Monday, January 08, 2007

2006 in Review

2006 was a very good year for gaming. I picked up many games that I had always wanted to own, some out of print, some reprints. I found a real gaming group...or rather, they found me, and we play once or twice a week. I've been exposed to many games I otherwise would never have bought or even tried. I've made some great new friends. I've kept this blog going pretty much full speed.

BGG is maturing quite nicely; the features and functionality are improving. Games are still pouring out from the designers and publishers at a rate I can scarcely keep up with.

Gaming blogs and podcasts are going strong. My favorites are those that simply discuss specific games. I love to read (or hear) about why others like or dislike games, and about games I don't know. Sometimes I will even get a new perspective on a game.

2006 Hits

These aren't necessarily games that were published in 2006. They are just games that I played that struck the perfect chord for me.

ASL Starter Kit #1
Thanks to Kevin Moody and VASL, I was introduced to this excellent system. I don't think I would have made it through the 12 pages of rules without someone to hold my hand. Wargame rules are simply not written for euro gamers, no matter how simple the game. I have since picked up Starter Kit #2, and am awaiting the soon-to-be-reprinted Starter Kit #1 and newly-printed Starter Kit #3.

I was on and off this game a few times when it was first announced. I read a lot about it for and against. I'm very glad I bought a copy. I've only played with 5 and 6 so far. The "micro-turn" and rondel mechanics really make this game shine.

Excellent 2-player abstract. Simple play with 4 victory conditions keep you on your toes. Despite the seemingly simple board, no 2 games are the same.

Die Macher
I don't really know if it's the interlocking systems, the sheer number of mechanisms, or the aura surrounding the game that attracts me. I just know I played it once, it took about 7 hours, and I never felt the time go by. While this is not a "play every week" game, I hope it's a "play a couple of time a year" game.

O Zoo le Mio
Looks like a kid's game; plays like a gamer's game. I ignored it too long, and now I own it.

Railroad Tycoon
If I had to pick one game that I played in 2006 that struck me as the most fun, it would have to be Railroad Tycoon. Getting past the warped boards, the silly trains, and the ridiculous empty city markers, there's a really good game here. Because of this, I really want to try Age of Steam (someone else's copy).

I was surprised that I liked this game so much. I had read the rules and decided not to buy it. After playing it once, I immediately put it on my want list. The combinations of simple actions give you some very interesting decisions.

2006 Misses

Die Säulen der Erde
I played this a few times on BSW. It's Caylus-lite with about 50% randomness and 50% chaos. It's so bad, it's sure to win the next SdJ.

Roads & Boats
A multi-player solitaire puzzle game where the only interaction is stealing goods that your neighbor can't guard. If you want to advance some technology, you have to collect a goose and 2 paper. To make a new goose, you need to leave 2 geese alone in a hex (there can't even be a log there). However, if you have a goose and 2 paper in a hex without some vehicle (eg donkey or raft), they kill each other. Sound silly? Is silly.

Winner's Circle
Random. Downtime. Pain. Light brown. Medium brown. Strain.


These are games I'm looking forward to this year, either to play for the first time, to buy in my next order, to be released, or to be printed in English.

Die Baumeister von Arkadia
I'm about 80% on this one. There some good feedback on it, but some intangible thing about it says "under-developed" to me.

I'm also 80% on this one. Rules would help.

I was 100% on this game from the blurb alone. Now I'm down to about 60% based on feedback. Is it even going to be reprinted in English...or at all?

On the Underground
This will be on my next order.

Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization
I'm very close to 100% on this. I don't care if it takes 4-6 hours to play. It just sounds fun. Is it going to be picked up?

This will be on my next order.

My Wishes

I wish board designers would get a clue about function over form, about the use of color and contrast, and about layout. I wish board designers would talk to the bits designers, the box designers, and have actually played the game.

I wish companies that should know better would spend the extra freakin' day it would take to clean up their rules so we don't have to ask 37 questions on BGG to have a 100% ruleset.

I wish that plastic became so expensive that games with stupid plastic figures would have to switch to wood.

I wish Aldie would fix all the crazy colors and crazy layout on BGG, and that I wasn't so OCD about it.

I wish people who made online modules for games would stop thinking it's a good thing to use a scan of the board on the screen, if that board needs to be 3000x2000 to actually see anything.

I wish my game group met every night.

May all your purchases be 10's!

Railroad Tycoon image by garyjames


At 10:49 AM, Anonymous Mark Christopher said...

Nice lists, Jim! I can't wait to try Die Macher one of these days. I agree, Railroad Tycoon's a very fun game. I have Age of Steam, but though fun, it's almost painfully heavy. I think I need to give Antike another try; it was fun, but didn't really grab me.

Myself, as well as RRT, I'd put Command & Colors: Ancients and Combat Commander as greats of 2006. The game I'm looking the most forward to of 2007? Napoleon's Triumph. Others are Conquest of Paradise and Winds of Plunder (and of course, the Combat Commander expansion).

At 3:04 PM, Blogger ekted said...

I found Merchants & Marauders to sound more interesting than Winds of Plunder, but still not good enough to want to play.

At 4:52 PM, Anonymous Mark Christopher said...

The minis alone make me want to buy Merchants and Marauders. :)


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