RogerBW's Blog

2018 in boardgames 03 January 2019

2018 was another very boardgame-ful year: more playing, less buying.

My acquisition of boardgames has slowed down somewhat; even the Essen haul was smaller than in some previous years. This is probably a good thing.

My Eddington number for games this year (the largest number E such that I have played E different games at least E times each) was eight, up from seven last year: Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, Senators, War of the Nine Realms (the only one that was also in last year's list), The Resistance, Sagrada, Xenon Profiteer, Codenames, and One Night Ultimate Werewolf (the last two not owned by me, but popular at the local game group). Deception was my most played game, probably because it's short enough that when I get it out the group usually plays two or three times. Overall, since I started logging boardgame plays in January 2016, my Eddington number is 13. This year I played 342 games in total (for symbolic reasons I'd like to get this to 365 in 2019).

I have a total of 57 logged plays of War of the Nine Realms, out of 84 total on BoardGameGeek. All right, I'm probably the only demo person who is logging plays, but even so, that's rather a high proportion… one of these days I'll even play it when I'm not demonstrating it.

I ran more Firefly and The Resistance on the BoardGameGeek forums, as well as bringing Whitehall Mystery to play-by-forum on both BGG and Shut Up and Sit Down. (FFG conveniently provides a rulebook in PDF format, which means it's easy to extract relevant images to build a toolkit, though many people don't seem to realise this. I use SVG and Inkscape even with bitmaps, because each drawing entity is a separate thing even within the same layer, so you don't have to worry about accidentally overwriting them.)

I kept going to the Marlow Tabletop and Board Games meetups, as well as to two Handycons, Airecon, a Springcon, and two Stabcons – and two 1 Player Guild meetings, one of which I organised. For bigger shows, I went to UK Games Expo and Dragonmeet (demoing for Laurence of Wotan Games), and to Essen, demonstrating for Indie Boards & Cards again and coming back with a big crate of games.

I'm still not going to do a Top Ten list, but some games that were new to me which I particularly enjoyed this year:

Abstract game: Onitama. It looks like a chess-type game, but the constrained moves make it rather more interesting to me, particularly the way that using a powerful card automatically hands it to your opponent. And games are short, so there's no tedious slog between one's game-losing mistake and the end of the game.

Puzzle game: V-Commandos. Expensive and sometimes hard to find, and the mechanics aren't quite as clean as they might be, but I like the theme, the play is satisfying and mostly straightforward, and there's plenty of variability.

Backstabby game: Senators. I'm still rather surprised that this wasn't re-themed into the dystopian SF setting that Indie Boards and Cards have used for The Resistance and Coup among others, but it does a decent job of portraying thoroughgoing corruption in late Republican Rome while being largely abstract. I demonstrated this a lot at Essen and fell in love with it.

Small social deduction game: Human Punishment (narrowly beating Human Era). It plays with four where long-term favourite The Resistance needs five; it has three factions, like most new-generation social deduction games; and there's a secondary game of trying to kill off the other factions, after the primary game of finding out people's secrets has been completed. (And there's no need for lying, which I know some people find troublesome.)

Cyberpunk hacking game: Renegade. All right, there aren't many of these, but – even though it was re-themed during the design process from its origins as a game of mediaeval warfare – this one does a great job of conveying the feel of its setting, reinforced by excellent graphic design. It's also rather challenging, and great fun.

Huge licenced game that turned out surprisingly good: Homeland. Yeah, it's a tie-in to a series I find hateful, but it's a really interesting three-faction social deduction puzzle on top of a tough resource management problem. This is my Battlestar Galactica.

Race game that's really a card game (previously held by Steampunk Rally): Flamme Rouge. The trick to this is that, since you hold the same cards as everyone else, you win mostly by drafting and blocking, which makes it thoroughly interactive.

My List of Shame (games that I own, that aren't up for trade, but that I have not yet played) at the end of the year:

  • Evil High Priest
  • High Frontier (Third Edition)
  • Imperius
  • Kodama Duo
  • Leaving Earth: Stations
  • New Dawn
  • Shogunate
  • Who Goes There?

Italicised entries were on last year's list too. But I did eliminate eleven games from the list, either by playing them or by trading them away (or in one case both; goodbye, Simon's Cat The Card Game, you've gone to someone who will enjoy you more than I did).

Kickstarters that arrived:

  • Black Orchestra
  • Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
  • Dice Hospital
  • Evil High Priest
  • Grifters Nexus
  • Human Era
  • Imperius
  • Space Race Interkosmos
  • Star Realms Frontiers
  • War of the Nine Realms
  • Who Goes There?

Kickstarters still outstanding, or newly backed (all in theory arriving in 2019):

  • D-Day Dice
  • Project L
  • Rallyman GT
  • Small Star Empires

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