I lied!

It’s not my fault! Honest! I said I had finished with the look back at 2016 stuff. But BGG released their 2016 End of Year Stats. So it’s not my fault.

I just had to go off dig out the old Excel spreadsheet and work out just how many of the “Most Played Games in 2016 (unique plays by person and date)” I owned and had played.

So how did I do?

Well out of the 100 games on the bgg list I own 47 of them. Thats not too bad really. I’d say that three of the games not owned are on my wish list (Friday, Castles of Mad King Ludwig, The Voyages of Marco Polo) , and a further four on my list of games I’d like to try (Blood Rage,Terraforming Mars, Orleans,Biblios).

While I have played 62 of the ones on the list. However only 40 of the games that I had played actually were played in 2016. Which means 22 of the played games I had played before 2016 and before I started recording my game plays using the BG Stats app on my iPhone.

There is still something very satisfying as you run your eye down the list of games and saying in your head with your inner voice “got”, “played”, “got and played”. It’s like you are validating your choices. That the mysterious “crowd” has said these are the cool games. That if you have played these games, you are cool and have very good taste. Am I really that insecure that I need to be validated by a faceless mob? Yep you bet your life I am.

So how many of the Most Played Games of 2016 have you played? Are you as insecure as me?

Building Skyscrapers 

Mention building skyscrapers in New York to most people, and the majority of them will picture the sort of images below from the “golden” era of constructing the Manhattan skyline.

Indeed the cover of New York 1901 tries to invoke that very imagery.

Which is not a big surprise considering that is when the game is set!

Yesterday Les and myself met up to play a learning game of New York 1901.

Did it capture that golden era? It certainly does in the game components and art work. From your workers that you place on the board having girders, to the player score markers being these rather cool little skyscrapers. 

I think less so with the game mechanics. At the moment I can’t quite put my finger on it. Maybe I’ll be able to put into writing what is just on the edge of my consciousness after another play.

I enjoyed New York 1901 as a two player game. But we didn’t have much competition for spots to build our buildings. With not much incentive to use our action cards. I can see this game being very cut throat, and competitive for spots with more players. 

The game does try and force that situation in a two player set up by removing the pink cards from the game. Which reduces the space players are building on and competing for. And in say a game like Kemet (yes I know a completely different style of game) where they do something similar in reducing the playing space for lower player count games. That approach works in Kemet and reduces the playing space significantly to make a difference. In New York 1901 I felt it wasn’t as effective at what it was trying to achieve. 

So before giving final thoughts on the game I’d really like to try the game with three or four players. I think it will play completely different. I also think my final conclusion will be that although playable with two players, don’t. But let’s wait for me to get this to the table with more players. 

Playing New York 1901 reminded me of a “soft” challenge I had set myself last October. Which was to get all of the city building style games I have to the table.

So within the BG Stats app I have now set up a new challenge to actually track my progress.

Technically it should be showing Dice City as played. However I played it before records began! So this challenge will be an excuse to get the game to the table again.

Sauron’s 2017 Gaming Predictions

Using the Palantir hidden in the depths of the Wisbech Castle dungeons, Sauron has shown me images of what is to be in the coming year!

This is what Sauron showed me:

  • The Asmodee borg collective will assimilate more companies. Ok this is almost a given. I think the bigger shock would be if they didn’t. Asmodee are currently still digesting their latest meal F2Z. But I’m pretty sure they have dessert already lined up.
  • Boardgaming fans will be in uproar (again) over some of their favourite games being dropped by the Asmodee borg collective. I’m sure if my memory isn’t playing tricks on me, Tom Vassel has said there is a review going on, and that they will be concentrating on a few key titles. Which says to me there will be casualties. Which will I’m sure will upset fans of those games. It also means the second hand copy market price will shoot up.
  • The issue of supply of “popular” games to the UK will get worse. We have seen the UK in the past couple of months get short changed on the number of copies of particulate games it receives. The Scythe board extension and Inis are two examples. There are various theories floating round the internet as to why. But I can’t see this improving.
  • Pandemic Legacy Season 2 will not be as well received as Season 1.
  • There will be at least three big release games (not including the one from Portal Games) that use apps as intergral parts of the game.

PS yes I know that is Saruman in the picture. 

New Year – State of the Union Post

Decided I better update the sites header image before I forget to. Otherwise before I know it, it’ll be Easter and the header would still be the Christmas one. And things would just look messy and that I don’t care.

Now we have a nice bright looking gaming related header image. A new tag line to go along with it also. 

I’m not changing the theme for the blog, I like the layout. But who knows that may change at anytime.

One thing that won’t change is the content of the blog. Yes it will still be poorly written, it will not (hopefully) use tired, boring tropes, it will be opinionated, but it will be all me. 

It may not be obvious but I write a good 99% of this blog, do all the photos and image editing on my iPhone 6! So yes there will be errors in my posts from autocorrect that slip past the checking. Yep that surprised you, I do check before posting, but things get through. 

But I have set myself the goal of improving the quality of my writing! Yep that’s a massive task I know.

I know this is very much a niche blog within a niche hobby. It doesn’t conform to the usual hobby tropes. Mainly because so many others do it far far better than I could. So it’s never going to be massively popular. I write for me, and then hope that others may find my ramblings of interest. Luckily a handful of people do.

I’m going to be trying new things out on the blog, such as a “why I bought this” section. Dropping others like the Week Starting (WS) posts, well technically I’ve already done that. 

If I can crack the problem of YouTube you will see more video from me in the coming year. I’m going to use the term again, and it’s a recurring theme of this post, but I want to avoid the tired old tropes of current videos and podcasts.

I suppose that’s the over all aim of this blog to discuss passionately the hobby of board gaming but in a unique, refreshing way. I’m along way from achieving that aim. But I will get there.

So a big thank you for those of you that have joined me on this journey. Hopefully it will remain interesting and entertaining for you.

BTN 2016 edition!

Happy New Year!!!! 

Wow so that’s a year gone. We are a day into 2017 so probably the best time to look back at the previous year.

Luckily this post is the last one looking back. I’ve already bored you with my game of 2016, worst and under the radar games of 2016. 

It’s been a year since I started logging my game plays using the BG Stats app on my iPhone. Which then inspired the By The Numbers (BTN) posts here on the blog at the end of each month that have bored you into a coma.

So here is the summary of my year of gaming. Naturally the list of games is pretty long. So I’ve included this at the end as a thumbnail you can click on to view the full list if you are remotely interested.

I have to say I’m amazed at these numbers. Not as high as some I’ve seen being put up on one or two of the Facebook gaming groups. 

The time figure is very very inaccurate because I don’t normally record the duration it took to play a game.

So here is the graphic that shows my overall trend for the year.

December was a big drop off because we stopped the FEG@WL sessions for the month. December is a busy time for our hosts The White Lion with Christmas parties for various employee groups looking to celebrate a year of playing office Game of Thrones. So we didn’t want to give our fantastic hosts a headache and get in their way. But we will be back to normal from this week.

Game of the Month…

For those that missed it (it was sneaked in on my GOTY post) my game for December was Pandemic Iberia. 

One new feature of the BG Stats app in the last update was to be able to set challenges and track them.

It’s a very popular thing to do amongst gamers apparently. Especially ones like 10×10, which is to play ten games ten times each within a year. 

Do these count as new year resolutions for gamers?

So I thought I’d come up with my own for 2017.

I have been getting meatier games to the table recently. Which I really really enjoy. But I still have some sitting in my ‘pile of shame’. So my main aim in this challenge for 2017 is to get some of those to the table. Naturally as any new meaty games get added to my collection they will get added to this challenge. In fact I don’t have Xia yet, but that will be with me in March when the Kickstarter for the expansion gets sent out.

So here is ‘My Big Game Challenge’ for 2017.

Here is the thumbnail I mentioned earlier in the post. How many of these have you played? 

So that was 2016. I had a great year gaming with friends and family, meeting new people, and some great experiences.

2017 has a high bar to beat.

Christmas Meetup #2

Last night saw our second Fenland Gamers Meetup of the holiday season.

Attending this one we had Jonathan’s brother and his wife (or Debbie’s mum and dad as they are also known) who were visiting from Malta, join us. They were “enjoying” our seasonal cold snap of the past week. Jo made a rare guest appearance, while Debbie’s bo Nath joined Debbie in attending. Which meant Jeff and myself were the only none Warren family folks there. 

The lovely large wooden table at The White Lion was easily big enough to accommodate use splitting into two play groups.

So Jonathan, Jo and mum and dad split off to play Imhotep. While the rest of us holed up in our castle to fight off the attacking horde of monsters in Castle Panic.

We were playing just the classic base game of Castle Panic, despite me having the expansions. Debbie and Nath hadn’t played it before, Geoff had (?), whilst this would be my second game. Besides adding in the expansions would require some fiddling around intergrating them.

I like Castle Panic. Well I must do if it’s still in my collection after playing it. Plus I bought the expansions for it. Which I wouldn’t do if I didn’t like the game.

It is a nice co-op game, brutal, but nice! The publisher/designer really thought about the game adding in variants, and ways to adjust the difficulty level up and down.

And although it’s a co-op, like Marvel Legendary if you all win by beating the game there is also a winner! In Castle Panic the number of monsters you kill are totalled up and the highest score is the “Master Slayer”.

We got over run and lost. But I don’t think we did that bad, we had nine monster tiles left in the bag. Granted two of those tiles were boss monsters. But still we were close to success I think. It was visible on the horizon. 

In a break from the rules, we did total up points for everyone, despite losing. Our Master Slayer was Jeff. 

After all that fighting it was time to head off to the nearest inn, and regale each other with stories of our heroic deeds over flagons of mead in Braggart Second Edition.

This was just being received by Kickstarter backers just before Christmas. Well I’m assuming that because John at The Hobbit Hole (my FLGS) had just got his box of the game that made up his store level pledge.

I have to say when John opened the box and saw what was inside, I swear he wet himself in excitement. He’s really a big fan of the game.

Yeah I bit and asked him about the game. Initially I wasn’t sold on it. Wait story telling I thought, I’ve got to make up stories? I have StoryCubes for that. Then John opened a game up, showed me the cards and how the stories are created and I was sold on the game.

This game is good fun. We ended up playing it twice. 

It has a little take that in it. There is hand management, simple drafting. Quick to learn. We learnt from the rules sheet, within a couple of turns had it learnt. 

I thought the game would take ages to play based on the size of the deck. But we got through that deck a lot quicker than I thought we would.

As you can see from the above photo some of the stories you come up with can be funny. And the interaction with the liar cards just adds to this.

Nope this is a fun lightish game, replaces Fluxx for me I think. And that’s despite Jeff winning both games.

Our final game of the evening was King of Tokyo. 

While we were duking it out for control of Tokyo. The other group were on their second game of Pandemic. At one point we over heard them say “go to Tokyo”. We chipped in “no don’t go to Tokyo! It’s a mess.”

Unusually for games I’ve played Jeff won with a points win. Usually the games have ended with a single monster standing on top of the corpses of their defeated opponents. 

We also only had one player eliminated. That player was Nath and it was Debbie that finished him off!

Ok by the time Jeff got his “boring” victory, none of us had lots of health left. It could have been my victory due to a knock out if I’d have gotten another go. But hey that’s the way the dice roll.

A really great evenings gaming. Let’s do it again next year!

The worse game of 2016 is…

Can you guess what it is? This post might give you a clue.

Yep it’s the really dire two player game about whaling Nantucket.

I don’t mind the theme, as I liked New Bedford.

The only saving grace for me about this game was that Jonathan spent his money on it and not me.

I don’t know how it got a rating of 6.5 on bgg. I think those rating it must have confused it with another game or scored it ironically or something.

So there you have it the worse game of 2016 and possibly ever, Nantucket. 

You won’t believe my two under the radar games of 2016

I’m going to apologise for this poor attempt at click bait. Especially using in an ironic way the sort of headlines they use to attract poor unsuspecting readers in.

These type of titles/headlines really do wind me up. “Look what happens when…” or “You won’t believe…” I think I hate these slightly more than I hate those chain images/statuses on social media where you “share to show your support of x”. 

Mind you the click bait of the likes of Geek and Sundry and their poor articles and predictable lists make my blog posts look like indepth well researched articles.

Ok rant over, on with this post.

The first game that I think people should be talking more about and playing  is Bohemian Villages.

Jonathan introduced this game to me earlier in the year at one of our Costa gaming sessions. I think it got six plays that month. And saw me ordering the game for myself.

When Tom Vassel says he hasn’t played the game (see his boring unboxing video for the second part of the Advent calendar), and I’m not seeing video reviews of the game (only one I’ve seen is by To Die For Games). You know the majority of people have missed this game.

I’m not sure there is a US publisher for the game. Which would be a real shame. Stronghold should pick this game up and give it the love it deserves.

I don’t think I’ve given it the Nath test yet. Which I should do. Next visit.

My second game that seems to have gone under the radar is Odin’s Ravens.

I can’t remember why I got this game initially. There was a little buzz at UKGE I seem to remember. But it may have been a video I caught online that got my attention. 

Here is a link to my first play of the game with Jonathan. 

But this nice beautiful two player game also deserves a lot of love. Sadly I have to admit I don’t give it as much love as I should.

I’m going to pretend I care what games you think went under the radar in 2016, and should be getting more love. So leave your suggestions in the comments below!

Dead of Winter Flick Em Up Teaser – A Reaction

The other day, might have been just before that big commercial holiday we’ve just had, Pretzel Games released a teaser video for a game Flick Em Up Dead of Winter!

Naturally it tells us bugger all about the game. They should have released this video at GenCon when the news and photos of the game were released. As an example here is a photo from GenCon by The Dice Tower guys, and their news story here.

See we have a better idea about the game from the August coverage than we do this teaser.

We have no new info about the game, which is what we want. We already know the game is coming! We’ve known that since August when they told us! 

This teaser is a none event. A waste of time. I shouldn’t be wasting your time and mine with it. But I felt like doing a mini rant about it. 

I now hand you back to your regular programming…

Christmas Meetup #1

Friday saw the first of the three Fenland Gamers Christmas meetups.

Having set it up in anticipation of playing it, our first game was Scythe.

Sadly the tables we were playing on were not quite big enough to play using the bigger extended board. 

Jonathan was playing the game for the first time. Keen to find out why this was my game of the year.

Once again, one bloody point! One point! 

I really thought I’d got my first win. For the majority of the game I was the only one placing stars on completed goals. Then Jonathan and Jeff managed to add one or two. I was trying to control as much territory as possible,which included me taking the factory. Although just before I ended the game, Jeff took one of the areas I had control of. This it would turn out cost me the game! 

Jonathan wasn’t too impressed and couldn’t see why it was my game of the year. There was a little frustration, but it was a learning game for him. I thought Jonathan did really well. Yes there mistakes. And he got into a situation Jeff and I hadn’t seen in our three previous games of a dead turn (not being able to do anything). 

My opinion of the game hasn’t changed. I love the fact among others, that triggering the end game does not guarantee that you have won. As I have proven. 

But what would our world be if we all had exactly the same tastes? Jonathan’s game of the year is The Voyages of Marco Polo. A really good game that I also really like. Jeffs is Mansion of Madness Second Edition, a game I will never buy because of the app, but I want to play it. 

I think if anyone bought one of our three games of the year they’d have a great gaming experience. They are all different style games, all great examples of their genre.

Oh I managed to get everything into one box. But boy is it heavy.

Almost forgot the history books will record the fact Jeff won. Boo!

“Tedious”, “too much like work” (I think I’ve paraphrased that correctly) are just two of the opinions expressed about Robinson Crusoe

Luckily not my opinion. I went in knowing failure was highly likely. For me the interesting bit was just how long would we survive? Just how bad would our beating be? 

Diego had joined us by now. This was a game he had wanted to play with us. It was a game I’d also wanted to play, hence its addition to my collection. We were playing the new English Portal edition.

We played the first scenario where we were tasked with having to build a signal fire to attract the attention of passing ships. 

I felt a sense of achievement that we survived so long before Jeffs character died ending the game. We were five or six turns from failing to signal the passing ship! Yeah we were struggling to build the signal fire.

This was a learning game for Jeff and myself. Jonathan had played before, owned the game in fact, and got rid of the game. It’s fair to say it’s not a favourite of his. Diego had the game back in Italy and enjoys it. 

I liked the game. I think it’s game that is going to take two or three games before I’m fully up and running on the rules. The rule book is very comprehensive! The Watch it Played video is forty minutes long.

This definitely needs an insert. I’ve not decided yet if I’ll make one (relies on me over coming my laziness) or buy one (requires me to redirect money and possibly construct it – see laziness comment).

Our final game of the day was Imhotep. This hasn’t hit the table since late June, early July time. We used the B side of the boards along with the two promo mini expansions  (private ships and Stonemasons wager ) that exist for the game. 

There was a little confusion over the wager element introduced by the promo mini expansion. So not a hit with the majority of the players. Although I didn’t mind it. The one use private ships on the other hand were a bigger hit.

One or two of the B sides weren’t enjoyed as much as their A side equivalents, like the obelisks and the burial chamber. However my preference is for the B sides.

Diego ran away with the win, while Jeff stole second place from me!

So an interesting gaming session with some conflicting opinions and experiences.

Yes I haven’t forgotten you need to feed that addiction to photos of balding middle aged men with beards. So here you go with some official Jonathan photos with me in. That should hold you for a day or two.

Naturally I topped off the afternoon and early evenings gaming with a trip to the local kebab establishment.

There are two more meets planned for the Christmas holidays. They are on the 28th and 30th. Further details can be found on the Fenland Gamers Facebook page.