I perceive the same thing, but I think there’s a perception problem on the side of the board game buyers where they think they need to own or at least play everything. Video game players have given up on trying to do that and see themselves as having options that fit their preferences and what friends are playing rather than being presented with a bunch of derivatives they have to slog through.
I agree that there’s too much churn each year. I just don’t buy new games much. The only annoying thing is if people always want to play something new rather then returning to good older games.
I feel like I’ve seen this same sentiment put forward every single year I’ve been regularly visiting BGG (since around 2008). I think it’s more personal than anything else. I have years where everything looks boring, than a year or two later I fall in love with games that came out in the boring year that I’d overlooked.
I also think it’s easy to bias towards subgenres you like when seeing a morass of grey. I like some wargames, but honestly, every one of them looks like the same game to me when I reading about them. Whereas when someone is publishing a minor variation on dice drafting, you’ve got my full attention and confidence that it looks nothing like Grand Austria Hotel.
But I’m biased the opposite direction. 2019 felt great to me in retrospect. Having never connected with a co-op LCG before, I’m fully in love with Marvel Champions (it even convinced me to go watch the movies, and now I’m halfway considering reading a comic book). I haven’t been as enamored with a filler as I am with Res Arcana since Race for the Galaxy. While I’m only two games into Mezo, I’m loving what I’ve seen so far. I also just started Clank Legacy and am loving that. I haven’t even tried The Crew, Glen More 2 or On the Underground but am very excited about checking them out.
You know, it does strike me that this is a difference between board games and video games. A lot of video games are realistically intended to be played through once or twice. They are often linear (to a degree), and intended to be completed.
But board games, from when I grew up, were specifically designed to be played over and over. They were not a one-time story game where you finished and put it away. They were intentionally designed as an activity that you would repeat perpetually. Much like a lot of people don’t get tired of poker and always want to rotate to a new card game, I play board games to get into them with depth and discover the strategies, etc. The really good ones are not solved, and are ones you drag out to play from time to time just like a good card game with friends. You don’t get tired of them.
But the cult of the new has ruined some of that. Because whenever I go to a boardgaming club, they just want to play the new game they bought for $80. And I know that by the time I show up the next month, that will be forgotten, and there will be some new flavor of Carcassone/Seven Wonders/etc. on the table. No one will want to play Agricola, Ora et Labora, Power Grid, Space Hulk, etc., because they have “played them to death.”
Which I really think, for most people there, means they’ve played them twice.
(Don’t get me wrong. I like Marvel Champions, too. I watched Captain Marvel again after playing the other night. But let’s not go crazy here.)
I think I tend to use filler dismissively, but Res Arcana is pretty short, isn’t it? In a good way. Speaking of, I just saw that this is a thing:
Oh, great, more stuff for me to go look up. As if @Vesper’s “new this week” posts weren’t enough.
Although there are plenty of good games out there, there are a lot of games getting published these days, and, as always, Sturgeon’s Law applies.
I am totally guilty of being in the Cult of the New though. There are some standards we go back to from time to time (I played Knizia’s “Beowulf” the other day for the zillionth time), but I do like to try new stuff!
Oh this makes it five players. Suddenly I care again.
Yeah I don’t mean it derisively. Res Arcana takes like 20-30 minutes when playing with experienced players (it may take more like 90 minutes on your first play, especially if you have some AP players). It’s one of those games that’s short and random enough to be incredibly moreish. We usually play 2-3 times in a row and forget that this was just supposed to fill time till we were ready for the big game.
My advice on Res Arcana - the community is really split on whether to draft your cards or not, and I adamantly think the game is better with no drafting. There are tons of interesting card combos in there you won’t discover if you draft towards the stale meta of your table every time you play. Be cool. Don’t draft. It also shortens the game!
As for those other games, I’m not sure how much they’d appeal to you in particular @tomchick but I think you might like Mezo. It’s a dudes on a map game that feels a bit like the old area control game El Grande more than a murder-em-up like Blood Rage. One of my friends described it as Chaos in the Old World where everyone is Tzeentch. Which is a description I really adore.
I own or owned 11 of those.
And one of them is Citadels, much to Tom’s chagrin.
And I even like it!
I picked this up but I haven’t had a chance to play it yet. Couldn’t resist the world’s tiniest game of galactic conquest.
Why is Bob Hoskins fighting Skeletor in Talisman?
What’s up with all of the hippie foxes and fishes and wildlife in the forest/making granola in France games lately? Why can’t we just land drop ships and crush our enemies’ skulls like the good old days?
Oceans is the sequel to the extremely great Evolution. Super excited to play it. As far as the others, I have no idea why nature-themes are so popular right now (Parks, Bosk, etc)…
Huh, I didn’t even realise drafting was an option.
I desperately want to get my hands on a copy of Parks, but find it to be incredibly elusive (unless I want to pay an extremely inflated price for it). It’s beautiful, and what I’ve been able to read about the gameplay intrigues me.
I’ve never played Evolution (or Oceans, for that matter), and find myself curious to look into it now. @tomchick and @porousnapkin 's mentions of Res Arcana above also spurred me to look into that, and now I’m debating picking up a copy.
It’s a damn good thing I manage a board game library for a comic convention. It lets me purchase a large volume of games to learn and teach with money that isn’t mine (although if I’m being honest, my personal collection is still out of hand and I’ve sunk plenty of cash into that anyway).
It’s my daughter’s favorite game. It’s really good. Very high levels of player interaction. Plays out differently over multiple playthroughs. It’s highly strategic, but you definitely have to adjust your strategy every time you play.
I’m intrigued by Oceans, but if it’s just a reskin of Evolution, I’ll skip it.
Sounds like it is one of those games that “works” with two players but is really far better with four?
Yeah, it’s better with 3 or 4, but I think it works OK with 2. And playing with 2 can help you hone your strategies. Rahdo (notoriously a 2p-only reviewer) really liked it:
EDIT: It also plays really quickly. Once players know what they’re doing, the main action can occur simultaneously. You can get through a game in 30-45 minutes, and it doesn’t scale up a whole lot when you add players.
My $.02 after having played it last week. It was a blast. Now that’s mostly because of the theme, they nailed it. We were quoting the movie all night, that might wear thin after a few plays. But that first game? One of the most magical gaming moments of all of boardgaming for me. I played Quint and was in character the whole time. It also helped the guy playing the shark was hilarious, he would try to do jump scares when we revealed the shark on the island map.
“Hoop! She’s on the left! Bring 'er around Hoop!”
“Hoop! Are you watching 'er Hoop?”
And of course, when the game flips to the second phase and we’re getting the boat part set up, I had to do all the Quint getting ready quotes.
“Here lies the body of Mary Lee; died at the age of a hundred and three. For fifteen years she kept her virginity; not a bad record for this vicinity.”
“Don’t forget your rubbers Chief!”
And when our boat got really damaged, the guy playing Brody pretended to call in a mayday for help and I pretended to smash the radio. Ha!