EDITING MY POST
Late post, I apologize in advance.
I will be revising this on Sunday when I get Nemesis and Teotihuacan to the table.
2018 was a great year. One of the best in a while and judging by what I played, ** The year of the medium weight euro**.
Teotihuacan and Gugong are are really great mid weight games. Something that you can play fairly quick and are going to stay in my collection for a long time. They scratch different itches and if you like euro games and pretty things pick them up. You won’t regret it. If you can find the Deluxe version of Gugong, GET IT!!! It’s that pretty, upgraded, and well packaged. Even my wife liked it so that’s always a good thing when you have as many games in your house as I do.
2018 games I haven’t gotten to play or haven’t received yet but are in route:
Great Western Trail Expansion
Mansions of Madness Expansion
City of the Big Shoulders
WHAT I PLAYED
Pulsar is odd. I have enjoyed my plays but I’m not sure I enjoy the game if that makes any sense.
Verdict is still out if I’m keeping the game. Porousnapkin, Maybe you can help me with understanding this one.
Point salad in space. Interesting decisions. Lots of ways to win. Even when you are way behind you can still come back. Mechanically it’s great. It’s easy to teach and quick to play, but like space, it’s cold, very cold. There is nothing here thematically and maybe that’s why I’m on the fence with this one.
Madeira. Dice placement game, but so much more. It’s fantastic. What’s Your Game?? puts out really great games that are heavy in terms brain burning, but easy mechanically. Expansion and revised edition coming. If you like heavy games give this one a shot.
Another What’s Your Game?? with a very cool use of cards. To play actions you must play a card if it is higher than the previous card played do one group of actions. If it is lower do another. I like the puzzle that it delivers and look forward to getting it to the table more. Expansion and revised edition coming.
This War of Mine
Bought, played, sold. Must be terrible right? Wrong. Great story telling. Terribly depressing. I’m not a solo gamer so playing it solo was not “fun” and I’m not sure I could get a group to play, so out it went. That said, wow! There are brutal games without sympathy and then there is this war of mine. When you succeed you really feel like you’ve survived, but most of the time it just makes you feel lost and abandoned.
Heaven & Ale. Meh. It’s not a bad game, but it was so highly praised I was was bit miffed I didn’t enjoy it more. Maybe a higher player count would help.
Better than I expected but it just misses the mark. Maybe more cards would help, but it just feels like something is missing.
Designed by Stefan Feld… okay not really. Wei-Min Ling is a Taiwanese designer, who perfectly emulates the german game designer in this game about houses in Venice. It’s a tough puzzle. Lots to and very little time to do it. Point salad goodness with some interesting mechanics. If you like Feld you should check it out.
There is a reason why Martin Wallace’s Brass has remained so high on the top 100 and Birmingham builds on that reputation. Purists will tell you that this isn’t really a Wallace game and that it not as interesting as the original. Personally, I think Birmingham adds something sorely missing from the original, variety. The board setup is never the same. The new Brass (whichever one you play) is beautiful, fascinating and the only game I have ever played to give me serious analysis paralysis.
Clans of Caladonia
Terra Mystica clone. Maybe, but I find this game less dry and different enough to own both. I haven’t had the chance to play Gaia Project, but I hear mixed things. I can tell you Clans plays fast, is easy to learn if you have played Terra or Gaia, just as unforgiving, and has an interesting market system. I’m not sure if it or Terra Mystica will stay in my collection, but Clans is definitely a game you should try.
AuZtralia This is the year Martin Wallace has an identity crisis. Wildlands, a tactical combat game, and this a pseudo sequel to his other non traditional Wallace game, A Study in Emerald. While study is a game that really isn’t that great. It does an amazing job of telling a story each time you play it and the unique win system keeps it interesting. This game is less about story telling and more about optimization. I’m not sure if it’s a good game or not. My first play was okay, but afterwards I kept thinking about it. My second game I was dead last and literally fighting the monsters off at my door.I was able to fight them off and came back and won the game. That, for me, gives this game another shot. I enjoy it. I wish it didn’t slow down at the end, but I understand why it does.
A game that kind of came and went, but really should be played. A feld like that works really well and has multi use cards.
One partial play. Can’t say a lot yet, other than it’s beautiful and ap inducing. Has Iconography overload. Looking forward to more of it 2019 and I suspect it will be great.
So beautiful. Interesting and unique theme. Interactive. Great table presence and art. Expansion on the way.
Still with me?So what are my top five of this year? Some of these may be a cheat as they came out in 2017 but I didn’t have access to them until 2018.
Anachrony 7 plays
Worker placement (check)
Theme that actually ties to game play (check)
Table presence and bits that while not needed add to said theme (check, check, check)
Smell of rubber burning as you plan your strategy (check)
Player interaction (check)
Multiple expansions including the best solo mechanic I’ve seen in a board game (CHECK)
This is a game you will lose your first time. You will be completely lost by the iconography. You won’t meet your goal and even if you do you will have missed the opportunity to score other points and you will have caused a paradox or two along the way. That said, this is easily one of the best worker placement games out there. Mindclash is a new company with only 3 games and each one has been a home run in terms of production, mechanics, and game play. If you haven’t played one of their games go do it now!
Twilight Imperium IV 5 plays
I played TI3 one time with Tom Chick back in the day. It was a 12-14 hour experience and I loved it. I won so I’m sure that was part of it, but even so the stories that came out of that one game were glorious. I wanted to play it again, but knew it would never happen. Then TI4 came. I started reading about streamlining and listening to a podcast called, Space Cats Peace Turtles. Their love of this game was infectious and helped push me over the edge into buying the game. It sat on my shelf for 3 months before I convinced some people to play. After that it was like opening pandora’s box. I couldn’t put it away. Everyone who played enjoyed it. Even as I’m typing this I want to play it right now.
I can play a 6 player game in 6 hours. Is that a long time HELL YES, but doesn’t feel like it. Is the game balanced? No. Does it suffer from FFG rules and crazy amounts of errata? Yes. Does it tell a thematic story? Yes. Does it have amazing moments where you pull off a play that your children will tell their friends about because you won’t shut up about it? YES! If you even remotely like the idea of a space opera board game give it a try.
Nemesis. It’s long, it’s fiddly, it has player elimination, but it so captures the essence of the alien(s) movies. Your mileage may vary depending on your group, but if you go into this game knowing you’re not going to win and go for the ride you will enjoy it immensely.
Lord of Hellas 3 plays
Is Dudes on a map.
Is Area control.
Except it isn’t. It’s a euro game with a cool theme. There are multiple victory conditions and an interesting combat system that doesn’t revolve around dice. It’s also an area control game where you don’t have to have the most units on the map to win. I like when any game takes a conceit of the genre and flips it. Awaken Realms has had an amazing year. Hellas, Nemesis and their just finished kickstarter, Tainted Grail are quickly making AR a company to look for.
Rising Sun 5 plays
I love Chaos in the Old World. It’s still one of my favorites and one of the first big games I got when I started this hobby. Blood Rage promised a lot and to it’s credit it delivered. If you ever played Midgard, then you know that Eric Lang did an amazing job of updating that game to make Blood Rage. It’s fast and furious and fun, but for some reason I don’t love it. Then Rising Sun was announced and with it hints that it was going to be Blood Rage 2.0 but with diplomacy. I didn’t like the sound of that, but I loved the theme and the miniatures and with Cmon I figured that if it sucked I could at least sell the game for what I paid. Well I’m glad to say that Rising Sun is not Blood Rage 2.0. Like Hellas, it takes a conceit of a war game where you have to win battles to win the game and flips it on it’s head. Lots of ways to score points. Lots of ways to bluff your way through battles. A ton of content and replay ability. If you like diplomacy there are tons of opportunities to use it, but if you’d rather just play and leave the wheeling and dealing behind you can and the game won’t suffer for it.
BUT if you play enough you will see there is a lot of opportunities to use diplomacy and when you use it adds a whole new level to the game.