Similar to previous years, let's start with the fancy stats. This year, I recorded an additional aspect of my boardgaming - whether a particular game played was a computer version played against AI's. That means I now have some additional stats.
Numbers in brackets are plays against the computer.
That's a total of 706 plays of 155 unique games. If I exclude the vs-computer games, I have 385 human-only plays, i.e. from my total of 706 plays in 2011, 321 were vs-computer plays. There are 7 games which I have only played against the computer in 2011.
NEW TO ME
- 18TN - Finally I got to experience an 18XX game. I tend to feel uneasy with stock-holding games, because they feel counter-intuitive to me, but at the moment I am cautiously optimistic about how I will further enjoy 18XX system.
- 20th Century - I liked Shipyard (same designer), but 20th Century felt so-so. Will I like Last Will?
- 51st State - I like it well enough, but not enough to replace it with The New Era. Version 1 is good enough for me.
- 7 Wonders - I like it very much. This is a wide-appeal game, although it may not be a Top 10 game for many.
- A Few Acres of Snow - Keen to explore more, using the updated rules.
A Few Acres of Snow
- Airlines Europe - Stock-holding, so, not really my thing.
- Animal Upon Animal
- Antiquity - Crawl out of quicksand while thinking of how to win and doing it faster than your opponents. Planning to get this.
- Brawl - I prefer this over Jab despite being more abstract, because it feels more fast-and-furious.
- Castle Ravenloft
- Chaos in the Old World
- Commands & Colors Napoleonics
- Dancing Eggs
- Dominant Species - I like it but only moderately, because of the area majority aspect.
- Dragon Diego Dart
- Dungeon Petz - Ordered. I like it more than Dungeon Lords, which I found just okay. The double-guessing in Dungeon Lords felt more random than I could accept. I feel there is a bit more control in Dungeon Petz.
- Earth Reborn - Still halfway through the learning scenarios, but so far so good. Rich background story. I just worry about replayability of the scenarios, despite how interesting the stories are. I have not tried scenario building though.
- Evolution - Simple, fun, thematic card game from Russia.
- Factory Fun
- Famiglia - Quite a clever card game that requires some long-term planning and has hard decisions to make.
- Fast Flowing Forest Fellers - Race games are not my thing. This one is OK.
- First Train to Nuremberg - Like, but on the second play it starts feeling less novel. I hope I will be able to get more than a handful of plays from this.
- Giro d'Italia
- Haggis - Climbing card game that works for 2 too.
- Havoc - Poker with longer term strategy. Too bad this is out-of-print.
- Here I Stand - Learn one semester's worth of history about the religious reformation in Europe in 9 hours. Love this.
- Inca Empire - Good game. Beautiful second edition.
- Indonesian Finger Game - No components. Just use your hands. Wait... that sounds... not quite right.
- Irondale - Didn't like, felt too tactical / short-term.
- Jab - More pattern recognition under time pressure than releasing your inner wild animal.
- K2 - I'm impressed with how thematic this felt.
- Kingdoms of Crusaders - Lost Cities with less maths.
- Kingsburg - It seems the interesting-use-of-dice games tend to be misses for me, e.g. Troyes, Macao. But then I like Yspahan and Alien Frontiers.
- Labyrinth: The War on Terror - It's hard being a terrorist. It's hard being the world's sole superpower too.
- Leaping Lemmings - Should be light and fun but I didn't find it light and fun.
- Lobo 77
- Maori - Appears light but can be challenging when adding all the optional rules.
- Maria - Tense manoeuvring before battles, and tense battles.
- Merchants and Marauders - I like a lot. I prefer to increase the target Glory points so that I get a fuller experience, else the game seems to end just when it starts getting interesting.
- Nightfall - Deck-building game that feels significantly different from Dominion. It's a multiplayer conflict game, so diplomacy is important and it is easy to get ganged up upon.
- Omen: A Reign of War - Good 2P card game with excellent artwork.
- Pacific Typhoon - Essentially an abstract card game with lots of flavour. Also a negotiation game with shifting alliances.
- Piece o' Cake - Elegant design. Has one clever mechanism. Minimalistic. Didn't click.
- Power Grid: The First Sparks - Seems to be more suitable for people who don't like Power Grid. If you already love Power Grid, this feels like a diluted version.
- Resident Evil - Didn't feel different enough from the elephant in the room (Dominion).
- Santy Anno
- Sid Meier's Civilization (Fantasy Flight Games) - I like it, but to me it's a sprint and not a marathon.
- Spot It
- Successors - Good multiplayer wargame. Card driven game.
- Tammany Hall
- The Adventurers - Excellent production but game didn't click at all.
- The Bottle Imp
- The Great Fire of London 1666
- The Kids of Carcassonne
- The Magic Labyrinth
- The Message: Emissary Crisis - Great fun with a big group. A pleasant surprise. The English rulebook is poorly written, and needs an English-to-English translation.
Playing The Message: Emissary Crisis
- The Speicherstadt - Didn't like. One clever mechanism does not guarantee a good game.
- Tikal II - Found it so-so. Feels unfocused.
- Tinners' Trail - Low granularity (but not simple) Martin Wallace game.
- Troyes - Some interesting mechanisms, but I didn't find the game captivating.
- Vikings - A pleasant build-your-own-play-area game.
- Wan voting prototype
- Wars of the Roses - It has double-guessing and area majority, both of which I usually don't quite like, but I like this game. I like how loyalty and betrayals of your subjects are implemented.
- Washington's War
Finally, in 2011 I was able to not exceed my self-imposed quota of 20 new games per year. I was only up to 18. If I twist my definitions, the number will be even smaller.
- The Kids of Carcassonne - The first three are for the children, not for me.
- A la carte
- Spot It
- The Message: Emissary Crisis - These are review copies or gifts.
- Power Grid Promo Cards
- The Kingdoms of Crusaders
- Agricola: Gamer's Deck - These are expansions of games I already like.
- Power Grid Brazil / Iberia
- Power Grid China/Korea
- Power Grid Japan/Russia
- 51st State - These are surprise findings, discovered due to Han and Allen respectively buying them.
- Endeavor - These are try-before-buys.
- First Train to Nuremberg
- 7 Wonders
- Maori - These were added to my collection after doing research and knowing what to expect.
- Haggis - I self-made a copy using regular playing cards. This self-made copy only have four suits, so it can only be used for 2-player games. The original game supports 2 to 3 players.
So, it's reasonable to say that I only have 7 new games right? (#12 to #18)
OTHER THOUGHTS ON GAMES
- Favourite new-to-me-in-2011 games: The only one I'm sure about is Merchants & Marauders. Tentative ones are Antiquity, A Few Acres of Snow and Here I Stand, which need more play before I can really be sure. Getting Here I Stand to the table won't be easy though.
Merchants & Marauders
- Other games that I quite like: Sid Meier's Civilization, K2, 18TV, 51st State, 7 Wonders, Dungeon Petz, Earth Reborn, Famiglia, Evolution, Haggis, First Train to Nuremberg, Maori, Maria, Successors, The Message: Emissary Crisis, War of the Roses. Wow... 16 of them.
- Pleasant surprises: Famiglia, Brawl, Omen: A Reign of War, The Message: Emissary Crisis, Vikings.
- Some favourites that I regret not playing in 2011: Princes of Florence, Die Macher, Lord of the Rings, Axis & Allies games.
LOOKING BACK AT 2011
- In 2011, my wife Michelle had 149 plays, 48 distinct games. Most played games are Uno (30), Race for the Galaxy (18), Power Grid (8). Older daughter Shee Yun (6 years old) had 126 plays, 31 distinct games, most played games are Uno (30), Halli Galli (16), Spot It (8). Younger daughter Chen Rui (5 years old) had 84 plays, 28 distinct games, most played games are Uno (27), Halli Galli (7), Ubongo (5). From the numbers, it looks like we all love Uno.
My family and Uno
- Han, Allen and I have more or less settled into a comfortable routine in organising game sessions. Most often it's just the three of us playing.
- One thing that I feel we have been doing well is doing repeat plays, which allowed us to gain more insight in these games, and allowed us to appreciate them more. E.g. plays of Sid Meier's Civilization, Merchants & Marauders, Dominant Species, Maria.
- I realised how I got to know my friends (and myself) better through boardgames.
- Jeff of Boardgamecafe.net has a new location for his more-or-less regular open gaming sessions on Friday nights. Memorable sessions there include plays of 18TN and Antiquity.
OTK in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur.
- Here I Stand was certainly another memorable session, and also The Message: Emissary Crisis.
Here I Stand
- I managed to bring an old favourite back to the table - Samurai Swords (latest version is called Ikusa).
- I thought Witch House, the boardgame cafe in Taipei where I started my boardgame hobby in 2003, was going to close down, but they eventually managed to stay open.
- I was in the media, interviewed by The Star newspaper, and also in an awkward way, in a series of videos.
- This blog was blocked at my work place.
- I have been maintaining dual boardgame blogs for more than a year now, my Chinese blog being started in Dec 2010. It has been demanding. The toughest moments are always when I have completed a post for one blog, and have to steel myself to start writing the same post for the other blog. It feels like dreaming about waking up, brushing your teeth, changing, eating breakfast and driving to work, only to then really wake up and discover you have to do all that all over again. Yet, it has been fulfilling, and I hope I can continue this.
I don't have many big achievements in 2011 in terms of gaming or blogging about it. I'm just happy that I have good games to play, and good friends to play them with.