Friday, January 31, 2020

#36: Friday (Mark's Top 50 - 2020)


Friday

  • rank: 361
  • rating: 7.18
Print Status
  • in print (I think... if not, it's easy to find a copy on Amazon or WalMart)
Why It's On The List
  • The first of two solitaire games on my top 50 list... this is an inventive use of the deckbuilding mechanic as you are Friday from the novel Robinson Crusoe... trying to keep Robinson alive and get him ready to face down the pirates. 
Tips & Tricks:
    • I used to be really good at this game... actually won once on Level 3 (there are four levels). Those days are gone - I haven't defeated both pirates on Level 1 in my last 10 games.
    • The rules for the various powers are a little tick-y... you need to make sure you read EXACTLY what they do (and do not do) in the rulebook.
    Extras
    • This is an extremely portable game - when I'm traveling to speak, it's easy to throw in the suitcase and beats the heck out of watching HGTV in a hotel room.
    • I didn't plan this... but I love that I'm posting this review on a Friday. Friedemann (the designer) would love it, too.
    • If you get a chance to play a game with Friedemann, take the chance... even if it's not one of his games. He single handedly made our game of Mord im Arosa into a laugh riot a few years back.

    Thursday, January 30, 2020

    #37: DC Comics Deckbuilding Game (Mark's Top 50 - 2020)


    DC Comics Deckbuilding Game

    • rank: 741
    • rating: 7.04
    Print Status
    • in print
    Why It's On The List
    • Mix the Ascension deck-building lineup with some fantastic "straight from the comics" DC superhero art... and add just enough thematic touches to the design (player heroes, super villain attacks, etc.) to give it the comic book feel. It's not rocket science - but we've played it nearly 200 times in the various incarnations.
    Tips & Tricks:
      • There are a wide variety of base games for DC Deckbuilding - the best balanced is the original "blue" box... but folks with some gaming under their belts may want to dive into the Teen Titans base box. (There is very little love in my gaming group for the Forever Evil box.)
      • There are two types of expansions:
        • Crisis - which are for cooperative play
        • Crossover - which add cards & game mechanics to the base boxes
      • You have to pay attention to what other people are drafting - if they're taking lots of attack cards, you need some defense cards in your deck. Hate drafting is definitely a part of the game.
      Extras
      • The additional games in the series (the Rivals 2 player boxes, Teen Titans Go 2 player, and Confrontations) are all enjoyable. (Sharp-eyed DC fans will note that the picture above is from the Batman vs Joker set.)
      • We haven't played Rebirth... yet. Give us time.
      • I'm a huge fan of the Multiverse box/cards which allow you to play a massive game across all the sets you own... but not everybody enjoys that.
      • Favorite Crisis set: #2
      • Favorite Crossover set: Justice Society OR Legion of Super-Heroes

      Wednesday, January 29, 2020

      #38: Agricola (Mark's Top 50 - 2020)


      Agricola

      • rank: 29
      • rating: 7.97
      Print Status
      • in print
      Why It's On The List
      • The theme - farming in medieval times - shouldn't be terrifically compelling (why do I care about the travails of a farmer?)... and yet the game system makes you sweat every purchase, every family member you send out to collect wood or stone or to get a job...
      Tips & Tricks:
        • I don't pretend to have a decent grasp on Agricola strategy - particularly when playing with 4-5 players. At the same time, it's important to remember that you don't have to do well at everything - but blowing off a scoring category completely must be compensated by complete success in other categories.
        • There's a long-winded diatribe in me waiting to get out on this next tip: don't be "super-gamer" and dismiss the badly named "family game" (the 'simpler' version of Agricola). I don't care how experienced you are as a gamer, there's so much going on that it's worth playing this version multiple times for two reasons: (a) it's a good game w/out the cards!, and (b) you'll play the version with Minor Improvements & Occupations much better if you understand how everything works together..
        Extras
        • This is a game where adding players to the mix adds substantially to the length of play - so, while the game works very well with five players (and even has cards that are specific to that number), I like it best with two or three players. 
        • The Farmers of the Moor expansion is enjoyable, but does increase the complexity of the game another step. On the other hand, I'm not sold on the extra decks - I find the oddball humor to be jarring & some of the cards to have some serious power creep...
        • I like Caverna - but I don't need both of them.
        • The iOS app is splendid... both for the solo game and for multi-player. (My son away at college & I just played via the app last week!)

        Tuesday, January 28, 2020

        #39: Quantum (Mark's Top 50 - 2020)


        Quantum

        • rank: 434
        • rating: 7.30
        Print Status
        • OOP
        Why It's On The List
        • A fast-moving game of space conquest with built-in variety and room for great tactical play. And I love the cover art.
        Tips & Tricks:
        • Thanks to the modular board format, the game works like a charm with 2, 3 or 4 players.
        • The combat system is pro-attacking... wise players will take advantage of this to slow down opponents, even if it doesn't directly benefit your plans for placing quantum cubes.
        • Learning how to use the "free" ship powers is the key to playing well. They are easy to overlook in your first play.
        • The technology cards may seem out of balance at first - but each card can be very helpful when paired with the right strategic and tactical play. I'm constantly finding new ways to combine card powers and ship powers.
        • When I say "fast", I'm not kidding. A long game of Quantum lasts an hour.
        Extras
        • I haven't written much about Quantum - which is really too bad. It's a great, great game.
        • The Void expansion - which was available through the BGG shop - is a nifty addition to the game.

        Monday, January 27, 2020

        Return to Dark Tower OR How I Learned to Love The Tower

        At 55 years young (or old - depends on which day you ask), I'm the wrong age to be excited about the original Dark Tower board game. By the Christmas of 1981, I was deep into AD&D (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons)... running a multi-year campaign. (The technical term is "dungeon mastering"... yep, I was one of those kids with a well-worn copy of the DMs Guide and a big pad of graph paper.) One of my good friends had a copy of Magic Realm, which both frustrated and fascinated us... and we played countless games of Wizard's Quest.

        With all that old skool gaming firepower, Dark Tower was an expensive toy that made noise - and we were interested in headier gaming pursuits. (Yes, I know how pretentious that sounds - and we were so very Serious Gamers. Not even Orson Welles impressed us. Sigh.)


        I don't actually remember playing Dark Tower until years later... and being distinctly underwhelmed. The technology of the tower - innovative in 1981 - is still pretty nifty... but the gameplay is pretty uninspired. This explains my BGG rating of the original game as a 3. In other words, I wouldn't refuse to play it again... but there are literally thousands of games I'd rather play first. As a game collector, I've found the ridiculous prices for the towers (working or otherwise) to be an interesting curiosity - but I never felt the need to own it.

        So, the news a couple of years back that Restoration Games would be working their magic on Dark Tower was, well... no big deal. I was thankful that Rob & Justin and their merry band were going to cash in big-time on GenXer nostalgia, but I wasn't interested for me.

        This last summer, videos of the prototype being played at various conventions began to surface... which looked cool. I liked the idea that they had shifted to a cooperative mode of play - you could mark my interest as "cautiously optimistic". Edit: the Restoration Games team added competitive play as a part of the game this week after successful playtests - even better!

        And then, just a few weeks ago... the Kickstarter appeared.


        I could feel my resolve melting... like I was the Wicked Witch of the West and Restoration Games was Dorothy & Toto all rolled into one. My resistance to the seductive charms of this game was weakening.

        The final straw? My younger son looking at the Kickstarter video and saying, "That looks awesome! I'd play that." (Note to Justin & Rob: get more kids to look at the page. Seriously - skulls, light-up tower, cool fantasy minis... I'm just sayin'.)


        I realize that not all of you have my (very persuasive) son whispering in your ear, so let me outline some of the reasons that I finally broke down and opened my heart (and my wallet) to Return to Dark Tower:
        • In an excellent interview on The Ascent of Board Games podcast, Rob commented that "We wanted it to be as good as you remember, which doesn't necessarily mean it's as good as it was...a lot of people who played it haven't played it in 30 years would go back and go 'Oh... well, it's still fun for me cuz I played it as a kid' but it hasn't lived up." I love that the Restoration Games team was clear that the game needed more than a reprint... it needed - wait for it - a restoration. 
        • I appreciated the draft version of the rulebook - it helped me get a clearer picture of the game that they are creating.
        • While I usually rank viewing a live playthrough of a board game just above watching paint dry for excitement, it was instructive to push my way through The Dice Tower video. Two things I really stuck out
          • The tower is unbelievably cool... even in prototype form. The lights, the sound, the skulls spitting out, the glyphs turning behind the doors - wow.
          • The player turns are actually pretty short and straightforward. (There's a lot of variety in the design that could lead you to the mistaken impression that the game doesn't move along... which is not the case.) Use your banner power, move your hero, take an action somewhere along the way, and reinforce - simple enough to teach to kids and/or rules-averse gamer buddies.
        • The various blog post updates in the Kickstarter do a great job of fleshing out the design and development of the game. Especially intriguing was the post from Tim Burrell-Saward, the engineering wizard behind the development of the tower itself.
        • One of the biggest concerns (for others) early on was the viability of the app long-term, since the game relies on the app to communicate with the tower (and vice versa). Having Geoff Englestein, another favorite designer of mine (who is also a computer guy) agree to hold the app code in escrow was perfect.

        This is the kind of game my boys and I love. It's the kind of game that I will happily play solo (and they've specifically designed the game to work with 1-4 players). It's the kind of game that begs for completely unnecessary miniatures for thematic reasons - and the Restoration team (along with Punga Miniatures) is making that a reality. It's the kind of game that my regular gaming group will dive into willingly... and often.

        I hate that I have to wait a year to have it hit my table. But I'm happy to jump in and support a great company with an innovative spirit and the willingness to "go big".

        If you'd like to "charge the tower", you can do so on Kickstarter for the next 7 days. Edit: make that 3.5 days... the KS ends early Tuesday morning, Feb. 4.



        Note on my 
        tiny potential for conflict of interest: 


        I have playtested games for Rob Daviau in his roles as a designer for Hasbro and for his own design studio... and have playtested Downforce for Restoration Games. In that capacity, I was given a copy of SeaFall (since my boys and I were early playtesters) and a rather nice package of lava-related Heroscape stuff (since my game group in Fresno playtested Heroscape), including a Heroscape T-shirt that still hangs in my closet though it's likely to disintegrate the next time I try to wear it. I am not receiving a discount or a promotional copy of Return to Dark Tower for this blog post - I'm actually plunking down my own hard-earned cash to get the Askol's Fortune package and even springing for the complete overkill of the neoprene mat game board.

        Rob D. fanboy note (unrelated to Return to Dark Tower, unless you count Hasbro as the center of all gaming evil, which I don't):


        If you haven't had a chance to play Monopoly DVD: Tropical Tycoon, you need to remedy that as soon as possible. The DVD part is a little silly - but the innovations that Rob added (new types of buildings, victory points, etc.) are really great. I'd love to see those twists used with a Monopoly game that doesn't have a DVD.

        #40: Roll for the Galaxy (Mark's Top 50 - 2020)


        Roll for the Galaxy


        • rank: 73
        • rating: 7.70
        Print Status
        • in print
        Why It's On The List
        • An interesting take on the Race for the Galaxy universe... the dice manipulation combined with RftG phase activation makes for a very fluid tableau building game. Like RftG (and New Frontiers), different strategies are all possible depending on your mix of planets and technologies.
        Tips & Tricks:
          • I have been surprised at the number of fellow gamers who dislike Race for the Galaxy (often complaining about the iconography) and yet seem to really enjoy Roll for the Galaxy. I think it may be - similar to New Frontiers - that you are not trying to make decisions on what planets/technologies to build secretly... if you have a question in Roll or New Frontiers about how something works, it's already public knowledge.
          • Don't forget about reassign powers... easy to get locked onto what's on the face of your die and miss a better play.
          • The other easy-to-miss (and important) rule: you can put goods (dice on planets) and workers (dice on tech you're building or worlds you're settling) back in the cup. Dice that aren't moving productively are often wasting time & space.
          • Both expansions are worth having - though I think that the Orb module of Rivalry is more interesting than the Deal module. (Orb is now my preferred way to play Roll with two players... thelslightly longer playing time lets you build more interesting engines.)
          • One note of warning - you can't play this with gamers you don't trust. Hidden manipulation of dice could be an issue.
          Extras
          • I had the privilege of playing the playtest copy of this game with the designer (Wei-Hwa) a couple of years running at the Gathering of Friends... the finished version is even more polished than the amazingly polished prototype I played.
          • This is the third (3!) of five games with a Tom Lehmann design credit - which he shares with puzzle wizard and all-around nice guy, Wei-Hwa Huang.
          • There is a beta getting ready to start for a Roll for the Galaxy app - with an AI designed by Keldon (who did the incredible job on the Race for the Galaxy AI).

          Sunday, January 26, 2020

          #41: Harry's Grand Slam Baseball (Mark's Top 50 - 2020)

          Harry's Grand Slam Baseball

          • rank: 4684
          • rating: 6.32
          Print Status
          • sadly OOP
          Why It's On The List
          • It captures the feel of a baseball game - and does so in 15 minutes (or less). The Out of the Box production is very nice as well.
          Tips & Tricks:
            • Use Fly Out cards when there aren't any runners on base.
            • There's luck of the draw - of course - but proper card management and taking the right risks also helps. And... it's only 15 minutes long.
            • This is a tremendous filler game.
            Extras
            • This game lends itself to playoffs/tournaments at gaming weekends - games are short enough to be held between "real" games.
            • The story behind Harry's Grand Slam Baseball is fascinating... listen to Mark Johnson's "Boardgames To Go" podcast on it for more information.

            Saturday, January 25, 2020

            #42: Sentinels of the Multiverse (Mark's Top 50 - 2020)


            Sentinels of the Multiverse
            • rank: 120
            • rating: 7.52
            Print Status
            • in print
            Why It's On The List
            • A cooperative comic book game that uses multiple card decks (heroes, villain, environment) to tell the story of a "battle royale". It's enhanced by a well-developed mythos and a plethora of sly references to various "real" (read: DC/Marvel) superheroes.
            Tips & Tricks:
              • Some games have the potential to divide gaming groups into "wow - love that! let's play again" and "I'm pretty much done with that one after one play" - Sentinels is definitely one of those. I get to play a lot because both of my boys and one of my best friends LOVE the game.
              • When teaching new players, you MUST let them get to know their hero decks on their own. Avoid the temptation to tell them which cards to play - it will kill their enjoyment of the game... and shortchange them of the joy of "discovering their superpowers".
              • Building a good superhero team is a little like building a good D&D party - you need a variety of skills to take on different situations.
              • One of the skills that is difficult to master is creating a challenging but not impossible game - the right combination of heroes, villain & environment. 
              Extras
              • There are a LOT of expansions for this game system - we own pretty much everything that has been published because part of the fun is getting to take on a new challenge each time. However, the game out of the box is quite enjoyable.
              • OblivAeon is the final expansion for the game... and it's a table-eating 3.5-4 hour slugfest against multiple foes. It's an attempt to recreate the full-on nuttiness of the original comic book Crisis on Infinite Earths... and it succeeds. It's not for the faint of heart... but my eldest son and I love it. (Out of 6-7 plays, we've only won once.)
              • My boys & I created a way to play that we really like - The Bloodsworn Arena. Basically, you send one team up against one weak villain after another and see how long you can last. My younger son managed to get ALL of Unity's mechanical golems in play - which is an impressive amount of firepower. (The picture here was taken during that game... and Collin is pictured with his plushy Mr. Chomps.)
              • I don't think the Sidekick app is necessary - I've found it to be as fiddly as using tokens. (I have added some more generic tokens to my set for marking Nemesis status and Setback's Unlucky pool, etc.)
              • OTOH, I think that the Sentinels app is a fantastic addition to my iPad gaming library... we have all the expansions in digital form as well.

              Friday, January 24, 2020

              #43: Web of Power (Mark's Top 50 - 2020)


              Web of Power 
              BoardGameGeek
              • rank: 337
              • rating: 7.26
              Print Status
              • the original game is out of print... though it has just been re-published as Iwari
              Why It's On The List
              • An extraordinarily simple game of brinksmanship as various monastic orders struggle to influence medieval Europe. Quite possibly one of the best three player games ever designed.
              Tips & Tricks:
              • Web of Power was reprinted as China - with some board & rules changes. I like the original better. (I have not played another reprint - Han - nor the aforementioned most recent version, Iwari.)
              • The designer (Michael Schacht) has an online gaming site where you can play not only Web of Power & China... but a series of 12 different boards using the same game system!
              • Make plays that enable you to put pairs into your hand - since they act as wild cards.
              • Tricky scoring tip #1: advisors only help if you win/tie on both sides of the connection. Don't get in a war you can't win - you're only helping the other guy.
              • Tricky scoring tip #2: don't take all but one building site in a country - you leave a spot open for one player to collect a lot of points w/a single play. You only need a majority in a country to garner all of the points.
              • There are a couple of expansions - both are print & play: The Vatican (which is ok) and Kardinal & Konig: Das Duell (which does a great job of making Web of Power work as a 2 player game).
              • One complaint: a direct translation of the German name (Kardinal & Konig) would have been much better name than Web of Power... it would have been "Cardinals & Kings".
              Extras
              • Here's what I wrote about Web of Power for The One Hundred: personal & "official".
              • This is the first of two Michael Schlacht games on my list.

              Thursday, January 23, 2020

              #44: Favor of the Pharaoh (Mark's Top 50 - 2020)


              Favor of the Pharaoh
                BoardGameGeek
                • rank: 1291
                • rating: 6.82
                Print Status
                • available
                Why It's On The List
                • A re-imagined version of the classic dice game To Court the King - imagine Yahtzee crossed with Magic: The Gathering. You use dice to obtain card powers in order to manipulate dice to obtain more power (and dice) to finally win the favor of the Pharaoh.
                Tips & Tricks:
                • You need dice - and a few manipulation powers. Going the other way (dice manipulation powers and a few extra dice) will lose you the game.
                • The game works well with 2-4 players.
                • The variability introduced in this version is excellent - each game has its own feel.
                • I do wish I'd sprung for a second set of dice... with 4 players, you have to do a lot of trading around of base dice.
                Extras
                • I had the privilege of Tom Lehmann (the designer) showing me the unpublished expansion for To Court the King some years back... many of those great ideas ended up in Favor of the Pharaoh.
                • This is the second of five (5!) Lehmann designs on my list.

                Wednesday, January 22, 2020

                #45: Thebes (Mark's Top 50 - 2020)


                Thebes
                  BoardGameGeek
                  • rank: 450
                  • rating: 7.14
                  Print Status
                  • in print
                  Why It's On The List
                  • One of the best example of a game design integrating theme & mechanics - drawing tiles from the bag "feels" like archaeology. As well, the use of the "time cost" mechanic makes the game fluid & gives each player a plethora of tactical options.
                  Tips &Tricks:
                  • The tile bags are a marked improvement over the card decks from the original version of this game, Jenseit von Thebes.
                  • If you're not going to collect the lecture series cards, just make sure no other person hoards them - that's some big points out there on the rubber chicken circuit.
                  • I like to jump out with one or two quick expeditions to harvest a few easy artifacts (and have a variety of colors for the various exhibitions) - but there's something to be said for making sure you have a couple of assistants & shovels before you do any serious digging.
                  • Don't forget about the bonuses for highest level of research into each site!
                  Extras

                  Tuesday, January 21, 2020

                  #46: Core Worlds (Mark's Top 50 - 2020)


                  Core Worlds
                  BoardGameGeek
                  • rank: 638
                  • rating: 7.20
                  Print Status
                  • in print
                  Why It's On The List
                  • Andrew Parks created a space empire-building deck-builder - and combined it with a tableau system for deploying units that makes this game both deeply strategic and a challenging puzzle. And then he created two incredible expansions that make the game even better!
                  Tips &Tricks:
                  • I think the original Core Worlds game is a solid 7 - but when you add the first expansion (Galactic Orders), it's jumps to an 8 (or maybe even a 9). And the second expansion (Revolution) just locks that high rating into place!
                  • The game has enough components for 5 players... but I prefer it with 2-3, as the pace of the game is quicker.
                  • Building combos is important - as is managing expectations. You will not be able to do everything you want, so you will need to prioritize your energy and actions near the end of the game to bring in victory points.
                  Extras

                  Monday, January 20, 2020

                  #47: Unmatched: Battle of Legends (Mark's Top 50 -2020)


                  Unmatched: Battle of Legends
                  BoardGameGeek
                  • rank: 2094
                  • rating: 8.18
                  Print Status
                  • in print
                  Why It's On The List
                  • Take the basic card combat idea behind Star Wars: Epic Duels... add in the brilliant LOS board configuration system from Tannhauser...and infuse the game thematically with a "mix of characters across time & reality" vibe from Heroscape... and then do a top-notch production job... and you've got Unmatched.
                  Tips & Tricks:
                  • One of the biggest issues in Epic Duels (the need of some characters to turtle for multiple turns in order to make decent attacks) is fixed here... both by better balancing the decks AND by instituting a "getting to the end of your deck" penalty.
                  • Each character/team has different strengths and weaknesses... you cannot play each character the same way and be successful.
                  • The character receiving the least love out of the gate was King Arthur... but I've managed to pull off some wins with him by playing the cards in his deck, not the cards I wish he had.
                  • Currently, the game doesn't have a free-for-all mode... I don't think that's a loss.
                    Extras
                    • This is the first of four (4!) Rob Daviau games that will appear on my top 50 list this time around.
                    • The Bigfoot/Robin Hood expansion also works as a stand-alone 2 player game.
                    • Bruce Lee is price-y... but his deck is really interesting to play.

                    Sunday, January 19, 2020

                    #48: New Frontiers (Mark's Top 50 - 2020)


                    New Frontiers
                    BoardGameGeek
                    • rank: 748
                    • rating: 7.70
                    Print Status
                    • in print
                    Why It's On The List
                    • I wouldn't go as far to say that New Frontiers has fired the classic Puerto Rico... but it covers a lot of the same ground with better graphics and a more compelling theme. 
                    Tips & Tricks:
                    • New Frontiers does not seem to have the same "newbie automatically assists player to their left" problem as Puerto Rico... but players still need to pay careful attention to the downstream effects of their action choices.
                    • Don't put all your point-scoring eggs in one basket - especially when it comes to the 9 cost technologies. I have been known to buy a 9 cost tech that was only marginal for me in order to keep it out of the hands of someone who could really benefit from it.
                    • The Starry Rift expansion is due out later this year... I'm looking forward to it! It will add 16 home worlds, 10 developments, 13 worlds, and 8 goals - and Xeno worlds will add a risk/reward element to military conquest.
                    Extras
                    • This is the first of five (5!) Tom Lehmann games that will appear on my top 50 list this time around... and the first of 3 Race for the Galaxy universe games. Sue me.

                    Saturday, January 18, 2020

                    #49: Ra (Mark's Top 50 - 2020)


                    Ra
                    BoardGameGeek
                    • rank: 158
                    • rating: 7.47
                    Print Status
                    • out of print? (I think)
                    Why It's On The List
                    • I'm not sure why Ra jumps on & off my top games list... it's a splendid auction game that scales well from 3-5 players and is filled with tension and constant reevaluation of values.
                    Tips & Tricks:
                    • Timing is everything. Seriously.
                    • My first play of Ra was 90 minutes - which was miserable and turned me off the game for a good year or so. When I finally got to play it at normal speed (30-45 minutes), it jumped considerably in my estimation.
                    • There are times (particularly in the final epoch) where winning an auction simply to trade up for a better sun is a good idea. These do not happen as often as I see people making these kinds of trades.
                    • There are two spin-off games from the Ra family:
                      • Ra: The Dice Game (which I enjoy and wish I owned a copy of...)
                      • Priests of Ra (which I do not - it just uses the same base engine & monkeys with the scoring)
                    Extras
                    • Here's what I wrote about Ra for The One Hundred.
                    • This is the first of four (4!) Reiner Knizia designs on the list.

                    Friday, January 17, 2020

                    #50: Codenames (Mark's Top 50 - 2020)

                    Codenames
                    • rank: 65
                    • rating: 7.67
                    Print Status
                    • in print (with lots of different versions)
                    Why It's On The List
                    • Codenames is an extraordinarily clever word game - it's Password on steroids - that works with a wide variety of groups, ages, and gaming backgrounds. Even people who don't like word games like Codenames.
                    Tips & Tricks:
                      • I think the game is best with 4-6 players... though it will work with larger crowds.
                      • Pay close attention to the Assassin word - a perfectly good clue could lead your team to end the round prematurely! (I speak from experience.)
                      Extras
                      • For two players, the cooperative version (Codenames Duet) is also excellent.

                      Tuesday, January 07, 2020

                      My Personal Most Played Games of the Decade


                      The folks at the Opinionated Gamers blog are working on a post about the most played games of the decade... and as a part of my research for my input, I took a look at the patterns in my own game playing.

                      The chart above (and the list below) show the games that appeared in my top ten most played games for that year. Some of the patterns are not a surprise (Race for the Galaxy is continually played 5+ times each year... and often much more than that)... while others (I don't remember playing Quarriors that much) seem to come out of left field.

                      I'm not sure I have more to say about this... but I'm sure this might interest one or two of you. :-)

                      Appeared in my top ten played games for that year...

                      6 times

                      • Race for the Galaxy
                      • Star Realms
                      • Summoner Wars
                      5 times

                      • DC Comics Deck-Building Game
                      • Sentinels of the Multiverse
                      • The City
                      4 times
                      • Fast Food Franchise
                      • Memoir '44
                      3 times
                      • 7 Wonders Duel
                      • Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure
                      • Descent: Journeys in the Dark (2nd edition)
                      • Jump Drive
                      • Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age
                      2 times
                      • 7 Wonders 
                      • DC Comics Deck-Building Game: Rivals 
                      • Heroscape
                      • Quarriors!
                      • Suburbia
                      • Ticket to Ride
                      1 time
                      • 1st & Goal
                      • Abandon Ship
                      • Bounce-It-In
                      • Burger Joint
                      • Can't Stop
                      • Castle Panic
                      • Catacombs
                      • City Square Off
                      • Clank! In! Space!
                      • Colony
                      • Colt Express
                      • Die Quacksalber von Quedlinburg
                      • Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt Board Game
                      • Eminent Domain
                      • Fabled Fruit
                      • Favor of the Pharaoh
                      • Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar
                      • Friday
                      • Gemblo Woodman
                      • Impact: Battle of Elements
                      • Innovation
                      • Keltis: Der Weg der Steine
                      • Machi Koro
                      • Marrakech
                      • Marvel Champions: The Card Game
                      • NEOM
                      • New Frontiers
                      • Numeri
                      • Pandemic Legacy (Season One)
                      • Port Royal
                      • Powerships
                      • Risk Legacy
                      • Roll for the Galaxy 
                      • Runebound (3rd edition)
                      • Scrabble
                      • Skip-bo
                      • Small World
                      • Team Play
                      • The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game
                      • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Deck-Building Game
                      • The Rivals for Catan
                      • Unmatched: Battle of Legends
                      • Wiz-War (eighth edition)
                      • Wurfel Bohnanza

                      Thursday, January 02, 2020

                      It's Still Personal: Mark's Five & Dime Games for 2019

                      Hey, campers... I may have stopped collecting the Five & Dime stats for everyone else - but I haven't stopped collecting my own!

                      Here's my own personal Five & Dime list (the games I played 5+ and 10+ times in 2019).

                      As always, I include only face-to-face games and games played with human opponents over apps/online.

                      Games with an asterisk [*] were on my Five & Dime list last year, games with two asterisks [**] have been on my list for the past two years, games with three asterisks [***] have been there for three years, games with four asterisks [****] have been there for 4 years, games with a plus [+] have been there 5 years, games with a plus and an asterisk [+*] have been there 6 years, games with a plus and two asterisks [+**] have been there 7 years, games with a plus and three asterisks [+***] have been there 8 years... and games with a plus and four asterisks [+****] have been there (wait for it) for the past 9 years!

                      If you're curious, here's the games that have been on my Five & Dime list for 5+ years
                      • Race for the Galaxy (9 years)
                      • Sentinels of the Multiverse (7 years)
                      • DC Comics Deckbuilding Game (5 years)
                      • Star Realms (5 years)
                      Dimes
                      • Impact: Battle of Elements 21
                      • Wurfel Bohnanza 19 *
                      • Marvel Champions: The Card Game 16
                      • Unmatched: Battle of Legends 16
                      • New Frontiers 14
                      • Die Quacksalber von Quedlinburg 13
                      • Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure 12 **
                      • Jump Drive 12 **
                      • NEOM 12
                      • Star Realms 12 +
                      • Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated 11
                      • Roll Player 11
                      • Shards of Infinity 11
                      • Memoir '44 10 *
                      • Roll for the Galaxy 10 ***
                      • Wildlands 10
                      Nickels
                      • Nemo's War 9
                      • Call to Adventure 8
                      • DC Comics Deck-Building Game (includes Multiverse, Teen Titans & Forever Evil) 8 +
                      • Res Arcana 8
                      • Sagrada 8
                      • Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale 7
                      • DC Comics Deck-Building Game: Rivals - Green Lantern vs Sinestro 7
                      • Dice Throne 7
                      • Dungeonquest 7
                      • Friday 7
                      • Race for the Galaxy 7 +****
                      • Star Wars: Destiny 7
                      • 7 Wonders 6 ****
                      • 7 Wonders Duel 6 ***
                      • Catan (includes Rise of the Inkas) 6 *
                      • Heroscape 6
                      • Sentinels of the Multiverse 6 +**
                      • Suburbia 6
                      • Dungeon Alliance 5 *
                      • Football Highlights 2052 5
                      • Ice Cool 5
                      • Millennium Blades 5
                      • The Quest for El Dorado 5 *
                      • Sports Dynasty 5
                      • Teen Titans GO! Deck-Building Game 5
                      Just Missed (with 4 plays)

                      A caret [^] denotes that they were on the Five & Dime list last year... and a pound sign [#] marks games I'm pretty sure will return in 2020.  (Note: I was wrong about all the games I listed as returning last year... 0 for 3. Let's see if I do better this year.) A dollar sign [$] indicates that the game was on the "Just Missed" list last year.

                      • Aargh!
                      • Animal Upon Animal
                      • Betrayal Legacy ^
                      • Gelini Nightlife
                      • Heroes of Terrinoth
                      • Monster Lands
                      • Mystery Rummy: Al Capone $
                      • Pokemon Trading Card Game
                      • Rhino Hero: Super Battle ^
                      • Roll for Adventure #
                      • Star Wars: Outer Rim #
                      • Ticket to Ride #
                      Family Time

                      There are certain game systems that don't always show up in these lists unless you list them as a group... I thought I'd honor those games this year.

                      • Clank! 26
                        • Clank! 12
                        • Clank! Legacy 11
                        • Clank! In! Space! 3
                      • DC Comics Deckbuilding 17
                        • DC Comics Deckbuilding 8
                        • Rivals: Green Lantern vs Sinestro 7
                        • Confrontations 2
                      • Mystery Rummy 10
                        • Al Capone 4
                        • Escape from Alcatraz 3
                        • Wyatt Earp 2
                        • Jekyll & Hyde 1
                      • Ticket to Ride 7
                        • Ticket to Ride 4
                        • New York 2
                        • London 1
                      • Catan 6
                        • Catan 4
                        • Rise of the Inkas 2
                      After All These Years

                      These are game that fell off the list... after years of repeated play. I felt compelled to say a few words at their passing.
                      • Descent: Journeys in the Dark **
                        • The common theme this year is "oldest son going away for college"... which explains the drop-off in Descent play. I need to roll the app back out and play solo.
                      • Clank! In! Space! *
                        • We still played a lot of Clank!... just not the sci-fi version. The addition of the Cyberstation expansion should bring it back to the table for at least 5 plays this year.
                      • Flamme Rouge *
                        • This only comes out with 5-6 folks now... excellent game but I'm mostly playing with groups of 2-4.
                      • Trains *
                        • I like this better than everyone else in my family... and prefer it to Dominion. I need to bring it to game nights.