Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Through the Years: A Gaming History

What follows is a list of my most played games by their year of release. (This was inspired by an email conversation about "favorite games by year" and I just expanded it out a little bit.) There's some really good stuff in here.
  • 2009: Roll Through the Ages (18) - A civilization-building dice game w/a cribbage-like scoreboard that is fun to play with 2-4 players... or as a solitaire game.
  • 2008: Kaseklau (26) - A press-your-luck dice game for kids where the cat chases the mouse around as he collects cheese.
  • 2007: Race for the Galaxy (314) - Colonize planets, develop technology & race the other players to victory in this intriguing card game. (This also has an excellent solitaire version included in the first expansion.)
  • 2006: Giro Galoppo (24) - The least friendly kid game ever... it's a horse race with lots & lots of hosage.
  • 2005: Pickomino (42) - Math-y dice game about chickens eating at a worm diner that manages to be a lot more fun than the description sounds.
  • 2004: Memoir '44 (91) - IMHO, the best version of Richard Borg's light wargame Command & Colors system - of course, the theme (WWII) helps, as does the incredible Campaign Book expansion and the excellent support by the publisher, Days of Wonder.
  • 2003: Smarty Party (53) - There are probably better party games (in gamer terms) but none that I've enjoyed as much as this one... and I have the rare honor of having played the original prototype. This is a classic example of development taking an interesting idea & turning it into a great game.
  • 2002: Maskenball der Kafer (64) - A sweet cooperative family game that's tough enough to stay interesting but random enough to engage younger players.
  • 2001: Transamerica (77) - Great game for4-6 players of connecting railroads... I think I'm played out on it for a while, though.
  • 2000: Carcassonne (100) - With too many spin-off games & expansions, it's easy to overlook how enjoyable this tile-laying game can be.
  • 1999: Lost Cities (116) - The game itself is a stunningly simple 2 player card game... the tension comes from how difficult it is to keep from helping your opponent.
  • 1998: Zirkus Flohcati (42) - Now pretty much supplanted by the more enjoyable Duck, Duck Bruce, for a time this was the go-to "filler" card game for me.
  • 1997: Arriba (44) - Now called Jungle Speed, this is a one-stick variant of Spoons crossed with the pattern recognition game Set... and it's possibly the game that's done the most damage to the players while playing.
  • 1996: Showmanager (31) - Though it was reprinted as a cruise ship game, I still think the original theme is better... and while I'm tired of playing it right now (my group is in love with it), it's still an amazing game.
  • 1995: Settlers of Catan (102+) - I never get to play this enough. It's one of the best games out there, still. If you haven't tried it, stop reading this blog & go find someone to play with... preferably me.
  • 1994: 6 Nimmt (31) - Probably better known now as Category 5 or Slide 5, this is a very abstract card game that scales well up to 10 players, which probably explains why I've played it so much.
  • 1993: Attacke (40) - Thankfully, this great little filler game has finally been re-released as Gem Dealer... instead of the horribly over-chromed monstrosity that was Ivanhoe.
  • 1992: Loopin Louie (70) - Still probably the most enjoyable "mechanical" game out there... I dare you to play just one round!
  • 1991: The Secret Door (30) - Though the components (as per most Family Pastimes games) are pretty low quality, this cooperative memory game is delightful.
  • 1990: Sindbad (18+) - Weird French game that's an oddball combination of stock market investment game & exploration game... I love it.
  • 1989: Cafe International (83) - While I worry that the art in this game has some pointed stereotypes, the fact that every culture is poked fun at (even the Germans) leads me to believe that the humor is good-natured. The game itself is one that seems chaotic & luck-driven at first, but reveals some surprising depth over time.
  • 1988: Yahtzee Jr (22) - Surprisingly enjoyable mass market "junior" dice game.
  • 1987: Dungeonquest (49+) - I have owned, sold, and then reacquired this game & the expansions... it is, IMHO, the best high-speed dungeon crawl game on the market. (There are rumors about it being reprinted, but nothing official yet.)
  • 1986: Liar's Dice (69) - Richard Borg's rendering of the classic "dollar poker" bar game... for years, a favorite closer for game nights.
  • 1985: Snail's Pace Race (22) - It remains a recommendation of mine for introducing 2-3 year olds to gaming. It's a cooperative game (with a small gambling element) with big, chunky pieces & very simple rules.
  • 1984: Bounce It In (26) - Tupperware's only game... and it's a great dexterity game with 4 different ways to play.
  • 1983: Luck Plus (35) A Uno-ish card/dice game that Shari, my lovely wife, really likes.
  • 1982: Sequence (32) Another Uno-ish card game (this time with a board) that Shari enjoys.
  • 1981: Fill or Bust (66) The classic dice game "500" with an added set of action cards... yet another Shari favorite.
  • 1980: Can't Stop (90) - Sid Sackson's masterpiece... probably the best pure push-your-luck game ever published.
  • 1979: Um Reifenbreite (15?) - Um Reifenbreite is my favorite racing game... it does a splendid job of imitating the tactics of team cycling.

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