In the prime of my life
Brian Boyle
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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Today I celebrate my birthday - a prime number. Morbidly, based on average life expectanies, I only have about 6 or 7 or those more to go. Less morbidly, I also was born in a year so good that they made a board game out of and share my date of birth with The Flintstones (or at least their first TV episode).

To celebrate, I thought I would create a geeklist to celebrate my gaming life over the 12 months and take the opportunity to say thanks to some of my fellow geeks who enriched my gaming over the last year.

Please feel free to add your gaming highlights of the last 12 months.

Note added in proof: With the honorable exception of El Grande, I see that all my gaming experiences of the year are with games rated 300 or below on the 'Geek.

I must be getting old.
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1. Board Game: Aeroplanes: Aviation Ascendant [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:2371]
Brian Boyle
Australia
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Secret Santa
Canada
Quebec
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Ho ho ho, Jolly Santa here from the Great White North wishing you a Merry Christmas
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So my first thanks go my Secret Santa for sending me Aeroplanes: Aviation Ascendant. I must admit, I opened it with some mixed feelings. Although a staunch Wallace-fan, I had read the luke warm reviews with some mis-givings.

But of course, Santa had done his/her research, and Aeroplanes: Avaition Ascendant has turning into one of my gaming highlights this year.

A beautifully crafted pick-up-and-deliver, area-majority, push-your-luck areas, where the mechanisms are well worked into the theme. The die-rolling is also perfectly thematic of a pioneering era and is (mostly) mitigable. Turns are short and one is faced with a choice of 5 simple actions each turn. A welcome change from the long & complex turns of First/Last Train or Automobile (both good games - but increasingly a feat of rule memorization)

The components are bid shoddy, but that doesn't detract from a game that everyone I have played with has enjoyed.

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2. Board Game: Indigo [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:1022]
Brian Boyle
Australia
Sydney
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The love of my life is not a game player, but she loves me enough to agree to play (some) games with me.

The highlight game over the last year - and a game she has actually asked to play again - is Indigo.

A game with simple rules but interesting game play. For me, its a return to form for the good Doctor even although I never think he really lost it e.g. Municipium is a great game.

A wonderful game of cut-and-thrust for two, with plenty of opportunities to be mean to your opponent. The semi-cooperative nature of the game also allows it to shine with three or four. In this regard it has replaced Ingenious (and Metro) as the family's favourite abstract, although Tsuro still reigns supreme as the connection game for 5 or more.

It was a real hit with my family our our holiday this year.



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3. Board Game: Elfenland [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:792]
Brian Boyle
Australia
Sydney
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With work not being so demanding, I was able to many more of

Patrick Brennan
Australia
St Ives, Sydney
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games nights. A big thank you to Patrick and his friends for their patience in introducing a noob to so many venerable games, that I really should have played long before I did.

These include Goldland, Master Merchants and Elfenland. All these games come from an era where less was definitely more.

Elfanland is a classic of an economy of rules generating an entertaining game play. A silly theme wrapped around a fun hand-management, route-building game. Plenty of opportunity for good natured interaction and banter between players. For me, that is what game playing is all about
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4. Board Game: Moongha Invaders: Mad Scientists and Atomic Monsters Attack the Earth! [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:2185]
Brian Boyle
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Sydney
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A big thank you to

Peter Asimakis
Australia
Sydney
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for introducing me to my favourite game of the last 12 months. Peter was kind enough to bring also his treasured first edition to a Saturday afternoon gaming session, hosted by one of the most gracious, patient and knowledgable gaming hosts.

Lindsay Scholle
Australia
St Ives, 2075
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Moongha is Wallace at his hybrid best (I think). Ameritrash with Euro depth. Terrific fun - lots of dice-rolling, trash talking, nukes flying, and monster wreaking havoc everywhere. But I also left the game with significant and very satisfying brain-burn.

Just brilliant stuff, and so pleased I kickstarted the new edition.

Thanks to Peter, Lindsay (and Martin).
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5. Board Game: The Palaces of Carrara [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:534]
Brian Boyle
Australia
Sydney
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A new game retailer (Advent Games) has appeared on the scene in Sydney - carrying a really interesting selection of hot-of-the-press games. As a result they lightened my wallet considerably over the last few months.

Thanks to Sean for running a great business, with great customer support.

My favourite game purchased from Advent Games was Palaces of Carrera, a simple but surprisingly deep "block collection" game. Short and easy turns belie a much deeper game than appears at first sight [possibly a common thread emerging here]. The "time and choose your own scoring" mechanic is particularly neat. Just wish it had been themed a little differently. I think I have built, fought, traded enough in the Renaissance period for a lifetime.

Although it has been accused of being an old-fashioned design, I feel that it very much has a new design approach, but perhaps we are seeing away from the bloated rule-set back to the "less is more" designs of the post-Catan decade.
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6. Board Game: The Speicherstadt [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:588]
Brian Boyle
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Sydney
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I won my first competition last year - run by the much missed (well... at least by me) Royal Society of Gamers The Royal Society of Gamers » Podcasts. RSoG had asked for people to submit suggestions for a game that needed to be re-printed. I proposed Election, an Intellect game from the 1970s whose game play still stand up surprisingly well - even if the UK politics has moved on. Lots of opportunity to update - how about it Martin?

My prize was a copy of The Speicherstadt, which has now become a favourite of my sons (19 and 21y.o.).

Continuing the "less is more" theme, amongst the Feld games I really enjoy The Speicherstadt (and also Rialto); the Rocket and shaved parmesan versions of Feld's point-salad games.

The Speicherstadt's central auction mechanism is just brilliant. Despite its simplicity, I haven't agonised as much over an auction since Ra. I have enjoyed it from all players numbers from 2 to 4. I even wrote a two-player review for BGG, which generated a bit of feedback.

The cards allow for a number of different strategies (shipping, trading, building, fire prevention), although after a dozen games I think I will need to get the expansion.
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7. Board Game: El Grande [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:53]
Brian Boyle
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Sydney
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I was lucky enough to visit London earlier this year, and made a bee-line for London on Board. Any gaming group that can generate a Geeklist report at hilarious at the Cormac McCarthy hommage earlier this year has just got to be worth visiting. At LoB I was also able to catch up with

Paul Lister
United Kingdom
London
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(aka Boardgameguru) and snag a copy of Pax Porfiriana. To my shame, I have not yet found an opportunity to play this yet.

But the highlight at LoB was losing my El Grange virginity. I am quite a big fan of area majority, and yet I had never played this game. I now realise that this is the gold standard of area majority and even though our game at London on Board was effectively over after the first scoring round with a runaway leader, I enjoyed every moment of it.

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8. Board Game: The Witches: A Discworld Game [Average Rating:6.13 Overall Rank:3031]
Brian Boyle
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Sydney
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I had a terrific time earlier this year at Sydney's toy and game expo. I was fortunate enough to play a demo version of Martin Wallace's The Witches: A Discworld Game and wrote up a session report.

Very light, but very enjoyable with all four of us around the table having a lot of fun. I am not a Pratchett fan, but I did enjoy the game and the artwork from Peter Dennis and others was - once again - top notch.

I also had an opportunity to talk to Martin Wallace afterwards about Mythopia and upcoming games. He was particularly excited about Field of Glory: The Card Game and it has gone straight onto my wish list.
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9. Board Game: Oltre Mare [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:1193]
Brian Boyle
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While in the UK earlier this year, I also spend some time in Manchester and had the please to meet up with

Tim Cockitt
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MANCHESTER
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You could not hope to meet a friendlier or more enthusiastic gamer. Tim is simply a terrific advocate for our hobby. He was kind enough to invite me for dinner and then onto his Board game club for a game of Oltre Mare (amongst others).

A memorable game if not in theme, but in its scoring mechanic. Never come across temporally sequenced set collecting before and it made for a entertaining game. The last time I came across a 'wonky but works' mechanic was in Metropolys - a long-standing favourite.

During the same trip I was also able to meet and play a game of Castles of Burgundy with the brains behind the best monthly geeklist on BGG.

Andy
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Andy had graciously got 'shore leave' from new father duties to come to the games night. I enjoyed Castles of Burgundy, although there was somewhat of an AP-issue with one of the players with led our 3p game to take over 2hours.

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10. Board Game: Las Vegas [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:480]
Brian Boyle
Australia
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Someone pretty much get from the same cloth as Tim (see entry above) is

Panda Z
Australia
Canberra
ACT
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I had the pleasure of meeting up with Rene at a games night in Caberra a few months back. Rene is someone who loves games and sharing his love of games with people. Although we have only played games together on a couple of occasions, I have thoroughly enjoyed each time.

Rene introduced me to Las Vegas which at first sight looks pretty much like a random dice-fest. Subsequent plays reveal that while there is some strategy, it remains a largely random dice-fest - but it is huge fun. Particularly with the WHITE DICE.
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11. Board Game: Leader 1 [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:1664]
Brian Boyle
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Those are my gaming highlights. Thanks to all above who enriched my gaming life. My hopes for the next year are: a) to find someone to play Pax Porfiriana with b) teach me how to play my birthday present to myself (1860: Railways on the Isle of Wight c) that Advent Games will eventually get Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island in stock and d) Martin Wallace does a re-boot of Election.

I have also got much fitter and healthier in last 4 months - losing 20kgs and have entered into the Sydney to Wollongong bike ride raising money for MS in November.

Wish me luck.

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