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BK's GeekBuddies' Top 10 Highest Rated Games I Don't Own - 2016 Edition

Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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One of the things I value most about the BGG community is the diverse taste in games and the shared opinions and experiences of the games they play. Over time I have found a collection of trusted voices whose opinions help me navigate the tidal wave of games in the marketplace to find a selection that will bring joy and happiness to my table top. Those voices are my BGG GeekBuddies.

I currently have 62 Geekbuddies and each year I generate a list of the Top 10 games they like that I do not own and share a comment about what captures my interest or not. The games on this year's list have a slightly higher rating than those from last year thus piquing my interest even further. I acquired two selections from last year's list, Patchwork and Viticulture. Let's take a look at what is on this year's list...

BK's Geekbuddies' Top 10 Highest Rated Games I Don't Own:

10. Shipyard
BGG Avg Rating: 7.39
Geekbuddies: 11 (18%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.12 (+0.73)

I could be wrong but I believe this received a recent reprint and thus the resurgence of this older title. I recall seeing a boat load, pun intended, of nice pictures on BGG, Twitter and Instagram which has caught my eye, but it would definitely need to be a try before ever considering a buy for me.

9. Glass Road
BGG Avg Rating: 7.51
Geekbuddies: 17 (27%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.15 (+0.64)

Glass Road was #6 on the list last year. I think playing this with my wife is the most likely motivation in considering this game as I don't think I would get many multiple player games of it. I did make a few attempts to trade for it in a couple of math trades this past year but it still remains on the outskirts of my wish list.

8. Crokinole
BGG Avg Rating: 7.80
Geekbuddies: 22 (35%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.16 (+0.36)

I still don't understand the craze for this selection which was #4 on my list last year. Everyone seems to like it I just think I would get bored of it after a few plays and then it would just sit or hang on a wall and collect dust most of the time. Perhaps I'm wrong, but given my 1-2 plays of it, I don't see the need to go crazy on this one.

7. Star Wars: Imperial Assault
BGG Avg Rating: 8.25
Geekbuddies: 13 (21%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.19 (-0.06)

I like Star Wars and find games like this to be intriguing, unfortunately the reality is that I don't have anyone to play this style of game with so I don't even given it much attention. In a different situation, I bet this is one I would consider.

6. Ginkgopolis
BGG Avg Rating: 7.44
Geekbuddies: 11 (18%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.23 (+0.79)

Falling a post on the list from last year and yet still the one game on the list I'm most likely to buy should it ever become more readily available again is Ginkgopolis.

5. Brass
BGG Avg Rating: 8.03
Geekbuddies: 19 (31%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.24 (+0.21)

I actually traded for this one a couple of summers ago on pfctsqr's recommendation. Unfortunately, it never got to the table and I ended up trading it a year or so later for Age of Industry which I had read is more streamlined and a bit shorter. Like Brass it sat on my shelf unplayed as well so I traded it away. Perhaps one day I'll get to try someone else's copy, but I'm just not meant to own it and play it within my game group.

4. Command & Colors: Ancients
BGG Avg Rating: 7.81
Geekbuddies: 10 (16%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.30 (+0.49)

I'm sure if I owned this and actually got to play it that I'd like it. M44 is one of my favorites. But like many light war/conflict type games like this I would only be adding an overpriced dust collector to my shelf. Too bad.

3. Mombasa
BGG Avg Rating: 8.04
Geekbuddies: 14 (23%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.39 (+0.35)

I seriously considered picking this up at Origins this summer when I saw it in the booth for a very reasonable price. It seems to be a meaty euro style game that I would love to dig my teeth into. I will have to keep this one in the back of my mind and reconsider later if/when I'm looking for a new euro game to add to the collection.

2. Terra Mystica
BGG Avg Rating: 8.28
Geekbuddies: 31 (50%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.48 (+0.20)

As I've mentioned before my best friend has this one so we just need to get it to the table one of these days when we both are interested and in a position to play it. I know from the one play of it that I'll like it more once I understand what I'm doing and why and experience more of the races. But given the price point and the frequency with which I'd get to play it given I don't get to play similar games (in my mind) like Eclipse more than once per year that I don't feel I need to own this but just enjoy my buddy's copy with a little effort.

1. Food Chain Magnate
BGG Avg Rating: 8.30
Geekbuddies: 10 (16%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.50 (+0.20)

I listened to a WDYPTW podcast segment where a number of its contributors discussed this game. It sounded like it offered a variety of strategies and replay ability which are important to me, but the price point is certainly steep for a game I don't see getting to the table much with my wife let alone our group so I think this is one that will get a pass from me as well.


I'm considering talking about some of the Geekbuddies I've found that share similar tastes in game in next week's blog. Until then, what game would you recommend I consider given my taste in games?

meeple Keep playing...
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Thu Dec 1, 2016 12:28 pm
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Our Top 10 Most Competitive 2p Games - 2016 Edition

Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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Two-player games with my wife account for a significant majority of my plays. For a few years now I have maintained an ongoing record of our friendly 2p rivalry in My Wife's and My Most Competitive Games. In this week's blog post I take a quick look at how our competitive landscape has changed over the past year.

To do this I excluded any game that hasn't been played in the past year as it has not been a competitive factor. Then I note a little bit about our Top 10 most competitive games and how it has changed compared to last year's list.

I calculate a game's competitiveness by subtracting our head-to-head record and dividing it by the total number of plays. If we are even it is equal to 0.000 and is ranked by most to least played giving the nod to the game that more plays. If one of us has won all of our plays then it is equal to 1.000 and is sorted from least to most plays as a game yielding an undefeated record after more plays is clearly less competitive. Games making the Top 10 range from 0.000 to 0.179 (+.033 from last year's Top 10 list).


Our Top 10 Most Competitive 2p Games - 2016 Edition:
Previous versions: 2015 / 2014 / 2013

#10. Alhambra
Record: 16-11-1 (0.179) mb



New to this Top 10 list after my wife won a recent play thus closing the gap slightly to make the cut is Alhambra. We tend to try and out do each other in building our walls and incorporate a couple of the expansion modules we have to keep things interesting.


#9. Limes
Record: 7-5 (0.167) mb



A new to us game debuting at #9 is Limes a quick 2p tile laying game with some meeple placement decisions that was a lot of fun to play as we kicked off the new year and our 2016 10x10 Challenge.


#8. Dominion
Record: 28-21-1 (0.140) mb



Dominion has been on this list the past three years slipping from #4 in 2013, to #8 the following year down to #10 last year. My win this year brings it back to #8. With the variety of kingdom cards we have across the expansions in our collection this is a game with lots of replay ability left in it if we would just dust it off more often.


#7. Innovation
Record: 21-27 (0.125) mb



Fifth last year but two spots lower this time around due to wife taking the win from our only play this past year to extend her advantage. This is one of our most played 2p games and one we enjoy playing, it just doesn't see the table top often any more.


#6. Deus
Record: 5-4 (0.111) mb



This civilization game of building and expanding your presence on a modular board while building up a tableau of cards with various abilities presents players the opportunity to setup and execute game changing combos. As a 2p game we feel we've experienced what it has to offer and could take it or leave it, however I'd like to try it at 3-4p where I hear it really shines.


#5. Bruges
Record: 19-23-1 (0.093) mb



One of the most played games of the year due to a third showing on our annual 10x10 list is Bruges. It is one of my favorite Feld games which has only gotten better and more interesting for us with the addition of the expansion modules.

#4. Morels
Record: 7-6 (0.077) mb



Morels saw a surge of four plays this past year that tightened up the gap to move this card game up the charts enough to debut on this list at #4.


#3. Guildhall
Record: 60-57 (0.026) mb



My wife improved her record with a win in our sole play this year of Guildhall, the most played game in our collection. Our plays have fallen off significantly, not because its a bad or unwelcomed game, but rather we still have many games begging to be played. It falls one place on our list to from #2 to #3 this year.

#2. Luna / Ticket to Ride - PA map / Viticulture Essential Edition
Record: 1-1 (0.000) (Even)



We added quite a few new games to the list this year, these three saw at two plays with us splitting the wins setting the stage for some potentially contentious, er competitive, games for our future. Luna is a Feld and one that is under the microscope regarding how we truly feel about it. We enjoy TtR and have a variety of maps we enjoy, it is more a matter of remembering to bring it out from time to time but we really liked the two maps in the latest expansion collection. Viticulture is an elegant and smooth euro that will probably see more plays with more players, but should see an occasional 2p game. Time will tell for this trio.

#1. Trajan
Record: 15-15 (0.000) (Even)



My wife won all four of our plays this past year thus elevating Trajan to #1 after slipping a spot last year. This is the fourth year on this list (#8, #5, #6, and now #1).



Dropping out of the Top 10 list this past year due to inactivity or losing their competitive edge are Viva Java:TDG (#1), Fidelitas (#3), Macao (#7), Seasons (#8) and Carcassonne (#9).

New games we added to the fuller list this year that didn't make the cut here include Orléans, Bora Bora, Patchwork, Cable Car, Castles of Burgundy: TCG and Targi.


Maintaining the larger list and revisiting what has changed over the past year helps us understand what games we like and for some odd reason who has bragging rights. It also serves as a reminder for me how much I appreciate that my wife plays games with me and how much fun we have together.

Which 2p games are yours and your gaming partners' most competitive games?

meeple (In the meantime,) keep playing...
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Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:13 pm
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Top 10 Games I Wish My Friends Would Play More - 2016 Edition

Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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The past few years I've posted an annual list of the Top 10 Games I Wish My Friends Would Buy, but this year I would struggle to pull that off. One reason is that we just haven't gamed as much together this past year. We only had Game Night/Day five times this year and attendance was much more mixed than in year's past. Another reason is only a few in my Game Group play on a regular to semi-regular basis and those in the former don't need any suggestions on games--like me they have more games than they have time and opponents to play.

So this year I thought I'd look over my collection and plays and select 10 games I Wish My Friends (and I) Would Play More. The challenge of having lots of games, a busy family and professional life, and limited time playing higher player count games with friends is that these games in general only see the rare play and they make the list as I'd like to imagine how fun it would be to get them to the table more than I do.





10. Deus
My wife and I were introduced to this tableau building civilization builder in 2016 as part of my 10x10 Challenge. I liked it but wasn't blown away. My wife could easily pass after 10 plays. However, I'm not ready to trade it as I'd like to give it a few plays with 3-4p as I think the game is decent and might shine at this player count compared to the 2p experience and I believe that some in the group would really like it.




9. Spyrium
I had gifted Spyrium to my BIL about a year or so after it came out and was one of the hot tickets on BGG. We played it together as a learning game and had fun feeling that things would go better the next time now that we knew what was going on. Well, we never did play it again and I ultimately traded him for it thinking I would get it to the table more often... and haven't. So, I put it on the list as I'd like to think this could be an occasional game amongst the group.





8. Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition
My group does not play role playing games, but I bought a Beginner Box a few years ago and my wife, BIL, and another couple played through it, another free scenario and a short adventure I wrote myself. It was a lot of fun and I purchased a bunch of stuff for the classic Rise of the Runelords materials and still hope that I can get a small group together that could meet at least once a month to play through it. Call it a gaming pipedream.




7. Troyes
This is a fantastic game that sits at #10 in my Top 50 list. Another one my wife doesn't care for, so I long to introduce others to it and play more often. I've played a couple 3p games and it was very satisfying, so would like to experience that more within my circle of gaming friends. I feel there would be more fans in my group if they would just give it a try.





6. Dead of Winter
The theme and style of play of DoW is a bit different than most other games our group plays but I really enjoy it. There have been a few plays that have ended with epic stories to tell. To date I've only played the short scenarios and I'd like to play all the medium and long scenarios at some point but the requires getting it to the table. I think some pizza and a DoW marathon is in order this winter!




5. Bruges
What wish list of mine would be complete without at least one game from my favorite designer, Stefan Feld. Bruges is actually one of my favorite games (#5) and I love every 2p game my wife and I play, but I'd like to get it back to the table with 3 or more with the expansion modules as it is such an enjoyable game.





4. Hansa Teutonica
Hansa Teutonica is very dry on theme (nod to BGG user edelen) but an enjoyable brain burner whenever it gets to the table. I love the sandbox design and would love to experiment with strategies which requires more plays. The challenge with this and the remaining games on the list is that they currently only see the table once a year and has to be scheduled as part of an all day gaming agenda to play. Surely there is room for an ad hoc game or two, right?




3. Power Grid
Power Grid is a group favorite and my #2 game yet with the influx of so many new games over the past few years and the infrequent times together to play, it doesn't see anywhere near the play time that our group would like. I actually have a few expansion maps that we haven't even gotten to yet. I'm hoping there is an uptick of PG plays in the upcoming year. It's time to get these maps played and build a new, more sturdy market stand as the foam core stand is on its last leg.





2. Eclipse
I only get to play Eclipse once each year when we kick off BillCon each year. We are getting faster at playing it with more plays under our belt and it has only been in recent years that we finally tried the alien races. I'd love to see this get an additional play or two in the mix outside of my birthday bash. I'm also really enjoying my accessories that help to facilitate organizing and managing the cubes and tiles. I've got a lot invested in this one to only see one play per year.




1. Railways of the World
Hands down RotW is my favorite game and it may just be the favorite of many in our game group. So I feel no shame in listing it at the top of this list as well as why shouldn't your favorite get to the table more often. I have fond memories of early Saturday and holiday games with the guys of this fabulous network building, pick up and deliver design with its large maps that facilitates a very satisfying table top experience. So who is coming over to play this before the year is over?



So rather than try to persuade my gaming friends to pick up games I'd like to play, I hope I've stirred an interest in playing a few of these more than we currently are as we go into a new year of gaming. I hope to make our monthly Game Nights happen with more consistency in 2017 because we have a lot of fun to share with this list and more. What game(s) do you wish your friends would play more?

meeple Keep playing...
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Thu Nov 17, 2016 12:45 pm
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BK's 2016 Christmas Wishlist

Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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In keeping with my BGG tradition I'll attempt to post a weekly blog for the rest of the year starting with an updated wish list of games I wouldn't mind seeing show up under the tree come Christmas. My side of the family will be drawing names and exchanging Christmas lists at my nephew's birthday party, so I need to revisit my Christmas List which will include games, of course.

My 2016 Christmas List contains the games and expansions that have intrigued me throughout the year, which has been tough to do lately as I feel I'm at a temporary saturation point. I have more games than I can keep up with and there are not many games I feel I have to own, including a couple of these.

But before I start let me say that there are three games that I will not list here that I intend on buying and gifting to wife and family that I'll keep to myself to maintain the surprise. So the list here is what I'll be sharing with others:



1. Terraforming Mars
Is there a hotter game on the planet this year? I played this at CinCityCon and did horrible but had a blast. I think all aspects of this game are appealing and I could see this as a future hit in our game group. Players work together to improve conditions on Mars in preparation of sustaining life on the planet, winner is the one with the most points earned for their contributions. Easily one of the best games I played this year.


2. Grand Austria Hotel
This is a eurogame that just sounds like it would appeal to my wife and me as many other BGG users who have similar taste in games have raved about how good it is. Service guests in the hotel the best and most efficiently for the win. I see this as a popular 2p game in our house next year should it arrive Christmas morning.



3. Voyages of Marco Polo
If there is a eurogame out there that I tried a while ago and would still like to get my hands on it would be Marco Polo. I played a demo at Origins when it first came out and liked its dice placement mechanisms and strong asymmetric player powers. I felt from that couple rounds of play that this game would probably retire Kingsburg and Alien Frontiers for me.


4. Commissioned
I've long desired a biblical themed game that offered solid game play and meaningful decisions that wasn't just a pasted on theme or another trivia game. After trying Commissioned I think I may have found it. A cooperative game where players take on the role of the Apostles with the goal of spreading the gospel against persecution and hardships. The game offers a number of scenarios and a world evangelism option on the opposite side of the board. I was impressed.



5. Five Tribes
I've now played this mancala-style euro game twice and believe it would easily climb up my Top 20 if I owned it and had more opportunities to play it. You start with a board full of meeples and redistribute them across the board keeping all those of the ending color which can then be used to benefit you during the game. I'm concerned about playing it with some AP-prone gaming friends, but know it would make a wonderful addition to our game collection.


6. Port Royal
I had the opportunity to play this with the expansion at CinCityCon and rather enjoyed it. Port Royal is a simple, quick yet engaging push your luck card game that I think would travel well and play with all kinds of people. The challenge with this one is that it is harder to find than most other games on this list, not impossible, but a bit more difficult.



7. Imhotep
This summer while the family was away I made a couple trips to my FLGS and got to play this SdJ Nominee and was impressed with its chunky cubes and simple rule set as players load their cubes on boats to be delivered to building sites in ancient Egypt in a way that produces the most points. The catch is that others may use their turn to spoil your plans and deliver boats with your hopes and ambitions to a different port.


8. Room 25
The other games on this list are fairly known entities which I have either tried or know of other gamers whose tastes are similar to mine who have enjoyed them. Room 25 is the gamble on this list. I don't know much about it other than it is like escape room the board game where players are trying to puzzle through a grid of tiles to find an exit while avoiding various perils along the way. It has recently gone through some reworkings and has expansions available to it. Sounds like potential fun.




9. and 10. Concordia: Salsa or Concordia: Gallia/Corsica

Concordia has become a Top 10 game for me over the past couple of years. The more we play it the more I like it. You couple that with large, beautiful map expansions and I'm sold. Salsa offers a new resource type while Gallia/Corsica adds some more maps to play well with lower player counts. I'm not picky, I'll take either or both.


Feel free to comment on this year's list? Am I overlooking something too good to pass up? Convince me.

Next week I'll share my annual Top 10 Games I Wish My Friends Would Buy - 2016 Edition.

meeple Keep playing...
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Thu Nov 10, 2016 12:35 pm
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CinCityCon 2016

Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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This past Saturday I attended a new local one day gaming event called CinCityCon in Cincinnati. Its inauguration was intended to be a smaller scale event (around 200 people) in preparation for a larger scale three day event Oct. 6th - 8th, 2017.

I've been to a handful of Origins and GenCon conventions that are on a much grander scale so it was a different and pleasant experience to participate in something much more low key and singularly focused on gaming. I would say it was more like my all day game event in May for my birthday, BillCon--tables, people and gaming. It also included a local game store setup in one corner, a decent game library in another, a variety of events going on through out the day and some tables there for open gaming. And the price point was amazing--$10 for all day.


I arrived about 15-20 minutes before things got started hoping to get oriented and grab a table which I was able to do. No one in my gaming group was attending, my wife was coming later and I wasn't exactly sure when BGG user phillier937 was going to arrive or how much of his gaming he was planning on or open to me being apart, so I knew I'd have to initiate with some strangers if I wanted to do lots of gaming--that isn't easy for me to do and went in embracing this as something I could overcome.

One advantage I had is I was currently sitting on a valuable playing space and I saw a couple walk in who looked around and seemed unattached to anyone else so I walked up and asked if there was something they were interested in playing and would I be able to join them. I mentioned I had a table and was open to anything. So they grabbed something from the library and my day was successfully started. (Phew...)

So, what did I play? I'll share a little bit about each below:



America - New!


In America the game players take turns guessing the place, year, and/or quantity to related question regarding a category (e.g. Apple Pie). Should your bet be correct you score 7 pts, if it is adjacent to the right answer on the board (year, state, number) you score 3 pts, otherwise you score 0. If you score points you get your cubes back otherwise they go into the supply and there is a mechanism to award some back to you in there as well.

We played to 100 rather than scoring just six cards since we were learning, having fun and easing into the convention. I am not a big fan of trivia games, but when you give me a range, variance (adjacency on the board) and some other options (no adjacency, and no correct answers) I turned out to be golden and good enough to win big. For a party game, I liked it enough to play it again should the opportunity present itself. This was also a Play and Win game, but I did not win in that contest.



Potion Explosion - New!


Next up my new gaming partners chose Potion Explosion which I recalled hearing Vacabck talk about often on the WDYPTW podcast and had really dismissed as not a game for me, but I was open to trying it to see what it was all about.

Essentially it is Bejeweled Blits with marbles in a board game. As players choose a marble they also collect like colors that come together. Then they attempt to fulfill potion recipes and leverage special ability they acquire to manipulate the marble supply in future draws.

Again I was impressed. It far exceeded my expectations and I could see my wife, friends in our game group and even my largely nongaming family playing this one. I won BK(65), PH(45), DG(41), AG(32).



Power Grid: Brazil/Spain & Portugal - New map!


I had the opportunity to hook up with Patrick and his son and play one of my favorites, Power Grid, on a new map, Spain. There was some power plant cards that were removed and shuffled in later during the setup and again later in the game (if I recall correctly), however, other than that it played in a familiar fashion.

I was just excited to play on a new map and Patrick was glad to use his Game Trayz resource upgrades and trayz. I also made some minor repairs to my foam board auction stand I made a few years ago and brought it which attracted a few observant passersby.

As for the game, it ultimately came down as expected to who could power the most plants. Patrick had the capacity to win untouched and the fuel to do it. I maxed out mine and his son who had sufficient fuel didn't have the power plant capacity to match me to take third. PH(18), BK(16), AH(14).



Terraforming Mars - New!


Four of us were learning one of the hottest games on the planet in Terraforming Mars and I can see why it has been so popular. It is a wonderful game. It contains tons of iconography with associated actions, dependencies and triggers which can make a newbie's head spin. Once you get the basics it is a delightful game. I just didn't do very well in my initial play.

I drew the corporation that starts the game with lots of Titanium which is supposedly rare in the game (but not as rare as the cards you would benefit from, in my experience with the beginner game). Since I started with lots of Titanium I start lower on the money end. Consequently, I spent much of my time building penny cards while watching other corporations terraform the planet with cities, lakes and greenery.

In the penultimate round of the game I raised enough funds to build a card with Titanium which allowed me save enough money to build my only city and two greeneries next to it in the final round to finish last, T?(55), PH(53), AH(53), BK(38).

My loss did not detract from my like of the game. I could see that it would be fun with more experience solo, 2p or more with my game group. Easily one of the best games of the year for me.




Pandemic - New Format! Pandemic Survival


The event I was most excited about and had signed up for in advance was Pandemic Survival with Patrick as my partner. Multiple teams of two are playing what I call "bingo style" Pandemic--same characters, card deck, etc. and you have a small amount of time each turn to complete your actions with a caller who calls out the infections and the time for turns to end, etc. The first team to find all cures or be the last one standing wins.

I've played a lot of Pandemic. I've played a lot of games and consider myself a decent player. In the few games I've played with Patrick I know that he has played a lot and knows what he is doing. So together I think we made a really strong duo. In fact, based on my experience with the game I felt we played an extremely efficient game making great choices, leveraging our abilities and getting some luck in the infections that aligned really well with the choices we had made keeping our board clean.

Somehow (?!?!) every other team beat us. Now I'm not a sore loser, but I am really struggling with the end result given the near perfect game I felt we had played throughout and yet to have lost so badly. Here's the thing, if you choose to treat infections you are going to be slower in getting your cures but have fewer outbreaks than if you pursue cures aggressively. So I fail to grasp how every other team can have the same or more cures than us, including the team that found all four, yet all of them had fewer outbreaks? The outbreaks were aggressively planted in the shared deck. I'm simply baffled. I looked at all the boards after the game and they were cleaner than ours and yet they had more cures and fewer outbreaks? I don't get it and having a hard time buying it. I loved the concept, enjoyed the experience and what my partner and I did with each choice in that game--I just can't figure out what happened. shake



Port Royal - New!


We had an hour after or Pandemic Survival game before my next event so Patrick taught me and another opponent how to play a nifty card game that I've heard a number of contributors on the WDYPTW podcast talk highly about, which again I honestly had no interest in, but keeping with the theme of my day I was trying new things and stepping out of my comfort zone.

You know what I was really impressed (again!) and could see this as another travel, work, family, non-gamers kind of game. Through out the game I kept glancing at my watch so as not to miss the only other event I had signed up for. So with the motivation to end it soon I I started pushing my luck more and more and got the cards I needed in each of my last two turns for the win. Added this one to my Wish List.



Commissioned - New!


Commissioned is a cooperative game where each person plays one of the biblical apostles working together to evangelize the Roman Empire by planting churches and canonizing the New Testament while overcoming various trial and tribulations.

I've been longing for a well designed board game with a biblical theme that wasn't just a rethemed/reskinned party game. I thought this one was really well done. It may take a bit of time to explain it to new players, it did in our case, but makes good sense and if the rules are adhered to then each player has the final say as the elder during their turn. The mechanisms in the game facilitated the goals and the trials in a thematic and tasteful manner. It was a ironic and somewhat disturbing to myself and a few other players based on my observations when the player teaching the game used blasphemous words in reaction to some tense trials experienced during the game quite unawares and detached from his fellow players.

In the end we successfully completed our missionary work and I got to experience a game I had heard about and had my eye on for a while. It too will go on my Wish List.


That was it for me. I was getting hungry and missed my girls who had busy days of there own so I said good byes and headed home feeling like I had a wonderful day of gaming. I will definitely try and make plans to attend at least one if not more days of the convention next year.

meeple (Until then) keep playing...
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Mon Oct 3, 2016 11:00 am
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Origins 2016

Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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This marked my fourth trip up I-71N to Columbus, Ohio for the Origins Game Fair. The difference this year was none of my family went as they are all elsewhere for the month, so I convinced some of my gaming buddies to join me. One of the guys went with me last year and brought his two sons, BGG user edelen brought his son after missing a couple of years, and the rest had never been to a convention or anything else game related other than Game Nights at my house. Together we made a merry band of... guys looking for some gaming goodness.




Of course the tradition has been to go up for the day on Saturday and participate in the Math Trade. This year I traded seven games for nine. One of which I gave as a birthday present. That haul in and of itself was enough to say, "Great! Pack it up, I'm ready to go home and play."

The event went very smooth with many folks showing up as much as an hour before the event and I had nearly all my games given and collected by the time the event officially started allowing for me to meet up with the rest of the gang for the opening.




One of my other morning priorities was to find Patick Hillier (phillier) to finally meet in person and get a WDYPTW (i.e. What Did You Play This Week) Podcast Fan ribbon. Patrick and Brandon (Vacabck) have been doing a great job with the podcast and I manage the weekly geeklist and forums (WDYPTW subscription thread).

Of course, I'm going to do my part to promoted the podcast and geeklist as much as I can. The WDYPTW community is made up of a great bunch of people I enjoy as part of my week.




At this point the Dealer Hall was opening and all of us had arrived and met up at the main doors to start our day. I went directly to CoolStuffInc to purchase the must buys on my list (the advantage of a cult of the proven gamer is that I rarely have to wait in long lines hoping I get some new hotness, I can go right in and buy what I know I want. This year there were four items I really wanted: T.I.M.E Stories, Grand Austria Hotel, Viticulture and Flick 'em Up!. I got 3 of the 4. At this point I was had bags full of games that I needed to take back to the van before moving on.


For the most part I had now covered what I needed to do, now I could focus on what I wanted to do which was to ensure my friends had a great first convention and watch and share in their excitement.

Throughout the day we broke up into smaller groups and went here and there. I managed to play four games throughout the day. Briefly, here is what played.

First up was Desert Island. You play a particular character who also loves a character and hates one--it may even be the same character or yourself! You receive points if your love is alive and who you hate is dead by the time of your rescue. Players have to work together towards getting rescued while keeping an eye on your food supply and the threats that inflict fate and wounds upon your plight for survival. It wasn't a great game (blow your socks off), but it was enjoyable with some interesting dynamics for what it was.


After lunch we finished up our walk of the Dealer Hall and made our way to Rio Grande Games' room. We settled down for a much needed rest for some of the guys while we enjoyed a quick, simple entry train networking game in Transamerica. Players race to complete connections to their five cities each round building off of their connected network. As track merge your connections expand and the race is on. Timing, some luck, and good planning is the key. You score negative points for each track you are missing from completing your connections. Everyone liked it for what it was, simple, enjoyable, tricky yet casual and fun.


We enjoyed some of the refreshments provided by Jay as we hopped to the other end of the table and tried Alan's Adventureland. Theme parks themed games seem to be all the rage so I was interested in trying a game with its theme, unfortunately in this one the theme did not shine through as much as I would have liked. It offered interesting choices and multiple ways to score points. Each player had unique player boards with different scoring abilities based on each's layout. We all enjoyed it and would expect the dynamic to improve given another play or two. However, I feel there is probably a better game with this theme out there.

The last game of the day for me at the show was fittingly, Dead Last. My best friend and I gave this one a quick play. You have to communicate any means possible with the other players to agree on who to kill. You vote, anyone who doesn't vote with the majority dies. The majority vote dies unless they play their Ambush card. And you rinse and repeat until you get to a sole standing player or a stand off where you then collect or partake in prisoner's dilemma to determine who gets the available gold that round. You play multiple rounds until someone reaches X number of gold (or something like that). Interesting, not the type of game that RR or I are very good at and we proved that during our game. It could be a fun, party game with the right crowd.


All in all it was a very enjoyable day with good friends having fun playing games. It took my mind off how much I was missing my family for a few hours.

The highlights would be the Math Trade as always, sharing the day with friends who were experiencing their first convention, and seeing some people I've met online. I even crossed paths with a friend from high school who I hadn't seen in half a lifetime ago. I did find a vendor who sold a 30d die with the letters of the alphabet, my wife's latest request. I didn't buy the wooden disks I thought I'd buy to replace my worn cardboard chits for Orléans. I still want to do that but wasn't really wanting to spend more money at that point.

The disappointments of the show would be that my own family wasn't able to attend this year; that Asmodee and FFG who usually have a large foot print and presence were barely noticeable; Chessex was not there for my annual dice buying binge; and there really wasn't anything new that I just had to check out.

I just remembered I wanted to try Iello's World of Yo-Ho to see how the phone app worked with the game as that looked interesting. I saw a poster at their booth advertising it, but I forgot to go back and see if there was a demo. I think I also would have liked to try World's Fair 1893 to see how it played. I love the way it looks. Tesla vs Edison as one of the guys tried it and said it sounded like a euro game our group could get into.

I did have a good time and I'm happy with my acquisitions. I still wrestle with the idea of getting 2-3 other couples together to go away for a weekend and each brings 2-3 new games and we have our own gaming weekend with more of what we want for less the cost. Ah, some day.


What about you? I'm interested in hearing what game stood out to you from the con. Consider posting to my annual geeklist: Your Origins Game Fair 2016 Pick for "Game of Show".


...now what am I going to play next...

meeple Keep playing...
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Mon Jun 20, 2016 5:59 pm
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BK Hosts BillCon 2016

Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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BillCon VI in 2016

Since joining BGG I have hosted an all-day gaming event in May to celebrate another trip around the sun. I invite my friends to join me for a day of games, fellowship and fun. This year was the sixth such event known to the gang as BillCon.

I had a scheduling conflict this year so I actually held it a week early which ironically fell on April 30, International Tabletop Day. For the event, I select 5-6 games I want to play and do my best to schedule time with everyone who wants to get a game in with me for 1-2 of their top choices and encourage them to teach and play other games with other attendees.

This year we had between 25-30 adults participate throughout the day with a good number of them staying for most if not the entire day starting at 8:00 in the morning until 10:00 in the evening. This year I chose only five games instead of the typical six to allow for a little more time to teach, setup, finish, and transition between games which worked out really well. I think I will stick with that approach going forward.



Starting off the morning was my annual play of Eclipse. We played the alien races for only the second time after our first exposure to them last year. I was also excited to finally get to use my new accessories that I got for Christmas: cube trays from The Broken Token and tile trays from Game Trayz.


I did a quick refresher of the rules and waited for one last player to arrive. Then we got to exploring, researching, upgrading, building and influencing. Very early on it became clear to me that my exploration missions were not lending themselves to engaging in much combat, so I kept myself a bit isolated and explored deep into space in hopes to land monolith tech to build VP while others contested the much desired middle. I nearly pulled off the win without a single battle, finishing second in a 29-28-26-22 contest.



Next up was a 4p game of Concordia on the Germania map. It proved once again how elegant, challenging and engaging a game it is in our experience. All of us had played before and I believe it is actually edelen's favorite game. He was working the silk strategy the entire game and I thought he might win. However, I began to have my doubts when in the last two rounds my friend across from me bought up four cards. I think all of us were close to doing one or two more things that would have helped our position, but those late card purchases proved too much yielding a huge win, 145-99-81-80. Where in our first game I missed winning by 1, here I finished last by 1.



It has been tradition since the very first BillCon to play Railways of the World. It is also my favorite all-time game and loved by most of the guys in my game group. Sadly it too is close to being an annual occurrence to get it to the table any more.

My best friend has won this game every year at the previous five BillCon's, and I was determined to claim the title for at least one year. As usual we were neck and neck right out of the gate through the first few rounds. Both of us were playing different strategies it appeared than our normal tells. But as time went on it became clear, he was going for major routes while I truly was trying something new--build a longer network and upgrade my engine for longer deliveries to finish with an accelerated rate.

The short of it is that I finally took down the undefeated champion with a thrilling win. It was intense, it was close. But my big deliveries surpassed his 36 or so bonus points for 88-84-29-28 finish. Satisfied.



Continuing with the theme of playing my favorite games that don't see the table often enough for my liking, we played the Leave It All Behind scenario in a 5p game of Dead of Winter. The story that evolved during our play was epic. We all needed attached weapons and a significant amount of food. Personally I needed each character to be equipped with a weapon. We managed the first few crises well enough but were not making progress towards our main, shared objective so we shifted our focus to gambling the crises and focused on finding weapons and food.

We made a heroic push at the end nearly pulling off the impossible with the win in our grasp only to have an unfortunate die roll which cost us our final morale before we could complete the last round. The shared goal was finally completed and more than half had our private goals, we just needed to survive the last phase to watch it slip through our fingers.

Nooooooooo!!!!! zombiezombiezombie



We finished the day with a full, 5p game of Hansa Teutonica. I've played this three times prior and a couple of the guys played it last year, with the other two being new to the game. We picked it up fairly quickly and saw it play it out very differently than previous plays.

I was quietly and patiently building a long string of cities hoping to grab a key late and steal the win, but folks caught on to my plan late and made it impossibly for me to get a much needed key. My mistake was waiting too late to do so, which I will make a mental note of for future plays. With my efforts to get a key squashed and no real alternatives at that point to lengthen my narrow non-multipliable lead I pushed to end it quickly and attempt to minimize the damage. I finished in the middle in a 38-31-30-24-19 result. I continue to enjoy this one when I get the opportunity to play.


With that we wiped down the table, swept the floor, took out the trash and set the room back the way we found it before calling it an event about 30 minutes earlier than in years past. Folks came for some fun, fellowship, and games. And we accomplished that. Great, epic tales to hold us over until RayCon in July (and a few of us are planning on making a Saturday day trip to Origins in June).

meeple Keep playing...
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Thu May 5, 2016 11:20 am
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BK's GeekBuddies' Top 10 Highest Rated Games I Don't Own - 2015 Edition

Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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In light of it being Thanksgiving in the US, I want go give a heart-felt shout out to my BGG GeekBuddies and their influence on my gaming choices. I consult their likes and dislikes when considering whether I'd like a game or not.

I currently have 53 Geekbuddies. To generate the list of Top 10 games to comment on this week I used BGG's GeekBuddies Ratings query and set the filter at 10 Minimum Number of Raters (~20%) and only Games I Do Not Own. I present to you the queried results in reverse order (for a more dramatic effect, right?).

In addition to my response to each game at the top of their collective ratings I thought I'd include one of their thoughts for each as well.

BK's Geekbuddies' Top 10 Highest Rated Games I Don't Own:

10. Patchwork
BGG Avg Rating: 7.84
Geekbuddies: 13 (25%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.04 (+0.20)

mfaulk80 wrote:
Great 2p game that is easy to teach but filled with tough decisions. I love the economic balance involved. It will be interesting to see what the replayability is though. Tactics will differ from game to game, but will the strategy?

I like the Ewe Rosenberg games I've played and this is the first of two on the list. Patchwork is also the game on the list that I know the least about. In reading the game description on BGG alone it seems to take an otherwise uninteresting theme and do some creative things to make it a game that has found wide appeal to many gamers ranked by my trusted advisors up there with multiple games I really enjoy.

9. Dominant Species
BGG Avg Rating: 7.89
Geekbuddies: 20 (38%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.08 (+0.19)

Boss Trojan wrote:
Brain-burner. Liked it, would like another shot at it. Length is a barrier and a pretty steep learning curve, but deep, strategic, binds together good familiar game mechanics/elements in a satisfying way.

This title caught my attention when it first came out but given it moves at a glacial pace I didn't feel it would see much play time in my group. It sounds like my kind of game, but it falls into a category of game that is well represented in my collection all of which share table time already.

8. Automobile
BGG Avg Rating: 7.41
Geekbuddies: 12 (23%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.08 (+0.67)

fehrmeister wrote:
I freely acknowledge that the strategy is probably a lot deeper and more subtle than first made itself apparent to me. I like the theme and it gave me and my children some good motivation to do some research on the famous men featured in the game. My kids enjoyed this significantly more than I did, and I’m sure I’ll be indulging them with another play soon.

This game being on the list surprised me in that it has never been on my radar. I don't know that the theme does much for me or anyone in my group. Like Patchwork I'm mostly unfamiliar with what the game has to offer. I'd put this in the category of a game I would probably play given the opportunity but it is not something I'd really seek out at this time.

7. Five Tribes
BGG Avg Rating: 7.85
Geekbuddies: 27 (51%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.09 (+0.24)

jmoline wrote:
I really like the sort-of mancala style action selection. The different abilities are neat and can make for some cool combos. Overall, I really like the game. It does have a lot of potential for AP, though, and the end game scoring is a little complex.

I actually saw this game when it was released at Gen Con. It looked really busy and a turn off at the time we opted to purchase Abyss. Now having had the opportunity to play it last week I admit it is a great game. I'm guessing it would take a few plays to get more comfortable with the various strategies and identifying opportunities. Thankfully a friend of mine owns it and I will likely have the chance to play it more.

6. Glass Road
BGG Avg Rating: 7.53
Geekbuddies: 14 (26%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.11 (+0.58)

Papa Ninja wrote:
A big part of this is the combination of short play time and this is a game my wife has recently been requesting to play.
She does not usually like games with lots of moving parts, but after a couple of plays this game has clicked with her.
Glass Road is a game that will see consistent play for a long time.

This is the second Uwe Rosenberg game on the list and the one I've had my eye on from afar for sometime. I've never played it but I have a hunch it would be one that I might like. I have a friend in another city who owns it who I see 1-2 times a year so I might have the outside chance to play it at some point. The question I have is whether it would be something my wife would enjoy.

5. Ginkgopolis
BGG Avg Rating: 7.44
Geekbuddies: 11 (21%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.12 (+0.68)

thedacker wrote:
I'm upping my rating to an 8.5 for how well it plays as a solo AND a 2-player game. The solo game is very challenging, and the 2-player game is very tense. ...this game does card drafting WAY BETTER than 7 Wonders. It's currently one of her favorites. ...I highly recommend this for Euro gamers who like limited resources, difficult decisions, and good confrontation.

Of all the games on the list this is the most likely to make it to my collection. It is currently on my Wish List and one of the titles listed on my 2015 Christmas List. I'll credit all my friends in the WDYPTW community that have long sung its praises and captured my attention. It sounds like a game that my wife, game group, and I would enjoy playing.

4. Crokinole
BGG Avg Rating: 7.81
Geekbuddies: 18 (34%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.17 (+0.36)

EndersGame wrote:
Fun finger-flicking dexterity game. Despite the higher than average cost, this is one of the best value games of all time, in terms of the amount of hours played.

I don't get the craze and fandom. I tried it once in a booth at Origins. I'm really indifferent. Would I play it? Sure. Would I buy a board? Probably not. This is the kind of thing I would see getting lots of plays initially and then would likely just hang on the wall somewhere.

3. Viticulture
BGG Avg Rating: 7.83
Geekbuddies: 13 (25%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.21 (+0.38)

Smandero wrote:
Its so easy to explain but has a lot of depth. Plus, everything about its design is gorgeous. The style and color of the board is great, the components are AWESOME custom pieces, and it just makes you want wine while you play it. Great game. It's really easy for everyone playing to be in it until the last move. I've never felt like there was no hope of winning half way through the game.

I'm a euro gamer and this one seems to be well liked. In fact, it has been on and off my Wish List multiple times. Viticulture Essential Edition is currently on my Wish List. I think I'd like to try it before making an acquisition to get a feel for how much it would actually get played. I really like what this designer and publisher are doing in their games, I just don't own one yet.

2. Brass
BGG Avg Rating: 8.03
Geekbuddies: 17 (32%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.32 (+0.29)

pfctsqr wrote:
A masterpiece. One of those games that makes 2+ hours fly by. ...hand management is one thing in Brass I really like ...the map that comes with Brass is fine by me and I really don't need expansions.

I actually traded for this one a couple of summers ago on pfctsqr's recommendation. Unfortunately, it never got to the table and I ended up trading it a year or so later for Age of Industry which I had read is more streamlined and a bit shorter. Like Brass it has sat on my shelf unplayed as well. I had hoped I could play 2p, but unless I acquire an expansion map I need a third. I'm at the point where I am leaning towards putting it up for trade and get something more likely to see play time.

1. Terra Mystica
BGG Avg Rating: 8.28
Geekbuddies: 26 (49%)
Their Avg Rating: 8.62 (+0.34)

sa266 wrote:
It's a great game, with lots to think about each turn - a tight economy, some timing issues, and multiple routes to victory. Also lots of variety between games because of the different races. Totally addictive.

I wanted this one really bad when it first came out. One look at it setup at Origins and my wife vetoed it as looking too overwhelming with all its pieces, etc. I set this right next to Eclipse in its appeal to me and given that only sees one play per year as it is, I couldn't afford another big ticket game collecting dust for a rare table appearance. The good news is that one of my best friends has it so in theory I'll get the opportunity to play it... although in the year he's owned it I have yet to play it again. My initial play was enjoyable and vetted the game for me as a winner.



Well that does it for this year's review of what my Geekbuddies really like that I don't own. I'm curious what readers have regarding these games. Which of these would you pick as the best of the bunch? If you have any thoughts feel free to share. Have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy some games this weekend with friends and family.

meeple Keep playing...
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Thu Nov 26, 2015 3:28 pm
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Our Top 10 Most Competitive 2p Games - 2015 Edition

Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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Two-player games with my wife account for a significant majority of my plays. For a few years now I have maintained an ongoing record of our friendly 2p rivalry in My Wife's and My Most Competitive Games. In this week's blog post I take a quick look at how our competitive landscape has changed over the past year.

To do this I excluded any game that hasn't been played in the past year as it has not been a competitive factor. Then I note a little bit about our Top 10 most competitive games and how it has changed compared to last year's list.

I calculate a game's competitiveness by subtracting our head-to-head record and dividing it by the total number of plays. If we are even it is equal to 0.000 and is ranked by most to least played giving the nod to the game that more plays. If one of us has won all of our plays then it is equal to 1.000 and is sorted from least to most plays as a game yielding an undefeated record after more plays is clearly less competitive. Games making the Top 10 range from 0.000 to 0.146 (+.003 from last year's Top 10 list).


Our Top 10 Most Competitive 2p Games - 2015 Edition:

#10. Dominion
Record: 27-21-1 (0.146) mb



Dominion continues to slip from #4 in 2013, to #8 last year and
#10 this year after only 2 plays which we split the victories.

The game is great, but when it does come out it is usually with more people and less as a 2p game. We added the Prosperity expansion this past year, picked up in a math trade.


#9. Carcassonne
Record: 4-3 (0.143) mb



This classic game is one of the first games we bought when getting into the hobby and we didn't keep good record of our plays so it is based more on recent years. Making the Top 10 with one play earlier this year it makes its debut of sorts.


#8. Seasons
Record: 4-3 (0.143) mb



Seasons was my invoked alternate game on my 2015 10x10 list so it saw lots of plays this year. But only two were between us which we split. After a couple more plays are probably ready for the first expansion.


#7. Macao
Record: 5-4 (0.111) mb



We only played this one once and my victory plummeted its ranking from #2 to #7. We love our Feld games and this is a middle of the Feld portfolio selection for us and the first to appear on this year's list.


#6. Trajan
Record: 15-12 (0.111) mb



Slipping a spot is the second Feld title on the list. It has the same competitive rating as Macao but after 3x the number of plays. This is a heavier euro and one of our favorites from our favorite designer which is hovering in this spot of the list at #6 after being at #8 in 2013 and #5 last year.


#5. Innovation
Record: 21-26 (0.106) mb



Switching places with Trajan to move up a spot on the list is Innovation after my wife defeated me in our only play in the past year. It also represents the first game in the countdown where my wife holds the record advantage.


#4. Bruges
Record: 14-17 (0.097) mb



One of the most played games on this year's list is last year's Top competitive game, Bruges Again fueled by the 10x10 Challenge this game saw more plays. It is one of my favorite Feld games, but one that my wife is less crazy about despite holding the advantage in this one. Next time we play will be with the expansion that we've yet to break out.


#3. Fidelitas
Record: 6-5 (0.091) mb



I small Kickstarter card game I bought from Green Couch games finds itself sitting at #3 on our list this year as we went back and forth on this one early in the year after receiving the game and compelled by the 10x10 Challenge. I'll say it again the more you manipulate the cards in this one the more fun the experience.


#2. Guildhall
Record: 60-56 (0.035) mb



Improving its position by two places to finish in the runner-up spot on this years list is our most played game, Guildhall. Our plays have slowed down as we are trying to dust off other games needing some love, this one calls out to us for an occasional play of the Mega variant with all 12 character cards and is always a winner.


#1. Viva Java: The Coffee Game: The Dice Game
Record: 8-8 (0.000)



This year's squabble champion is a light, yet fun dice game that my wife won 3 of 4 times this year to improve her record and push this game to the top of the list at an even 8-8 record. We haven't played it consistently enough to progress to the random setup yet, but like Fidelitas the more we leverage our research and manipulate our dice the more interesting this game becomes.


Dropping out of the Top 10 list this past year due to inactivity or losing their competitive edge are Pentago, Smash Up, Scrabble, Ticket to Ride: Asia, and Tzolk'in. New games to the fuller list this year (with only one reaching the Top 10) include Fidelitas, AquaSphere, Morels, Arboretum, and Jaipur.

This is one of my favorite annual reviews because it is a reminder of the fun my wife and I have playing games. I've got a few more games on the shelf waiting to take their place amongst the other 2p games on this list and compete for a spot on the Top 10 list next year.


meeple (In the meantime,) keep playing...
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Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:23 am
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Top 10 Games I Wish My Friends Would Buy - 2015 Edition

Bill Kunes
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Cincinnati
Ohio
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The people that make up your gaming group are pretty special. If it wasn't for them who would you get to play games with? In my case they are also a great group of friends that I enjoy spending time with at and away from the table.

Our group has been getting together for a few years now. None of them are as immersed in gaming as I am but they still enjoy a good game and a number of them have even begun to acquire a few of their own. So it has become tradition this time of year to share my recommendations for them and the group.

My criteria for this list is simple:
1 I'd be excited to play the game, however
2 It doesn't fill a hole in our collection so is unlikely to be a purchase of ours anytime soon, but
3 I feel it would make a good acquisition for one or more of them as a family game, a 2p game, and/or a fun Game Night selection!

In looking at last year's list, one friend acquired two of my suggestions, La Isla and Terra Mystica, while another picked up Machi Koro. I on the other hand did not acquire any from the list for a change, however, I did move one of them to my Christmas Wish List (last's week's blog post) in Deus.


Top Games I Wish My Friends Would Buy - 2015 Edition (in alphabetic order):

7 Wonders: Duel

7 Wonders was a new game I picked up this past year and successfully introduced to most of our Game Group. Everyone seems to catch on and enjoy it. Duel is a 2-player version that is all the rage coming out of Essen this year that would be on my Wish List if I didn't already have a bunch of 2p games I haven't even played yet.

I would think this would make a great couples game, or one that parents could play with their kids, or with me sometime.

Between Two Cities

Speaking of 7 Wonders this fresh off the press tile laying game has some similarities in drafting and passing of tiles (instead of cards) which are placed to construct cities. Players sit between two cities and have to consider what their neighbors are thinking as you are sharing in the construction occurring on your left and your right. The end game scoring is the combination of the two cities you contributed to over the course of the game.

I watched a couple short videos on this one and it looks both interesting, relatively light, and quick which would make for a great family night or game night selection for a few or many as it plays 1-7.

Five Tribes

This is a game from last year's list that is getting a second chance. Although I fear it is an ill fit for some in my group who are just too AP prone for this to be enjoyable with them, it could be the perfect choice for some others.

Rather than placing meeples on the board over the course of the game, you start with the board completely populated and players take meeples off as part of their turn to collect various colored meeples which factor into end game scoring. That is an interesting twist in my mind of a common game mechanism. After seeing the expansion for it that adds mountains I assume restrict movement adds a further challenge to when moving and dropping meeples in mancala style over the course of the game.

Murano

This game is a carry over from last year's list as well. I'm a sucker for euros with large maps and lots of pieces. Murano fits that niche. It is for 2-4 players and offers an interesting action selection mechanism from the designers of Village and released at Essen last year. You move boats around the outside of the map without passing another boat to carry out the action described on the space you land on. You construct on building sites on the various islands, etc. to amass points. Typical euro goodness.

Like many games after a year of relase, the waters have cooled a bit on the threads, but folks are at least still playing it and liking it which says something to this "cult of the proven" game collector.

Mysterium

I don't mind the occasional game of Dixit and have fond memories of Clue when I was a kid. Combine the two and you have Mysterium from what I can tell. Someone plays the ghost and attempts to give clues using Dixit-like cards to guide players towards figuring out which character killed them with what in which room... or something like that.

This sounds like that extra bit that elevates a Dixit-like game that I'd like to play. This would also make a great family, game group, have some friends over kind of game.

Pandemic Legacy

This may be the hottest, most sought after game on the planet right now. First, Pandemic is a great cooperative game. Add to it a unique, definitive playing experience where every decision and game has consequences and a lasting impact on how the game plays going forward. This is an ideal game for a couple, a family, or a game group to experience together.

This original offering comes in two colors, blue and red, containing the same game so you can have two copies and remember which group is playing which. With Season One list as the subtitle subsequent years are likely to follow... or so many of us hope.

Pandemic: The Cure

Pandemic "The Dice Game" is another carry over from last year's list that I think is still worthy of consideration for any family in our group. If they don't want the base game and they aren't looking at getting a copy of Legacy (which continues to blaze a path to the top echelon of BGG rankings), then this would be a great dice chucking version of the game. It would also be an easy game to bring to Game Night and get folks to play.

Spyfall

I've acquired a number of smaller, simpler games for larger groups over the past couple of years to have fun options with none of them other than Deep Sea Adventure catching on. I added Codenames to my Christmas Wish List in last week's blog. Spy Fall is another game that falls into this category that has potential for a family, Game Night, larger group worth investigating. It may not be for everyone, but for some it could be a box full of fun.

All players but one receive a card of a particular setting/situation. The odd player gets a blank or something indicating they are the "spy". Players take turns asking questions about where they are at and try to determine who among them is not like the other before the spy determines their location.

Thunder Alley

My game group has a few NASCAR fans, which makes this an ideal list for it. We don't have any racing games within our gaming circle which makes for another reason to dangle this pick like a carrot hoping to entice one of them to bite.

The base game comes with a couple different tracks, I believe. If not expansions are available with multiple tracks. Players manage multiple cars by choosing what to do with your actions across one or more of your cars as I understand the general idea and score points for what place your cars finish. Sounds interesting, fun, and a fit for my group... right, guys?

The Voyages of Marco Polo

I listed Alien Frontiers on last year's list which no one bought. Thanks to BGG user edelen I at least got the opportunity to play it at Game Night a couple months ago. It would still make for a nice addition to mine or a friend's collection. However, this past summer at Origins I had the opportunity to play an hour's worth of Marco Polo which is even better! Under different circumstances it would be high on my Christmas Wish List, but I have a number of euros in my collection needing more plays or that I haven't even played yet so I can't with a clear conscience buy it right now... but one of my friends could.



Next week I will share an update on Our Top 10 Most Competitive 2p Games - 2015 Edition.

meeple Keep playing...
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Thu Nov 12, 2015 12:37 pm
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