2018 Challenge: Get Your Magic Number to 0
D. Shannon Berry
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
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Well, here we are again! 2018 has arrived and I still have unplayed games on my shelf, having failed my 2017 challenge. For this challenge, I will attempt to play, sell, or trade every unplayed game in my collection. This list will track my progress of games played. I'm also going to try to keep track of games added and crossed off this list better than I did last year.

MY MAGIC NUMBER IS 18

Kickoff List




January
Games Played

Games Traded

Games Acquired


February
Games Played

Games Acquired


March
Games Played

Games Acquired


April
Games Played

Games Acquired

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1. Board Game: Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:173]
D. Shannon Berry
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
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The only game from the original list, this month marks 3 years this game has waited on our shelf to be played. I've gone as far as to set this game up twice now, and last time it waited under the leaves of our game table for over a week before it was usurped by my new game night. I've read the rulebook cover to cover. I've watched numerous videos. THIS GAME WILL LEAVE THIS LIST IN 2018 ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.
 
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2. Board Game: Nations [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:94]
D. Shannon Berry
United States
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Alabama
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Acquired January 2017, this is the second oldest unplayed game on the shelf. I predicted this would be hard to get to the table last year and I was right. I'm frustrated by it, too, because this looks like it would be a strong contender for my Top 10. My son has offered to play this multiple times, so there is hope, it's just a matter of finding the time.
 
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3. Board Game: Great Western Trail [Average Rating:8.28 Overall Rank:9]
D. Shannon Berry
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Acquired September 2017 in a Math Trade, this game is one of four incumbents from my 2017 list. If this played five, I probably would have forced my game group into it already. As with Nations and Civilization, weight and play time are the major barriers here. I may have to break this one out solo.
 
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4. Board Game: Charterstone [Average Rating:8.11 Overall Rank:95]
D. Shannon Berry
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The last addition to this list from 2017, received from a PiFF just two days before the end of the year. I'm struggling with whether to take this game to game night or keep it at home with the family, though ultimately I'll probably buy a recharge pack and play it with both, so it's just a question of where to start. This is my first legacy game, so I'm a little anxious to start, in every sense of the word.
 
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5. Board Game: Near and Far [Average Rating:8.05 Overall Rank:150] [Average Rating:8.05 Unranked]
D. Shannon Berry
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I missed out on backing this on Kickstarter by only a few hours, but since then I've been holding myself back from buying it. I love everything this game does, but it's similar enough to Above & Below that I've been wanting to get more out of that game first before having this game on my shelf. ... Then it went on sale for half price at ThinkGeek and I couldn't resist any longer. I'm drooling over this, but I'm going to try to get five plays out of A&B before breaking this one out, so I don't expect it to make it off this list until summer at the earliest.
 
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6. Board Game: Vast: The Crystal Caverns [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:480] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
D. Shannon Berry
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
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This game had never really been on my radar, but half price games and a free shipping threshold will lead you into rash decisions sometimes. That being said, having watched a playthrough, I'm pretty optimistic about this game. The theme is right up our alley and the I think the unique mechanics for each player will work well with us. One thing I really appreciate is that the knight protagonist is female, which my daughter will absolutely love.
 
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7. Board Game: Raiders of the North Sea [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:143] [Average Rating:7.82 Unranked]
D. Shannon Berry
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
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This game caught my attention when the expansions hit Kickstarter in 2017. I loved the art before I ever knew who The Mico was, but the buy-in was too steep for me to give it a shot. Then I heard about it on the Dukes of Dice and pretty much everywhere else I consume board game media, so much so that I couldn't ignore it. By the time the Kennerspiel nominations came out, I was already a huge fan without having ever played a turn. This box finally hit my shelf after arriving in a ridiculously generous box sent by the mystical Kevin, and I'm planning on forcing my game group to play it (with expansions, since we'll need 5) at our next game night.
 
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8. Board Game: Scythe [Average Rating:8.30 Overall Rank:7]
D. Shannon Berry
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
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I've always been a bit conflicted about this game. I saw the Kickstarter before I ever knew who Jamey Stegmaier was, and was somewhat interested in the game but not the art. The art never wowed me because I was already familiar with Jakub Rozalski's work and slapping that on a board game didn't really appeal to me or sell me at all. When it finally hit shelves, I resisted it just due to the my contrary nature of having a grudge against things wildly popular. So I passed on it still and determined to give it more thought when the hotness had cooled off. Well, too many reviewers I actually trust (Dukes of Dice, again, among others), still raved about the game even after the hype, so I figured I'd get it when I could afford it. If not for the awesome generosity of Kevin, I'm sure this would still be a dozen spots down on my "To Buy Eventually" list, but luckily this beast now has a home on my shelves next to the equally awkwardly shaped boxes of Viticulture and Euphoria. Now I just have to find the time to get it to the game group, since this is one of those games (with Civ and GWT) just too heavy for my kids just yet.
 
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9. Board Game: Legacy of Dragonholt [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:1376] [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:304]
D. Shannon Berry
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
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"An adventure game with storytelling" is what my daughter asked my dad for for her birthday, which also happened to be right when this game was hot. Well, Granddad came through, and this is one of the top games on our "Must Play" list at home. I'm especially interested in the potential for maybe playing this in the car, since we have a long road trip coming up. Excited for this one.
 
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10. Board Game: Hunt for the Ring [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:2529]
D. Shannon Berry
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
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"Secret Unit Deployment" was a mechanic my shelf was completely lacking, and after watching Tabletop's Fury of Dracula, I knew that was something I'd have to remedy. This was ordered for me for my birthday last year, but delays landed the delivery in this year and ended up making this the second 'hide and seek' type game on my shelf, after Specter Ops. Still, we're hugely invested in the theme and Specter Ops was definitely well-received. This one is kind of waiting for the right night to hit the table when my wife is willing to learn something new, though.
 
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11. Board Game: City of Iron: Second Edition [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:1292]
D. Shannon Berry
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
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There are few Laukat titles that I won't actively seek out, so when I got the opportunity to trade Battlestar Galactica for this, I took it. Hopefully, it's one of those rare trades where both parties feel like they got the better deal out of it, because I'm certainly happier with this on my shelf, since I have no idea when I would've found 4+ hours to learn BSG. This one's a little complex for the kids, but I'm going to give it a shot anyway.
 
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12. Board Game: Alien Frontiers [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:159]
D. Shannon Berry
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
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13. Board Game: Pulsar 2849 [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:555]
D. Shannon Berry
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Alabama
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14. Board Game: Shipwrights of the North Sea [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:2389] [Average Rating:6.55 Unranked]
D. Shannon Berry
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
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15. Board Game: That's a Question! [Average Rating:6.02 Overall Rank:4868]
D. Shannon Berry
United States
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Alabama
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16. Board Game: Hardback [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:1408]
D. Shannon Berry
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17. Board Game: DragonFlame [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:4608]
D. Shannon Berry
United States
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Alabama
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18. Board Game: Sakura Hunt [Average Rating:5.98 Unranked]
D. Shannon Berry
United States
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Alabama
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19. Board Game: First Class [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:349]
D. Shannon Berry
United States
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Alabama
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Received December 2017, I can blame this game on all the board game media (podcasts, videos, etc) I consumed in 2017. Prior to this game, the only train game I had in my collection was Colt Express, and I was happy to keep it that way. But after hearing this game mentioned positively over and over , I finally checked it out... and was hooked. This game checks so many boxes for me that it's probably the game I'm most excited for in 2018.

Played: January 4

Couldn't wait. Even though I'm slated to bring this to the game group next week, I ended up keeping my kids up way too late on a weeknight to break this out for the first time. I loved it, and it actually ended up being competitive, with my daughter winning by 3 points (though I made a couple non-optimal choices). The sheer number of cards everyone has makes this a little fiddly, enough so that I wonder if some kind of plastic sleeve roll might be feasible for keeping everything in place. In describing the game to my kids I was surprised to realize how very similar this game is to Dream Home (though more complex), which is one of our recent favorites. In any case, a keeper. Excited to get this in front of the group, too.
 
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20. Board Game: Islebound [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:650] [Average Rating:7.34 Unranked]
D. Shannon Berry
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
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Received November 2017, this was probably the Laukat game I was least expecting to add to my collection. But my son and I love Laukat games of all stripes and this looks like it will be a good weight for him to enjoy. It will be interesting to see if this gives us a better area control experience than Kingdom Builder, which we didn't really enjoy last time. And if nothing else, we can still use the components in Above and Below, which we love.

Played: January 12

"Snow" day game day! Got this to the table with the kids during a snowless snow day. I think the kids were somewhat overwhelmed with so many choices, and they also had trouble thinking in terms of long-term strategy. I won easily, because I never had to compete for things like events or buildings, even though I pointed them out to them repeatedly. This definitely had very satisfying engine-building elements that are largely lacking from most of the Laukat titles we play, and I think it will improve as the kids get both more familiar with the game and more mature in general. Enjoyable and definitely a keeper, but unsatisfying with the kids for now.
 
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21. Board Game: Codenames: Marvel [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:4725] [Average Rating:6.55 Unranked]
D. Shannon Berry
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
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Acquired during the ThinkGeek sale. When this game was announced I assumed it would be a slam dunk for us. We love Codenames, we love Marvel. But after looking into it, I hesitated buying it. The depth of Marvel lore that goes into this game is way deeper than what I have, and mine goes five or six times deeper than anyone else in our family, so I wasn't sure it would be a good fit. I held off on buying it until the ThinkGeek price would no longer let me say 'no'.... plus I needed something to get past that free shipping threshold!

Played: January 22nd

Got this played with my son after picking him up early on Government Shutdown Day. My fears of the game's depths were easy to work around. Though a 'plain' word side is provided, we went 100% pictures, and there is plenty enough there to give clues on even if we don't always know the context. The art is beautiful and it's good solid Codenames fun. Happy to have this in my collection!
 
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22. Board Game: Tides of Time [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:836]
D. Shannon Berry
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
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Who doesn't love a free game? Sent by a kind redditor, this looks like a great filler game, hopefully with a small enough footprint to play easily in the living room. I'm not expecting to be wowed here but this looks like a great addition to the collection.

Played: January 24th

Played once each with my kids. My daughter kicked my butt, which is always a good sign. Pretty much everything I wanted and more. Played in about 10 minutes and so small we could've played it in the car if we really wanted to. A good low-investment filler.
 
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23. Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:62]
D. Shannon Berry
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
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Received in a trade September 2017, this is the last incumbent on the list and the only one I've given up on. There's simply no way I'll ever find four hours to devote to this game. If I can't PiFF it, I'll be seeing if I can find a new home for it in one of the monthly math trades.

Traded: January 25th

Gone! After two unsuccessful math trades and a few frustrating interactions (and plenty of pleasant interactions with people who just weren't interested), I finally got a deal I can be happy with out of this game. I found a trade for City of Iron Second Edition on the Board Game Exchange Facebook group. So, more Laukat incoming on this list soon!
 
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24. Board Game: La Isla [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:725]
D. Shannon Berry
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
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I'm... not a big fan of Zooloretto. Which is a problem, because it's my daughter's favorite game. Other games have been big hits with her, like Flash Point, but she always comes back to Zooloretto. So when I saw another game with a strong animal-friendly, animal-centric theme that was heavier but with a similar play time, I was immediately interested (hoping to dethrone Zooloretto). Throw in the fact that it's a Feld, who we already love, and it's a no-brainer.

Played: January 26th

Success! Well, truthfully, I don't know if this has dethroned Zooloretto or not, yet, but it was definitely a success. My son absolutely whooped my butt (which I generally consider a good sign) and the theme really sang with all of us. Zooloretto might stay my daughter's favorite game--we'll see--but she was eager to replace it with this game on our 10x10, so I'm counting that as a win!
 
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25. Board Game: Sid Meier's Civilization: A New Dawn [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:909]
D. Shannon Berry
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
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I received this in a giant box of unbelievable generosity. Truthfully, I was hesitant about picking this up for myself considering how long the original has sat on my shelf, still unplayed. But the more accessible play in this game might be just the right fit for the family.

Played: February 2

After watching several videos, this finally hit the table on Groundhog Day. All told, it took us about 3 hours from opening the box to declaring a winner, including first time setup, rules explanation, some rules lookups, and several snack breaks. I think we could probably get this under 1.5 hours with three, and closer to 1 hour with just 1.

It really scratches the Civilization itch, but it definitely has some issues. The endgame can get into a real take-that slog, especially with Nuclear Power on the table, and I feel like there are definitely too few victory cards. The focus row is an awesome mechanic, but it also takes away some of the fun of my favorite part of civ games, the tech tree, so it's an interesting trade off there. Finally, there's no exploration, but setting up the initial map does seem like it could be a fun aspect of the game which we're all looking forward to on our second play.

It's not the perfect Civilization game or civ-builder game in general, but the ease of play means it will see the table a lot easier than the first Civilization ever will. And the things it does lack I'm not sure the original Civ does any better anyways. So right now I'm having a real dilemma about whether the first Civ is headed for the trade pile without a single play to its name!
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