Tim's 2012 Tens
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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Alliterative!

Here are the games I managed to play at least ten times in 2012.
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1. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.66 Unranked]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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2012 plays: 71
2011 plays: 125
2010 plays: 10
2009 plays: 14
2008 plays: 48

Dominion tops the list for the second year in a row. This is such an easy game to get to the table - not only does my wife love the game, but it's easy to teach casual gamers, easy to play multiple times, and easy to enjoy. We got Dark Ages at the GenCon portion of our honeymoon, and it's been very good, with Market Square shining in a Bishop game, and some nasty Graverobbing of Rebuilt Duchies.
 
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2. Board Game: Plus Word [Average Rating:7.10 Unranked]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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2012 plays: 31
No prior plays

XYZ is a game I made at the beginning of the year. A simple word game: pick two of the available word cards, come up with a third linking the two, and get the other players to guess what it is.

I made the post-initial prototype on The Game Crafter, a wonderful service I heartily recommend. This is the first game I got from them with a legit board, and it's high-quality. They create good stuff, I tells ya.
 
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3. Board Game: Redemption [Average Rating:5.84 Overall Rank:10888]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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2012 plays: 29
2011 plays: 25
2010 plays: 29
2009 plays: 0
2008 plays: 36

My CCG of choice, since the mid-90s, has been Redemption. I got the chance to attend several tournaments this year, and while I was still pretty rusty, I had a great time with great people, and even got to start up a new small game group with a few of the people I re-met there. My performance might also have something to do with my using almost the same deck since 2008.
 
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4. Board Game: Awesome Bots [Average Rating:7.53 Unranked]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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2012 plays: 29
2011 plays: 50
2010 plays: 66
2009 plays: 17
2008 plays: 17

While Awesome Bots/Dash has dropped in plays, the game's been evolving quite a bit to finalize its production-ready form. Hopefully that day comes soon... I'm certainly happy with how it's ended up so far.
 
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5. Board Game: What's My Word? [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:2812]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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2012 plays: 28
2011 plays: 71
2010 plays: 5

What's My Word may have a much smaller quantity of plays this year, but it's still a top-tier two-player word game. Sure, it's virtually non-interactive after you come up with your word, but the puzzling and logic involved are fantastic. A great game for sitting on the couch, listening to some music, and playing late at night.
 
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6. Board Game: Pictomania [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:601]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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2012 plays: 26
2011 plays: 6

Wow, this is the Vlaada game I played most? I guess there have been a lot of opportunities to bring this out, this crazy simultaneous Pictionary-style game. It's got significantly more strategy than your typical drawing game, although slightly less accessible. They did a great job coming up with difficult-to-draw words on the highest difficulty: fate, it, Genghis Khan, adverb...
 
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7. Board Game: Pitch [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:4130]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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2012 plays: 25
2011 plays: 36
2010 plays: 17
2009 plays: 0
2008 plays: 3

We end up playing at least one game of Setback/PD whenever we see my grandma, it's a classic. I'm a very non-aggressive bidder though, which tends to work out poorly for me. I think it's partially because I don't handle the 5 well.
 
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8. Board Game: Bali [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:6264]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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2012 plays: 23
2011 plays: 19
2010 plays: 100
2009 plays: 49

Another top-tier word game, Bali is highly strategic and tactical, rewarding long words with lots of rare letters, quite different from Scrabble. The game can be very vicious, with lots of stealing of words, word fragments, or even key individual letters. The game is far from its 2010 heyday of 100 plays, but it's still heartily enjoyed as a 2-player letterfest.
 
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9. Board Game: Kingdom Builder [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:456]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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2012 plays: 23
No prior plays

Kingdom Builder is the GenCon purchase that my wife has enjoyed the most. It helps that she's really good at the game. I know that many here scoff at the perceived high luck factor, but when one person wins so consistently, I think that says something. We play with the rules as written, no expansions, and it has yet to disappoint. We've had super-short games (7 rounds!), games with close consideration of where each house goes (our last Farmers-Workers-Hermits game was intense trying to max out each card, and I got 10 houses on each board!), games where such micromanagement isn't as important, and you're just going for sheer quantity (like Lords and Knights games), and games with a lot of blocking, especially 3+ player games. Shun the non-believers. Shuuun!
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10. Board Game: The Resistance [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:181]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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2012 plays: 22
2011 plays: 12

The Resistance is such a well-crafted game. Almost pure psychology and people-watching, with some logic along the way, and it works so well. It's as short as a game like this could be, making every minute of it count. High tension, high fun.
 
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11. Board Game: Space Alert [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:150]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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2012 plays: 22
2011 plays: 53
2010 plays: 27
2009 plays: 15
2008 plays: 8

Oh, I wish I weren't terrible at Space Alert. I wish I didn't constantly qualify for the Lead Weight achievement in New Frontiers. I wish I could actually put all the cards down that I said I would. I wish I wouldn't necessitate us putting off the highest-difficulty enemies. But that's not the case, even after well over a hundred plays, and it's still lots of fun. And people still play with me, for whatever reason.
 
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12. Board Game: Scrabble [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:1524]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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2012 plays: 20
2011 plays: 15
2010 plays: 4
2009 plays: 1
2008 plays: 1

Scrabble still holds up well. Better than it used to, even, as my wife and her family are more fun opponents than my college friends who would play intensely slow. It's got a lot more tactical placement than word knowledge involved (although a healthy dose of the latter sure helps), and it works great as a two-player game.

It doesn't get much love on BGG, as it gets strikes in three areas: word game, old game, widely-known game.
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13. Board Game: Metropolys [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:649]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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2012 plays: 16
2011 plays: 21
2010 plays: 30
2009 plays: 54
2008 plays: 2

Metropolys is a vastly underrated game, especially as a 2-player game. It's got a great bidding system, hidden goals that you try to deduce during the game, good balance despite random setup and goals, and a simple ruleset.

Metropolys somehow became the game of choice when my wife and I have a pasta dinner. I don't even remember how that started, but it's a wonderful tradition.
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14. Board Game: Big Boggle [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:1636]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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2012 plays: 16
2011 plays: 33

Not Boggle, not Super Big Boggle, not Boggle Xtreme, not Scrabble Boggle, but Big Boggle. With a 5x5 grid, the minimum length requirement of 4 letters per word, and the double-letter cube (with combos like Qu, In, Th, and so on), this hits a great sweet spot for timed word games. Still not as good as Prolix to me, but a lot simpler and more accessible by far.
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15. Board Game: Sneaks & Snitches [Average Rating:6.33 Overall Rank:2749]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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2012 plays: 13
2011 plays: 13

A nice light simultaneous selection game, where it's seemingly impossible to avoid colliding with your opponents. "Come on," you'll think. "Nobody could want that card. Two blue gems? That's worthless. I should be able to get that with no competition." Too bad that's what everyone else thought as well.
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16. Board Game: Inklings [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:6661]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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2012 plays: 13
2011 plays: 19
2010 plays: 32
2009 plays: 10
2008 plays: 1

As long as you can stand the cards' categories coming from 1993, Inklings is a wonderfully challenging and engaging team word game for you. Writing shorter clues awards you more points, but makes it tougher to guess. Sure, some cards are a lot harder than others, but it all works out in the end. One of my favorite party games of all time.
 
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17. Board Game: Blokus Duo [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:783]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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2012 plays: 12
2011 plays: 24
2010 plays: 77

Man, plays for Blokus Duo just dropped off harshly after 2010. It's not like we don't have time for it - it's about 20 minutes start to finish max. It's not like we don't like it - it's one of my favorite abstracts. I guess most of the time I feel like an abstract though, I reach for the GIPF series, and Blokus gets left in the dust. That's not fair, as Blokus Duo is highly competitive, highly tactical, in-your-face fun.
 
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18. Board Game: Shadow Hunters [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:727]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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2012 plays: 12
2011 plays: 34
2010 plays: 16

For all its quirks - hard-to-read cards, highly random play, some imbalanced cards I've house ruled away, etc. - Shadow Hunters is still one of the better 6-8 player games out there for me and my group. I've enjoyed it a little less with time, almost never suggesting it anymore, but there are enough people I've introduced it to who love it that it still gets considerable table time.

The game would be basically junk to me if it weren't for the neutrals. Their inclusion in the game makes it far less one-sided and obvious how to play, and they elevate Shadow Hunters from pure luckfest to something more.
 
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19. Board Game: Summoner Wars [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:373] [Average Rating:7.31 Unranked]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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2012 plays: 12
2011 plays: 24

Hmm, I wonder what happened here. We got Summoner Wars at GenCon 2011, and we loved it, playing it two dozen times in under four months. This year, we don't love the game any less, but we've only played it half as much in three times the time. It's still a great 2-player showdown, with well balanced pre-constructed decks, careful hand and deck management, and just enough luck to keep things lively without being completely out of control. We'll have to make more of an effort to boost this up.
 
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20. Board Game: Taluva [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:410]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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2012 plays: 12
2011 plays: 13
2010 plays: 16
2009 plays: 4

Taluva's got a lot going for it. It's well-designed, with tight balance between the different paths to victory. It's got the benefits of a standard abstract without actually being one (slight randomness in tile draws, support for more than 2 players). It's highly accessible, beautifully produced, and still challenging (for me, at least) after almost four dozen plays. While I prefer it with 2 players, it still works with 3 just fine.
 
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21. Board Game: Confusion: Espionage and Deception in the Cold War [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:1125]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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2012 plays: 11
No prior plays

Confusion's a game I had been interested in for some time, and we finally got to demo it at GenCon. And it really wowed us! My wife and I love deduction, and this has deduction, strategy, trickery, and some blind longshots mixing into a nice package with great production values to boot. It's what Stratego wishes it could be.

It's not without its flaws: certain not-that-rare setups make it so it'll be a pretty dull one-sided session, for example. There are variant rules that can be added, and we do play with the survival rule (the winning agent has to survive a turn on the other side of the board to win), which has worked out pretty well.
 
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22. Board Game: Famiglia [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:1462]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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2012 plays: 11
2011 plays: 7

One cool GenCon 2011 acquisition for us was Famiglia, which has seen a slight uptick in plays this year in hopes to help it reach the 25-play mark soon. It certainly lends itself to it - quick, interactive play; high enough variability while still adhering to a simple framework; a card called Fats Munroe. The game has come under some criticism for being flawed in one way or another here on BGG, but that hasn't hampered our enjoyment of the game in the slightest. The supposed flaws haven't manifested themselves to us, at least.
 
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23. Board Game: None of the Above [Average Rating:4.50 Unranked]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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2012 plays: 10
No prior plays

Another game of my invention. It's a method of playing a trivia game, which requires questions from something else (we use a Trivial Pursuit electronic question generator). The active player writes down a number of potential answers, making it multiple choice for everyone else, and the others put down a card putting their guess as answer 1, answer 2, answer 3, or None of the Above. It's worked well for when we want a trivia game that's not Wits & Wagers.
 
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24. Board Game: Mage Knight Board Game [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:20]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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2012 plays: 10
No prior plays

Rounding out the list we have the epic Mage Knight, which is certainly on the complex site of games I enjoy. Lest this list make you think I only like the lightest games, let this entry convince you otherwise. When we have the available time and players, this is a great puzzling and conquering exercise. We haven't played with PvP yet, mainly because it's extra rules to digest - and one thing Mage Knight doesn't lack is rules! - but we haven't had the need yet, as there's still plenty to explore even in the basic Full Conquest scenario.
 
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25. Board Game: Ascending Empires [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:790]
Tim Mierz
United States
Middletown
Connecticut
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