Saturday, February 18, 2017

Economic Domination Games

I know I keep referencing the Six Board Games That Ruined It For Everyone article on Cracked.com, but it's such a good article. The Top 100 list on Board Game Geek is awesome, but it doesn't compare bad games to good games the way the Cracked article does.

As an interesting side note, I saw that, if you reverse the order of the Top 100 List so that it shows you the Bottom 100, five of the six games from that article are listed. The one that's not? Risk. Which is interesting, given what I'm about to say.

Anyway. Here's what the Cracked article has to say about Risk:
The worst part of Risk is victory by excruciation. A well-designed game has tactics and skill building to a climax, a thrilling race to victory, and when someone has clearly won, it's because the game is over. In Risk, someone can win hours before it ends, and they will not let you just admit it and leave. They spent hours carefully planning this victory, and by God you are going to sit there and patiently lose for just as many hours so that they can enjoy it properly. They've turned having fun into a zero-sum game.
This ties in with a recent experience I had. I was learning to play Wallenstein a couple weeks ago, and it did not go well for me. In case you don't know, Wallenstein is a game set in the Thirty Years War, which ravaged central Europe (the areas known as present-day Germany in particular). It was an absolutely brutal conflict, claiming eight million casualties by the end of the fighting. The game captures this aspect very well, as any battle devastates both sides.

At the beginning of the game, I was in a pretty good position, and by the time we reached the first of two scoring rounds, though I wasn't in first place by any means, I was still doing fairly well. Very shortly after that, however, I was attacked by several other players and lost so much territory that I was no longer able to take any effective actions. The dynamics of the game meant that if I fortified my territories to defend against my opponents, I would score no points. If I attacked other players, or neutral territories, I would leave my defenses so weak that I would almost instantly lose not only the territories I had gained, but the ones I'd had to start with as well. If I built palaces or churches to try to score more points, I would have made myself a target for the other players without the ability to defend myself.

Perhaps, had I found myself in this situation closer to the beginning of the game, I might have been able to recover. Having a few turns to build up my defenses before trying to score more points might have made the difference. But as it was, I had insufficient time to try to recover the loses I'd suffered late in the mid-game.

I'll probably give this game another try some day, after my initial anger has faded. But for right now, I can only think about the games I used to play with Stephen many years ago.

Stephen used to be my best friend, He can be described as 'incredibly intelligent, but with absolutely no common sense.' He's the one who ruined Go for me; he tried to teach me to play one day, but rather than giving me any advice on strategy or the intricacies of the game, he merely explained the rules, then proceeded to absolutely thrash me. Twice.

I will happily admit that I am no strategic genius. I seldom do well in games of pure strategy, like Chess or Blokus. I'm ok with that, as long as I feel I have a chance. If I lose because of my own actions, that's fine. It's when I feel the game is so stacked against me that I have no good options that I start getting irritated.

I know that Go was not a case of 'I have no good options available.' But because Stephen, who is a strategic genius, countered me so effectively at every turn, and never explained to me what mistakes I was making, or what a better strategy might have been, it very much felt that way to me. That feeling has persisted, decades later, and I will likely never play Go again. I know it's irrational, but that's the way it is.

Anyway. Getting back to my point. I played several games with Stephen, including Axis and Allies and similar games. Many of these are similar to Risk in that, the more territory you control, the more resources you have available. This means that, by about the halfway point of the game, one player has more economic power than the other(s). At this point, as long as that power is dedicated to garnering and maintaining more of that economic power, that player cannot lose.

Let me explain a bit more in depth. In Risk, there are 42 territories on the board. That means that, in any single round, a total of about 126 reinforcement armies are awarded (not counting the bonus armies from controlling an entire continent). If there are six players, who control 4, 6, 6, 7, 8, and 11 territories each, that means the the player with 11 countries will receive 33 armies this round. That's 9 armies more than the next player, who has 8 territories and gets 24 armies. That's quite a significant advantage.

Sure, in this setting, the other players can gang up on the 11 territory player, but if that player is able to defend his holdings, it's likely that he'll go on to win. But even more important, the player with only 4 territories is in a really bad position. He only gets 12 armies per round, and that's not enough to make any significant gains. The only way he can win at this point is if the other players screw up by letting him gain a lot of new territory whilst they're fighting each other.

That's what bugs me about some games. Eventually, you lose so much ground that you have no chance to recover. At that point, the game stops being fun and becomes a case of waiting until defeat has finally arrived.

That's one of the things that I really enjoyed about Power Grid. The way the game flows, it's entirely possible for the player in last place to surge ahead at the very end and steal victory. You're never truly out of the running; there are always options that can enable you to win if you play your cards right (so to speak).

Anyway, that's just a thing I was thinking about. I hope this post didn't end up sounding too bitter. That wasn't my intent. In a way, it's meant as a warning to game designers: don't make it so that, if the game goes poorly for a player at the beginning, he no longer has any chance at all of winning.

So that's it for this week. I'll see you here next time. Until then,

Game on!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Board Game Review: Caverna: The Cave Farmers


Don't forget to check out the podcast version of this article! You can listen to it in the embeded media player above! And please let me know what you think. Is this a good idea? Or should I stick to text only?

A single player board, with various pieces arranged on it. The board has two halves: the cavern half and the forest half. Each is subdivided into twelve squares. Some of those squares have tiles representing conversion into tunnels, mines, or living areas (in the cavern half) or livestock pens and crop fields (the forest half). There are tokens of various types on these tiles.
As I progress in my quest to play 80 or more of the games on the boardgamegeek.com top 100 list, I find I'm getting to play all sorts of interesting games. This is certainly what happened last week, when I found myself playing Caverna: The Cave Farmers. I keep hearing that it's similar to Agricola, but as I haven't played Agricola yet, I can't comment on that.

But it does mean that I get to review Caverna. So let's get this started the right way: with a bunch of numbers!

Strategy and Randomness are rated from 0 to 6. A 0 means the rated aspect plays no part in determining the game's outcome; and a 6 means that it is the only factor that determines the game's outcome. Complexity is also rated from 0 to 6; a 0 means that it's so simple a six-year-old can play it, a 3 means any adult should have no trouble playing, and a 6 means that you'll need to refer to the rulebook frequently. Humour can be rated as 'None,' meaning the game is not meant to be funny, or it may have one or more of the following: Derivative (meaning the humour is based on an outside source, such as a game based on a comedy film), Implicit (meaning that the game's components are funny, such as humourous card text), or Inherent (meaning that the actions the players take are funny). Attractiveness has nine possible ratings. Ideal: the game is beautiful and makes game play easier. Pretty: The design is beautiful and neither eases nor impedes game play. Nice: The design is beautiful but makes game play harder than necessary. Useful: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, but eases gameplay. Average: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, and neither eases nor impedes gameplay. Useless: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, but makes gameplay harder than it needs to be. Utilitarian: The design is ugly, but eases gameplay. Ugly: The design is ugly, and neither eases nor impedes gameplay. Worthless: The design is ugly, andmakes gameplay harder than it needs to be. Average Length of Game Play describes how long an average game will probably last, give or take. Gamer Profile Ratings measures how strongly a game will appeal to players based on their interest in one of four areas. These areas are measured as High, Medium, or Low. Strategy describes how much a game involves cognitive challenges, thinking and planning, and making sound decisions. Conflict describes how much direct hostile action there is between players, from destroying units to stealing resources. Social Manipulation describes how much bluffing, deceiving, and persuading there is between players. Fantasy describes how much a game immerses players in another world, another time.

Strategy: 5
Randomness: 1
Complexity: 5
Humour: None
Attractiveness: Pretty
Average Length of Gameplay: 2 hours
Gamer Profile Ratings:
   Strategy: High
   Conflict: Medium
   Social Manipulation: Low
   Fantasy: High

Welcome to Caverna! You are a clan of dwarves living in the caverns of a mountain bordering a forest. You must dig into the stone of the mountain, and cultivate the forest into a farm to provide sustenance to the dwarves living there.

Caverna is a a worker placement game. The object is to have the most victory points at the end of the game. Victory points come in a variety of forms, from animals on your farm to rooms you've built in your cave to forest squares converted into farmland and other sources besides. You accomplish these tasks by taking actions available on an action board. This board is compartmental, so the actions available depend on the number of players. But even that is only part of the picture, because each round, you draw a new action card and place it on the action board, so that more actions become available as the game progresses.

A few of the actions available in the course of the game may include:

  • Go on an adventure. By converting ore that you've mined from your cavern into a weapon, you can send one of your dwarves on an adventure, to bring back one of a number of different rewards, depending on how high-powered that dwarf is.
  • Plant crops. You can turn one piece of grain into three, or one piece of vegetable into two, by taking this action.
  • Clear Forest Tiles. This action allows you to place a double-space crop and pasture tile over available spots in your forest. These are necessary for raising livestock and growing crops.
  • Furnish living quarters. By taking this action, you can put a living-quarter tile on a cleared space in your cavern. This grants you one of a number of benefits (there are a great number of tiles, and with the exception of a single stack of twelve 'simple dwelling' tiles, they all do something different).
  • Make babies. Eventually, you start being able to produce offspring, which gives you more dwarves, enabling you to take more actions on subsequent rounds.
This is just a small sampling of the actions available to you. Most of the actions aren't that straightforward, either. Many action cards, for example, gain an additional resource token each round, and when that action is taken by a player, he receives all the tokens currently on that card. Most of the cards tend to grant you a pair of actions that you can do, which you may do either or both. Some require you to choose only one. And so forth.

So. My final thoughts on Caverna. It's a fun game, with a lot of possible options. The number of available actions is staggering. The available rooms you can place in a cavern is also enormous. The rules themselves are actually quite easy to grasp. I read the first four pages of the rulebook, skimmed briefly over the remaining twenty or however many there are, and I was able to play the game. Not well, mind you. But most of the rulebook is specific rules for each possible action or tile, and as such, is more for rules questions than for understanding the game itself.

That said, it is a very heavy game. The number of components is astounding. The box is large, and every bit of space is used. It's certainly not a bad game. I'd be willing to play again. But for my personal tastes, I don't think I need to own a copy.

Anyway, that's my thoughts. As always, don't let me tell you how you feel. Look at my numbers, read my descriptions, and decide for yourself. Until next week,

Game on!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Replayability

Some time in the last year, I learned to play T.I.M.E. Stories. I'm not going to review it here, because it's a very different kind of game. I'll just give you a quick overview before going on to my main point.

The game itself is, similarly to a roleplaying game's core rulebook, more about the mechanics and less about the objective. Whereas most board games state, 'To win this game, you must collect the most gold coins' (or whatever), when you play a roleplaying game, the rules state, 'These are the mechanics involved in playing. Now decide what goal your group must accomplish in order to win.'

T.I.M.E. Stories's base game contains the board and all the counters you'll need to play. It also includes a deck of cards. Most of these cards are similar to the pages of a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Each player is sent back in time to occupy the body of a person in a specific place. Whilst in this body, the player must help to solve a problem of some sort to fix the timeline. You lay out the cards in a specific order on the board, and the art of these cards collectively shows you what you see. For example, in the included scenario, you are inhabiting the body of patients in a 1920's mental asylum. The first set of cards that you lay out on the board will, when seen together, show you the day room of the asylum. Here's what I mean:
Five cards, laid out side by side. Each card shows one fifth of the total image, which is a painting of a day room in a mental asylum. The card on the left shows a nurse looking at the viewer, standing in front of the nearest window. The second card shows a man wearing a strange contraption on his head sitting in a lounger with a chess set on the small table in front of him. In the third card, as the wall of the room is seen running into the distance, with tall windows along it, you see a woman in a white patient's robe painting at an easel. The fourth card has the corner of the room, so the next wall starts moving into the foreground of the image's perspective. There is a love seat against the window of this card, on which sits a man in a suit coat and fedora, wearing a plague doctor's mask. The final card shows a chest of drawers on top of which rests a painting of a man.

Then, players choose which part of the room to explore, and which person to approach, by turning over the appropriate card and reading what it says on the back. The card describes what happens, what the person says, if there are any challenges that must be overcome (such as combat with the person, or rolling to find a hidden item, and so forth), and anything else that happens. If the players come into possession of an item, the card will say, 'Draw Item Number 23' (or whatever card number is appropriate).

By choosing what actions to take, and where on the overall mission map to go, players are given clues that will lead them to the story's eventual resolution (a word of caution, though: some clues are red herrings, and lead to dead ends, causing the players to waste the limited amount of time they have to perform their mission before they are recalled to the future).

And that's where the problem comes in: if players are unsuccessful in their first attempt to play through a story, they can try again a limited number of times with some of the knowledge they've already acquired. And it's almost guaranteed that they will fail the first time.

In this first mission, for example, if you run out of time before completing the mission, the T.I.M.E. Corps Director will send you back a second time. If you still don't complete the mission, he sends you back one final time under a 'Condition Red' status, which suspends the time limit, but places other restrictions on you. When you complete the mission, you read the appropriate 'Mission Successful' card (depending on whether you finished on the first, second, or third attempt), or you read the 'Mission Failed' card (there is a 'Mission Failed' card for each way the mission might fail: if all the agents die, or you make a bad decision and fail to prevent the temporal anomaly, or so on).

But once you've played through this mission, you can't play it again. You already know where everything is, what the important clues are, which characters to talk to and which to avoid, and so forth. In order to use your T.I.M.E. Stories set again, you must purchase one of the expansions, which contains a new deck of cards that allows you to simulate a new mission.

That's something that I've never cared for. I prefer games that can be played an infinite number of times. This means that I like games such as Red Dragon Inn, or The Resistance: Avalon. Even Balderdash has high replay value, because there are so many cards that even if one player sees them all, it's highly unlikely that he'll remember all (or even most) of them.

On the other hand, games like Malarkey, which ask players to guess which answer to the 'Imponderables' question is the correct one, even lose their replay value after a time. Once you've seen every card in the set, you know all the answers.

This is part of what I don't like about many video games, as well. Once you've finished a game, it's seldom enjoyable to play it again. Sure, some recent video games are using the branching story method, where the decisions you make in the game determine which ending you get. Once you've finished a game, you can play it again making different choices, and you will get a different ending.

But I still prefer games that give you different stories every time. I like sitting down for a rousing game of Hot Tin Roof, not knowing who's going to win, where each player is going to put their shelters and catwalks, not knowing what decisions are going to be available. Yeah, it's the same game. But every time you play it, it's new, and you don't know any of the crucial information before hand.

Anyway, that was what I was thinking this morning. Some people, of course, enjoy that sort of experience. Millions of people purchase new video games, play it through, then sell it back to the store and buy a new one. Obviously, it has some sort of appeal for somebody! Just not for me.

So go have fun playing games, whether you replay them or not. I will see you back here next week, and until then,

Game on!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Board Game Geek's Top 100

I was looking at the top 100 list of Board Game Geek a week or so ago. I realised that, despite all the games I've played in my life, I've only played about 16 of the ones in the top 100.

So I've made a resolution. I don't normally do resolutions, for several reasons. I think New Year's is a stupid holiday.  I believe that every day you wake up is a chance for a new beginning; you shouldn't have to wait for a specific day of the year. Besides, most New Year's Resolutions are silly, and forgotten before January ends anyway.

So this is not a New Year's Resolution. This is just a resolution that happens to coincide with New Year's, and is measured against the calendar year. My resolution is this:

By the end of 2017, I will be able to say, at least once, that I have played 80 or more of the games on the Board Game Geek's Top 100 List.

I know that the list is changing constantly. New games are added to the database, and get rated highly enough to displace some of the games already on there. BGG users change their ratings from time to time. New users add ratings. So the list is constantly in flux. 

That's why I'm setting my resolution for 80 games, instead of all 100. If a game that I've played drops off the top 100, I don't want to have to stress too much about it.

Also, if I've played 80 of the games on the first of December, and one of those games drops off, so my score is only 79, it will still count, because I will be able to say, 'At one point in 2017, there were 80 games on the top 100 list that I have played.' 

By wording it this way, I don't have to stress out about the constantly changing nature of the list.

I will keep track of the games I've played using the table (which is behind a cut) below. I'll check in once a week to see how I'm progressing. So you should come back on occasion to see how I'm doing, and how the list has changed! Until then, remember to

Game on!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Board Game Review: Push a Monster

Sometimes, it's nice to play a very simple game that's suitable for children as well as adults. Games that don't require a lot of thinking, and don't even involve a lot of luck. Games of skill, like Run Yourself Ragged (which has apparently been renamed Screwball Scramble). I'm not one to shirk a 'kids' game.' Labyrinth is one of my favourite games, after all!

So when I was asked to join in a game of Push a Monster, I agreed. It's a very simple game, so let's jump right into it. Here are some numbers:

Strategy and Randomness are rated from 0 to 6. A 0 means the rated aspect plays no part in determining the game's outcome; and a 6 means that it is the only factor that determines the game's outcome. Complexity is also rated from 0 to 6; a 0 means that it's so simple a six-year-old can play it, a 3 means any adult should have no trouble playing, and a 6 means that you'll need to refer to the rulebook frequently. Humour can be rated as 'None,' meaning the game is not meant to be funny, or it may have one or more of the following: Derivative (meaning the humour is based on an outside source, such as a game based on a comedy film), Implicit (meaning that the game's components are funny, such as humourous card text), or Inherent (meaning that the actions the players take are funny). Attractiveness has nine possible ratings. Ideal: the game is beautiful and makes game play easier. Pretty: The design is beautiful and neither eases nor impedes game play. Nice: The design is beautiful but makes game play harder than necessary. Useful: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, but eases gameplay. Average: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, and neither eases nor impedes gameplay. Useless: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, but makes gameplay harder than it needs to be. Utilitarian: The design is ugly, but eases gameplay. Ugly: The design is ugly, and neither eases nor impedes gameplay. Worthless: The design is ugly, andmakes gameplay harder than it needs to be. Average Length of Game Play describes how long an average game will probably last, give or take. Gamer Profile Ratings measures how strongly a game will appeal to players based on their interest in one of four areas. These areas are measured as High, Medium, or Low. Strategy describes how much a game involves cognitive challenges, thinking and planning, and making sound decisions. Conflict describes how much direct hostile action there is between players, from destroying units to stealing resources. Social Manipulation describes how much bluffing, deceiving, and persuading there is between players. Fantasy describes how much a game immerses players in another world, another time.

Strategy: 1
Randomness: 2
Complexity: 0
Humour: None*
Attractiveness: Ideal
Average Length of Gameplay: 15 minutes
Gamer Profile Ratings:
   Strategy: Low
   Conflict: Medium
   Social Manipulation: Low
   Fantasy: Low

The point of Push a Monster is to do exactly what the title says: push a monster. The game consists of five components: monsters, monster tokens, a die, a table, and a monster pusher. It looks something like this:
A small cardboard 'table' with an irregularly shaped tabletop. There are several wooden tokens, each adorned with a sticker of various monsters, arranged on top of this cardboard table. You can see some more of these tokens lying nearby. The hands of a player can be seen, holding the monster pusher, which consists of two rectangular pieces of cardboard, each decorated with monsters pushing at one another. The longer of the pieces is held in one hand, with a wooden monster token lying on it, and the smaller piece is used to push the wooden monster token off the bottom piece and onto the cardboard table.

The game starts with the two purple monsters on the table. On your turn, you roll the die. Five sides show one of the five main monster colours: white, green, yellow, orange, or red. The sixth side is a question mark. Whichever side the die shows determines which colour monster you must slide onto the table. If you roll the question mark, you get to choose.

You take the monster pusher, which is two rectangles made of cardboard, one slightly longer than the other. Place a monster of the appropriate colour on the longer one. Then use the shorter one to push the monster onto the table. You must slide it on, so that it does not sit atop any other monster.

Very quickly, the table starts to get crowded. Eventually, someone will cause one or more monsters to fall off the table. When that happens, all other players get a token in the same colour as the monster(s) that you knocked off.

These tokens are of varying widths. The red one is the narrowest, with the green one being just slightly wider. The white and yellow ones are next, followed by the orange. The purple ones are the widest of all, but they are also the rarest, as there are only two of them, and they both start already on the table. In a sense, the wider the token, the more 'points' it's worth. But remember, every time you knock a monster off the table, you're giving these 'points' to the other players. So if you have to push someone off, it's better to try to shove a red or green monster out, and avoid pushing the purple ones off if you can avoid it at all.

The game goes until the die rolls a colour that is not available (because they're already on the table) or until one colour of the tokens is gone. At that point, all players line their tokens up. Whoever has the longest row of tokens is the winner.

It's a very simple game. It's great for kids, and if you're in the mood for a nice easy game that doesn't involve a lot of thinking but you don't want to play a luck-based game, then Push a Monster certainly delivers. The monsters are kind of cute (and regarding the asterisk on the Humour rating above, I wouldn't say that the artwork is humorous per se, but the cute paintings can be a source of a mild chuckle. Certainly, it's fun to draw comparisons to various animals. For example, the orange monster has some sort of elephant trunk, and the white monster appears to be related to the rhinoceros in some way).

Anyway, I think it's a neat little game that can be fun in the right circumstances. Don't be afraid to give it a try! And with that, I bid you

Game on!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

I Want to Play More Games

Note: The article begins below. I'm going to try something different. I'm contemplating the idea of making this blog a podcast as well. To that end, I've made today's entry into a prototype podcast. Let me know what you think. Or, if you're not interested, skip to the regular text version below the podcast.

It's my own fault, really.

I should never have agreed to play with them. John decided that, for his birthday, he wanted to run a special two-session game. We played The Dresden Files Role Playing Game. I played a young changeling who had just recently learned of his faerie heritage and was trying to learn more about his father to understand why he would agree to enter into a somewhat deleterious relationship with a faerie woman. There was also a necromancer, a witch, and a vampire of the Yellow Court. For the first session, we also had a were-armadillo, but that player's son fell ill and he had to miss the second session.

Ever since then, I've been wanting to play more games. It didn't help that, as I was sitting around with the Dork Spouse and two of my good friends, we somehow managed to talk about the Little Fears RPG that I have. I've only been involved in one session of that game, which did not turn out well, because I was GMing for a group of Butt Kickers and Power Gamers who were unable to appreciate the 'you are a child fighting against the monsters from Closetland that adults cannot perceive' aspect of the game.

Also, my copy of GURPS Prime Directive is still sitting next to my bed, where I will occasionally peruse the contents before going to sleep.

All of these things have been making me want to play more games.

I've got my Friday Night Changeling group, which meets once every two to six weeks, depending on players' availability. It's a great group, and we're all enjoying the game. Those Fridays I'm not playing Changeling, I go to John's house for board games. Also, we had a sort of New Year's party (it was actually the day before New Year's Eve), where we played The Red Dragon Inn and a couple turns of Superfight. At the mother-in-law's house on Boxing Day, we got in a game of Hot Tin Roof.

But there are still so many games I want to play.

Not just roleplaying games, either. I've had my copy of Winter Tales for three years now, and have still never had a chance to play it. We received a copy of One Night Revolution for Christmas, and despite my trying (rather emphatically) to get people to play it with me, no one has yet agreed to do so. There are many games in my game cabinet that I haven't played in years, although I would love to do so again soon.

And I have such ideas for roleplaying games, if ever I were able to start a new game or get a new group together. I would love to play a Star Trek game (using the GURPS system, now that I have the GURPS Prime Directive book) in which all the characters are ensigns with no knowledge of the purpose behind the missions on which they're being sent. I'd love to get an appropriate group together for a game of Little Fears. I haven't yet abandoned the idea of the fantasy worlds I've created.

But I don't think I'll ever have a chance to run any of these games.

I don't really know what's the point in my saying all this. I suppose that part of it is woolgathering; remembering my early adult years when we spent a ridiculous number of nights just playing games. When our group would dabble in so many different systems, like Tales of the Floating Vagabond or second edition Shadowrun or Albedo. I miss those days.

Nowadays, my time is taken up with my job, with my social activism, and with the day-to-day tasks of being an adult. I have little time for gaming any more.

An animated image of Felicia Day, taken from the webseries 'The Guild,' in which she is throwing a small tantrum and saying, 'I hate being an adult!'


Anyway. That's what's been on my mind lately. If I can't play games, though, maybe you can! Go forth, play some games for me, and remember to

Game on!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Best Games of 2016

So here we are. The last day of 2016. And a few days ago, I found an article on Ars Technica entitled Game on! The Best Board Games of 2016. They list the 20 games that they played most often in this past year.

Sadly, I don't have as much time to play games as I would like. And what time I do get is often spent on older games that I've played before. Which is not a bad thing; getting to play a great game more than once is always a good thing! So before I get to the main part of my article, a quick overview of the games that I played most often in 2016, regardless of when they were first published:

Most of these are because they're games that I own and other people enjoy. When I'm at other people's places, we usually end up playing something I've never played before. Which is also not a bad thing.

But that means that I've not had a chance to play many of the games that were published this year. I went to Board Game Geek and pulled up a list of all the games they have in their database that were published this year. There were nearly 3,200 such games. That's a ridiculous number!

To be fair, many of those were foreign games. Many more were reissues (such as Mansions of Madness: 2nd Edition) or reworks (like the many different variant editions of Rory's Story Cubes, which had several new versions released this year) or reimplementations (like Pandemic: Reign of Cthulu). Still others were releases that were so small and unknown that they don't even have any photos in their entry.

On the other hand, some games aren't in the database at all yet. I was recently sent a free promo edition of a game that was released on Gamecrafter called Geoquest. This game doesn't yet have an entry (though I know the creators have submitted it; it's simply not been accepted yet).

The point is, 32,000 is not an exact number.

But even so, that's a lot of games. And of those, I've played exactly 13. One of those (Sushi Go Party!) is already included in the list above. Geoquest is, of course, another one mentioned previously in this article. But here are the other games from 2016 that I have played:
Some of those I've reviewed, either here or at PinkFae. The reviews have been linked.

But that's not a lot from which to choose.

Here's how I'd rate those, given the small number available:
  • Games I'd like to own (if I don't already):
    • Sushi Go Party!
    • Tides of Madness
    • Tell Me a Story
  • Games I'd like to play again, but don't feel the need to own:
    • Imhotep
    • Tyrants of the Underdark
    • Oceanos
    • Evolution: The Beginning
    • Plague Inc.
  • Games I'd be willing to play again, if others wanted to:
    • Geoquest
  • Games I don't feel any particular desire to play again:
    • Quadropolis
    • Legendary: Big Trouble in Little China
    • Bill & Ted's Excellent Board Game
    • Simon's Cat Card Game
There are lots of games from 2016 that I'd love to try, but haven't yet had a chance. This includes games like Clank, Secret Hitler, and Cry Havoc. And, of course, some games that just don't look appealing to me at all. At the top of this list is Scythe, which from what I've seen, looks like a long and boring tactical game along the lines of X-Wing.

Maybe I will try to make a greater effort to try new games as they come out in 2017. But we'll see how that goes next year at this time. For now, that's a quick look at the new releases of 2016, from my perspective. I'll see you hear next year! Until then,

Game on!