Rick BaptistUnited States
Two things struck me while going over the games released in 2011. First, I haven't played all the ones I wanted to play yet, and second, I don't feel like 2011 was all that good of a year. Compared to 2010, I'd even argue that 2011 was a WEAK year. But I can't sit here and write an article about that comparison because, well, I haven't played all the ones I wanted to play yet.
But what I CAN do is look back 10 years ago and see what games I still like from back then. Ten years seems like a long time, but I was introduced to these games no more than four years ago or less, so in a way they're not that old to me. And anyway, it sounded like something fun to do. So I think I'll be doing a series of these lookbacks (which is why I put 2001 in brackets above, as I expect to be doing one for 2002 and beyond, not because I couldn't expect you to count back the years correctly). Along with that, I expect to learn a few things about myself in the process.
Keep in mind that the games I list as "favorites" are ones that I rate at "8" or higher. And for good measure, I'll put in my dud game and perhaps a game or two that I'd still like to play that I missed out on.
My favorite games of 2001
Winner's Circle - by Reiner Knizia
Total plays: 10
Getting back into the hobby around 2005, Winner's Circle was one of the first designer games I was introduced to and subsequently one of the first games I purchased. The design is so simplistic -- roll a die and move a horse -- and yet sophisticated. Although my wife and I just played it once as a two-player game (and it works), this one shines best with four players and five players. And I've found that while the theme might be a BIT dry for the occasional person, if you get enthusiastically involved during the race you can easily wipe that out. It's a boatload of fun cheering for your horse and trying to manipulate others to move your steed to the finish. I am one of those that most of the time (read: always) puts his high money on one of those all-or-nothing horses. That way, when I do get that awesome roll, I'm laughing all the way to the bank. The design holds up quite nicely through the decade, and I honestly don't see that changing for another 50 years. An absolute keeper.
Dragon's Gold - by Bruno Faidutti
Total Plays: 7
The first time I tried Dragon's Gold I didn't get it. I had picked up the game in a trade, and everything about it seemed average to me. The box was small, blue, and odd. The jewels were these little wooden candies that rolled everywhere and drove me crazy. And I got a rule wrong to top it off that led to a flat play. Thank goodness it got busted out again later. The premise of the game is really what I love about it. You kill a dragon, big deal -- now it's time to split up the treasure. And you have a minute to do exactly that! If you don't decide what happens with it in a minute, it disappears! I found out quite early in my gaming "career" that I was a fan of negotiation, and I owe that all to this little gem right here. Lucky for me, I got to meet Mr. Faidutti at our local Strategicon convention and he signed my copy. I invited him to play, too, but he politely declined and said that he "no longer enjoyed the game". Hahah!
The Werewolves of Miller's Hollow - by Dimitry Davidoff
Total plays: 21
I'm fully aware that Werewolf came out before 2001 -- in fact, it says in the BGG database that it was released in 1986, but I imagine some form of the game has been played for many years before that. I learned Werewolf as "Mafia", and have many great memories from high school and college playing the game. It wasn't until later on that I discovered the art from these cards and decided it was my favorite set. I like all the looks of the cards from this release, especially the art for the seer. Unfortunately, the names of the powers aren't on the cards, but to the experienced player this is not a problem. If you haven't tried Werewolf, don't rush out and try it with just anyone -- start with your family and friends. When I play Werewolf with strangers the experience would not place highly at all. With friends and family, though, it's terrific -- not a better feeling than being able to convince your wife or mom that you're a friend, only to end up killing them in the night a bit later.
Well, that's it for games rated "8" and up in 2001. Yup, three. I don't consider 2001 a great year for gaming, that's safe to say. But I do have some honorable mentions.
The game I would like to play from 2001 and haven't yet
A game about the evolution of dinosaurs by Asmodee is something that immensely intrigues me. I'm really hoping to try out the reprint soon. Any thoughts from veteran Evo players out there?
My least-favorite game of 2001
I know some people love it, and I accept that. So you can accept that I hate it.
Next time, I take a look at my favorites from nine years ago, 2002. I have a feeling it will be a bit better of a year.