Sunday 31 December 2017

my 2017

Boardgaming-wise, 2017 was more or less the same as 2016, so there is not a lot to write about. I still join Friday night gaming at, but not as regularly as before. This year I managed to join one of their boardgame retreats though, which I had never tried before. I played 335 times in 2017. I played 70 distinct games, of which 38 were new to me. These were near the 2016 numbers. My wife Michelle and elder daughter Shee Yun played even less in 2017, but younger daughter Chen Rui played a bit more. We played some Santorini and Lost Cities.

2017 was my 10th year of blogging about this boardgaming hobby. It was fun for me, therapeutic even.

My most played games were Star Realms (89), Ascension (53) and Race for the Galaxy (49). The first two are my evergreen games against Han on my phone. We have been doing this for years. Race for the Galaxy had a revival because it was released on the iPad. I joined the Beta testing and played a lot. I bought it after it was released and played some, but so far still fewer times than when it was in Beta. I only played against the AI's, and it was fun and challenging.

I played Escape: The Curse of the Temple 17 times, mostly after having taught it to a group of friends at work. We certainly had many hilarious moments with it. I had 14 plays of Onirim, an unconventional solo card game which was free on the iPad; and 10 plays of Love Letter, which is always a delight.

My most memorable moment was in a game of Hit Z Road. It was a story of incredible odds. Never give up hope, and always do your best.

The most pleasant surprise was Magic Maze. What an ingenious idea, and so much chaotic fun!

Technically I had more new games in 2017 than in 2016, 15 vs 8. However 9 of my game purchases were expansion packs of Android: Netrunner, which were on sale at Meeples Cafe. I'm not exactly sure I should have bought them. I don't really play Netrunner. I know it's a great game, but I never manage to be committed enough to get into it. I bought the expansions on the wish that I would get into it some day. I have not played with any of these expansion packs, unless you count sleeving and reading cards as playing.

I bought three games in the Exit: The Game series. These were play-once games. I bought two games from the Pandemic family - Pandemic: Iberia and Pandemic Legacy Season 2, the latter being earnestly anticipated. Pandemic Legacy Season 1 was my game of the year in 2016. The final new game of 2017 was The Impregnable Fortress, a review copy from a Singaporean designer.

These are the games new to me in 2017, in alphabetical order:

  1. Arena: Roma II
  2. Century: Spice Road
  3. Cottage Garden
  4. Custom Heroes
  5. Dice Forge
  6. Empires: Age of Discovery - I'm not sure whether this should count, since I have played Age of Empires III before. Empires is just a new version.
  7. Exit: The Game - The Abandoned Cabin. I played in this order: Secret Lab, Abandoned Cabin, Pharaoh's Tomb. Secret Lab felt a little easy, Abandoned Cabin a little hard, and Pharaoh's Tomb somewhere in between. Pharaoh's Tomb was supposed to be the hardest of this first trio of Exit games, but I had learned a spoiler before playing it, which made it slightly easier. I heard of a particular mechanism being used in the series. It didn't appear in Secret Lab or Abandoned Cabin when I played them, so I knew it was coming sooner or later in the Pharaoh's Tomb. I wish I hadn't known it.
  8. Exit: The Game - The Pharaoh's Tomb
  9. Exit: The Game - The Secret Lab
  10. Fabled Fruit
  11. Five Tribes - I like this. It is satisfying when you find clever plays.
  12. Fold-It
  13. Great Western Trail
  14. Hit Z Road - From reading the rules, it seems like a very Euro auction game, but the story comes through when you sit down to play. The game is more thematic than I expected.
  15. Igloo Pop
  16. Knit Wit
  17. Kolejka
  18. Magic Maze
  19. Medici: The Card Game
  20. Not Alone
  21. Odin's Ravens (2nd ed)
  22. Onirim
  23. Pandemic Iberia - Pretty decent. Get it if you are a big fan of Pandemic. If you are lukewarm on Pandemic, it won't change your mind. It's about 70% similar. There are some unique twists which fans will enjoy.
  24. Pandemic Legacy Season 2 - I have started playing this, but it will be a while before I write about it. I intend to complete the campaign before doing so.
  25. Pax Porfiriana - Rich and flavourful, but challenging to learn.
  26. Pax Renaissance - Ditto.
  27. Ponzi Scheme - The cover is boring and the theme is boring, but the game is more fun than I had expected. It is a game of daring and brinkmanship. Just don't screw yourself by making silly calculation mistakes like I did.
  28. Power Grid: The Card Game - The map / spatial element is removed, but this is still a pretty full experience, not a watered down card game version.
  29. Project: ELITE
  30. Sanssouci - A pleasant solitairish game from Michael Kiesling.
  31. Santorini - It's an abstract 2-player game, despite how cute it looks. I don't think it would have been half as successful if it were marketed as a serious, thinky abstract game. Good marketing and good art are important!
  32. Secret Hitler - A slightly more thinky social deduction game. It works well. The title plates are solid and impressive. You can seriously injure someone with one of them.
  33. The Impregnable Fortress
  34. Ticket to Ride: Pennsylvania
  35. Unlock! - The Formula. The other escape room game I've tried. This is pretty good too. I enjoy the clever riddles.
  36. Urbania
  37. West of Africa - Brutal version of Race for the Galaxy in boardgame format, which looks completely different from Race for the Galaxy.
  38. World's Fair 1893 - This was a pleasant surprise. Simple rules, scarce actions, difficult decisions, decent strategic depth. It reminded me of the simple-yet-deep era of Eurogames.

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