2012 has been a crazy year for me, both personally and in the board game hobby. I have never purchased, played or traded more games than I have this year. Because everyone seems to be doing a Top 10 of 2012 list, I will be doing something a little different. I will be ranking the 17 2012 games that I’ve played, since we really won’t be able to know which are the “best” for a few years. Here goes!
- Android: Netrunner
I have played other LCGs from Fantasy Flight and they all seemed very dull to me. That is until I saw the core Netrunner set on Amazon for $20 and decided, with my friend, to take a shot at it. Boy was that a great decision. I’ve played multiple games as both the Runner and the Corporation sides. I’ve even started to deck-build, which is not something I’ve ever really done before. Magic: The Gather was not something I was into when I was younger. Luckily this form of deck-building is a much cheaper alternative to that. This is the best, most enjoyable game of 2012.
- Escape: The Curse of the Temple
Great way to spend 10 minutes…that is if you can only play a single game at a time. I have yet to only play 1 game because it’s so easy to reshuffle the tiles and go again!
- Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game
A wonderful Christmas present from my wife. Played many times solo and multiplayer. Even though it can sometimes be easy, I enjoy the theme and the artwork enough to keep trying different combination.
- Descent: Journeys in the Dark (second edition)
Our group started a campaign and had a lot of fun. I’ve also played a one-off mission as the Overload and it works very well in both settings.
- Lords of Waterdeep
Hands down the intro worker placement game, now. I don’t really care about the theme, the game just flows so smoothly.
- Merchant of Venus (second edition)
Played the classic game a while ago, but the new version feels a lot more modern. Very much enjoyed the reprint. Looking forward to playing the reprinted, classic edition now.
This was pretty high on my wishlist all year. Although it didn’t exceed my expectation, it was still a solid game with one of my favorite mechanics: role selection.
Have only played it once and it felt like it required at least a couple plays to “get it.” I could see the potential of a nice, quick auction/engine building game.
Solid little 2-player game. Would fit perfectly in the Kosmos line of games.
- Empires of the Void
After a couple plays, I can’t say that I’ll want to buy a copy, but it was enjoyable. Would still rather play Eclipse.
- Legacy: Gears of Time
I’m a sucker for everything that has to do with time travel. This does it pretty well, but the scoring brings it down for me. Just takes too long to explain and too long to execute.
- Atlantis Rising
This game might move up the list, as I’ve only played it once solo. It was crazy hard. The graphic design is wonderful and there is no other game with a board like this game. I’m interested to playing it more to see if I can figure it out.
- D-Day Dice
With high expectations coming from a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, this was a bit of a disappointment. I was hoping for more tension and theme integration, but there are a few things that keep it from being a great game.
Because I really got into the Android universe, I picked up a copy of this hoping to recreate some of the Netrunner elements. It kind of worked, but we need to play it again with the mindset of it being like a party game (quick turns, trash talking, risk taking, etc.). Has potential.
- Agents of SMERSH
Too long for what it is. The theme is very cool and underutilized in board games, in my opinion. Wouldn’t work with a family as there are a lot of little rules.
- Dominant Species: The Card Game
After my first play I was ready to throw this game out the window, but I played a couple more times and it didn’t totally suck, like…
- Sentinels of the Multiverse: Enhanced Edition
Ugh. Cannot see why people like this game. Didn’t work for me, didn’t work for anyone in our group.
Here are the 2012 games I or someone in my group owns and have yet to play (in no particular order):• Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar
• Mice and Mystics
• Cavemen: The Quest for Fire
• Rex: Final Days of an Empire
• Manhattan Project
• Space Cadets
• Ground Floor (BGG says 2012, but I think it’s 2013 now)
• The Resistance: Avalon
• VivaJava: The Coffee Game
Here’s to 2013!
So many people that I follow on Twitter and Boardgamegeek have just come back from GenCon, so I felt like I should write up a little something about what this non-GenCon-er was playing while they were all living it up in Indy.
This game has been on my radar for a long while. When TMG announced it would be selling copies directly through their website, I almost pulled the trigger, except for the “no new games, until I play the ones I’ve got” mandate I put on myself. I was definitely happy to hear that one of the people coming to our new local board game club was bringing his copy.
We played with 4 people, all new players. The owner of the game never played before, but did an excellent job of explaining the rules. Pretty standard worker placement fare, so we all grasped the rules really quickly. The differences between this game and a lot of the other games in this space was what set this apart, however. Each space requires you to take a resource cube, which seems like a great idea. Except for the fact that there are black cubes spread out across the board. Black cubes require you to use, one of the most interesting elements of the game, time. Each player has a board that tracks the amount of time they’ve used (or more accurately, their workers have lived). When your marker has gone all the way around the board, using 10 time spaces (I like to think of it as 100 years), you must select a worker to be either written about or buried. If written about, you gain a certain amount of victory points depending on how many of your other family members have also been written about. So using time can be beneficial. That is if you’ve planned it well enough to not have to see a valued family member parish before his/her time.
The path I took was to try and keep as many family members alive as long as possible, in order to take advantage of their wealth of knowledge. I was barely able to keep my guy in the church until the end of the game and it paid off big time. Even though I didn’t receive any points from the book, I accumulated so many points from dominating the church, it more than made up for it.
Obviously I’m simplifying the game a bit, but every turn was interesting and I felt like it flowed very well. I’m sure I’ll pick up a copy one of these days…when I finish playing all the other games I haven’t played, that is.
This was my third play of Dungeon Lords (DL) and we had 2 brand new players with us. Rules explanation took a bit of time because of all the little details. It is a Vlaada game, after all. But they picked up on it pretty well and we were off.
I can say that I like this game a lot, but it does feel like he took a number of things in DL and refined them in Dungeon Petz. I’m anxious to see what will be added with the expansion that’s supposed to come out late this year (2012) or early next year (2013). Any crossover with Dungeon Petz would be awesome!
I don’t think I’ve documented my relationship with Cosmic Encounter (CE) on this site before. So I’ll give you some quick back story. My first play was extremely underwhelming. I had a single turn in the game and we used hardly any of the special cards. It was basically a pretty version of the old card game War. Fast forward to about a month ago (July, 2012) when one person from our game club brought his homemade copy of the original version of CE. We had a group of 5, so I was a little worried about whole one turn for the whole game thing. Fortunately we played with all kinds of special cards this time. Along with 2 aliens per player. It turned out to be a very, very fun game and totally changed my opinion of the game. Since then I’ve played one more game of it and it was equally as fun (although a bit longer than it should have been).
My most recent game also had 5 players and we used just about all the cards, except for a couple hazards that are generally not all that fun. Per the usual CE game, everyone’s powers seemed unbalanced so the meta-game was in full effect. The best part of the game (at least for me) was when I had 4 VP and I was attacking another player, who also had 4 VP, and we started talking about negotiating. I was very clear to state that we “can negotiate”, which he might have mistakenly took for we “will negotiate”. He played a Negotiate card, I played an Attack card and BAM, victory was mine! In any other game, backstabbing my friend would be a d**k move, but in CE it is the way it’s supposed to be played. Another great game.
Merchants and Marauders has been a game sitting on my shelf for a while now. I was committed to getting it to the table this week, though! More than 4 days before playing, I had it setup on my table going through the rules little by little to make sure I was prepared for anything that came up. Little did I know, the game would be over in about 1 1/2 hours…well below the expected time frame.
We had 3 players, one stated their intentions on being a Marauder from the get go. We all sailed around doing our thing, until the Marauder and the other Merchant met in the middle of the board. A battle ensued and the Marauder was able to take down the Merchant, plundering around $20 in cash, multiple cargo cards and pretty much ruining that captains day. Because he had one of the bigger ships, I was not about to get into a skirmish with him. Little did I realize, he was hoarding cash and all he had to do was sail back to his home port, stash $50 in gold and declare victory…just like that.
We were all like “what just happened?” Obviously I should have been more aggressive and not let him keep all that cash on board, but I almost felt like it would be a lost cause if I attacked him. I liked the game enough to give it a second chance. Especially since next time we’ll all know the rules. Beautiful game, which super high production quality. I hear an expansion is in the works, so that’s another reason to keep it around.
I didn’t find myself in Indy for GenCon, but I was still able to get a bunch of good games in with a bunch of good people. Maybe next year this space will be filled with all the cool new games I did get to play at GenCon, but if not, I know I can still have a good time without having to fly 2200 miles.
Lately I haven’t had much gaming time at the table with my wife, since we have a brand new baby girl to raise. Games that can be played solo a bit more interesting to me, now. This is where Disaster on Everest, a solitaire game that simulates a group of hikers scaling Mount Everest. In this review I’ll let you know how the game plays and if it is an entertaining experience.
I’ve been fortunate to play some really great new games recently. Here are some brief thoughts:
Sure, the complaints are that the game doesn’t have any revolutionary mechanics and the theme is pretty much pasted on. Once you start actually playing the game, none of that matters. Wizards of the Coast was able to mix a number of my favorite game elements into a very streamlined, smooth and downright fun experience. So far I’ve played with 4 & 5 players. Playing with 5 was only marginally longer and everyone still ended up within a 20 point window, from first to last. I’m looking forward to playing it again!
This game popped up on my radar immediately after hearing about the theme of trying to be the first player to spend all of your money. Most games give you a little bit of cash at the start and it’s your job to turn that cash into fame and fortune. In Last Will you start with more money that you ever want and over the course of the game you blow it on boat parties, carriage rides, buying property and letting it depreciate, etc. Sure, there are some scale issues considering a dinner “costs” 4 and buying a property can cost 10. All in all the theme works very well if you can just think that some numbers are in hundreds and some are in thousands/millions.
I’ve only played 2 two player games, but I can see that the game has high replayability and is just downright fun!
In the past few months I have been able to play many different games by many different designers, however I have not been impressed by one designer more than Stefan Feld. He just brings so many different and interesting mechanics to games. In the Year of the Dragon is no different. Now, I’ve played many of his newer games before trying this one, so I was a bit unsure if I would enjoy it as much as Luna or The Speicherstadt. Turns out I actually enjoyed it as much or even more!
This is definitely a survival game. One wrong move and you can have your whole strategy blown out of the water. The first game we played was with 5 and even though we messed up a few rules everyone seemed to have a good time. So much so that it was requested as our online, turn-based game for the week. Since then we’ve played multiple games online. I am a certified Feld Fanboy!
I still have lots of unplayed games on my shelf, hopefully these next few months will be filled with even more great new games!
My third segment on games from the past year will focus on a game that is in genre that has really become one of my favorites. Co-operative board games are a nice change of pace from the usual “single winner” games. I’ve noticed that we tend to have more fun playing co-ops because there is much more communication between the players and much less AP. Everyone is always engaged and trying to make the best moves for the team, not just screw another player out of VPs or position.
The latest co-op game is centered around the Firefighting theme. A theme that has been severely underutilized in the boardgaming industry. I’m happy to see that Indie Boards and Cards chose this theme in their latest game.
Flash Point: Fire Rescue
One of the strongest features of a game is it’s ability for many different types of people to play it. Flash Point does a wonderful job of being simple enough to teach to non-gamers, but offer a number of options to make the game more complex and challenging for more seasoned gamers. The Family Rules are simple enough to teach to an 8 year old, but fun enough to play with adults. The game is still challenging enough so you don’t feel like you’re playing a kids game that can be easily solved.
The “Advanced Rules” adds some time to the setup, but each player can help so it’s not terribly long. It also adds roles to the game so each player can have a specialty. This has helped fix the overbearing player issue that is common to co-operative games. Each player can focus on what they do best; be it fix damage to walls, run the fire hose, etc.
I’m more than happy to have this game in my collection next to the grand daddy of co-operative games: Pandemic. It certainly holds its own!
- Gigazaur needs to be punched in the sound effects. #TableTop 2 days ago
- This worries me "At the start of the Villain turn, roll 4 dice. For each Success, you get 1 Action. ...you will have between 0 & 4 Actions." 2 days ago
- Would love to see a video review for #Batmam:ArkhamCityEscape. Hopefully different enough from Summoner Wars. 2 days ago
- JD Spy Trailer: http://t.co/UzjCcBgRgP via @youtube 2 days ago
- RT @MetaGames: REVIEW: RIALTO - FInally I get time to post a new #boardgame review - Stefan Feld's Rialto which is very good. http://t.co/B… 5 days ago
- Ranking the 2012 games I’ve played
- Non-GenCon report
- Disaster on Everest
- New games I’ve played recently
- From the Cold War to the depths of space (part 3 of 3)
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