Other Buzz: New to Me in 2012

Here it is, my annual list of the new games I got to play during the year.  I got to play a personal record ___ unique games this year, ___ of which were new.  So, without further ado, the list:

  • 1st & Goal (1.5 plays): A new Christmas acquisition.  I only got to play one and a half games, but I already think I may like it more than Pizza Box Football.
  • Acquire (1 play): Finally got to play this Sid Sackson classic.  It was a good stock market/area control game, and I’d be happy to play again sometime.
  • Alien Frontiers (5 plays): I’ve liked this dice rolling/worker placement space game from the start, but only one of these plays has resulted in positive feelings from all involved.  I guess I just need to play with the right people.
  • The aMAZEing Labyrinth (1 play): Ravensburger donated this game to libraries for International Games Day in November, and I played there.  Fun kid’s treasure hunting game with a great board and a nice puzzle feel.
  • Archipelago (1 play): Beautiful art, interesting game play, too long with five players.  It’s standard Euro fare with tile placement, worker placement, and resource management.  I need to play again.
  • Aye, Dark Overlord! (1 play): Storytelling fun.  You’re trying to convince the overlord of your innocence.  It’s more of an activity than a game, but fun.
  • Biblios (1 play): Half of a good game.  I like the distribution of cards in the first half, hate the auction in the second.
  • Bohnanza (3 plays): Bean farming!  I had no desire to play this classic, but now that I have, I definitely know what the fuss is about.  Great trading/set collection game.
  • Castle Dash (1 demo): Demoed at GenCon.  There were some interesting ideas in distributing your forces, but I just didn’t like it.
  • Cloud 9 (2 plays): Push-your-luck balloon game.  It’s fun, but people don’t often get very high on the track.  I wish your cards got replenished quicker.
  • Core Worlds (1 play): Great space deck-builder.  I really want to play some more.
  • Cyclades (1 play): A Euro-style wargame with auctions and some set collection elements.  I liked it – very pretty and engaging.  It has an auction style that I lile, where you can choose something else when you get outbid and always get something.
  • D-Day Dice (1 play original PnP, 1 play VG edition): A dice rolling cooperative WWII game.  It’s fun, but I think it might feel a little redundant after a few plays.  At least for me.
  • Daytona 500 (1 play): A friend of mine always plays this on opening weekend of Nascar, and I got roped in.  It was fine, not something I’m dying to play again.  I’d rather play Formula D.
  • Dominion expansions (Cornucopia 1 play, Dark Ages 1 play, Hinterlands 2 plays): All good.  With relatively few plays, I haven’t even scratched the surface of how to play with the cards.  After the final expansion is released next spring, I hope to get a massive EVERY CARD campaign going.
  • Dragonheart (1 play): Having played several times on Yucata.de and BoardgameArena, I finally got to play face to face.  A beautiful two-player game with lots of options, but care must be taken not to help your opponent too much.  Love it.
  • Drakon 3rd Edition (1 play): Played this in the game library at GenCon.  A fun, simple dungeon crawl.  It’s very random, but also very fast, which is a plus.  I liked it, would definitely play again.
  • Dungeon Petz (1 play): Very cute, great theme.  During my first play, I was too busy trying to figure out what I was doing to really enjoy it.  I need to play again.
  • DungeonQuest (1 play): It’s a classic, but I honestly do not feel the need to ever play this again.  I’d play it over Talisman, but it’s way too random for me to enjoy.
  • Eclipse (1 play): The big one.  I played a three-player game on Black Friday.  Lots to do, and it’s an interesting exploration game.  My first game was mostly figuring out what I was doing, I’m looking forward to another.
  • Elder Sign (1 play): I have the iPad app of this dice-based Arkham Horror follow-up, but got to play once in person.  As a two-player game, it works fairly well, but I don’t think I’d want to play with any more than three, even though it goes up to eight.  It’s fine for what it is, but there would be WAY too much downtime, and not enough to do on your turn.
  • Eminent Domain (3 plays): I call this game “Race for the Glory of Dominion”, because it really seems to take its inspiration from Race for the Galaxy, Glory to Rome, and Dominion.  And, frankly, I’d rather play all three of those other games.  It’s not a bad game, just not really something that gets me excited.
  • Farmageddon (1 demo, 4 plays): My wife and I got a demo at GenCon with the designer demoing next to us.  We enjoyed it, and have played the copy he donated to her library several times since.  Fun take that farming game.
  • Feudality (1 play): This is a very silly game.  There’s a lot of chaos and randomness, but some interesting tile placement and resource collection elements.  I’d like to play again sometime.
  • Flash Point Fire Rescue (2 plays): A cooperative fire fighting game.  The theme is fairly immersive, and you can feel the stress of trying to rescue people and working together to get everyone else before the house collapses.  We won the first, and lost the last one just before we would have won.  I like it a lot.
  • FlowerFall (1 demo): You drop cards and try to score points based on where they land.  It’s a dexterity game without much skill involved, but I thought it was fun.  My wife didn’t, or we might have picked it up at GenCon.
  • Founding Fathers (1 play): My first Jason Matthews game!  I wasn’t as interested in this as in 1960 or Twilight Struggle, but I had a lot of fun with it.  I’ve since tried to play on Yucata.de a few times, but I think it’s one I need to play face-to-face to properly strategize.
  • Fresco (1 play): The art theme is good, and there are some interesting ideas.  It didn’t wow me like other worker placement games have.
  • Get Bit! (1 play): I played it before it was on TableTop.  You’re a robot trying to escape from a shark.  It’s push-your-luck all the way, and nothing more than a dumb fun filler.
  • Gnadenlos! (1 play): I had never heard of this Klaus Teuber cowboy game before a friend pulled it out at game night, but enjoyed it.  I don’t remember a whole lot about it now – there’s bidding, there’s gunfights, there’s all kinds of things that evoke the Old West.  I should play again sometime.
  • Le Havre (1 play): I played this shipping industry game just before covering it for The ABCs of Gamine, and like it a lot.  More than Agricola, mostly because I always felt there was something I could do.
  • Ideology: The War of Ideas (1 play): An area control type game where players are trying to promote their ideologies to different countries.  Not really a game I’d usually want to play, but it was fun enough for what it was.
  • Isla Dorada (1 play): Some friends brought this to GenCon where we played it.  Gorgeous art, beautiful pieces, and a bidding mechanism I didn’t hate.  In fact, I thought it was a much better game than I was afraid it would be (as opposed to the next game we played, Biblios).
  • Jambo (4 plays): A very fun two-player economic game set in Africa.  We played with the expansions mixed in, and I egot my own copy for Christmas, and have been enjoying it a lot.
  • Just Wait (1 play): Alan Ernstein, the designer of this (among other games, like Inca Empire), is a a member of our game group and donated this to my wife’s library.  It’s a set collection game where you are drawing cards and playing them into sets of like cards, or sequences.  It’s light and pretty good for what it is.
  • Keyflower (1 play): I’ve never played a game in Richard Breese’s Key series before, but I liked this one well enough.  There are auctions, but you are bidding on tiles that can also be used by other players while they are being bid on.  It was good, I need to play again to get the strategies down.
  • King of Tokyo (16 plays): This is BY FAR the most played game of the year for me.  I got a signed copy at GenCon, and have had a great time playing with people ever since.  It’s Godzilla Yahtzee, and a ton of fun to play.
  • Kingdom Builder (3 plays): I like the Spiel des Jahres winner from this year.  There’s some nice components, and I like the variable setup/scoring conditions.
  • Last Will (1 play): Losing all of your money has never been so difficult.  I liked it, need to play again.
  • Loopin’ Louie (2 plays): A classic children’s game about flying airplanes to buzz other player’s chicken coops.  I like it a lot – a mindless filler, but one that is a lot of fun.
  • Lord of the Rings (1 play): Finally got to play the grandfather of the cooperative genre.  And I didn’t really like it.  It’s like Knizia was trying to prove he could do a thematic game, and made something so scripted that it’s kind of boring.  Not easy, just boring.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game (1 play): On the other hand, FFG’s Living Card Game was very good.  It’s a tough game to play, but very good.
  • Lords of Waterdeep (1 play): I liked this worker placement game set in the D&D universe, though I think I made the owner made by constantly referring to the little cubes as little cubes. (NO! THE ORANGE ONE IS A FIGHTER!)
  • Luna (1 play): A lot of things to do in this Stefan Feld game.  It’s a very good resource management/worker placement game with tons of options and very little luck.  I’d like to play again.
  • Mage Knight Board Game (2 plays): I got this adventure game thinking it would be a good one to play with my wife.  She hates it.  Ah well.  I like it a lot, I just need to play it some more to get my head around some of the concepts.
  • Mansions of Madness (1 play): This was one of the most anticipated games of 2011.  I played it this year, and was not impressed.  It’s very detailed, and a very well-produced game set in the Lovecraftian universe.  However, it’s way too scripted and not much fun.  At least, not for me.
  • Matzakoman (1 play): FlasterVenture donated several games to my wife’s library, including this one about Moses and the Israelites in the desert during the Exodus.  It’s a simple resource collection game that uses dreidels instead of dice, but a little overly long and not very variable.  Simple to learn and play, however.
  • Medina (1 play): A sort of city-building game where players are placing pieces and attempting to score points.  Some push-your-luck elements in trying to get your points before someone steals them from you.  It was good.  Not something I’m dying to play again, but not bad at all.
  • Metropolys (1 play): This is a game I’ve had my eye on for a long time, ever seeing a Board Games With Scott episode about it.  It’s odd that what is essentially an auction game captured my attention, but there it is.  And I liked it – you place buildings in different places, and it’s interesting trying to lead people into areas that will help you.
  • Morels (1 demo): Learned this mushroom-themed set collection game at GenCon.  I liked it – fast, beautiful, and fun.  I don’t think my wife would like it, but I did.
  • Munchkin (0.5 plays): Finally got this one off my geek shame list.  And now I don’t have to play it ever again.  Yay.
  • Nightfall (1 play): A different twist on deck-building games.  I like the chaining mechanisms – it’s definitely more interactive than a lot of DBGs.  I need to play again to get better used to the mechanisms.
  • Ninjato (2 plays): Ninjas!  A fun worker placement game.  It has been compared to Stone Age in the different paths to victory based on cards, but really doesn’t play anything like it.  Plus, it has shurikens.
  • Octopus’ Garden (3 plays): I didn’t know anything about this before a friend introduced it to me.  Very pretty, very good set collection type game.  It’s multiplayer solitaire with a central market that everyone buys from, tic-tac-toe style.  I’d suggest you look it up sometime – it’s a good ‘un.
  • Onirim (2 plays): I played once 2-player and once solo.  It’s a co-op based on dreams.  Very simple to understand, difficult to win.  The art is kind of funky, which I guess fits the theme.
  • Operation: Maccabee (1 play): A WWII game from FlasterVenture.  It’s roll and move, with dreidels instead of dice, but the best part is spinning those dreidels to try to knock down Nazis.  The dexterity element alone makes this a fun game to play.
  • Pickomino (1 play): Dice and dominoes, Reiner Knizia style.  It’s a push your luck game where you are trying to claim worms.  It was OK, but like most Knizia shows, it didn’t really make me want to play again.
  • Pirate King (2 plays): FlasterVenture’s game that takes Monopoly and adds a pirate theme, with a dash of Risk.
  • Rattus (3 plays): Role selection and the black plague converge on what is quite a fun little game.  It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s kind of brutal at times.  I also got to play with the Africanus expansion, which added some more to the experience.  I didn’t really like it as a two player game.
  • The Resistance: Avalon (2 plays): Pretty much the same as The Resistance, but set in Arthurian times and adding hidden roles a la Ultimate Werewolf.  The hidden roles, I think, elevate it a little more over The Resistance.
  • Seasons (1 demo, 4 plays): This was the game I was most looking forward to at GenCon, so I was upset that it sold out before I got there.  Still, I got a copy a few weeks later, and I love it.  Dice drafting, card drafting, resource management, and absolutely gorgeous components contribute to one of my favorite games of the year.
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse (3 plays): The game that is at the forefront of the superhero craze that is bound to be on its way.  It was fun enough, though not something I’d want to own.  The mechanisms are a little too simplified for me.  Still, a lot of fun for comic book fans.
  • Sky Traders (1 demo): Played at GenCon.  It was all about market manipulation, and despite the beautiful bits, I was bored.
  • Smash Up (1 demo, 2 plays): One of the big hits of GenCon.  You smash together two factions and fight.  Very simple, pretty fun.
  • Space Beans (2 plays): A sci-fi bean game from Uwe Rosenberg.  I played this one before Bohnanza, and like it well enough – especially if you play it as a speed game.
  • Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game (4 plays, including 3 beta test): I helped beta test the game, and it was included as an unpublished prototype last year, though I didn’t name it.  I include it here now that I’ve played the final version.  I enjoy it, particularly with a large group.
  • Strat-O-Matic Baseball (1 play): A pretty well balanced two-player dice based baseball game.  It’s a classic, and I was glad to get to play it.
  • The Struggle for Catan (1 play): A fast paced card game based on Catan.  As of now, I like it better than Settlers simply because I’m not relying on dice to get me what I need.
  • Telestrations (1 demo): Not so much of a game as a really fun shared activity.  If I were to get it, I would want to use it casually rather than competitively.
  • Trajan (2 plays): A very pretty and complex game.  Like a lot of Feld games, there’s just way more to do than you can.  I still have a hard time zeroing in on what my focus needs to be, but I like it.
  • Troyes (1 play): A dice-based Eurogame.  I found it to be very dry and overly complex.  Maybe it would be better with more than two players, but not a fan so far.
  • Unpublished Prototypes (6 total plays of 4 different titles): Three of the games I helped playtest have been published, I just haven’t played the final version – Infiltration, Merchant of Venus, and Descent 2.0.  The fourth has not been published, or even announced, so mum’s the word.
  • Village (1 play): This year’s Kennerspiel des Jahres winner.  I thought it was excellent – it has a great aging mechanism, as well as interesting worker placement and removal.  Definitely very clever, and I want to play more.

That’s a lot of new games.  And yet, there are games on my shelf that did not get played this year.  So, I’m making a resolution (something I don’t normally do): in 2013, I want to play every game in my collection at least once.  I’ll check back in on that in a year, and we’ll see how I did.

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