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My Top Ten New Games for 2014

David Derksen
Canada
Winnipeg
Manitoba
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Inspired by The Dice Tower and their top 10 lists, I put together my top 10 games for 2014 as well. Note that these are games that I have played for the first time in 2014 not necessarily games that were released in 2014. With all the games that I already have, I got another 69 games plus expansions last year. Some were gifts, some were purchased at the thrift stores and conventions, some were from Kickstarter, and some were new.

The new games were Bang – the Dice Game, Batman Gotham City Strategy Game, Battleship Galaxies, Bejeweled, Bejeweled Frenzy, Blue Max World War I Air Combat, Cardline – Animals, Coin Age, Firefly, In Her Majesty’s Name, Let’s Kill, Lords of Vegas, Lords of Waterdeep, Love Letter – Tempest, Marvel Dice Masters, Nuts!, Pairs, Qwirkle, Risk Legacy, Roll For It!, Spot It!, Takenoko, Telestrations, Templar Intrigue, Timeline – Diversity, Timeline – Music & Cinema, Tsuro of the Seas, Unusual Suspects, Warhammer 40,000 – seventh edition, Wits and Wagers Family, and Yetisburg. Coin Age, Pairs, and Templar Intrigue were from Kickstarter.

The ones I picked up not new were 13 Dead End Drive, Battleship Express, Bionicle: Mask of Light, Boggle, Boggle Jr, Captain Parks Imaginary Polar Expedition, Charlie Brown All Stars, Clue: Discover the Secrets, Clue: Secrets & Spies, Dear World, Edison & Co, Finance and Fortune, Harry Potter: Diagon Alley, Inside Moves, Isolation, King’s Court, Lego Ninjago, Life – Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man’s Chest, Monopoly Clone Wars, Neopets: Adventures in Neopia, Nexus Ops, Pirates of the Caribbean DVD Treasure Hunt, Pit, Power Lunch, Quiddler, Rail Baron, Roller Coaster Tycoon, Shakin’ Sorry, Sharp Shooters, Sky Galleons of Mars, Sorry Sliders – Cars 2, Star Trek Starship Tactical Combat Simulator, Stop Thief, Storage Wars:The Game, Supremacy, Tannhauser, Ten Commandments Bible Game, Yahtzee:Texas Hold ‘Em, and Zaxxon.

A lot of these did not hit the table this year. Some games from previous years were finally played.

Games that I played for the first time that did not make my list were Bejeweled, Bejeweled Frenzy, Boggle, Cards Against Humanity, Isolation, Love Letter – Tempest, Nuts!, Pairs, Shakin’ Sorry, Unusual Suspects, XLR8, and Yahtzee Jr.

Roll For It! and Spot it! just missed my top ‘10’. They are both fun enough to play and easy enough to teach new people, but seem to be lacking in replayability with the same group. My daughter destroys all others in Spot It! through all the variations. Depending on your group, it may have more of a range. I played Roll For it! with both 2 and 5 players. I believe 3-4 may be more of a sweet spot. With 2 players you can get bogged down going for the big sets, and with 5 it takes just a bit too long to come around again and the small sets go too fast.

14 – Battle Cry – 150 Anniversary – It’s card driven – similar to Battle Masters or Assault on Hoth except by section of the battlefield instead of by troop. We’re not super into the Civil War but thought we would try the system as it is the basis for the Memoir ’44 system. It seems fun enough and we look forward to playing through more of the scenarios. Plus the figures are pretty detailed.

13 – Revolution – It has a very euro-type feel to it. You have to try to control territory by bidding with blackmail, force, or gold. It plays well enough. We now have the first expansion and are looking forward to trying it again.

12 – Monsters Menace America – A grail find of mine. I was only able to play it once this year but that was fun. It had a light Fortress America vibe to it with each player controlling both a monster and a branch of the military during the main play, and then a bit of a monster battle at the end.

11 – Yetisburg – When I saw this on sale for $2 at Paizo I had to get it for the name alone. Again, we’re not super fans of the American Civil War but the card play makes this interesting. You have to manage your attrition to avoid losing and to be able to mount a proper offensive.

10 – Castellan – We have both sets so we can play a four player game. You each have a set of towers and walls to add to a castle depending on your cards. Your goal is to complete courtyards containing the most towers. Each player has the same set of cards and pieces so the management is what makes the difference. It plays well and is easy to teach.

9 – Timeline – Music & Cinema – Each player is given a set of tiny cards that they have to take turns playing into the correct place in a timeline. It is a bit harder on the younger kids who are guessing more often but played well with the rest of us.

8 – Hive – I was finally able to get the kids to play this. We picked up a set of the Carbon version (in black and white) last year. I love the solid feel of the bakelite pieces. The play takes a little bit to get used to but does seem like it will have a lot of replay in it.

7 – Cardline – Animals – This is similar to the Timeline series but with standard sized cards. You have the option of sorting the animals by size, weight, or life expectancy. It plays slightly better than Timeline due to the three game choices but mostly gets the big ranking nod due to the larger cards.

6 – Battleship Galaxies – Contains a lot of cool plastic starships with a fairly solid game behind it. It comes with several scenarios and cards and points to make your own battles. This has a lot of life in it and I am pretty sad that it did not do well enough to warrant an expansion with more ships. Even so, it seems like it will have enough to keep us involved for a while.

5 – Qwirkle – You places tiles to match rows by color or by shape. It has a good Scrabble feel to it without having to deal with all the words – in case you have that one player who is leagues ahead of the rest of you.

4 – Rocketville – A robot-political game where you are trying to win enough planetary elections in an area to score more points. There seems to be enough strategy in knowing when to draw more cards and which planets you can let slip for an area and for which ones to fight heavily.

3 – Takenoko – A lovely looking game with a lot of good gameplay. You have to get the most points in one of three ways – by playing tile combinations, by growing certain types of bamboo, or by having the panda eat certain types of bamboo. The wooden pegs for the bamboo are a good weight and the pastel colors make the game look pretty during play.

2 – Bang: The Dice Game – We didn’t play the regular card version of Bang – even though the large bullet case looked tempting. Due to the guys at the Dice Tower going on about this game, we tried it out. It is a pretty easy hidden-goal game to introduce new players. It is quite streamlined in play and plays pretty quick and fun.

1 – Walk the Plank – This has a Family Business-kind of feel to it. You have to program moves for pirates to try and get the other players’ pirates into the water while trying to save yours. It is very quick, and one game leads to a few more as you try to get revenge for the last game. It replaced Get Bit! with us and is a good filler for new players or when we don’t have time for Family Business.
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Mon Apr 6, 2015 4:47 am
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Grail games - current

David Derksen
Canada
Winnipeg
Manitoba
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Those games that are still on my grail list are currently pretty small.

I’m looking for a copy of Dune and the expansions. I would ideally like to get a copy with the sandworm on the cover as that was the one I kept seeing at Cellar Dweller about three decades ago. It always tempted me - but I hadn’t read the books back then and never picked it up. Now that I have read the books, I would love to get this but it seems so would many other people. The info was on Colin’s site to make your own but the data seems to have been compromised. It also seems to be here on BGG.
I’m not interested in the Fantasy Flight reprint - Rex: Final Days of an Empire because the theme, rather than the gameplay, is what’s drawing me to this. There are usually some Dunes on ebay but I am not yet willing to pay over $100 for a game I haven’t actually played. I may have to play one of the Rex: FDoaE just to see if the gameplay holds up enough to afford a set.


I saw an ad in the back of Dragon magazine and sent away for the Attack of the Mutants mini game. I remember it being fun enough to play. That copy is tucked away in one of my boxes through three moves. I would like to play it again and have been occasionally looking for the full Yaquinto version. I never got into the Yaquinto album games in the day but have picked up a few since then - Demon’s Run, Adventurer, and United Nations. I always had a fond spot for them from the catalogs but just never picked them up while they were easily available.


I’ve played Blood Royale. My friend David had it. The one time we played, we noticed that there was a finite amount of armies and stockpiled them. This led to an arms race and the game quickly evolved into the wargames sub part of the rules instead of the marriage/bloodline main part of the rules. Still, even that held up well enough. I would like to get a copy to try this again but it seems pretty rare.


Those are my three big ones at the moment. I’ve got a few more that are lesser needs but would still be very nice to fill the holes in my collection.


Another game that David had that we played was a small press game called ‘Za! 30 Minutes or Free. It was by a company called Howling Falcon. The play was okay and I always wanted to upsize the game to store in a pizza box, using Hot Wheel cars as counters. I hadn’t seen a copy of it in many, many years but I finally saw one on ebay.

I never got into Battletech back in the day but did get some of the Mechwarrior when it came out. I was even one of the judges. By the time they got around to releasing the 4 sets for Solaris VII I was already less interested. I finally picked up the Light Mech set. I had plans of upsizing the mechs to play a larger version but will need to pick up the Medium, Heavy, and Assault packs.

While I don’t follow NASCAR at all, I did like WizKids RaceDay racing game. I have all but one promo from the 2005 set but I am missing about half of the 2006 set. I will need to get a box of the 2006 set but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

I got into Arcane Legions a couple of years ago when they were blowing it out at Valleycon, after it stopped being published. I was able to get all the booster figures (thanks to the booster sets), and even got the Roman War Machines and Han Dragons but was unable to get the Egyptian Servants of Thebes. I could still get the 6 League packs and another set of the booster sets, but am in no rush until I can get the Sphinxes.
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Fri Oct 17, 2014 10:57 pm
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More Tannhauser

David Derksen
Canada
Winnipeg
Manitoba
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I really should play Tannhauser before getting more of it. I have read the rulebooks and it definitely seems like it should be fun. It does have a lot of paperwork - with stat cards for every figure with tokens their equipment load outs. So I’ll need to actually try it to see if that gets in the way of the enjoyment of it.

That said, I have already picked up the Operation Novgorod expansion set and more of the figure and troop expansions. I already had the expansions for Yula Korlitz, Ramirez, and Gorgei. When I got the Novgorod at Pendragons, I also picked up the figures that they had - Oksana, Hoax, and Edison.

Last Friday we popped into Game Knight on the way home. They were expanding and moving around their games. As we were standing there, looking at the racks of games, one of the clerks came by with a handful of boxes, looking for a place to put them in the racks.
“You wouldn’t happen to want some Tannhauser, would you?" he asked jokingly.
I had to smile, "Actually, I just might."
He was glad to give us a deal of the lot so I picked up another five sets - Asteros, and Natalya, as well as the Union, Reich, and Matriarchy troop packs.

As it stands now, I am still missing the two expansion map sets Daedalus and Hinansho, plus the figures Wolf, Hoss, and Frankenstahl, as well as the Shogunate figures Mizakage, Itami, Iroh Minamoto, and the Shogunate troop pack. All of which are available from Miniatures Market but the shipping on the map packs is pricy so if I can find them locally, I’ll get them here. Once we play it, I’ll probably pick up the remainder as needed.
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Wed Oct 8, 2014 12:39 am
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Tannhauser

David Derksen
Canada
Winnipeg
Manitoba
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I’m a little late to the Tannhauser party. I got interested recently from the guys talking about it on The Dice Tower lists. I’ve checked it out online and it seems pretty Hellboy-ish, with a neat targeting mechanic. I’m not sure why I never noticed it before. The only thing that I can think is that I must have thought it was a Dust Tactics spinoff and I never got into that either.

It sounds like it would be worth giving it a try. Except now that it’s been out of print for a few years, it’s not as easy to find as it was. Most of the sets can all be found online with the exception of the equipment cards. This wouldn’t be so bad except they apparently make the game much easier to play.

I was lucky enough to win a used copy with both the equipment cards and a printed PDF of the updated rulebook. This seems to be the perfect pack with which to start. It all looks so pretty. Plus the background is interesting - World War I never ended, both sides have gotten into the mystical - more so the Germans. Tesla is helping out the Russians, and it includes a Japanese faction as well.

There are a couple of websites with extra scenarios and rules for other figures - like the Hellboy figures from Heroclix. Front Towards Enemy was a great one but is no longer being updated. Savage Tales has some good custom sets, as does Black Sheep Archive, and the Tannbunker - when it is working again.

Heroclix even offers a lot of extra figures that can be used for mods - Batman, Hydra, SHIELD, Hellboy, even army figures. I've read through the original rules and am almost finished the revised rules. I want to play a few games to verify that it is as awesome as it seems before I spend much more money getting more of the figures, maps, and sets.
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Thu Sep 25, 2014 7:33 pm
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Grail Games - achieved - part 2

David Derksen
Canada
Winnipeg
Manitoba
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With internet access, and the stores both online and physical, this next batch of Grail Games did not sit on my list as long. This begs the questions - do games achieve grail status after remaining on your 'to buy' list for too long? With the easier access, without the long searches, is finally getting a grail game less satisfying?Read more »
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Wed Apr 2, 2014 8:26 pm
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Grail Games - achieved - part 1

David Derksen
Canada
Winnipeg
Manitoba
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Grail games are those that you have not yet added to your collection - either for too high a price or lack of availability. The internet has made it easier to find those games but it has also made the value of those games more known. It also has exposed us to a lot more games that we wouldn’t have known that we needed to have.Read more »
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Tue Apr 1, 2014 12:50 am
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My top 10 new games of 2013

David Derksen
Canada
Winnipeg
Manitoba
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Inspired by The Dice Tower and their top 10 lists, I put together my top 10 games for 2013. Note that these are games that I have played for the first time in 2013 not necessarily games that were released in 2013. With all the games that I already have, I got another 33 games and expansions last year. Some were gifts, some were purchased at the thrift stores and conventions, some were from kickstarter, and some were new.Read more »
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Fri Mar 28, 2014 6:58 pm
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My OGRE has landed

David Derksen
Canada
Winnipeg
Manitoba
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My Ogre has arrived. Read more »
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Tue Nov 26, 2013 5:45 pm
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Passing on X-wing

David Derksen
Canada
Winnipeg
Manitoba
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After teasing us several months ago, Tabletop finally showed their X-wing game session. I had been hoping that it would be enough to push me over the edge to get this but I’m still not impressed enough. Read more »
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Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:49 am
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Finally - Fluxx

David Derksen
Canada
Winnipeg
Manitoba
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I finally played Fluxx. I had been hearing about it for well over a decade (the basic game has been around since 1996) and had seen the Star Fluzz variant on Tabletop which finally made me get a copy of the Cthulhu Fluxx. This has been sitting around waiting for a few months but we took it on holidays with a bag of games to play.Read more »
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Thu Aug 1, 2013 12:06 am
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