For me, 2006 was a fine gaming year. Most of my gaming came from three sources: a lunch group at work, weekly Wednesdays with the Tri-Valley Boardgamers ( http://groups.yahoo.com/trivalleygamers ) and every third (or so) Friday with a private group that a friend hosts. Add in some occasional play here and there and you get a lot of fun.
Here are the raw numbers. The numbers in parentheses are the numbers from 2005:
546 games, total (464)
140 distinct titles (148)
64 new to me titles (74)
89 titles dropped from 2005 (75)
17 prodigal titles. (7) (More on this later.)
So let's see...on average I played each distinct title nearly three times. As it turns out, 64 of the titles were played only once, leaving 76 titles played 482 times (just over 6 plays per repeated title). I find myself wanting to get more mileage out of the games I own, so this is a nice development.
New to Me
Of course, there were also 64 new to me titles, so it wasn't all just playing the oldies in the collection. 64 of the games I played in 2006 I had never played before. That's primarily due to the Tri-Valley Boardgamers, where playing the unplayed games in our collections seemed to get some focus. I certainly focused on that, anyway. It kind of goes along with wanting more mileage out of my collection. Anyway, here's that list, with the occasional commentary:
- 10 Days in Europe
- Amazeing Labyrinth
- Antike - Not my style in general, but fairly pleasant until the endgame, where we stagnated. Ugh.
- Arkham Horror - Curse of the Dark Pharaoh Expansion - A nice addition to Arkham Horror. I'm sure we'll see this some more.
- Arkham Horror (1984) - The older version. Certainly more streamlined than the original.
- Around the World in 80 Days - One play left me wondering if it's indeed possible to finish in under 80 days.
- Blooming Gardens
- Blue Moon - I didn't see the draw when I played it, and nothing is compelling me to keep searching.
- Blue Moon City
- Bus - Online as Spiel-by-web. Interesting, and worth more investigating.
- Canal Mania - Great fun! I'd love for it to hit my nickels in 2007
- Cape Horn - This seemed to end a turn before it ended. I'd need to adjust my plans for this game accordingly next time I play.
- Capt'n Clever
- Cosmic Eidex - Very finicky in the ruleset, but still one I like to play. I just need to find two like-minded opponents.
- Downfall of Pompeii, The
- Elasund: The First City
- Entdecker, new - I'd played the old Entdecker some time ago, and got this in trade. Count me amongst those who don't like the huts.
- Gene Pool
- Great Railroad Game, the
- Händler, die
- Helden & Zaubersprüche - Expansion to Zauberschwert & Drachenei, an Adlung game worth playing (not that other Adlung games aren't).
- In the Shadow of the Emperor
- Lord of the Rings: Friends & Foes
- Margin for Error
- Memoir '44 - Sometimes frustrating in a good way, sometimes frustrating in a bad way. Always frustrating.
- Mit List und Tücke
- Once Upon a Time
- Once Upon a Time: Dark Tales
- Pecunia Non Olet - I actually really like theme. But this play took the game off my want list.
- Phoenix - I thought it felt similar to Gene Pool, and while this was good, I think I liked Gene Pool better
- Pick Picnic
- PitchCar Mini
- PitchCar Mini Extension
- Power Grid - Italy/France
- Railway Rivals - I'd love to see this on the table again.
- Reef Encounter
- Saint Petersburg - Seems like a game I should really like. Maybe I need more plays to get more comfortable with it?
- Savannah Cafe
- Stimmt So!
- Stunt Academy - It took me over a year to play this, and wasn't that impressed. I preferred their Bad Hollywood, released at the same time.
- Tanz der Hornochsen
- Techno Witches - I like programmed movement, but I need to look at the scenarios again. Some seemed too basic.
- Thurn und Taxis
- Ticket to Ride: Europe
- Twilight - Quirky card game that I want to explore more often
- Um Krone und Kragen
- Viktory II
- Walk the Dogs
- Wits & Wagers
- Zauberschwert & Drachenei - Poison Expansion
What I call "prodigal games" are games that were gone a while, and then returned. Specifically, I had played them before 2005, but not in 2005, and then they returned to the table in 2006. 17 is a pretty large set for me; largest since I've been tracking. Some of the titles appeared because they were played with expansions before, but not just the base game (Settlers, Mississippi Queen). Some I wouldn't mind going away again (Split, Where's Bob's Hat?). Here's the portion of the list that I thought merited some additional commentary:
- Aladdin's Dragons - I'm slowly growing to dislike this less, but I'm not sure I'm ever going to ever like it. More of my gaming partners own it now; do I need to keep it?
- Amun-Re - rediscovered on Spiel-by-Web, where it is a touch clunky, because (IMO) the auctions take too long. I liked it better than before, which was my first try at this title, and in which I got crushed.
- Die Sieben Siegel - I remember hating how the Saboteur role was a no-brainer, but it wasn't in this 5-player game. Maybe it just unbalances with fewer players.
- Fluxx - I actually had a plan in this game, and it actually worked.
- Ghost Party - A fun experience, but after this session it's a bit more suspect as a game. Roll too many ghosts, and you lose.
- Guillotine - A victim of the filler glut in my collection. Light, quick, and fun enough.
- Mystery Rummy #3: Jekyll & Hyde - Acquired in trade, and my wife likes it. I'd expect continued plays in the future.
- Robo Rally - As I said, I like programmed movement, but this adds more chrome than I'd like to see.
- Samurai - Played on Spiel-by-Web, with open scores. Open scores made it much more palatable to me.
- Street Illegal - First played as Fette Autos, and I finally acquired the Z-Man version. I think I'll have a hard time getting it to the table again, much as I would like to.
- Ticket to Ride - Somehow this just hasn't caught on.
- Ursuppe - Certainly deserves one play a year, and probably more. Just need to find the right slot in my gaming opportunities to fit it in.
89 titles were on the play list in 2005 but didn't make it to the table in 2006. In a lot of cases, it's no big deal. But I'd really like to see these return as my "prodigal games" in 2007:
- Atlantic Star
- Auf Achse
- Big City - Maybe now that it's being reprinted?
- Cannes - Stars, Scripts and Screens
- Carcassonne: The Cathars - We typically play someone else's copy of Carcassonne, and none of my associates have this expansion.
- Elfenland - Ouch. I'd played this at least once a year since 1998. A shame it didn't make it out.
- Finstere Flure
- Goldland - I missed the Tri-Valley Boardgamers session where this came to the table.
- Im Auftrags des Königs
- Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation - This might just be too thinky for any of my potential two-player-game opponents.
- Merchants of Venus
- Samarkand, with or without Isfahan
- Settlers Cities and Knights
- Strand-cup - I fear this might be too silly for my typical gaming partners. But there's one group to which I've not introduced it. Heh heh.
- Tyranno Ex - My opportunities to play games of this length are pretty rare. This will take more involved planning.
- Viking Fury - I tried to get this out around the end of the year a couple times. Once I ended up at the wrong table. Otherwise, it just seems kind of daunting to explaing to first time players.
- Vino - Score! I played this just last Frday (the 5th)!
- Warhamster Rally
And without further ado, here's my five and dime (and quarter) list for 2006:
- 10 Days in the USA 34 - I was trying to convert a fellow at the local barbecue joint with this game. I think it was working, until he became a mortgage broker.
- 10 Days in Europe 29 - The preferred 10 Days flavor of the folks in my lunchtime gaming group.
- TransAmerica 25 - We played this a lot with my ailing mother-in-law.
- StreetSoccer 19 - Most plays online, either Little Golem or YourTurnMyTurn. Also most plays in a massive flurry the first half of the year.
- 10 Days in Africa 18 - This is the preferred 10 Days flavor of my wife. As you can tell, I like the franchise as a whole, and look forward to the upcoming 10 Days in Asia.
- Quiddler 18 - It's a multiplayer rummy sort of game, but I enjoy the wordplay aspect enough to keep playing.
- Mystery Rummy: Murders in the Rue Morgue 17 - We like all the Mystery Rummy games at lunchtime, but this was the first, and so the most popular.
- Gene Pool 16 - I picked up #59, and have really had fun with it. It's pretty compact, pretty well themed, and pretty fun.
- Reef Encounter 14 - This big showing was certainly helped by my finding Spiel-by-Web. I like the ebb and flow of the various corals, and the opportunities for creativity in play.
- Tichu 14 - I learned it at an East Bay Game Day in Oakland, and brought it back to our lunch group. I still don't think we play it aggressively enough, but that'll come.
- Familienbande 12 - Light and quick and fun, one I enjoyed more that Clans (another Colovini).
Mystery Rummy: Jekyll and Hyde 12 - Got a lot of play once I got it in a Math Trade. My wife likes it, so it stays. Well, I do like it, too.
- Um Krone und Kragen 12 - I was bummed when I ordered this a week before the English version was announced. I needn't have worried. And a dice tower or tray works really, really well with this.
- Once Upon a Time 13 (11 alone, plus 2 with Once Upon a Time: Dark Tales) - It can be really uneven as a game, but if you're trying too hard, then you're missing the point.
- BuyWord 10 - I like this as a word game because it rewards longer words.
- Rage 9 - This would be the Oh Hell! variant. I've come to terms with its chaos. It's popular with the lunchtime group.
- For Sale 8 - My choice for good quick filler. And that's high, high praise from me for an auction game.
- Jambo 8 - Picked up in trade this last year, and I've really taken to it. I enjoy the economic optimization. As a 2-player it feels kind of like Magic: the Gathering (kinda-sorta), only you're attacking your opponent's purse, not their life force.
- Wits & Wagers 8 - This has become the party game of choice for me (particularly since my typical party game opponents won't play Pictionary with me anymore). It saw a bunch of plays around Christmastime, with family and friends, too.
- Flaschenteufel 7 - I think I prefer this with four players.
- Old Town 7 - This is an odd one. It's not really a logic/deduction game, like Sleuth or Clue(do), but you do need some logic/deduction skills to make good use of your cards and buildings. And good use can mean "get many points", but can also mean "don't give many points away".
- Pitchcar Mini 7 (once alone, plus 6 with Pitchcar Mini Extension) - This got a flurry of play after I bought it, but then hasn't much since. I still like it, so I should get it out again soon. Again, there's still a group who haven't experienced the pleasure yet. Heh heh.
- Arkham Horror 6 (5 alone, plus once with Arkham Horror - Curse of the Dark Pharaoh Expansion) - It's a big game, and can take a long time, and is a lot of dice rolling. I still like it. It's about as close to role-playing as I'm prepared to get these days.
- Five Crowns 6 - It's popular with most of the lunchtime group, and I play it to maintain game group harmony. It got 12 plays in 2005, so I'm happy for the 50% reduction.
- Saboteur 6 - Has replaced Bang! as the lunchtime group's many player game of choice. I like the game, but don't really like the scoring.
- Ark 5 - Fun to play, but both fiddly in bits and finicky in the ruleset, which pushes it to the edge of my tolerances, and past those of some of my gaming partners.
- Downfall of Pompeii, The 5 - Played once early on the German version, and then got the Mayfair version for Christmas. It proved popular during the holidays, and I expect it to continue to get many plays.
- Hansa 5 - Very tactical economic game that I like, but I recognize many wouldn't. Most of these plays were at Mabiweb, and I'm guessing most of my plays of this in the future will also be there.
- Power Grid 5 (4 alone, plus once with Power Grid - Italy/France, specifically France) - This game has a lot of features I like, and I can certainly tolerate the fiddliness of the resource market and the power plant market. I'm curious to try the maps that I've not tried yet: Italy, Benelux, and Central Europe.
- San Juan 5 - Honestly, I'm surprised this number is so low. But I think my lunchtime gaming group is starting to want less thinky games (maybe the work here is getting more challenging for them?), so this one is threatened for the next year.