Playing Through My Collection in 2017 + Reviews - April
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Here are the games I played in April of 2017 as I attempt to play all the games in my collection. If you want more information on my rational behind doing this, see the main geeklist here.

April was slow month, primarily due to the fact that I traveled a lot during the month. On average, I need to play about 15 games a month to finish my goal, so only playing 8 this month has put me about half a month behind schedule!

Previous Months:

January - 16 unique games
February - 16 unique games
March - 13 unique games

Here are the games that I got off of my Shelf of Shame:

Risk Legacy

Progress on Goal:

I played 9 games in April. To date, I have played 54 of my approximately 200 board games. That is roughly 27% of my collection.

A reminder of a few stipulations I have placed on this task:

1) I am playing through my collection of base games. This means I don't have to use every expansion I own to meet my goal. Obviously, some expansions will get played as I play through the base games.

2) I am hoping to play the physical version of every game I own, but if needed I will count digital plays and/or online plays (e.g., www.yucata.de) towards the completion of my goal. I will document digital plays as such.

Collection Status Options:

Keep Forever - I have no plans on getting rid of this game
Keep for a While - I might be open to getting rid of this game in the future
Keep for Now - This game is unlikely to remain in my collection for the long run
Keep for a Few More Plays - Unless my feelings about this game change, then I will be getting rid of it
Keep for Wife's Collection - This game remains in my collection only because my wife likes it
Goodbye! - This game will be leaving my collection at the earliest convenience

You can see my list of Top 10 Games by clicking here.

I will be updated the main Geeklist each month, so if you want to subscribe and watch my progress, then subscribe to the main list where I will be posting notifications.
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1. Board Game: Arboretum [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:349]
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BGG Rating: 7

Collection Status: Keep for a While - Moderate Rotation

Arboretum is a great example of a big game in a little box. The game is pretty straight forward, aside from a few specific scoring rules. Players can usually pick up their strategy within a round, if not during the first round, which makes it an easy game to teach. However, Arboretum is a game that rewards repeat players. The game has a lot of depth and can turn into a real brain burner. It accomplishes this with two rules. The first, players must always discard a card that might be picked up by an opponent on their next turn, making it important to be aware of what your opponents are up to. Secondly, the game has a gatekeeper to scoring. That is, at the end of the game, you have to earn the right to score the points you have been working towards. You do this by retaining cards in your hand, but the more cards you retain in your hand, the lower your score. It also allows you to attempt to disrupt your opponents plans to earn the right to score points, as only on player can score per category of card! So, Arboretum becomes quite the balancing act. Thankfully, the game does not overstay its welcome, has beautiful artwork, and a theme that, while not integrated into the choices, works for the game mechanics. So, you may get trounced while playing, but at least you'll have a nice time doing so.
 
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2. Board Game: Inhabit the Earth [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:1517]
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BGG Rating: 7

Collection Status: Keep for Wife's Collection - Low Rotation

Keyflower, as I have mentioned in other lists, is my favorite game of all time. As a result, I tend to by Richard Breese games based on his involvement alone. When I first heard about Inhabit the Earth, I was so excited as it involved cards with multiple uses and a theme that I really enjoy (animals/evolution). Upon playing Inhabit the Earth, my reaction was underwhelming in comparison to my initial excitement. This, of course, is my own fault for over-hyping a game. To be honest, I would likely have gotten rid of Inhabit the Earth after one or two plays if it were not for my wife. To my surprise, my wife loved the game. It just really clicked for her and, up until this month's play, she was undefeated in the game. I think Inhabit the Earth is a fine game, but it just never really hits a stride. It suffers from a common problem in board games wherein all the parts work individually, but do not become something greater as a whole. That being said, I really enjoy the tableau-building aspect of this game. Your tableau is made up of species that evolve and grow during the game. This means each card you play has several different possible uses. I just wish this system had been injected into a better game overall. I will say, on a final, positive note, that the artwork in this game is great! I love how many unique drawings there are and the style of illustration really draws you into to care about your animal species.
 
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3. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:293]
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BGG Rating: 7

Collection Status: Keep Forever - Moderate Rotation

Lost Cities is a classic. Why this is not on shelves at Target or Barnes and Nobel along with UNO or Skip-Bo is beyond me. Granted, it is only a two player game which I think may be a turn off to some people, but it may very well be the best casual two-player game there is. It is surprising to me how much tension exists in this game. It is so simple, but more often than not, the game feels like you are hanging on by just a few points. Towards the end of each round, the choices get very tough and Lost Cities seems to remind you of just how much game it contains.
 
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4. Board Game: Odin's Ravens [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:1120]
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BGG Rating: 6

Collection Status: Keep for a While - Low Rotation

Odin's Ravens is a very pretty game with unique mechanics that I have not seen any other game. On the whole, it is a pretty light experience that seems to have over-complicated a few things, which keeps it from being a "great" game. That is not to mean that the game is complex, just that the choices are not as fluid as they could have been otherwise. I am glad I own it as it is a popular choice with a few people I play with, but there are many other Kosmos 2-player games that are superior.
 
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5. Board Game: San Juan (second edition) [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:270]
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BGG Rating: 9

Collection Status: Keep Forever - Heavy Rotation

San Juan is number 11 on my list of top games and sometimes I think it should really graduate into my Top 10 overall. Some people describe as "Race for the Galaxy Lite," which in someways is a very fair description. Both games have cards with multiple use and utilize variations of role selection mechanic popularized by Puerto Rico. However, to characterize San Juan as the "lite" version of RftG is unfair in someways. When people describe it as a less heavy, less complex, I think what they are really saying is that San Juan is better designed. Granted, there are few layers in San Juan compared to RftG, but more is not always better. San Juan is so well balanced and has such a great flow, the weight and complexity of the game is almost hidden. There is a great amount of depth and strategy that can be achieved with careful observations and multiple play-throughs of San Juan. To me, it is the best card-based tableau-building game in existence and runs circles around RftG. What it lacks in layers, it makes up for in excellence of design.
 
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6. Board Game: Splendor [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:124]
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BGG Rating: 7

Collection Status: Keep for a While - Moderate Rotation

Splendor is a puzzle. It has virtually no theme, the mechanics are very simple, and yet it draws people in time and time again. I know some claim the game is broken because you can utilize strategies that ignore elements of the game and still win (i.e., Ignore the first row purchases), but I think the game is only broken when you are playing against someone who is not familiar with Splendor. When two skilled players sit down for a game, they quickly find themselves in a tug-of-war involving cost-benefit analysis and engine building/optimization. The game can become very tight very quickly and it can even be unforgiving at times. This means players have to really think about their choices and what their opponent wants/needs. This is what makes this simple, small game in a too big box so engaging. I would be open to a Splendor-killer (ahem, Century: Spice Roadhype-train), but have not found one yet.
 
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7. Board Game: Trajan [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:73]
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BGG Rating: 8

Collection Status: Keep for a While - Moderate Rotation

Overtime I play Trajan, I cannot believe how many choices there are and how well the game works. It hits me the same way The Voyages of Marco Polo does. I cannot say that I am ever in the mood to play Trajan, but every time I play the game I am totally enthralled. I have to balance my time between actually playing the game and wondering just how in the heck Stefan Feld packed so many things into one game. I have not played all of Feld's games, but Trajan to me is the one that seems like he is showing off. I cannot see another designer pulling so much out of one game AND doing it in a way that is balanced AND keeping the play time to 90 minutes or so. It is just a marvel of a game that feels more like an experience.
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8. Board Game: Risk Legacy [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:244]
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BGG Rating: 7

Collection Status: Keep for a While - Heavy Rotation

Note: For the purposes of this challenge, I am counting this a play of Risk as well.

Risk Legacy is a great example of "a better mouse trap." So often, movies, games, or other cultural phenomena are attempted to be improved upon by rebooting or remixing, but the result are more often than not underwhelming. Risk Legacy, which is in a way a reboot of Risk, shows that sometimes adding something new to something old can bring about amazing results. I have not completed an entire campaign of Risk Legacy, but I have played several games and I love how the game unfolds. Your choices matter in Risk Legacy in a way that keeps you enthralled, even if you are loosing. I know the Legacy system has been applied to other games, but there is something marvelous about Risk Legacy being the first.
 
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