2015 33 X 3 Challenge
Chris Marling
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Cambridge
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This idea was dreamt up by Tom Rose (here's his original GeekList) and below is his a big chunk of his thinking; I think it sums up the idea perfectly. While I play more games than Tom, don't have kids and don't have any games in shrink, I still totally agree with his sentiment - so I'm also taking on the 33x3 challenge:

"Tell me if this sounds familiar. You have a big game collection. You have spent countless hours and dollars putting it together. You love your games. You want to play your games. However, you own games that never seem to get played. In fact, You own several games that are still in shrink. Maybe you don't know the rules well enough to bring it to game night. Maybe you can never seem to find the right group to play with. Maybe no one else is as enthused about the theme as you are. Regardless, every time you look at your collection you see games that are longing to be played. Wouldn't it be great if you had a reason to get that game off the shelf, not just one time but several times in a single year, to really feel like you were getting your money's worth?

Frankly, I do not want to play 10 games 10 times in a single year. I am busy with kids and work, so I probably only get about 200 plays in a year. Why would I want to dedicate half of my precious plays to only 10 games? That seems silly to me. Besides, variety is the spice of life, after all.

So, here's my challenge. Play 33 games 3 times each and fill the list with "games I want to get to the table more". That's 99 plays compared to 100 for the 10 X 10 challenge, so it's just about equal in total. Playing 33 games sounds like more fun to me because it is a better use of my collection. Due to my time constraints, I think 3 plays in a single year is still a stretch for me (YMMV). I also think it will be fun to make a list and force myself to adhere to it. It will force me to play those games that are collecting dust.

If you care to join me in this challenge, please share a link in the comments section to your own list. Thanks!"


Progress so far:


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1. Board Game: Lost Valley [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:1295]
Chris Marling
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Fiddly, kind of needs four players and is a pain to set up and teach.

 
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2. Board Game: Brass: Lancashire [Average Rating:8.01 Overall Rank:35]
Chris Marling
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Cambridge
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I love it, I'm rubbish at it, and it's hard to teach. Try. Harder.

 
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3. Board Game: Caylus [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:45]
Chris Marling
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Cambridge
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Can be a hard sell; just one play in 2013 and one in 2014.

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4. Board Game: Neuland [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:1895]
Chris Marling
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Cambridge
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Essen bargain bin purchase - one play.

 
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5. Board Game: Scandaroon [Average Rating:5.25 Overall Rank:13981]
Chris Marling
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Cambridge
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Free gift - but so far unplayed.

 
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6. Board Game: 20th Century [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:1183]
Chris Marling
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Cambridge
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An interesting, but really hard, auction game. Quite a hard sell, but I enjoy it.

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7. Board Game: Industry [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:4065]
Chris Marling
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Cambridge
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I love this, despite the terrible board layout/iconography. Hard to get people to play.

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8. Board Game: Contract Whist [Average Rating:7.75 Unranked]
Chris Marling
United Kingdom
Cambridge
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My favourite traditional card game and one I often sing the praises of, but rarely play.

 
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9. Board Game: Uruk: Wiege der Zivilisation [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:2295]
Chris Marling
United Kingdom
Cambridge
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Every time I play I'm reminded how much I love it - which isn't often enough.



Game 1: January 2
Taught the game to Morph, who then nearly beat me at it on his first attempt (how rude). Luckily just held him off for a 31-27 win, utilising the yellow card combo with the ziggurat. He enjoyed it though, so three games in the year should be a doddle. Hurrah!
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10. Board Game: Leaping Lemmings [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:2125]
Chris Marling
United Kingdom
Cambridge
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Nice light fun, but only played my copy three times - and not at all in 2014.



Game 1: January 9
A silly game, and short with two, but with just enough decisions to be made to make it worthwhile. The one downside is the varying usefulness of the special cards - and tonight I got lucky with mine, helping me to a 24-18 win despite Zoe having much more luck in making my lemmings into eagle chowder. Unfortunately for her, they just coming back...
 
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11. Board Game: Acquire [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:208]
Chris Marling
United Kingdom
Cambridge
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Brilliant game I need to get in front of more people.



Game 1: January 11
A really good four-player game with Carl, Howie and Morph which was super close and went almost to the last tile. We finished with three hotels on the board and despite having control of the largest I could only muster third place on 35k. Carl came second on his debut with 39.9k, just losing out to Howie who won on 41.1k.
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12. Board Game: Twilight Struggle [Average Rating:8.34 Overall Rank:4]
Chris Marling
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Cambridge
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Finally own a copy! Need to get it to the table with Zoe and if she doesn't joy it - find someone who does!



Game 1: January 29
This was Morph's first game and only my third, with the first two being a long time ago now. We played through to the end of the early war by which point I had an 11 point lead and it was getting late, so we called it. He wasn't convinced, but wants a second play, so hopefully it will win him over - he couldn't work out why he didn't like it and I'm guessing its the war game-ness of it, which he has no experience of. Fingers crossed it will click for him next time.
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13. Board Game: CV [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:893]
Chris Marling
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Cambridge
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A great 'experience' game - so why is 2014's Essen expansion still unplayed on my shelf?



Game 1: February 2
A really good close two-player game with Zoe that went right to the wire. After a slow start (I lost my bike to bad luck on the first roll!) we both had some crazy lucky but in the final tally I won it 65-64.
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14. Board Game: Tikal [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:218]
Chris Marling
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Cambridge
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Have downloaded the short two-player rules but yet to test them out.



Game 1: February 11
Mini Tikal: This was our first play of Mini Tikal and probably our last. Don't get me wrong - it works perfectly and does exactly what it says on the tin, keeping the game intact but playing out in half an hour. However we both felt that it was simply over too fast and you didn't have enough time to really get into it. Still fun, but if we want to play Tikal we'll put the time aside to play the long version. It was also the first time we'd played with the auction, which didn't seem to add much - I guess we're just not good enough at the game to see much point half the time. I won on about 50 points, mainly because Zoe blew a few too many coins on auctions.
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15. Board Game: Dixit [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:196] [Average Rating:7.32 Unranked]
Chris Marling
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Cambridge
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Brilliant game, but yet to play my copy. Must try harder.



Game 1: March 1
We closed a really nice gaming weekend (with Zoe, Karl and Ann) with a nice chilled game of Dixit - the first we'd actually played with our set. I'm so glad we own it, as it's both beautiful and fun. with two turns to play I was leading by six points, then failed miserably to score any more points and Ann equalled my score - not that anyone really cares about 'winning' Dixit.
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16. Board Game: Snowdonia: The Daffodil Line [Average Rating:7.96 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.96 Unranked]
Chris Marling
United Kingdom
Cambridge
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This is really 3-in-1, as there are several of the Snowdonia expansions I'm yet to try:

Britannia Bridge
Neuhauser Brockerlbahn
Daffodil Line

Game 1: April 11
This was Zoe and my first play of Daffodil Line and a thoroughly enjoyable one. We were very lucky with the weather, to the point at which I was actually willing white cubes out of the bag as my lead started to fritter away near the end. The daffodil scoring adds a nice extra twist but I'm not sure if its not a scoring method too far - will have to play more to decide. I won out 175-150 in a very high scoring game.
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17. Board Game: Reiner Knizia's Decathlon [Average Rating:6.22 Overall Rank:2943]
Chris Marling
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Cambridge
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One of Zoe's favourites and we haven't played it for way too long.



Game 1: April 11
Zoe loves to push her luck, while I tend to be more cautious, so our games of Decathlon tend to depend on whether her crazy calls pay off or not. But today she was a little more reserved and it was crazily close throughout - in fact after seven events it was a dead heat. I edged the pole vault, Zoe the Javelin, leaving a one-point lead going into the 1500 metres - but crucially I had to go first and a poor set of rolls left her an easy target and a 227-224 win.
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18. Board Game: ebbes [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:3696]
Chris Marling
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Cambridge
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An interesting trick-taker I want to get more people to try out.



Game 1: April 23
A late evening at LoBsterCon seemed the perfect time for a game of ebbes, but I'd forgotten just how much of a brain burner it is. We played a good few rounds as everyone began to fade, with me being declared the winner on 10 points as everyone succumbed to sleep. I'm still not sure if its clever or stupid, but I enjoy my plays so who cares?
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19. Board Game: Lord of the Rings [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:704]
Chris Marling
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Cambridge
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This was originally Dakota, an unplayed game from my collection, but after one play all of decided we hated it and it has been moved swiftly on! For this reason I've brought in a substitute - a game I got very cheap at a car boot sale, played once and enjoyed, but haven't revisited. It's time to gather a fellowship once more...



Game 1: May 8
(Frodo & Sam, Sauron on 12) This was my first solo game and its safe to say I didn't fare too well. I drew a bunch of grim event cards early on and Sauron had advanced six spaces before I could blink. Lothlorien helped a bit and I got through Helm's Deep, but with Frodo on 3, Sam on 4 and Sauron on 5... But at least I had lots of shields and Gandalf cards left. Unfortunately the cards couldn't do what I needed them to do - get me back from the brink - and the double dice spaces (46 & 47) got Sam; and Frodo died on 48 after drawing one event too many.
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20. Board Game: Merchant of Venus [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:703]
Chris Marling
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Cambridge
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Long, fiddly set up, but so rewarding. Needs more play.



Game 1: May 10
Howie, Morph, Carl and me had a $2,000 game and somehow I managed to totally roll over the opposition. I upgraded my ship (to three cargo spaces) early and then found the yellow relic drive, letting me keep the cargo space and move fast. I also took advantage of some great double demand tiles and broke $2k with Howie next in line still back on $1.1. That'll never happen again, but I'll take it!
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21. Board Game: Yspahan [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:444]
Chris Marling
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Cambridge
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Received this as a generous gift while in Paros but yet to play it - have only ever played online.



Game 1: February 7
I've enjoyed this online at Yucata.de but never 'live' until today. It was a generous gift from our friends at Alea Apartments in Paros and we finally got around to playing it today! It took ages because it has odd number restrictions (3-4) but it turns out there is a 2-player variant too - if I'd known that we would've tried it ages ago! Anyway, my online experience told and I won on 70 ahead of Zoe (61) and morph (50). But luckily they both enjoyed it.

Game 2: March 1
This was a rare game where I taught and then won; I think largely because both Karl and Ann failed to see the value of buildings until I'd already done the damage. I win by long stretch, but more importantly both of them enjoyed the game - and Karl had the satisfaction of emptying out the caravan with a card from his hand on the very last action of the game to deny me big points and take second place from Ann. That's now successful two and three-player games - next stop, a two-player game with Zoe.
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22. Board Game: Terra Mystica [Average Rating:8.24 Overall Rank:8]
Chris Marling
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Cambridge
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Simply awesome. I want to get good at this one. Or at least not bad...



Game 1: March 7
This went right to the wire! Zoe played Halflings to my Dwarves (we both tried a new race) and took an early point lead as I failed miserably to score any racial points and concentrated possibly a little too much on end-game points. At the finish I made up 14 points with biggest settlement and winning three of the cult tracks, but Zoe scored heavily on trading houses - maxing out on them scoring on both a temple bonus and a end of round bonus. In the end she won it 118-116 and it was a great game.

Game 2: March 26
A long but fun game, with me teaching three new players (at the St Ives Board Game Group) who all enjoyed it. Alexander (mermaids) had a good first two turns and was in second place, but spent round three with no money and never really recovered. Ray had a strong first half of the game and built a good lead with the halflings, playing the round scoring well, but lost his way in the second half. Morph suffered from poor initial dwelling placement (nomads) but recovered really well for an unlikely looking second place, while I was steady throughout and won it on 109 with the dwarves (about 25 points ahead).
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23. Board Game: Rialto [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:756]
Chris Marling
United Kingdom
Cambridge
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My friends haven't taken to this one, but I'm a big fan - may need to get creative, or travel!



Game 1: February 12
This was my first five-player game of Rialto and it was a good one. Only Zoe had also played before but its such a simple game we (with Chris, Jessica & Steven) were up and running in no time. Steven went heavy on green buildings early but it took him some time to get his engine going; I went for scoring points across the board and laying as many bridges and gondolas as possible. both strategies worked well and we were clear of Zoe in third place, but Steven pipped me by a point!

Game 2: April 4
Another successful teaching of Rialto - in that everyone enjoyed the game and I didn't get (m)any rules wrong/late. I also managed to get just over 50 points, which meant I was at least on the same part of the score track s everyone else. Nathan won it, with Teri and Ed close behind. And yup, I still had fun despite being crap. It was odd, as I simply never got going on anything except nailing the first area and scoring well on it. I definitely didn't invest in enough buildings early on and paid for it later.
 
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24. Board Game: Pizza Box Football [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:2706]
Chris Marling
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Cambridge
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Great fun and every match tells a story - so why do I play once a year?



Game 1: March 8
A classic, in brief: Zoe fails suicidal 4th down attempt on her own 21 in Q1, leading to 7-0 to me. Start of Q2 I throw an interception; Zoe picks it up on my 18, 7-7 at HT. Zoe FG at start of Q4, 10-7. She then marches 85y on her next drive for 17-7. I immediately reply with my own TD for 17-14 and go for the nearside kick - need a 10, roll a 9, Zoe wins. As always there as so much more that happened - this is definitely the most awesome rubbish game ever. I'm not sure my nerves can take more regular plays, but I want my revenge! I only made any passing yardage on one drive - my luck has to change next time. doesn't it...?

Game 2: April 23
The first PBF battle of the Chris' (Marling vs Cambridge Cats 'star' Fenton) was a true ding-dong roller-coaster cliché cliché game of two halves and no mistakin'! I took an early lead, watched Chris run in two touchdowns, then nailed an AWESOME kick-off return before tying things up at 20-20 at half time. The second half was mistake ridden, but a couple of field goals won it for me 26-20 - although an ominous last drive had we worried right to the last. As always, a great game - and Chris enjoyed his début game.
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25. Board Game: Royal Palace [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:1061]
Chris Marling
United Kingdom
Cambridge
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New to me last year but already in danger of falling below the radar.



Game 1: April 15
Kind of forgot how thinky this one is, so wasn't probably the best pick for an evening where Zoe and me were both went into the game pretty tired from work. We both took a similar strategy, getting bonus tiles early before concentrating on points, but I clearly fought the tiredness demons a little better and won out 98-85. While I enjoy the game I can't see it being a keeper for too long as I can't see much depth or variety to it over a lot of plays, or various routes to victory: I think these three plays will decide if it stays or goes.

Game 2: April 25
As Tom had said he was always happy to play, I took this to LoBsterCon in Eastbourne and got in a game with him and Paul Agapow. Dry euros aren't really Paul's thing but it's not due to lack of skill - he won well in a fast playing game, as tom and me managed to let him nail far too many of the majorities points. Once again enjoyable, but probably not enough to survive the post 33x3 cull.
 
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