Thorf's New Games for 2015
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I just found the Alternative 2015 Challenge: Play 15 of your unplayed games in 2015 -- Now w/ microbadges!!!, and since I've been playing a lot of new games this year, I thought I'd have a go. In fact I think I've already finished the challenge, but I will keep adding new games to this list as I play them this year.
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1. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:284] [Average Rating:7.22 Unranked]
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First Play: 2nd January 2015

This was the "gateway" game for many people twenty years ago, and it has turned out to be my gateway game this year. I drifted away from board games before Catan came out. Although I had heard of it, and seen pictures of some of my cousins playing it on Facebook, I never tried it until this year.

It's a great game. Although I now prefer it with the expansions, I'm still happy to play the base game when the chance arises.
 
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2. Board Game: Catan: Junior [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:1480]
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First Play: 3rd January 2015

My kids are still young (just turned 5 and about to turn 3 as of this writing), but they're already interested in playing board games. We actually started off in regular Catan, but it's too much for our youngest, and just a little too much for our oldest still. So I bought this for them.

We've played it quite a lot since then, and they both enjoy it. We've advanced past the marketplace and on to trading, which they are both grasping quite quickly. I like to play with a handicap for adult players: no starting resources! This makes it a huge challenge to beat the kids, which overall makes the game a lot more fun for everyone.
 
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3. Board Game: Catan: Seafarers [Average Rating:7.17 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.17 Unranked]
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First Play: 10th January 2015

Thus far, this is the expansion we've played most. In fact my fourth game of Catan was with Seafarers. We've almost played through all of the scenarios.

I really enjoy the expanded board, especially in four player, which otherwise feels rather tight.
 
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4. Board Game: Colt Express [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:306]
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My trump card in completing this challenge is my local board game club, which I discovered at New Year. I attend the monthly meetup whenever I can, and invariably end up playing new games almost every time.

First Play: 11th January 2015

Colt Express was my first game at the club.

Fun game. I'll play it again if I get the chance.
 
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5. Board Game: Carcassonne: Gold Rush [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:1284]
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First Play: 11th January 2015

My first "real life" game of Carcassonne. I had played it on the iPad a little, but was still a bit shaky on some of the rules.

It's not bad, but also perhaps not really my thing. I'd like to have a copy of the basic game to play with the kids, but it's not a high priority.

This variant was interesting enough. I'm not really sure whether I prefer it to the basic game — I'd need to play them both more to decide.
 
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6. Board Game: Abyss [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:327]
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First Play: 11th January 2015

This was the third game I played at the Akita Board Game Club. It was the Japanese version, and this game is moderately text heavy, so it involved a fair bit of reading. Thankfully, Hata did a great job of explaining the game, to the extent that I was able to come in first largely thanks to his advice.

The game itself gives you three different options each turn: hold an auction of cards, take a pile of leftover cards from a previous auction, or take on a new overseer. You need overseers to give you victory points, and also to get land cards, which multiply or otherwise add to certain aspects of your points. Cards are needed to pay of overseers, which is what the other two actions are for.

It was quite fun. I certainly didn't expect to win, but regardless the process was enjoyable. I'd like to play it again.
 
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7. Board Game: Sultans of Karaya [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:4733]
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First Play: 11th January 2015

The last game at the Akita Board Game Club meeting was this one: Sultans of Karaya. It's a game for large groups of people — we played with fifteen. Each person gets an identity card placing them in one team, and you have to either keep the Sultan alive, or assassinate him.

It's a very simple concept, but a lot of fun. The best part of the game is the tension and amusement it creates with people revealing their secret identities and trying to act based on guesswork of who everyone is.
 
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8. Board Game: Ladies & Gentlemen [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:1896]
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First Play: 11th January 2015

My first time playing this game, at the second stage of my first time at an Akita Board Game Club meeting. It was a lot of fun.

I played as a gentleman, so I only really got to know that half of the game. It's pretty simple, really, but the fun comes from the pressures caused by needing to do well to support your partner's shopping game. It's also amusing, because it's set up so that there's no way you could really buy everything your partner chooses.

We had seven players, which meant there was a courtesan who also needed to be supported by the gentlemen. I thought I was being really stingy, but it turned out I bought her the most — which is crucial, because if you spend the least on her and she comes last, then she drags you down with her and you lose. She did come last, and we came first, so it all worked out for us.

I'd love to introduce this game to my wife.
 
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9. Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:12]
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First Play: 11th January 2015

The last game I played at the Akita Board Game Club January meetup, starting at midnight and running for almost three hours.

This is a pretty heavy resource management game. It was fun, but I was getting rather tired by the end of it around 3 am. I was surprised how close the points were at the end, with just a few points between me and the next player up.

I'd like to play this one again sometime when I'm more awake. Still, it was a good end to a great night.
 
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10. Board Game: Catan: Cities & Knights [Average Rating:7.47 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.47 Unranked]
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First Play: 18th January 2015

I played this first on the iPad, and finally managed to persuade my wife to play it two player. We had a lot of fun.

Since then I've played it a few more times, and every time I've really enjoyed it. This may well be my favourite Catan expansion yet, though happily it changes the game to such an extent that I still appreciate playing the base game and other expansions too.
 
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11. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:43]
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First Play: 8th February 2015

My second time at Akita Board Game Club February meet up, first time playing this game.

I wasn't very clear about the rules and made a few mistakes (such as trying to play the same card twice), and I still don't really understand the rules for combos. The guy next to me played no resources at all, which really stymied me. I still don't really understand how he managed to play so many cards without resources.

I had Alexandria, but I didn't manage to build the third stage of my pyramid due to a lack of resources. So I missed out on 7 points there.

It was okay, but I don't really see the attraction of this game. I guess I'll play it again if I have the chance.
 
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12. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:17]
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First Play: 8th February 2015

Wow. I totally fell in love with this game! I played 10 or so solo games on the iPad before jumping in at the deep end with a four player game at the Akita Board Game Club. I was then able to borrow the game, and played it with Kika repeatedly for the next two weeks. What fun!

I am still enthralled with it, and we've barely scratched the surface of the cards.

I'll play Agricola anytime!
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13. Board Game: Agricola: Farmers of the Moor [Average Rating:8.11 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.11 Unranked]
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First Play: 19th February 2015

Quite a fun expansion, although the minor improvement cards seem a bit unimpressive so far. I need to play this one a lot more.
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14. Board Game: Caverna: The Cave Farmers [Average Rating:8.11 Overall Rank:15]
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First Play: 21st February 2015

YES!! After ten wonderful days of Agricola, Caverna brought me to new heights. I absolutely love this game! modest

Kika also loves it, and she prefers it to Agricola to the point that it's hard to get her to play Agricola any more.

The only problem is that I'm having trouble getting anyone else persuaded to play it so far, so I have yet to play anything other than two player and solo.
 
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15. Board Game: My First Scrabble [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
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First Play: 28th February 2015

My mother sent this for Isla. I'm not really sure I would even consider this a game, though of course it's great for the kids.
 
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16. Board Game: Scrabble Junior [Average Rating:4.71 Overall Rank:15557]
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First Play: 6th March 2015

My mother sent us the Toy Story 3 edition for Erik's birthday.

Our first try at this game was using the "Words and Pictures" side. Erik will need a few times at this to learn all the spellings of the Toy Story characters.
 
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17. Board Game: Mow [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:2778]
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First Play: 8th March 2015

We played ten player. Not bad — reminded me heavily of a card game I used to play with my grandparents, Slippery Sal.
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18. Board Game: Rapa Nui [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:1934]
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First Play: 8th March 2015

Not a bad game, but not exactly one of my favourites, either.
 
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19. Board Game: Agricola: France Deck [Average Rating:7.59 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.59 Unranked]
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First Play: 12th March 2015

I've only played with this one once so far, in a solo game of Farmers of the Moor. It seems to have some interesting and fun cards. Looking forward to exploring it more in the future.
 
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20. Board Game: Caverna: Mini Expansion [Average Rating:7.39 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.39 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.39 Unranked]
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First Play: 16th March 2015

I love the Dormitory. The other cards are not quite so exciting. This mini expansion makes me long for a full expansion, although to be honest we are not nearly at the stage of needing one yet.
 
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21. Board Game: Glass Road [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:207]
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First Play: 24th March 2015

I wrote up my first impressions of this game in a session report on my first three solo games.

I have yet to play it with other people, but my initial impression is that it will have a hard time beating Caverna and Agricola to our table.
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22. Board Game: Die Glasstraße: Oktoberfest [Average Rating:7.08 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.08 Unranked]
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First Play: 24th March 2015

This is a promo card expansion for Glass Road. I mixed it in, and it appeared in my third solo game. Nice building, lots of fun playing it.
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23. Board Game: Agricola: Through the Seasons [Average Rating:7.13 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.13 Unranked]
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First Play: 3rd April 2015

I love the idea, and the actions are a lot of fun, but overall it seems a bit unbalancing.

My favourite part has to be the field phase and breeding phase actions. The idea of having these as actions is just really cool.

But the accumulation space adjustments are actually a bit annoying, and the extra family growth and holidays actions change things quite dramatically. The family growth space can allow one person to grow much sooner than anyone else, which gives them a natural lead, making them hard to catch up with. And the holidays action naturally favours whoever is ahead in family growth, compounding this problem.

I don't think we'll be rushing to play with this one again.
 
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24. Board Game: Extra! [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:3588]
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First Play: 5th April 2015

Not really my kind of game.
 
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25. Board Game: Fab Fib [Average Rating:5.84 Overall Rank:9815]
Thorfinn Tait
Japan
Akita
Akita
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Board Gamer, Mystara & Calidar Cartographer
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First Play: 5th April 2015

No thanks. I doubt I'll be playing this one again.
 
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