January 2016 roundup

During January, gaming was very light and I only managed to play 16 games of 15 different titles, 5 of which were new to me. The new games were:

504 – The hot Essen release about combining modules to create a different game every time is very clever on paper but seemed very dry in the execution. Only played module 123 but looking at the other modules didn’t inspire me to want to explore more. Shame.
Between Two Cities – Nice city building drafting game where you work with your neighbours to create the best shared city and you score the lower-valued of your two cities. Solo game was good.
Scharfe Schoten – Clever trick-taking game. At the start of each round you predict which colours of card you are going to collect both the most and least in. You score points if either of your predictions is correct and a bonus if both are correct. The card backs show the suit colours so you have some knowledge in working out your card play but it is often tricky trying to win enough cards in your off-suits to ensure your predictions pay off.
Qwinto – This is a spin-off from Qwixx where you roll dice and write the total in one of three rows with numbers having to be in ascending order from left to right. Sounds like Qwixx but scoring is different and there is a bit more to think about in where in the grid to mark your total. Really good.
The Big Book of Madness – Co-op deck building game where you are combining elements and casting spells to overcome curses and monsters. Seemed pretty tough on a first play but looks to be a fair bit of variability and left me thinking about strategy well after I’d finished playing.

I added 4 new games to the collection: Push It, The Grizzled, Octodice and TIME Stories: A Prophecy of Dragons.

My unplayed list is down from 20 to 19, and my Game of the Month was the really tough but interesting co-op game, The Big Book of Madness although Qwinto also pushed it quite hard.

Push It!

No gaming for me this week, partly due to a stinking cold I got as soon as I was back from holiday but also because of me missing the Shrewsbury Boardgames Club session due to me having to pick up the in-laws from Manchester Airport on Friday.

However, I noticed one of my Geekbuddies, Martin Griffiths (qwertymartin), had played a game this week I didn’t recognise and so had to investigate further. Push It is a really simple dexterity game of flicking wooden pieces to get closest to the jack (target). It utilises the petanque rule of the player or team furthest from the jack continuing to play until that is no longer the case (I played quite a bit of petanque on holiday btw). It’s one of those play anywhere games, as long as you’ve got a smooth surface so, in theory, it ought to get a fair bit of play.

It was a Kickstarter project last year and successfully funded, although I never saw it. However, it’s easy to order through the game’s website and, at a cost of £15.30 incl. shipping, I’ve purchased a copy so it should arrive this week.

Kickstarter Monday

I haven’t backed much on Kickstarter recently but the launch of Tiny Epic Western this morning was too tough to resist. I wasn’t sure how much the deluxe version added, other than some digital stuff and a few extra cards, so I’ve just pledged for the basic version so far though I might change this if there are some deluxe only stretch goals that look to be worth having.

And while I was browsing, two other projects caught my eye. I’ve not bit the bullet with either yet but that could change. The first was the second edition of Nemo’s War and the other was the unlimited release of The Pursuit of Happiness that was getting some good reports from Essen last year.

2015 end of year roundup

2015 saw me play 314 games of 205 different titles and 110 of these were new to me during the year. Comparing this to previous years, the games played are down a bit on last year but still significantly above previous years:

Year  Total  Different
2015   314        205
2014   335       219
2013   234       155
2012   239       154
2011   200       156
2010   208       157
2009   229      157

My full list of games played in 2015 is here.

My most played game was Codenames which saw 8 plays, closely followed by Roll for the Galaxy with 7. Only five other games had 5 or more plays (Baseball Highlights 2045 and The Game .. spiel so lange du kannst with 6 plays each and 7 Wonders: Duel, Crazy Coconuts and Hostage Negotiator with 5). 3 games were played four times, 14 were played three times, 37 were played twice and 144 of them were played just once. My unplayed game list started 2015 at 42 and fell down to single figures at one point but is currently sitting at 20. I need to get this down to single figures again fairly soon this year.

My six picks for the best games I played for the first time in 2014 were Roll for the Galaxy, Codenames, Mysterium, Quartermaster General, Stockpile and Staufer Dynasty. As with last year, I’ve also done a six picks of solo and two-player games featuring 7 Wonders: Duel (probably my favourite game of all in 2015), Trambahn, Patchwork, Baseball Highlights: 2045, Risk: Star Wars Edition and Sylvion. All in all, a pretty good year. Let’s hope 2015 is just as good.

I spent a good chunk of the year on my 2015 challenge to reduce my collection by 365 games by the end of the year. I actually managed to sell 410 games and, having done some tidying up of my collection here on BGG as well as my Trickylight site database, I now reckon I own 617 games a huge reduction on the 1,000+ games I have owned in the past. I’ll probably still look to trim that number further during 2016 but not to the same extent as this year’s effort.

December 2015 roundup

During December, I managed to play 19 games of 16 different titles, 5 of which were new to me. The new games were:

Geister Geister Schatzsuchmeister – This is a fun and simple co-op game about grabbing treasures from a haunted house before it gets completely over-run by hauntings. Although this was the German Kinderspiel des Jahres in 2014, it’s still fun and challenging for adults.
TIME Stories: The Marcy Case – The second TIME Stories scenario is another horror-themed affair that, on a first run through, didn’t seem as challenging a puzzle as the Asylum. Maybe it’ll ratchet up the further we get into it.
maskmen – My latest Japanese micro game from Oink Games is a wrestling themed card game about getting rid of your hand of cards before your opponents. Works nicely as a two player game and very quick.
8-28 – This bluffing and second-guessing card game is a nice variant of Blackjack where you’re trying to get cards totalling as close to 8 or 28 without going over. Not sure it’s one to play regularly but enjoyable once in a while.
Risk: Star Wars Edition – This is a battle game based on the finale of the Return of the Jedi film, where the Rebel Alliance is trying to blow up the Death Star, but the game is fought on three fronts: the space battle, the battle for Endor where the Rebels are tring to dismantle the shield generator, and the fight between Luke and Darth Vader on the Death Star itself. Great fun.

I added 8 new games to the collection: Scharfe Schoten, Pi Mal Pflaumen, Big Book of Madness, Bomb Squad, Bomb Squad Academy, Yeti Slalom, Risk: Star Wars Edition and Mottainai.

My unplayed list is up from 18 to 20, and my Game of the Month was the fantastic two (or four) player battle game, Risk: Star wars Edition.

A little bit of house-keeping

Some might know that I spent most of 2015 trimming down my game collection and, while I kept pretty much up to date with updating my Trickylight and Boardgamegeek databases with the changes, I did notice quite a few discrepancies from games that had left the collection in earlier years.

So I’ve spent the past couple of days straightening things out and it appears I now own just 617 games (having been well over 1,000 at the start of the year). I’ll probably still look to trim that number further during 2016 but not to the same extent as this year’s effort.

One game has curiously gone “missing in action” as I’m certain I’ve not sold it and yet I can’t find the game anywhere. If anyone knows what might have become of Dice Town, please get in touch and put me out of my misery.

I’ve also played around a bit with the theme on this blog so let me know if you like it.

2015 Spiel des Jahres and KedJ predictions

The awards for the Spiel des Jahres and Kennerspiel des Jahres are announced tomorrow morning. Here is my speculation about which of the three nominees for each prize will be celebrating victory.

Spiel des Jahres

For the main award, I’ve played all three nominees: Colt Express, Machi Koro and The Game… spiel so lange du kannst! All three are fun games that I could see as a good  choice but I don’t see The Game… as a serious contender. It’s a small card game, has little expansion potential and doesn’t do the “co-op with limited communication” genre as well as Hanabi (even though I prefer it to the earlier game). Of the other two, I’d like Machi Koro to win, as it’s a fantastic light game where the dice rarely do what you want them to, but I think the toy factor of the three-dimensional train will get the nod for Colt Express.

Kennerspiel des Jahres

Unfortunately, I’ve only played one of the KedJ nominees: Elysium. As a next step up game, it fits the criterion really well and you can see plenty of potential for expanding the game – even though that’s something I don’t really appreciate. Orleans has the bag-building mechanism that was the novelty of Essen last year and seems a pretty solid game, whereas Broom Service was a surprise nominee to me (and a lot of other people) as it is a re-working of Witch’s Brew but it does seem to add a bit to that earlier game. I really am having difficulty judging what the judges might be looking for from these three nominees so I’m going to say Broom Service, as I hope it makes what was already a fun game even better.

Newish Boardgamegeek Blog

If you’ve not already noticed (and why should you), I’ve started a blog on Boardgamegeek where I plan to post the sort of things I would have hitherto posted here. Comments on my posts here are minimal, spam comments are widespread, so I will probably stop posting here if the new blog works ok. Comments are easier there and more people tend to take notice so hopefully it will be an improvement. The blog is unimaginatively called Trickylight Relief and you can find it here. Feel free to subscribe if you want.

March 2014 roundup

In March, I managed to play 23 games of 19 different titles, 10 of which were new to me. The new games were: Eldritch Horror, Bang: The Dice Game, Amber, Auf Teufel komm raus, Council of Verona, CV, Fleet, Potato Man, Nox and Glass Road.

I added 12 new games to the collection which were Eldritch Horror, Habe Fertig, Potato Man, Nox, Abluxxen, Dungeon of Mandom, Kobayakawa, Wurfel Bingo, Qwixx: Das Kartenspiel, Zooloretto Mini, Glass Road and Splendor.  My unplayed list has crept up to 31, something I need to reduce during April, and Game of the Month was the excellent re-imagining of Arkham Horror: Eldritch Horror which has a great story to it and can be played in a pretty reasonable time. Our first three player session ended in failure but we all thoroughly enjoyed the experience.