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Gaming Trends

April 15, 2008

Just thinking about the games I've been playing lately and the games I want to play/get lately, and thought I'd throw out a few questions that I'd love to hear your answers on, and figured I'd answer them myself while I'm at it. So have at it; what are you thoughts on questions A through E... and maybe you have a question F or G you'd like to add to the mix while you're at it?

A) Most Played Four Games During 2008

Loopin' Louie
Roads and Boats


The inspiration for this thread was actually noticing this strange mix of top 4 most played games during 2008. I love the pairing of Roads & Boats and Antiquity with Loopin' Louie and Crokinole. The only repeat on this list from my all-time most played games since I started tracking games is Crokinole, while the other three spots on that list are occupied by Carcassonne, Tigris & Euphrates, and Ingenious. I guess the 2008 list shows my trend of late towards playing games that are more at the extreme ends of the complexity/length spectrum. I seem to be enjoying the middle-weight 90-minute games less lately, and preferring a meaty 3-hour game or a very light/quick (often dexterity) game. This is not to say I've abandoned the center of the spectrum altogether, just this month I've played Louis XIV, Hansa, Hamburgum, and Big City from the middle of the spectrum, but it does seem that if I have the opportunity I'll try to choose to pair a Splotter game and a dexterity game. Sometimes it seems as if a 3-hour game can be greater than the sum of its parts, that is to say that you can get more out of (and have a more memorable experience) from one 3-hour game than from three 1-hour games in a row. Although obviously it's a lot harder to find time for the former, and the latter certainly has its merits... and I suppose the latter makes more sense when spaced out over different evenings. Anyway, what are you most played games during 2008 and what trends do you notice there in your gaming habits?

B) Game You Most Want to Play Right Now

Galaxy Trucker

This just arrived in the mail today and I'm extremely eager to get it to the table. I've actually already played friends' copies 4 times over the past two weeks, but I'm still very anxious to play again... and again and again! There's something very addictive about this game, perhaps because it's not the type of game I usually play (due to the puzzle nature of it, the simultaneous play, and the large role of dice). I'm also eager to play a lot more because I'm finally starting to get better at it, and want to get good enough to introduce the Rough Road Ahead expansion cards, and maybe some of the other fan variants posted on BGG. I just finished punching out the components, bagging them, and reading over the rules (even though I already knew how to play because the rules are just that good), then since I don't have anyone handy to play against, I had to go and read all the threads on the game's page and listen to the Garret's Games & Geekiness podcast interviewing the publisher. Did he say they're working on publishing a second expansion with new tiles and cards?! Joy! As for other games I'm eager to play soon, those would be Liberte and Extrablatt. Hmmm, and Trias, and Um Reifenbreite, Mississippi Queen: Black Rose, Chinatown, Java, VOC, Santiago, and on and on... So what are you eager to get to the table next and why?

C) Game You Played Most Recently

Through the Ages: A Story of Civlization

I played Through the Ages twice over the weekend. Once as a two-player game using the Advanced Version, then the next day as a four-player game using the Full Version (adding in the 3rd Age and Wars and the ever so painful loss of two people after each Age). I'm very conflicted over Through the Ages! I come from a background of thinking that Sid Meier's Civilization 2 is the greatest video game ever made by the most enormous long shot that you could ever imagine. So in a sense, Through the Ages is a dream come to true. It's the closest thing to Civ that I've ever seen in a boardgame, and is extremely clever in how it does away with a map in order to make a civilization game playable in a somewhat reasonable amount of time. It's a very clever game that really gives you a sense of slowly progressing over time, building your civilization, improving your technology, and definitely a sense of accomplishment. On the other hand, I don't think it's something I see myself playing a lot, or even as something that I'm always eager to play, like Die Macher or Antiquity. It just wasn't as engaging as those games, perhaps due to the downtime between turns and the inability to plan very much during other players' turns since the card pool changes so much before it gets back around to you. There also seemed to be some balance issues, but just as with Brass which I played twice and thought the same thing, I won't make any definite judgment on either Through the Ages or Brass without playing them more, since I know the designers played them a lot more than me and I could be mistaken on that front. I'm not sure either game will see enough plays to reach that point since I've slotted both in at a 6 rating, but that doesn't mean I'd necessarily turn down a game if suggested by someone else. So what was the last game you played and what did you think of it?

D) Game You Most Want to Add to Your Collection

Tribune: Primus Inter Pares

This game by Karl-Heinz Schmiel is the one that I'm most eager to add to my collection right now. I pre-ordered back in the Fall of 2007 shortly after Essen, but after it was delayed a couple times, I ended up cancelling my pre-order so that the rest of my Essen 2007 order would ship. Since then it's been delayed again... and again, so I'm glad I made that decision, but that's not to say that I'm not eager for Tribune to finally be released, so that I can re-order it and finally try it. I don't even know that much about this game, except for the positive comments I've read about it on BGN and BGG, and the designer's name of course. This is the only must-have for me on my wishlist currently, with a couple other games being ones that I'm intrigued by but not dying to get, like Survive and Die Handler... and then a whole slew of expansions that I need to get my hands on someday (Mr. Jack Extension, Reef Encounters of the Second Kind, Elfengold, &cetera, Mykerinos: The Nile). So what about you, what game are you most eager to add to your collection and why?

E) Game Just Itching to Crack Into Your Top 20 Favorites


If you're anything like me, then you wish your Top 10 favorite games could go to 11 so you would be able to fit that one extra game that you love but just can't fit into your list of favorites. Well, I got sick of that, and decided to turn my Hot 10 list into my Top 11-20, thinking that would relieve the pressure of picking just 10 games. You guessed it, 20 just wasn't enough, and now I wish it could only go to 21... or maybe 22 or 23... The game I'm currently dying to add to my Top 20, but just can't find room for it is Imperial, which is followed closely by Twilight Struggle and Wallenstein. If my Top 20 could by my Top 23 then those three would find room in there for sure... but then I suppose I might find just one more game that needed to get added, and so on. I guess I should add Imperial to the list of games I'm eager to play again soon since it's been a little while since it's seen the table, but I've loved it every time I've played it so far, and think it's definitely my favorite game released in 2006. I initially ignored the game when it was released because I had played Antike and not enjoyed it, and figured that Imperial couldn't be all that different given the fact that both games featured the Rondel. Thankfully some fellow BGG users cleared up that misconception and I gave the game a chance, and I'd like to pass along that message to anyone who might have played Antike or Hamburgum and been underwhelmed. You owe it to yourself to give Imperial a try even if you didn't fall in love with Antike or Hamburgum. Imperial has a totally different feel, actually all of the games play completely differently despite the Rondel. While I didn't enjoy Antike, and wasn't particularly wowed by Hamburgu, I absolutely love Imperial. The mechanic of changing who controls each country is genius and makes the game both very engaging and highly replayable for me. So what game are you just itching to add to your Top 10 (or Top 20) and why?

(See this Forum Thread for this article plus additional comments on it)