Friday 27 December 2019

my 2019

My boardgame playing patterns and statistics have been about the same since 2016. There was a significant drop from 2015 to 2016. I realise now the change might have been because of a transition in my work life in 2015. Aug 2015 was when I joined a mobile game company. Work became busier. I had much fun at work and also committed more energy to my work, compared to my previous jobs. I had less time to play boardgames, but I still played a lot, and I still enjoyed boardgames as a hobby. Overall it was good - I found more satisfaction at work, while still having enough time to enjoy my hobby. I am now undergoing another change in work. I will be starting something new in 2020. I don't expect my boardgame playing to change much, and I'm pretty happy with its current state.

In 2019, I played 58 distinct games (lowest since 2003) a total of 339 times (slightly higher than the previous 3 years). I played 40 new-to-me games, which is the highest in the recent 4 years, though not by much. My wife and children still played some games, each having had around 30 plays of 10-15 distinct games. We completed the Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle campaign, and also the Machi Koro Legacy campaign. We played some Exit games. My family are not regular players. They are occasional players.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle

Two of my dimes (games played 10 times or more) are the same ones again - Star Realms (146) and Ascension (79). Han and I are still not yet tired of them. Another dime is The Mind (12), which I found very interesting. It worked very well with casual players and non-gamers. The last dime is Machi Koro Legacy. The campaign takes exactly 10 games to complete. I played most of them during the Christmas holidays back in Sabah. My fives are Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle, Keyforge, Spyfall and Pandemic: Rising Tide.

The Mind

13 games entered my collection in 2019. Four were Exit games which my wife Michelle encouraged me to buy, so that we could play them as a family activity. Two were legacy games, Machi Koro Legacy which I have just completed with my family, and Betrayal Legacy which I am now playing with Benz's group. 6 of the 13 games were bought because of nostalgia, or because I liked the series - Pandemic: Rising Tide, Mystery Rummy: Murders in the Rue Morgue, Santiago (out-of-print game which I first played many years ago in Taiwan), Machi Koro Legacy, Food Chain Magnate: Ketchup Expansion, Axis & Allies & Zombies. Only two games were completely fresh - Res Arcana and Photosynthesis. I bought Res Arcana due to my admiration of Tom Lehmann and his Race for the Galaxy. Photosynthesis was a gift. I don't buy many games nowadays. There are more than enough new games in my circle of friends. I am a lucky guy.

I gave away some games in 2019. Most of these are games I have not played for a long time. I think it's better to give them to people who would appreciate and play them. Some of the games are children's games which my daughters have outgrown. They were given to my nephew and niece, who are of the right ages for these games.

The most memorable new-to-me game was Three Kingdoms Redux from Singapore. Happy discoveries this year include games by Wolfgang Warsch - The Mind, The Quacks of Quedlinburg and Fuji; and Mooncake Master (also from Singapore).

Three Kingdoms Redux

The Quacks of Quedlinburg

The most memorable game session was Wingspan, due to the juvenile jokes about birds and eggs. I must clarify that the game itself does not encourage or condone such inappropriate behaviour. I introduced Ra to Benz, Ruby, Xiaozhu and Edwin, and that turned out to be a very funny series of games we played. Ra is magical.


New-to-me games in 2019: (alphabetical order)

  1. All Manor of Evil
  2. Axis & Allies & Zombies - A fun Axis & Allies variant which shakes things up a bit, but it's still Axis & Allies.
  3. Betrayal Legacy
  4. Caverna - For me mostly an Agricola variant.
  5. Colonial Twilight - COIN (counter insurgency) game for 2 players.
  6. Cryptid - Interesting deduction game, something different from the usual Eurogame fare.
  7. Detective: City of Angels
  8. Era of Kingdoms
  9. Exit: The Game - The Forbidden Castle
  10. Exit: The Game - The Sunken Treasure - Too easy for experienced players. I played it more because I wanted to spend time with the family than because I was looking for a challenge.
  11. Fireball Island
  12. Founders of Gloomhaven
  13. Fuji - Cooperative and unusual.
  14. Greenland - Somewhat complex, and luck can screw you. I like Neanderthal better. Luck can screw you too there. Life is not fair. Just enjoy the ride and laugh at your own misfortunes, and often others' misfortunes too.
  15. Gugong - Popular, but it didn't work for me.
  16. Hurlyburly
  17. Illusion
  18. John Company
  19. Knister
  20. Machi Koro Legacy - I prefer Machi Koro with the expansion rule, i.e. the dynamic card market. Machi Koro Legacy offers some novelty, and a shared journey.
  21. The Mind - One of the more memorable games. Something quite unusual. It is fun to teach this to new players, and watch how they learn and strategise. Don't teach them the tactics. See how they figure them out.
  22. Mooncake Master - A simple and pretty game that'll work for non-gamers.
  23. Mystery Rummy #2: Murders in the Rue Morgue
  24. Mysthea
  25. Neanderthal - Successor to Greenland. See Greenland above.
  26. New Frontiers - The Race for the Galaxy boardgame which has similarities to Puerto Rico. It's just okay for me. I prefer the two earlier games.
  27. Pandemic: Fall of Rome
  28. Pandemic: Rising Tide - More unforgiving than expected. I guess that's not surprising when one of the designers is Jeroen Doumen (Splotter Games).
  29. Photosynthesis
  30. Q.E. - Clever but a little dry.
  31. The Quacks of Quedlinburg - Enjoyable push-your-luck and combo-building game.
  32. Res Arcana - Few but impactful decisions. You have to know what you are doing. No muddling around.
  33. The River - Worker placement for beginners.
  34. Scythe
  35. Spyfall - I played using an app and not the physical game. It's very much about lying convincingly, and quick thinking.
  36. Stephenson's Rocket
  37. Terror Below
  38. Three Kingdoms Redux - A complex economic game that rewards good planning and prioritising. At its core a worker placement game, and it has some area majority too.
  39. Western Legends
  40. Wingspan - A well-deserved KdJ winner. Well produced. Decent gameplay. I had a pleasant experience with it.

No comments: