Holiday gaming- January 2014

Just back from a week in Lanzarote. Although much warmer than the UK and only a couple of brief showers during the week, it was very windy which made it a bit chillier than normal. As usual, I’d packed one or two games and we (Jan, Cat and myself) managed to play something every day except one (when Cat and I watched The Hunger Games instead). Here’s a quick rundown of what we played:

Sunday 19th: Although we didn’t arrive until about 7.30pm, we still managed a quick game of Clubs. Although a very simple climbing cardgame, I really like it and it is very easy to explain to people. We played to 40 rather than 50 points and Cat won 48-44-32.


Monday 20th: Managed a solo game of Friday in the afternoon. Can’t believe it’s so long since I last played this. However, it came back to me fairly easily and I managed a win. My score ended up as Fighting 34 Pirates 30 Life 45 Aging -5 Hazards -27 = 77. We also managed to play Air King which has been on my unplayed list since I acquired it at Essen. It’s a hidden goal game where you are trying to manoeuvre planes to their destination so that your planes arrive before anyone else’s. It wasn’t a bad game but it’s not one that’s going to be jumping out at me to try again. Jan won.

Tuesday 21st: Another one of my unplayed games today: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Das Kartenspiel. This is a simplified version of Reiner Knizia’s King’s Gate where you place tiles in your colour around a location and once all the spots are covered, you score and move onto the next location. Again, easy to play although Jan got stuffed a couple of times so wasn’t as thrilled at the game as might have been the case. Cat won this one 12-10-9.


Wednesday 22nd: We played Vom Kap bis Kairo, a game I’ve been meaning to dig out and try again for ages. We were all impressed with this neat racing card game, building our railways across Africa. Has some nice bidding choices to make in determining the type of landscape you need to traverse each round but seems nicely balanced so a runaway leader shouldn’t be a problem. This went right down to the wire with all of us just one step from winning but Cat had enough cash left to buy the extra rails she needed to reach Kairo first.

Thursday 23rd: I’m a big Mystery Rummy fan and Wyatt Earp may be my favourite. Last time I played this was three years ago, again while in Lanzarote. Another close finish but I managed to take $11k in the third round to overtake Cat for the win. $26k-$24k-$22k.

Friday 24th: This was movie night but I did still manage to play a solo game of SOS: Titanic. I got a very fortunate start but my luck didn’t hold out too long. As it was, Fredrick Fleet managed to rescue 29 passengers before the ship sank.


Saturday 25th: Our final night saw us fit in two games. We started with No Thanks, a great little game. I banked on getting a long run of high cards but had two gaps killing my chances. Jan won 7-26-77 (don’t look at that last score!) We then decided to play Vom Kap bis Kairo again and it was just as close a result as the previous time with Cat this time gambling by using the last of her money to cross her seventh terrain. However, it paid off as we were unable to stop her getting to Kairo first again.

All in all, a great week’s holiday, despite the breeze, and some good gaming as well. And I only won once all week.

Wayback When? – January ’94, ’99, ’04, ’09

Wayback When? is a review of the games I was playing five, ten, fifteen and twenty years ago with me highlighting the most memorable titles of each particular month in the vain hope that I might dig out some of them to play again. This month we’re looking at January 1994, 1999, 2004 and 2009.


In 2009, we played a few excellent new games. Leader 1 was a fabulous cycle racing game with modular courses and excellent movement mechanism (one of Mark W’s favourites). Diamonds Club is a very elegant design from Rudiger Dorn about a competition to develop one’s country estate and really should be played again soon. Oregon is also a charming design set in mid 19th Century western America and is about positioning farmers and buildings in the best locations to yield the most points.


January 2004 only saw me play five games but there were two good ones among them. Oasis is a fun hand management and area control game by Alan Moon and Aaron Weissblum, with an interesting offer mechanism for determining turn order. Pirates Cove is an early Days of Wonder game about pirates fighting for booty over various islands to become the most famous swashbuckler.


Fifteen years ago saw my first opportunity to play the excellent Carabande (republished as PitchCar), the ultimate flicking race game, as well as Tycoon which is a Wolfgang Kramer and Horst Rainer Rosner design about businessmen travelling the world opening hotels and factories to make the most money. I also played another great Reiner Knizia card game, Circus Flohcati, which works as a fun 20 minute game in virtually any setting.

Unfortunately, January 1994 saw me play only two games, neither of which was new to me. However, one of them - Broadway – is definitely worth playing again (Monopoly’s gamier friend).

2013 roundup

2013 saw me play 234 games of 155 different titles (just one more than the 154 different titles played in 2012, one fewer than the 156 different titles played in 2011 and two fewer than the 157 played in both 2010 and 2009). Again, I find it pretty remarkable how close these numbers are. The total plays at 234 is slightly down compared with 239 in 2012 but higher than the 200 in 2011, 208 in 2010 and 229 in 2009). My full list of games played is here.

My most played game was Legendary which saw 15 plays (including some played with the Dark City expansion). Only three other games exceeded 3 plays (Love Letter with 11, Qwixx with 6 and Star Wars: Angriff der Klonkrieger with 4). 13 games were played three times, 23 were played twice and 115 of them were played just once. My unplayed game list started 2013 at 23 but has ballooned towards the end of the year and sits at 39. I need to get this down to single figures fairly soon this year.

2013 (like 2012) seemed to produce several good games but not a single stand out game. My six picks for the year were Snowdonia, Qwixx, Rialto, Clubs, Spyrium and Amerigo. As with last year, I’ve also done a six picks of solo and two-player games featuring Legendary, SOS Titanic, Robinson Crusoe, Stak Bots, Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game and 1911: Amundsen vs Scott. All in all, a pretty good year. Let’s hope 2014 is just as good.

December 2013 roundup

In December, I managed to play 21 games of 17 different titles, 12 of which were new to me. The new games were: Amerigo, Piraten Kapern, Flash 10, UGO, Mush! Mush! Mascarade, Prosperity, You Suck, The Logo Board Game, Concordia, Risk Express and Battleship: Hidden Threat.

I added seven new games to the collection which were Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia, Cheaty Mages, Guildhall, Mush! Mush! Game of Thrones, The Logo Board Game and Speculation. My unplayed list stands at 39 and Game of the Month could have been Concordia (but I need to see how it plays multi-player, although it plays really well as a two-player game) but instead I decided to pick yet another Stefan Feld game, Amerigo.