New to you a year ago May 15 => Has it stood the test of time?
Martin G
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Bristol
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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 May 14 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 Splendor. 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: That's Life! [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:1513]
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Item for Geeklist "New to you May 2014 => Best new boardgame"

I've played That's Life! a couple more times, and I really like it. Roll and move done right, and I'm keen to try the expansion too.

Masques, Keltis and 10 Days in Africa have not been touched since.
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2. Board Game: Linko! [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:706]
Peter D
United Kingdom
london
UK
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Is it really a year ago since I first played these?

Games that definitely stood the test of time

Linko! is one of my most-played games ever. It will remain in my collection forever and could be my favourite card game of all time. It is, quite simply, perfect.
Kohle & Kolonie is a complex economic game and is up there with Brass in pure brilliance. I have played this a few times since which ain't bad for a 3 hour+ game. It does need five players to work though.
Port Royal and Abluxxen were my two favourite games of last year. Time has not eroded Port Royal, it still feels fresh and exciting and I never turn a game down. And my wife, a non-gamer if ever there was one, will request it regularly.
Masters Gallery is Modern Art the card game in its latest form. Yes it lasts the test of time and with aplomb. My 13 year old daughter's favourite game.
UGO! is the finest trick taking game in the book, so will remain a key part of my collection.
R-Eco is a great little card game which I do not tire of.
Thebes is a goto game for non-gamers after Ticket To Ride. Easy and enjoyable.
Machi Koro: Harbor is the only way really to play this wonderful game these days.



Games that have so far stood the test of time but I fear will disappear

A Study in Emerald has stood the test simply for being crazy and different from any other game ever. I love it. I think it will not last though as it is tricky to get to the table.
Splendor I admire for its simplicity but it does not excite me. It came a few times but I don't seek it out.




Games I enjoyed but have not played since but REALLY want to

Homesteaders wants to come out again. Really it does.
Seeland so nearly came out with the family last night, after a great intro game at LoB one year earlier.
Yunnan was an excellent Euro with a real nasty streak. I need to play it again to fully evaluate it.
Wildcatters impressed hugely. It was complex though and I would need to relearn it before I bring it out again. It needs to be done.



Games best forgotten about

Bookmaker, Airlines (what was Alan Moon doing with this dull game, and this was its third incarnation...dreadful), Clubs and Propserity (Bleasdale and Knizia's dullest moment).
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3. Board Game: Forbidden Desert [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:263]
Jeff Wolfe
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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Item for Geeklist "New to you May 2014 => Best new boardgame"

Four new-to-me games last May. The only one I've played again since last year is the one I selected as the game of the month, that is, Forbidden Desert. I only played it once since last May, but that one play was enjoyable. Hardly a rigorous test, but to the extent that I tested it, it stood the test of time.
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4. Board Game: Ivor the Engine [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:4063]
Ben Bateson
United Kingdom
Ross-on-Wye
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Ivor went through several incarnations before its final release; this game was the final prototype, shooed in before a game of Cosmic Encounter one night. I have to confess that I actually preferred its first version: a Ticket To Ride variant where the game built stuff every time you did. It probably wouldn't have hit the family market, though.

7-Card Slugfest is hilarious, uncontrollable fun. Why WOULDN'T you want to play a barfight simulation? We have played a few more games, but I fear it may get superseded by the more accessible, less crazy, more controllable Colt Express.

Last year's play of Concept remains my only play, but that's not to say I didn't enjoy it. I think it's stylish, fun, and easily house-ruled for a good experience either with family or competitive gamers. Want to play more of this one.
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5. Board Game: Goa [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:107]
Scott Daniel
United States
San Diego
California
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Link - https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/174255/item/3255638#item3...

Goa Play then - 2, plays since - 0. Rating: Then d10-7, Now d10-6

Last year I wanted to try with 4. It just always falls short on game I want to get played so it never made it back to the table. I've still got it now, but it's probably headed for the trade pile. I'd play it, but not recommend it for play. I'd recommend Spyrium over this game as it's of similar length and I find the market in Spyrium more interesting that the auctions in Goa.
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6. Board Game: Suburbia [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:94]
Nick B
United States
Charlottesville
Virginia
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Last May didn't provide a lot of gaming opportunities, as it was the month my daughter was born! I can't believe it's been a year already.

Here's my entry from 2014, if anyone is curious.

Suburbia - THEN: 8/10, NOW: 7.5/10


I was worried last year that the book-keeping aspect of Suburbia would make it fall flat when compared to the app version, but my fears were unfounded. It's a great game, even if all of the boroughs I build are places nobody would ever want to live (unless you love factories and parking lots). I was really interested in the expansion, but since then I think I'm happy with just the base game.


Paperback - THEN: 5/10, NOW: OUT OF MY COLLECTION


I definitely liked the idea of this game, a deck-builder mixed with Scrabble, more than the execution. The game started off fun, but definitely went on too long and started to feel tedious. While I mentioned last year that I wanted to give it a few more plays and maybe try out some house rules, I ultimately sold it off while I could get a good price for it.

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7. Board Game: Yedo [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:448]
Tiago Perretto
Brazil
Curitiba
Parana
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Item for Geeklist "New to you May 2014 => Best new boardgame"

Well, as I said, it is sad, really sad.



Why?

Well. Because of Yedo.




Yedo was one of the best games I got to know last year. I still think is a great game as have asked, multiple times (even last week!), for the owner to bring the game and we play it. He did once or twice, but because he usually didn't stay much, the time wasn't right. Curses! So I never got to play it again. And, as Keyflower, I failed.

However, hope seems to be always ahead. I hope I will play it soon.

Rating then: 8 / 10
Rating now: 8 / 10







There never was hope, though, for DC Comics Deck-Building Game: Heroes Unite. It is a problematic game, with serious issues in gameplay. I did play its brother three more times, so I didn't passed unharmed. But at least is DC and is quick enough so I don't take it personal when suggested.

Rating then: 6.5 / 10
Rating now: 5.5 / 10





And that is it.

Regards,
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8. Board Game: Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:430] [Average Rating:7.25 Unranked]
Fernando Robert Yu
Philippines
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Item for Geeklist "New to you May 2014 => Best new boardgame"

Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men

This got played 34 more times after the initial 13 plays last year. The bulk of those were in the couple of months after, then the number of plays slowly tapered. I really enjoyed the game and this finally could have been the game which could make me interested again in organized play (after more than a decade of Warhammer 40,000 /Warhammer and a few years of Magic: The Gathering initially) IF those tourneys occurred. Sadly, there was very little support for OP and there were also supply problems so the interest for the game really dropped down, with several players selling their collections. This did help me in almost completing my set of Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men. I also get a starter and a gravity feed for Marvel Dice Masters: Uncanny X-Men, but I didn't dwell deeper into that set since by this time Star Realms had completely taken over as the go-to duelling game, being much easier to setup, quicker to play, and also a ton of fun. I probably will get a starter and a gravity feed for DC Comics Dice Masters: Justice League though, as I think it would be fun to do a DC versus Marvel duel.

Initial rating: 9.0/10
Current rating: 8.0/10

The Palaces of Carrara

Playing this 5 more times after the initial 3 plays has made me really glad I bought the Dutch version when I was in Amsterdam last year. I could have gone home and waited / searched for an English version (probably to no avail), but I decided to snatch the only copy I saw in the store and this has proven to be quite a different experience (and thus a keeper) among the others in my collection.

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

CapCom Street Fighter Deck-Building Game

I enjoyed the initial play of this last year but only got to play it one more since. This is because this game is not mine but Kent's, but I would not mind playing this again whenever he feels like bringing it.

Initial rating: 7.5/10
Current rating: 7.5/10
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9. Board Game: Eminent Domain [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:425]
Doug Mann
United States
Corpus Christi
Texas
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Emintent Domain was my only new item a year ago and has hung in there pretty well. My rating for it went up to 7.6 out of 10, although I haven't played it again in 2015. The cult of the new!

Item for Geeklist "New to you May 2014 => Best new boardgame"

This one will remain a go-to game of its kind, especially since my wife will play it. I also picked up the promo planets.
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10. Board Game: Five Cucumbers [Average Rating:5.91 Overall Rank:4407]
Murray Fish
Australia
Canberra
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They explained everything in detail and at great length. After they finished I sat, despondent, contemplating a bleak and empty future. "I’m glad you’re depressed" said one. "It means you’ve understood the situation.”
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That was the then:

Quote:
GAMES:

Five Cucumbers



Played this just the once at an open gaming day and was thoroughly impressed. A great filler with a little bit of depth and player elimination! The game is basically a trick taking game where the key thing is not to win the seventh and final trick of each hand. The loser picks up the number of gherkins on the card they play, when some-one acquires five (or more) gherkins they are eliminated.

This game plays really well and is a complete hoot. I anticipate that it will go over well with my lunchtime games group. Will consider purchasing in the future. Highly recommended.

Chutes and Ladders



It's quite the thing to hate on this game here on BGG. Usually with good reason as it is totally luck-based, involves no strategy and even has a pasted-on theme. The positives about playing this with small children are that it is good for learning numbers, simple addition and taking turns. It’s also a well-known game, so kiddies from non-gamer families are probably at least familiar with it. On a more ‘meta’ level it’s not a bad preparation for life as arbitrary disasters can befall one regardless of personal merit and sometimes good results are the result of good luck rather than good fortune.

Make no mistake, this is not a game I’ll ever suggest, but if the Little Fish want to play then I am all for it. Perhaps this ‘gateway’ game will be the first step on a long path to geekdom...

EXPANSIONS:

Race for the Galaxy: Alien Artifacts



I did not rate this as my game of the month because I have not, as yet, had a chance to sample to orb game. So far all Mrs Fish (my usual Race for the Galaxy opponent) and I have done is play with the new cards. I must say that I like them. The new Homeworlds are all interesting as are the other cards that come along with this game. Having removed all trace of the previous three expansions it’s actually rather fun to play without ‘first’ and ‘most’ goals or prestige points. So far so good, I’m looking forward to trying the orb after I’ve had some quiet time to read the new rules.

Thumbs up for the new expansion so far and I hope that this story arc (and, indeed, other story arcs) are explored more fully in future expansions for Race for the Galaxy.

Gaffes & Promises: WA Senate Re-Election



What's better than getting games in the post? How about getting unsolicited and unexpected games in the post? Alex Vilagosh, the designer of Gaffes & Promises (so far the only game of the 2013 Australian Federal Election game), was kind enough to send me the extra cards for Gaffes & Promises to incorporate the extra craziness that Western Australia (WA) experienced when a re-election for the WA Senate that was forced after 1400 ballots went missing.

This expansion adds four new political parties to the game, along with four new event cards representing political moments from the WA senate re-election. The political parties work differently than the major parties in the original Gaffes & Promises in that instead of appealing to a demographic they each have a certain one-use ability that, employed skilfully, may swing the election your way.

Alex has advised that Gaffes & Promises: WA Senate Re-Election will be included for gratis with any order of Gaffes & Promises. Current owners of Gaffes & Promises should contact Alex to see what they need to do add this fun expansion to their collection.

Want to stop the shark cull or call your own party members mad? Gaffes & Promises: WA Senate Re-Election is for you!

Buccaneer Bones: Expansion Set



This expansion for Buccaneer Bones allows up to another four players to join in the game, bringing it to a maximum of eight players. No additional gameplay elements are added, just the standards (very high quality except for the cheap and nasty first mate pawn) pieces for more players.

I stand by my previous assessment that the gameplay for Buccaneer Bones is nothing particularly special and in most cases the correct choice of action is pretty obvious.

In our five player game the first mate was not used at all by any player so there was no real opportunity for anything approaching clever gameplay as in most cases the correct choice of action remained pretty obvious.

I’ll keep this expansion and the base game as something for the Little Fish to graduate to once they’ve graduated from Chutes and Ladders.



This is now:

Five Cucumbers remains a fun filler. I haven't pick up a copy for myself as yet (but remain very open to doing do) but one of the chaps who runs a local gaming meet-up has the game and it gets a bit of play every now and then. Still fun.

Well, what to say about Chutes and Ladders? The little Fish still enjoy playing it which is good. The set we have seems particularly difficult to finish with lots of snakes in the top row which means games that seem to be nearly over can keep on going and going and going. That is, however, the nature of the game. As long as the Little Fish still want to play I'll (almost) always be up for a game of Chutes and Ladders.

Plenty more plays of Race for the Galaxy: Alien Artifacts. Mrs Fish likes this one and with the expansion being combined with the base set only it slims down the deck a bit. That said, it does seem a bit more 'luck of the draw' based on how one will go, at least in the two player game. For example, if you get a few low value cards that compliment your start world and your opponent doesn't then it's hard going for them to catch up. Oddly enough, despite being aware of this and seeing it happen more than a few times this hasn't been too much of a problem for us and we continue to enjoy this set and look forward to more expansions for Race for the Galaxy.

Sadly, Gaffes & Promises hasn't hit the table too often in the last 12 month. This means that the Gaffes & Promises: WA Senate Re-Election has languished unplayed for a while.

Over the last 12 months I have tried out Buccaneer Bones and, where necessary the 5-8 player expansion of Buccaneer Bones: Expansion Set, a few more times at open gaming events and the general consensus is "meh." The basic and (usually) obvious choices, lack of subtleties and high quality components make me think I may suggest this game the next time the Little Fish want to play Chutes and Ladders. I'll keep it for now but probably trade it away when they outgrow it.
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11. Board Game: Keythedral [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:688]
Chris Wilczewski
United States
Folsom
California
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Then: d10-8, Now d10-7
Last year my group and I were on a big Breese kick, and this is a solid entry in the series. I like Reef Encounter and Keyflower better, and Harvest/Market worse. We have a lot of good games in our rotation, so when I'm feeling like a Breese games those are my go-tos.

Railways of North America
Then: d10-8, Now d10-7
I have not played this map since last year but I have no plans to purge it. I enjoy the geography of Canada but I wish they had made the snow hexes a little more distinguishable. I think most Railway maps have a "Best With" and for Canada I think that number is 4.

Heroscape Marvel: The Conflict Begins
Then: d10-8, Now d10-5
I'm not sure what I saw in this game - so very much not for me. Played a few games and just so random. Combine the randomness with high cost of acquisition and a desire to collect the dudes and I'm just not the target market for this kind of game I guess. Sold off my stuff and happy to see it go.

BattleLore (Second Edition)
Then: d10-7, Now d10-6
Despite initial positive impressions there are just too many clunky parts. The game is actually ok, but I'd rather play a more streamlined game, like Memoir '44. The fantasy theme is nice, but doesn't make up for it.

Gunrunners
Then: d10-7, Now d10-6
Meh. I've moved away from most filler style games, and this one wasn't impressive enough to remain part of the rotation for me. Forgettable, though decently designed.

Russian Railroads
Then: d10-7, Now d10-6
The game is themeless engine building. Pick this kind of engine or that kind of engine. Optimization for optimization's sake.

Power Grid: The First Sparks
Then: d10-6, Now d10-6
Nothing has changed - some improvements but mostly not versus the original. Don't miss it and don't need to play again.
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12. Board Game: Navegador [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:164]
Chris Marling
United Kingdom
Cambridge
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A year ago we were playing lots of new-to-me games on the Greek island of Paros - so sad not to be returning to Alea Apartments this year

Why you should go: http://goplaylisten.com/games/alea-apartments-paros-like-you...

Navegador was a big hit back then and is now in my collection. We don't play it a lot (4 total plays) but I don't think you need to - it's a wonderful rondel game to be savoured on the odd occasion, like a fine wine.

The other game to make my wishlist - and then my collection (in 'Legends' form) from that trip was Eight-Minute Empire. Unfortunately, in comparison, it had the staying power of a holiday romance - a quick fumble was awesome, and I'll savour the memories, but on further investigation there was very little under the bonnet.

Beyond these, two games I branded 'good' a year ago have very much stayed in the memory, clambering closer and closer towards my buy button. I very much hope to add a copy of Tumblin-Dice to my collection in the future, as it simply has everything you'd want from a gateway/crossover game. Better than darts, and won't make holes in your wall - what's not to like?!

And finally Targi - how can a game so totally lacking in personality and theme keep knocking at my door, demanding I play more online? That'll be the mechanics. A great two-player game set to replace Jambo on my shelves in the hope my better half will dig it.
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13. Board Game: Clash of Cultures [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:211]
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 was fortunate enough to play several new games. I'd liked them all historically; let's see how the views have stood up over the year. I'll rank things in decreasing order of my current enthusiasm for the game.


Clash of Cultures -- (1 play last May; four more since) _7.7_ (no change)
(images by W Eric Martin & haslo)

I've enjoyed this one - and with a variety of opponents. And I've appreciated the expansion, too: it encourages/provokes players to head off in perfectly viable directions that one might not otherwise attempt.

I'm still a bit bemused by the events: they're volatile and significant and amusing: and probably add to the experience of the game. I (mostly) believe that they're evitable - or, at least, don't strongly affect those that prepare appropriately. But I tend to notice them when a player - generally a player that is behind - is "targeted" by the event (Yeah; I know. Personification. There's no targeting in the randomness.) And I'm not as certain that I'm appreciating them (regardless of whether I'm that trailing player) in that context.

Do I have a suggested fix? Of course not. I've not played nearly enough to have an opinion on a possible mutation. What's more, it's plausibly "right" exactly the way it is. Like I said: bemused.


Expedition: Northwest Passage -- (1 play last May; none since) _7.3_ (no change)
(images by matagot_contact & Schaulustiger)

I enjoyed the one play last year, and wrote (paraphrased) "Excellent and evocative theme; mechanics a bit less compelling." I've been tempted to buy a copy a couple times, and found myself resisting. It's not a game I would push to get to the table over other titles I own and prefer. I'd be completely happy to play were it someone else's preference; I'd do my best to relive the Exploration Stories of my youth, and try to forget I was actually colelcting sets of things for victory points.


Conquest of Paradise -- (1 play last May; none since) _7.3_ (no change)
(images by KMcPartland & virre)

It was cool; and I've been a bit remiss in not attempting to reprise the experience. In fact, in retrospect, I've nothing to complain about. It was volatile, but not excessively so; engaging; reasonably thematic. I'll hope to get it back to the table again soon.


ダンジョンオブマンダム (Danjon'obumandamu 'Dungeon of Mandom') -- (6 plays last May; 11 plays since) _7.3_ (no change)
(both images by zenxacred)

I've really enjoyed this - admittedly, with the right audience(s). It's easy to motivate; easy to explain; and is well received by new gamers. I've even had fun being the (virtual) Dunegon Master and herding four other players through the game. Glad it's seen a reprint, too.

I was a bit dubious that it'd sustain interest last year. Looks like it has legs. I wouldn't be surprised to be still playing next year, too.


江戸屋敷 (Edo Yashiki) -- (2 plays last May; none since) _6.7_ (down a bit in rating.)
(images by W Eric Martin & ryo_nyamo)

This one is pretty; but the "speed" part of the game hasn't quite worked for me. Enough that I've not pushed for its replay. It's likely better than that - but I'm still not terribly motivated to lobby for its play.


Thanks again to my youngsters, the BAP attenders, the Friday Lunch folk, and the Wednesday Night gang for some great game experiences.
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14. Board Game: TAMSK [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:1508] [Average Rating:6.79 Unranked]
Marc Hawkins
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
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Here's my entry for last May: Item for Geeklist "New to you May 2014 => Best new boardgame"

There's only two items there, so this is rather a simple entry.

TAMSK has stood the test of time in that it still gets pulled out every so many weeks and has been played 12 times total so far. Sure, it's not the deepest of the GIPF family, but it's certainly the most fun of the bunch (and it's quick).

Axis & Allies, the revised version, did not stand the test of time. Not because I don't think that the revised edition is bad. Mostly because I haven't sought out the opportunity to play again -- but also because there are many other games I would like to play instead. What's worse is that I can play many of those games within the time-line of one game of A&A.
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15. Board Game: VOLT: Robot Battle Arena [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:2669]
Jerry Wilkinson
United States
New Castle
Indiana
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When asking "What would Jesus do?", remember that flipping over tables and using a whip are within the realm of possibilities.
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https://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/174255/item/3255037#i...

Yes, it has. Volt was my pick for best new-to-me game of 2014. There are 4 other players near me who love it as well. I've played it almost 10 times and its in my top 10 of all time.

I've played Card Football: Premiere Edition once or twice since, and I still enjoy it, and have not played either Andean Abyss and The Resistance: Avalon.
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16. Board Game: Völuspá [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:1669]
James Moline
United States
Tampa
FL
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Here's a link to the original item.

Völuspá -
Quote:
...It really kind of got under my skin. I went out and registered for yucata.de and have had several games of Voluspa going ever since. I still haven't purchased a copy, because I still wouldn't want to play it that often face to face (although I may purchase a copy just to show my support to the designer and publisher), but a tactical (not very strategic), brain burner is exactly the kind of game that I want to play asynchronously. I'm really digging it.


As you can tell from the number of plays this year, I really like Voluspa. I have cooled a little on it in the last few months, but I'm not sure that has anything to do with the game. I just haven't been as interested in online plays in general (I mostly play Voluspa on yucata, but I do have many face to face games as well). I have little doubt that it will cycle around, though, and Voluspa will no doubt be back in heavy rotation.

Rating Then: 7
Rating Now: 8
Plays this year: 46

Galaxy Defenders -
Quote:
As long as the play time stays reasonable, I only have one issue with the game. I'm not a fan of the combat system... I love tactical combat games, but I've always been a little annoyed by the lack of decent full co-op versions. I really like the alien AI in this game, though. It keeps the game tough (and the difficulty can be leveled, depending on what you want), and its rules are pretty simple to follow. I really enjoy this game.


For a game that takes as long as Galaxy Defenders does, 12 plays definitely qualifies it as a hit. We played the campaign all the way through (mostly 3 player). We all really like this game. My annoyance with the combat system passed, and I really just had a lot of fun with it. I'm really looking forward to the expansions that should be releasing this year.

Rating Then: 7.5
Rating Now: 8
Plays this year: 12

Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) -
Quote:
I really did enjoy it. I've only played it twice and I am eager to play it some more, but a couple of things bothered me about it. The biggest thing was the stand up mechanism. When you "die", you can take your entire next turn to stand up, recovering an amount of health between 2 and 6 points (average of 3-4). There's 2 issues with this. First, if you're surrounded when you go down, there's a decent chance that you'll just get knocked back down again on your next turn (this happened to us 4 times in a row, and only ended when the overlord had completed their objective). Second, the amount of damage you recover as a "tank" warrior character with a base of 14 health is the same as you recover if you're playing a fragile thief with a base health of 8. It essentially negates the utility of the more robust role once they've been knocked down (in fact, if they have a movement score of only 3, it makes them a huge liability). People in the forums here acknowledge the issue, but seem to think that it's simply part of the game, which I understand to an extent, but I still think that any game that requires any player(s) to perform the same useless action over and over again with little chance for different results and no alternatives is flawed. You may notice that I've still rated this a 7.5, which is an indication of how much fun I still had with it. In future plays, I think we'll try to avoid the situation by having more than 2 team members, one of which will not be Grisban the Thirsty (perhaps we'll throw a healer into the mix as well).


We keep saying we need to get Descent back to the table, but when Galaxy Defenders took off with the group, Descent's chances of coming out again diminished greatly. We're not done with it, and would still happily play it, but there have been other games taking precedence.

Rating Then: 7.5
Rating Now: 7
Plays this year: 2

Atlantis Rising -
Quote:
I'm lukewarm on most co-op games. I don't know how many plays it would take for me to tire of Atlantis Rising, but I suspect I would want to play all of the roles at least once (so 6 plays minimum). I could be wrong, but I think the game has too much going on to really allow for an alpha gamer problem. Our one play consisted of a ton of discussion and actual, you know, cooperation. I also really like the push your luck aspect.


I guess everyone else didn't enjoy Atlantis Rising as much as I did, because it hasn't seen the table since last year. It has been suggested a couple of times, but then we realize that no one remembers exactly how to play, and we move on to more familiar pastures. I'm not lowering the rating, though, because I still remember that I really enjoyed our play of it. Maybe I'll take the time to refresh on the rules so we can get it to the table again.

Rating Then: 7.5
Rating Now: 7.5
Plays this year: 1

Chronicle -
Quote:
It really does feel like a Love Letter trick taking game, complete with special abilities that you won't always be thrilled to play (which I personally think is a good thing). I also really dig the history deck which gives each round it's own goal, so that every time you run through the deck it feels like a different game. This is quick and fun.


I was on a trick taking game kick there for a little while last year. Chronicle, Haggis, Clubs, Black Spy. I even have the Hobbit, Tichu, and Frank's Zoo sitting, unplayed on my shelf as a result of that whirlwind romance. I still enjoy them, but they haven't been making it to the table lately. I think it mostly has to do with how many other games I own that are of a similar weight. I dropped my rating from an 8 to a 7, not because I like it any less, but because it just doesn't hit the table. Now that I think about it, though, I do have a group that might be perfect for this game. Maybe it will start hitting the table again.

Rating Then: 8
Rating Now: 7
Plays this year: 2

Splendor -
Quote:
I don't know how to sell you on Splendor. It's a strategic, economic game with simple rules, a pasted on theme, and nice components. It's fun, though, and every decision is interesting. The review that convinced me to buy it was Joel Eddy's, in which he said that the game was Knizia-like. Easy to learn, hard to master is also a somewhat apt description. Like others have said, I could totally see this game winning Spiel des Jahres.


There's a hot competition for my most played, face-to-face game, and Splendor is definitely in the running. It helps that it plays reasonably quickly, and works very well with 2. Most of my 43 plays happened in the first 3 or 4 months, but it still hits the table pretty regularly. I'm honestly amazed that it didn't win the Spiel des Jahres last year.

Rating Then: 7.5
Rating Now: 7.5
Plays this year: 43

Jaipur -
Quote:
It's a nice, light 2 player set collection game. I've been liking games with a little push your luck element, and this one has that, as well.


What's not to like about Jaipur? It's simple, and it has very engaging gameplay. This is just a great 2 player game. There's not much else to say about it.

Rating Then: 7.5
Rating Now: 7.5
Plays this year: 15

Scripts and Scribes: The Dice Game -
Quote:
This is a bit of a rarity in my experience: a dice game that actually feels like the original, probably because it uses the same core mechanisms (auctions and area majority). It's also the only dice game I've played that actually takes longer than the original game. I still prefer Biblios.


Yeah, I still prefer Biblios. I didn't back the Biblios dice game on kickstarter a few months ago for the same reason. I might be an improvement on Scripts and Scribes the Dice Game, but I can't imagine it improving on Biblios. I would happily play this, though.

Rating Then: 7
Rating Now: 7
Plays this year: 2

Star Realms -
Quote:
Star Realms is a new deck builder by the designers of Ascension, and it's clearly derived from that game. It shares the idea of factions with unite abilities, 2 types of currency, and an ever changing card market. Where it differs is pretty interesting. For one thing, you can play a card as soon as you buy it (doing away with the annoyance of buying a card only to never be able to use it). It also does away with Monsters and Victory Points, instead combining the two into a limited amount of health per player that the attack cards whittle down. It plays very fast (10-15 minutes), and is really inexpensive. Definitely worth checking out.

EDIT: was just informed that the person who taught me the game got it wrong. You can't play a card as soon as you buy it, it goes into your discard just like in every other deck builder. Ignore this rating, please!


So, I've actually played Star Realms correctly several times using the app since my first incorrect play of it last year. It seems I only saw fit to record one of those plays, though. I do like the game, but it doesn't feel significantly different than Ascension to me, and with all the expansions and variety that Ascension has, I don't see this supplanting it any time soon. Plus, if they ever manage to get a decent Dominion app released, even Ascension will likely fall by the wayside.

Rating Then: 7
Rating Now: 7
Plays this year: 2

Family Business -
Quote:
A friend of ours pulled it out at a game day this month (in part because it will play 6 people, which is a requirement at this particular gathering). We really had a blast playing it! It's a simple game, just a last man standing thing, really, but the theme comes across pretty well and it plays reasonably quickly.


We've played Family Business once since that first time. Most of the group still enjoyed it, but there can be some issues for some people because it can feel like you're getting teamed up on. It's also not very deep at all. Still a good game, but not likely to get a ton of plays.

Rating Then: 7
Rating Now: 7
Plays this year: 2

Pack of Heroes -
Quote:
This is a nice tactical superhero game. It feels a lot like a lighter Summoner Wars to me. It plays fast and has a simple ruleset. I wouldn't go so far as to say that it has a lot of thematic flavor, but I do really like the art and the different hero abilities (which do play differently).


I have not played this since, but I would happily do so. It's a 2 player only game, and it's not the kind of game my wife would love, so it's going to be pretty rare that I get to play it.

Rating Then: 7
Rating Now: 7
Plays this year: 1

Paperback -
Quote:
It brings the strategy more to the forefront (building towards buying victory point cards), and mitigates the annoyances of luck by allowing you to purchase the letters that will fill your deck. It's a fun game, and easy to teach. I've only played the vanilla game so far, but I'm looking forward to adding the genre cards to the mix and seeing how interesting it becomes when you add in specific words you're trying to spell.


I really need to break this one out again. I still haven't played with the genre cards, which I really do think I'm going to enjoy. Plus, I'm still sure that my wife will love it.

Rating Then: 6.5
Rating Now: 6.5
Plays this year: 2
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17. Board Game: At the Gates of Loyang [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:239]
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
Rhode Island
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This was my geeklist from a year ago - New to Me April 2014


This is still my favorite game played a year ago.

At the Gates of Loyang, 9 -> 10 (still in our collection)


3 plays in May 2014, 5 plays since then (currently on my 10x10 list).

Thoughts a year later...

I still love this game, even if it hasn't been easy to get it to the table. This seems to be the most overlooked of Uwe's big box games and I'm not sure why. I find that it really captures the theme of running a market stall all the way from planting crops, to managing inventory and keeping customers happy. I love figuring out the logistics puzzle I am presented wit each time I play. Yo uare always presented with different challenges because you never know what customers are going to want, and it is not always easy/cheap to row the crops you need.

I want to briefly touch on the scoring track in the game which only goes to 20. While that may seem like a very constrained scoring track the tie breaker is money, which are basically additional points. Not only that, the amount of planning it takes to get your score from 16 to 17 to 18 is unbelievable. This is not an easy game, improving your score by 1 point after multiple plays felt like quite an accomplishment. I'm continually hovering at 17 with one 18 point game under my belt. I can't imagine scoring 19 or 20.

This also happens to be the first game I recently played solo. I really enjoyed it, although it is a lot to keep track of without having another player who is helping you. I plan on trying it again solo and my son will play with me again, I just wish I could find an opponent who enjoys the game as much as I do.



Glory to Rome, 8 -> 8 (want to play again)


1 play in May 2014, 1 play since then.

Thoughts a year later...

I would love to play this some more, but I only know one person with a copy and unfortunately we don't get to game together very often. I am not willing to spend the money to get a copy since it is oop and all of my trade attempts have been in vain.

My other concern is how poorly all the other Carl Chudyk games I've had have fared. This makes me wonder if I would quickly burn out on this game as I did with Innovation (after 12 plays I had enough and really have very little desire to play it again), Red7 made it to 8 plays before it wore thin, Impulse took 2 plays for me to realize I wasn't a fan. Finally I despised my one play of Uchronia (the supposed GtR spin off)[/i].

I would like to play GtR more, because I really enjoyed both of my plays. However; I am no longer seeking out a copy of this game because of my experience with his other games and it doesn't play well with 2.



Ninjato, 8 -> 8 (traded)


3 plays in May 2014, 3 plays since then.

Thoughts a year later...

I enjoyed the plays we got in as a family, my favorite element of the game was the area control aspect that was brought into the WP genre. However; I never really enjoyed the combat aspect of the game, it never felt very satisfying. Also it was not a game that my kids enjoyed; V and I liked it but the 2p game feels very lackluster.

With so many WP games in our collection at the time Ninjato was another game that fell victim to the Jones Theory. Ninjato is still a game I would play, but I don't miss not having it in the collection.



Trajan, 8 -> 8 (want to play again)


1 play in May 2014, 1 play since then.

Thoughts a year later...

I managed to get a second play in at TotalCon this year and loved it. I have played a lot of Feld's and this is one of my favorites (CoB being the other). Of the games I've played that riff on the mancala I like how Trajan does it best (I've also played 5 Tribes and Staufer Dynasty).

I love the way I am forced to think in this game; there is a spacial puzzle to the mancala wheel that you really need to wrap your mind around and it hits a sweet spot for me.

The only reason Trajan's not in my collection is that this game not only demands a lot of forward planning, you also have to manipulate the mancala in order to be able to select the actions you want (usually for multiple turns in a row). Trajan is too much of a brain burner to be enjoyed by my wife and kids, but I'm hopeful that I'll get to play more since one of my gaming buddies loves Trajan.



Steam Park, 8 -> 8(traded)


3 plays in May 2014, 9 plays since then.

Thoughts a year later...

I really loved the theme and art of this game, building a theme park is a lot of fun thanks to the great components. I had a lot of fun playing this with my family, unfortunately after 10+ plays it started to get repetitive and my kids lost interest in playing. The real limitation of the game is the placement rules for the rides and buildings, after a while you realize that there really isn't that much variation in how you set up your park.

There are also some buildings that are much better than others which leads to a very similar game play experience because everyone tries to be the first to grab those buildings. Same thing with the scoring cards, there are really only a few different ways to score points with the cards, the color just changes (i.e one cad is green rides vs. another card being blue rides.

That being said we enjoyed the game and it is a great family game, but after about 12 plays you've seen and done it all. Playing it a couple of times a year would still be fun and the game would feel fresh, but I don't keep family games in our collection if they aren't going to see a lot of play. However; I think 12 plays is great for this style of game and we enjoyed the ride while it lasted.



Games I haven't played since May 2014...

BANG! The Dice Game 7 -> 6

Thoughts a year later...

The game was okay, but in the games I played the actual bluffing/ hidden role aspect of the game lasted for about one round. Then it just came down to rolling dice and trying to shoot people. I would never suggest playing, but I would play if someone else really wanted to.



Istanbul 8 -> 6 (would like to play again)

This was a game I enjoyed playing, but the extremely dry theme/presentation wouldn't really work with my family so I decided against adding it to the collection. I would also question the long term replay value of this game.

I enjoyed the combination of pick up and deliver combined with a finite set of workers to use. This game is all about optimization since the end really comes quick. Hopefully I'll get an opportunity to play again, but it's not a game I'm actively looking to play.



Pergamon, 7 -> 6 (traded)

2 plays in May 2014, 0 plays since then.

Thoughts a year later...

This game had a short life in my house. In a nutshell it quickly fell victim to the Jones Theory in favor of Thebes: The Tomb Raiders (which we already owned). I had heard a lot of good things about Pergamon, and I definitely enjoyed the bidding process for gold/where you could dig, but after that the game offered very few difficult decisions. Building the exhibitions with the tiles was fun, but the whole museum aspect of the game fell flat for me.

In comparison I like how time track determines player order in Thebes: TTR and the fact that you never know what you are going to pull from a dig, even if you know what cards are in the pile. I also appreciate the different scoring opportunities in Thebes: TTR, where as in Pergamon you only score based on your museum position and a few bonuses along the way. Thebes:TTR also plays better with 2 and is quite portable making it a great cafe game.

At the end of the day Pergamon isn't a "bad" game, but in our small collection I only felt the need to keep one archaeology game and Thebes: The Tomb Raiders won by a land slide (the same was true for my kids which sealed the deal).



Carcassonne: South Seas, 8 -> 6 (traded)

5 plays in May 2014, 0 plays since then.

Thoughts a year later...

South Seas was fun, specifically I liked how you traded goods for ships (which are your points) and the fishing mechanism. However; the theme/art wasn't my cup of tea and really detracted from the experience for me. I also didn't care for the tile distribution, there never seemed to be enough jungle tiles.

Now that I own Carcassonne: Gold Rush (the 2nd game in the Around the World series) I am content not having South Seas in my collection any longer. I prefer the theme and new game play variations found in Gold Rush more than those found in South Seas.

At this point I am interested in trying Carcassonne: H&G which seems to offer a nice variation in game play from the base game and Gold Rush. I don't miss having South Seas in my collection, but if the theme appeals to you I think it offers solid, new mechanisms to the Carcassonne formula.



Thanks for reading and feel free to ask specific questions about any of these games!

Cheers,
Will

Edit - updated my rating of Steam Park form an 8 to a 6.
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18. Board Game: Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:36]
Moe45673
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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Item for Geeklist "New to you May 2014 => Best new boardgame"



Then: Plays - 2
Since: Plays - 8
Definitely stood the test of time. I was initially turned off by it, pre-buying, because I heard it was tough to win and beat you down. My experience with games like that was less than stellar (at the time). But this game actually has a skillset you can learn. Sure, you can be destroyed by luck but you can also get better at the game.

The rules are not nearly as bad as everyone says. I don't play this often because I have this impression of it being a fiddly nightmare (rules and components wise) but it's actually quite straightforward. Every time I play it, I kick myself for not playing it more. Excellent game.















Then: Plays - 1
Since: No change
Played this at a group I used to get together with sporadically. They were great and the game was a hoot while we waited for others to show up. End of the day, the game is what it is and I'd be happy to play it once or twice a year (preferably with alcohol) and the right group.


















Then: Plays - 1
Since: No change
My thoughts on this game are really hazy. I have no idea if I'd still be so meh about it or enjoy it more. I wrote last year the game took 3 hours and that's definitely too long for it!

















Then: Plays - 1 No Rating
Since: Plays - 3
I loved TK and thought there was so much goodness to play with. Unfortunately, my wife wasn't a fan. The thought of mentally mirroring or rotating the tokens to summon a beast is not how her brain works at all and she found it stressful. That was the death knell and I unfortunately sold it.

Personally, I thought it was as excellent as everyone says it is.
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19. Board Game: Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:26]
Phil Triest
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization Definite Keeper
Then 10
Now 9
I played the heck out of this game. I have probably played it around 15 times. It is still an excellent game but fell a little bit after more plays. Still right up there though. It was actually my top game of all time last year.



One Night Werewolf Never Owned
Then 8
Now 8

I was surprised at how well this one plays. Definitely good for a few laughs and seeing everyone declare they are the Seer.



Coup Never Owned
Then 7
Now 7

Funnily enough I played this along with One Night Werewolf on the same night. Both are good games but Werewolf was just a bit more clean in terms of mechanics for what it was. I do enjoy it when everyone says they are the Duke for a couple of rounds.

Village Traded Away
Then 5
Now 3

I cannot believe this one the acclaim it did. Yes the killing off of your meeples was innovative but realistically there isn't much game there at all. I felt done with after my second or third play as the market/abbey combo seemed OP (with a quick filling of the lesser grave yard by working your peeps to death quickly).

Nations Never Owned
Then 8
Now 2.5

I thought this was a good design when I first played it. it actually piqued my interest in TtA. So I got a hold of TtA played it and realised how poor Nations really was design wise. In fact, I still don't understand how this game has any fans. It is not that much simpler than TtA. The iconography also sucks. The art is terrible too (worse than TtA which has pretty bad art too). Do yourself a favour and pick up the original as it is so much better.

Agricola Sold Off
Then 5
Now 2

I still ascertain this is a well designed game. I just find it so boring. Everyone builds a similar looking farm because Uwe has made the game that way. It just seems so uninspired and restrictive. I still cannot understand how this is so loved by the Geek.

Well there is the end of me kicking plenty of sacred cows lol.
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20. Board Game: Roads & Boats [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:271]
Albatros
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Roads & Boats was the only "new to me" game of May 2014. I very much was intrigued by it after my wife and I finished our first play, however, she was so unimpressed, we never played it again.

It's in my collection, but I'm not sure it will survive.

We also played one expansion for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game: Foundations of Stone. Our play of this went much better than Roads & Boats. But as we continue to progress through all the expansions, we haven't revisited it since.
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21. Board Game: Hansa Teutonica [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:108]
Nathan Clegg
United States
Escondido
California
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It's been one year since I finally got my hands on a copy of the Hansa T and most everyone I introduced it to immediately appreciated it. And then it didn't get played for a long time. But my acquisition of Hansa Teutonica: Britannia has reignited interest, leading to three plays of the base game just this month (and zero of the expansion for some reason). Has it held up? Yes! Still a solid entry in the dry mechanical euro realm and seeing plays. Many games on this list were played at Gamex 2014. We're only a week away from Gamex 2015 now, and HT is coming with us--and so is Britannia.

Frank's Zoo (1999) - A whimsical yet still skillful climbing game. I really enjoy this one at the right player counts. It comes out reasonably frequently.

Princes of the Renaissance (2003) - I'm a big fan of Wallace's Brass-like and Steam-like games but when I dipped into his older catalog I found them to be hit & miss. Princes was a hit, though I never had the opportunity to play it again. I really enjoyed the way everything fit together. I'd definitely play again if I could.

Poseidon (2010) - A beginner's 18xx? I enjoyed the play though it went a little longer than I thought it should have. I'd love to play it again but sadly it hasn't seen the table since.

And, honestly, the rest of the new-to-me games of the con were duds:

Kreta (2005) - Just hated the score-once mechanism.
Mr. Jack (2006) - Yuck!
Planet Steam (2008) - Grindy market manipulation!
Graenaland (2006) - Vlaada convolution!
Key Harvest (2007) - All hated but me (I would play again)
Alea Iacta Est (2009) - Dull!
Drum Roll (2011) - Unremarkable!
A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition) (2011) - Not for me!
Cuba Libre (2013) - Too long and uncontrolled!
New Amsterdam (2012) - Unremarkable!
City Blocks (2013) - Dull!
Impulse (2013) - Messy!
Camel Up (2014) - Cute but once and done.

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22. Board Game: Splendor [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:113]
Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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Splendor
Initial rating:
Current geek rating: 10
Plays in first year: 36


I still think this is a brilliant design, and it's still coming out relatively frequently, although nothing like as much as when it was new. A great lighter game that scales very well from 2 to 4 players. Almost everyone I've introduced it to has loved it.





Qwirkle
Initial rating:
Current geek rating: 7
Plays in first year: 6


This was bought for my older son, after he loved playing with the bits at his school games club. He then turned out to be the only one of my children not to really enjoy the game, so I usually play it with the other two and without him, but my daughter does request it from time to time and my youngest, although struggling to play without help still, loves helping me. Very tactile pieces, but not maybe as much "game" in there as I, or they, would like - I prefer Ingenious for this sort of game.





Travel Blog
Initial rating:
Current geek rating: 7
Plays in first year: 4


This has been fun to play a few times, but it doesn't have long-lasting appeal - if nothing else with too much repeat play I think it would get too easy. My children are always fascinated by the map and want to help work out the routes, although as the game is in German unfortunately they are a little wary of it. I'll keep it for a few more plays, but long-term I expect it to probably get traded on.



Not played again, no longer in my collection:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Mystery at Hogwarts Game

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23. Board Game: Carcassonne: The Castle [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:500]
Tom P
United Kingdom
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Item for Geeklist "New to you May 2014 => Best new boardgame"

I picked this up at the UK Games Expo mistaking it for The City version, but no matter, it's a great version and have payed it a few times since. Knizia in his talk claimed he designed it for the full complement of players but so far I haven't been able to test it out.

Stood test of time



Auf Teufel komm raus wasn't played until just the other day, and I loved it just the same - tempted to get a copy but it's a bit pricey and a big box. I need to do a cull to make room...

Meh



Assyria hasn't been played since and I'm not bothered about that. Given the choice I'd pick most other games but I wouldn't completely discount it. Hardly a ringing endorsement, though.
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24. Board Game: Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:124] [Average Rating:7.62 Unranked]
Netherlands
Enschede
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My best game of the month last year, and we've played quite a few times since then. We got the expansions for this version (not the villains ones), and it went on our 10x10 for this year - it's already finished. I really like this game, it's a lot of fun (I've also seen some of the movies since then, so I like the superhero theme more now).

Yspahan didn't get played again, though I do have recollection of what it was about, and I would play it again if it were suggested. I said the same about Packet Row last year, but I don't really remember anything about it by now (it didn't get played again either).
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25. Board Game: Heroes of Normandie [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:722] [Average Rating:7.57 Unranked]
Paul Agapow
United Kingdom
London
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Heroes of Normandie delivered about this time last year. From memory, it was even on time for a Kickstarter (i.e. only a few months late). And what a pile of cardboard it is: the extra countersheets and boards pushed the boxlid up another 5 cm. Storage for all of this is a continuing problem.

But crowing about all the "stuff" a game provides is the last refuge of a fanboy. Is the game any good? Actually, it is. It's a slightly lurid, but decently involving wargame that plays in an hour. It's certainly more complex than say Memoir '44, but somehow plays faster. There's an element of luck, again less than M44, but it's a remarkable achievement.

Cons? The game system is exception-based, so you'll be shuffling through rulebooks looks for how X power works. And setup is a bit irritating due to the need to find special counters for each command. You almost have to buy the special organisation boxes they sell for the game.

Despite my enthusiasm, this has only had light play, due to the stigma wargames have around here. Must get it back off the shelf.

Lords of Waterdeep was not actually new-to-me a year ago: I'd had a desultory game of it when it had first come out and shrugged it off. But a year ago someone conned me into a second game and I really enjoyed it. It's a streamlined worker-placement game, but streamlining is a good thing. Too many games try to produce complexity and depth by obfuscation, piling on subsystems, other currencies and decisions in an effort to hide what is going on. LoW just does what it has to do. I've played it many times since, and continue to enjoy it.

I've warmed to Camel Up since my first play. I'm still not a great fan and feel that it was an odd contender for the SdJ, but whatever: it's reasonably quick, interactive (as compared to Splendour) and inoffensive. No great winner, but no great crime.
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