10 Best "new to you" games of 2011
Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
Among those games that you played for the first time, what were your favorites?
Note: this doesn't have to be games published in 2011, just something you played for the first time in 2011.
Zendo fan, Columbus Blue Jackets fan, Dominion Fan. These are 'permanent microbadges' to free up space on my microbadge row
It's a little early for the end-of-year list, but I'll go ahead and jump in.
With 2 weeks to go, I have 73 new-to-me games in 2011, excluding unpublished prototypes that don't have their own game entry. Last year, to determine my best new game of the year I just looked at the 12 games I had selected as best for each month. I knew I wouldn't be able to do that this year because I had a month in which I first played two games I really liked. So instead I considered the whole list of new games and made a Top 10.
I quickly narrowed the list down to 20 games. There were a few games that were obviously going to be in my top 10, but the rest were just a mass. I disqualified a couple as too similar to previously-played games (see below), and then proceeded to compare them one-on-one, Tom Vasel style. That didn't really work as intended, but it did serve to call attention to the games that I wanted to include and the ones I didn't. I got down to 10, and then after a final review and a last-minute change, the games separated themselves into about 4 tiers. I ranked the games in each tier and I had my top 10.
With no further ado:
1. IceDice - I like Can't Stop and I like Looney Pyramids, so how can I not like IceDice? As you might imagine from the previous sentence, this is a press your luck game played with pyramids. It was my most played new game of the year, and second-most overall.
2. Eminent Domain - This is a kind of a cross between Dominion and Race for the Galaxy, so it's no surprise that I like it. I've only played it a couple of times, and I don't quite have the hang of it, but I've enjoyed playing it and look forward to more.
3. Kingdom Builder - This was second-best in its month only because I first played Eminent Domain in the same month. The board layout and the scoring rules are different each game, similar to the way you use different Kingdom cards in each game of Dominion, but otherwise it's nothing like Dominion.
4. Martian Dice - A press your luck dice fest. Someone asked me if it was a good game. The answer: No, but it's fun. There's not much to it, but it's the kind of light filler I could play all day long.
5. Yggdrasil - I like co-ops, and this is an engaging one with some optional elements you can throw in to pump up the difficulty once you have an experienced group. It's a full co-op with no traitor element.
6. Reiner Knizia's Decathlon - Another dice fest. This one is surprisingly thematic considering it's only dice. And it's designed by Reiner Knizia. It's available as rules only, dice not included, so the price is certainly right.
7. Xactika - Trick taking card game with special cards. Each card has four different suits, with a value in each suit as well as an overall value. It uses a bidding mechanism similar to Wizard.
8. Railways of the World: The Card Game - My preferences tend toward lighter games, but I like Railroad Tycoon. Here's the Railroad Tycoon theme in a lighter game. What's not to like.
9. Viva Pamplona - I kept wanting to add this to the list, and I'm not sure why. But why not, it's my list. So here it is. You're running with the bulls and trying to get close to the bulls while tripping up your opponents.
10. Pyrinoes - This almost didn't make the list, because I'm still not sure what to make of it. It's an interesting dominoes variant with pyramids. Building pyrinoes makes it more strategic, but I'm still not convinced the green pyramid bonuses are balanced. Still, intriguing.
Disqualified games: I disqualified Seven Dragons and Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon Board Game because they were too similar to other games I had played previously. No doubt they both would have made the list if not for that. Also, I did not consider any unpublished prototypes that don't have their own game entry.
Full disclosure: I demo games for Looney Labs and I playtest games for Donald X. Vaccarino. Make of that what you will.
After I played it I had to have a copy. It's gorgeous and fun. A dexterity game with tactics.
In no particular order . . .
If you're not playing with the advanced rules, you should be. The tension of the scoring cards is a wonderful thing.
Okay, technically this is not new to me as I played it years ago. And didn't do well. I finally picked up a copy and have since become addicted to it.
The game you could piece together at Staples. What's not to love?
Will someone please put this back into production? Please, please, please?
Okay, sure, I'm jumping on the bandwagon with this one, but it's a great filler and short enough to play twice.
You mean I can have a game like Robo Rally in under 30 minutes? Sign me up!
I cannot think of a better *themed* 2-player game I'd rather play.
Power Grid: The Robots
Yes, sometimes the robots do make poor choices. But using them to manipulate the game is totally worthwhile. I'm enjoying this expansion more than anticipated.
Hanabi & Ikebana
My copy arrives tomorrow! I'm so excited!
Okay, so you're not letting me get away with Space Dealer? Then how about Dungeon Fighter? Sure, it's not really a dungeon crawl, but where else will I get to use my Quarters expertise?
1. Hammer of the Scots
HotS to me is something magical otherworldy. Sipping some whiskey and moving the blocks, throwing the bones...endless intensity. Amazing!
2. Memoir '44
Wow is this game fun. Strategy and dumb luck make for a great war.
3. Space Hulk (third edition)
Just got this last month and have been busy painting. The rulebook makes good sense, and the components are the best I have seen. Cant' wait!
3. Warhammer: Invasion
Wow! Great mechanics. Makes me sad though, that there are now 50 million deck-building games.
Pretty little trip into Greece.
6. King of Tokyo
7. Julius Caesar
Only played a few time, but I like that it feels and plays different than HotS.
Nifty little game. Reminds me of Feudal Japanese Lords plotting their control over the islands.
Just got into this fun hobby last year, and really glad. Hope Haggis will join this list, but we shall have to wait until Christmas.
Into boardgame since 2009 so don't be surprise to see old title.
1. Summoner Wars: Master Set
The Summoner Wars franchise was doing great already. Now comes this. Some will say too much too love. But when it's that good, there's never "too much" to love
2. Warhammer: Invasion
Found a fix for my deck building needs. Saying a fix is not doing justice for this absolute great game. Went a bit crazy too and got everything that was out for this game. The guilt wasn't so bad since I sold my MTGO collection! Smash-Go-Boom. Booyah!
Played this with 4 others IT folks. What a blast. played 6 5-players game in one night. The next day, 3 of them went to buyed it. Not joking. I thought that it was very well presented and very thematic. Can't say enough good things about it.
Great with 2. Good fun with 3. Nice tableau/combo game. Plays fast. Art is imho very nice.
It takes 5 minutes to teach and 1 minute (shuffling) to setup. Then you are ready to play. Easy rule that comes with observing, bluffing, auctionning. Very nice little game. Non-Gamer friendly.
I am sure this one could get higher if I could've played it with more players. Compare to other Worker Placement I've tried or saw played: Stone Age/Pillars of the Earth/Egizia, I tought that this placement game was very innovative. Love dice, so this gets extra bonus for me.
7. The Lord of the Ring: The Card Game
Never tought I'd like to play a game by myself. Another fix for my deck building itch. I find the art tremendous. The available pool for card is a wee bit small and growing at a very slow rate (Booster contained only half of usuable card for building decks) which is the biggest down for me with this game. Still a great game.
8. Dungeon Run
A dungeon crawl with fantastic art, well of course imho. Gotta love the PvP side of it. Plays quick and rules are pretty straight foward.
9. Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon Board Game
This box is choked full of components. The lack of art on some of the component and the dull look of tile is hurting (for me) a bit the "ambiance" of the game. Still good fun. Simple rules.
10. Glen More
Good mix of tile-placement/worker placement/collecting ressource. I find that the components could be of better quality (thin tile). Medium weight game. Plays rather fast.
I really wished I could've tried Nightfall as I am sure it's going to be a blast with both of my game group... my wife not so much because of the theme. Still can't put it in the list but from what I've read it would be there. Same with Quarriors!
Board Game: Macao
[Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:172]
10 Mage Knight - Just got this a couple days ago. Played twice. Still on the fence over whether this is the greatest thing ever or a bloated mess with ridiculous down times. Having fun in the meantime trying to decide.
9 The Resistance - When we have a crowd its this or Apples to Apples. Glad I have this!
8 Gleen Drovers Age of Discovery - Love the mix of worker placement, exploration and "Dudes on a Map" in this one.
7 7 Wonders - The quick playtime and the fact it plays from 3-7 players is what makes this game so great. Almost a filler.
6 Steel Driver - Auctions, routes building and stock speculation in 75 minutes? Wow. My favorite Wallace game.
5 Betrayal at the House on the Hill - Played once. Provided my best moment of BGG.CON 2011.
4 Survive - Wild, zany fun. Completely chaotic. Not usually my cup of tea, but this one is such a blast, I can play it without even trying to win and still have a blast.
3 Twilight Struggle - TS would be higher if I could find more people to play it with!
2 Space Empires 4x - Love the theme. Light war game with hidden information. Really scratched the Space Exploration and Conquer itch.
1 Macao - My IT game at the moment. The last game that got as much play as Macao was Dominion when it was new.
I'm just going down my collection by rank and trying to figure out what came to mein 2011. I suspect I'll skip some of the stuff I came across in early 2011, but hey, this hobby is all about cult of the new right?!!
That said, I had two new 10's this year and the first one I only played in January because my GF does not enjoy Aton because she does not like the confrontational area majority tug of war. The other new 10 for the year is Hanabi & Ikebana which is a great cooperative game, scales well 2-5 providing a different experience at each level. Not at all cooperative but with variable partnership is Mü & Lots More which is a nasty 5P bidding trick taking game. Serious brain burn, great fun unlike the super light fun fishing game Go Stop, slap those cards! As for cardgame systems go, the Decktet which I finally bought this year was a definite success for me, great art and tons of game design potential.
2011 was when I finally tried out several different across worker placement games and in general this mechanism doesn't do it for me. But the classic Caylus certainly did work for me, the more current WP games come nowhere close to its elegant intensity. The one other worker placement game that did work for me was Troyes, I love its interplay with dice and it just kind of sits in my head and unlike many of the newer worker placement games, the actions resolve as the workers are allocated and I think I prefer more tactical gameplay in general. Which is most likely why I really like Manhattan as a simple abstract nasty filler.And for real classics for sure, Acquire did not stick out to me in its first play, but I pulled it out this weekend and even for a 2P game I realized how freaking beautiful it is to watch the hotel chains come and go. Just a beautiful emergent exeperience. And speaking of this weekend I just made a DIY set of Hare & Tortoise so I'm still in honeymoon mode, but since I like it so much even as a 2P game I think I'm going to be really digging it when it has a proper number of players.
Looking just a couple weekends hence here is an honorable mention list of games that I've already researched and read the rules, but have not purchased yet: Erosion, Container, Wok Star, On the Underground, Black Friday, RRR, and Lords of Vegas. With any luck this may mean that 2/3rds of my top 10 new to me in 2012 is filled out!
After playing Ascending Empires, I realized I have a new passion for flicking games. I went and purchased a hand made Crokinole board from Muzzies without ever having played. In the 30 days I've had it, it's already been played more than any other game in my collection.
Board Game: Brass
[Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:17]
A Brave New Geek
My first full year in gaming so a STELLAR year and played some classics thanks to great direction from a mate. Attempting to put them in some order......
1. Brass - Incredible business game with great theme where pretty much every decision matters and will affect the game/other players. 2p variant map is pretty good and Catalan map gives variation.
2. Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game - Just like the video game but with real people! The first game I played with the wife had to be abandoned due to a Back to the Future style Uranium dispute! Roll on expansion.
3. Ora et Labora - Pick one of 3 actions on your turn, repeat 25 times. Pretend you are a monk. Feel your brain melt as you decide where to put that Shanty town as you used your peat to make Whiskey. Magic.
4. BattleLore - Epic yet quick playing war game with loads of variety and re-playability. The game I would have LOVED as a child. Dwarves on a hill? Fireball.
5. Antiquity- How to justify fly-tipping 101. Fantastic engine building game that is very pleasant indeed until 2 civilisations inevitably cross paths then watch the brutality/mess that ensues.....
6. Le Havre - Probably would have been higher had it not been for Ora - building a furniture factory has never been so satisfying.
7. A Few Acres of Snow Dominion-like game with a proper theme and asymmetrical sides. Multiple, achievable paths to victory. I really love the random timing in which newly acquired cards are seen in your hand as this was a war where re-inforcements etc. could take weeks to arrive.
8. Puerto Rico - The perfect Euro? If only I had known about this game/hobby 10 years ago!
9. Battle Line - The perfect filler when you do not have enough time to play Race!
10. Railways of the World - Compelling stuff and a fantastic medium weight game.
Very honourable mentions:
30 years ago, I was put on the original Car Wars!
1. One of my favorite genres to play, and it plays solo.
2. Ascension:Chronicle of the Godslayer - Most played game on my ipad. Have the expansions and the physical game expansions, too.
3. Elder Sign: What Arkham Horror (the second) wasn't for me, this one is. 2nd most game played on my ipad.
4. Quarriors: Dice deckbuilding genius.
5. Sentinels of the Multiverse - I have a long time love of comics and this is pretty good.
6. Seven Wonders - Played once, want to play again, even with all the icons and colors.
7. Vikings - Played once, would like to see it hit the table again
8. Drum Roll - Loved the art and the game plays well. Waiting for the Ringmaster promo on the lost Essen pallet.
9. Ticket to Ride - Gained new appreciation once I could play it on the ipad. Had played physical game twice in the past, but trouble with colors made me put it away. 3rd most played game on ipad. I like 1910.
10. Zombie Dice - Something that doesn't require braaaaiiinnnnnssss. 4th most played game on ipad.
Most of these games I also have the physical games for, with the exception of 7 Wonders, Vikings, and TTR.
1. Super Dungeon Explore - I may just be basking in the glow of this one right now, as it was a gift from my BGG Secret Santa, but this is one of those games that I feel like hits every note it was trying to. Just good fun in the spirt of classic video games like Gauntlet and Final Fantasy Tactics.
2. Mansions of Madness - Man, I love the Cthulhu Mythos, and this is probably my favorite board game that explores it, edging Arkham Horror, Elder Sign and Witch of Salem. The focus on story may be the best of any game I've played, and it's somewhat satisfying when it gets down to the tactical level, too.
3. Merchants & Marauders - I just find this beautiful game to be an experience that feels notably different from a lot of other games in my collection. It oozes theme, and the different paths to victory make for some fun choices during play. Best pirate game I've ever played. Hands down.
4. Dominion - So, I completely (and probably a little derisively) resisted the deckbuilding craze until this year when the Ascension app hit the iOS. Then, in truly back-assward fashion, I played that physical game and its expansion first before relenting and trying Dominion. There ain't much theme here, but by golly, there's one hell of a mean engine running underneath the hood. Just an unbelievably tight design.
5. Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game - Nazis? Zeppelins? Epic pulp adventure in the trademark Flying Frog campy style? Yes, please.
6. Rune Age - Shhhh. Don't tell Dominion, but while I feel like that elegant orginal is probably the superior design, I hold Rune Age up as the most fun of the Deckbuilding genre. It's probably the way the scenarios infuse it with story.
7. The Magic Labyrinth - I picked this up for about $7 on the B&N clearance sale. One of my best gaming bargains ever. So much fun for my family of four, spanning ages from 5-37.
8. Battleship Galaxies: The Saturn Offensive Game Set - A solid tactical space game that can hold a conflict that ranges from the fighter level up to capital ships and fits within a reasonable playtime. Suffers a bit from "Let's all bunch up in the middle and shoot," but still a worthy inheritor to the spirit of Heroscape ... IN SPACE!.
9. City of Chaos - The relic hunter in me might call this my favorite item on the list, although my one play this year just kind of sprawled without any kind of thrust or resolution. Still, it's just delightfully strange and generates a beautiful, bizarre story to wade through. I'm so happy to finally own it.
10. Elder Sign - It does a pretty good job of distilling the Arkham Horror experience into a game that's a lot more manageable in terms of time commitment and odds of success.
Honorable mention goes to Dungeon Run and, for sheer fun with my 10-year-old son Redakai.
1. Blood Bowl
2. Small World Underground
3. Dominion: Cornucopia
4. Dominion: Hinterlands
5. Urban Sprawl
7. The Speicherstadt
8. Blood Bowl: Team Manager - The Card Game
10. Word on the Street
The weakest year for gaming in a long time. I am loving blood bowl and I think Urban Sprawl might move up, the first two hours were great but it went on longer than needed, more play may smooth this out. Very few stand outs this year, looking forward to more gaming next year.
I was introduced to a lot of really great games this year. These would be my top 10:
1)Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan- The most innovative, beautiful game. I love the fog of war in this one and the combat mechanic is excellent.
2)Paths of Glory- I have only played this one once so far but that didn't stop me from buying it. A true classic, that I am hoping to play a lot in 2012
3)Sword of Rome- I love the mechanics in this one and the way that each power has a very different way to play.
Now the separation in these games is very small and could change on a daily basis so I'll just list them:
Successors (third edition)- The variations in the setup make this a challenge and keep wanting me to play.
Glen More-different from the rest on my list but I really enjoy playing this rather simple game. It is easy to teach and it plays fairly quick.
Here I Stand-I have gotten to play this one a few times Year and I still have a lot to learn about the game. It is this depth that makes the game exciting for me.
Caylus-another game I only played once but liked it so much I added it to my collection.
1830: Railways & Robber Barons-I just played this one a week ago and this is the first train game I truly liked. Anxious to play it again soon before I forget how to play.
Napoleon's Triumph-I could just set this one up and look at it, it is to pretty. Only played it once but the mechanics are very good. It will take a few more games of this one I think before I can truly appreciate its full beauty.
Twilight Struggle- this one I really had no real desire to play because the theme didn't really interest me but I have to say it lived up to it's hype, enough so that I have added it to the collection
Wow you hovered. I'm honored.
My Dog Has Fleas
2011 has been a banner year for gaming for me. I started my own regular game group on New Years Eve last year and have converted most of my friends to the the habit slowly but surely. Then a few months after that I got involved with a deeper game group and met a whole other group of gamers. So for most of the year I've been gaming twice a week. I only missed our Friday night group because of TN Game Days and BGG.con!
So my list is an interesting hodgepodge of old and new.
1) Cosmic Encounter - such a fun chaotic game - need to play it more than I do and it is the only game I've found with the "flip card over and compare" mechanic that I like
2) Lords of Vegas - LOVE IT. I'm a fan of economic games and just like the feel of this one. The trading, the constant action of getting paid for parking lots keeps you involved, the gambling/re-rolls make you feel like you always have a shot even when you are lagging behind.
3) Acquire - and I have to list LoVs grandfather since it was also new to me in 2011
4) Perry Rhodan: The Cosmic League - a two player quick pick up and deliver set in space? Yes thank you!
5) Eminent Domain - Good game that merges deck building and the following game (and fixes the random end point)
6) Glory to Rome - Super San Juan - which is a good thing to me.
7) Cockroach Poker - one of the funniest fillers out there
8) Liar's Dice - similar to above but one notch below since you can get caught in a bit but still fun
9) Kingdom Builder - Might be the first game to give Ticket to Ride a run for "initial gateway game" status
10)London - Might have been higher on the list but has too few plays to really judge at this point
Honorable Mentions: Olympos, Alien Frontiers, Kings of Air and Steam, Chicago Express, Shadows over Camelot
Board Game: Catan
[Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:190]
[Average Rating:7.32 Unranked]
My last 5 years have been all higher education and working at a game store, so I never got the chance to play that many games and I always stuck with games I'd played before. I've been in China for all of 2011, and finally got the time to try new games. Here's all the rest I've gotten to play while in China:
2. Legends of the Three Kingdoms
4. San Juan
6. Ticket to Ride
8. The Resistance
9. Neuroshima Hex!
10. World of Warcraft
I ran out of boardgames, but my friends got me WoW so I gave that a shot too. I can see why people like it, but I can't enjoy a game with so many power-gamers.
♫ Eric Herman ♫
I like elephants. I like how they swing through trees.
King of Tokyo is definitely #1, but otherwise I'm not sure I could really order the rest of them...
1. King of Tokyo
Mousquetaires du Roy
Merchants & Marauders
Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
Mansions of Madness
Best "new to me" games of 2011
1.Antiquity (great euro)
2.La Révolution française: La patrie en danger 1790-1796 (great game on a rare topic, rules are difficult but the reward is great...)
3.Lost Battles (very good simulation, great complement to GBOH)
4.Indonesia (beside 18xx, my best economic game)
5.Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan (simple, elegant, playable solo but really shine with 2)
6.A Few Acres of Snow (by far the best deck building game, tension is awesome)
7.Origins: How We Became Human (my best CIV game with Through the Ages)
8.Le Retour de l'Empereur (The battles of Quatre-Bras - Ligny - Wavre - Mont Saint-Jean. Regimental level. 6 maps)
9.Holy Roman Empire (Not the 2007 Decision game, but the one about the Thrity Years War by Mark McLaughlin. Rules are a mess, but with good errata the game is very playable and quite fun...And it's multiplayer!)
10.Lord of the Rings (Not the recent LCG card game, but the cooperative game by Knizia)
1.A Mighty Fortress (out of the box, the game is unplayable. 2 of the 6 setup cards have major errors. Difficult to solo. Too light for it's intended purpose...The topic is great, but Here I Stand is in another class...
3.1989: Dawn of Freedom
4.Kingdom of Heaven: The Crusader States 1097-1291
6.Crown of Roses
7.Rex: Final Days of an Empire
9.Nations in Arms: Valmy to Waterloo
10.Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition)
Virre Linwendil Annergård
... and still sober
Overall this year have not been that many new games, I still have unplayed games from 2010s Essen (although almost through them, only got Pocket Battles and The Star and the eagle (< the block game) or what it was left to play. Acctualy not moved after October 2010 except for cleaning under them) I also failed in logging games this year so trying to remember what was played got harder
The biggest two thing this year is 1) finding the nice
... of course this number 1 might be I played it last week for the first time. However I have not been able to stop thinking about it, and I feel it has all I look for in a game.
2. Discworld: Ankh-Morpork - Beeing a Pratchett fan and for a long time, longer than I been boardgaming this is a favorite, and it works with non Pratchett-fans too.
3. Poseidon - 18xx B.C, while only playing it one time and only played Steam over Holland as an 18xx game before I found this one that have what I look for, rather quick tempo but still it is good to diversify and earn money on others hardwork, thats what I want in an economical simulation.
4. Dixit - With my rather moving fantasy I can't help but like this. I love the game and have played it with good effect with both (euroesque gamers... acctually it was most the people in the eurogroup that really is hybrid gamers) and non-gamers to great effect. One of the best party games ever.
5. 7 Wonders - Yeah I know I should have played that 2010 as I was in Essen and all, but I have so many times got so disappointed at the top games before Essen that I avoided 7 wonders. (Yes I regret that now...)
6. Automobile - Another Wallace game... well I think I can see a good game there, but with the right group. However it should not be played with AP prone players, which I played with. To long turns. It probably would be lower if not for this
7. New England - This is one of the most agressive games I played in quite a while. I acctualy find more conflict in it than a wargame. It would be intresting to play again with some other people to see if it would feel as much a wargame
8,9 and 10 is Unpublished prototypes of diffrent types. In diffrent stages of approve but I played so few remembrable games that a first playtest game got above some of the new games...
I have quite a long list of games that failed way to much for the excpetations (although I don't remember most of them), but while it is fun to write thoose things I think I keep away from it anyway.
The best things in life aren't things.
1) Dominant Species. I bought this on a whim due to two things: buzz on BGG and Chad Jensen's name on the box. It's brilliant.
2) Space Empires: 4X. GMT games have done well out of my poor impulse control this year. I love the theme of this and have no shortage of friends wanting to play it. Some might criticise this wargame as being somewhat light or unsophisticated but it suits me down to the ground.
3) High Frontier. It's like nothing else.
4) King of Tokyo. A perfectly-pitched push-your-luck game with great humour and artwork.
5) Survive: Escape from Atlantis!. Fun for all ages and not too long. I can enjoy this when it's with my hardcore geek chums or my young son and his grandma.
6) Urban Sprawl. Another must-buy for any disciple of Chad.
7) Galaxy Trucker. There are hard-to-quantify occasions where this game is perfect. Another one for all ages.
8) Summoner Wars. Fills the "lunch-break war" slot with aplomb. Clear, straightforward rules give rise to a superb game.
9) Gears of War: The Board Game. Corey K delivers once more. The game against I now measure other dungeon crawls. This and Banners of War leave me in some turmoil on the game-designer-man-crush front. Corey or Chad? Chad of Corey? *sigh*
10) Puerto Rico. It's BGG so I'd better throw a Euro in, right? I received this as a birthday gift and have been very pleasantly surprised. Is it better than Agricola? I think that's impossible to say. Is it more fun? Hell yes
I have to say, 2011 has been a great year for me. Playing some awesome games not only I bought (which was a lot) but at great groups like CABS!, BOGA and Knights of Gaming. Met a lot of great gamers as well. Here's my top ten games that were new to me.
1) Saint Petersburg Got to try this classic at CABS! and like it so much that I had to get my own copy of it!
2) Crokinole Get to play this one at BOGA. A blast to play. Wish it wasn't costly!
3) A Few Acres of Snow A deckbuilding wargame by Martin Wallace. How I had to try it. And enjoy it very much!
4) Caylus That sad thing that I had this game for almost two years until we got it to the table. Why did I waited so long for this great game?!?!
5) Nuns on the Run Another one tried at CABS! I even took it for a couple of weeks and my gaming group, to my surprise, like it very much. I might have to look into getting this for the game group.
6) Le Havre This really surprise me. I didn't care for Agricola but this plays so much more fun for me.
7) Campaign Manager 2008 I enjoy 1960: Making of a President and this kinda simplify the game in setting up and play. A neat little 2 player.
8) Twilight Struggle Another one I've been wanting to play for a long time. I finally got a game in and enjoy it very much.
9) Risk Legacy Even though I cannot talk to much about this game, lets just say that more games should try to do what this does. Looking forward to the next game of this again and again.
10) Samurai I don't think that I have won a game of this, but I still love playing it!
Board Game: Troyes
[Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:52]
I can show you anything, on my belly belly belly screen. Skyscrapers! Taxicabs! Traffic Lights!
OK. Best of New-to-me for 2011!
1. Troyes. Love the dice-as-workers, and crazy amount of things to do in any given round. Beautiful artwork on cards and board.
2. 7 Wonders. Hard to deny the appeal of 7 Wonders. Easy and approachable game for more casual gamers.
3. Thunderstone: Dragonspire. Fantasy deck-building game. The appeal of deck-building games may soon wear off as more games of this genre are introduced, but Thunderstone is my favourite of this type so far.
4. Mansions of Madness. Highly thematic, well produced. Gives me a better experience than Arkham Horror does. Play sparingly! Played 4 times this past year which seems about right.
5. Ra. Excellent auctioning system with good push your luck elements.
6. Sushizock im Gockelwok. Pickomino was a huge hit for me as a quick dice rolling experience. Sushizock perhaps does not live up to Pickomino, but is a very cool quick game nonetheless.
7. Yspahan. Another game with very cool dice mechanics.
8. Dixit Odyssey. Neat party game. Easy rules, gorgeous art.
9. Jaipur. Terrific two player battle.
10. The Adventurers: The Temple of Chac. Because sometimes all you want to do is outrun a rolling boulder, while jumping from column to column across a fiery pit, crossing a rickety bridge, swimming an underground river, while looting the temple.
That one not so much
Ohh that tickles
1. Kingdom Builder
Simple rules, quick play time and lots of built in variety make this my favourite game and not just of 2011.
2. Star Trek: Fleet Captains
As Tom Vasel put it, it’s like a season of Star Trek in one evening. I played this with a friend of mine who loves conflict games and I apologised to him at the end for it not being all about combat. He said it was fine, he loved all the different stuff that happened.
3. Last Will
I’m a big fan of Vladimir Suchy and once again he delivers. Build your card tableau and lose all your money. Great fun game.
4. Taj Mahal
How have I missed this game for 10 years? It just clicked with me straight away. I have won or at worst been 2 points out on every game I have played.
Sure it’s more luck than skill, especially with 2. But it does not take very long to play and it’s just fun.
6. Power Struggle
A couple of years late to the show for this one. The game of office politics can be hard to get people to play, but once you do they are hooked.
All deck builders are solo games, if you think that you have not played Nightfall. Very interactive game, if you have creatures in play at the beginning of your turn they must attack and if you don’t have any? Everyone else will be hammering you.
Got this and Santiago de Cuba recently and I enjoy both but I think this one is just a little better. Both games take parts of Cuba and create new games with them. The idea here is to collect buildings. All the building have different costs and each player has 13 role cards they use to collect the resources they need to get the buildings. Each player plays two cards at a time and next turn you replace one of them, which will then be unavailable till later in the game.
9. Ascension: Deckbuilding Game
The simplest of the Deck Builders. Perfect for a quick light game. Best with three in my opinion and whatever you do, don’t play with more than four.
10. Urban Sprawl
It’s not quite as good as Dominant Species, but it’s still a very fine game of Urban planning.