My 20 game choices from 2007 and earlier

Following on from yesterday’s post about the latest Gamenight episode, I decided to construct my own list and managed an initial selection of thirty. Unfortunately, that meant I had to cut High Society, Quandary, Die Siedler von Catan, Traumfabrik, Speculation, Basari, Street Soccer, Tumblin’ Dice, Medici and Mystery Rummy: Al Capone & the Chicago Underworld. However, that still left me with:

Ave Caesar
El Grande
Liar’s Dice / Bluff
San Juan
Pillars of the Earth
Shadows over Camelot
Kardinal & Konig / Web of Power
6 Nimmt
Around the World in 80 Days
For Sale
Lord of the Rings
Can’t Stop
Lost Cities
Ticket to Ride

None of these are ever leaving my collection and I’d be happy to play these any time.

Pre-2007 games on Gamenight

Just listened to one of my favourite episodes of Gamenight where they review the best games of 2007 and earlier. The link is here. Lots of fond memories of some fantastic games and it goes to show what a talented designer Reiner Knizia was (and still is). Not only his gamer games but also lighter stuff like Exxtra and En Garde still stand the test of time.

Mark’s and Dave’s choices probably align closest to my own tastes although I’ve not bothered to work out my own top 20. Knowing their tastes, I wasn’t surprised to hear Harry’s Grand Slam Baseball Game and Entdecker included. However, there were a few omissions that I was disappointed didn’t feature. I would definitely have Liar’s Dice / BluffAve Caesar and The Pillars of the Earth on my list.

2017 end of year roundup

2017 saw me play 274 games of 175 different titles and 106 of these were new to me during the year. This was up on last year although 2016 suffered due to my house move and general lack of opportunities to play. Here are the totals for the last several years:

Year Total Different
2017 274 175
2016 133 119
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 2017 is here.


My most played games were Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle with 11 plays (once with the Monster Box of Monsters expansion) and Mmm! with 10 plays. Then came Formula D (8 plays), Herbaceous (7 plays), Limes (6 plays) and Can’t Stop (5 plays). 5 games were played four times, 5 games were played three times, 33 were played twice and 126 of them were played just once. My unplayed games list started 2017 at 28 and I’m happy to report it has sunk to zero as of the end of this year.

My six picks for the best games I played for the first time in 2017 were Azul, Flamme Rouge, Majesty: For the Realm, Mmm! The Quest for El Dorado and Terraforming Mars. As with last year, I’ve also done a six picks of solo / two-player games featuring 4 Seasons, Blood of an Englishman, Codenames: Duet, Fox in the Forest, Klask and Nemo’s War (second edition).


As far as the collection is concerned, I sold off another large batch of games in the second half of the year but have been adding a few each month over the course of the year. Nevertheless, the total has come down again from 561 to 523. I’d like to get the total closer to 400 so will be doing some more auctions in 2018.

December 2017 roundup

During December, I managed to play 29 games of 25 different titles, with 20 of them being new to me in my quest to clear my unplayed games list by the end of the year. The new games were:


Legends – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2016

Legends is an excellent,family game using the Thebes time-track turn-order mechanism, with you spending time to travel the map, collect cards, spend cards to lay books of knowledge at the locations, and influence the headquarters deck, which determines which locations are likely to be scored when the scoring phase is triggered. A pleasant surprise for a game that seems to have had very little attention on BGG.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – The Monster Box of Monsters Expansion – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2017

More Hogwarts Battle with Creatures being added to the list of Villains you need to defeat and Encounters that you need to overcome. Not too different from the base game so far (only Box 1 opened so far).

Abyss – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2014

A game I’ve had nearly a year before finally playing it and it’s very good. Fairly easy to explain and play with Jan and Becky both enjoying it.

Majesty: For the Realm – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2017

I hoped this new title by Marc Andre was going to be good, based on how much I like Splendor, but this was truly excellent. One of the best games of the year and easily played within half an hour with four players. Should be just as good with two so it should see more play in 2018.

Word Slam – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2016

Excellent party game with two teams trying to guess the same answer with a clue giver on each side frantically selecting word cards to guide their team to the solution. But the other team’s guesses could be just as helpful in narrowing things down. Great fun.

Smile – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2017

Michael Schacht does Geschenkt/ No Thanks. I really enjoyed this one and the rule where pairs of the same value get discarded can either help to get rid of negative cards or drive you mad when you’re forced to discard a high positive one. Excellent, although pricey for what you get in the box.

Dream On! – 2 plays –  8 
First Published 2017

Another great party game where you spend 2 minutes using cards to create a story and then co-operate to re-tell it as best you can. We were so bad at remembering things (alcohol may have hindered us quite a bit) but we still had a fun time.

Azul – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2017

Brilliant game of drafting tiles to then be placed as decorations in your palace. Points are scored depending on how they are placed with bonuses for certain patterns and tile sets. Simple to play but plenty to think about. Excellent.

Vienna – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2015

Dice game a bit like Kingsburg but playable in a much shorter time. A solid design and enjoyable gameplay.

Pyramids – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2017

Another very good card-drafting game that plays in half an hour. Constructing three structures with your stone cards, you try to connect stones of the same colour in your pyramid, get a certain colour appear on many levels in your obelisk, and try to have colour majorities in your tomb.

The Chameleon – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2017

Another very good party game where one player tries to hide the fact they are the chameleon during a single round of clue-giving towards a word that everyone but the chameleon knows. Chameleon gets a point if they remain hidden or are discovered but can guess the secret word. We had good fun with this, even though I failed to score a point the whole game.

KLASK – 2 plays –  7 
First Published 2014

Great dexterity game which is a bit like Weykick but has magnets that you need your playing piece to avoid as well as not falling into your own goal.

Evolution: Climate – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2016

Very nice hand-management card game where you create animal species with traits to allow them to feed, while also increasing their body size / population and dealing with the changing climate. Nice game of creating effective card combos.

King’s Road – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2017

Very straightforward area majority game that plays simply and is all about second-guessing what everyone else is trying to do. Solid game but probably not got much in the way of replayability.

Yangtze – 1 play –  6 
First Published 2016

A set-collection and commodity trading game by Reiner which works but turned out to be a bit dull. Nothing wrong with it but pretty forgettable.

Exit: The Game – The Pharaoh’s Tomb – 1 play –  6 
First Published 2016

Another co-operative escape-room type game with some tricky puzzles. Ok but not great.

Bears vs Babies – 1 play –  6 
First Published 2017

The follow-up to Exploding Kittens is about building monsters / bears to be able to defeat the evil babies. Quite good fun with some take that aspects and the monster-part descriptions are pretty funny.

Fast Forward: FEAR – 1 play –  6 
First Published 2017

This is a game. It plays ok but, as with the other Fast Forward titles. I have no desire to replay it.

Fast Forward: FORTRESS – 1 play –  6 
First Published 2017

See above.

Clash of the Gladiators – 1 play –  6 
First Published 2002

I bought an in-shrink copy of this at UK Games Expo this year and opened it this month to find one of the dice was misprinted. You can still play the game but I doubt there’s any chance of obtaining a replacement die. The game is all about chucking dice and hoping for decent rolls. No real strategy after constructing your gladiator teams but it plays ok. You just need the right crowd to make the most of it.


2x The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
2x Zombie Dice
1x Flamme Rouge
1x Mmm!
1x Amphipolis

As I was concentrating on clearing my unplayed games, not a lot else got played, although I did play a couple of games of LotR: TCG to refresh myself on the rules, having last played it in 2011.


I added 9 new titles to the collection which means my total collection now stands at 523. The new games were: Azul, Majesty: For the Realm, Smile, Word Slam, Pyramids, Klask, Bears vs. Babies, Evolution: Climate and Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – The Monster Box of Monsters.

My list of unplayed games has sunk from 10 at the start of the month to zero now (Hurray!) and my Game of the Month was Majesty: For the Realm.

November 2017 roundup

During November, I managed to play 22 games of 21 different titles, with 4 of them being new to me. The new games were:


Nemo’s War (second edition) – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2017

This is an excellent solo exploration game based on Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, with a nice dice gambling mechanism for the various encounters that take place. Really enjoyed this and with four different motives to try, you’ll play differently each time. Also, thumbs up to Victory Point Games for quickly sending me a replacement board as my original was badly misaligned.

Kokoro: Avenue of the Kodama – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2017

I never tried the original Avenue but jumped on the Kickstarter for Kokoro (which I rarely do these days). Kokoro is very good and presents you with a nice puzzle with a gambling element regarding whether or not to forego a turn to peek at the next destination card.

Century: Spice Road – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2017

I’m not sure whether I really like Century: Spice Road or whether it’s just a bit too bland. Now it doesn’t normally bother me but this just seemed like the resource conversion process was too drawn out – one conversion in a process that might take several to achieve what you wanted made the game drag a bit. Turns are quick so it comes round without any downtime but the incremental actions were too small for me. Still, I enjoyed the game and do want to play it again.

Fast Forward: FLEE – 1 play –  6 
First Published 2017

This is the htird in Friedemann Friese’s Fast Forward series and is a co-operative card game where you are trying to avoid being captured by the monster. It worked well but I must have been lucky because I won on my first play through. And, having won while know ing what cards are coming up means I’ll probably not need ever to play it again.


2x Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle
1x NMBR 9
1x The Lost Expedition
1x Coconuts
1x Numeri
1x Raj
1x Würfelwurst
1x Stop it!
1x Schollen Rollen
1x Rumpelstiltskin
1x Take it Easy!
1x Say Anything
1x Loony Quest
1x Snake Oil
1x Super Cluedo Challenge
1x Zombie Dice
1x Tsuro

We finally won game 7 of Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle this month which was a nice achievement and Becky’s already reset it so she can play the whole series again with her friends. Looking forward to the Monster Box expansion when I can get hold of a copy for a reasonable price. Super Cluedo Challenge was a nice nostalgic return to the table – not sure but it’s probably 15 years at least since I last tried it. And it was also good to get Loony Quest played again as it is really good fun.


I added 5 new titles to the collection and passed 4 on to the local charity shop, which means my total collection now stands at 514. The new games were: Kokoro: Avenue of the Kodama, Dream On and the three Fast Forward games: Fear, Fortress and Flee.

My list of unplayed games rose slightly from 9 to 10 and my Game of the Month was Nemo’s War: Second Edition.

October 2017 roundup

This month, I managed to play 17 games of 12 different titles, with 3 of them being new to me. The new games (all dice-chuckers) were:


Roll For It! – 2 plays –  7 
First Published 2011

Simple game where you try to save dice attempting to match combinations on scoring cards, with the first to collect 40 points of scoring cards being the winner. Very striaghtforward, easy to explain and play.

Schollen Rollen – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2017

Excellent push your luck dice-roller where you try to collect as many fishes on your turn through multiple rolls, without rolling a blank and letting them escape your net. Good fun with the ability to steal from others making this a bit more interactive, especially at the end when you’re really praying for a hook symbol to turn up.

Kriss Kross – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2017

Another roll and write, grid-filling game where you try to get matching symbols in the same rows and columns to maximise your score. Pretty reminiscent of Mosaix but this only utilises two dice with six symbols whereas Mosaix uses 4 dice with 3 symbols. Good fun.


4x Can’t Stop
2x Straw
1x Hostage Negotiator
1x Dice Stars
1x Pickomino
1x Limes
1x Rallyman
1x Bowling Solitaire
1x Onirim

I was really pleased to get Straw back to the table, a great game that we played a couple of times three-player while on holiday.


I added 3 new titles to the collection and sold 31, which means my total collection is now down to 513. The new games were: King’s Road, Roll for It and Century: Spice Road.

My list of unplayed games dropped from 11 to 9 and my Game of the Month was Schollen Rollen.

September 2017 roundup

Forgot to post this last month so just catching up.

This month, I managed to play just 13 games of 11 different titles, with 3 of them being new to me. The new games were:


Unfair – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2017

I finally received the corrected cards for the Kickstarter version of Unfair so took it out for a try. It’s a nice design although the balance between the economic aspect and the building part is weighted more towards the former. That said, there looks to be lots of replayability in the box and there are bound to be expansion packs. Pretty good.

Shahrazad – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2015

This is a tableau building, puzzle game with lovely illustrated tiles, trying to connect the same colour tiles while also ensuring the numerical value fits in with the tiles around it. Some luck in the order the tiles come out but, as it only takes 10 minutes to play, if the tiles are unkind early on, you’re not stuck with the situation long.

Medici: The Card Game – 3 plays –  7 
First Published 2017

The original Medici is a classic but this new iteration does away with the auction and replaces it with a push-your-luck mechanism. It’s a lighter game and there is less interaction and I miss the agony of spending points to meet your bid but the card game is deliberately different and I’ve really enjoyed my games of it so far.


1x OctoDice
1x Limes
1x Love Letter
1x Formula D
1x Freedom: The Underground Railroad
1x Paperback
1x Rallyman
1x Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game

I was glad to get in plays of Rallyman and Freedom: The Underground Railroad after long absences and both have cemented their places in my collection for now.


I added 4 new titles to the collection, reacquired 1 and sold 48, which means my total collection now stands at 540. The new games were: Shahrazad, Nemo’s War (second edition), Kriss Kross and Schollen Rollen.

My list of unplayed games dropped from 14 to 11 and my Game of the Month was Medici: The Card Game.

August 2017 roundup

This month, I managed to play 34 games of 29 different titles, with 11 of them being new to me. The new games were:


The Fox in the Forest – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2017

Excellent two player only trick taking game with a very nice scoring mechanism where a bad hand can still see you coming out on top.

Codenames Duet – 2 plays –  8 
First Published 2017

Two player or two-team co-operative version of Codenames. Works really well.

Zooscape – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2015

Interesting set-collection game incorporating an I split / everyone chooses mechanism with a second-guessing element. Look forward to playing this again.

Sultaniya – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2014

Tile laying game where you create a palace, aiming to create certain features and fulfil secret individual objectives. Gaining the favour of the djinns will help you in achieving your objectives. Really nice components in this game.

Welcome Back to the Dungeon – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2016

Virtually identical to Welcome to the Dungeon. Not sure you need both but the game is still good fun.

Rummikub – 4 plays –  7 
First Published 1977

Don’t tell anyone but I’ve never played this before. Picked up a cheap unplayed copy in a charity shop and the family loved it. Jan is happy to play this anytime at the moment. I really liked it as well.

Kribbeln – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2016

Another roll and write (score) game with nice chunky dice. Close cousin to Yahtzee but some thought needed in getting your Kribbeln (wild) scoring lines filled in (ie don’t be too greedy with your first Kribbeln)

4 Seasons – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2010

Very good two-player card game where the cards you hold can only help your opponent or increase the scoring opportunity of a suit (season). A different way of thinking about your hand is needed for this one based on incomplete but not completely random card knowledge.

The Lost Expedition – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2017

Co-operative exploration game where you try to get your party of explorers all the way to El Dorado without them all having first succumbed to the dangers of the jungle. Nice thinky puzzle.

Legendary: Villains – A Marvel Deck Building Game – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2014

Same game but where you’re wanting the villains to overcome a hero scheme. I was attracted more to the mix and match opportunity of teaming heroes and villains together but, ultimately, thought there is enough variability with just the heroes and the schemes in Villains seemed a bit naff.

Chariot Race – 1 play –  6 
First Published 2016

This has the racing and attacking elements you’d expect in a chariot race and it plays in a pretty quick time but it fell a bit flat for me. It works but I’d rather just race than drop caltrops or throw javelins at my opponents.


2x Dungeon Raiders
1x Herbaceous
1x Formula D
1x Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle
1x Rondo
1x Limes
1x Finito!
1x Arkham Horror: The Card Game
1x The Yeti Slalom
1x Can’t Stop
1x Elfer raus! Das Brettspiel
1x The Mole in the Hole
1x Friday
1x Pickomino
1x Onirim
1x Murdero
1x Qwirkle
1x Onitama


I added 6 new titles to the collection and sold 49, which means my total collection now stands at 583. The new games were: Akrotiri, The Lost Expedition, Kribbeln, Rummikub, 4 Seasons and Codenames Duet.

My list of unplayed games dropped from 23 to 14 and my Game of the Month was Codenames Duet.

July 2017 roundup

This month, I managed to play 17 games of 15 different titles, with 9 of them being new to me. The new games were:


Terraforming Mars – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2016

This isn’t normally a game I’d be drawn to but its success and the views of a couple of geek buddies made me take the plunge. I’m only likely to play this solo but both the solo and multiplayer game seem really solid and the theme is engaging. I really enjoyed my first play and am looking forward to trying the different corporations.

Start 11! The Board Game – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2012

Reiner Knizia puts his own twist on the card game Elfer Raus and it works very well as a nice family game. Not too much in the way of strategy but not brainless either. A nice relaxing game to play.

Numeri – 1 play –  7 
First Published 1998

I’m a big fan of Schmidt’s Easy Play line of games and this is another fun one, although it seems easy to mess yourself up with no chance of catching up. Not the best game in that line but one that is easy to get the family to play.

Dairyman – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2016

Another small Asian game from Tasty Minstrel and this is a push your luck dice game. I messed up the rules explanation initially but once I’d gone back and checked, it then worked quite well. Sadly our game ended in a three way tie and there appears to be no tie break rule, so that made it a bit anti-climactic but I’m not going to penalise it unless ties end up being a regular occurrence.

Sea of Clouds – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2016

An interesting card drafting game about amassing the greatest pirate loot over 12 or 15 rounds. Much of the loot is public knowledge but some is secret and as you need to collect pirates to assist in three boarding events, you need to balance going for loot with recruiting pirates, else you may end up being plundered too much. Good fun.

Das Vermächtnis des Maharaja – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2017

Another solid Michael Schacht game (no surprise there), with this being a set collection game with a tight money economy in which gaining more money makes things in the market cheaper for the next player. Plays well with two, which is how I tried it.

Fugitive – 1 play –  6 
First Published 2017

Clever deduction / second-guessing game for two that looks to work pretty well but Jan didn’t really like it much. Not sure whether the two roles are balanced or not but to me it was a quick fun puzzle.

Get The Cheese! – 1 play –  6 
First Published 2015

This card placement game sees you trying to place your fifteen animals mice cats and dog to gain the most cheese, capture the most mice or chase off the cats. Working out when and where to place is the key to winning and having some cards face down makes the game-end reveal quite tense. Fun but not fantastic.

The Bogey – 2 plays –  6 
First Published 2016

This is a solo card game with a traditional deck of cards where you face a nice puzzle of trying to lay out all the cards without opening up more than 12 columns. However, after each of your turns, the bogey reveals the top card of the deck and it has to placed somewhere and often it messes up your plans. I quite enjoyed this but am not sure how much I am likely to replay it. However, players of card patience will probably enjoy this.


2x Formula D
1x Herbaceous
1x Spot it!
1x Groo: The Game
1x Noch mal!
1x BraveRats


I added 9 new titles to the collection and reacquired 1 (Rondo), which means my total collection now stands at 626. The new games were: Formula D: New Jersey & Sotchi, Get the Cheese, Fugitive, Numeri,Dairyman, Terraforming Mars, The Fox in the Forest, Medici: The Card Game and Start 11: The Board GameNow I’m back from holiday, look out for the great purge of 2017, which should start tomorrow or Thursday – geeklist auctions-a-plenty as another 200 games are going to disappear from my collection.

My list of unplayed games dropped by 1 from 24 to 23 and my Game of the Month was surprisingly a heavier game than I usually go for, particularly due to the really good solo version: Terraforming Mars.

June 2017 roundup

This month, I managed to play 22 games of 15 different titles, with 9 of them being new to me. The new games were:


The Blood of an Englishman – 2 plays –  8 
First Published 2016

Very nice asymmetric puzzle where one player, as Jack, tries to climb three beanstalks and steal treasure while the other, as the Giant, tries to capture Jack. Good theme and can get quite tense as both players get close to achieving their goals.Enjoyed this a lot.

Sagrada – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2017

Dice drafting game about placing dice in a grid following certain placement restrictions while trying to satisfy point-scoring patterns. Any gaps in your stained glass window grid at the end of the game yield negative points and judicious use of tools help you break the rules in certain respects. Nice thinky game.

World’s Fair 1893 – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2016

Excellent area control game played over three rounds where area majorities also allow you to cash in card sets for more points. Very straightforward gameplay and nothing very original but it all fits together very well.

Piñata – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2013

This is a revamp of Balloon Cup using the designer’s original rules and with a different theme. Very good game that Jan enjoyed quite a lot – didn’t hurt that she won when it came down to the wire.

Polterfass – 1 play –  8 
First Published 2013

If you like push your luck games, then this is another good one where you shake number barrels under a dice cup in the hope that they appear standing upright, while everyone else is trying to take a piece of your action but without being too greedy. Good fun.

TimeBomb – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2014

I’m not a big fan of social deduction games but the theme of this worked for me, with one team of Sherlock’s helpers trying to cut the wires to a bomb planted by Moriarty to blow up Big Ben. Played with just four so not the best number and I’d be keen to try it again with five or more.

Glüx – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2016

Abstract game of placing number tokens on a board where placement is governed by the numbers on your previously placed tokens, with a view to gaining an area majority in certain shaded regions of the board. Works pretty well and plays very quickly, providing players don’t suffer from too much AP.

MotorChamp – 1 play –  7 
First Published 2000

Beautiful motor racing game where board congestion is a key part of the play while pushing your luck can have fatal consequences so is only used sparingly. Different from Formula D and makes a nice change.

Meins! – 1 play –  6 
First Published 2012

An early Pelikan / Pfister card game. Set collection to claim VP cards from a market. Plays ok but not going to set the world alight with its originality.


4x Formula D
3x Mmm!
2x NMBR 9
1x Limes
1x Mini Mölkky
1x Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle

Book 7 of Hogwart’s Battle proved to be another step up in difficulty and ended in defeat for us. Four more Formula D/De circuits played this month and I’m still really enjoying these. And summer arrived for a short while so Molkky was obviously played and was great fun as usual.


I added 17 new titles to the collection, most of which were picked up in the Shire Games closing down sale – which has been a great store over the last 12 years and will be sadly missed. The new games were: Formula D and 5 course packs, Motorchamp and its Course Collection 1, Clash of the Gladiators, Zooscape, Legendary: Villains, Tokaido: Matsuri, The Blood of an Englishman, Pinata, Bang: The Duel, Polterfass and World’s Fair 1893. My total collection now stands at 616. When I’m back from holiday in mid-July, look out for the great purge of 2017 – geeklist auctions-a-plenty as another 200 games are going to disappear from my collection.

My list of unplayed games jumped from 18 to 24 because of the large number of acquisitions in June and my Game of the Month was a tricky decision as there were some really strong contenders but I decided to give it to World’s Fair 1893.