RogerBW's Blog

2020 in boardgames 03 January 2021

2020 was another very boardgame-ful year, in patches.

Game purchase was down again, not only because of no Essen but because my default approach to a new game is now "why would I want this when I already have these other ones". I have a solid game library which contains many things I enjoy, and the space in which it's stored is full. (And I finally found a buyer for my X-Wing bits.) On the other hand there are plenty of games on boardgamearena and which I haven't tried yet.

My Eddington number for games in 2020 (the largest number E such that I have played E different games at least E times each, also known as an "H factor") was eleven, up from ten last year. Seven of those were 10×10 challenge games; the others were Letter Tycoon (BGA, where I was briefly the #5-rated player), Can't Stop (BGA and yucata), VOLT (yucata plus one game in person), and Machi Koro (yucata) which I think may be broken without the expansion. Overall since I started logging games in 2016 my Eddington number is up to 19 (17 last year), and I played 627 games in total (427 last year) in spite of a lack of face-to-face meetings.

I gave up on the 10×10 challenge at the point at which I realised I could force myself to play the 20-odd remaining games, but I'd enjoy them rather less afterwards; but I did complete the 52 game challenge for the second time. All right, so I'm still gamifying my game-playing.

I ran several Flamme Rouge 6-race tours on various forums (it was my immediate reaction to the first quarantine period), as well as V-Commandos and Whitehall Mystery. I'm working on software to make the next Flamme Rouge tour involve less manual bookkeeping.

In the middle of one of those tours, the Shut Up & Sit Down forum was shut down, and since I was already running the same software I welcomed the refugees to

I got to Stabcon, Handycon and Airecon as well as the local boardgame group meetings before everything shut down, and got in a few games in the gazebo after that (masked and keeping our distances) until it got too cold for my guests. At the time of writing Airecon is hoping to run in April. I have my doubts, but also some slight hope.

This year's new-to-me games that particularly impressed:

Racing game: Rallyman GT. It came from nowhere to be my most-played game, helped by the BGA implementation.

Liked It So Much I Bought It: VOLT on, a sort of mini Robo Rally with all the non-fun stripped out (and, admittedly, some of the fun too). Lemminge would be in here too if I could find a copy at a sensible price, and probably also Twin Tin Bots; I may try making copies of my own.

Themeless but Fun: Air, Land & Sea which probably puts off more people with its well-worn WWII theme than it lures in. (And as someone interested in WWII, I can see that the theme is barely skin-deep anyway.) Though I suppose "Cthulhu" would have been even more generic. Also could come under Liked It So Much I Bought It: I haven't played my physical copy yet.

Normal People Might Play This: Letter Tycoon. Also an excuse for writing software to be a practice opponent.

My God It's Full Of Stars: Android: Netrunner on There's, er, rather a lot of it.

In Spite of the Art: Sakura Arms (the reason why A:Netrunner is not my favourite customisable card game). At least among the games I see, I think boardgame art has generally got less exploitative and more diverse; this one's trailing behind a bit, though it's not terrible.

Wargame in Boardgame's Clothing: Talon, where everything you need to play comes in the box and there's no miniature-painting or any of that stuff, but it's absolute rock-solid wargame all the way down.

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:

  • Among the Stars: Revival
  • Assembly
  • D-Day Dice (2nd edition)
  • Leaving Earth: Stations
  • Odyseja
  • New Dawn

Italicised entries were on last year's list too. I think I'll have a go at clearing this down a bit in 2021.

Off that list came Talon, which I love, and Lux Aeterna, which alas just isn't for me.

Kickstarters that arrived:

  • Project L
  • Hostage Negotiator Career
  • Dice Hospital expansion
  • Thunderbolt Apache Leader expansions
  • Aeon's End Outcasts

which would leave me with nothing I'm waiting for, except:

Kickstarters newly backed in 2020 and not yet arrived:

  • Steampunk Rally Fusion
  • the Star Realms bits of Epic Jungle
  • Railroad Ink Challenge
  • A War of Whispers + Dark Alliances (stuck in Brexit shipping hell)
  • Ell Deck (I like Bez but they don't half fall into stock whiny Glaswegian when things go wrong)
  • Gladius
  • Air Leader expansions (Hornet Leader, Cthulhu Conflict)
  • Rallyman Dirt
  • Sakura Arms
  • Project L Finesse
  • Riftforce

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