just one play, but it was very promising.

Mr. Ship, meet mr. Wrecking Ball - Version 2

Children’s games

These are the children’s games we played most, in the order from most popular to least popular. All games mentioned here were played at least five times. There were over 30 games that didn’t reach five games and didn’t make it to the list.

Kids of Carcassonne. Nooa doesn’t fancy this, I said last year. This year we got over 50 plays out of this! Based on first half of the year, I was expecting reaching hundred plays, but the enthusiasm waned a bit. I remember a day when we played ten games in a row, at approximately three minutes per game. Fun. Nooa also likes the adult Carcassonne and I think we might be moving on from Kids of Carcassonne, but it has been a good ride and I definitely recommend this game.

Geistertreppe. Didn’t make the list last year, now 30 plays. Roll-and-move doesn’t get much better than this. Very entertaining little game, and plays fast. A bit poor with just two players, but we still enjoyed it a lot. This is a classic game for kids (the sequel, Geisterwäldchen, less so).

Villa Paletti. A hit last year, a bigger hit this year. The tower-building game is a classic, and this is more interesting than basic Jenga (which we also played).

Gulo Gulo. Last year’s number one hit game took a bit of a dive. Iain says this isn’t as good as people say… I still think it’s a very good game, but yeah. My daughter has shown some interest for this, though.

Click Clack. This is starting to feel a bit childish, then again I just played this for the first time with my daughter. So, there’s life for this game still.

Kraken-Alarm. Rather entertaining little memory game, with a really cool swinging wrecking ball that is used to capsize a boat. It’s a gimmick, but it’s a fun gimmick and the game works. Well, it can be a bit stale at times, but we still played more than ten games.

Forbidden Island. My son liked this one enough so we played about ten games. Well, I played and he gave some suggestions. Co-ops can be good with kids. I’m rather bored of the game myself, though.

Maskenball der Käfer. Simple co-op game. Pretty good for three-year-olds. My son (five) has asked for this occasionally, haven’t yet tried this with my daughter.

Settlers of Catan Junior. This continues to be popular.

Mouse Carousel. When did we play eleven games of this? Probably didn’t take many sessions. Not a bad memory game, actually.

Kayanak. Popular, though tends to encourage creative play as the rules are not pleasant to the kids. My son doesn’t like the dictatorship of the dice. My daughter loves to play with this game, too. Punching holes in paper and fishing for metal balls is just great fun…

Das magische Labyrinth. Still reasonably popular, and I enjoyed the game even more once we forgot the dice and just moved three steps each turn.

Kids from Catan. There’s hardly any game in the box, but the components are cool and my three-year-old daughter likes the game. What’s more to ask? I also paid the princely sum of four euros for the game. I’ll probably get rid of the game once the kids grow out of it, but so far I’m going to enjoy it with my daughter.

Das kleine Gespenst. Fun little memory game.

Mysteries of Peking. This is actually a fairly awful game, but I have fond memories of it from my childhood and my son loves it. We play it almost every time we’re at the inlaws (it’s my wife’s old copy).

Dawn Under. I’ve sold mine long time ago, but I borrowed my mother’s copy. We’ve played couple of games, not a bad game at all.

Schildkrötenrennen. I’d like to play more, but this is still a bit demanding for my son. Keeping his colour a secret, for example, is still a bit of a challenge.

Animal upon Animal – Balancing Bridge. The original didn’t make it to the list and this new version only barely. Not my son’s favourite games at the moment. I keep suggesting the original every now and then, but with little success.

Arvaa kumpi voitti

Games I’ve kept on enjoying

String Railway. Still an excellent filler. Fortunately I’ve been able to avoid the most analytical players, as those sort of ruin the game. It’s just not precise enough for very exact play. You have to relax a bit. I also have the Transport sequel, which I’ve only played once, but it seems very promising too.

Nile DeLuxor. Nile was good, one of the hits in 2010, and the new DeLuxor version improves it. There’s a decent box, actually usable cards and more cards to improve the game with larger player counts. Nile is very good with two or three players and decent with four and six. Rather entertaining little filler.

Carcassonne. This old classic made a bit of a comeback, thanks to the excellent iPad Carcassonne. I’ve played it quite a bit, both against AIs and humans, and I’ve found that Carcassonne is actually a rather excellent game. It’s really well done and fun to play.

Innovation. Playing Innovation is tricky, but I still managed eight games, mostly two-player games with Hannu (who is just about the only person in my game group who likes the game).

SNCF. This got eight plays, not bad, but could be better, as it is a rather excellent little game. Now better known as Paris Connection, this is a rather elegant game of railroads and shares, but unfortunately nobody else seems to be as thrilled by it as I am. I need to push it a bit more as a filler; it stands a good chance, because the game is very player count flexible.

Samarkand. I still like it a lot. No sight of the expansion so far, but to be honest, I think I’m better off without it.

Bunte Runde. I finally got myself a copy of this charming little game. This could go under children’s games, but I also played this with adults. I think this is a lovely little abstract.

Casino boss

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

The Enigma of Leonardo. This was pretty dreadful.

Excape. Knizia game, but very frustrating.

Roope-setä Liikemiespeli. The worst business game of the year.

Days of Steam. This was one of the worst disappointments. Well, I knew this might not be the hottest game, but still… it fell incredibly flat. The game has some real problems and it is pretty much unplayable until fixed. Too bad, I liked parts of it quite a bit.

Chunky Fighters. Kind of interesting, but eventually very tedious.

Portobello Market

Fives and dimes

Longest list ever? Maybe. Dimes:

  • Kids of Carcassonne (57)
  • Geistertreppe (32)
  • Villa Paletti (18)
  • Dominion (17)
  • Lamarckian Poker (16)
  • String Railway (14)
  • Gulo Gulo (13)
  • Haselnussbande (13)
  • Jishaku (13)
  • Forbidden Island (12)
  • 7 Wonders (12)
  • Mouse Carousel (11)
  • Nile DeLuxor (11)
  • Kraken-Alarm (11)
  • Dobble (10)
  • Carneval (10)

Fives:

  • Settlers of Catan Junior (9)
  • Stone Age (9)
  • Puzzle Strike (9)
  • Carcassonne (9)
  • Innovation (8)
  • SNCF (8)
  • Bunte Runde (8)
  • Kayanak (8)
  • Kids from Catan (7)
  • Samarkand (7)
  • Dawn Under (7)
  • Das kleine Gespenst (7)
  • Das magische Labyrinth (7)
  • Battle Line (6)
  • Schildkrötenrennen (6)
  • Terra Evolution (6)
  • The Mysteries of Peking (6)
  • Rattus (6)
  • Repello (5)
  • Principato (5)
  • Jälkipeli (5)
  • The Resistance (5)
  • Geschenkt (5)
  • Animal upon Animal – Balancing Bridge (5)

Lining up

Year metric

  • Battle Line (10/11)
  • Attika (9/9)
  • Age of Steam (9/9
  • San Juan (8/8)
  • Ta Yü (8/9)
  • Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation (8/10)
  • Ingenious * (7/8)
  • Gang of Four (7/9)
  • Tarock (5/5)

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.

Oops!

H-index

My H-index for this year is 11. All-time H-index is 26, two up from last year.

Christmas Games

While waiting for the gifts, I played some games with my girlfriend Johanna. Because we were spending the Christmas at her parent’s home, we had her old game collection to use: Afrikan tähti (Star of Africa, named after the huge diamond) and Pekingin mysteerit (aka Mysteries of Peking).

Afrikan tähti is the best-selling Finnish game ever. Designed by Kari Mannerla in 1951, it’s still the most-loved boardgame in Finland and available everywhere where board games are sold. It was nice to refresh my memory of the game, unfortunately the memories were better than the game was. I was mostly shocked by the poor quality of the components. The board was almost paper thin when compared to the heavy, mounted boards of German games and the tokens were really flimsy.

The game was ok. Of course, it was a luck-filled dice race, but for children’s game (and for a game of it’s age), it’s still fairly good. I’m happy the board has gone unchanged in the maelstroms of political correctness, the happy African tribesmen are still dancing in the heart of Africa.

Mysteries of Peking was one of my favourites when I was younger. It’s still an ok game, but it’s definitely not a deduction game — it’s more of a race game, in which players try to race around the board gathering evidence and then to find the guilty person. It all comes down to the luck of dice and card. Still, for children, it’s an excellent game because the components are well done. I’d definitely play it with my children, if I had any and they’d enjoy it.

Anyway, it was a fun way to pass some time (the games were over surprisingly fast), especially as Johanna won both games. Mysteries of Peking were close — we both knew who the criminal was and where he was. I was two steps from the right dragon and it was Johanna’s turn. She didn’t reach the dragon (she had no chance), but she got a “move a dragon”-card from the fortune cookie and moved to dragon to her and won. I do claim moral victory in Afrikan tähti, as I was one step from Cairo with the Africa Star when I decided to go to Tangiers instead…

So, great fun even with these more simple games. All it takes is some good company and some time to waste…