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2011 in Review: Part 1 (My Games Played)

Jesse Dean
United States
Orlando
Florida
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Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious predator on Earth!
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While it is a bit early to be looking at the games I’ve played in 2011, I think on the whole it is fairly safe to do so now. I expect that I will play no new games in December, and most of my effort will be expended in further exploration of the new games rolling in: Eclipse, Mage Knight, Ora et Labora, Upon A Salty Ocean, and Singapore (The last two just arrived last night!). Here is the list: 2011 Plays


Games Played by Quantity - 2011


Games Played by Rating - 2011
*This is A Few Acres of Snow, whose rating I will raise once its issue is resolved.

So on the whole, I am pretty happy with my gaming in 2011. The total number of plays (even when accounting for an expected 40-50 plays in December) is definitely lower than in previous years, which is unfortunate, but can be accounted for by a combination of gaming burn-out in the Spring, an increased focus on 18XX games during the same period, and the frequent non-meeting of my Sunday group. So even when I was gaming I wasn’t gaming nearly as much. This has turned around since summer hit, and I’ve been able to maintain a pretty steady rate since then.

The bulk of the games I have played I have been able to get more than one play out of, which I think is another promising item. While I suppose this has reduced the variety of games I’ve played, particularly in comparison with previous years, I am much happier being able to explore a smaller group of games in greater detail. I suspect a major part of this increased concentration is that I have largely completed my exploration of older games that I am interested in seeing and have a better idea of the sorts of games that are coming out that might interest me. Thus I am much less likely to find a game that I am going to only want to play once, and most of my single plays were either revisitations of older games that I like but only got to play once this year (such as 1830, Age of Steam, Battlestar Galactica, Brass, Clippers Inca Empire, and Kaivai) are ones that are very new and I have not yet had a chance to explore in more detail (such as Dungeon Petz, Eclipse, The Manhattan Project, MIL (1049), Singapore, and Upon A Salty Ocean). Since most of the items in the second category are expected to hit this month (and the second two arrived last night), I imagine that all of them will have second plays by the time the month is over with.
I have also been able to mostly play games that I like quite well, though the fact that the bulk of my plays were rated 8 rather than 9 or 10 is sad, but mostly unavoidable; the bulk of the fast games that I like are rated 8. Race For the Galaxy has seen a new resurgence locally as a few newer players have grown interested in it, so I hope that it will end up taking a larger number of my total game plays next year. I expect Innovation to still be pretty strong, but Yomi, which was my most play game in 2011, will probably decline in the face of the alternative of Summoner Wars as a fast two-player game.

The amount of play of some of my longer favorites will depend a lot on the preferences of my gaming partners. I have some influence over what games get to the table, but both Twilight Struggle and Command & Colors: Ancients will only get as many plays as my two-player gaming opportunities allow, and my declining interest in 18XX may keep 1848: Australia off the table as well. I expect that I will have no problem keeping the total number of plays of Agricola, Colonial, Dominant Species, and Imperial 2030 strong. Hansa Teutonica has fallen a bit out of favor locally though, and the amount of play Ora et Labora and Mage Knight get will depend a lot on how people like them initially so I intend to perform a lot of work ensuring that the initial impression from these is a favorable one.

Of course much of my hope for even more gaming in 2012 could be dashed by my planned move in August. Currently I live in Orlando, FL but at the behest of my lovely girlfriend we are going to be moving an hour away from the city in order to be closer to work. I do not think this will affect my Wednesday Coolstuff gaming, but it might reduce my weekend opportunities unless I can convince someone else to take over hosting duties. It might increase my two-player opportunities however, as said girlfriend has indicated that she will be more willing to play two-player games with me when we have an extra hour and a half a day with no driving. So we will see what happens. Hopefully, this will mean I am getting in even more gaming, with more two-player opportunities, Wednesday night, and a weekend session. However, I might just end up gaming on Wednesday, which will dramatically decrease my gaming options. Alas, woe, etc.
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