2017 Ben's Year in Review
Ben Steinhauser
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San Antonio
TX
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This is just some ruminations on the past year in gaming for me.

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Ben Steinhauser
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Brian has been working on his list for several years. I'm probably at least a couple of years away from making a descent list of games I have played at least fifty times, but in January it got me to thinking about what games I would like to play fifty times.

At the time the games/series I had 50 recorded plays of were:

Hanabi
Codenames
One Night Ultimate Werewolf
The Resistance/The Resistance: Avalon
Race for the Galaxy
Timeline series

In January the answer to the question of what games would I like to add to that list included:

Power Grid
Agricola
Terra Mystica
Suburbia
Through the Ages
Clash of Cultures
Twilight Imperium
Nations
Keyflower
Battlestar Galactica
Eclipse
Merchant of Venus
Age of Industry
Dominant Species
Orleans

Not exactly games that are easy to get to the table fifty times, but they are my favorite games, so they are the ones I want to play the most.
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Ben Steinhauser
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That thinking affected my choices for the games I chose to play the past year.

My half-dollar of the year:

One Night Ultimate Alien - 64 plays

My dimes for the year:

Power Grid - 24 plays
Jungle Speed: Rabbids - 23
Werewords - 22
Suburbia - 21
7 Wonders Duel - 20
Orléans - 17
Beyond Baker Street -16
Hanabi - 16
SeaFall - 15
Yokohama - 15
Terra Mystica - 13
Terraforming Mars - 12
The Colonists - 12
Fast Forward: FEAR -11
The Grizzled - 11
Pairs - 11

My nickels for the year:

Nations - 9
Fast Forward: FORTRESS - 9 plays
Carcassonne - 7
Clash of Cultures - 7
Hansa Teutonica - 7
Struggle for the Galactic Empire - 7
Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization - 7
Jump Drive - 6
Pandemic Iberia - 6
Peloponnes - 6
Jungle Speed - 5
Snowdonia - 5
Splendor - 5
T.I.M.E Stories: Expedition – Endurance - 5
Agricola - 5


H-Index of 12 for the year (meaning I played at least 12 games at least 12 times this past year).
 
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Ben Steinhauser
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I added two games to the list of games I have played at least fifty times: One Night Ultimate Alien and Suburbia.

One Night Alien just came out this year and I had 59 plays of it. I really like the series and Vampire was a disappointment, but Alien really nailed it I feel. I like how the app varies the game up.

I have now played Suburbia 51 times. Twenty-one of those games were this year. It became the go to game when we only had forty minutes to play a game with three players or less than an hour and we had four players.


There are also some new games I would like to play fifty times.

Terraforming Mars has been hot ever since it came out and in my group it was no different. It is a game I do not think I will have any trouble getting to fifty plays because there are so many people that feel the same way I do about it.

Werewords is a new game this year and I played it 22 times. As you can probably tell from my games played, I love social deduction games and Werewords is a very good one.

If you had asked me a few months ago Yokohama would probably have made it. I played fifteen times this year, but haven't played in months. Maybe with some time away from it I'll want to play some more.

The newest game I'm adding to the list is Gaia Project, which I have now played four times (when I first wrote this I had only played it once). I love Terra Mystica and Gaia Project is just more of that. There is tons of variety that will keep it interesting for way more than 50 plays.


My current h-index is 22, so I'm a ways away from 50. Thankfully, I'm also a ways away from being 50 years old as well.
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4. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:28]
Ben Steinhauser
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In January I decided I wanted to play all the Power Grid maps and all of the expansions once with the regular power plant deck and once with the "new power plant deck." This is the reason I had so many plays of Power Grid this year. It has been in my game bag all year long. While I didn't meet the challenge I set I did play all the maps at least once, including the Deluxe maps. I also played four maps with the new deck. I played with all the promos at least once and with the robots once. The only thing I didn't play with was the Stock Companies.

I'm looking forward to getting try the Fabled expansion, so I don't think Power Grid is leaving my bag any time soon.

For the coming year I'll continue my quest by playing all the maps at least once with the new power plant deck.
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5. Board Game: Gaia Project [Average Rating:8.71 Overall Rank:13]
Ben Steinhauser
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The 10 best new to me games of the year were:

1) Gaia Project
2) The Colonists
3) One Night Ultimate Alien
4) Werewords
5) Altiplano
6) Crisis
7) Rajas of the Ganges
8) Sidereal Confluence
9) Yokohama
10) Word Slam

The Colonists, Crisis, Yokohama, and Word Slam are the only ones on the list that did not come out in 2017.
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6. Board Game: The Worst Game Ever [Average Rating:5.40 Overall Rank:13420]
Ben Steinhauser
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The worst games I played this year and hopefully ones I'll never play again:

Viticulture Essential Edition - I kickstarted the original and thought it was just okay at the time. I played it a few times and then sold it within a couple of months, which at the time for me was out of character (I needed to have all the games). People loved Tuscany and Viticulture gained in popularity. So I was curious to see if the new edition was really good and I just misjudged the game. I'm sad to say that the game was worse than I remember. I think there are a lot of great worker placement games out there and this one has some good ideas, but in the end I find it very tedious and to have little payoff for the amount of effort you put into it. One of the few games in the top 100 that I am genuinely confused as to why it is there. Since I brought it up, the others are Trajan which I find to be overly complex with little sense as to why you are doing anything, Five Tribes which is just an AP generator, and Crokinole which I have nothing against, but why is it in top 100, is BGG secretly just a Crokinole cult?

Vault Wars - It's an auction game where information about what is auctioned is hidden. This is definitely not a gamers game and I can see casual gamers liking this way more than I did. One of the knocks against auction games is that new players have no idea what the value of things are - this game makes sure no one does, but the game runs too long.

Alien Wars - This is a quick memory game where you and your opponents throw down spaceships in the play area then reveal them in order to destroy one another. As a kid I would have played this dozens of times, but as an adult it holds little appeal for me.

Hex Hex - I barely remember this game, but it's in the vein of Flux and Munchkin.

A Game of Thrones: Hand of the King - The King s**ts, and the Hand should use this to wipe with. I'm exaggerating, it's not that bad, it's just not that interesting.

Masmorra: Dungeons of Arcadia - Too random and too long. The game page says it takes 20-45 minutes, but the game lasted much longer than that. There really is not enough game here.

The Price Is Right - This one really captures the feeling of watching other people play a game, and it's not that interesting of a game.

Biblios Dice - I don't understand the obsession of making card/dice games out of popular games. They hardly ever do anything better than the original and rarely do they capture the feel of the original. This is no different other that I would hesitate to call the original popular.

Chimera Station - Great toy, but a tedious worker-placement game. It is probably more interesting with more plays, but I'm unwilling to put in that kind of time.

Mag-O-Mag - I only played the golf game, but again like Chimera it's a good toy, but game play it lacking.


I rate all of these games a three or less.
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Ben Steinhauser
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I played about 239 different games this year, which is only slightly less than in the past two years (~249 in 2016 and ~254 in 2015).


I played 137 games for the first time this year (or at least it was the first time I recorded a play of them).


My total number of plays skyrocketed this year to 732, up from 556 in 2016 and 676 in 2015.
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8. Board Game: Anachrony [Average Rating:8.16 Overall Rank:78]
Ben Steinhauser
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San Antonio
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2017 was the the first of hopefully several years where the number of games I acquired was less than the number I got rid of.

Games I acquired in 2017:

Anachrony
Yokohama
Gaia Project
One Night Ultimate Alien
Lorenzo il Magnifico
Pandemic: Iberia
Three Kingdoms Redux
The Colonists
Canal Mania
Carcassonne: South Seas
Urban Sprawl
Silverton

Expansions I got in 2017:

Arkham Horror: Kingsport Horror
Arkham Horror: Dunwich Horror
Orleans Promos
Terra Mystica: Fire & Ice
A ton of Shadows of Brimstone expansions

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9. Board Game: Tango [Average Rating:3.06 Unranked]
Ben Steinhauser
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For 2018 I want to continue my quest to play my favorite games as often as possible. Ones that I'm actively going try to play more are:

Railways of the World series
Battlestar Galactica
Merchant of Venus
Eclipse
Altiplano (when it becomes widely available)


One of my friends is trying to play all the games in BGG's top 100. This intrigues me so I'm going to try to have recorded plays of all the games in the top 100 by the end of 2018. I started recording my game plays in mid 2012, so there are games that I have played before in the top 100, but don't have recorded plays of.

Games in the top 100 (as of 1/3/2018) that I don't have recorded plays of:

Gloomhaven
Star Wars: Rebellion
War of the Ring (Second Edition) (own)
Arkham Horror: The Card Game
Orleans (all my game plays are recorded under the Deluxe edition)
Kingdom Death: Monster
Dominion: Intrigue (own and played before)
Dominion (own and played before)
Crokinole (played before)
War of the Ring (first edition)
Arcadia Quest
Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 (Wow! It's already in the top 100)
Commands & Colors: Ancients (played before)
Clans of Caledonia
Paths of Glory
Combat Commander: Europe (owned and played before)
Jaipur
Lord of the Rings: The Card Game (owned and played before)


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