First played in 2018
Lars Arndts
Netherlands
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This is a geeklist of the games I played for the very first time in 2017 in chronological order. The list will be updated regularly throughout the year. I'll post the date of my first play together with some first thoughts and a first impression rating for every list item.
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1. Board Game: Fog of Love [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:923]
Lars Arndts
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First played on 05/01. Owned.

"Fog of Love" was a christmas present from my wife. I asked for it after having read and heard rave reviews. Both my wife and I were a bit befuddled by this game, if you could even call this a game. It defies description but I'll give it a go anyways. FoL is a storytelling, roleplaying, choose your own adventure relationship simulator in which players try to achieve their destiny in life. The goal isn't necessarily to achieve a harmonious relationship between the characters in the game. One player can achieve his or her destiny and for the purposes of the game have won, while the other player's characters will lead an unhappy life. This might be thematically accurate (unfortunately) but as a gaming experience this can be a let down. We really need to play this game a couple more times to get a feel for it. And to rewire our gaming brains and enjoy the story more instead of the gaming experience.

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2. Board Game: Agricola: Family Edition [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:1376]
Lars Arndts
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First played on 07/01. Owned.

I also got this for christmas. I already own the revised "expert" edition but this is a welcome addition. For now, I like this better than the original. It's more streamlined, faster and works great as a solo game. This is a perfect gateway game to the worker placement genre. But it is also a great gateway game to the original Agricola. I intend to introduce this game to a lot of friends in the coming weeks and months.

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3. Board Game: Charterstone [Average Rating:8.11 Overall Rank:94]
Lars Arndts
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First played on 08/01

Very fun and light worker placement legacy game. Players are working together to build up a village. This is a competitive game though. You build your own buildings to earn VP but these buildings can be used by others. Buildings merely represent better worker placement spots. I like the various ways to score points. Nothing special, but certainly enjoyable.

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4. Board Game: Riga [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:8370]
Lars Arndts
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First played on 13/01.

Take a bit of coloretto, add a dash of splendor and a pinch of Machi Koro and you have "Riga". The name and look are dry as dirt but the mechanisms are very fun and quick. A very pleasant surprise.

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5. Board Game: Altiplano [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:671]
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First played on 13/01.

Orléans 2.0. Reiner Stockhausen does it again with "Altiplano", a second pool building game from DLP games. This time the theme takes us to South America where we are gathering exotic resources on several locations in the Andes and converting these resources in even more valuable resources. Altiplano does some things better than Orléans. For example you cycle through your entire reserve of resources before returning them to you drawbag, making the game slightly less random. However, I find the puzzle here far less interesting, the theme too dry and the game takes far too long. Our 3 player game lasted 2,5 hours. I can play a game of Orléans in an hour. I will play Orléans over this any time.

 
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6. Board Game: Dinosaur Island [Average Rating:7.99 Overall Rank:325] [Average Rating:7.99 Unranked]
Lars Arndts
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First played on 13/01. On my wishlist

"Dinosaurs and man. Two species seperated by 65 million years of evolution, just been suddenly thrown back in the mix together. How can we have the slightest idea what to expect?"
"Dinosaur Island" is Jurassic Park the game. And it is magnificent. The game plays like a dream, looks superb (yes I like the neon colours) and blends several mechanisms in a fun and engaging way. It is rumoured that a second edition or reprint will be kickstarted in March. I will be there.

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7. Board Game: Chimera Station [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:1023]
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First played on 31/01.

Very fast and interesting worker placement game. Your workers are aliens building a space station. These aliens have the ability to adapt their bodies to suit their needs. By growing extra sets of coloured arms, your workers can have special abilities. A neat concept that works well. I really enjoyed my first play, but two other players in our 4 player game disliked the game a lot. I agreed with them that to be last in a four player game is a rough position to be in. But I wouldn't mind playing this again with two or three players.

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8. Board Game: Fantasy Defense [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:4759]
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First played on 01/02. Owned.

"Fantasy Defense" is a hand management card game. It's basically a tower defense game in a medieval fantasy setting. It kind of reminds me of a card version of the battle of Helm's Deep. This is first and foremost a solitaire game, that can be played co-operatively. I've only played it solo thusfar and I enjoyed it more than I expected. The artwork is gorgeous, the kickstarter playmat looks fantastisc and the gameplay mechanisms are easy and streamlined. I've lost every single game thusfar and I've only played with the human faction. There is also an elves faction in the basegame and an expansion called the Stone King. A great, little card game.

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9. Board Game: Near and Far [Average Rating:8.05 Overall Rank:152] [Average Rating:8.05 Unranked]
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First played 04/02. Owned.

This is the first game I played by Ryan Laukat. I always wanted to play Above and Below but never got around to it. But I heard so many good stories about "Near and Far" that I decided to take the plunge and blind buy the game. "Near and Far" is a campaign based, resource management, race game where players try to build the most camps and score the most points. The eye catchers here are the atlas book (a book filled with various game boards) and the questbook that contains all the stories. My wife and I enjoyed our first play a lot. The worker placement and resource management are nothing special, but the quests are delightful and infuse this game with theme. I can't wait for my second playthough.

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10. Board Game: Sid Meier's Civilization: A New Dawn [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:899]
Lars Arndts
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First played on 07/02.

"Civilization: A New Dawn" could not be more different from it's 2010 predecessor. This is a fast game that feels more like a optimalization race than a civ game. I enjoyed my first play (probably because I won, which doesn't happen often when I'm at my game group) but I did feel the game almost played itself. I loved the focus bar mechanism and the card upgrade ability. But while some players at the table didn't know what to do on their turn, I knew my next three turns well in advance. Even though our first 4 player game only lasted 110 minutes, it still felt somewhat long.

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11. Board Game: YINSH [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:131] [Average Rating:7.70 Unranked]
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First played on 22/02. Owned.

I bought a secondhand copy of "YINSH" in my local thrift store for 2 euro's. It's probably the best board game acquisition I made in ages. I've only played it a couple of times with my wife and I think we've only scratched the surface of its depth. But this is a superbly produced abstract strategy game that is easy to teach yet hard to master. The priase it is heaped upon it is justified.

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12. Board Game: Zombicide: Green Horde [Average Rating:8.29 Overall Rank:1427] [Average Rating:8.29 Unranked]
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First played on 25/02. Owned.

"Zombicide: Green Horde" is by my count the fifth entry in the long running co-operative survival horror game series by CMON and Guillotine games. This is a stand alone game that could also be used as an expansion for Zombicide: Black Plague. Green Horde however is in my opinion better than its predecessor. Gone are the annoying and fiddly double spawn cards. Enter the horde, a pool of baddies that collect outside the playing field, waiting to suddenly appear as a huge army for your heroes to deal with. I like this system so much better, because it ratchets up the tension. All players can see the horde grow stronger and stronger. I also like it because players can reduce the number of the horde with the trebuchet, another fantastic new addition to the game. The trebuchet is a powerfull weapon that takes a 3 action points to fire. But it can do a lot of damage. It can even take out abominations without the use of dragon bile. This means you always have a weapon at your disposal against these menacing giants. Green Horde feels less dependent on luck (especially luck of the draw with regards to the equipment deck). So much so that I doubt I will ever play Zombicide again without some of these new rules. Bring on the expansions!

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13. Board Game: Majesty: For the Realm [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:819]
Lars Arndts
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First played on 28/02. On my wishlist.

"Majesty" is quick, interactive set collection card game by Marc André, the designer of Splendor. Much like Splendor this game hits my family friendly gateway game sweet spot. I loved my first play of this. The card draft is simple yet satisfying. The set collection gives you a lot of options. The point salad nature makes your turns very satisfying. And it is over before you know it, making a second play almost mandatory. Majesty goes on my wishlist.

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14. Board Game: Istanbul: The Dice Game [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:1626]
Lars Arndts
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First played on 28/02.

An interesting dice version of Rudiger Dorn's "Instanbul". I don't like this as much as the award winning euro. In fact, I didn't like it as much as I hoped or thought I would. The game takes about as much time to play as a regular game of Instanbul, but with less turns. I felt there was a lot of downtime where you're waiting on other people to decide what to do with their dice. I wasn't engaged through out. I would maybe play again as a 2 or 3 player game, but never again with four players.

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15. Board Game: Rising Sun [Average Rating:8.26 Overall Rank:64]
Lars Arndts
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First played on 07/03.

Much like Blood Rage, Eric Lang's "Rising Sun" didn't wow me over, as it has done many others. I can not fault the presentation by CMON. The many plastic player pieces, tiles and miniatures look superb, as does the huge neoprene playmat we used in our session. But the game mechanisms here are hardly innovative or new. In fact, the entire concept of the game has been done before with Shogun. The action selection mechanism is straight out of Puerto Rico, the bidding during the war phase reminds me a lot of the auction in Cyclades as does "buying" various monsters to aid you in your battles. The rest of it is just a run of the mill dudes on a map area control game. Sure, Rising Sun is one of the most stylish and best looking area control games out there. But looks in this case aren't enough to justify it's already high ranking in the BGG top list of games.

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16. Board Game: Kraftwagen [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:784]
Lars Arndts
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First played on 15/03.

"Kraftwagen" is a very nice medium heavy euro game about building, racing and selling cars. I totally messed up my first play against two very experienced player, one of which won with more than twice the amount of points I managed to get. Player interaction is pretty heavy for a euro game. Players have a lot of influence on what the others around the table can and can not do. One of the most important spots on the board is the research action where players grab cards to build up a game engine (increasing for example the car body or engine output). There is a lot of competition for these cards and luck of the draw can be an issue here. It meant I lost bigtime. Still, I liked Kraftwagen quite a bit. The game mechanisms are simple and straight forward, the playtime is nice and short and the interactivity makes the game highly replayable.

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17. Board Game: Dungeon Petz [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:137]
Lars Arndts
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First played on 18/03.

"Dungeon Petz" is a nicely themed eurogame about raising and selling magical pets in a fantasy world. It combines worker placement with a hand/card management mechanism. I won my first play, which is a rare occurence for me. But I suspect this had as much to do with the luck of the draw as it did my strategic choices. I thought Dungeon Petz was a bit involved for what it boils down to. And although I enjoyed the game I don't think I would play it again in a hurry.

 
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18. Board Game: Tramways [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:1118]
Lars Arndts
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First played on 28/03.

"Tramways" is a really nice pick up and deliver game with a brutal auction mechanism and a pinch of deck building. The game has a highly abstract but unique graphic design which I liked. I thought the rules of the game were quite straight forward but a number of players at the table thought the game was complicated and dense. However, our first game lasted 2,5 hours sans rules explanation, which is too long for my liking. When playing with people who know the game, this should never last longer than 2 hours. I might want to try this again.

 
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19. Board Game: Monza [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:1872]
Lars Arndts
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First played on 31/03. Owned.

Lovely, simple race game. Roll some coloured dice and try to find a path on the circuit that matched those colours to race across. I bought this for my son but he is a bit too young. But my neighbour's six year old daughter enjoyed it quite a lot. Can't wait to eventually play this with my son.

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20. Board Game: Spirit Island [Average Rating:8.49 Overall Rank:55]
Lars Arndts
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First played on 04/04. Owned.

"Spirit Island" is a rather complex co-operative strategy board game. It's been called Settlers of Catan in reverse. The theme is fantastic. Players inhabit ancient spirits protecting a pacific indigenous tribe of people (called the Dahan) from waves of explorers and settlers ravaging their island. The goal of the game is to terrorize the settlers into giving up on the island. Spirit Island combines resource management (energy, fear) with deck- and tableau building. Spirits are asymmetrical and the gameplay is very diverse. When considering all possible options on my turn, I often lose sight of the theme. Still I love the heavy, crunchy puzzle here. I have played several learning games and only finished a game once. I love the game multiplayer but it also plays well solo. A great addition to my collection.

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21. Board Game: Doodle City [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:2961]
Lars Arndts
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First played on 07/04. Owned.

"Doodly City" is a dice-drafting, route building, roll and write game. I've only tried this game as a solo game, which works fine. But I hope to play this with friends who aren't into complex board games. This ticks all the boxes: Simple riles, quick to play, relatable theme with dice! Great travel game also.

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22. Board Game: Timeline: Historical Events [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:926] [Average Rating:6.80 Unranked]
Lars Arndts
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First played on 13/04.

"Timeline" is a historical trivia game. Players start the game with 4 cards in front of them, each depicting an historical event. In turn order players try to lose a card by playing it in the right chronological order, thus creating a timeline. It starts off easy but gets harder each turn as more cards are added to the timeline. Very nice concept. But the game has a short half-life. If you play the game a number of times, you get to know the cards well and the game gets easier. Still, a nice concept that also happens to be educational.

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23. Board Game: One Night Ultimate Werewolf [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:264] [Average Rating:7.28 Unranked]
Lars Arndts
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First played on 13/04. Owned.

"One Night Ultimate Werewolf" is the ultimate social deduction game. Every player gets a secret role. Most are villagers protecting their home from one or two prowling werewolfs. The werewolf players try to prevent that the villagers discover their identities. A great concept of a game. Tense, exciting and often hilarious. But One Night Ultimate Werewolf is as good as the weakest player around the table. Players that aren't into role playing can sink this game. You really need a dedicated group of players. I very much like the concept of the game more than my first plays of it.

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