This fall, I played a total of 18 unique board game titles. That’s more than one per week! Maybe I should cut back a bit… NAH!
Repeats of recent plays
Six of those 18 games I have already discussed in my summer gaming article. Those games are:
- 7 Wonders
- For Sale
- Settlers of Catan
- Star Realms
Five games in the list were new to me, and I learned them for the first time this past season. They are:
- Bang! The Dice Game – There are three teams in this game: the good guys, consisting of the Sheriff and the Deputy, the bad guys, consisting of the Outlaws, and the Renegades, who play every-man-for-himself. The hitch is that all the roles are hidden except the Sheriff. Who should you shoot at? Kill the wrong person and you might sink your team’s chances of winning. Very fun with enough people. I’d be willing to play this again any time.
- Blue Moon – This is a unique card game by designer extraordinaire, Reiner Knizia. I only played it a couple of times, and I’m not sure that I completely get it, but it is intriguing. One neat feature is that it’s an asymmetric game, meaning that the two players have completely different cards from each other. This forces the competitors to adopt distinct strategies.
- Machi Koro – I really like this game. It plays fast, and feels like a very light version of Settlers of Catan. Unfortunately, every time I play it with someone they don’t seem to be as enamored with the game as I am. I’ve tried it with several groups, and my impression is that everyone thinks it’s just “okay”. Oh well. I’m going to keep trying because I like it.
- Village – Winner of the Essen Kennerspiel Des Jahres award in 2012, Village is a beautiful, intricate, deep game that is surprisingly easy to learn. It can feel a bit morbid because your people are constantly dying throughout the game. In fact the game doesn’t end until a certain number of people have expired. It actually works really well, though, once you wrap your head around it. I look forward to many more plays of this one.
- Xia: Legends of a Drift System – This game is getting a lot of buzz in the industry right now. Hot off a successful Kickstarter campaign, it’s quite popular, and for good reason. The components are top notch, and while the mechanics are a bit clunky, the breadth of options available to you makes for quite an immersive experience. Games can run a bit long, but that’s a minor flaw in an otherwise stellar (literally) game.
The other seven games in this list are old favorites that I was happy to get back to the table again this past fall:
- Alien Frontiers – This is a very difficult game to summarize. You roll dice, and the numbers you roll will determine what actions you can take on your turn. Unlike most die-rolling games, though, there’s not much luck involved. Any roll can be useful. It’s just a matter of figuring out how best to utilize what you get. A very tactical game with loads of options.
- City of Iron – Beautiful artwork and deep, rewarding gameplay are what come to mind when I think of this game. I haven’t gotten it to the table as often as I’d like. It takes a bit longer than most games I play, pushing 3 hours, but the experience is so engrossing that the time flies by quickly.
- Dominion – I’ve probably played more games of Dominion than any other game ever made. There was a time when I would play this a dozen or more times in a given week. When I first bought the game, I pulled an almost-all-nighter playing it over and over again. I’ve cooled off on it a bit now, after several years of near-constant play, but I still am always happy to pull it out for a quick game.
- King of Tokyo – It’s like Yahtzee, except with monsters fighting each other in Tokyo. Roll the dice, trying to get sets of various symbols to earn points, attack your opponents, heal your monster, an purchase power-ups. The last monster standing wins.
- Lost Cities – Another Knizia gem, this game is one of my favorites for a quick, tense two-player match. It’s super easy to learn, but the play is so deep, it’s surprising – literally! No one has ever fully grasped the strategy on the first play. That’s okay, though. With games done in 10-15 minutes, you can always try again.
- Robo Rally – Robo Rally is pure insanity. Each player programs his or her robot’s movements five turns in advance, then the players reveal and execute their programs simultaneously. You thought you were headed for that repair point? Too bad. My robot bumped into you and pushed you onto the express conveyor belt. Now you’re headed right into a pit. Loads of fun.
- Ticket to Ride – Only 10 years old and already a classic, Ticket to Ride is the one game in this entire list that I’d say, without reservation, everyone should play at least once in their lifetime. It’s a beautiful game, both in appearance and design. It’s easy to pick up, but challenging to master. Most importantly, it’s very enjoyable to play.