New to Me in 2013

Here it is, my annual survey (plus brief impressions) of games that were new to me in the past 12 months.

  • 7-Card Slugfest (2x) – A chaotic fighting game.  I like it, but it can easily get out of hand.
  • The Adventurers: The Pyramid of Horus (1x) – I like the original better.  Your doom is not quite as random.  This one just has pain after pain to throw at you.  It was mildly interesting, but not one I’d want to own or play often.
  • Alea Iacta Est (3x) – I won a copy at Articon, and am very happy with it.  A very good dice allocation game set in ancient Rome.
  • Arcana (1x) – A kind of attack the base game, sort of like Smash Up but with more of a deck-building feel.  I liked it well enough, and would certainly play again.
  • Blades of Legend (2x) – Part of the Minigame Library from Level 99 Games.  My least favorite of the set.  It’s a social deduction style game, but is a little too convoluted for me.
  • Cabo (1x) – Some friends introduced me to this quick memory game where players are trying to minimize their score without knowing all the cards they have.  I was a little lost, and would like to play again.
  • Caveman Curling (1x) – Curling is my favorite Winter Olympic sport, and this was a pretty fun sort of simulation of it.  There are some added elements to try to manipulate the board, but otherwise it felt a lot like the real thing (without brooms).
  • City of Remnants (1x) – I was looking forward to this one, but it didn’t click with me.  Too many little bits of things happening at once, and not a whole lot you can do once you’re behind.  I’d play again…maybe I’d figure it out better.
  • Copycat (1x) – A mashup of Dominion, Agricola, and Puerto Rico with a dash of Through the Ages thrown in.  I would have preferred less Agricola and more of the other stuff.  Not my favorite Friedemann Friese game by far.
  • Crokinole (8x) – My first times playing this dexterity game as our group got its own board for helping Mayday out at GenCon.  Fun one.
  • CrossWays (1x) – Make a line across the board by playing cards.  It was a decent abstract.  I got beaten by an 8-year-old.
  • Delve: The Dice Game (4x) – I had downloaded the iOS app for this game, then found the print-and-play.  I really enjoy it – a Yahtzee-style dungeon crawl for one player.  I need to try out the variants for the game, especially with the different heroes.
  • Dry Gulch Junction (2x) – Alan Ernstein, the designer of this game, is a member of my game group and taught this game.  An interesting city building type game where you try to figure out the best ways to spend your money.  I like it.
  • duck duck Go! (2x) – It’s RoboRally with rubber duckies, what’s not to like?  Much lighter and more family friendly than RoboRally, which I still like more (though I do like this one too).
  • The Duke (4x) – I’ve played the print-and-play as well as the final version, and absolutely love this game.  It’s a chess killer for me.
  • Dungeon Roll (2x) – This is more of a solo game than  multiplayer experience, but I like it.  It’s a nice, light puzzle solving experience, and should be viewed as such.
  • Eight-Minute Empire (1x) – A quick area control type game.  I need to play again to solidify my opinion, but it was OK.
  • Elfenland (1x) – This Spiel des Jahres winner is a nice route building game from Alan R. Moon.  I may prefer the later Isla Dorada, which was based on this, but I do like it.
  • Escape: The Curse of the Temple (4x) – I like real-time games, and this one is a lot of fun.  If you think about it, it’s kind of dumb, but it’s fast and frantic, and I like it.
  • Fortune and Glory (1x) – Indiana Jones the board game.  It’s pretty much a straight luck-fest, but it’s enjoyable enough.  I don’t know how good the replay valuable will be.
  • Gloom (1x) – This game is all about being miserable, and I was indeed miserable the entire time I was playing it.  Too random, and not as funny as it thinks it is.  I know there’s an audience for this, but it’s not me.
  • Godzilla Stomp (1x) – I didn’t know what to make of this filler when a friend pulled it out, but it was fun.  You’re playing cards to try to destroy buildings.  Very simple.
  • Gravwell (1x) – A race game where you’re trying to get out of a vortex.  Some interesting card playing decisions to be made.  I definitely want to play more.
  • The Great Heartland Hauling Company (1x) – A nice compact pick-up-and-deliver game.  Not very unique, but definitely a good family type game.
  • Grimoire Shuffle (1x) – From the Minigame Library by Level 99 Games.  I like the programmed aspect as the leaders choose what others are doing for the round, but it can get complicated, especially if you play with the advanced variant.  I do need to play again.
  • Guildhall (3x) – I absolutely love this game.  Role selection plus set collection.  Great fun.
  • Haggis (1x) – A trick-taking game that can play with two.  I can’t say that I got the hang of it in my one play, but I did like it and would definitely play again.
  • Hanabi (3x) – The SdJ winner for this year.  A very good game that has no AI, just players working together to accomplish a goal.  I like it a lot.
  • The Hobbit (1x) – I think this is better than the LOTR cooperative game Knizia did, but it’s still kind of bland.
  • Infinity Dungeon (3x) – Part of the Minigame Library from Level 99 Games.  Not much of a game, more of a storytelling activity.  It can be pretty hilarious with the right group.
  • Jungle Ascent (1x) – Donkey Kong the board game.  I had a lot of fun with it – some nice take that elements.
  • Legendary: A Marvel Deckbuilding Game (3x) – A big hit this year.  I like it, though I’m not a fan of the “one winner” concept in a cooperative game.
  • Libertalia (2x) – Pirates and role selection.  Great game.
  • Lost Legends (1x) – Does for 7 Wonders what Thunderstone did for Dominion.  It’s just as clunky as the original Thunderstone, and I don’t know if Queen is going to put the effort into fixing it that AEG did.
  • Love Letter (10x) – Fast, simple, compact.  Love it.
  • Magic: The Gathering (1x) – Yes, it took me this long to ever play Magic.  And it was fine – nothing I’d want to sink thousands of dollars into, but a fine game.
  • Mamma Mia! (1x) – A good Uwe Rosenberg design with some good memory elements.  I want to play more.
  • Marrakech (1x) – What is essentially an abstract game with carpets as player pieces.  I really like this one.
  • Mascarade (1x) – Citadels the Party Game.  A good social hidden identity game where no one is entirely sure what their role is.
  • Master Plan (2x) – From the Minigame Library by Level 99 Games.  My favorite game from the library – enough tactical planning and luck pushing to keep me very happy.
  • Maximum Throwdown (2x) – Throwing cards?  I’m in.
  • Merchant of Venus (1x) – I played this once in prototype form, but this year was the first time I played it in its final version.  I enjoyed it, and probably would have liked it more if it wasn’t 4 in the morning when we started.
  • Mice & Mystics (2x) – A beautiful game with a great story line.  I hope to explore it further someday.
  • The New Science (1x) – I wasn’t enthralled with this one.  It was fine, just nothing I want to play more.
  • NOIR: Killer vs. Inspector (7x) – From the Minigame Library from Level 99 Games.  A nice compact deduction game where two players are trying to catch each other.  A good one.
  • Nottingham (1x) – A medieval themed set collection game.  Not one of Uwe Rosenberg’s better efforts.
  • Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords (1x) – What a great game.  A whole lot of detail packed into that box.  I’m tempted to buy it, but I don’t have the finances for it.
  • Pirates vs. Dinosaurs (.5x) – I like the theme, and the mechanics were OK.  But note to self – NEVER PLAY THIS GAME WITH SIX PLAYERS AGAIN.  It took 45 minutes between my second and third turns, and I couldn’t stay for the whole game.
  • Pixel Tactics (2x) and Pixel Tactics 2 (1x) – The original Pixel Tactics was part of the Minigame Library.  I love the system – each card can be used for one of five different purposes, which gives the game some serious meat.
  • Police Precinct (1x) – A police themed cooperative game.  As public servant co-ops go, I’d rather play Flash Point.  There was just too much going on in the game, and not much of it seemed that thematic to me.  Also, I thought the Dirty Cop variant was kind of useless.
  • Prophecy (3x) – After looking for this game for a long time, I finally got a copy.  I enjoy it – it’s a fast-playing (but still long) adventure game.  It is infinitely better than Talisman, and you can see some early Vlaada Chvátil hallmarks all through it.
  • Relic Runners (1x) – A cool route-building game from Days of Wonder.  Great pieces, and a pretty fun game.
  • Rodeo Rummy (1x) – Very cool dice in a terrible game.  I also read the rules for Square Shooters from the same company, and that one seems equally atrocious.
  • Saboteur (1.33x) – A fun backstabby game.  It’s fast, and can get pretty crazy.  The .33 play is from a play with a bunch of teens who only wanted to play one round instead of three.
  • Six (2x) – I had played this on many times, but this was my first time face-to-face.  I love the game, a small and portable abstract.
  • Six Shooter (1x) – Yahtzee Bingo.  Never again.
  • Space Cadets: Dice Duel (2x) – A very frantic real-time game.  There’s a lot going on, and it’s difficult to strategize as everyone is yelling at each other.  I like it.
  • Spot It! (1x) – A nice small game.  Basically pattern matching and really more of a kid’s game, but fast enough that it’s a nice diversion.
  • Spyrium (1x) – A disappointment for me.  I wanted to like it more, but the lack of a theme and kind of boring gameplay took me out of it.
  • Stack and Attack (3x) – A deck-building game where players are building towers and chucking rocks at each other.  Light, but fun.
  • Sunrise City (1x) – 3D city building.  I like it a lot, despite the bidding – I think I like having a bunch of bids going on at once a lot more than just one.
  • Take-Back-Toe (1x) – From the Microgame Library by Level 99 Games.  It’s a quick playing abstract game where you’re trying to get three equal stacks in a row.  A good one.
  • Tapple (2x) – A word game with an interesting gadget to keep time and score.  Not my cup of tea, but I don’t hate it, and members of my group really like it.
  • Timeline: Inventions (2x) – A good educational game, but if played enough, could probably be memorized.  Good for education, not so good for competition.
  • Trains (1x) – Dominion with trains.  I liked it well enough in the first play.  Need to play again.
  • Tricks and Treats (2x) – My game!  I playtested it twice in November for National Game Design Month.
  • Twilight Struggle (1x) – I finally got to play the #1 game on BGG.  I won it in the fourth round via the space race – go USA!  Good game.
  • Two Rooms and a Boom (3x) – A big social deduction game.  I like it better than Werewolf as there’s a little more you can do to manipulate the results.  I like it, especially the wide range of roles.
  • Ugg-Tect (1x) – You have to use grunts and gestures to get your partner to build a structure.  Too much looking at the reference card to be much fun, despite being able to hit your partner with an inflatable club.
  • Viking Funeral (2x) – A ruleset from Rob Daviau where you destroy a deck of playing cards.  I like the idea of it better than the actual game.
  • Völuspá (1x) – A Christmas acquisition for me. I called it Qwirkle with a Norse theme, but it really isn’. Lots of good strategy to explore in what is kind of a minimalist game. Very happy with it after one play.
  • Was sticht? (1x) – A trick-taking game where you draft your hand, deduce trump, and choose an objective to fulfill.  Some very interesting ideas to get your head around.  I like it.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG (1x) – Played with some demo decks.  I didn’t care for it.

And there you have it. That’s my 2013. Looking forward to the year to come – I’m participating in the 10×10 challenge (10 different games 10 times each), so I don’t know if this list will be as long next year, but we’ll see. Thanks for reading, and happy new year!



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