Papa Ninja's H-Index
Will Plante
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Greenville
Rhode Island
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Welcome everyone to my H-Index geeklist. Creating and maintaining this list is as much for my own personal enjoyment of statistics as it is for anything else.

Most folks that check out this list will probably already be familiar with what the H-Index is, but if you're not this is a great thread/poll to check out - What's your h-index?.

I end up playing a lot of new games, but also make a concerted effort to get my favorites played as much as possible with varying degrees of success. I game a lot with my kids, so if they like a game it is much easier to get played. I've owned some of the games on this list for years, others for less than a year.

I will be listing each game currently on my H-Index including when it was added to our collection, if/when it left our collection and my comments on the game. If you find that we have similar tastes please comment on this list, especially if you also write comments on the games you play. I am always looking to add new geekbuddies, I find folks comments on games to be more helpful than most reviews when researching games.



H-Index by year:

2012 H-Index -> 3
2013 H-Index -> 15 (+12)
2014 H-Index -> 18 (+3)
2015 H-Index -> 24 (+6)
2016 H-Index -> 26 (+2)
2017 H-Index -> 30 (+4)



As of April 1,2018 my current H-Index has increased to 32.

My total plays - 4936
My total of unique games played - 601 (not including expansions)
My first recorded play - 7/23/2012

Out of the 34 games in my H-Index, 31 are still in my collection.



Games closing in on 32+ plays:

31 plays - A Feast for Odin, Port Royal, Targi and Yardmaster
30 plays - Balloon Cup, Diamonds (+1 play), For Sale,
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1. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:49]
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
Rhode Island
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Total Plays - 253

Last updated - 4/1/18: +1 play.

Current Status - On the shelf, first play logged on 9/25/2013.



A year later... thoughts and rating (10):

- Role selection and trying to leech off your opponents role(s)
- Cards have multiple uses during the game
- Excellent 2p with the advanced rules
- 20 minute play time packed with strategy
- Seemingly endless replay value

This is my favorite 2p game to play with my son. We will be playing this for years to come, what an amazing game. We have since added RFtG: Alien Artifacts, RFtG: The Gathering Storm, RFtG: Rebel vs Imperium and RFtG: Xeno Invasion expansions to our collection.


Initial thoughts and rating (9):

I bought this game after quite a few BGG'ers recommended it to me in various threads. I was looking for a good 2p game to play with my son. After our first 3 or 4 plays I was not impressed, I actually regretted my decision to buy the game. However; since I have a limited gaming budget I was stuck with it. So my son and I continued to play, we instituted the advanced 2p rules and we started to get familiar with the cards. These 2 factors ended up completely changing my view on this game.

My son and I had very little trouble figuring out the icons, I find that whole argument to be a little overblown. It may hold water if you are teaching this to a non gamer, but this isn't a game I would pull out in that circumstance.


36 -> Base RftG
78 -> Arc 1, The Gathering Storm + Rebel Imperium
92 -> Arc 2, Alien Artifacts (7 included the orb)
43 -> Arc 3, Xeno Invasion
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2. Board Game: Summoner Wars: Alliances Master Set [Average Rating:8.26 Overall Rank:448] [Average Rating:8.26 Unranked]
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
Rhode Island
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Total Plays - 89

Last updated - 4/1/18: +2 plays.

Current Status - On the shelf, first play logged on 3/13/2013.



Three years later... thoughts and rating (8/10 -> 10):

Summoner Wars was one of the first games we owned and we played a lot. Eventually I ended up trading it away, but we never found another 2p, head to head game we enjoyed quite as much (Vs System 2PCG: The Marvel Battles came the closest). Almost three years later I ended up investing in the whole SW set since it appears to be slowly going out of print. Getting in 30+ plays inside of 3 months confirms the fact that I never should've gotten rid of this game. There is so much more to explore now that we have all the new decks. We're really enjoying exploring all the new factions different strengths and strategies. We've also done some light deck construction which has also been rewarding. This is a top 10 game for me when listing games to play with my kids. If you have any interest at all in this type of game I'd recommend jumping in now before this becomes an OOP grail game.

Initial thoughts and rating (8/10):

*Just a quick note; we tried Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn when it came out and we didn't like it nearly as much as SW. If you want more of my thoughts on Ashes you can read my comments on the game.

- Excellent family game to play with your kids.
- Another 2p gem that plays in about 30 minutes.
- Almost endless replay value due to all the different factions you can play.
- Faction balance even though most factions have very different play styles.
- Rewards repeated play, it definitely helps to know the cards in each deck.
- Lots of dice rolling built into a game that rewards skillful play, most of the time the better player will win.
- However; when playing with less skilled players they can pull off the upset, combat is not deterministic.
- The map really makes this game shine, you have the added component of having to think about movement and placement of your troops on a board.
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3. Board Game: Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:176]
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
Rhode Island
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Total Plays - 71

Current Status - On the shelf, first play logged on 8/06/2013.

Almost all of my plays include the Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small – More Buildings Big and Small and/or Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small – Even More Buildings Big and Small expansions.



A year later... thoughts and rating (10):

This game has been a hit with both of my older kids, especially my son. Most of our plays include buildings from Agricola: ACBaS – More and Even More Buildings. If I were only going to buy one expansion I would go with Agricola: ACBaS – Even More Buildings. Agricola ACBaS has seen steady play since we bought the game.

Initial thoughts and rating (9):

- Excellent 2p worker placement game.
- Components and art are top notch, love the animeeples.
- I enjoy seeing what our farms look like after the game, we always have a story as to what kind of farm we created.
(I always feel bad having 10 sheep crammed into a stable).
- The expansion buildings really make you think outside of the box as you plan your farm.
- 30 minute play time packed with strategy.
- Extremely high replay value once you add the expansion buildings (I can't believe we've played this 50+ times).
 
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4. Board Game: The Enchanted Tower [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:2119]
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
Rhode Island
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Total Plays - 62

Last updated - 2/1/18: +3 plays

Current Status - On the shelf, first play logged on 12/26/2013.



A year later... thoughts and rating (10):

Obviously this game has been a hit and this is a game my whole family enjoys playing. This is my absolute, favorite children's game. Stop reading and go out and buy this if you have young children (I am pretty sure there are OLGS that have it in stock). Check out Tom's review if you are interested in seeing how this game plays.

Initial thoughts and rating (9):

- Amazing family game that you can play with young children.
My youngest daughter was almost 4 when she started playing.
- The components are top notch: the wooden prince and sorcerer and a cute plastic princess with a crown.
- Beautiful game board.
- The tower: The princess "jumps" out when you select the right slot to put the key in.
- The prince can be played by a few people to help the younger ones remember where you have looked.
- Nice variation on roll and move which involves 2 dice, one for movement and one for which player moves first.
- I could see us playing this with only adults for some light hearted fun.

This game will never leave our collection, I hope to play it with my grandchildren some day!

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5. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:41]
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
Rhode Island
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Total Plays - 56

Last updated - 2/1/18: +1 play.

Current Status - On the shelf, first play logged on 9/20/2013.

Some of my plays include the 7 Wonders: Leaders and/or 7 Wonders: Cities expansions, with Leaders being my favorite. I wasn't a fan of the Babel expansion at all (I go into more detail in my comments for the expansion).



A year later... thoughts and rating (10):

- Beautiful artwork on the cards which helps the theme come through.
- Plays well with 3+ players.
- Quick playtime (under 45 minutes) even once you add more players.
- Card drafting made extremely accessible, this is an easy game to teach.
- I enjoy building a tableau of cards that builds on itself and allows you to obtain better cards.
- There are enough different ways to win which helping to give this game good replay value.
- Great game to begin/end a game night.


Initial thoughts and rating (8.5):

I will start by saying that I had been looking at this game every time I am looking for a new family game to play with both of my older kids and my wife. Well I don't know if it is the #1 family game but it is a really great family game. There are two things that really make this game shine for my family.

First is the simultaneous card drafting, there is absolutely no down time in this game. As much as we love playing games like Kingsburg or Stone Age there can be extended periods of downtime while someone is trying to figure out their optimal move. In 7 Wonders everyone is making that choice at the same time and as the amount of cards you have to pick from dwindles the pace of the game picks up.

This leads into the second highlight of this game: 1/2 hour game length with 3+ players. My two older kids are 11 and 8 and we love to play games and we now have a great game that we can play in about a 1/2 hour. This makes it a great game to pull out on weeknights when we don't have time to play a longer game. We have some great 2 player games that play in a similar time frame (Agricola All Creatures, Morels and Jaipur) but up till now no really good 3+ player games that fit into that time span.

Overall I couldn't be happier with this purchase, my wife and kids love the game, we can play in a 1/2 hour, there is very little downtime and there is a good amount of strategy to be found in this game.


30 plays -> base game
2 plays -> Babel
4 plays -> Cities
5 plays -> Leaders
12 plays -> Cities + Leaders
1 play -> Babel and Leaders
1 play -> Babel, Cities and Leaders
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6. Board Game: Vs System 2PCG: The Marvel Battles [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:2595] [Average Rating:7.11 Unranked]
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
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Total Plays - 51

Current Status - Traded, first play logged on 3/31/2013; left our collection on 1/21/18.

*Some of my plays include the Vs System 2PCG: The Defenders and/or Vs System 2PCG: A-Force expansions.



A year later... thoughts and rating (10):

39 plays in one year is a lot, but I'm actually surprised it wasn't more. This is still, hands down, the best superhero game I've played. Marvel VS does a great job getting the theme across, all of the different character powers make sense with the character and are also fun to use (Hulk might still be my favorite). The only thing holding VS back from getting more plays is the set up/play time. We need to commit to at least 45 minutes so it's not quite as easy to get to the table as RftG, but every time we play it usually results in us playing a few days in a row. We've gotten the Defenders expansion which adds some great new characters and abilities.

One thing we haven't gotten into yet is the deckbuilding aspect, typically it's not something I'm interested in doing anymore (since playing Magic way back in the day), but it hasn't affected our enjoyment of the game at all. I've found the pre-constructed decks fun to play, although at some point I may tinker with a deck.

Unfortunately it seems like this game has caught on, at least not on BGG. I know there was a FB group, I'm interested and hopeful that Upper Deck will continue to support the game. As an aside I'm not sure that I have any interest in the Alien deck, but curiosity may win out. In closing I can't recommend this game enough, especially if you're looking for a great 2p head to head game and you like superheroes.


Initial thoughts and rating (8):

- An excellent head to head 2p game that was also quite fun as a 3p free for all match.
- The superhero theme shines through, the character abilities fit each of the different characters (Hulk's my favorite).
- There is a ton of variety in this game starting with the possible main characters you can play, the supporting characters, plot twists and then each group of heroes are different from one another (the base game includes the X-men, Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy and Villains).
- Deck building is not usually my thing, but it is really easy to tweak your decks especially since we want to limit each deck to one affiliation.
- Set up is a breeze compared to a game like Marvel Legendary.

This game has become a huge hit with my son and my daughter can't wait to play. I have a feeling this will fill two holes in our collection, both Summoner Wars (a 2+ player fighting game) and Marvel Legendary (a thematic superhero game). This game wasn't even on my radar, but I had an opportunity to play with one of the designers (who I meet through another friend) and had a blast. This game offers everything I wanted out of a superhero game, head to head battles instead of a semi co-op game.
 
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7. Board Game: Cockroach Poker [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:1210]
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
Rhode Island
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Total Plays - 45

Last updated - 2/1/18: +1 play.

Current Status - On the shelf, first play logged on 2/17/2014.



A year later... thoughts and rating (10):

I play with a few different groups, including my family, and each group plays this game differently. Certain bugs become taboo because of what has happened in previous games. My kids also figured out pretty quickly to pass specific cards around so that the last person is faced with a very difficult choice which could lead to them losing.

The fact that all of this naturally emerges from such a simple rule set is what makes this game brilliant and instantly accessible to everyone. There is nothing tacked on or convoluted. As much as I love Coup there is still a slight barrier to entry with people who don't game much. In fact even in one of my groups a few people really don't like the "heavier" bluffing games but love Cockroach Poker.

This game is a keeper and one I would recommend adding to anyone's collection.


Initial thoughts and rating (8):

- My favorite bluffing game!
- Great gateway into bluffing games, I have been able to play this with lots of different people.
- I am using this game as a stepping stone to eventually teach my wife and kids Coup (which is my favorite bluffing game).
- Plays fast, but there is definitely an interesting meta game that develops if you play with the same people.
- Great artwork!

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8. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:124] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
Rhode Island
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Total Plays - 45

Last updated - 1/1/18: +2 plays.

Current Status - On the shelf, first play logged on 3/02/2014.

*To date I've played TTR with the 1910 expansion, Team Asia, Legendary Asia, India, Nordic Countries, Switzerland and Pennsylvania. TTR + the 1910 expansion is still my favorite way to play, with Nordic Countries close behind. Last year I invested in the anniversary edition which is a beautifully produced version of the game.



A year later... thoughts and rating (10):

My family and I love this game, it is definitely a classic and in my opinion a must buy. This has also been a huge hit with extended family, my in-laws now have a copy and my dad really likes it. TTR has actually gotten more play as the months have rolled on. Everyone in my house loves this game and adding a new map was really fun. If I had to recommend one game to recommend to anyone, especially as a gateway game for family game nights, Ticket to Ride would be that game.

Initial thoughts and rating (9):

- Simplicity of choices: take trains, build routes, choose new route cards.
- My wife loves it!
- A very fun, relaxing game to play. (In the same vein as Finca and Takenoko)
Don't get me wrong, things still get tense when you think you have been cut out of a certain city, but usually you can find some way to get where you need to go.

We didn't play this game until we had been gaming for over 1.5 years. I was hesitant to get it because I thought we would find it too light, well I was wrong my whole family enjoys this game.
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9. Board Game: King of Tokyo [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:226]
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
Rhode Island
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Total Plays - 42

Current Status - Sold, first play logged on 3/31/2013; left our collection on 6/15/15.



A few years later... thoughts and rating (6):

After a few years of owning this and many plays it has left our collection. We've grown to like other dice games more.

Initial thoughts and rating (8):

- Great, thematic art and some of the most amazing dice we have.
- This game is just fun, you can't help but smile and laugh when you play this.
- Great gateway game that we have had great success introducing other families to.
- Might be the easiest game to teach that I own... Roll claws!
- The cards add some fun twists to the game and are worth collecting energy for. That said, I only roll for claws and very rarely leave Tokyo.


Favorite KoT moment: winning the King of Tokyo: Space Penguin (promo character) at a Tabletop Day event at the Adams Memorial Library for my daughter. She was so excited and this will be a cool keepsake reminding her of our day spent gaming together!
 
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10. Board Game: Morels [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:579]
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
Rhode Island
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Total Plays - 42

Last updated - 11/1/17: +1 play.

Current Status - On the shelf, first play logged on 6/23/2013.



Three years later... thoughts and rating (10):

This was one of our first games and my wife and kids still love playing this game a 3 years later. (Even after my wife spilled coffee on the cards.) I had the opportunity to play the new Fungi version and while I like the new artwork, I still prefer the original version's artwork. This is still one of my favorite 2p card games and one I highly recommend.

Initial thoughts and rating (8.5):

- Excellent cafe game, this game has a small footprint.
- Great theme and beautiful artwork; I especially appreciate the different art found on the night time cards.
- May be the best had management game I own, the limit on hand size combined with that fact that you can not just discard cards creates a nice amount of tension in the game.
- Brent (the designer) is extremely helpful and supports the people that play his game.
I have had two separate issues and he has generously sent me replacement cards!
 
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11. Board Game: Arboretum [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:360]
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
Rhode Island
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Total Plays - 40

Last updated - 3/1/18: +1 play.

Current Status - On the shelf, first play logged on 4/12/2015.



A year later... thoughts and rating (10):

Arboretum has quite possibly become my favorite card game. It takes the sequential number play of Lost Cities and adds a free form spacial aspect to the game; you are placing trees in your Arboretum with paths branching off in many directions. You also have to manage your hand since you need the highest value of each tree you want to score in your hand at the end of the game. This combination of these mechanics causes difficult decisions to be made every turn. Add to that the amazing artwork by Philippe Guérin and Chris Quilliams and you end up with a brilliant game. Thankfully Arboretum is enjoyed by everyone in my house which means it will continue to see a lot of play time. I can't recommend this game highly enough!

Initial thoughts and rating (8):

- Amazing artwork, I would love to get prints of some of these images.
- Awesome 2p experience, great couples game to play at a cafe or pub.
- This is one of those chill games for us, you can't help but feel peaceful looking your tableau of cards.
- I enjoy the added complexity in how you can sequence different card types as you build your arboretum. (It reminds me of Lost Cities and Musee but the placement of cards is not as constrained.)

My buddy Mat taught this to me and I immediately went out and got a copy. I am quite happy that my wife enjoyed it as well, this will be in our rotation of cafe/pub games.
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12. Board Game: Kingdomino [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:185] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
Rhode Island
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Total Plays - 39

Last updated - 4/1/18: +1 play.

Current Status - On the shelf, first play logged on 11/6/2016.



Initial thoughts and rating (10):

13 plays in one month speaks to how quick and easy this is to get to the table. I prefer either the advanced 2p game or the 4p game since you will be playing with all the tiles. Playing the regular 2p or 3p game means tiles are randomly removed which can really hose you because you don't know the value of certain landscapes at that point. That said this is a great filler game, the combination of tile laying with a draft is so simple and executed perfectly because your tile selection also determines what order you will be drafting the next tile. Kingdomino plays quickly and is packed with meaningful decisions making it a great intro into the hobby.

Another plus is the amount of player interaction as you compete for certain tiles, either to help score you points or avoid giving your opponent a bunch of points. The constraints of having to build in a grid is also a challenge as you try and optimize your scoring opportunities. All this leads up to Kingdomino being one of my favorite new to me games of the year, this game knocks it out of the park. Kingdomino has become one of my favorite filler games that I'll always keep in my bag and I can't recommend it highly enough.
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13. Board Game: Qwixx [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:683]
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
Rhode Island
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Total Plays - 39

Last updated - 2/1/18: +1 play.

Current Status - On the shelf, first play logged on 12/28/2014.



A year later... thoughts and rating (8):

The definitive, quick dice filler and one I would recommend to anyone. It is the ultimate restaurant game since it doesn't take up any room, it plays quickly and you're engaged on everyone's turn. We've also played this a lot when we only have 10 minutes and want to get a game in. For some this will be heresy (well at least Mat), but this is the game Yahtzee has always wanted to be. There are just enough decisions in Qwixx to make it feel more like a game instead of an activity (see Yahtzee). Gamewright did a great job producing this game, it's small and compact making it easy to travel with.

I know a lot of people will not agree, but I think Qwixx deserved to win the Speil Des Jahres. Qwixx is an excellent family game that anyone can learn and play within minutes.


Initial thoughts and rating (8):

- Quick dice filler that you can play anywhere, with anyone.
- Great twist on the standard dice rolling game, the scoring adds some decisions and tension to the game.
- For such a simple game it is quite fun.

This is a fun filler that I may keep in my car to play when we are out at a restaurant or cafe. The choices are not that difficult, but there is some tension in the decisions you have to make. You need to balance taking white dice when it is not your turn with possibly limiting the rolls that will help you when you have to take dice on your turn or suffer a -5 penalty.
 
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14. Board Game: Roll for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:58]
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
Rhode Island
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Total Plays - 39

Last updated - 2/1/18: +1 play.

Current Status - On the shelf, first play logged on 1/01/2015.

Alot all of my plays include the Roll for the Galaxy: Ambition expansion, which is in my opinion are a must buy.



A year later... thoughts and rating (10):

Race for the Galaxy is my favorite game and I love dice games so I couldn't wait for this to be released. It definitely exceeded my expectations, Roll manages to capture the essence of what makes Race great, but delivers it in a very different play experience. The expansion adds a lot to the base game without introducing new mechanics. The added starting tiles offer the opportunity to draft your starting tiles similar to Race and the new dice build on what was introduced in the base game by allowing you additional flexibility with dice placement. I will mention that Race is still my #1 game, but Roll is probably #3 so not too shabby.

Initial thoughts and rating (10):

- Excellent translation of Race for the Galaxy into a meaty dice game.
- Beautiful art and production quality, everything feels/looks top notch.
- Much easier to teach than Race; the iconography is greatly reduced and the tiles have their powers printed on them.
- Double sided tiles are a great solution for the explore action, there are plenty of times when you really would benefit from both options.
- Having produce before ship is more intuitive and helps streamline the produce/ship strategy and
- Purple die; boosts the produce/ship strategy by acting as a wild color (effectively increasing the value of goods consumed).
- There are a lot of strategies to explore in this game giving Roll high replay value.
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15. Board Game: Suburbia [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:92]
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
Rhode Island
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Total Plays - 39

Current Status - On the shelf, first play logged on 12/26/2013.



A year later... thoughts and rating (8):

- Plays well with 2, I also really enjoy it with 3 (haven't played with 4 and I'm not sure I want to).
- Sim City the board game, enough said.
- Nice components, I actually really like the graphic design and aesthetics in this game. Once you finish constructing your city it looks great.
- I really enjoy all the different ways the various tiles interact with each other, and the variety of the buildings themselves.
- Having to balance your income versus reputation is really difficult and since different tiles come out every game, this is a game you can play a lot.
- This game is usually pretty tight and the winner is not decided till the end.


Initial thoughts and rating (9):

We have played 3p and mostly 2p games so far and we all love this game. It absolutely recreates the feeling of playing SimCity when I was a kid.

I love the graphic design and the simple aesthetics of the game, once your city is built it is beautiful. We always spend time after playing to describe what kind of city we built and if it reminds us of a city we have been to/ or know about. Excellent game, this is the replacement for Monopoly my son has been looking for since his favorite aspect of that game was buying properties and making $. I can't recommend this game highly enough!

As far as playing with my family, I believe my 8 year old daughter could handle it, but so far she has not wanted to play this one yet. My son (11) is excellent at the game and has no problems keeping track of all the information in the game on each turn.
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16. Board Game: Animal Upon Animal [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:728] [Average Rating:6.87 Unranked]
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
Rhode Island
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Total Plays - 37

Last updated - 4/1/18: +1 play.

Current Status - On the shelf, first play logged on 12/29/2013.



My thoughts and rating (8):

This my favorite dexterity game, but it's now number 2 since Ice Cool has taken the top spot. Lilly is a ninja at Animal Upon Animal. Out of any children's game I've played, Animal Upon Animal would be my first recommendation if you have young kids (3+), my youngest daughter is now 7 and she still asks to play this sometimes. It's fun every time.
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17. Board Game: Battle Line [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:178]
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
Rhode Island
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Total Plays - 37

Last updated - 3/1/18: +1 play.

Current Status - On the shelf, first play logged on 6/9/2014.



A year later... thoughts and rating (10):

This has become one of my favorite 2p card games, especially since I play it with my wife and son (haven't taught it to my older daughter yet). Each game is extremely tense and always comes down to the wire, no matter how hopeless it may appear at certain points in the game. The tactics card add the perfect amount of unpredictability, but you have to be careful when playing them since they don't come into play when figuring out whether or not a flag is won.

I also can't stress how portable this game is, you can easily play it at a pub or cafe (which my wife and I do frequently). On top of that it plays quick and decisions are difficult right from the beginning. There is absolutely no wasted turns in this game, each card you play is extremely important. This is definitely going to be an evergreen in my collection!


Initial thoughts and rating (8):

- Another great 2p game that plays quick but offers lots of strategy.
- Interesting take on basic poker mechanics being used to gain a majority of flags (scoring markers) on the table (5 or 3 that are all next to each other.)
- Tactics cards: help add an amount of uncertainty to the game; it becomes harder to make sure that you really have a flag scored. They let you manipulate the cards you have played in some interesting ways, but they are well balanced because you can only play one more tactics card than your opponent has played.
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18. Board Game: Habitats [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:1641]
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
Rhode Island
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Total Plays - 36

Last updated - 3/1/18: +1 play.

Current Status - On the shelf, first play logged on 12/30/2016.



Initial thoughts and rating (10):

Habitats has been a huge surprise and will definitely be in my top 10 new to me games for 2017. I hadn't heard of this game till saw Steph write about it in one of her post Essen blogs. I decided to get a copy for my older daughter based mostly on the fact that she loves animals and the player pieces are porcelain animals. We also enjoy tile laying games so I was hopeful it'd turn out to be a fun game and it was. In fact Habitats is easily my favorite tile laying game because of the new twists introduced in the game.

In Habitats tile selection isn't a random draw, there is a grid of tiles set up and you have to move your animal player piece around the grid to select a tile. This sets up plenty of opportunity to try and plan out your path and the tiles you want; however your opponent(s) typically get in the way. That sets up a fair amount of player interaction since you can never be sure the tile you want will still be there by the time you can reach it.

The end game goals add just enough in game scoring to matter in the end game without being a necessity. Also they may guide you in a certain direction when building your park since the goals will not be completed just by playing the game, you have to deliberately plan how you build your refuge if you want to score them. Lastly the way animals will score is a fun puzzle to solve. Each animal is on one of four habitat types, but they need to be adjacent to other specific types before they will be scored.

All the rules are very intuitive and become second nature after a few turns. Habitats has also proven to be very easy to teach, even to folks new to the hobby. Habitats would be a great gateway/family game, unfortunately the only thing holding it back is the limited print run (which was due to the limited number of porcelain figures designer/publisher Corné van Moorsel could get). Hopefully this game gets wider exposure and maybe another publisher will be able to reprint the game and get it out to a wider audience.
 
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19. Board Game: Azul [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:48] [Average Rating:8.02 Unranked]
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
Rhode Island
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Total Plays - 35

Last updated - 3/1/18: +4 plays.

Current Status - On the shelf, first play logged on 12/5/17.

This is by far the quickest any game has made it onto my H-Index, I played once in the beginning of December and didn't get a copy till the end of December. A little over two months later and we've played 31 times. Brilliant game and in my top 10!



Initial thoughts and rating (8/10):

I can see Azul being played a lot in the coming years; the rules are a breeze to teach and the gameplay is smooth yet packed with both meaningful and difficult decisions. Azul is beautiful game and the tiles are absolutely amazing, just handling the pieces is a satisfying sensory experience. Azul is one of those games where the designer is able to create a very simple set of rules that create a deep game play experience; I am always amazed when a designer is able to create such an elegant game. I'll admit that I didn't think Azul could live up to the hype and praise it had received by my expectations were exceeded. Azul has become my favorite game that was released in 2017.
 
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20. Board Game: Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:59]
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
Rhode Island
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Total Combined Plays - 35

I combined my plays of Clank! and Clank! In! Space! because the games share the same mechanisms. (Similar to how I combine all my plays of TTR). I also love what Clank!: Sunken Treasures adds to the original Clank! and I'm eagerly anticipating the release of Clank!: The Mummy's Curse.



Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure was last updated - 2/1/18: +3 plays (29 total)

Current Status - On the shelf, first play logged on 11/14/2016.

A year later... thoughts and rating (6/8 -> 10):

After my initial burst of plays I was actually down on the game and only my kids' enjoyment kept me from trading it. As I continued to play I realized just how fun Clank is and it has become my favorite deck builder alongside Tyrants of the Underdark. Personally I wasn't a fan of what I'd call 1st generation deck builders where deck building was the whole game. I've really been enjoying the new deck builders that are coming out, where deck building is combined with other game mechanics.

Getting back to the merits of Clank; number one is variety and replayability. The card diversity changes how games play out and strategies you can explore. There is more going on that first appears, but all of the card variety is layered on a very simple set of rules making Clank a breeze to teach. Also after a few plays we realized how dangerous ignoring the dragon and your clank can be. The threat of the dragon is certainly real, the more we've played the more reckless we've gotten which has resulted in a lot of death.

Clank has definitely stood the test of time and has probably crept into my personal top 10 games (definitely my top 20). Clank is a great next step family game and has been popular with gamers as well which is no small feat. I am very curious to see what Clank In Space brings to the table.


Initial thoughts and rating (6/8):

This has been a huge surprise hit for me because I've played a lot of deck builders that I just don't like (many of them I'm in the minority on... like Dominion). What Clank does is similar to another deck builder I really like (Super Motherload) which is use deck building as one mechanic in the game. Clank also introduces the idea of moving throughout a dungeon collecting loot while also worrying about the amount of noise you make. Noise equals clank cubes going on the board and eventually into a bag when the dragon attacks.

All of these mechanics lead to a very quick and exciting game where you are always deciding just how far you want to push your luck, will greed get the best of you? You can die in this game which may seem like a terrible idea to some gamers, but when that happens it triggers the final few rounds of the game when the dragon starts rampaging through the dungeon, attacking at will. While there isn't any direct conflict with other players, you really need to pay attention to other players movement because as soon as someone decides to book it out of the dungeon you know time is running short.

I think this game will appeal to a lot of gamers, it's definitely great for families. The rules are easy to teach, everything you do in the game is very intuitive and turns are quick. I'd definitely recommend checking out Clank especially if you play a lot of games with kids.




Clank! In! Space! was last updated - 4/1/18: +1 play. (29 total)

Current Status - On the shelf, first play logged on 1/22/2018.

Initial thoughts and rating (10):

My comments on Clank! really cover Clank! In! Space! as well. While Clank In Space is a stand alone game it plays quite similar to Clank, similar to all the Ticket To Ride games all build on a central set of rules that receive some tweaks.

The main differences come from the addition of factions, the tweaked Rage track for Lord Eradikus and the command modules. Some characters are now associated with a faction and will grant an additional ability that triggers if you've previously played a card with the same faction symbol. The Rage track for Lord Eradicus now adds additional hazards in addition to increasing the cube draw. There are now red mercenary cubes which damage everyone when they come out and then get put back into the clank area where they will be added back into the bag during the next attack. There is also a cardboard piece that gets placed on the board and blocks the easiest path to escape the ship. Finally the board has three separate sections with command modules, you have to place two command cubes, in separate sections, before you can enter the area with the artifacts. Those are the main differences, it's worth noting that the board is modular and different sections can be flipped over to a new side and arranged in a variety of ways.

Clank In Space! is definitely longer than Clank! (it probably adds 10 minutes per player) which is mostly due to the command module mechanic, but I don't mind this it makes for a very tense game and eliminates the option to speed rush grabbing an artifact and getting out quick. You can get damaged quick in this game, we've never all died in Clank! below the depths, but we pulled it off in Clank In Space! We went from almost having no damage to all of us dying within few turns without any of us making it to the hanger.

If you're a huge fan of Clank I would recommend Clank In Space, there are enough differences for me to keep both in my collection. Especially since Dire Wolf is still supporting Clank! with expansions (the new Clank! The Mummy's Curse expansion
looks awesome).
If you're new to Clank! then I really think it is going to come down to which theme you prefer. As expansions keep coming out for Clank! I think it will incorporate new mechanisms similar to how Clank In Space! changed things up.
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21. Board Game: Cubist [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:2326]
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
Rhode Island
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Total Plays - 35

Last updated - 3/1/18: +1 play.

Current Status - On the shelf, first play logged on 9/18/2014.



A year later... thoughts and rating (10):

Cubist is by far my favorite meaty dice game (Qwixx when looking for a filler). This game has held up extremely well to repeated play, there are plenty of museum and installation cards to keep things fresh especially when you add in these two expansions: Cubist: Museum Expansion Pack and Cubist: Additional Installation Cards.

This game plays excellent across all player counts (2 - 4) with very little down time, games wrap up in 30 - 45 minutes. It has also gone over equally well with my family and other gamers in my group. Being an artist and art teacher I am always excited to see designers using art as a theme for their games (check out another of Alf's games: Musée) especially Cubism in this case (definitely not a really well known art movement among most people).

Cubism is a masterpiece design that manages to weave in the theme with the game play mechanisms to create a rich play experience. Check this game out if you enjoy dice games that don't rely heavily on luck, but instead offer a variety of strategies to achieve your goals.


Initial thoughts and rating (9):

- I absolutely love the theme, this is what sold me on the game (that and the beautiful dice).
- Quick playtime, even with 4 players (30 - 45 minutes).
- Plays great at all player counts (2,3 and 4 players).
- It would be a bit tight, but I think this can be brought out at a cafe.
- Easy to teach/learn. You can really just start playing and teach as you go.
- Artist cards are quite valuable and I am surprised at how much they can be fought over.
- Love the idea of not only building your own installation but also being able to share in the building of the museum.
- A surprising amount of tension in the game, especially since any of the 3 installations can be built by anyone (once built a new one comes out).

I have been looking for some fun dice games to add to our collection, one light and quick and one with some depth. I was able to score a copy of this in a recent math trade, in fact I traded Ra the Dice Game since I was underwhelmed by the 2p experience.
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22. Board Game: Guildhall [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:694] [Average Rating:7.01 Unranked]
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
Rhode Island
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Total Plays - 35

Current Status - Sold, first play logged on 6/07/2014; left our collection on 4/08/16.



A year later... thoughts and rating (8):

While this game has cooled somewhat with my kids, it has become a favorite of my wife and I especially when we go to a cafe. This game has stayed fresh after 25+ plays and I still don't feel like it's been played out which is quite amazing when you think about the fact that you are playing with the same 6 (to 12 if you include the expansion) characters. What is cool is that we are still discovering new ways to set up combos between different characters. We are much more aware of what the other player is setting up and have become much better at doing our best to mess with each other's plans.

I will mention that I think 2 players is the sweet spot for this game, we have found that the game tends to drag with more (especially 4, I won't play at that count again). This is another game I would highly recommend, especially since AEG doesn't plan to reprint it and it is going to get harder to find.


Initial thoughts and rating (8):

- Plays great with 2.
- Another great cafe game, as long as you put it into a smaller box.
- An interesting take on set collection, each card type has special abilities dependent upon how many have already been played in your guild hall.
- There is a surprising amount of depth (I feel like I am still scratching at the surface) for a game that only has 6/12 different card types.
- Quick playtime, about a 1/2 hour for a 2p game.
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23. Board Game: Parade [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:688]
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
Rhode Island
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Total Plays - 35

Last updated - 3/1/18: +1 play.

Current Status - On the shelf, first play logged on 6/18/2014.



A year later... thoughts and rating (10):

One of my favorite trick taking card games. Parade is an excellent 3p game and one that my dad, son and I have played a lot. I grew up playing a lot of traditional trick takers with my dad (Cribbage and Spades especially) and Parade was the first non-traditional trick taker I decided to teach him. He really enjoyed it after the first few plays and from there I've taught him a bunch of new card games we play with my kids. However; this is still his favorite of the bunch and one my son also really likes.

On top of that the art in the new Z-MAn version is perfect, the card quality is great. It also plays quickly (probably 20 minutes a game) so we either play a couple of games of Parade or get in 1 play before playing a longer game.

I can't recommend this highly enough, especially if you are already a fan of traditional card games. Definitely another evergreen in our collection.


Initial thoughts and rating (9):

- Beautiful artwork and high quality cards.
- Really fun card game that has the simple rule set of a game like Spades, but there is lots of depth to be found once you begin playing.
- Quick play time: 15 - 20 minutes.
- This is currently my favorite trick taking game.
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24. Board Game: Valeria: Card Kingdoms [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:576]
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
Rhode Island
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Total Plays - 35

Last updated - 4/1/18:: +2 plays.

Current Status - On the shelf, first play logged on 4/17/2017.



Initial thoughts and rating (10):

I'm not really sure what it is about this game, but I can't stop playing Valeria: Card Kingdoms. I have now played all three of the Valeria games (Card Kingdoms, Quest and Villages) and in my opinion this by far the best. Out of the three Card Kingdoms is the only one I consider better than the games they borrow mechanisms from. (Card Kingdoms = Machi Koro, Villages = a simple RFtG experience and Quests = Lords of Waterdeep).

Card Kingdoms is similar to Machi Koro in that you roll two dice then activate the card that corresponds with the sum of the two dice. However; you also get to use each individual die value to activate cards. This speeds up the game and makes for a more fun, less frustrating experience. I also much prefer the theme and aesthetic of Valeria, the artwork is amazing.

In my opinion Valeria: Card Kingdoms built on the design ideas of Machi Koro and improved them a hundred fold. Based on the games I typically enjoy I really wasn't expecting to like Card Kingdoms so much, but I'm glad my kids convinced me to get a copy.
 
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25. Board Game: Forbidden Island [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:584]
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
Rhode Island
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Total Plays - 34

Last updated - 1/1/18: +1 play.

Current Status - On the shelf, first play logged on 7/23/2013.



~The game that started it all!~ (8)

- Great gateway game for families, easy to learn.
- Accessable to younger kids since it's a co-op (I starting playing with my girls when they were 5).
- Beautiful components and great artwork on the tiles.
- The only co-op in our collection (we've gotten rid of Flash Point Fire Rescue, Forbidden Desert, Pandemic, Pandemic Dice, Pandemic Legacy and Robinson Crusoe).

Our first designer board game, this is the game that got my family and I into this hobby. This game helped teach my kids how to cooperate when playing games and not to take gaming too seriously. It also helped my kids to learn to lose gracefully, especially since we all lost!
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