Gaming in 2005: The Nickels and Dimes
Total Games: 455
Unique Games: 78
Dimes are all the games I played 10 or more times during 2005. Several of these are games that play in 30 minutes or less lending themselves to more plays over time.
Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper (Games Played: 65)
I started listening to Derk and Aldie’s podcast, BoardGameSpeak, early last year. That summer, I listened to them talking to Mike Fitzgerald and how he became involved in the CCG (collectible/trading card game) market. But, more interesting to me was when they turned to a discussion of a series of games Mike designed that used Rummy as the foundation. In college, I generally had a standard deck of cards handy and we played a lot of Euchre, Hearts, Spades and Rummy. Needless to say, I was intrigued. Jill and I played Rummy to death many years ago and this sounded enough different that our interest in Rummy-like games just might be renewed. I guess you could say it did! Clocking in at an average of 10 plays per month (I purchased it in June), MR: JtR was easily the most played game at our home in 2005. We’ve either given as a gift or caused the purchase of several copies of this game as a result of teaching it to friends and family. Definitely a keeper, this is one of a half dozen 2 player games that we play on a regular basis. Believe Mike Fitzgerald when he says he intended for this to be played only with 2 players! We’ve tried it with 4 and it’s ok but is best with 2.
Memoir ‘44 (44)
Never been a war gamer. However, this is really light as war games go. The first time I played this was the Overlord version (2 boards + 8 players = big game) at last year’s GTF. I enjoyed it enough that I ordered a copy as soon has I returned home. I took this to Florida over spring break and Caleb and I played several scenarios. Later in the year, I talked Jill into playing and she really enjoyed it. She and I have played about half the original scenarios. It’s light, it’s quick and sometimes you’re at the mercy of the cards you draw and the dice you roll. However, I’ve also found that creative card play gives this game a bit more depth than at first glance.
Ticket to Ride (32)
Another Days of Wonder product that we played as a family quite often last year. The mechanics of this one is simple enough that Logan, at 6, is able to play. His biggest difficulty is finding the cities he needs to connect and working toward that goal during the game. We’re over the honeymoon with this game. It’ll hit the table a few times this year but not nearly as much as last year.
San Juan (28)
San Juan is another game that Jill and I like a lot. Sometimes called “Puerto Rico lite,” San Juan feels like Puerto Rico in the form of a card game. It scales well from 2 to 4 players. The main knock against the 2 player game Jill and I have is the Library. If one player is able to get a Library on the table early in the game, it feels a little overpowered. We still play with it since it doesn’t happen so often as to take the fun away.
St. Petersburg (22)
I couldn’t get enough of this game for a little while. In the first few plays, there’s quite a bit of tension and difficult decision making until you figure out the relative value of the cards and how to generate points. Once you have a handle on the card values, play is nearly automatic. Should still see occasional play but not nearly as many as 2005.
Ah, Crokinole. Troy would show up with his Crokinole board every year at GTF and I would always sit down to a game and get annihilated every time. Always dreaded it. Then, I played at BGG.con with Jill, Rita and KC. Jill had fun and so did I. I decided to have a board made by the Hilinski brothers. I had it delivered to the condo Jill’s parents own in Florida since we were going there with the boys during their winter break from school. Most of the plays from 2005 were during the last week of the year. I’ve already passed that figure this year. The newness is off but I think we’ll play this several times a month. As an added bonus, I won’t be nearly as awful at GTF this year.
Mystery Rummy: Jekyll and Hyde (15)
Our second favorite in the Mystery Rummy series but not played nearly as much. Only being able to lay down sets that match the side of the Jekyll/Hyde card that is up (i.e. if Jekyll is up, you can only meld sets of Jekyll cards and vice versa) was a different twist. Fifteen feels like about the right number for a typical year — once or twice a month.
Havoc: the Hundred Years War (12)
First played the prototype with Chris Brooks at GenCon. At BGG.con, ran into Chris again and met the designer, KC Humphrey, and his wife Rita. Jill played and liked it. We bought a couple of copies to give as gifts and have taught Havoc to several friends and family. I haven’t had an opportunity to play at my regular game night but I have taught it and it is frequently requested. I see this becoming one that sees regular play especially as the boys get older and become better at building multiple hands at the same time.
Boomtown is another game I picked up as a result of listening to an episode of BoardGameSpeak. Love the way you pay for auctions and select your card. The random mine production prevents the game from being a simple math exercise. This is a game that works very well with the whole family although Logan can get carried away with his auction bidding at times.
One of the better light, take-that games around. With the right group, it’s a blast. Queue music by Morricone and you’re set. Jill and I want to play it more with the boys but they have a hard time dealing with being eliminated. Playing with the High Noon expansion helps some since they can come back for a turn when Ghost Town turns up. Still, this won’t see a lot more play until they show a little more maturity about the game.
Nickels, then, are all the games I played between 5 and 9 times during the year. A couple of the meatier games are in this list.
Blink, or Speed, is about the fastest game around. It only takes a couple of minutes and anybody can play. We held a Blink tournament at GTF in 2005. I made it to the semi-finals before losing. Lightening quick filler.
Shadows over Camelot (9)
I picked this one up to play with the family. I was looking for something on the cooperative side and this one hits the spot occasionally. We can beat the game about half the time I’d say and most of the time, it’s a nail biter.
Unpublished Prototype (9)
These are plays of KC’s Tres Amigos prototype, based on a familar card game with a twist. Jill and I like it.
Pirate’s Cove (8)
Another game purchased for the family. Good theme and great components by Days of Wonder. Fun to play but can cause stress with the boys if they come out on the short end of a battle too often.
Magic: The Gathering CCG (7)
Caleb and Tristan started becoming interested in the Grandaddy of all CCGs last year. They’d played around with Pokemon and YuGiOh for a couple of year and are now showing interest in this one. I have a set of Preconstructs from a couple of years ago that I use when we play. I can generally still hold my own with better play but it won’t be long before they get better at deck-building and I’ll have to do something different to maintain a level playing field. At the very least, their interest will continue to grow and, in turn, I’ll be playing more of this over the next few years.
The 3rd game I bought as a result of listening to BoardGameSpeak. I like to get this out occasionally. I think it works really well as a warm up filler while you’re waiting for everyone to show up for game night.
Dungeon Twister (6)
I was excited about DT at GenCon. Played one game with about half the staff of Asmodee, including the designer. It was very confusing at the time since who I was playing changed about every 10 minutes. I picked up a copy later and played a few times since. It’s a brain-burner with a cool fantasy, dungeon feel to it. Definitely a game I want to play more of in ‘06
Game of Thrones, A (6)
Love the books this game is based on and for me, this game evokes the feel of the books rather well. This is a game that typically runs 3 or more hours with my group and is one of the bigger games I like a lot. It has lots of tension and the occasional surprise. I can see this one staying in the nickel space for the next few years.
I have more pieces and parts than I know what to do with. I have a copy of most of the expansions and 3 base sets. The whole thing is boxed in the basement and sits next to a couple of tables. We’ve made a couple of large scenarios to battle it out in 3 player mode. Like other elimination games, the boys have a difficult time dealing with the loss of characters. However, the miniatures are fun! I’d like to see this played a bit more in ‘06.
Light Speed (6)
Another quick filler that plays about as fast as Blink. Played this over at Kieron’s early last year and had a good time with it. It’s one of those games to have in your hip pocket and pull it out when you’re stuck at the airport or any other place you’re waiting that has a decent sized table or clear area to play.
Zepter von Zavandor, das (6)
Ooh, it’s dry, with some math and numbers to keep track of. It’s long with games typically lasting 3+ hours but I sure do like this game. I don’t know about other players but this game flies by for me. I finally broke down and printed all the english paste-ups on stickers and applied them over the german text in the hopes that this will make it easier to play and as a result, I’ll get to play more!
Blue Moon (5)
CCG feel without the collectible nature. I would like to see more plays of this in the coming year, especially if I can entice Caleb and Tristan away from Magic to play this.
Picked this up at the end of the year. Enjoyable puzzle-ish game that works well with a wide variety of folks. I see this getting played a fair amount in the coming year.
There you have it…a decent sized list of my most frequently played games from last year. Several games missed the cut-off that I do want to play considerably more in 2006 including Caylus and RA. Plus, I received a lot of games at the end of the year that need to hit the table. I don’t have nearly as many as Chris has to get through but I can see how you get there!