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Too Many Games!!!

My wife and I love to play games together. Join us for the journey!

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The Best Games I Do Not Own

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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A few weeks ago, I posted Favorite Games of All Time list for the year. With one notable exception, all of these games have one thing in common. That is we own them, and they are on our shelves waiting to be played at any time. It makes sense that if I like a game, then I should own it. However, that is not always the case and I do not own every game I enjoy. As we will get to there are several reasons for that.

This is a list of the games that I like the most but do not own for various reasons. While a couple made it onto the list, I tried to avoid games I have only played once because it is hard to tell if I had a really good play of the game or I just really like the game. I will give why I like these games as well as why we do not have them, and as always the list is descending order for dramatic effect.

10. Wizard Kings
I really like the Columbia Games block system. It is a versatile system that can be adapted well to a lot of settings. Wizard Kings takes this system and puts it in a fantasy setting. However, this is much more open than the historical games. Instead of simulating a specific battle or campaign, this game is scenario based. Scenarios can be linked into campaigns and forces are customizable. For me this is all like taking a great thing and then doubling down on greatness.

Why I Don't Own It: Because the last thing I need is another open ended, scenario based game that really rewards repeated plays and familiarity with the system. I fear this game would not get played enough to justify having it.

9. Pixel Tactics
A while ago we got the Level 99 Games Minigame Library. For the most part the collection was a bit of a bust for us. However, we both did really like Pixel Tactics. Despite liking the game, we both agreed that keeping the whole box for one game was not a good use of space so we traded it. However, Pixel Tactics is regularly available.

Why I Don't Own It: I don't apathy I guess? This game can be easily bought, but we have not done so.

8. 7 Wonders

I remember the first time I played 7 Wonders. The first game was the first game for everyone. The first age was definitely trying to figure it all out. However, by the second age it was starting to click with everyone. As soon as the game ended, everyone wanted to play it again because we all realized things we could have done better. We then played it a third time in a row after that. When my wife played the game her first time later, she had the same kind of "wow" reaction as well. Up to that point the only drafting game we had played was Fairy Tale and 7 Wonders was like a big step up.

Why I Don't Own It: There are two reasons why we do not own this game. First, we tried the two player rules at a convention a few years ago and we thought they were terrible. Second, for both of us Among the Stars kind of replaces 7 Wonders. We find the spatial element of building a station a bit more fun than collecting sets of stuff.

7. 1960: The Making of the President
The first time I played 1960, I really enjoyed it. I loved the tough decisions, the back and forth struggle, and the great historical flavor. I liked the game so much that I traded for it. Then my wife and I played it, and she did not care much for it. Actually, she kind of hated it. She found the tough decisions overwhelming, the back and forth annoying, and she could care less about the historical detail. We ended up trading it fairly quickly.

Why I Don't Own It: Even though I like the game, it does not make sense to keep a two player game if the main person I play games with does not like it (With the big caveat, unless I absolutly love the game. See: Federation Commander)

6. One Night Ultimate Werewolf
I really like social deduction games. The first time I played this game I was only so-so on it. However, adding the app helped a lot, and I really warmed up on this game and enjoy it a good deal. The Resistance is still my favorite game of this nature, but this delivers a unique experience in the same vein.

Why I Don't Own It: The only place I could envision playing this was at game nights, and several people in the group already owned it. However, I have had a lot of luck at introducing games to teens in the church youth group, and they tend to favor games with a strong social element. The kickstarter for One Night Revolution just went up, and I think backing it is a must for me.

5. Agricola

When we first got this game in 2010, we played it a lot. However, after about ten plays or so my wife's opinion really started to sour. She can be a bit of a perfectionist, so once she knew the game it became stressful for her when she could not get her plans to work and harvest was coming. Instead of finding this game fun she found it stressful. Now she is one of the people who refers to the game as "misery farm". I still like the game. It is stressful, but it a journey. I have not really found a game that is so satisfying at the end. By the end of the game I do not care if I won, I am usually just happy I survived and that my little farm is actually working and starting to thrive.

Why I Don't Own It: Like 1960, it does not make sense to keep games that will not get played. I bought the app, but I do not find myself playing iOS board games very much. I really do want to try Caverna: The Cave Farmers and see if that game delivers the same magic minus the stress.

4. King's Forge
This is one of two games that I have only played once on this list, but I really did enjoy this game the one time I played it. I also thought that my wife would really enjoy this game. She loves dice games, and this game uses dice in unique ways. I think this would be a great game for the two of us.

Why I Don't Own It: Well for one reason the game is between printings and not readily available. However, even if it was available, I am not sure if we would get it right now. I think we are both kind of suffering from new game fatigue, and like the idea of playing the games we have a bit more than acquiring new games. We still have a list of games (mostly from math trades) that are unplayed, and I really want to get through those before we consider new games (now expanding games we already have is a different story)

3. A Study in Emerald

This is the other game that I have only played once, but I loved this game. I have already scheduled another play of this at Geekway to the West next month. This game has so much that I like. It uses deckbuilding in an interesting way, and cards have multiple uses. I especially love the way teams work and the victory conditions. Everyone is on a team, but no one knows who is with them. There is only a single winner though. At the end of the game, whoever is in last causes everyone on their team to lose. This means if the leader is on the losing the team they do not actually win. This adds a deduction element which creates a great experience.

Why I Don't Own This: The biggest issue is price. Right now the game is out of print with a high price. Even when it was available though it was like $70-80. There is a second edition incoming, and if that edition got a direct US release it could have a lower price point. In that case I might consider it. This is not my wife's kind of game. However, I do not know anyone else who has it.

2. Tajemnicze Domostwo
As a general rule, I do not like co-op games, but I adore this one. I love the mystery of this game, the deduction/puzzle element, and trying to figure out how someone else is thinking. I have only played this twice (one as the ghost and once as an investigator) and I loved both experiences.

Why I Don't Own This: Right now it does not have a US release, but one is coming. I am not sure if the two player game will be very good or if my wife would like this one. However, I think this could easily become one of my favorite games. Right now, it is probably my most desired new game of this year.

1. Cyclades

This is the game that I do not own that made my favorites game list. What I like most about this game is the way the auctions work. I think it makes for a really exciting game. This is a conflict based game, but most of the conflict and fighting takes place during the auction not during actual combat.

Why I Don't Own This: Because my wife hated, hated, hated it. Back when we did own this game I wrote about why she dislikes it. At the time I did not have a regular game group, so there was chance of the game getting played. I know people who own and like this game, so I should probably request to play it more.
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Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:05 pm
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The Purge: Australian Rails

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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We have too many games. Due to that fact there are some games that sit on the shelf unplayed for a while, sometimes years. We plan on playing every game we have not played for two years or more, and that one play will determine if the game stays or if it gets purged to make room for something else.

After discovering that we liked the Crayon Rails games in 2011, we started getting more of them. We started with British Rails and by 2013 we had Nippon Rails, Empire Builder, and of course Australian Rails. We traded for this game in 2012, but that was also the last year we played it. So now that we have played it again do we say "good game, mate!" or do we throw this one on the barbie?

Brief Game Overview
This is like all of the games in the series. It just happens to take place on an Australian map. After a couple of initial building turns, players will have cards that show three options of goods to deliver to cities. Players will move their trains on the rails they have built to pick up goods and then drop them off. When a good is dropped of the player collects money and gets a new card. After moving players can spend up to $20 million a turn building track. Track is built by drawing lines from dot to dot and connecting into cities. Players build their rail networks, pick up goods, deliver good, and make money. This happens until a player has connected to the prerequisite number of major cities and reaches a certain money threshold. Most money is the winner.

What We Previously Thought
We both liked the game because we like the system. While I recognized the map was different I did not find the experience much different than other crayon rails games, and my wife was happy not getting any other crayon rails games (and then she gets two more a few months later!)

Verdict
My Verdict: Purge
My Rationale: I am much more casual crayon rails player. I like the games, but I am happy playing one of the games just once or twice a year. I do not play the game enough to appreciate the subtle nuances between the maps. I am glad we have the US map, and I like having British Rails because it is the on we have played the most. With the frequency we play these games, this one will always get passed over. That is until it has been 2 1/2 years and we think, we should play it.

Her Verdict: Purge
Her Rationale: In 2012 when we first wrote about this game, I said I am happy with having two crayon rails games. I still am. We have three, and this is the odd one out.

Final Judgement
Purge

While we enjoy this game, it is too similar to us to other games in the series, and we just do not play this specific map enough to justify owning it.
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Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:47 am
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The Purge: Wrasslin'

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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We have too many games. Due to that fact there are some games that sit on the shelf unplayed for a while, sometimes years. We plan on playing every game we have not played for two years or more, and that one play will determine if the game stays or if it gets purged to make room for something else.

We traded for this game all the way back in 2010. I traded for this game because it is one that I had growing up, and I had warm feelings of nostalgia. Those feelings did not translate to many plays though. I played the game once in 2013, but the last time we played together was over three years ago. Now that this game got some more ring time is it a face or a heel?

Brief Game Overview
Wrasslin' is a card game about wrestling entertainment. Players pick a wrestler. Each wrestler has different stats in various areas such as Strength, Agility, Skill, Etc. Each wrestler also has a different number of hit points, and an unique special move. Player's are dealt seven cards, and they can play a card on their turn. Most cards are attacks of some sort such as kicks, elbows, chops, piledrivers, and other standard wrestling fare. The player targeted with the attack can then play a response card such a block or reversal. If the attack does not have a response played against it then it goes through and does damage equal to what is printed on the card. The hit player then uses the track on their card to lose that many hit points.

One of the neat things about this game is that as a player is hit, their stats are reduced and they get weaker. A hit player keeps all of the cards played against them by their card, because another card a player can play is a recovery card which allows them to remove these previous hit cards and regain strength. A player can use their turn to discard and draw a new card. At the end of a player's turn they draw back up to seven cards and the next player gets a turn. The game goes on until one player pins the other or causes a submission. There are some rules about manager interference, being incapacitated, and special matches but this should get the basic idea.

What We Previously Thought
I thought the game had a couple of neat ideas, but mostly I liked the way that it channeled the feel of 90's era Hulkmania WWF. My wife was glad the game was quick, but she did not care much for it.

Verdict
My Verdict: Purge
My Rationale: The last time we wrote about this game, the only reason for keeping it was the nostalgia factor. There are too many good games and not enough shelf space to tie it up with a childhood favorite. In the end this is not a good game for us now, and it is not one we will play.

Her Verdict: Purge
Her Rationale: This is not a very good game, I do not think it is fun, and I do not want to play it again.

Final Judgement
Purge

Back in 2010 when we traded for this game having too many games was not yet a problem (I think around that time we had about 90ish games). However, we are not game collectors we are game players. Keeping a game for collection reasons, not play reason just does not fit us so this is a game we will seek to part with.
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Wed Apr 8, 2015 2:31 am
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La Isla (One Couple's Review)

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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My wife gave me this game for my birthday. I wanted this game for a couple of reasons. First, I have liked more games in the Alea Medium Box series than I disliked. I also tend to like the weight, feel, and play time of this game family. I also wanted this game because it was supposed to be a lighter Stefan Feld game, and thus far we have liked all of the lighter Feld games we have played. So does La Isla break that streak?

Game Overview
In La Isla, player control a team of scientists collecting specimens of extinct animals. The game is divided up into rounds, and in each round there are five phases. First there is a card phase, where each player will get three cards and then decide in which phase they are going to use that card.

All cards can be used in three different ways. In phase A, players will reveal the card assigned there. Each card can provide a special ability. Most of these abilities are specific to certain situations, and as long as the ability is active it will happen when that situation occurs (such as place in a certain area, collect a certain cube, etc). Each player can have up to three of these cards active at a time, so each turn after the third they will be replaying one ability with another.

In phase B, players reveal the card assigned there and collect the shown resource cube. Phase C does not have a card assigned to it, but during this phase players can move their scientist. Scientist can move to certain hex faces. To place or move a scientist a player must spend two resources of the same color. if all of the spaces around a hex are full by the scientist of one player then that player gets the animal tile in the hex. When a player gets an animal tile, they will score points.

Finally in phase D players reveal their played card, and they will move the marker for the pictured animal up a track. When they do, a player will score one point for each tile of that animal they have. This track has a multiplier number for end game scoring that will increase as the animal tracks are moved up each round.

After phase D, a new round begins. This will continue until the sum of the multiplier for all players equals a certain number. At the end of the game players get 10 points for each set of five animals they ave. They also get points per animal type. This is done by counting the number of animal tokens of a certain type a player has and then checking for the multiplier on the animal track. The player with the most points wins.

Our Thoughts
As a reminder we rate games on our own 5 point scale. When our scores are added together, it is where we as a couple theoretically rate the game on the BGG 10 point scale.

My Rating: 4 (like it)
My Thoughts: I really like it when cards have multiple uses in a game. That mechanism is done well in this game. Having to assign three cards creates some really great tactical options. Often there are hard choices about where the best place to put a card is. This makes the game really fun to play.

Her Rating: 4
Her Thoughts: I feel like this game has a lot of replayability. I tend to like games that are all about making the most of your luck each turn, and this is a really fun game that does that.

Verdict
Combined Rating: 8
We have liked every single Feld game we have played, and this one is no different. I am not sure where this will rank for us when it comes to his games, but this is one we are looking forward to playing more.
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Tue Apr 7, 2015 4:34 am
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Warlords of Europe (One Couple's Review)

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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I saw this game in 2010 at Gen Con, and it looked so neat. There were so many units scattered across a beautiful map of Europe, and they had these castle dice towers and buckets of dice on the table. I sat through a couple turn demo, and I liked it enough that I added it to my trade list. Three years later, I ended up getting the game in a math trade. The long play time has kept it off the table, and in the past year and a half it has only come out a few times. Recently, my wife finally agreed to play it. So does this one go down in the history books has a huge win or a colossal blunder?

Game Overview
In this game each player attempts to conquer Europe by getting all of the castles on the board. There can be one castle per territory (up to 9).

Each round begins with a group phase where players get a pope card that provides various benefits, they then add up how much gold they get, and then spend that gold on units, castles, better initiative dice, or merchant cards. Players then roll for initiative, and resolve their turn in initiative order.

On a player's turn they first make combat moves, these are moves that will result in fighting, and then they do combat. The attacker always rolls a D8, but different unit types (spearmen, swordsmen, archers, knights, and lords) hit on different numbers. A die is rolled for each unit. After archers fire first, combat is simultaneous. The defenders will roll a D8, D10, or D12 depending on terrain type. After a round of combat, casualties are removed and the attacker can decide to go through another round of combat or retreat. This continues until the attacker retreats or one side is eliminated.

The active player can then do non-combat moves. If they took at least one territory, they also draw a conquest card which provide unique abilities. Once all players have taken an individual turn the round ends, and a new round begins with the group turn.

This continues until someone emerges victorious.

Our Thoughts
As a reminder we rate games on our own 5 point scale. When our scores are added together, it is where we as a couple theoretically rate the game on the BGG 10 point scale.

My Rating: 3.5 (It's OK)
My Thoughts: I grew up playing Axis and Allies, and despite playing a lot of games since then I still love dudes on a map games. This is without a doubt one of the best ones. The board is very well designed, the game is very straight forward but still have enough nuances to be interesting. This is a buckets of dice, take over the world game and it does a wonderful job at delivering at that. At this point, I have only played this as a two player game. While fun, the two player is a bit limited which is why this rating is not higher.

Her Rating: 3.5 (It's OK)
Her Thoughts: I liked this game a lot more than I thought I would. When I saw the game set up, I first said "no" and walked away. I am glad I came back to it. The rules are straight forward, make sense, and are easy to keep straight. There is something really fun about moving a big army in and rolling a ton of dice. I do agree that the two player game is not very replayable, and I do not think I would want to invest the time into a longer game.

Verdict
Combined Rating: 7
We both enjoyed this game, but the limited two player settings might mean this sees sporadic play time at best. I really want to play this game with four players. I know it would be an all day type of affair, but it would be a lot of fun. I really do want to have one game of this nature in our collection, and right now we have two. This one and Attack!. The games are very different, and right now I am not sure which one to keep. Once we decide, we will keep one and get rid of the other.
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Mon Apr 6, 2015 1:25 am
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The Purge: Guilds of Cadwallon

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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We have too many games. Due to that fact there are some games that sit on the shelf unplayed for a while, sometimes years. We plan on playing every game we have not played for two years or more, and that one play will determine if the game stays or if it gets purged to make room for something else.

I backed this game on kickstarter for a couple of reasons. First the game play looked interesting. However, this is a game where the great components and over the top stretch goal promises pulled me in. When it was all said and done, they were essentially delivering twice the game for the same price. We played it a good deal when we got the game at the beginning of April 2013. However, the last time we played the game together was at the end of April 2013. Is this game just not that good or is it a victim of having too many games?

Brief Game Overview
Cards are laid out in a 3x3 grid. These cards represent one of four different guilds, special ability cards, or negative point giving militia. Players will have agent pieces that they play in between the cards. Each card has an influence value, and the agent placed beside a card will exhort the listed influence on the OTHER card the guild agent is adjacent to.

When all of the alley ways between the cards are full, influence is calculated and players get the cards they won. Unclaimed cards stay out, and when the grid is refilled. When this can not happen the game ends.

Players get more points for having more sets of a guild. Unspent special ability cards also give points. The player with the most points wins.

What We Previously Thought
We both thought the game was fun and quick. My wife also thought the scoring was clever. We both thought the game was better when adding in expansion pieces and playing on a 4x4 grid.

Verdict
My Verdict: Keep
My Rationale: I think this is really a victim of having too many games, because we have enjoyed it every time we have played it. One of the issues is that I knew the base game and the expansion stuff was mixed together in a bit of a mess. The base game box does not hold everything, and I knew before we played it again things would have to be sorted. That unfortunately kept it on the shelf for way too long.

Her Verdict: Go Either Way
Her Rationale: I do like this game and I do enjoy playing it. However, in the past two years I never once found myself really wanting to play it. If we have the game, I will happily play it, but I will probably not regret getting rid of it either.

Final Judgement
Keep

I do not think we have given this game a fair amount of plays, and there is more enjoyment in it for us. If it spends another long spell on the shelf, then I will be wrong. For now though, we are going to hold on to it.
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Sat Apr 4, 2015 6:54 pm
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Monster City Planners (One Couple's Review)

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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We got this game using a gift card we won to The Game Crafter, LLC. The biggest appeal of this game to us is that it uses a mechanism we tend to love, and that is cards have multiple uses. Now that we have played it is this a game we are planning to keep or is it a monstrous disaster?

Game Overview
This game has the very unique theme of monsters working to build a city. The board is a card with a grid on it. Each player is dealt a set number of cards, and from those cards they will be drafting which ones they keep.

Each card serves two functions. The top half of the card can be used to manipulate buildings. Some cards build buildings. There are three types: stations, factories, complexes, and there are also roads. Other cards can destroy already built buildings, and other cards manipulate the location of buildings.

The bottom half of the cards are used for scoring. For a card to score, certain conditions need to be met such as having a certain number of buildings on the board or having buildings in set configurations. Players will have to decide what cards they play and what cards they keep for scoring.

Eventually, a player will pass. On a future turn they can still play, but once all players pass once the round ends. Players can then play their scoring cards. The board is let the same, but a second round is played beginning with a draft. Whoever has the most points after the second round is the winner.

Our Thoughts
As a reminder we rate games on our own 5 point scale. When our scores are added together, it is where we as a couple theoretically rate the game on the BGG 10 point scale.

My Rating: 3 (it's OK)
My Thoughts: This game was created for a "micro game" contest and it fits that bill. It has a small footprint, quick playtime, and small number of components. Despite that, it does offer a full game experience with interesting decisions. My biggest reservation is that a bad draw can have too many destruction cards available and not enough construction. This can make it hard for anyone to really score points.

Her Rating: 3.5 (It's OK)
Her Thoughts: This game can really bring out some analysis paralysis in me, but it is a good kind as I am running through what I want to do. There is really a lot of game in a small little box, and that is impressive.

Verdict
Combined Rating: 6.5
Before we got this game, my wife was commenting that she thought we needed some more good filler games. After we played this a few times, she commented this was the kind of game she was talking about. That is a good endorsement, and that means we will be for sure keeping it.
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Sat Apr 4, 2015 6:35 pm
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My Favorite Games (2015 Edition)

sean johnson
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Edinburgh
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This is the seventh time I have made an annual list of my current favorite games. I really thought about expanding it to 50 this year, but then there would not be much variation from the previous years. All of the same games would be there. I decided to keep it at thirty again, because this helps give an idea of what I think the best games are. I have played around 820 unique games, and these top 30 represent what I think are the very best.

I purposely did not look at last year's list. This means there are a lot of minor changes, but I was surprised with how consistent many picks were compared to last year. I did exclude games that I have played less than three times from consideration, since I have not played those games enough to have a good feel for them.

Obviously, any list of this nature is subjective but these are my top games that I am always willing to play, and that I enjoy playing a lot. The numbers next to the game show how much the game position has changed since last year. The list is in descending order for dramatic effect and there is a brief explanation why I like the game.

30. Washington's War ((New!))
In previous years I think I mentally excluded this game because I only play it about one a year. However, for the past four years I have played it right around the 4th of July. I love the stories this game tells. It does not simulate the American revolution in detail, so it is possible to get crazy things like Benedict Arnold defending Charleston from General Cornwallis. This game does capture the feel of the conflict though, and it is a blast to play every year.

29. Cyclades (new!)

Like Washington's war I passed over this game in previous years, and I think that is because this is the only game on the list I do not know own. That is because my wife hates, hates, hates this game. I think it is glorious though. It is so much fun, and I just love the bidding system and the way it mixes conflict with a race to get the two metropolises.

28. Havana (+1)
This is probably my favorite role selection game. I really like the way that all players chose two roles, and then change one of these out. These roles also determine player order, so there is a lot of trying to get into the heads of the other players. This game can be a bit chaotic with four (and even three), but I think it is an excellent two player game.

27. Mayfair Crayon Rail Games (-2)
I really do consider all of the games in this series just to be variations or scenarios of the same game, so it really should be an entry for the series. My wife and I really do enjoy this game, but playing it against the train gamers at Gen Con really confirms just how out our league we are in this game. Someday, I want to try Iron Dragon

26. Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game (-7)
 

This game has steadily dropped in my rankings, and that is because the play experience can be kind of uneven. It is usually good, sometimes legendary, but then other times a play can really fall flat. Despite that, this is still the best Zombie game I have played and it delivers fun B-level zombie stories.

25. Homesteaders (-2)
I like that this a euro game that mixes in a little bit of everything. It has an auction, worker placement, a tableau, and engine building. This is a game that even when I lose, it is fun to see what I have managed to build and everything I can do with it.

24. London (-9)
This game use to be one of my top ten games as recently as 2013. I obviously still enjoy the game since it is still on this list, but it has fallen a bit because with two players the tempo of the game is the same every time. Despite that, it is still fun to build and run a city so it will remain a favorite of mine.

23. Hammer of the Scots (+1)
I am not sure why this raised a spot from last year, that is just how it goes I guess. Like Washington's War, I like this game for the stories it tells. Every time I play it, the game tells a gripping story of epic proportions that documents the Scottish struggle for independence. I also love the Columbia games block system, and the completionist side of me would love to have all of them.

22. Glen More (-6)

Like London, this game drops a bit for me because each time I play I find myself falling into the same way of playing. I tend to focus on majority scoring more than churning out points. Even when I try to break away and do something different it always seems I fall into my old ways. Despite that this is still fun to play. I really like the unique mechanic that tiles are collected, and it is very pleasing to build my own corner of Scotland.

21. Empires of the Void (-9)
This space conquest game has a great narrative arc to it. It has a beginning where players branch out, a middle where players start attacking each other, and then an end that is all out fighting. There is a lot of strategy in knowing when to make these transitions. Attack to early, and it will turn everyone against you. Attack to late and you are probably the one be being attacked by everyone else. The length of this game at 2 to 3 hours is also perfect for it. The only disadvantage is that I do not get to play it all that much.

20. Coup (New!)
When I first played this game I liked it, but over the course of 2014 I came to like this game a lot more. There are a group of teenagers at the church I work at who love this game, and I have played it a lot with them. The bluffing, double think, and (in larger player counts) temporary alliances make this game a great experience that is a perfect mix of social interaction and game play. I really like this game with the Reformation expansion because the teens add a whole new level to the game.

19. Star Trek: Attack Wing (-6)
Last year I had really hoped this would become my next competitive game. I played in a few events, and decided that I am not willing to invest in this game (time or money) to be a tournament level player. However, this is still my miniatures game of choice. The miniatures game system works well, and I really enjoy the customization in this game.

18. Ninjato (-4)

I like this that this is such a a thematic euro game. The inclusion of a push your luck mechanism adds a lot of excitement to this game, and the limited number of actions ensure that there are always tough decisions to be made.

17. Roll for the Galaxy (New!)
This is one of the newer games on this list. While this game is thematically similar to Race for the Galaxy, I think the actual game play is different enough to create a completely new experience. The dice manipulation in this game makes for a lot of interesting choices and a lot of tactics in what strategy to pursue.

16. Suburbia (+1)
At this point in the list one of the things that should be sticking out is that I like euro games that allow me to build things. Of all the building things this is my favorite. Like a lot of my generation I played the crap out of Sim City, and this game recalls that one. I also like how this game has a strong combo element to it, as different tiles interact with each other. This seems to lend itself to a ton of replaybility.

15. Berserk: War of the Realms (+3)
This may be my least known game on this list, but I enjoy it so much. This game has the same "CCG on a board" feel that games like Summoner Wars and Mage Wars have. I really like this one because every game has customization as players choose which of their cards to field, and I like that the combos in this game are based more on spatial elements than just on playing cards together. I recently traded for a second set, just so I could have extra cards to mess around with for deck building.

14. Bruges(-3)

I really like games that allow for cards to do multiple things, and this is a fine example of that. I think every time I have played this game I have done something different. While many of the cards have some passing similarity to others, the fact there are so many cards and so many ways to use them ensure the same card rarely gets used the same way twice. A lot of games I really like have an infinitely replayable feel, and this is one of them.

13. Star Wars: Imperial Assault (New!)
This is the other fairly new game on this list. I have always been a huge Star Wars fan, and I nave very fond memories of playing the Star Wars RPG. This delivers a slice of that experience with what is also a solid board game experience. I really enjoy this game, and as we get deeper into the campaign I think my love will only grow.

12. Dominion (-3)
Dominion slides out of my top ten. I kind of thought that would happen. The biggest reason for this is my wife is kind of burnt out on Dominion, so we have not played it much for a while. I still like the game. I still love the challenge of looking at a set of 10 random kingdom cards and trying to figure out the best strategy to pursue.

11. Thunder Alley (New!)
This is easily my favorite racing game. I really like how this game is about a team of cars instead of just winning. In a lot of racing games it is often obvious before the end that someone is not going to win, but this is different because it is about how well all of the cars do. I also think the card play is great and pitting is always a tough choice to get right. I like this game with all player counts, but I think it shines with more.

10. Small World (Same)

Small world stays in my top ten favorite games. Since I made my first top games list in 2009, it is only one three games that can say that. I still like this game for the same reasons. The different race combinations make this game enjoyable every time. It is always fun to see what kind of race I will get this time. I am excited that a new expansion just came out so the possibilities will grow even more.

9. Blood Bowl: Team Manager – The Card Game (-2)
For the past several years I have struggled to explain why I like this game so much but I do. I love the theme, I love the back and forth fighting, and the uniqueness of each team. I think the reason why this game stays so high for me is every time I play it, at the end I can not help but think "I had a lot of fun."

8. Core Worlds (+1)
Thanks to the Galactic Orders expansion, this one continues to climb for me. It is really fun to build a space empire, and deck building combined with creating a tableau are two great mechanics that bring that feeling out. Like several of the games on this list, the experience of playing this game is so fun for me. By the end I do not care if I win or lose because I had so much fun just creating my own little empire.

7. A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game (-1)

This is still my go to thematic game of choice. I adore the thematic trappings of this game. The pulp horror setting is neat and unique (As an aside if anyone has recommendations for any other kind of entertainment media that has a similar feel I would love to know what it is). Like a game further up on this list, this is another one where I get so wrapped up in the theme that the mechanics start to fade into the background and the theme comes front and center.

6. The Resistance (-1)
In the past year, I think that One Night Ultimate Werewolf, Good Cop Bad Cop, and BANG! The Dice Game have gotten more play in my game group. Despite that, this is still my hidden role game of choice. I just love the interaction that happens between players in this game as accusations fly. Very few game experiences are more satisfying than winning this game as a bad guy. EXCEPT, being Merlin, winning the game, and successfully deflect suspicion of being Merlin (even though your knowledge was critical to the win)

5. Warhammer: Invasion (-1)
Clearly, I still really enjoy this game, but I fear over the years this game will slowly diminish for me. I think this will happen for a couple of reasons. First, since it was shut down I do not play it as much as I use to. In 2013 I had recorded 160 some plays, in 2014 it was 60 some plays, and this year I have yet to play the game. Second, a big appeal of this game was trying to always make better decks and the constant infusion of cards enabled that. Now that there are not new cards, that drive is not there. I still want to work to create balanced decks that play well against each other and work in Cataclysm. I think treating it more like a board game than a CCG will breathe new life in it for me. Either way though the core mechanics have not changed, and I still like how this game offers super tough choices in resource management and rewards really knowing a deck.

4. Dice Masters (New!)
I struggled with the idea of putting this game on this list above Warhammer Invasion since they are both customizable games, and I have not even had Dice Masters for a year at this point. I do like Dice Masters more though for one reason, and that is the accessibility of team building. Warhammer Invasion requires a 50 card deck minimum. Dice Masters only takes 8 cards, so I can pick a card I want to explore spend a few moments trying to build around it and then play. This provides a huge depth of exploration into the game, and it leaves me constantly wanting to play this game more. I have not done it yet, but I am really looking forward to finding some neat ways to mix the sets. I am also extremely excited that later this month I get to draft for the first time.

3. Race for the Galaxy (Same)

Of all the games on this list, this is the one I feel like I know the best. Especially as a two player game, I feel like I can play this game on a deep level. I have a good idea what is in the deck, I know what the cards in my hand will interact with later. I can set a strategy and adjust that strategy on the fly as the tactical situation demands. What is great is that my wife plays at this same level, and playing this game together is always a blast. This is our most played game together, and I think it would be really hard for any game to replace it.

2. Memoir '44 (same)
Last month my wife made her top games list, and this occupied her number two spot as well. She likes the choices that the card play present her, and the excitement of the dice rolls. I love the infinite replayability of the scenarios, the interesting tactical choices, and the conflict based theme. Most of all though, I love that this is a war game conflict themed game that my wife will happily play with me.

1. Federation Commander (same)

Since last year when I made this list, I have blogged about this game ten different times, meaning it is probably my most talked about game. So if you are a long time reader, then this is probably not a surprise. I can only reiterate what I have said before. This is an amazing and marvelous game on two fronts. First, it provides a rich tactical depth. This is a ultimately a game of resource management and maneuver, and delivers in both of those areas splendidly. Second, this is an engrossing thematic experience. This game puts me in the captain's chair, it puts me front in center in the story, and because of the company's fanatical attention to detail and accuracy every scenario delivers the same level of immersion. I know I am in a very small minority in thinking this, but I think this is one of the best games ever made. It is also my favorite game of all time, at least for this year anyway.
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Fri Apr 3, 2015 3:30 am
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Star Draft (One Couple's Review)

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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Last month I won a gift certificate to the The Game Crafter, LLC. This is actually the third year for me to do so, and I like browsing their print on demand games to find undiscovered gems. My wife and I did pick out a game, but it did not use the entirety of the gift card. I went back and looked again, but this time I was only looking for games that were of a certain price. This game fit the bill and it happened to be about space ships. Our total order, including shipping, was the exact amount of the gift card. So are we glad this game got drafted into our collection or should it get blasted?

Game Overview
In this game all players get at least one starship. The rules are extremely lose about how many a player can or should have. It recommends more than one, but that is all it says. It also mentions drafting the ships, but at no point do the rules actually explain how such a draft should actually work. In the end my wife and I decided to play with three ships each, and we would draft those from a starting hand each of five ships.

On a player's turn all players will pick a ship from their hand and put it face down on the table with their chosen action facing towards the table center. The active player will then pick a player to challenge. Both players flip their cards and resolve the actions. The actions are super attack which beats attack, attack which beats evade, and evade which beats super attack. There is also a pass action, which will switch the target of the active player to either the left or right.

The player that won the challenge deals damage equal to their damage rating to their opponent's ship. Each ship has a health rating, and when it is reduced to zero that ship is destroyed. The last player with ships remaining in the game wins.

Our Thoughts
As a reminder we rate games on our own 5 point scale. When our scores are added together, it is where we as a couple theoretically rate the game on the BGG 10 point scale.

My Rating: 2 (do not care for)
My Thoughts: This is essentially a themed, multiplayer version of rock, paper, scissors. I suppose that is not a terrible concept, but this game has a couple of other issues. The rules, as simple as they are, are written terribly. It is also somewhat obvious that this is not a professional design because I am fairly sure the spaceship art was done in paint.

Her Rating: 2.5 (do not care for)
Her Thoughts: It is rock paper scissors. There is really not much to this game, and the artwork is terrible. Despite it being a silly game I did have some fun playing it though.

Verdict
Combined Rating: 4.5
In the end, I am not sure who this game is for. It is almost like this is supposed to be a "my first CCG" even though it is not one. It comes in randomized packs of 16 and in theory is meant to be drafted. It is not listed as such, but I think really this is a kid's game. I could see my five year old really get into this game. It is 16 cards and takes up zero space, so if he enjoys it we will be keeping it as one of his games.
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Thu Apr 2, 2015 1:26 pm
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End of the Month Recap

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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Between Indy Con, going to several game nights, and playing with my wife this was a big month for playing games. In fact the last time I played more games in a month than this was all the way back in August of 2013.

Game Play Statistics
Number of Recorded Plays: 112
Most Played Game: Marvel Dice Masters (13 plays)
Best New to Me Game: A Study in Emerald

New Games to Play
New Games Reviewed in March: 4
New Game Reviews in Progress: 1
Highest Rated Game this Month: Dead Man's Draw (7.5 combined rating)
New Games Left Unplayed: 11

State of the Collection
New Games Added: 10
Games Removed: 6
Total Number of Games: 197
We participated in a math trade which results in games going in and out. We did win some games at Indy Con and we bought a couple.

10x10 Challenge Update
Dice MastersCompleted!
Star Realms Completed!
Among the Stars
Suburbia
Trains
My First Carcassonne
King of Tokyo
Federation Commander
Memoir '44
Ticket to Ride
Race for the Galaxy
We slowed down even more from our initial pace at the beginning of the year. There are a couple games we did not make any progress on, but I did really advance Federation Commander this month.
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Wed Apr 1, 2015 4:26 am
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