I did this personal ranking of 2013 games back in Feb 2015. I always enjoy revisiting such lists, checking whether I now feel differently from before, and whether there are some games from a particular year that I have now played. Underlined text in this blog post is new. Non underlined text is the original blog post. After relooking at this list, I realised I hadn't played many more games from 2013. There are still quite a few popular one I have not tried.
This is one of those things I do roughly once a year. I list down games published within a particular calendar year which I have played, and rank them according to how much I feel like playing them at that moment. Usually I do this just short of one year after the particular year has passed, but for year 2013, I'm doing it more than one year later. I am no longer at the forefront of playing all the hot new games. There are still a number of widely acclaimed 2013 games I have not tried. So my list is in no way authoritative. It's just one gamer's fun exercise of stringing together 2013 games. When I play a game I don't take note of the year of publication. When I put together this list, it was interesting to discover which games were from the same batch, like meeting co-workers who went to the same primary school (elementary school).
- Axis & Allies: WWI 1914 - Played once, and I quite enjoyed it. It's not the type of game that I feel like playing all the time. It's an event game, something you need to plan for and arrange early. This is the first game in the Axis & Allies series that uses World War I as the backdrop. There are some changes to fit the system to better reflect warfare of that age, but the overall structure is still familiar.
Axis & Allies: WWI 1914
- Impulse - This is a Carl Chudyk design (Innovation, Glory to Rome). It is interstellar exploration, colonisation and warfare via a clever card mechanism. It has Carl Chudyk's signature all over it. I wonder why it is rarely discussed and seems to be not very popular. In contrast Red7 is getting tons of attention.
- Russian Railroads - Won many awards. I'm interested to try this. I have bought a copy. It's mostly a typical Eurogame. I had thought I wouldn't enjoy this type of game very much. I find that it has a rich strategic space with many nooks and crannies. It's still about multiple ways of scoring points, but I had fun experimenting and exploring the various possibilities.
- Kobayakawa - Microgame. Interested. I decided to buy it right after playing it for the first time. So simple, so clever. If you want to think, there is a lot you can think about. If you don't want to think, you are not necessarily disadvantaged. There's a poker feel to it - there's psychology and bluffing.
- Nations - A card-based civ game with no map element, but it has many differences from Through the Ages.
- Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy - A game in which you build your family tree. I really enjoy building the tree, and making combos of all the sons- and daughters-in-law which I'm marrying to my children and grandchildren. Other aspects of the game are rather pedestrian though. I wonder whether its star will drop significantly after the lustre of the family tree mechanism wears off, if it does wear off.
- Cuba Libre - A complex game with lots of story and history. I think this is best played with exactly four. Two players each controlling two factions is tough to play.
- Glass Road - The two key ideas are identifying strong building power combos, and correctly guessing your opponents' intended actions.
- Ascension: Rise of Vigil, Ascension: Darkness Unleashed - Other than categorising these Ascension expansions under the Happy To Play category, I struggle to actually rank them. I am playing Ascension every day and I don't think about whether I want to play it. It's like breathing.
- Race for the Galaxy: Alien Artifacts - I didn't like the Alien Orb module, and by itself it would be Rather Not Play. However I do play this expansion with just the new cards, and I feel right at home with it.
- Level 7 [Omega Protocol] - I probably won't play as the dungeon master, because I'm too lazy to read the rules and manage the scenarios. Playing as a soldier? Count me in! I'm happy to shoot some monsters.
- UGO - An unusual trick-taking game with a little board element.
- The Builders: Middle Ages - A light card game in which you recruit and manage a team of builders and race to construct buildings worth a certain number of victory points.
- Viticulture - Allen has this too. I have tried Viticulture now, with the expansion. It's a worker placement game about running a winery. Nothing particularly striking in game mechanisms. One aspect I enjoy is the variety in the cards, which gives different motivations to players and drives them to build different types of wineries.
- Wildcatters - I truly like 90% of it, but can't stand the area majority scoring mechanism.
- Kashgar - It has an interesting deck-building mechanism, but the rest of the game is nothing special.
- Concordia - The rules are very different from Navegador, but they feel similar, because in both games you score in an AxB way, where you try to specialise and focus on your specific A's and B's.
- Rialto - Area majority competition, where the values of the areas you are fighting for only get determined bit by bit during the course of the game.
- Bremerhaven - The blind bidding is brutal because losers get nothing (other than frustration and a sense of impending doom). This can be good or bad. Some like the ruthlessness and find it exciting. Some can't handle the truth (Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men). Other elements of the game like receiving ships and sending goods off are OK but not particularly memorable.
- Lost Legacy - A descendant of Love Letter. I'm interested. Tried it. Felt flat. Maybe it's because I can't avoid comparing it to Love Letter. There are similarities. In terms of strategic depth, it has more. However it doesn't give me the kind of simple fun and surprise which Lover Letter gives me.
Rather Not Play
- Cappuccino - An abstract game for 2 to 4. It reminds me of DVONN, but it is simpler. Among the games that I had already played in the original blog post, this is the only which I downgraded. I have not played it between then and now, it's just that I have lost appetite for abstract games.
- Duel of Ages II - A squad-level battle game. I generally don't like this genre. This game has a sci-fi setting, which gives the designer an excuse to pit characters from the past, the present and the future against one another.
Duel of Ages II
- Eight-Minute Empire: Legends - A highly-simplified and streamlined dudes-on-a-map game on the surface, an area majority game under the hood. I don't think dudes-on-a-map games need to be streamlined. They are more fun when they are epic.
- Coin Age - I still don't get this microgame. It has a clever mechanism, which is equivalent to flipping multiple coins at the same time to determine what action you get to do. I feel there is still some strategy or some tactics which I have not fully grasped, but at the moment I've lost interest to continue to probe.
- Stone & Relic - I only remember it's a card game and I didn't enjoy it.
Keen To Play
None. No particular game that I am itching to play.
Happy To Play
Have Not Played
Here are some which I have heard of but have not played.
- Caverna - I do like Agricola a lot, but I'm not particularly keen to see what Agricola 2 is like. What's wrong with Agricola?
- Eldritch Horror - I've read good things.
- Legendary: Dark City
- Lewis & Clark - Another one I'm interested to try. I have read the rules and made a rule summary. Unfortunately I regular kaki's at Boardgamecafe.net are not too keen about this so I still have not managed to play it. They have tried it before. Dith experimented with an unthematic strategy (fall behind to gather resources, then sprint all the way to the finish line), which ended up beating all other strategies, so the game felt broken to them.
- Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords
- Bora Bora
- Battlelore (2nd edition)
- Forbidden Desert - I should try this, since I liked Forbidden Island and found it different enough from Pandemic.
- Pandemic: In the Lab
- Bruxelles 1893 - I like the artwork.
- 1775: Rebellion - Interested to try.
- Euphoria - Allen has this.
- Francis Drake
- Sushi Go!
- A Study in Emerald - Martin Wallace design.
- Terror in Meeple City / Rampage
- Tash-kalar - Vlaada Chvatil design, but it seems rather abstract, so my interest level is low.
- Coal Baron
- Star Trek: Attack Wing
- Mysterium - Interesting idea, something like a more advanced version of Dixit. One player is a ghost trying to give clues to the others to help them solve a mystery.
- Space Cadet: Dice Duel
- Nothing Personal
- Ticket To Ride: Netherlands - I have collected quite many Ticket To Ride maps, but I don't have this one yet.
- A Distant Plain
- Robinson Crusoe: Voyage of the Beagle - I have not tried all the scenarios in the base game yet. I should bring out this game again. I quite like it.
- Compounded - Allen's copy is on my shelf, but I still have not read the rules. ... and I still have not read the rules...
- Relic Runners
- Innovation: Figures in the Sand - Innovation is one of my favourite games, but I don't own any of the expansions. Maybe I should consider this.
- Cinque Terre
- Power Grid: Australia and Indian Subcontinent - I own many Power Grid expansion maps too, but not this one yet.
- Kohle & Kolonie
- Bioshock Infinite: The Siege of Columbia
- Canterbury - I think Allen has this one too.
- Origin - Very good-looking game. Impressive components.
- Dark Darker Darkest - I have read the rules and made a rule summary, but I still haven't played it.
- Field of Glory: The Card Game - Martin Wallace design.
- The Hobbit: An unexpected Journey
- Gear & Piston
- Mars Needs Mechanics
- Cafe Melange - Great artwork.