New to you a year ago Nov 13 => Has it stood the test of time?
Martin G
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Grimwold's new-to-you geeklists are the highlight of my month on the 'geek. They motivate me to review the new games I've played (and recycle my entries as comments), and they allow me to read the thoughts of some of the most insightful BGGers on new and classic games.

But the new-to-me list is inevitably full of first impressions. I'm interested in hearing how those games that seemed so great at the time stood up to multiple plays. Did you actually play them that much after the first month? Did a game you dismissed at the time turn out to be better in retrospect?

Add an entry with the same game you chose for the New To You Nov 12 geeklist. Link to your entry in that geeklist, then write down your thoughts on the game you chose a year on. If your impression of some of the other games you wrote up that month have changed, let us know about that too.

The hot game that month was Terra Mystica - has it stood the test of time?

I'll be starting these lists mid-month, so we don't have to keep up with this list and Grimwold's (and several other monthly ones) all at the same time. You can subscribe to the announcement thread for reminders.
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1. Board Game: Sleuth [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:1026]
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Item for Geeklist "New To You November 2012 => Best new boardgame"

It's disappointing that I've only played Sleuth three times more since last November, and two of those almost straight away. It's a wonderful stripped-down design, as is typical of Sackson. The only thing I'd say against it is that it can be a bit frustrating when someone else solves the mystery and you're left not really knowing whether you had played well or badly.

I've only played Extrablatt once more too, and that is also a crying shame. Extraordinary that this is a 1991 design and it's eminently deserving of a reprint.

The rest have remained unplayed since, and the only one I'm keen to investigate some more is On The Cards.
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2. Board Game: K2 [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:490]
meepleonboard
United Kingdom
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Only the one new game this month, but a pretty decent one at that. We notched up 5 plays of K2, which, in a fairly slow month for gaming, represented over half our time at the table.

This made a positive first impression which only got better on repeated plays. At first glance it seems like a highly glorified abstract, but there is much more to it than that, and, by the end of the first play, it was clear that a relatively simple design and set of rules had nevertheless allowed for a taught, tense and thematic game which really gave the impression of fighting the mountain.

We also learned quickly that the game is only partly about getting to the summit. A significant proportion of your effort needs to be taken up with keeping your climbers alive and preparing for the weather (it took until game 4 for there to be no casualties!), and often you will need to grab that extra VP by dashing out of your tent during a break in the storm, only to dash straight back in again.

If you are not a fan of feeling pressured in a game then maybe this won't be for you, but if you like a challenge and feeling as if you are fighting the game itself, then this is well worth investigating, and the double sided board and summer/winter weather only add to its longevity, especially with expansions available too. It works well for us, my other half already stating that this looks like becoming one of her favourites.

Since then we have only played this once, and, while still good, it hasn't really cemented its place in our collection in the way we expected it would. Perhaps there is too little variation between different games for my taste, despite the different boards and weathers, but I think that this has a limited shelf life. It will probably be sold next year to make space for something better, but that is not to say that it's a bad game, anything but, and at least my climbers are much better at surviving the game...

What might save it, however, is the fact that it plays solo, an aspect of gaming I have only recently discovered, and it is reasonably portable as well.
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3. Board Game: Hanabi [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:313]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
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Item for Geeklist "New To You November 2012 => Best new boardgame"
I moved to a hospital exactly a year ago, but before that, I played some of the best games of the year.
Hanabi is still great and
The Palaces of Carrara is also still great.

Too bad I don't have nearly as many opportunities to play them as I hope. I have played both a few times since, but none of them were such a big success with others as I'd hope. I can't play Hanabi with gamers because some gamers think it's a memory game and once you take away the memory element nothing remains. Also they say it's too easy to reach 25 poins after a few plays. I'd guess they are cheating but they don't know it; I will never know. As for Carrara, some didn't like how different the scores can be in the end; my wife quite likes the game but she found the advanced rules (the "real game") a bit too complex for her taste.
Still, I didn't give up on playing these, hopefully more often in the future.
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4. Board Game: Last Will [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:369] [Average Rating:7.21 Unranked]
United States
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A year ago our new games were Last Will and Elder Sign, neither of which we've played in a while, but both of which are still in the collection and I'd be happy to play.

We also played Detroit-Cleveland Grand Prix at a game day, it was okay but I don't need to own it.

I played a homemade version of Bunte Runde, clever and I like having pieces for it in my parts box.
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5. Board Game: Keyflower [Average Rating:7.86 Overall Rank:46]
Bryan Maxwell
United States
Burtchville
Michigan
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I played 3 new games last November: Keyflower, Netrunner and Cutthroat Caverns. Of those I've only stuck with Keyflower, and I liked that well enough to bump it into my top 10. I played it 4 times last November and 9 times since. It gained some traction with my weekly group at my FLGS, and that's saying something. One player kind of soured on so it has been idle lately. That's a shame as I find that it hits just the right mix of bidding, logistics and dickery for me.

Netrunner is a decent enough game, it just simply doesn't fit my life at this stage. Had I found this game in junior high or high school, I would have been all about it (except that I was knee-deep in Magic the Gathering).

Cutthroat Caverns sucks.
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6. Board Game: Spartacus: A Game of Blood & Treachery [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:308]
Paul Agapow
United Kingdom
London
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A quiet month new game-wise, which is no bad thing:

Skyline came for free in my kickstarted copy of Ground Floor. It is (a) a dice game and (b) souffle-light but these are not necessarily sins. It's quick, diverting and I'd much rather play it than other light-weight dice games like Zombie Dice. It gets taken off the shelf occasionally.

I played Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar under sufferance - another sassafrasing worker placement game / gimmicky gears mechanic / cult of the new - and to my surprise, it's not bad. The wheels are actually functional and the game brings a bit of novelty to the genre. I haven't played it since but mean to some day.

Spartacus: A Game of Blood & Treachery was tremendous fun, if problematic. It captures the spirit of the TV series, it's the most treacherous backstabbing-est game since Dune, I don't find as much "attack the leader" in the endgame as others do.

But.

Lord, this game is long. Even the "short" version is long. And half the playtime is spent in the arena, which only involves two players, with the result often obvious. The structure of the game is such that these things aren't easy to fix. Thus, when I do the inevitable calculus - 1 game of Spartacus or 2-3 other games I also like - Spartacus tends to lose out. So, I've played this a few times since but not as much as I expected.
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7. Board Game: Blokus [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:569]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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Blokus
A friend introduced me to this popular, approachable abstract game that I've heard a lot about and have seen in big box stores. This block-your-opponents tile-laying game has easy to understand rules, but one play is insufficient for grasping the best building strategy.

We played 2p (both playing two colors) which was fun enough for learning. Ultimately I could see preferring to play 4p. If I come across a discounted copy somewhere I would consider adding this to our collection. My wife and I were Tetris fans in college so I think it would appeal to her.

I kind of forgot about this one. I recall seeing it on sale one day when I was in a hurry but then quickly forgot again. I was encouraged by some of last year's comments about how to set this up as a 2p game if that is what I wanted to play but...

At this point I'm on the fence as to whether or not I would pick this up. I'm really the only one willing to enteratin any abstract game on a regular basis in my house. My wife got me Pentago for Christmas last year but it and a couple others I have just collect dust. Not sure it makes sense to add more dust collectors to the shelves.


Quote:

Alhambra: The Vizier's Favor
We had borrowed the base game from a friend earlier this year and my wife really enjoyed it. Early this month my wife picked up a damaged copy of this expansion in an online auction hoping that we would acquire the base game at some point. Knowing she liked this I initiated a trade with my friend and offered a trade which he accepted.

The expansion comes with four mini-expansions which can be added separately or in combination with one another. We played the "Workers' Huts" and "Bureau de Change" mini-expansions this month.



The Workers' Hut tiles carry no cost and are the same color as the game's building tiles. A player is permitted a maximum of three huts per game and are placed in one's alhambra in accordance with regular building rules. They are counted as 1-3 buildings during the scoring phases depending upon how many other orthogonally adjacent tiles not separated by a wall (hut tiles have 1-2 walls printed on them) of the same color. This makes planning for and aiming to acquire a majority of the various color buildings a little more challenging.

The Bureau de Change expnasion includes cards with two colored money denominations depicted. They are shuffled in the deck and when one comes up players may pick it up and add it to their hand. Now the player may buy a tile in a future turn with a combination of the two denominations. I took the opportunity to try this a few times during our plays with it and liked the twist--yet still lost.

My wife and I agree that the mini-expansions have been a worthy addition to normal play once you have a basic understanding of game play.

Alhambra continues to see a few plays here and there with the wife and I. When we do play we always play with The Bureau de Change and when we remember we include the Worker's Hut tiles. We've yet to try the others as the opportunity hasn't really presented itself. This expansion is some way is a permanent fixture of Alhambra when it comes to our table.

The Bureau de Change is handy in getting an opportune tile when you may not have enough cards. The question is whether you risked a turn to take the card earlier. You kick yourself some times.

I like the Huts better than my wife. She tends to forget to consider what opportunities they might present and then gets frustrated when I get a boon in points. This is probably my favorite of the two, but it requires a little fussing with to get the tiles sorted out... and you have to be mindful to check when to take them.


meeple Keep playing...
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8. Board Game: Jaipur [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:114]
Chris Marling
United Kingdom
Cambridge
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Item for Geeklist "New To You November 2012 => Best new boardgame"

This time last year I'd played 23 new games - ridiculous. Most of them I haven't played since, so I'll just pick out ones I have or wish I had.

WINNERS

With 8 plays, Jaipur has been the definite hit of the batch. It's a lovely light two-player game that plays fast and simple, perfect for when you haven't got a hard game in you or as a gateway or travel game. highly recommended.

Funnily enough, Plato 3000 was a game I got free with the Glory to Rome Kickstarter - and since then I've played Plato 5 times and Rome none. This is a simple yet very satisfying set collection card game, with sets giving you special powers for the rest of the round depending on their colour. The art is lovely too, while again it travels well, making it a real winner.

Finally, I've had a lot of drunken, childish fun with Cards Against Humanity (5 plays). It's not big or clever, but how often do you get to see your friends crying with laughter? It definitely needs to be played with the right crowd, but when it is the game is gold (and if you have a problem with it, please post on a thread where somebody cares - I'm not debating it with people who have already made their closed minds up).

WANT TO BUY/PLAY MORE

I really, really want to get Terra Mystica; it's just a matter of time. I haven't played a second time, but haven't really looked to: I know I like it and look forward to exploring it further with my own copy.

Goblins, Inc. was a lot of fun and I've seen it cheap since, but again I'm worried it would never hit the table. I think I need a few more games to be convinced, but there are so many new games I want to try. This may end up hitting a long list of 'close but no cigar' games.

Die Macher was brilliant and it's still on my wishlist. However, would I ever play it if I owned a copy? I don't think I would. Again, probably more of a pipe dream than a reality right now. If only I could win the lottery and retire, this would go straight to the top of my list!

STILL OWN BUT NOT HITTING THE TABLE

I liked Kalua but it seems a bit broken and others I've played it with haven't shared my enthusiasm.

Neuland hasn't hit the table since that first play. I'm not sure why - probably because it was such a tax on the brain. I fully intend to give it some more love though.

Inspector Moss: House Arrest has probably suffered from not being in a 'proper' box. I'll leave it on the table now, so hopefully I'll remember to give it another play soon! A great co-op.

Im Auftrag des Königs didn't do anything for Zoe and has failed to quite hit the top of the pile any other time either. As it is so small though, I'll keep popping it in my travel bag and get round to it sooner or later.
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9. Board Game: Keyflower [Average Rating:7.86 Overall Rank:46]
Ben Bateson
United Kingdom
Ross-on-Wye
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Keyflower was, and remains, the undoubted highlight of the month. It was good at first, even better on repeat plays, and has gotten nearly 20 plays since with pretty much all player numbers from two to six. I would go as far as saying that this is the best game of the past three years or so.

On the other side of the coin, we also played Serenissima (1st edition) for the first time. And, boy oh boy was it long and turgid. If you want to trade and fight in the Mediterranean, I can heartily recommend anything else, but particularly Antike. Serenissima didn't so much go off on trade as get thrown out on trade.

Farmerama was a tentative birthday present in 2012, although it didn't see the table for some time afterwards. For what it is, I quite like the central mechanics, and it plays pretty swiftly once everyone's up to speed. Damn fiddly, though, and the art is pretty ghastly.

Tinners' Trail probably comes under the 'WHY have I only played this once?' banner. We played a great 4P session last year, but no-one has seriously suggested it since, which is a criminal waste of a great little game, really.

I seem to remember picking up Blokus and Blokus Trigon together in a Maths Trade. I enjoyed playing them, but they didn't really ring any bells for the others and the pair have languished on the shelves since. They might get an outing this Christmas, because it's the sort of thing my in-laws would enjoy.

The basic Fresco game got an outing the same night, and we soon beefed it up to 'full expansion' mode within a few more plays. This is very much part of the regular games night rotation, and rightly so.

Hanabi was an ill-advised venture into co-operatives, a league for which our games group is definitively not well-suited. The whole thing collapsed amid bickering and blatantly ignoring the basic rules about two-thirds of the way through, and it has not been spoken of since.

Highland Clans was also a bit of a stinker - a soulless and unremittingly dull cube-shuffler with nonsensical card-driven combat. I gave this one away earlier this year.

Expansion wise, I also had first plays of Vexation (which adds masses to the base game) and Agricola Belgium Deck (which certainly doesn't). But November 2012 was definitively the month of Keyflower.
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10. Board Game: Morels [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:635]
Jeff Wolfe
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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Item for Geeklist "New To You November 2012 => Best new boardgame"

There were 8 new games a year ago, and I've played 4 of them again since then.

Morels was the new game of the month and I've played it a couple more times. I enjoy it, but somehow it's fallen off my radar and I don't suggest it when I'm in a situation of only two players. I wonder if it's still in the CABS library.

Mice and Mystics has made it to the table a few times over the last year, but we always play the first scenario because we always seem to have a new player. I'd like to play it more, I think, but it never seems to come out. Fun fact: yesterday somebody found a game piece on the floor and several people were puzzling over what game it was from. I successfully identified it as one of the hearts from Mice and Mystics.

My most played game amongst last year's new-to-me is The Resistance: Avalon. That's more about people bringing it out than me clamoring to play it. But I do still join in, so there must be something there. My preference for this over the original has only solidified since my first play.

It took me 11 months to play Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game again. I like my cooperative games to be cooperative, and this one really isn't. The everybody-loses mechanism just makes it political when you have to decide who will fall on their sword to keep the game from blowing up. I'd like less Prisoner's Dilemma in my games, please. Having said that, I think Legendary is okay. If you really want to play it you, can probably get me to join you. But there are several deck-builders I'd rather play and am more likely to suggest.

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11. Board Game: Sun, Sea & Sand [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:2090]
Jon Enns
Canada
Herbert
Saskatchewan
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Sun, Sea & Sand was the favourite of 3 new games last November. I still like it a lot and would be happy to play it more but have lacked willing parties. It has definitely stood the test of time.

Last year Plays = 10
Rating Then =


This year plays = 2
Rating Now =





Monte Cristo was next on the list. THis one also I would love to get played more often. It is unique and has good decision making in it. It has also stood the test of time.

Last year Plays = 5
Rating Then =


This year plays = 1
Rating Now =






I was not that interested in this game when it came out but for $12 I thought it was worth a try. The four games we played last NOvember seemed too predictable with not much choice as to how to react to your opponents moves. I have not really had much hankering to play this again and am considering selling it.

Last year Plays = 4
Rating =


This year plays = 0
Rating Now =

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12. Board Game: A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:94]
Jeff Kayati
United States
Worthington
Ohio
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Sadly, I'd have to say A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition) hasn't stood the test of time. Only two plays since this first one, and I find myself disinterested in trying to get the game to table. Mostly this is due to the ponderous teaching of the game. There is a great deal to cover, and it takes awhile to go over it all. Because of that, it really needs a dedicated group of players to enjoy all that it has to offer. Without it, an inexperienced player can easily tip the balance of the game.

I think this one is headed for the Sale/Trade pile.

My second choice was Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game, and it should have been the first choice. Twenty four plays since last November, and my only real complaint it not getting to play more often. I imagine I'll be playing X-Wing for years.

Link to original geeklist:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/150253/item/2411344#it...
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13. Board Game: Thunderstone Advance: Towers of Ruin [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:381] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
Fernando Robert Yu
Philippines
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November last year was more of a month for expansions, but I still had great new games as detailed here: Item for Geeklist "New To You November 2012 => Best new boardgame"

Thunderstone Advance: Towers of Ruin

This has been played 31 times already after a year. It was actually my first deckbuilder, as I liked the theme more than Dominion. I have purchased the 2 expansions for this game, and what I like about the system is that you can play it in several ways. In fact, I really prefer the cooperative siege mode from the Thunderstone Advance: Root of Corruption expansion the most since it really captures the feel of defending versus a mass assault. Soloplay is the mode I like next, with regular competitive multiplayer play being the least (although it is still good). Great system!

Initial rating: unrated
Current rating: 8.5/10

Pandemic

This has been played 12 times since last year. I've introduced this to my nephews and my brother's son Maki really likes this. My son Shawn finds it just OK and so do I. It's not necessarily the go to coop game now since I have several now. I do always play with the roles from the Pandemic: On the Brink expansion, and the fact that I do not want to buy a whole new edition precludes me from getting the Pandemic: In the Lab expansion.

Initial rating: 8.0/10
Current rating: 8.0/10

I won't rate the expansions for this list since by this time they are embedded in their respective base games.
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14. Board Game: Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 2 – India & Switzerland [Average Rating:7.81 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.81 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.81 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.81 Unranked]
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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Here is my original entry to the geeklist: Item for Geeklist "New To You November 2012 => Best new boardgame"



Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 2 – India & Switzerland (Played 3 times since November 2012) - I needed to try the Switzerland map before I passed final judgement on this one. I have since played both maps twice, and find very little that I like here. India forces players to play a certain way, and restricting options is never a good thing in my book. The special mandala mechanism is not interesting, and I just find nothing new or exciting to explore on that side of the board. Meanwhile the Switzerland map is heavily weighted to luck of the draw. Since every route card will be sifted through, it's just a matter of who gets the best combo. I don't like what this map has to offer on either side so it has been sent away in trade.


Not played since November 2012, and don't need to play again

 


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15. Board Game: Las Vegas [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:480]
Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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Owing to the fact that I went on holiday immediately after Spiel, I didn't add the Spiel 2012 novelties until I was home in November. Consequently many new titles show up in this month. Legend = passed the test of time, = status remains unclear, can go either way; = no further hands planned, failed the test of time.

The games with
Las Vegas — Although personally I don't really like this game much, certainly not sufficiently to purchase my own copy, it has stood the test of time in that it regularly hit the table in the game groups I frequented over the past year. And for some reason I do quite well at it too. I've grown to think of it as a GCD-game: something which gets played because it is something everyone can easily agree to. It's not difficult, strategies are easily understood, and it's over and done with in under half an hour. The lack of a compelling stroke of genius is what makes me so ambivalent about it... But still, even though I usually scoff at the qualities Las Vegas does possess, they are useful in particular circumstances, and certainly not easy to unite. Hence a somewhat grudging , the only one in the class of November 2012.

The games with
Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small — My partner and I could admire the workmanship which went into creating this game; we liked how certain key elements of the mother game were still recognisable. At the same time, we grew bored of the incessent action blocking before the game was done (even more so because some actions have to be taken by both players), and felt that the lack of buildings hurt the long term-prospects of this small box. We had some hopes that the then-announced expansion might give the game the bite it needed, but we haven't been able to play that expansion since. Hence the twilight .

Artus — Many people would balk at this K&K game, and it's not difficult to understand why: upon playing you discover that it's quite chaotic, with apparently little handles and control to plan anything. Thus the game of musical chairs set in King Arthur's day can easily become a frustrating business. But at the same time there is this tantalising feeling that some control is possible if you can just figure out a few heuristics: some game elements only change slowly over time, and this suggests they're exploitable by cunning players. In that Artus has proven to be a curious puzzle I'm determined to solve. Hence a twilight until I've determined the answer.

Express 01 — A game produced under the aegis of Peter Eggert thereby attracting a lot of popular buzz which helped finance the Kickstarter-like publishing campaign. Unfortunately many were very disappointed by the outcome because of Express 01's annoying issue of giving railroad cards multiple functions. This is usually not a problem, but it is if railroad upgrades are very specific indeed, and a careless draw can simply cause all sorts of ideas to fizzle out. It's not bad if you are immediately aware of this pruning of the game state tree; it is if you only find out the moment you're working on your next Big Move. After playing a few times, I agree this usability issue renders serious play very difficult. But at the same time I could not help but like the basic structure of simple share management and almost Knizia-like action choices; and this made me very curious what the design would be capable of once the usability issue were to be fixed. I've been studying on a proper play aid for a while now, and I might have had an idea which is worthy to pursue. Perhaps I'm wasting my time, and will I have to accept that the game simply remains more tactical than I envisage... we'll see. (The latter needn't be a bad thing, though.) Until then: twilight .

Ginkgopolis — One of the favourites of Spiel 2012, my partner and I initially liked the game sufficiently well to take home a copy and play it several times. Regrettably its star lost its shine a little more after every game, and at some point I even concluded that there was simply no ideal number to play this game with. At 2 the game was a boring race and even though control was at a maximum, the random removal of some cards from the draw deck could have you waiting for a card which would not come that round. At 3, a compromise number, I noticed that lockout effects could already cause someone's bonus engine to stutter noticably, putting said player out of the running of winning the game at an early stage. I HATE it when that happens: losing because I played bad is one thing. I had it coming so I have noone but myself to blame. But a game randomly deciding that no, I cannot play to win anymore... Why the hell am I wasting my time here, then? At 4 this issue was even worse, and whoever plays this game with 5 needed to have his head examined: just pure tactics and mayhem. My dislike grew to be so bad I refused to play this game again, and I have been waiting for various fixes to appear ever since.

Currently there are two which seem sufficiently interesting to dust off this title: the card draw alteration from the game's big expansion (which can be played without me having to purchase said expansion) and the topological variant, which does away with the random card removal thus, perhapsperhaps, make the game more interesting at the lower player end. If these variants don't work as I want them to work, Ginkgopolis will be sold off without a second thought; it will also mean instant disqualification of any title Xavier Georges puts out in the future. His designs and I very rarely see eye to eye. A very, very precarious .

OddVille — This game presents itself as a fast topological building game with some mild resource management, special character powers and adjaceny mechanisms. It's quite the achievement to put this all in the box, even more so when it all seems to work without feeling too bloated... save for one annoying issue: an apparent imbalance in some of the characters' powers. Nearly every game I've played to date has seen abuse of the Cheater and Bookkeeper cards, or, even worse, a combination of both. This combo is murder on the opponents who can do very little against it except drop everything in their hands and get that combo the hell out of the hands of the lucky sod who obtained it. If the game even allows them to do this: the easiest way is putting down cards bearing the same Guild symbol as that of Cheater and Bookkeeper, but if these aren't available... It wasn't until recently that I decided that some house rules were in order to deal with these powerful cards, and my subsequent playes will be with these modifications in effect. I actually have good hope that I can bring these cards to heel with a minimum of fuss, which would see OddVille's star rise immediately. Twilight , but with a very positive outlook.

Taschkent — A strange game with the hallmark of curious left-over bits typical of Mücke Spiele. There are some thematic oddities in this rondel-with-modifications game which make intuitive play a bit of a problem: those are not what I'm looking forward to. No, it's the rule that players with the most money at the end of the game automatically lose. Since at one point you have to decide whether a sale nets you money or VP, there is a Knizian pressure on you to take risks and play efficiently. I didn't get a chance to replay the game yet after meeting its acquaintance in Essen, but I still keep my hopes up that I will, sometime in the future: .

Terra Mystica — Spiel's posterboy shot up in the ranks and has since enjoyed stellar status, with every europhile swooning over the asymmetrical character powers, the tons of paths to victory, and basically anything that would give said gamer an epic hard-on. Unfortunately, the authors saw fit to achieve all this by piling mechanism onto mechanism, seriously running afoul of my 'less is more' philosophy. Although the trial game I played left a favourable impression—the design can't have been easy, and even the thought of attempting this sort of perfect information design lacking randomness myself gives me the willies—I've been actively avoiding the game ever since. It is a design that you play often or not at all. Twilight . Perhaps in some future when I tire of the games I currently own.

The games with
Al Rashid — An admittedly solid design, but one which arrived years too late, and then in a packaging which induces sleeping sickness with those who intend to play it. The only thing speaking for the game, the player-controlled evaluation of the various influence areas, is also the thing which lengthens the playing time beyond the point where it's no longer fun. No further experiments were planned, and still have not been planned.

Amber — The game I played ended with noone winning because everyone was piggybacking on each other's hard efforts, nullifying them; and withstanding a coordinated attack by opponents proved futile. An in theory nice idea brought low by an apparent lack of testing and development. And perhaps the game was given a solid treatment and is this as good as it will ever be, in which case it still remains a .

Aztlán — An in theory intruiging game as only Colovini can make them (when he has a good day) brought low by the lavish execution severely messing up an easy overview, and random action card draws seriously fucking up the careful placement and movement strategies. A real crying shame. I seriously wonder whether those action cards were Colovini's original idea, or a later addition to make the game more sellable. It speaks volumes that this game cost €40 when it first appeared, and one year later was to be found in the dump stand of distributor Heidelberger for a price of €15.

Card City — Like OddVille a game with adjacency mechanisms, but in such a rudimentary form and driven forward by a rather pointless half-secret bid, that further games seemed rather like a waste of precious gaming time.

Central Market — A nasty card game of deciding when you've undercut an opponent far enough. This is an admittedly nice idea which actually seems to work, but there is an uneasy feeling that as with Ginkgopolis there isn't an ideal player number. With 3 interaction is too sparse, and with 4 it might already be a tad too much. In addition the flimsy execution isn't helping. With a little bit of extra development and a Bombyx- or Cocktail Games-treatment this might have actually wound up in my collection. Still, I'm pleased that a year later the new game Om Nom Nom by the same publisher sold out at Spiel.

Charon Inc. — Emanuele Ornella took the one thing that was cool about Hermagor, the market, and turned it into a standalong majority game. If he left the damned random assignment card draw out of Charon, I'd have owned a copy long since. The majority mechanic is nasty in a good way, especially since the remaining player in an action/storage space gets a good action which in some ways is better than the points obtained by moving influence away from there. This adds a delicious sense of timing to the procedure. But then those assignments... Why, for spacetime continuum's sake, Emanuele? Why?

The Doge Ship — A friendly game of novel dice usage, but too linear in its execution. At the time I wondered if I ought to purchase a copy, but over time my interest waned, and I'm not sure that's a bad thing.

Escape: The Curse of the Temple — RT games never sit well with me, and this one is no exception. It's too easy to make rules mistakes, whether intentional or accidental. Kudopoints for the attractive design appealing to families and children alike though.

Homesteaders — I am not an automatic fan of games which require the players to build up point engines, and then speculate endlessly on the inherent worth of tiles and actions. Especially not when it is all tied together with an unoriginal auction mechanism. Homesteader's author does think this enjoyable pastime, though... all the more power to him. (In case you are wondering, a game like Spyrium gets the balance between game elements right by introducing a clever and player-controllable twist on the worker placement mechanism.)

Milestones — This game appeared to be a very polished and finished design in which the players would actually help each other open up valuable areas in exchange for a benefit elsewhere: incentives in a simple package in short. Unfortunately upon playing (and a repeat play to make sure I didn't miss anything) I found it is mostly a game of ruthless efficiency with almost no incentives; and apparently very little strategic variety in how the rondel engines are built up, too. This I felt to be too bad: more variety here might have tempted me to play more often, but that is not likely to happen, now. My partner still liked the game, though, and indicated that once it appears on remaindered pallets, she'd like to purchase it.

Myrmes — This game felt rather superfluous in Ystari's lineup. The area control thing is blown out of the water by the much more fluid and diverse Olympos by the same publisher; while I found the worker placement to be very dull indeed: simply resource conversion until you have sufficient resources to purchase expensive tiles and secure the big VPs. Apparently the game is in the combination of both mechanisms: estimating what will happen in the garden and then allocating your own worker ants to deal with this plan plus a little variety. I'd rather have a more direct means of controlling what goes on in either part: the sum of the whole is less than the sum of the parts in this case. Privately I suspect that Myrmes started out as a simulation of an ant hill rather than as a game; which is fine, but not really worth all the effort of being published. A rare example of an Ystari title I did not agree with.

New Amsterdam — Two games I played of this, but both fizzled out horribly due to bad rules explanations; and that was literally the last I ever saw of this title. I really ought to give it a third chance, so it's an underserved ... but I'm rather afraid the previous experiences have given me an excuse to avoid the game. It's not helping New Amsterdam that nobody in my immediate surroundings owns a copy, too.

Pyramidion — I can remember zilch about playing this game. I even neglected to fill out a comment after having played it. That means it gets nearly by default.

Qin — A miss from Knizia. It looked so fine on paper: some elements of T&E, but in a simpler and more streamlined package... only to find out that conflict in this game is difficult to pull off, turning the entire affair into a quiet efficiency race with little to keep me interested in comparison to Knizia's ancient tile layers which remain attractive to this day. Yuck. Dr Knizia, you can do much, much better than this. An undeserved . It should have been a glorious , dagnabbit.

Sheepdogs of Pendleton Hill — A clever game of incentive management brought down by a draw deck which takes too long to finish (and sometimes gives players a very one-sided approach to playing the game simply because them's the cards which have been dealt), and needlessly oversized playing pieces. Undeserved .

Tokaido — Quite daring but also exciting to put a time track as a central mechanism... but please Mr Bauza, make it so that players have an incentive to skip ahead greatly instead of solely taking small baby steps along the way. This defeats the purpose of the mechanism! Undeserved , although I have since gathered that the expansion which appeared a year later might give Tokaido more bite. I plan on a bit of research in a few months' time, when the dust has settled. I will also add that if Naïade or FunForge ever decide to release the cover illustration as a poster (i.e., the illustration, not the text or the logo), I will pay good money to obtain a copy, and hang it on my wall. It is very rare that I like art in games that much. One of my wishes for the genie in the lamp would be to have this level of drawing talent.

Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar — Spiel's second poster boy. I grew tired of the dynamic worker placement halfway through the game, especially since the mechamisms this novelty was bolted onto were simple resource conversion, conversion enhancements, VP tradeoffs and all the other standard tricks from the book. It takes balls to come up with a novel idea like the gears and then ruin it by not giving it an equally novel game to drive. Haven't played since, have no intention to, either. But since a gamer in my group owns a copy, it's likely that I will play in the near future.

Völuspá — Just as with Pyramidion I cannot remember a bloody thing about it.

Yedo — Far too much stuff crammed into a single design. Some mechanisms remind me of Princes of Florence. Too much emphasis on the thematrics which will become boring and invisible within a few games anyway. Harsh events ruining careful planning and execution, even though a variant exists to simply skip these... but really, what was the publisher thinking including such design wrenches into a game which can easily last for 2 hours?! All in all a bit overwrought, although it plays easily once you're underway. I have never seen a copy after my first encounter, and have no intention of locating one, either.
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16. Board Game: Seasons [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:176]
Jason Lott
United States
Cheverly
Maryland
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My selections last year were all at least OK.

Still want to play all the time goes to Seasons. Sadly we've only played it a couple times since, but that' just because the learning curve is a bit steep so I haven't brought it out all that often with friends. I've thought about getting the expansion, but only if I can get this to the table more.

Want to play again, but just haven't goes to Bezzerwizzer. It made for a perfectly fine party game at our Thanksgiving celebration last year. Maybe I need to break it out again in a couple weeks?

They were OK, but I've had better goes to Egizia and Torres. I'd tried both on Yucata a number of times, but neither of them really jived with me. I'd still really like to at least try the latter face-to-face.
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17. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:7.99 Overall Rank:25]
Moe45673
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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Item for Geeklist "New To You November 2012 => Best new boardgame"

Easily, this

Quote:


Love this game. My wife loves this game. If I ever miss a meetup because work overwhelms me, playing this with my wife will give me a great fix. I can't wait to get beyond the family game and highly recommend this game to anyone. Some don't like it but it deserves the hype IMO. My second favorite game, after Through the Ages


Plays in Nov 2012 - 3

Plays since - 12

This was hot with my wife and I during the next month or two but after about the 6th or 7th game, I wanted to try the full game. I loved it, she was overwhelmed. She didn't like it and wanted to go back to the old way. I couldn't. We tried it with the cards one or two more times but again she felt it was too much.

Since then I've played it a bunch of times with friends and family, but mainly the family version (to introduce it). I still would love to play this the real way! It sits proudly on my shelf and I still hold out hope my wife will come around.


Quote:


Ok, confession time. I bought AoI in June and played it once a few weeks after. Due to a core member of my group hating it (mainly because she didn't understand the goals to work towards in this game, it's a tough one to teach coherently), it hasn't been brought out since. Played it twice this month though (3 player) and it's a fantastic game. There is long term strategy, tactics, it's balanced, complex, the game makes sense. Possibly the best static non-fluctuating market I've seen in a game (ie do what everyone else isn't!). I can't wait to play on the expansion maps; now that I actually have experience with the game, both look like they bump up the strategy to the stratosphere.


Nov 2012 - 2 plays
Plays since - 1

That can't be right. I think I remember another play in January or so.

AoI rocks. Great game. Not going anywhere. I need to play it, dammit.


Quote:


A game I've had on my wishlist forever. A deep game that's accessible and plays quickly. I bought Homesteaders for this reason and it delivers..... but Glen More is even, um, MORE on this scale. However, I already own a game for this hole in my shelf. I played GM and it was a great game.... it also comes in a much smaller box and is less fiddly than Homesteaders (concerning components... I'd say Homesteaders has simpler rules. I should add that I bought a plano box for HS and now the top of the box barely fits but the gameplay is much smoother). The tile laying and worker placement and point building aspects give a lot of cool strategic ideas, as is the race around the track. I really like the way that the person with the most tiles loses points, an excellent balancing technique! It's cheap as hell too.

I've heard the replayability is limited..... but if I sell Carcassonne, I'd be much happier with this game over that. It's a great as hell game, but I keep coming back to if I can justify it??? I feel like in the long run, Homesteaders is the better game with more plays in it.


Plays in Nov 2012 - 1
Plays since - 6

A few plays on Yucata I didn't record as well.

Glen More is a great game. I kinda sold it when I played it the last time with my close friends/family (their first time) and they were kinda sick of the cube pushing games. Sellers remorse, I have. I sort of forced it onto the table in the wrong environment, then made a rash decision. I was also wrong about the replayability, it's there in spades. Oh, and I sold Carc shortly after and don't miss it in the slightest. Don't know if I'll rebuy it anytime soon, as I can play it on Yucata.


Quote:


Guy in my group brought it over. We played 4 player. I'm not a huge fan of this kind of deckbuilding, left me cold. I'm more into Mage Knight (although you get a paltry amount of cards added), Friday, and what AFAoS looks like it does (never played). I wasn't a fan of Thunderstone either; these games are more about the theme and I don't find them mentally stimulating.


Plays in Nov 2012 - 1
Plays since - 0

No change in commentary. though as a more experienced gamer, my rating changes. I was bored stupid during the play of this. Puzzle Strike is my deckbuilder of choice and I still own Friday. I've also played AFAoS since then and think it's awesome as well.


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18. Board Game: Ginkgopolis [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:352]
Brian Boyle
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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New to Me Nov 2012 had a good selection Post-Essen

P.I. regular plays with my non-gaming family over the year. A solid deduction game, which my non-gaming family continue tolove for lack of complexity and similarity to Mastermind. I am growing a little tired of it, since it is largely a luck fest amongst players of similar ability. Everyone guesses after more-or-less the same number of turns - or its down to a 1-in-n shot. Started at 7.5, declined to 7.

Snowdonia Two plays since. I really enjoy this quirky worker placement game, whose weather and ghostly company mechanic elevate it considerably above the rest. For some reason the resource conversion issue doesn't bug me as much as other games, possibly because the theme is so tightly coupled to the game play. Really annoyed I missed the expansion with the figurines on KS. Geekgold to anyone who can tell me if I can still pimp out my first edition in this way. Rating: steady at 7.5

The Resistance Three more plays since last year. Two disappointing games, one great game. Like most traitor games, this is so dependant on the group. But still enjoy playing at its best Rating: steady at 7.

Ginkgopolis Three more plays since last year. [The most recent was yesterday]. I am increasingly enjoying this tightly-integrated abstract hand management/area-control/3D game with the bonkers and irrelevant theme. Would never play it with 5 again. But 3 is probably the sweet spot, with two and four also working well. If this continues to grow one, I think it could well become one of my top 5 for 2012. Has also had a very good reception from everyone I have played this with. Started at 7, increasing to 8.

Puerto Rico Only plays of Puerto Rico since have been on the ipad. I do find this to be a frustratingly stressful game. Resource conversation is just too much hard work for me. Rating: Started with 7, declining to 6.




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19. Board Game: Terra Mystica [Average Rating:8.20 Overall Rank:11]
Dave Peters
United States
Belmont
California
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Powers:Coleridge:Milton: Faith...must be, if anything, a clear-eyed recognition of the patterns and tendencies, to be found in every piece of the world's fabric, which are the lineaments of God.
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That's Tim Powers' fictional Samuel Coleridge "quoting" John Milton in _The Anubis Gates_.
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A year ago this month, I managed to play six new games. At the time, I though I loved the first game, and was very enthusiastic about the next two; and wasn't much impressed with the final one. Let's see how a year has changed my opinions of things...


Terra Mystica -- (2 plays last November; six since - plus an embarrasingly large number of plays against the LoDev AI.) _9_ (up from _8.5_, and still first.)
(images by nan3000 & henk.rolleman)

I played very badly in my first few games; but still enjoyed it a lot. Since then, I've both enjoyed playing, and (happily) have got a bit better at it. So, I guess, the only downside is how rapid my improvement has been: an equivalent collection of plays of an 18xx wouldn't have resulted in the same increase in understanding.

I've enjoyed the way the different race factions mutate the way one approaches the game. The game has also given me a bit more clarity in other sorts of games where one has to chase the Victory Points as they become available; it's a class of game that I'm not so good at!


1846: The Race for the Midwest -- (1 play last November; three since) _8.5_ (up a tick in rating; up one place.)
(images by thepackrat & sourwyrm)

I've really enjoyed this each time I've managed to play. I had one game where things went vaguely well for me - but then I fell off the flatcar in the next game, and demomstrated that what I'd thought was understanding wasn't. (In retrospect, it was closer to "not being considered a threat" by the other players.)

So I've yet a long way to go with this. But, happily (and a bit snarkily, truth to tell) I figure that at the speed the DTG pipeline is moving, I'll have a chance of a dozen more plays before my copy appears, and might actually have the beginnings of a clue by then.


Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage -- (1 play last November; none since) _8_ (no change in rating; down one place.)
(images by alex1326 & coker)

Despite the lack of play, I'm still very impressed with the game as a design. (And, grudgingly, quite impressed with Valley Game's print of it - and that despite the container of broken plastic bits they shipped me in the guise of "Pre-order Bonus Generals"; something that cured me from ever sending them money directly again. I still think the Carthaginian Die was a mistake, though: while it's very thematically cute, it's also sufficiently unfamiliar as to provide an obstacle to play.) I'd still be delighted to get this one back in play.

Do I get partial points for a recent We the People play? They share more than a little family resemblance.


1825 Unit 1 -- (1 play last November; none since.) _7.7_ (no change.)
 
(images by patrel & edwardsmale)

Amusing (if a bit slow & leisurely by 1846 standards.) Of course, I'm not any better at this one than the other title; but I'd still be delighted to get it back to the table.


Kingdom Builder -- (1 play last November; none since.) _6.7_ (no change.)
(images by binraix & Toynan)

I'm afraid this is one that missed the mark, for me. I've not found myself wanting to acquire a copy, let alone request a play, or even join a game happening near me. I'm not even convinced that the game is flawed in any way: it might be excellent; the fault could easily be with me. But against a backdrop of other things that I might choose to play, this one doesn't raise its hand and demand I care.


Fealty -- (1 play last November; none since.) _4_ (Down from _5_ on having to think about it again today.)
(images by angelkurisu & ZackStack)

I was grumpy about this one after my single play, and managed to annoy a geekbuddy by ranting incoherently about it. In the end, with a year's perspective, I'd claim simply that I have no desire whatsoever to play. Or, at least, not the boardgame version. I could (easily) imagine an online implementation that would be compellingly interesting and worth playing for me. But the boardgame obfuscates much of the information that I would wish immediately at hand. I don't want to make a gratuitously bad decision because I didn't bother to calculate all the first-and-second order placement deltas for a given tile on all possible locations of the board. And I equally don't want to calculate all those deltas and make my opponent wait for me. A computerized version (or even a VR-enhanced version) could provide all that information quite trivially: and that feels to me like a tax I don't want to pay.


Thanks again to my youngsters, the BAP attenders, the no-longer-on-Friday Lunch folk, and the Wednesday Night gang for some great game experiences.
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20. Board Game: Famiglia [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:1613]
Stephen Sanders
United States
Henderson
Texas
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DNA results:English, Dutch, Irish, German, French, Iberian Peninsula = 100% American!
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Came out for the first and only play Nov. '12. It was ok, but has not been played since then. There are too many other great two player games that get our attention first, though I would play it again.
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21. Board Game: Trajan [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:73]
Zack Stackurski
United States
Mankato
Minnesota
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I love almost all games, play Boardgames with my wife, have three kids, generally enjoy cats and understand and like those bumper stickers with the little fishies sprouting legs.
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Wow. I didn't play either game again in the past year. Trajan I don't own and I'm not sure if the guy whose copy I played owns it any more either as I don't remember seeing it since. I remember generally enjoying the various point scoring opportunities but felt like the mancala thing was more work than I wanted to put into mastering for the occasional extra tile. Sure I'd play again but if I don't not big deal.

VivaJava: The Coffee Game was one I kickstarted based on the unique theme and social game play... but found too chaotic for my control freak nature. Though I still suspect having a large group on the first outing and needing to do some rules hand holding instead of focusing on my own game contributed to that. I really meant to give it another shot, but I'm weak so when a math trade called I turned it into an out of print game and haven't regretted it. If I want to play a large player number social game I want it to be less rulesy and fiddly.
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22. Board Game: Suburbia [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:104]
Andrew
Japan
Tokyo
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As a testament to my poor volume of gaming this year, I only replayed one of twelve games I played in November last year.

The Favourite
Suburbia is still great a year later; it has an interesting theme that has engaged newer gamers, and its smooth and clean design makes it easy to teach. There's also enough thinking involved to please the more serious gamer without being overwhelming, and the interaction is a notch higher than you'd expect. It's the kind of middleweight game I love; I ended up buying it, and it's in my top 10.
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23. Board Game: Keyflower [Average Rating:7.86 Overall Rank:46]
Lo
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Last November, I played two new games: Keyflower and Snowdonia.

Initially, I preferred Keyflower for it's unique use of meeples as either workers or auction "money". It received ten plays over the following months, but got a bit repetitive (as a primarily two-player game). It hasn't been played since (though I sometimes consider dusting it off, for a colonization type game, I now prefer Archipelago).

I currently rate Keyflower an _8_.

Snowdonia received eight plays over about the same time. A couple of those plays were four-player and with that count, the game really shone. Against casual players, it's easy enough to teach, but it has enough depth to keep me interested. I'll definitely dust it off should I have an opportunity to play with casual (or even non-gamers).

I currently rate Snowdonia an _8_.
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24. Board Game: Jambo [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:550] [Average Rating:7.03 Unranked]
David B
United States
Virginia
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Unfortunately this game, because of it's action point allowance system and heavy reliance on text, can be AP prone and the players I played this with that ended up being the case. I suppose this may be overcome with many more plays and knowing the cards without reading them. Unfortunately for Jambo, I have other cards games I prefer even with 2 players. All of the people I would play Jambo with vastly prefer Race for the Galaxy which I have more recently acquired. So Jambo almost never gets played anymore.

But boy did Rudiger Dorn score another hit, at least for me, with Il Vecchio. I just got it recently and I love it, so I am sure next November I will be stating it HAS stood the test of time.
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25. Board Game: Flash Point: Fire Rescue [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:280]
Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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This time last year I played quite a few new games, as you'd expect after Essen (we put our annual games order in November each year too). I chose Fleet as my entry last year, but actually Flash Point has turned out to be my favourite game by some way.



Fleet
Initial rating:
Current geek rating: 8
Plays in first year: 19


Last year I said it wasn't top-notch but a fun little filler but not top-notch, and that's kind of how its turned out. It had a flurry of plays initially when it was new - but only four plays after the first two months. It's just not special enough, and doesn't offer enough variety between plays to want to play it too often.




Seasons
Initial rating:
Current geek rating: 7
Plays in first year: 18


Although this is rated lower than Fleet right now, in reality they're both borderline 7/8s and switch between the two (this would probably be an 8 if I played it with 2 or 3 more regularly, it's definitely a 7 with 4 players). Seasons suffers from being very slow with 4 players (even gamers who don't normally have AP can get it in this game), and hasn't had as much replayability as I'd expect from a game with so many cards. Unlike Fleet this one has maintained more plays since its initial burst.




Flash Point: Fire Rescue
Initial rating:
Current geek rating: 10
Plays in first year: 38


This almost went on my buy list from the first play, but the fact it was a coop game, and my husband doesn't like coops, stopped it. I played it several times at the club, and then a gamer I'd been helping with his A-level maths gave it to me as a thank you present, so I had my own copy, which meant I could play it much more often. I bought the Urban Structures expansion, and hope to buy another soon. And the bonus - my husband actually has found a coop he doesn't dislike, and will play with me regularly - and now my 8 year old daughter asks to join in with us playing it too. It's a really thematic coop that is a lot of fun to play.




Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Initial rating:
Current geek rating: 7
Plays in first year: 10


Everyone else seems to like this one more than me - for me it just seems like a very dry worker placement game. There's nothing in it that grabs me, and I find it gets quite repetitive. I'll play it occasionally, but never choose to.




Railroader

Initial rating:
Current geek rating: 5
Plays in first year: 5


This was a car boot sale purchase with no rules, but luckily my cousin had had it as a child and could teach us how to play. The bits are really cool and attractive to young kids, and it's a shame I didn't have this game when they were younger, as it may have appealed to them more - now there's not really enough in the way of decisions to really appeal to them.




Keyflower
Initial rating:
Current geek rating: 6
Plays in first year: 2


I felt very underwhelmed after my first play, and the second play didn't really do anything to convince me otherwise, and I wouldn't choose to have a third play. It just didn't do anything interesting, and I didn't like the basic mechanic of the game much anyway.


Not played again but would love to do so:

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island
The first play of this was terrible because of the rulebook, but after the play I couldn't stop thinking about the game itself, and I would love to have had an opportunity to play again. I may even consider buying it in the future, if it ever stays in stock long enough!

Not played again and have no desire to do so:

Goblins, Inc.
It was fun to play once, but I'd much rather play Galaxy Trucker

OddVille
It felt like the game played you, rather than you playing the game.

Jitters
Take Two does this so much better.
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