2009 Fives and Dimes (Avron)
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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This is the games I played at least 5 times throughout 2009.

As it was in 2008, more than half of my gaming during 2009 was on Wednesday nights or Saturday afternoons at the home of a couple gracious enough to allow people into their home on a regular basis (hereafter referred to as the WNGs). There was also what I expect to be about a third at the home of the individual (Steve) responsible for introducing me to Catan although that was barely played there this year.
I also got to game quite a bit in the final week of the year as I was on holiday with a lot of people, many of them willing to play my games (which at least a couple commented on being different).

Luckily for me, and partly because of the number of games available at the Wednesday night place I don't tend to play games I dislike more than a couple of times.
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1. Board Game: Stone Age [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:79]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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My rating: 8.5 (dropped after excessive 2-player games)
Plays in 2009: 67
Own: since Feb 2009
First played: 2008-11-14
Last year: 7th equal with 9 plays

Nearly all of these games involved Steve and two thirds were just the two of us. That excess has led to it dropping back from a 9 for me although I'll still play it almost whenever it's on offer as long as there's more than just two involved.
 
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2. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:139] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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My rating: 8
Plays in 2009: 26
Own: since Feb 2006
First played: 2006-02-22 (although I had been playing online at http://games.asobrain.com/ for a while)
Last year: 2nd equal with 14 plays

Nine of these happened in the last week of the year while I was away and were mostly teaching games. Most of the rest were played after two or three games of Stone Age and usually involved at least one of the expansions I own. (Carcassonne: Expansion 1 – Inns & Cathedrals, Carcassonne: Expansion 2 – Traders & Builders, or, Carcassonne: Expansion 5 – Abbey & Mayor))
 
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3. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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My rating: 7
Plays in 2009: 20
Own: No
First played: 2009-05-27

The shuffling in this gets to be annoying if your deck remains small, and if it's not then you aren't getting to use the cards you want. I'll probably continue to play when given the chance, if only because the games should usually be quite quick.
 
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4. Board Game: Vikings [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:312]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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My rating: 8
Plays in 2009: 19
Own: since Dec 2008
First played: 2008-05-10
Last year: 1st with 20 plays

Quickly superseded by Stone Age with Steve after I taught him that and the WNG sessions usually end up with longer games or more people than this takes.
I probably should suggest it more on Wednesdays.
 
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5. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:17]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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My rating: 7
Plays in 2009: 11
Own: No
First played: 2008-08-20
Last year: 10th equal with 8 plays

Most of these were 2-player with Steve after he got a copy in November. There's quite a bit of difference compared to the multi-opponent games which I'd had more experience with. I still haven't got around to introducing the extra cards for the full version so I'm not sure how much more interest that could incite in Steve.
 
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6. Board Game: Blue Moon City [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:502]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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My rating: 7
Plays in 2009: 10
Own: No
First played: 2009-08-19

After a night of playing wrong (due to our explainer having been taught incorrectly) this became popular for a while. I prefer it with more people due to the increased interaction of finishing what others have started.
Until such time as my opinion changes I'll play this when asked unless there's a better game going.
 
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7. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:281] [Average Rating:7.22 Unranked]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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My rating: 6 (8 with the Cities & Knights expansion)
Plays in 2009: 9 (all with Cities & Knights)
Own: No (too many others have it)
First played: 2004-09-27
Last year: 6th with 10 plays

All but one game played against Steve and one of three others in the early part of the year. There is no way I will ever again play this as much as I used to but if it's what someone else wants to play I could be convinced. I do get a little frustrated when people can't remember the simple things after thier first game though.
 
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8. Board Game: Galaxy Trucker [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:128]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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My rating: 8
Plays in 2009: 8
Own: Not yet
First played: 2008-12-17

I think I will always agree to play this (especially when it's just the original game) but I'll prefer to play before I spend any time drinking alcohol. The need to find particular types of tiles at speed doesn't mesh well with drinking.
 
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9. Board Game: Le Havre [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:37]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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My rating: 7
Plays in 2009: 7
Own: No
First played: 2009-03-07

This game is too long for me to enjoy it as much as I might otherwise. That stated, I will play when it's going to be one of a number of games instead of the only game I play in a session. And I'll probably lose due to inefficiencies. Playing with other than 4 total may allow me to enjoy the game more although I don't think 5 will be the way to go.
 
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10. Board Game: Jamaica [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:404]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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My rating: 8
Plays in 2009: 7
Own: No
First played: 2008-11-15

I can't see me wanting to play this with less than four total and even that I expect I'll prefer something else. With five or six however there's still not a lot of downtime and it's fun to watch the others fight or shake fists at them when they make it to treasure cards you wanted.
Even after a year I'm still impressed with the artwork.
 
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11. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:126] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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My rating: 9
Plays in 2009: 7
Own: since April 2007
First played: 2007-04-14
Last year: 5th with 12 plays

After 82 games (that's only tabletop) the year I purchased my copy I haven't played anywhere near as much of this since. This year I played three 2-player with a friend I don't see often and four 5-player at the end of year camp I was on. Judging from the reaction of a couple of those at camp I might be able to convince some of them to play again in the future.
 
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12. Board Game: Alhambra [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:396]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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My rating: 8
Plays in 2009: 6
Own: since May 2008
First played: 2008-03-19

None of these games used my set, and all were 4-player. For the length of time it takes there's to much randomness with more than four people but it seems like not enough decisions to make it anything more than a gateway level game. I still want to play it more though.
 
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13. Board Game: El Capitán [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:1271]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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My rating: 8
Plays in 2009: 6
Own: Not yet
First played: 2008-11-13

Trying to be the most efficient in the first round seems to leave me in a good position for the second and third as I can typically avoid taking as many loans as my opponents. That's not enough to guarantee victory though, I need to pay more attention to the majorities and probable pay-offs in each city.
I'm also hesitant to try another 5-player game after the first one I played in took about three hours.
 
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14. Board Game: Endeavor [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:202]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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My rating: 7
Plays in 2009: 6
Own: No
First played: 2009-10-21

The new big game for the WNGs at the end of 2009. An enforced round limit and the simple mechanics help make the game good and easy to learn. I continue to have trouble with cost/benefit assessment though, usually well behind the winner.
 
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15. Board Game: Cutthroat Caverns [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:1155]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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My rating: 6
Plays in 2009: 5
Own: No
First played: 2009-01-07

A filler game that relies on working together and screwing your neighbour at the same time. I'm not that fond of it because of that but the potentially quick game keeps me willing to play more. As does the enthusiasm of one of it's proponents.
 
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16. Board Game: Manila [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:623]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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My rating: 8
Plays in 2009: 5
Own: No
First played: 2008-10-22

I seem to enjoy this far more than the other WNGs and so I'm not hopeful of getting to play it much in 2010. The simple gameplay means I could probably get some of my other friends to play if they were willing to learn something new.
 
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17. Board Game: Poker [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:864]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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My rating: 7
Plays in 2009: 5
Own: No (no chips)
First played 2007-12-28 (although I had played online before)

Texas Hold'em in each of these recorded games. Four of which were with people I didn't really see apart from at those games (and a couple of Guitar Hero get-togethers). The other recorded session was at the end of year camp against the adults that had been playing.
(I also played a number of other games with some of the teens that I haven't included as there was far less considered play in those games.)
 
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18. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:29]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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My rating: 8
Plays in 2009: 5
Own: No
First played: 2008-02-16
Last year: 4th with 13 plays

I continue to enjoy this when I play but don't do as well as I'd like, usually because I'm miserly when it comes to mid-game power plant auctions. The extra details introduced by the expansion maps aren't important enough that I'd want to have them if the game was mine but those I've played were entertaining enough.
 
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19. Board Game: The Princes of Florence [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:119]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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My rating: 8
Plays in 2009: 5
Own: Not yet
First played: 2008-05-24

I should have played this a lot more than I did this year, not getting my first game of it in until August. I'm not sure how I feel about playing with 5 compared to 4 but either is preferable to a 3-player game.
 
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20. Board Game: Tantrix [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:2180]
Gareth Reynolds
New Zealand
Christchurch
Canterbury
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My rating: 8
Plays in 2009: 5
Own: since 2008-10 (given my parents set)
First played: 1995?

This is a game I will play whenever I'm given the chance I think, not surprising considering my tendency towards liking abstracts.
After two years of WNGs going to Hanmer Springs it has become the morning game while the early risers wait for others to wake up.
I also got to play a couple of games at the end of year camp although I don't think it's particularly high on anyone else's list of preferred games.
 
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