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Subject: The Games of My Life Part Three-Round One Matches 5 to 8 rss

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Terry Hollern
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This is the third in a series of games detailing my favorite games. I have limited my list to just 16 games. These 16 games are the only games that I have given a ten rating on BGG.

The first article dealt with my process. The second covered four of the first-round matches. This article covers the four remaining matches in the first round. I am calling this series The Games of My Life. I have broken the games into pairs and picked my favorite. Winners advance to the next round. In the end I reveal my top game. I give Honorable Mentions to other games that have had a significant impact but not enough to be included in my top 16.

Below are links to parts one and two in this series.

The Games of My Life

The Games of My Life Part Two-Round One Matches 1 to 4

Name-Publication Date-Seed

Match 5: Saint Petersburg 2004 (3) vs De Bellis Antiquitatis 1990 (14)

Saint Petersburg is another game that was off my radar for a long time. I played for the first time in 2009 and did not own a copy until a year later. It also took me a long time to discover how to win this game. The key for me is to make sure to have the necessary cash on hand when I wish to make a purchase. The amount varies on what type of card I wish to purchase. Saint Petersburg has a nice aspect in that there are certain cards that you need to buy now or lose forever. Budgeting, allocating funds and timing are key elements in the game. Saint Petersburg is a real challenge.

I have never limited myself in my hobby. I play board games, historical miniatures, role playing games and collectable card games. I even Larped for the first time this year. The Wargames Research Group (WRG) is a group in Great Britain devoted to historical miniatures. They began to create their own set of rules in 1970. These rules would be modified multiple times over the years. The rules were very popular but were a bit dense and were built for large armies (hundreds of figures) and played on larger areas (24 square feet or more). In 1990 WRG published De Bellis Antiquitatis (DBA). DBA was everything that the previous rules were not. The armies were small (between 20 and 50 figures) on a small area (just four-square feet), easy to learn and quick to play. Most games could be done in less than an hour. DBA hooked me. It became a large part of my hobby and became my primary focus for historical miniatures for 15 years. Winner: DBA

Match 6: Medici 1995 (6) vs Strat-O-Matic Baseball 1962 (11)

I spoke about Medici previously when discussing Strozzi. Medici is a great game and one of my most favorite six-player games. One of its best feature is each player in turn gets to decide the number of cards, up to three, that will be part of the lot for bid. Medici forces a player to be flexible in their path to victory. It also seems as if most players are never out of the game. All each player needs is for the right lot to come up.

I began to play Strat-O-Matic (SOM) in high school. We played both SOM baseball and football. We soon switched to APBA football because it was just the better game. We played APBA baseball but gave it up when we discovered SOM baseball. SOM baseball was easy to understand and play. It lent itself to league play, in fact it was better in league play. Get four or more friends, pick teams or have a draft, set a schedule and play ball. The games were great and mirrored baseball so well.

SOM could be played solitaire. I did a solo replay of the 1983 Cincinnati Reds. This was Johnny Bench’s last year. I was certain that I could do better than their record of 74-88. I was wrong. Winner: Strat-o-matic Baseball

Match 7: Dungeons and Dragons 1974 (7) vs We the People 1993 (10)

In 1974 I moved out of my parent’s home and moved into an efficiency apartment near The Ohio State University campus. It was 500 square feet and I shared a bathroom with my neighbor. Around this time, I became aware of a new game called Dungeons and Dragons. I purchased a copy of the rules for $10.00 and started in. It like no other game I had ever seen. I read the three booklets, started to create dungeons, roled up characters and began to run and play games. My group grew and soon we would have up to 20 people playing every Thursday night in my apartment building. I remember one Thursday night I ran my adventure, said good night to the group and went up to my room. As I left I heard someone say. “Let’s have another adventure.” Nine hours later I passed them as I left for class. They were still playing.

I have always loved the American Revolution. I have visited nearly every major and minor battle site of the American Revolution in the United States. I bought We the People (WTP) as soon as it came out. It was a game that I played many times. In the game there is a deck of 64 Battle cards. I played this game so much that the cards in Battle card deck wore out. I can’t use the deck any more for fear of have some of the cards tearing in half. As my friend Bruce says the Battle cards show that this game has been loved. Winner: Dungeons and Dragons

Match 8: Civilization/Advanced Civilization 1980/1991 (2)-Attila 2000 (15)

I consider Civilization/Advanced Civilization to be two versions of the same game. I rated both versions a ten. Both are great games that favor planning ahead. Civilization suffers from the length of the game. I found that this factor could be mitigated by limiting the number of players and by the application of a “no bitching” rule during the Calamity phase.

Advanced Civilization made improvements to the mechanics and opened the game up to a larger crowd. The biggest improvement was that the process was changed to allow for a game that could be limited by either number of turns or by time. This opened the game tremendously. Advanced Civilization proves that a great game can be improved.

I enjoy playing Attila. No game on this list forces a player to think about when and where to trigger a conflict. Purposeful expansion and player interaction are of more importance than combat. It can be limiting about how the game progresses but it is a game that is worth the time. Winner: Civilization/ Advanced Civilization

Honorable Mention: APBA football, baseball, hockey and golf

I enjoy seeing small enterprises succeed. APBA has always been a small company that has punched above its weight class. I began playing APBA football in the late 1960s. My dad and his adult friends had a league. I asked the league commissioner, George, if my teen aged friends and I could join. George said no. He did let us set up our own league and have our winner play their winner. My friends I played a four team, six game season. My Oakland Raiders won. I contacted George and he told me that I would have to first play their league runner up, a college student. I drove to his apartment and I won a close game by four points. I stopped my opponent’s last drive on the five yard line when time ran out. A week later I played the league champion, George, and beat him by three touchdowns. My friends and I were invited to play with the adults. I would later become commissioner and ran leagues for 25 years. I dabbled in other APBA products but none was a good as APBA football.

The Games of My Life in Order

Moving on to the next round: Power Grid, History of the World, Strozzi, Vikings, De Bellis Antiquitatis, Strat-o-matic Baseball, Dungeons and Dragons and Civilization/Advanced Civilization

Games 9 to 16: 9-New England, 10-Medici, 11-Britannia, 12-Rail Baron, 13-We the People, 14-Saint Petersburg, 15-Attila, 16-Washington’S War

Part Four, Round Two, will be published next Friday. Thank you for your interest.


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