jmoline's 2014 Nickels and Dimes
James Moline
United States
Tampa
FL
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This is the list of games that I have played at least 5 and 10 times during the last year. I thought it would be interesting to start keeping track of them, along with some thoughts about the games and why they hit the table as many times as they did. I don't know that it will be interesting for anyone else, but I'd like to see how the list changes (and stays the same) over the years.

I'm posting this a little early, so it's possible that one of the nickels might slip into the dime category, or some other game could get elevated to nickel. If so, I'll add/edit it in the list. I think the list is pretty well solidified now, though.
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1. Board Game: Ascension: Deckbuilding Game [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:564] [Average Rating:7.03 Unranked]
James Moline
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Tampa
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Dime - 82 plays

I play Ascension pretty much exclusively on iOS against my wife. It plays fast and requires no set up/tear down time. It's the perfect "let's play a quick game or two before bed" game.
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2. Board Game: Völuspá [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:1873]
James Moline
United States
Tampa
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Dime - 46 plays

That 46 is mostly yucata plays, with a few in-person plays here and there. I really love this game, and I think it is especially good as an asynchronous game. When I plays this (or Kachina) in person, the game almost always drags on because even normally decisive people get AP as the game wears on. When you play it on yucata, though, you just pull up the site when you have a few minutes and take as long as you need for your turn, knowing that no one is actively waiting for you. However you choose to play it, though, this is a great game with some really interesting decisions and clever powers.
 
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3. Board Game: One Night Ultimate Werewolf [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:343] [Average Rating:7.19 Unranked]
James Moline
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Dime - 41 plays

I love this game. I still don't think I like it quite as much as Ultimate Werewolf (I really enjoy the way that game unfolds over multiple rounds), but it's a really great, fast-playing alternative. For Werewolf veterans, it has a bit of a learning curve, because it can seem counterintuitive to wake up and announce who you are. On top of that, it can feel weird that the best way to play, even as a good guy, might be lying through your teeth.

Once you get the hang of it, though, this game is always a blast.
 
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4. Board Game: Splendor [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:143]
James Moline
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Dime - 40 plays

There's not a lot to say about Splendor that hasn't already been said. It's a great, light engine builder. It plays fast, and is really easy to teach. It works great at all player counts. Oh, yeah, and those chips are fantastic.
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5. Board Game: Coup [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:448]
James Moline
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Dime - 37 plays

Coup has been a favorite filler with my weekly game group, and that is where the majority of these plays occurred. My group loves bluffing games, and this is one of the best. Our plays have died out a bit recently, which is a shame because I recently got the Reformation expansion and have only been able to play with it a few times. It will cycle back in, though. It's fast, fun, and plays at higher player counts. It's the perfect meetup filler.
 
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6. Board Game: Can't Stop [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:688]
James Moline
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Dime - 22 plays

This is a mix of yucata and iOS plays. This is a fun time waster. It's maybe the quintessential push-your-luck game, which is a mechanism that I really enjoy. I've debated hunting down a copy of this, but there are other push your luck games that I think I enjoy more. This one gets played a decent amount, simply by virtue of its convenience and simplicity.
 
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7. Board Game: Parade [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:728]
James Moline
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Dime - 20 plays

Parade is a great, family card game. It's easy to teach and interesting. It has a decent amount of luck, but no so much that you feel the outcome is beyond your control. Almost all of our plays of this game have been with family and friends that we wouldn't really call gamers. It can bring out AP in some players, but it still manages to play relatively quickly.
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8. Board Game: Dragonheart [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:1488]
James Moline
United States
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Dime - 19 plays

I have a love/hate thing going on with Dragonheart. It's a great 2 player game. It's simple and fast playing. It only takes a few minutes to teach, but it has a lot going on. All that being said, it can be one of the most frustrating games I play, too. You can take hints from the other players moves, like "They just played a Sorceress, so I can probably play this sleeping dragon, right?" But, most of the time, you won't know for sure that they don't have another Sorceress in their hand. On top of that, I have had it happen so often that my opponent plays the cards I was just going to play, just one turn before I was able.

I don't actually get angry playing this game or anything, but I have seen people get pretty upset. Usually, it's funny, but this game isn't going to be for everyone.
 
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9. Board Game: Glen More [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:290]
James Moline
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Dime - 18 plays

Glen more is a such a good game. I learned how to play it on yucata, and loved it (and a few others) so much that I had to put together an order from amazon.de, just so I could have my own copy. This is also the game that cooled me somewhat on playing games online. I played this several times before I decided to pick up a copy, and by the time I got it to the table with my wife, I understood it well enough that it took her quite a lot of plays to get a win. She liked it enough that she didn't mind it, but I decided then that yucata was a good place to try a game out, but once I decide to pick it up, my online plays have to stop so that I'll be on more equal footing with my face to face opponents.
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10. Board Game: Guildhall [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:843] [Average Rating:6.96 Unranked]
James Moline
United States
Tampa
FL
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Dime - 18 plays

Guildhall (and its expansion) win our award for the game about which we most often say, "We need to play that more!" 18 plays isn't bad, but this could get played so much more often if only we thought of it. It's a really fun set collection game. It's pretty light and easy to teach, and we've played it with all manner of people, gamers and muggles alike. It's a shame that AEG has decided to let it stay out of print.
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11. Board Game: Crokinole [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:72]
James Moline
United States
Tampa
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Dime - 16 plays

Crokinole is a rarity on this list: a game with more than 10 plays that we don't even own. It plays pretty fast, so it wasn't hard to get that many plays in, even having only had access to it since around October/November. This is a really fun game. I was surprised to discover that I even like it more than other dexterity games I enjoy, like Rampage. At some point, I will absolutely either buy or make my own board, but for now we get in plays whenever we can.
 
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12. Board Game: Ultimate Werewolf: Ultimate Edition [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:826] [Average Rating:7.05 Unranked]
James Moline
United States
Tampa
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Dime - 16 plays

16 plays seems low for this one. I don't know if I didn't count some or what, but this is one of my favorite games and it gets a lot of play time in my weekly meetup. We've had more than one week where nothing else even got played. It takes a while, yeah, and it has player elimination, but most of our group doesn't care at all about any of that. If you're out, it's still a lot of fun to watch the game unfold. It's not for everyone, but we love it.
 
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13. Board Game: Jaipur [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:120]
James Moline
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Dime - 15 plays

This is another game that I was introduced to via yucata, and then we got our own copy from some friends who had an extra. This is a great set collection game for 2 players. It has a lot in common with Splendor, but it feels very different, more rummy-like.
 
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14. Board Game: Escape: The Curse of the Temple [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:478]
James Moline
United States
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Dime - 12 plays

We played Escape for the first time about a year and a half ago at the Dice Tower Convention. We actually met some of our closest friends and gaming buddies over this game, when they wandered over and offered to teach us. This is a frantic, but fun, dice rolling game. It's easy to teach, and its cooperative which can be great with some groups (we don't have many coop games). We've barely branched out from the base game, but we do have the 2 expansions. I'm really excited to try the module that gives each player a special ability.
 
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15. Board Game: Lords of Waterdeep [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:54]
James Moline
United States
Tampa
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Dime - 11 plays

Lords of Waterdeep is one of my wife's favorite games. I really enjoy it too, but she can literally play it all the time. I think she has close to 500 games on the iOS app now. I think my play count would be higher without the iOS app, actually. I'm not very good at staying up on asynchronous games on my iPad (yucata is easy, because I'm on my computer all day for work). As it stands, my wife hardly ever requests Lords of Waterdeep anymore (because she always has several games going already), and I don't think of it very often.
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16. Board Game: Black Spy [Average Rating:6.32 Overall Rank:3768]
James Moline
United States
Tampa
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Dime - 11 plays

Black Spy is a fun trick taking game. I've played it pretty much exclusively with my family. It's basically Hearts with a few twists. I played Spades a bit when I was younger, and I enjoyed it, but I had forgotten how much fun trick taking (and ladder climbing) can be. Black Spy reminded me. I've since gone out and acquired and played Chronicle, Haggis, and Clubs, and enjoyed them all. I'm eager to try out Tichu, Frank's Zoo, and the Hobbit, too.
 
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17. Board Game: Galaxy Defenders [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:1001]
James Moline
United States
Tampa
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Dime - 11 plays

Even more rare than Crokinole: a long game that I don't own and my wife won't play, with more than 10 plays. Galaxy Defenders isn't a very surprising addition to this list, though. It's so much fun to play. We started out by playing a couple of stand alone missions, but once we dove into the campaign, we found time to play. My wife has little interest in this style of game, so we play when she's busy with other things. I'm really excited to finish our campaign, and even more excited for the expansions my buddy kickstarted.
 
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18. Board Game: Bruges [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:227]
James Moline
United States
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Dime - 10 plays

Bruges was a late addition to our 10 x 10 list for 2014 (late, as in, I think I added it in November, after acquiring it in September), but it was one of the easiest entries to complete. We love Feld anyway, and this game plays fast and is a lot of fun. There's a random element that some people aren't going to like, but we enjoy it. With 2 players it plays in about a half hour and we frequently play a couple of games in a row. I'm looking forward to picking up the expansion, but I could actually stick with the base game for a while and be perfectly happy.
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19. Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:15]
James Moline
United States
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Dime - 10 plays

We didn't do a good job of picking our 10 x 10 list for 2014. One mistake I made was putting several games on the list that I hadn't played before. Castles of Burgundy was one of the good picks, though, and one of the only original entries to remain on the list for the whole year. We didn't finish it until late December, but it was never in doubt. We love this game. It's fun and plays quickly with 2, which makes it easy to hit the table. We tend to love action selection/worker placement with dice, too, and this is one of the best at that.
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20. Board Game: Glass Road [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:235]
James Moline
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Dime - 10 plays

Glass Road is the only other game (along with Castles of Burgundy) that was on our original 10 x 10 list, and made it to the end. Both my wife and I are really glad it was on the list, too. We played it a couple of times in January, and enjoyed it well enough, but we both had some difficulty wrapping our heads around everything you had to think about. After that, it sat on the shelf for months, and really only hit the table again because of the 10 x 10 list. We both really like this game. Like many other games on this list, it plays quickly, but unlike most of those, it's a pretty heavy thinker, too. We usually can't play more than a couple of games in a row, because our brains feel a bit melted afterwards. We're getting better, though. When we started it wasn't unheard of to have scores in the single digits. Now, we're consistently hitting the 20s.

Because of Glass Road and Castles of Burgundy, we've decided to try and make our 2015 10 x 10 list with a good mix of games we love and know we'll play and games we enjoyed okay, but need to play more. I doubt we're going to try for the hardcore mode, but maybe if we do better with this years list, we'll try that with 2016.
 
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21. Board Game: Qin [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:1429]
James Moline
United States
Tampa
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Dime - 10 plays

Qin is a pretty good little abstract game that we learned at this year's Dice Tower Con. R&R Games had a booth there, and we spent a lot of time there learning many of their games. I was surprised, because I thought of them as a party game company, but they have some good gamer-games, too, like this one, Coal Baron, and Spectaculum. Anyway, this is an abstract area control game. It's fun with all player counts, and we like it quite a bit.
 
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22. Board Game: Battle Line [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:202]
James Moline
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Nickel - 9 plays

Battle Line is one of the quintessential 2 player games. You almost have to play it at least once if you're a couple getting into gaming. Lost Cities is maybe a little more common, but I think it's close. Personally, I like both games, but I prefer Battle Line (I suck at both of them). I'm a little surprised this didn't make it to 10 plays, but we only got our own copy around September of this year.
 
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23. Board Game: Fearsome Floors [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:1014]
James Moline
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Nickel - 9 plays

I first heard of Fearsome Floors when Eric Summerer did his Top 100 for the Dice Tower (last year, I think). When I discovered yucata earlier this year, I noticed that this was there and decided to give it a try. It's a good little game! I've never played by the advanced rules with all the weird objects, but the basic game is plenty of fun. It's light, and simple, but manages to be thematic, too. I've played it in-person a few times, too (a friend owns a copy), and I'm on the lookout for my own copy at a decent price.
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24. Board Game: BraveRats [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:1982]
James Moline
United States
Tampa
FL
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Nickel - 8 plays

BraveRats really should have made it to 10 plays this year. It plays in like 5 minutes and it's one of the few microgames that plays well with 2 (it only plays 2). I've been pretty impressed with Seiji Kanai's designs, and this one is not different. Our copy lives in my wife's purse, and we bring it out when it's just the 2 of us waiting for something (like a tow truck, ugh). I have no doubt this will see a lot of play in the future.
 
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25. Board Game: Jungle Speed [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:1222]
James Moline
United States
Tampa
FL
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Nickel - 8 plays

Jungle Speed was the surprise game of Dice Tower Con for us this year. We got a copy for free for participating in one of the events, and tried it on a whim. It is so much fun to play! People with color blindness or bad eyesight sometimes don't enjoy it much, but most of the friends we've tried it with love it. It's loud and funny and just a really surprisingly good game. We enjoyed it enough that we've even given away a couple of copies as gifts.
 
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