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His Top 10 Most Dominant 2p Games - 2017 Edition

Bill Kunes
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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.

Every November I post an updated list of our most competitive games. This past year I received some valuable feedback and I removed games with less than 7 plays from the list (and maintain them separately until that number is reached). This has significantly improved the quality of the list.


For reference, 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 with 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.


In last week's blog post I take a new perspective and look at Her Top 10 Most Dominant 2p Games - 2017 Edition. This week I look at my side of the ledger and examine the games I hold the strongest advantage.

mb His Top 10 Most Dominant 2p Games:



#10. Kingdom Builder
Record: 6-3-1 (0.300)

After an underwhelming initial play we eventually gave Kingdom Builder another few tries and found a wealth of variety and its hidden depth. Given the variety of layouts, objectives, etc. each game can feel very different and requires a different approach. This is more than anything the reason I hold the advantage between us.

I'm able to more quickly adapt my approach to game dynamics. However, once my wife catches on then I expect that advantage dissipates and this game becomes more competitive.



#9. Kingsburg
Record: 15-8 (0.304)

The key to Kingsburg is efficiency and maximum return for your dice placement. It games where optimization along with dice manipulation is key, I am more naturally equipped to puzzle through the game than my wife is and thus win more often. In this game where and when to place a grouping and distribution of dice with a bit of luck mixed in makes up the optimization lever you have to best control to win.

Having sat on our shelf unplayed for a nearly two years, I traded this for a fresh game to add to our collection.



#8. The Castles of Burgundy
Record: 68-35 (0.320)

Castles is a special game as it introduced us to our favorite designer and is our most played game. I have long held a 2:1 win ratio in this one yet we still enjoy it win or lose over a cup of coffee year round. We've added many of the mini expansions (boards and tiles) to keep it fresh. A wonderful couples game. Our favorite Feld. And easily a Top 10 game for both of us.

We've got a lot of plays recorded, but the trend over the past year and a half is for my wife to slowly inch towards a more balance in wins.



#6. Tie Lost Cities
Record: 16-8 (0.333)

My wife found Lost Cities at a garage sale for a couple of bucks and has proven a winner in our house. It is one of the few games everyone enjoys playing. Between my wife and I, it is another game that I have managed a 2:1 ration in wins after two dozen plays. She has not played it yet with the new Expedition 6 expansion. I'm curious if it changes up the ratio.

I wouldn't call this game mathy, but there is some logic and probability that factors into where you choose to push your luck. That may (but may not) play into the advantage leaning my direction.



#6. Tie Bora Bora
Record: 6-3 (0.333)

Bora Bora is a beautiful and deeper, more complex Feld design that we played last year as part of my 10x10 Challenge. Unfortunately for its longevity as a 2p game between us the more we played it the more I grew to like it but my wife felt just the opposite. She gave me permission to trade it, but I'm holding on to get some multi-player plays in and possibly give it time for my wife to try it again and change her opinion.

There are a lot of moving parts and decisions to make which is typical of Feld designs but in this one it seems like you are betting on a horse (figuratively) and can really pay the price if it is not your day (opportunities you are waiting on don't show up).



#5. Qwirkle
Record: 11-5-1 (0.353)

Qwirkle is a fun abstract game that hits our table from time to time and both of us just enjoy playing it. The advantage here is easy to understand as my brain is wired to think more clearly in abstract space and I see patterns more quickly and consistently that most people I've played the game with. I love to push myself to see just how many "Qwirkles" I can score each game.



#4. The Rivals for Catan
Record: 16-7 (0.391)

Rivals has only collected dust for a few years now. I know we both enjoy this one and have some more ages from the expansion we have to play through so we just need a little push to get it back to the table. Given how long it has been since we played I don't feel comfortable speculating on why I have the advantage here.

I'm considering putting it on my 2018 10x10 Challenge list to get it back to the table.



#3. Amerigo
Record: 7-1 (0.750)

I have really enjoyed getting my own copy of Amerigo and getting it to the table this year. It is very unfortunate that this game ranks on this list where it does as it means that my wife is less likely to want to play it. That too is unfortunate as she has gotten significantly better with each play and has made more progress with each play than I have and things are on the verge of being interesting but she for the time being is not interested in playing it any more with 2p.

I may have to start pushing for multi-player games of this and game night and try and get her at my table so she can experience the multiplayer as well.



#2. Troyes
Record: 14-2 (0.750)

Troyes is currently a Top 10 game for me. I love the dice manipulation. Unfortunately, this is something that I am good at but something my wife struggles to see as often given all the other game dynamics involved. She was sworn off playing this any more, so I don't see this changing for the foreseeable future.

The challenge for me if I ever want to play face to face rather than just online is to find some new fans in my game group.



#1. Targi
Record: 7-0 (1.000)

There is just something about this game that clicks for me. I've recorded the victory in every play except one in which I lost by one point. It is a wonderful 2p game. It is one that I feel we will get back to the table again, despite the lopsided record, at least for a couple more plays.

I'd like to get an English language version of the expansion. It might breath some new life into this game for us and shake things up a little.


There you have it. Last week I posted the initial list of my wife's most dominate games and this week mine. It seems like my wife is better at games with a race element where I tend to excel at the more abstract games that require more logic, probability, or planning dependency when making in game decisions.

We have some new games in the pipeline that will make the jump to the public list between now and November's blog post of our overall Top 10 Most Competitive games. I will be interested in watching how these lists change with time.


Do you and your primary gaming partner have a dominant game? What do you think you have learned about each other when you consider those games?

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Mon Jul 24, 2017 5:37 pm
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Her Top 10 Most Dominant 2p Games - 2017 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.

Every November I post an updated list of our most competitive games. This past year I received some valuable feedback and I removed games with less than 7 plays from the list (and maintain them separately until that number is reached). This has significantly improved the quality of the list.


For reference, 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 with 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.


In this week's blog post I take a new perspective and look at those games that my wife has most dominated in our 2p contests. She often tells me she loses most of the time and needs a little encouragement and convincing that her recollection is not quite true and that she is actually a solid gamer.

mb Her Top 10 Most Dominant 2p Games:



#10. Jaipur
Record: 3-0 (1.000)

There are eight games from the 7+ plays list in this Top 10. Jaipur being the first exception. It is a relatively new and underplayed game in our collection but my wife has defeated me on every occasion deserving of at least a mention. I ranked it last because it is only three plays and should I get lucky enough to win one or two more then it would most likely fall off this list. But, I obviously haven't figured this one out yet, so I can't even comment on what she is doing right as I don't know what I'm doing wrong.



#9. Innovation
Record: 27-21 (0.125)

Innovation was the hot game for us in that first year or two we owned it. After a while I acquired the first expansion to breath new life into it. With the base game I held a solid advantage, but my wife dominates when ever we include the expansion and she has tipped the scales.



#8. Bruges
Record: 25-19-1 (0.133)

Feld is our favorite designer and Bruges is one of his titles that we enjoy quite a bit, even more so with the expansion. The element of this game that my wife excels at is acquiring the majorities and maximizing her points from monuments in nearly every game. In games with multiple elements, as in most Feld designs, I tend to gravitate towards the complexity and leveraging of different abilities and potential opportunities where she has a laser fixation on an objective and is off to the races to achieve it. If my plans stray a bit, all I can do is keep pace with her which knocks me off my game.



#7. Orléans
Record: 6-4 (0.200)

The majority of our plays over the last year have been playing the cooperative Invasion variant which we absolutely love. When we first played this game my wife went on a winning streak and I have been slowly reeling her back in to try and even things up. This is a great game and we are evenly matched so when we return to competitive play it might be a drawn out pursuit on my part to even things up.



#6. Potion Explosion
Record: 7-4 (0.273)

My wife use to love playing Bejewled Blitz and Candy Crush so after I played Potion Explosion I knew I had to get it for her. She played poorly her first few games and thins were not looking good. But she found her stride and has dominated since. She watched and learned and now the tables are turned.



#5. Abyss
Record: 11-6 (0.294)

This was my wife's purchase at Gen Con when it first came out. It is yet another game where she pushes the pedal to the metal and grabs those lords and locations and I feel like I'm scrambling to chase after her. It is really embarrassing at times (hee... hee...). "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming..."



#4. AquaSphere
Record: 6-3 (0.333)

I don't know that my wife really cares much for this Feld design. She feels it is busy, constantly changing things up and difficult to get her head around, but perhaps its that need to puzzle through it that makes it such a great design (that last part was me thinking). Regardless, I fee like she owns me in this one, thus far.



#2. Tie La Granja
Record: 5-2 (0.429)

This is a newer title that honestly both of us are still trying to figure out as we work through our 10x10 Challenge plays. It has a mix of familiar design mechanism to other games we like which is good. At this point, the end result has favored her far more often than me despite both of us often feeling I'm going to win.



#2. Tie Village
Record: 5-2 (0.429)

I taught my wife how to play this one and won. We played again and I won. Since then, she has won every play. This game has not impressed our group, but we like it and my oldest likes it so we play the three of us or just us two. My wife learned a few things from my daughter and I've struggled to win. I just acquired a copy of the Port expansion in a math trade so this will likely get back to the table for some more plays in the upcoming months.



#1. Century: Spice Road
Record: 5-1 (0.667)

Topping the list is a game that does not yet have 7 or more plays at the time of this posting but my wife had just dominated this one like no other. I had my doubts. The first play did not impress her at all and she almost gave up on it. When I set up the second play and she saw new, different cards something clicked and she has become a sprinter like I've never seen.


In compiling this list to encourage my wife and share a bit about the games that she does well at, I noticed a pattern. She excels at games, at least against me, that have a bit of a race element to them. She doesn't get caught up in the complexities or over indulge in the plethora of options and paths to victory. She just hits the ground running, locks onto something and is off to the races. I use a vague description intentionally because I obviously haven't figured out what she has figured out. This discovery should make for some interesting conversation when I share it with her.

...now lets figure out what my Top 10 dominate games between us are in my next blog post.

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Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:48 pm
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Origins 2017

Bill Kunes
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This past Saturday was my fifth Origins Game Fair since 2012 (I missed 2014). It may also be the first time I've gone solo, although I did meet up with a friend from my game group and his two boys on and off during the day.

I came to the show primarily for the Math Trade (more on that in a bit) and a few items I really wanted to pick up if they were available. Other than that I had hoped to run into some people and play a few games. There is a part of me that would love to just sit and crank through as many games and demos as possible but for some reason I didn't aggressively pursue that option. In part it can be challenging to do that without your own group to do it with and as an introvert I'm more an observer and hesitant at times to just tackle the tables.


MATH TRADE
As I mentioned, one of the main draws of the show for me each year is the Math Trade. It is an efficient and productive method for swapping games you are done playing with games you'd like to try without sinking more money into the hobby and consuming more space. This year I only traded four games, dumping Kingsburg and its expansion, Luna, Android: Netrunner and Lord of the Rings for Lords of Waterdeep and its expansion, Broom Service, World's Fair 1893 and Room 25.

Unfortunately I missed the doors opening to the Dealer Hall searching for one person who had a game for me. They were marked as checked-in on the participants sheet, but were not actually in attendance. I reached out through out the day hoping they would respond back to me to arrange the exchange, eventually making it happen mid afternoon.

DEALER HALL and DEMOs
In short I did a quick run through the Hall to make any mandatory purchases I had hoped to make with the intention then of dropping them and my math trade acquisitions off at the car and grabbing a quick bite at the North Market before spending the afternoon playing games. For the second year in a row there was a parade in progress that makes getting across the street to my car and the market difficult. So after last year's ordeal, I passed on the market and just grabbed something at the food court in the convention center. Then proceeded to the Dealer Hall for some games and lugging my two full bags of games the entire day.



Century: Spice Road - New!


This was the #1 game of interest for me coming into the show. I would have loved to buy it as soon as the doors opened, but it had sold out the day before. Fortunately the booth had multiple copies available to demo. We were able to play through an entire game.

It was easy to setup, teach and get started. Our 4p game played quickly. We did forget the rule about being allowed to trade multiple times using the same card on a given turn, but that did not tarnish any of our opinions. The game's simple take one action per turn game play kept us all engaged and moving along. As additional cards came out and as we wrestled with the few options available to us we shared commentary regarding our individual revelations. It was a winner, and will be a definite buy in my future.

There has been a lot of talk about this being the Splendor-killer. I have not played it so I can't speak specifically to that claim or comparison. What I do find interesting is the additional "Century" releases where new cards and mechanisms are expected and the potential (exactly how is not yet clear to me) to intermix or play separately. So at least a trilogy of games of sort, which I find worth checking out. This was my favorite game of the day.



Sentient - New!


I vaguely remember some buzz around Sentient coming into the show but knew nothing about it. I was hoping to get a demo of Clank! but there was a group waiting to go next so I sat down to give it a try. The artwork is a beautiful, muted color pallet with amazing custom dice. I missed the first few minutes of the rules explanation so I was a little in the dark on the iconography but gradually picked it up.

You are essentially placing a leader and additional yet optional assistants to gain cards you put into your tableau each round. Each card has the potential to change the value of the dice it is placed between if you don't lock it down with one of your limited numbered assistants so you have to constantly check your logic and math to maximize your points at the end of the round. In your bidding (?) for cards at the end of the round there are tiles (I forget what they are called) that go to the majority player which factor into end game scoring.

This was an interesting game. I live the art and overall design. It does some interesting things mechanically, yet I am undecided on how I ultimately feel given the amount of logic and math you are doing. I personally am fine with it (since I do that all day every day in my job), however my wife and many others I play with don't like those types of games as they find it frustrating and not fun. Of the Renegade games I played/demo'd at Origins this was the one I was most interested in.



Flip Ships - New!


Clank! still had groups waiting so I played a turn at the Flip Ships demo to see what it was about. In a nutshell is has a mother ship launching attacking ships like Space Invaders at which you are flipping your ship tokens off a block of wood in hopes of landing on or near in order to destroy the on coming attack.

There is definitely some luck and learned skill/ability in how to effectively flip the tokens, but it had a sense of appeal and anticipation. Each round the ships move downward in various ways and a counter is adjusted. There are some other things going on too where players can acquire more ships and special abilities that I didn't get to experience but did have explained.

For me this game had a sense of novelty that would be fun for a few games and then on occasion if I and a few friends wanted something different to play. Not really my style of game.



Unearth - New!


This is a design that caught my eye based on the unique and attractive artwork. It also incorporates a d4 and d8 with the typical d6 dice for some different dice placement decisions than your typical euro game. Unearth is not out yet but pre-orders at the publisher's website are going on with an August release target.

The game play involves acquiring sets of like-colored cards and tiles with the latter placed in rings on the table for which players can acquire wonders for additional points and in game abilities.

The main action is choosing an available card and one of your available dice to roll. You place the die on the card and add up the total of that card's dice. If you equal or surpass the card's value the person with the highest die value (or weight, 4, 6 or 8 if a tie) to claim the card with all other players with dice receiving different cards that give them ways to manipulate dice in the game. If a die roll is <=3 then they get a tile to add to their play area.

The game played quickly after a couple of turns. I won, mainly because I had more and larger sets of cards where as my opponents crushed me in claimed tiles, rings and wonders they didn't seem to produce the points my sets did. One play is not sufficient to make a final judgment on this one but it was a memorable experience and a game I would consider. My wife liked the pictures I showed her.



Codenames Duet - New!


Duet is another title that would have been an instant buy for me had it been available. Mainly a 2p version of the original Codenames, players share a two-sided grid card with 15 agents that need to be found. There are some overlaps between the two sides and three assassins to manage, and an assassin on side is not necessarily one on the other.

To keep players from playing overly conservative you only have 9 turns to complete the cooperative task at hand which creates tension and encourages asking multi-card clues. We identified 9 agents before someone stumbled upon an assassin. This will definitely get played more than the original in our house. Another buy for me and probably my #2 game of the con after Spice Road.



Honshu - New!


Honshu is a game that has been out for a while and I've read positive things from multiple people on BGG, so after yet another fail to get in on a demo of Clank! I sat down for a half game demo.

In a nutshell players start with a hand of six cards. Each round they place a card in the middle of the table which determines player order based on the card number. Players then select a card and place it overlapping or tucked under cards already in place to form a city of connected terrain types and resource and market spots for cubes. After three rounds your remaining cards are passed left and played out. Repeat this one more time and you score the game.

It plays quick and reminds me a lot of Limes with a bit more flexibility and resource cubes rather than worker types. The other thing it has going for it is the card bidding player order mechanism that has a twist I did not describe using resource cubes that adds a bit more. For right now, it doesn't really offer significantly more functionality than Limes to warrant adding it to my collection (although it would scale to 4p without needing an additional copy). Fun little game, just not a fit or the right timing for our collection at this time.




Overall it was another good show. I left with a haul of five new to me games and only one mishap. I though I had purchased the Concordia: Gallia/Corsica expansion map at one of the booths but apparently grabbed Britannia/Germania instead which I already own and did not realize until I got home. I had picked this up and another Power Grid expansion map (Northern Europe/United Kingdom & Ireland) for a decent price. I also picked up first thing after the Math Trade the Buy 2 Get the 3rd Free Exit games from Kosmos.

Near the end of my day I made another pass to some of the booths and saw that one of them had marked down Yokohama which I had on my Watch List by a good chunk and I picked up a copy along with one of the Unlock! games. I had hoped to get a copy of Great Western Trail which I never saw at the show and/or Terraforming Mars which just got reprinted but I had a hard time buying it for the going price. I've seen and played the game and just not seeing the justification for the cost compared to other games on the market.

I would have liked to run into more online friends and acquaintances during the day but I didn't see any of them.

There was too much chaos going on at my traditional eatery, so rather than grabbing dinner before I left, I headed home early and grabbed drive thru at my exit and started processing pictures and updating BGG until the family got home to share the day's spoils.

I hope everyone who attended had a great show as well. If you are interested please check out my annual
Origins 2017 "Game of Show".

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Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:42 pm
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BillCon VII Recap

Bill Kunes
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BillCon VII in 2017

For the seventh year in a row I sounded the call for my friends to join me for a a day full of gaming to celebrate another trip around the sun. It is one of the highlights of the year and a welcomed break from the long hours in my busy audit season. It's also the time I get to dust off some of my under played favorites and we record some epic memories together.

I was up early getting the ingredients together for a new chicken chili recipe in the crock pot and packed up the car with games, food and a bunch of other stuff. I got to the church building to set up and get two pots of coffee going as a handful of guys helped set the table for our first game.

d10-1



BillCon History: At the end of 2011, the game group crowded around the table New Year's Eve to learn how to play my newest game, Eclipse. It was a bit overwhelming but I managed a few plays to learn the rules before its debut at BillCon 2012. It has since been tradition to kick off each year's event with this epic game to allow for a little more time when we were all fresh.

Now: It has only been in recent years that we finally graduated to playing the alien races which were randomly distributed this year. It was 8:30 am and five us sat around a table and slowly played a couple rounds as we refreshed our memories on how to play before picking up momentum as the charted galaxy spread across the table.

Using my Game Trayz for the Research and Upgrade tiles helped facilitate game play as we played as many rounds in the allotted time we had. Interestingly, no one took the galactic center as we ran out of time and folks either came up short on resources, or got tied up with other players leaving themselves badly damaged and unable to carry out the task.

I've gained a reputation the past couple of years of not engaging in much combat in favor of firewalling myself off and then trying to amass monoliths. This year I went in with intentions of being more confrontational and having a personal goal to control the center at game's end. That was well and good, but I probably needed another round or two to really position myself to complete that objective. We got through seven rounds and I finished fourth.

mb(27), mb(23), mb(21), mb(18) [me], and mb(17).


d10-2

BillCon History: PG has been a group and personal favorite prior to the inaugural BillCon and has been a regular whether I played it or not at every year's event. I have a personal desire to play every map, starting with the ones I own that are unplayed.

Now: I chose the China map thinking I hadn't played it before but I had at BillCon a few years back. That is fine. I was still excited to get it to the table and debut my newly constructed market stand. I had replace my originally built foam core with a new, sturdier wood composite apparatus. We split our six up into two groups so it was a 3p game which was perfect since we ran a little over scoring and cleaning up our previous game.

China is a very controlled market with the power plants mainly coming out in numeric order and after the first round with one less power plant in a current market only economy than the number of players. So the auction phase was a bit more active. Add to that a stingy resource market and you get high priced resources which you seem to consumer faster than they are replenished, thus rarely experiencing lower prices unless you changed up your fuel needs.

Building was tight all the way to the finish with a classic ending that was going to come down to money. I came up a few electro short to build the additional city I needed to compete for the win and placed second.

mb(14), mb(13) [me], and mb(11).


d10-3

BillCon History: RotW debuted and was the highlight of the original BillCon back in 2011 where we all learned how to play it together and followed it up with a second play immediately after. It has been a BillCon standard. One of my best friends has won every play at BillCon until last year when I finally claimed the title.

Now: This year's focus was on defending my title and keeping my buddy from wrestling it away from me. Many consider this game whenever we play as a competition between the two of us and then everyone else competing for third. Whether that is fair or not, that is how the two of us seem to view it when we are playing--only focused on what the other one is doing.

We were playing the England & Wales map to keep our 4p game fairly tight. My friendly nemesis won the race for the 4 pts bonus for delivering four different goods while I had conceded and had switched to upgrading my engine and seizing an opportunity for about a half dozen or so 3 link deliveries to keep me occupied for a while. Interestingly, no one urbanized or replenished any cities, which surprised me but played into my strategy so I didn't raise the concern. Consequently, the game finished much quicker than any of us expected just as I had completed my private objective Baron Card and was positioned for three more long deliveries to secure a convincing victory to stay on top for another year.

mb(41) [me], mb(30), mb(25), and mb(18).


d10-4
Everyone finished up their third games ahead of schedule so we set up the next one and then circled a table and squeezed in a couple quick games of Spyfall. I played in the first one as the spy and thought I had things figured out guessing The Circus with 3 seconds left but was wrong and got booted for someone else to play. So I grabbed some more of my chili and watched everyone else include my wife and girls laugh and have fun trying to think up questions no the spot while keeping their wits about them as they scrutinized the body language and responses of others around the table. I was very encouraging way for me to share my birthday with others.

d10-5

BillCon History: 2017 is its BillCon VII debut.

Now: I wanted to get a Feld game in and chose The Oracle of Delphi because I had a captive audience for a multiplayer game and I could make some progress against my 2017 10x10 Challenge list.

At first two of the players were not really liking or enjoying the game but admitted it could be just that the day was wearing them down and it just wasn't the kind of game they were in the mood for. I felt that was a kind way of saying, I'm not real crazy about it as it doesn't seem very balanced (given they were both trailing at the time), but true to form in my experience, this game can and did change over the course of one or two rounds with a little help to see some additional ways to manipulate dice and leverage cards. Things were evening up and it was race on! Ultimately it came down to myself and my friendly nemesis (and best friend by the way) racing for the finish. I was okay with it, as it was nice to see the wins being distributed around to different players rather than one person dominating everything all day.

mb, mb [me],mb, and mb.


d10-6



BillCon History: The previously two year's plays of DoW have been epic games despite ending in defeat. Like so many of my other choices, they are favorites that don't see the table enough.

Now: The grand finale of the evening was yet another epic play of Dead of Winter. I don't know why we can't get this to the table more often but it served up another whopper of a story. Since we were still ahead of schedule and all players were present we played my first medium length scenario entitled, "Stockpile." We had a full allotment of zombies at each of the colony doors and we had to push them back enough to put a barricade at each, amass enough food for two cans per player and store up two meds, two tools, and two fuel cans.

Surprisingly we were managing quiet well on most fronts, until a betrayer in our midst went to make their move just as the ideal cross road card came up that revealed his hand to another player who called him out. We managed to exile someone for the first time in my experience but enough damage was done that we were spread too thin to over come the ill-gotten cards in the crisis deck and push back enough zombies at the colony to prevent a mass over run that ultimately cost us too much moral.

It was epic, and fun for all of us that failed. I really do hope that this experience carries some momentum to get this game back to the table again sooner than next year's event.



I really enjoy this one all-day event I put on for my birthday. Not only because I get to play my favorites, but it is a full day of fun with people I enjoy being around. I was a little disappointed that the turn out was less than half of the number that usually turns up, but the quality of the event was the same if not better. My brain hurt started to emerge before our last play as it felt like my brain was throbbing. I don't know if it was too much intense thinking and game play, or that after a long couple of months of long hours of problem solving at work leading up to it my brain had enough. But as usual, BillCon is a brain burner and I am cooked.

Well, I'm ready for some down time to relax as my schedule allows in the upcoming weeks. I want to thank all my friends who came out for making it a fun time together. Thanks for your friendship at and away from the gaming table. You all mean so much to me.


meeple (Until next year) keep playing...
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Sun May 14, 2017 10:25 pm
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BK's Top 10 Most Closely Aligned BGG User Top 50 Lists

Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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Earlier this year I put together my annual Top 50 games list. After doing this I got curious and began reading nearly every Top 25/50/75/100 list I came across on BGG and started taking note of those users who had significant overlap with my own.

Being a spreadsheet junkie I started listing and ranking the various lists that had a minimal number of overlap to put a name with the folks who shared the same taste in games as I did. Some of them have since been designated geekbuddies for future reference.

To share a little about my findings here are the Top 10 Most Closely Aligned BGG Users whose Top 50 games share the most overlap with my own:

Chris Mosley
United States
Raleigh
NC
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#10
Top 10: 2 mbmb
Top 25: 7
Top 50: 11

I am familiar with Chris from the WDYPTW geeklist community and recently added him to my geekbuddy list upon discovering the number of overlapped likes in our Top 50 games.

Joerg Schaefer
Germany
Frankfurt
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#9
Top 10: 2 mbmb
Top 25: 8
Top 50: 11

I don't recall where I stumbled upon Joerg's list as I've seen him around the geek on various forums over the years and recognized his distinctive avatar. His taste is eclectic yet a satisfying array of gaming choices which I'd be happy to play.

mbmbJason Levine
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#8
Top 10: 3 mbmbmb
Top 25: 8
Top 50: 11

Jason is well known to the Dice Tower community for his massive game collection and memorable banter with the Dice Tower crew. I don't know if I am surprised or not that of the main Dice Tower Top 100 lists his Top 50 most closely reflects my taste or not. I guess I was thinking it would have been Tom, Sam or Zee, only to learn none of them.

Tally C
United States
New York City
New York
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#7
Top 10: 1 mb
Top 25: 6
Top 50: 12
Tally prefers ameritrash games but the euros on her list are likely to reflect my kind of games although light with regard to my favorites there is an even spread of games we share an affinity. Like her I mostly find myself playing 2p games or games with just 2p. That works for me.

Robb Rouse

Virginia
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#6
Top 10: 4 mbmbmbmb
Top 25: 7
Top 50: 12

Robb is the first member of the Blue Peg Pink Peg podcast to make my list. In fact as I watched and reviewed various podcaster Top X lists I was surprised and I wasn't at the same time to find that we had similar taste. Given there is another member of the podcast later on my list what Pegheads really want to know, do I think it would be fun to play games with these guys some day? Absolutely!

James Moline
United States
Tampa
FL
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#5
Top 10: 5 mbmbmbmbmb
Top 25: 10
Top 50: 13

James is the BGG user on this list that I know the best and would most like to meet in person. I've played multiple games with him on boardgamearena (BGA) and have chatted with him online and in the weekly WDYPTW geeklist many times. I know we could spend an entire day just playing games and we'd get along just fine. Even if our wives were along for the day, we tend to like the same games and could easily make a day of it with them as well.

Jason Ober
United States
Indianapolis
Indiana
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#4
Top 10: 6 mbmbmbmbmbmb
Top 25: 10
Top 50: 14

Jason is another BGG user I've seen around in various forums over the years and somehow stumbled upon his top rated list and found a shared affinity for multiple games. Given the fact that he likes RotW and enjoys more than half of my Top 10 I almost think we were cut from the same piece of chocolate. He's got a sizable collection and yet when he chooses his favorites I really like his selections.

Patrick Kelly
United States
Roanoke
Virginia
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#3
Top 10: 5 mbmbmbmbmb
Top 25: 8
Top 50: 15

Patrick is the second member of the Blue Peg Pink Peg podcast on my list. With Patrick and Robb both on my list it makes sense why I enjoy listening to their show and listen very carefully to their review of games and peg ratings. They have some overlap in their lists but yet very different tastes and yet I find both of them similar to mine. Keep up the nice work guys!

Josiah Shanks
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#2
Top 10: 5 mbmbmbmbmb
Top 25: 10
Top 50: 15

Josiah is fairly new to gaming and the WDYPTW geelist chatter, but already he is making impressive game choices, if you ask me. He also likes my favorite RotW which is a plus. Sure I'm biased, but what can I say, at the rate he's going he may continue to move up this list in year's to come. I'm keeping an eye on how his list evolves this coming year.

Steve Kennedy

Minnesota
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#1
Top 10: 5 mbmbmbmbmb
Top 25: 9
Top 50: 17

Steve tops my list with a very solid showing. I've seen his posts around BGG over the years and just this year realized how closely aligned we were in table top favorites. I look forward to watching for his posts and game ratings to see what I might be missing as I bet I can trust what he gives a thumbs up.



Some interesting observations. First all but one of these ten ranked Castles of Burgundy somewhere in their Top 50. The top five all included somewhere in their Top 50 rankings Tzolk'in, Trajan and Bora Bora. Perhaps the magic formula for getting into this list? Well certainly having a liking for my favorite developer (Feld) helps too. None of the Top 50 lists I've looked at thus far included Pathfinder RPG which probably doesn't belong on the list or Finca which may not survive the cut next year.

I've really enjoyed putting together a Top 50 list the past couple of years and seeing how it changes. I've already got a few games that I think that will move both in and out of my list next year. It may be time for me to expand my list to a Top 75 or even a Top 100 in 2017. Have a Top 50/75/100 list you think I might enjoy feel free to post a link here and I'll see how it compares.

meeple Keep playing...
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Thu Dec 8, 2016 12:50 pm
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BK's GeekBuddies' Top 10 Highest Rated Games I Don't Own - 2016 Edition

Bill Kunes
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Cincinnati
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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
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Cincinnati
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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
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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?

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Thu Nov 17, 2016 12:45 pm
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BK's 2016 Christmas Wishlist

Bill Kunes
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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
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Cincinnati
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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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