2014 Fives and Dimes (Avron)
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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This is the games I played at least 5 times throughout 2014.

My gaming continued to be spread across the week this year, with more gaming at the weekends than I had been prior years. And far less Wednesday night gaming than was common for me for a five year stretch.

I got into modern games near the end of 2004 with my introduction to Settlers of Catan by an individual at the church I was attending. That didn't go far beyond me getting a copy of Carcassonne and then quite a bit later, Ticket to Ride.
The first "group" I joined was the Christchurch Euro Gamers (a group that meets on Wednesday nights), I started going there at the end of January 2008. We had three locations hosting in a rotation for most of 2013 which was part of the reason I ceased being as present about half-way through the year. Hosting split even more in 2014 with one of the hosts heading back to the UK at the start of the year and a couple of others starting to host. I basically attended at only the closest of those locations throughout the year, so maybe once a month.
The second group I joined was SAGA (the local University game group), that I've been a member of since early 2010. The group starts meeting at the end of February, coinciding with the Uni year; with very few exceptions I was gaming there on Tuesday and Thursday nights. And there were a few weekend events throughout the year as well.
The last of my regular weekly game sessions was Monday Night Social at the flat of a couple of friends. Both of whom I met at the CEG group a few months before they started hosting regularly in 2011. Games there usually happened to be lighter games as many of the attendees aren't "gamers".
Another group, the Irregulars, has sessions on Friday nights, but the majority of those are even further from me than the Wednesday night group, so I attend only the closest.

After six years of heading to Hanmer Springs for a long weekend in November I stayed in Christchurch this year, and tried to manage 48 hours of gaming with SAGA at a charity event. I lasted 36 hours.

My prior Five & Dimes. 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

As I don't record plays of games that use a computer AI this list doesn't include as much Race for the Galaxy games as it might. There would also be more of quite a few other games if I included BSW, BGA, Yucata, etc.
All games with background shading on the first play date were new to me this year. The first comment to the geeklist as a whole lists those games that I played less than 5 times for the year with the shading there having the same purpose.
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1. Board Game: One Night Ultimate Werewolf [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:342] [Average Rating:7.19 Unranked]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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Plays in 2014: 65 (2 were Daybreak only)
Own: No
First played: 2014-05-07
Last year: N/A

In the month after I first played this I'd probably have guessed that it was going to be played more than this by the end of the year (it still hit 8 games a month though). The Monday group has always been high on Werewolf plays and with this being quicker it seemed likely to be played a lot. Having the group decrease in size reduced the frequency of this getting played though.
Better than ordinary Werewolf in my opinion, for the lack of player elimination alone. The preferences among those I play with for masses of roles that change things (both in this and ordinary ww) makes the games less interesting to me.
 
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2. Board Game: DC Comics Deck-Building Game [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:732] [Average Rating:7.03 Unranked]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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Plays in 2014: 47 (4 were DC Heroes Unite)
Own: No
First played: 2013-06-02
Last year: 1 with 66 plays

One of my closest friends really got interested in this and so it was getting played a lot when she was at sessions. The two of us also played 2-player on a few occasions.
The much reduced setup time compared to Dominion and other deck-builders is good, but the impossibility to plan your deck annoys me sometimes. I usually manage to do well during the games I play, but at least some of that is the luck of what cards are coming out just before my turn. My most recent game had me have just enough power on my third and fourth turns to acquire Heat Vision cards while my opponents could not do so.
 
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3. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:48]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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Plays in 2014: 32
Own: No
First played: 2011-05-11
Last year: 5 with 39 plays

Very few of these games wouldn't have also included the Cities and Leaders expansions, so the base game is always a change when I go back to it. Playing with more than four seems less interesting to me as you don't really have any planning based on what you know (cards don't come back), just what might be coming to you later.
I made a foam-core insert for the SAGA copy of this in the latter portion of the year, making it possible to store all that the club owns in the one box. Much easier to deal with although I'm the only one that seems to see how the cards should be sorted.
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4. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:49]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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Plays in 2014: 32
Own: No
First played: 2008-10-22
Last year: 2 with 62 plays

Very few of these plays included the cards from the third expansion (even though SAGA has all three), none included the takeovers, and maybe a handful made use of the Prestige powers. The setup time has increased with the addition of expansions so on one level I'll prefer to play with the set that has no expansions (or just one), but when I do so I often find myself wanting some of the other cards.
This is the one game where the count of plays is most affected by me not recorded anything other than physical games. I probably played well over 100 games against the Keldon AI, and probably 200 or more at Board Game Arena.
 
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5. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:7.98 Overall Rank:27]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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Plays in 2014: 25
Own: No
First played: 2008-08-20
Last year: 4 with 42 plays

Significant drop in plays from last year, which was due mostly to the fact that one of those most likely to have played it finding himself doing poorly in most games and then not wanting to play again. Others have taken a shine to Caverna which I'm thinking is likely to get played more next year, especially as one of the Monday Night group has a copy. I hope that I'll come to enjoy it more with more plays, as happened with Agricola.
I continue to play online at Boite a Jeux but haven't felt inclined to play at Play-Agricola due to the time commitment. (One big block of time as opposed to lots of little turns.)
 
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6. Board Game: Coup [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:447]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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Plays in 2014: 24
Own: No
First played: 2013-12-27
Last year: N/A with 2 plays

This isn't as interesting as it was to start with. I'll not ever be searching it out but there's a reasonable chance that I'll play it if others want to. Seems easy for one person to be eliminated early by others concentrating their attacks, not a good thing.
I would be interested enough in the way it plays with allegiances to play that way.
 
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7. Board Game: Love Letter [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:246]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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Plays in 2014: 22
Own: No
First played: 2013-03-29
Last year: N/A with 4 plays

Quickly became the go to filler when one particular person got a copy. I've found myself enjoying it a little more as time went on, but it doesn't really hold my interest while I'm playing.
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8. Board Game: Wolf The Game [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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Plays in 2014: 24 (2 were Lupus in Tabala)
Own: No
First played: 2011-11-11 (different version)
Last year: 3 with 61 plays (all Werewolf versions)

Two main reasons this dropped in plays compared to last year, the introduction of ONUW (above), and a reduction in numbers attending the Monday Night group. With the need for moderation in this one particular person was almost never getting to play, which wasn't good.
I expect that with one particular individual not attending the Monday sessions through the year also reduced our Werwolf plays. She always enjoys the game and was an instigator a lot of the time.
 
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9. Family: Dominion
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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Plays in 2014: 21 (across all box sets)
Own: No
First played: 2009-05-27
Last year: 13 with 19 plays

This is more plays than I would have guessed, which I'm still not sure about. Many of them were probably at the start of the year with one particular individual bringing his boxes to a couple of game days. My prefered expansion is Prosperity, I haven't enough experience with Cornucopia to judge it.
I record plays of this under whichever set seemed to have the biggest impact on how the game turned out. e.g. if I won and scored most of my points due to using Bishop I'll record the game as Prosperity, even if it was the only card from Prosperity in the tableau.
6 Dominion
6 Prosperity
5 Dark Ages
2 Intrigue
2 Cornucopia
(I started putting actual effort into the Adventures campaign at https://www.playdominion.com/Dominion/gameClient.html this year, finishing the base game levels. Because I won't pay money that's probably where I stop.)
 
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10. Board Game: Lords of Waterdeep [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:54]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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Plays in 2014: 19
Own: No
First played: 2012-07-25
Last year: 6 with 32 plays

Almost all these games would have had the Scoundrels of Skullport expansion, the last couple did not and it felt weird to not have the extra actions (or sleeved cards).
I don't pay any attention to the theme of this when I play it, and require effort to remember which cube represents which adventurer. But the mechanisms are simple and allow completely new people to compete well.
Very few of my games have been played with less than the maximum possible player count. I'd like that to change next year.
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11. Board Game: Nefarious [Average Rating:6.33 Overall Rank:2280]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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Plays in 2014: 14
Own: No
First played: 2013-12-13
Last year: N/A with 1 play

Twist cards make or break the game I think; some mean the game will take nearly twice as long as normal, and others could make it even quicker. After a couple of bad draws I now make sure to "veto" some of the Twists when teaching new players.
One round of play will typically make the rules more obvious so it should be possible to get people playing quickly. Knowing when to Speculate is possibly more important than I've so far seen it to be.
I sort of expect that others will start to find things less interesting when they've seen all the inventions blueprints. I don't pay enough attention to the names of them for that to matter to me.
 
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12. Board Game: Galaxy Trucker [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:162]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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Plays in 2014: 12
Own: Yes, since 2012-12-23
First played: 2008-12-27
Last year: 9 with 27 plays

My copy is base only and I'm not typically inclined to carry it (or other games) anywhere. The copy I played most often over the past couple of years has had all the expansions and became heavier than the owner wanted to cart around once he needed two boxes (thus it was played less).
With just the base game I tend to build good, strong, ships that survive easily, unless the others build particularly fast. Introduction of expansions make my builds less robust as do Rough Roads etc. As should be the case.
The copy that was being stored at the Monday location was taken away recently, if it doesn't go back I might take mine along there on occasion.
 
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13. Board Game: For Sale [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:275]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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Plays in 2014: 10
Own: No
First played: 2008-07-02
Last year: 15 with 10 plays

Filler game for when there's five or six of us and nobody suggests ONUW. For how little is involved it's a very good game. Setup is almost non-existent as well, just count out money for each player and maybe drop out a couple of cards if playing with four.
Like all auction games first timers are at a disadvantage, but that didn't impact at least two of these games, the newest player won.
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14. Board Game: Puerto Rico (with two expansions) [Average Rating:8.50 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.50 Unranked]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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Plays in 2014: 10 (2 were the original release)
Own: No
First played: 2012-02-08 (2008-03-05)
Last year: 22 with 6 plays

It's a classic for a reason. Playing with distinctly different experience levels does lead to some issues though. The owner was underwhelmed with the Nobles portion and so we've not used them more than a couple of times total, and I don't miss them either.
The two most recent games have been the closest 4-player I think I've seen (6 and 4 point spreads respectively).
My tendency to try and trade for money early and then build hasn't worked as often as I'd like, probably because I don't adjust to the other player's actions.
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15. Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:15]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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Plays in 2014: 9
Own: No
First played: 2012-07-05
Last year: 16 with 9 plays

I overvalue one of the knowledge tiles, but I have at least stopped waiting for it.
After playing at Boite a Jeux and Yucata I do better in person so that's been good for me. I still tend to be beaten by the new people when teaching though which is somewhat disheartening.
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16. Board Game: The Red Dragon Inn [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:1303] [Average Rating:6.57 Unranked]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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Plays in 2014: 9
Own: No
First played: 2014-05-26
Last year: N/A

Purchased by SAGA along with RDI 2 so there would be a shortish game capable of taking 6 or more players (to fill the 7 Wonders sized gap). Has player elimination which isn't great, but the games tend be over soon after the first player is out.
I think that there's going to be a split next year among the group, some wanting to play and some not willing.
 
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17. Board Game: BANG! The Dice Game [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:518]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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Plays in 2014: 8
Own: No
First played: 2014-06-03
Last year: N/A

From what I've played the game is better than the original. There's still player elimination which isn't good but there's less likelihood of getting eliminated before your first turn. No need for a deck (or hand) of cards cuts down on setup time. Having dice means you're reacting to what comes up each roll instead.
 
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18. Board Game: Hanabi [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:327]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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Plays in 2014: 8
Own: No
First played: 2013-08-22
Last year: 10 with 23 plays

I played a bunch last year, after initially teaching with a mock up from another game, and it burnt out soon among some of the group as people were unable to play completely by the rules. Making mistakes in what they said or inadvertently giving extra information.
A couple of actual copies were purchased by others I know and they were played a few times through this year. Doing the unexpected and getting me to play (and actually suggest) a co-op game on multiple occasions.
 
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19. Board Game: The Resistance: Avalon [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:105]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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Plays in 2014: 8
Own: No
First played: 2012-11-15 (2011-06-22)
Last year: 7 with 29 plays (combined Avalon and original)

All plays this year were Avalon, leading to the Merlin and Assassin roles being in play all but once. Not many games included the other roles, although at least once we had a lengthy discussion about whether Oberon actually helps the Loyal Knights or Minions more.
Until ONUW came along this was what I'd suggest instead of playing Werewolf, partly because it's quicker, partly because there's no elimination, partly because it might mean I'd get to play something deeper with others not wanting to play werewolf.
 
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20. Board Game: Thurn and Taxis [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:385]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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Plays in 2014: 8
Own: No
First played: 2008-02-16
Last year: N/A with 3 plays

Good length, light-medium game that is easy to teach. I have been told that the comparison to Ticket to Ride shouldn't be used when teaching though. I'm mildly interested in playing with one or both of the expansions again but it's been a few years since I saw either used.
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21. Board Game: Alien Frontiers [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:192]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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Plays in 2014: 7
Own: No
First played: 2012-02-29
Last year: N/A with 3 plays

One of two dice placement games that I get to play, this is definitely the one I prefer. The importance of getting at least one more ship (die) early isn't to be ignored but nearly every turn is going to be at least somewhat useful to you.
 
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22. Board Game: Council of Verona [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:2349]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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Plays in 2014: 7
Own: No
First played: 2013-12-29
Last year: N/A with 4 plays

I don't think there's as much game as it seems initially but with the time involved that doesn't really matter. Still haven't played with the Poison expansion and don't have any need to do so.
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23. Board Game: Egizia [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:331]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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Plays in 2014: 7
Own: No
First played: 2012-08-04
Last year: 22 with 6 plays

Considering how little I'd heard about this, ie. none, I was very happy with the second and subsequent plays of this. The first was confusing due to poor rules explanation.
Each round is simple and there's no particular player conflict, although there is usually annoyance at someone jumping ahead to the exact thing you want from the line.
One of the players that's beaten me frequently has a simple strategy, build in each of the three regions every round if he can, considering how we each do I should try and emulate that strategy more.
 
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24. Board Game: Tsuro [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:860]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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Plays in 2014: 7
Own: No
First played: 2014-06-03
Last year: N/A

Another game purchased by SAGA for a short game taking a lot of players. This is even simpler and while there is elimination it seems more interesting to watch this while others are playing as you wait to see who else loses. Most of our games so far have lasted at least until the draw pile was exhausted.
 
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25. Board Game: The Downfall of Pompeii [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:496]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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Plays in 2014: 6
Own: No
First played: 2014-01-01
Last year: N/A

I'd wanted to play this for a while, and had not expected to even see it in person. Two halves to the game where I seem to do better in the first than the second, leading to me losing the tiebreaker at least twice. I expect that I'll almost always be willing to join a game of this.
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