Getting to my underplayed games in 2013--how'd it go?
Mark Saya
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Recommend
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
I enjoy seeing people's gaming resolutions at the beginning of each new year, but I often wonder to what degree they were successful in achieving their goals. With that in mind I decided to wait until nearly the end of the year to present my resolutions for 2013 and give a full report.

[appropriately heroic FANFARE here (sorry about the ad)]

My gaming resolutions for 2013 were:

1. Play my unplayed games at long last (I started the year with 46 unplayed games)
2. Play my little-played games—those played just once or twice—again (61 games in this category)
3. Play all games newly acquired this year (14 and a few expansions: I tried to resist, I really did)
4. Play each of these games at least three and preferably five or more times

Ah, that last bit made this tougher. I coded the number of plays amassed as follows:

one to four plays five to nine plays 10 to 19 plays 20 or more plays

Seeing the default image for each game over and over again gets pretty boring after a while. So thumbs up, modest tips, and many thanks to those whose much more interesting pictures grace the items in this list.

Okay, well over 100 games to play, at least three times each. Here's how I did:

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
1. Board Game: Starship Merchants [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:2920]
Mark Saya
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Love it. Works very well with two, great artwork on the board and equipment, pilot, and destination cards. I wish there were more of the latter, as that deck gets cycled through fairly quickly.

The game hinges on two important timing issues: the mid-game obsolescence of ships and endgame final run trigger-point. Success in the game largely depends on handling those critical junctures well.

The pick-up-and-deliver aspect of the game is distilled down to a single move from Belt to Dock, so one might miss the flavor and sense of a journey. Of course such streamlining was a deliberate design choice, and definitely speeds up play—I'll take that trade-off gladly.

Owned since 2012; unplayed before this year
Five plays in 2013: Jan 3; Mar 7, 11; Jul 3, 5
Initial rating: 7 • Latest rating: 9
Outlook: keeper

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
2. Board Game: Chronicle [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:1361]
Mark Saya
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm disappointed that we never got going with Chronicle—somehow we just couldn't summon the will to play more often. It didn't help that my trick-taking trio of friends hardly ever got together this year. Really hate to have a failure so near the top of the list.

It's clearly an intriguing little game: three ten-card suits, six wild cards, each card with a special power, and ever-changing special goals for each hand. There's definitely a learning curve here, so our games dragged as we labored to come to grips with each card type.

Owned since 2011; unplayed before this year
Two plays in 2013: Jan 3; Jul 1
Initial rating: 5
Outlook: keeper

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
3. Board Game: Nemo's War [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:2970]
Mark Saya
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Fairly enjoyable and atmospheric, easy to play but very difficult to win. Is it really possible to score over 200 points? Anybody?

My first play I just dove right in, learning as I went along so, no surprise, the game was littered with botched rules. In the next three plays, I got the rules mostly right, although I often found it hard to remember whether or not I flipped the week marker. I tried War, Exploration, and Anti-Imperialism, and failed each one (74, 82, 86 points respectively). Finally on my fifth try, I committed to Science: almost everything went my way and I eked out a modest success (152 points). Hoping that with these four "Commitments" to choose from the game will stay fresh.

I bought the Nemo's War Expansion Kit in March but have yet to try it. I like how one of the variants allows you to follow the narrative arc of Verne's famous novel.

Owned since 2009; unplayed before this year
Five plays in 2013: Jan 5, 6(x2), 7, 8
Initial rating: 7 • Latest rating: 6
Outlook: keeper

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
4. Board Game: Epigo [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:3696]
Mark Saya
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I like abstract games and had high hopes for this one, but it just hasn't grabbed me. Yet. The components are very nice and gameplay is pristine and challenging, but it has a tension that's more unpleasant than exciting—the lack of perfect information has you constantly worried about unforeseeable accidents that can seriously undermine if not utterly destroy your own carefully cultivated positions.

The source of this "problem" is actually the heart of the game: the use of multiple pre-plotted moves. I have mixed feelings about this mechanism in other games: love Wings of War: Famous Aces, sort of like Autoscooter, didn't care much for River Dragons, and, as far as I can tell, have wisely avoided RoboRally all together.

Still, I'd like to give Epigo a few more chances, especially since we haven't even begun to tap into the wealth of variants that come with the game.

Owned since 2012; unplayed before this year
Five plays in 2013: Jan 11; Mar 4, 7, 18; Jun 10
Initial rating: 6 • Latest rating: 5
Outlook: keeper for now

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
5. Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:12]
Mark Saya
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Clearly a huge hit: we played five 2-player and seven 3-player games, enjoying 3-players a bit more even though it lasts longer.

There are many moving parts here, room for clever play and a number of viable strategies. Turn order is an important advantage, yet you can win without having gone first much of the time. Animals can rack up a bunch of points (see below), but aren't always crucial to winning. The mines as a source of silverlings are nice, but not always necessary for success. I would say though that players who disregard point-scoring knowledge (yellow) tiles do so at their peril.

A certain sameness began to set in after a while, despite the variety of playing boards. Perhaps we played too many games in too short a time.

Note on the picture: that's alotta pigs (and there's one more hiding in the previous game's title).

Owned since 2012; unplayed before this year
12 plays in 2013: Feb 18, 22; Mar 1, 4, 12, 18, 26, 28; Apr 2, 26; May 8, 22
Initial rating: 7 • Latest rating: 8
Outlook: keeper, or played out?

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
6. Board Game: Hansa [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:718]
Mark Saya
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
A lean, even austere game of limited options, with movement restricted to a small number of one-way routes, a single ship shared by everyone, and end-of-turn taxation preventing the hoarding of more than three goods or talers from turn to turn. The trick is to achieve what you can with an eye toward leaving the next guy in a less than optimal position. Sometimes biding your time and doing very little is the best play.

Bob Flaherty (YellowLab) has created a beautiful alternate map for this game; wish it was on the flip side of my board.

Owned since 2005; played twice, last in Aug 2009
Five plays in 2013: Mar 4, 7, 22, 26; May 17
Initial rating: 7 • Latest rating: 7
Outlook: would consider a trade but probably a keeper

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
7. Board Game: Genji [Average Rating:5.84 Overall Rank:6734]
Mark Saya
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
"Blending nicely with the flute came the mellow tones of a Japanese koto. It had been tuned in advance, apparently, and was waiting. The ritsu scale had a pleasant modern sound to it, right for a soft, womanly touch from behind blinds, and right for the clear moonlight too. I can assure you that the effect was not at all unpleasant."
Murasaki Shikibu: The Tale of Genji


I have a weakness for games with a literary connection, so when I learned of this one, inspired by Murasaki's remarkable 11th century novel The Tale of Genji, I just had to have it. I immediately liked the artwork and how the game played; the little two-part poems "composed" by the players are sometimes very beautiful. Thematically it clearly captures the flavor of the pleasantly purple prose cited above, a typical passage from the novel. Yet Genji languished on our game shelf for years, all but unplayed. Until now!

After enjoying the full game, we found that it plays just fine yet moves along at an even more agreeable pace with fewer princesses and seasons in play:
• with two players, eight princesses and all four seasons;
• with three players, nine princesses and any three seasons.
In both cases, we limit movement to one or two locations per turn.

Owned since 2008; played twice, last in Nov 2009
Four plays in 2013: Mar 4, 7; May 24; Aug 26
Initial rating: 7 • Latest rating: 7
Outlook: keeper




• a princess who prefers melancholic poems set in springtime;
• a summer flower card with a three-line beginning of a poem;
• the autumn card, featuring a cute little striped and tusked oinker;
• a winter flower card with a two-line ending of a poem.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
8. Board Game: Safranito [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:1365]
Mark Saya
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
A tossing rather than flicking game. Different, fun. Implausible backstory, beautiful board and cards, nice hefty chips.

Owned since 2012; played once, Nov 2012
Three plays in 2013: Mar 4, 7; Nov 26
Initial rating: 6 • Latest rating: 7
Outlook: would consider a trade but probably a keeper
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
9. Board Game: Phantom Leader [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:1979]
Mark Saya
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Years ago I traded for the original version of Hornet Leader, sort of played once (a mission or two), then put it aside. It was okay but didn't fully pull me in. Nevertheless, I found upgrading to Phantom Leader to be irresistible, and having finally gotten around to playing it, I'm glad I did.

I really like the manage-a-squadron-over-several-missions aspect of this game. I generally did well in the five campaigns I played, but never great, which tells me in hindsight that I didn't play aggressively enough to earn the ultimate glory. Of course, that means taking more chances and risking more pilots and planes, which I was loath to do. Can you just sort of win a war?

Owned since 2010; unplayed before this year
Five campaigns (19 missions) in 2013: Mar 9(x2), 17, 23, 29
Initial rating: 7 • Latest rating: 8
Outlook: keeper

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
10. Board Game: Troia [Average Rating:5.63 Overall Rank:11746]
Mark Saya
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
An evocative, highly thematic archeology game that deserves to be much better known. During the course of play you 1) literally excavate a layered pile of rubble representing the original Troy and several of its later incarnations; 2) actually study what you find, trying to make sense of and piece together the puzzling evidence; and 3) hurry to publish your findings before your competitors publish theirs to acquire the most reputation points.

I very much like the study part: it truly is contemplative, like patiently performing scholarly research, only fun. However, this aspect of the game makes Troia something to be savored only once in a while, lest the puzzles become too familiar. Three well-spaced plays felt just right.

Owned since 2011; played twice, last in Apr 2012
Three plays in 2013: Mar 19; Jul 8; Nov 8
Initial rating: 9 • Latest rating: 9
Outlook: keeper, a prized possession

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
11. Board Game: Mosaix [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:2774]
Mark Saya
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I remembered Mosaix as a short, pleasant, mildly challenging diversion. Getting back to it I found that while it works well enough competitively--we enjoyed several close two-player games--the solo variant is disappointing easy (with 120 considered a win and 130 a "super" score, I managed 128, 137, and 131 in three tries.) Its little black markers and dry-wipe boards work very well, and it comes in a tin box, which is, well, unusual.

Owned since 2010; played twice, Oct 2010
Eight plays (three solo) in 2013: Mar 20(x3), 26, 28; Apr 2, 26(x2)
Initial rating: 6 • Latest rating: 5
Outlook: unless I can trade it, probably an eventual giveaway

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
12. Board Game: Goa [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:111]
Mark Saya
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
In the manner of Byron's Don Juan:
cinnamon Something of a modern classic one gathers 'round here,
clove boasting a host of moving parts and constant little options,
ginger but woefully lacking in any sense of time or place I fear,
nutmeg and featuring a monotonous parade of boring little auctions.

pepper In sum: soulless, more work than pleasure; too long, too bad.


Rationale: This is the only game in this list that involves auctions. Not a surprise–I simply don't enjoy auctions, even when they're only a subsystem as they are here. (Notable exceptions: Container, Industrial Waste, Medici, Ra; I also like the auction scene in Hitchcock's North by Northwest.) So take my verdict on Goa with a grain of salt–as if you haven't already.

Owned original version from 2004 to 2005, played once, Apr 2005, traded; acquired latest version—A New Expedition—in 2012; unplayed before this year
Two plays in 2013: Mar 25, 28
Initial rating: 6 • Latest rating: 4
Outlook: sell, trade, or give away

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
13. Board Game: Revolver 2: Last Stand at Malpaso [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:2814]
Mark Saya
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It was about halfway through our fourth game, one in which I was doing well as the Guardians and would eventually win, that I realized I wasn't having any fun. Neither was my opponent. Nor did the other two gamers I played with in previous games. Revolver 2 is not a bad game by any means, it's just that there are so many other, more engaging faction vs. faction games to play, such as Blue Moon, or Neuroshima Hex! 3.0, or Summoner Wars (although I'm not crazy about the dice). Perhaps we should have tried playing in costume . . .

On the plus side, the little wooden sombreros representing the unlikely-to-arrive Mexican army are pretty spiffy:



Owned since 2012; unplayed before this year
Four plays in 2013: Mar 28; Jun 10, 14; Oct 21
Initial rating: 5 • Latest rating: 4
Outlook: sell, trade, or give away

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
14. Board Game: Archipelago [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:285]
Mark Saya
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
A sprawling, colorful, beautifully illustrated game. Unfortunately I only got around to three short solo plays.

Owned since 2012; unplayed before this year
Three plays in 2013: Mar 30(x3)
Initial rating: 7
Outlook: keeper?

Great artwork: merchant, thief, pirate, queen



3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
15. Board Game: Friday [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:308]
Mark Saya
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
A very fine, effectively themed and appropriately difficult to win solitaire game that gets deck-building just right. I did burn out on it a bit by playing too much too quickly, but I'm sure I will return to Friday eventually with pleasure.

New in 2013
23 plays: Apr 1(x3), 6, 12(x2), 16(x2), 20, 25(x2), 28; May 2(x3), 6, 9(x2), 18(x2), 26(x3)
Initial rating: 7 • Latest rating: 8
Outlook: keeper
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
16. Board Game: Pax Porfiriana [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:378]
Mark Saya
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Love it—this is really one of the best games to surface in a long while. The 200+ cards are fascinatingly rich and varied, and the fact that less than half of them are utilized in any one sitting not only makes the game endlessly replayable but also neatly avoids the kind of unrealistic augury inherent in many card-driven games (only the four topple opportunities are certain to appear). It's also great the way the market tableau eliminates the need for constant auctioning—a mechanic that in my view mars all of the original Lords games—and consequently speeds up play considerably.

I am already a-drool at the thought of Lords of the Renaissance and Lords of the Spanish Main getting the same or similar treatment.

Note on the picture: Joe Berger (arnodestang) as well as several others have created some really beautiful playmats for this game.

New in 2013
Eleven plays: Apr 13, 19(x2), 27, 30; May 1, 4, 6, 13, 24; Jun 3
Initial rating: 9 • Latest rating: 10
Outlook: keeper, a prized possession

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
17. Board Game: Decktet [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:1850]
Mark Saya
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm always intrigued by game systems—Icehouse, Neue Spiele im alten Rom, Piecepack—so when I stumbled across Decktet I just had to buy it and its nifty companion volume The Decktet Book. Yet after skimming the book and trying a couple solo plays, I set the game aside . . . until now!

While there are many interesting games designed for this deck, I decided to limit myself to the 17 found in the 1st edition of The Decktet Book. I ultimately tried the following eight of them (number of players in parentheses). Enthusiasm for these games led me to buy a second Decktet pack of cards and the electronic version of the 2nd edition of the book in late November.

4 Adaman (1), Three plays: May 7; Jun 9; Nov 30

6 Bharg (2), Four plays: Nov 8(x2), 16, 25

7 Emu Ranchers (2), Two plays: Nov 16, 25

8 Gongor Whist (1), Six plays: May 6(x3), 19(x3)

6 Jacynth (1-3), Three plays: May 4(x3)

7 Magnate (2), Seven plays: May 14, 15, 17(x2), 22(x2), 24

7 Oh Quay (2), Three plays: Nov 8, 16, 25

5 Thricewise (2-3), Two plays: May 15(x2)

Note on the picture: Behind the cards is P.D. Magnus, designer of the Decktet game system, playing his unique game Oh Quay.

Owned since 2011; played twice, June 2011
30 total plays in 2013
Initial rating (overall game system): 6 • Latest rating: 8
Outlook: keeper

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
18. Board Game: Die Magier von Pangea [Average Rating:6.23 Overall Rank:3524]
Mark Saya
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
A charming but rather curious little game, the best part of which is the ever-shifting playing board, an elementary but effective take on plate tectonics. It plays slowly at first but once players have acquired two or more magic amulets things suddenly start to accelerate rapidly to the end—if you're not well positioned for this noticeable change of gear you'll find yourself left hopelessly behind. A hierarchy of three possible victory conditions encourages different strategies and keeps the game fresh.

Owned since 2003; played twice, last in May 2005
Five plays in 2013: May 8; Jun 14(x2); Jul 14; Sep 25
Initial rating: 7 • Latest rating: 7
Outlook: would consider a trade but probably a keeper

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
19. Board Game: Urbion [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:1849]
Mark Saya
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
A decent enough game but a pale shadow of its older sibling Onirim both in gameplay (dry, mechanical) and artwork (more off-puttingly childish than pleasingly child-like). I had difficulty winning until I started to keep an inventory of all the discards: not really my idea of fun. Have yet to try the two expansions that came with the game.

New in 2013
15 plays: May 14(x2), 21(x3); Jun 7(x3), 12(x2), 16(x3), 19(x2)
Initial rating: 6 • Latest rating: 5
Outlook: keeper (small box not a storage problem)


 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
20. Board Game: Cornerstone Essential [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:4403]
Mark Saya
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Decent fun once in a while, but not as good as I'd hoped. I guess this isn't my kind of game. Best when using all the pieces, so with two or four players. With three players the tower, while often rickety, is unlikely to fall, and without enough of that kind of tension, it's the game that falls flat.

Owned since 2010; played once, Mar 2011
Three plays in 2013: May 15; Jun 17; Sep 30
Initial rating: 7 • Latest rating: 5
Outlook: sell, trade, or give away
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
21. Board Game: Schinderhannes [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:5257]
Mark Saya
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Puzzly, deductive goodness. I was really taken with Stephan Riedel's evocative little deduction game Fleet 1715 so hunting down a copy of his similar Schinderhannes was a high priority for me. Now if I can just get ahold of Old Town. . .

In addition to the quaintly gorgeous board, cards, and pieces, the game includes some nice historical background regarding the infamous robber Schinderhannes. It takes a while to get comfortable with the rules, but they make perfect sense once you're in. Deductive chain reactions can result in dramatic surges in scoring (which is fine as long as it's not always the same person benefiting). I also went ahead and got Schinderhannes: Julchen, an expansion for two players; looks intriguing but I've yet to try it.

Note on the picture: "Break-in"–an example of the evocative artwork found on several of the game's cards.

New in 2013
Five plays: May 20, 21, 22(x2); Dec 28
Initial rating: 7 • Latest rating: 8
Outlook: keeper

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
22. Board Game: Star Trek: Expeditions [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:1991]
Mark Saya
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
While I'm far from the biggest fan of Star Trek, I do admire and own a kartload of Knizias, so I was more than inclined to give this game a shot. The many lukewarm to poor reviews I read here did give me pause though. After playing a few times I have to say that these reviews, while sometimes too harsh in tone, are generally on the money: the game often feels more like number-crunching than adventuring, the replay value seems limited, and the Clix-toys, with their microscopic font size, are mildly annoying.

Yet I've mostly enjoyed our plays and will definitely give it a few more goes, if only to learn to play more efficiently and to tackle the highest level of difficulty (we played all our games on the medium level). I'm tempted to add some variety with the three new characters now available, and would welcome an additional scenario expansion or two.

Owned since 2011; unplayed before this year
Five plays in 2013: May 27, 29; Jun 1; Jul 22; Sep 11
Initial rating: 7 • Latest rating: 6
Outlook: without new scenarios, will probably trade, sell, or give away

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
23. Board Game: Lord of the Rings: Friends & Foes [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked]
Mark Saya
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
We've played the Lord of the Rings base game many times through the years but tried the "Friends & Foes" expansion only once before 2013. The best parts of this expansion—with apologies to the eponymous foes—are the two additional playing boards, Bree and Isengard, which feature the same great artwork as the original game. Of course slogging through all six boards would make the already arduous journey even longer and harder, so you want to earn your way past one or two. Yet such bypassing triggers the appearance of even more foes . . . good, grim stuff!

In our best effort, a two-player game, we won with 87 points (including 14 dispatched foes). After faring well enough in Bree, we blitzed through Moria, actually hung around a bit to claim the pipe-weed card in Isengard, skipped Helm's Deep, raced through Shelob's Lair, and, with plenty of help from Gandalf, managed Mordor well. With two players, moving fast is very effective if you can pull it off.

Owned since 2002; played once, Jun 2006
Three plays in 2013: Jun 17, 26; Dec 28
Initial rating: 7 • Latest rating: 8
Outlook: keeper (have to—I threw away the box!)

With friends like these, who needs foes?


1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
24. Board Game: Bananagrams [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:1570] [Average Rating:6.34 Unranked]
Mark Saya
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
A fast and fun simultaneous word-building romp: very much a "hey, let's play another" sort of game. As in Scrabble, a good knowledge of two- and three-letter words helps a lot. I dislike pseudo-words like "qi" and "za," but since speed is of the essence, I've used them gladly in this game.

An attractive feature of Bananagrams is that it works well as a solo pastime. While you don't have to play for speed, adding every letter tile to your grid in less than a half-hour is a challenging goal: in six plays, 33:22 is my best time.

One of the many reasons I enjoy gaming is that it often massages the same parts of my brain that composing music does. For example, sometimes I'll write the beginning of a melody or chord progression that greatly pleases me but then am unable to bring it to an effective conclusion. It's like being boxed in, the musical equivalent of painting yourself into a corner. I hate to change what I've written—I'm really happy with it—but I have to, at least in part, if I hope to finish it. Now, doesn't that remind you of Bananagrams?

Owned since 2012; unplayed before this year
23 plays in 2013: Jul 1(x2), 4, 7, 8(x2), 17, 19, 22(x5), 28; Aug 4, 12(x2), 15(x2), 19(x2); Sep 30(x2)
Initial rating: 7 • Latest rating: 7
Outlook: keeper

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
25. Board Game: The Ares Project [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:2397]
Mark Saya
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Somehow I knew we wouldn't get to this one much. Our single play of the basic game was not exactly inspiring. I mostly remember lots of pushing around cards, fussing with little chits, and fighting inconsequential battles. Yet I remain intrigued by the special rules for each of the four factions—they are well-imagined and nicely distinct from one another—and would love to play the advanced game, especially to try out the Colossus and its special board.

Owned since 2012; unplayed before this year
One play in 2013: Jul 14
Initial rating: 6
Outlook: keeper for now

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.