Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Past - 2014

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

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My winning move as the Army of North Vietnam in Fire in the Lake.
As 2014 draws to a close I'm having my little look back at this year of gaming. Pregnancy and having a baby certainly cut into the gaming but I'm happy to still have managed to play a whole bunch of games. In my "Future - 2014" post from the beginning of the year I talked about wanting to play less games, more. As in wanting to play a given game a larger number of times instead of flitting from game to game like some deranged butterfly.

I'm not sure how well I actually succeeded at this but I at least worked toward this goal. Looking at my plays at BGG I can see that most of the singles are games suggested by friends while the games that I've wanted to play at least have a couple of plays each. I still think this is a good goal to aim toward and I'll keep it in mind during 2015 as well. Now, let's take a look at the top threes!

Board Games

Still holding strong(ish) at first place is Star Wars: The Card Game from FFG! Although Anders have more or less abandoned the game, my buddy Claes picked it up and we've played it throughout the year. I still think it's a lot of fun and a much better filler than Netrunner or Lord of the Rings, which I also own and like. When we get more experience with it Netrunner might be able to be brought down into the 20 minute window, but right now we still spend too much time pondering our moves for it to really work as a filler. SW you can either just play while waiting for something else, or run a number of games in a row, switching decks and sides, during an entire evening. I still haven't got any cards from the latest two cycles though and I need to remedy this as there has been a lot of cool stuff released!

At number two we have a bit of a surprise: A Few Acres of Snow! This is a game I've had my eye on for a looong time but for some reason I never actually pulled the trigger. There has been a lot of talk about the "broken" first edition and some claim that the second is just as bad, but we've had a blast playing it! I discovered that it's available to play online for free (and legal) at so that's where most of our plays are from, but then Claes actually gave it to me as a surprise birthday gift, so I'll finally be able to get some proper physical plays in. :)

Number three on the list is another unexpected game I think: Hobbit Tales from the Green Dragon Inn! You might notice a trend here that the most played games are either light/quick or played online. Hehe! Anyway, although I loved the look and idea of Hobbit Tales I was a little unsure how well it would actually work with my regular gaming group. Even though we're all old rpg veterans we've never played a narrative board game like this before. However, I shouldn't have worried at all as everyone has really enjoyed it and spun great yarns of adventure, fame and misery! A round is played in about 20-30 minutes so it's very easy to play a couple of games back to back. I will be reviewing it as part of my ongoing Season of the Ring and I'm looking forward to using it while playing The One Ring as well.

Other games with a decent number of plays were Star Trek: Fleet Captains(!), Android: Netrunner, Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island and Love Letter. You might wonder at the lack of Phil Eklund titles, but actually Greenland, Pax Porfiriana, Origns and High Frontier were all played, although in small numbers. The same goes for the games in the COIN series from GMT.

Roleplaying Games

If you read this blog with any regularity you probably already know that Mutant: Year Zero was the top played roleplaying game during 2014. Actually, although there are only two games on this list (not even a top three!) I've roleplayed more this year than in the past five years put together! After we wrapped up Torchbearer (see below) we started on our M:0 campaign and have had a lot of fun with it. The game requires very little prep which, again, is great if you're strapped for time. When I get back to Sweden in the spring we'll try to round of this part of our Mutant experience and start preparing for Gene Lab Alpha where you play as mutated/uplifted animals. Of course both games take place in the same setting and apart from mutated humans and animals we have the robots and the non-mutated (frozen?) human sourcebooks to look forward to.

We also managed a number of Torchbearer sessions in the beginning of the year. I still love the Burning Wheel family of games but they are tricky to introduce fresh to a new group and almost require you to read the book and really buy into the philosophy. You could probably get to that point where it "clicked" for everyone through play alone as well, but I think it would require more than the three sessions we played. As it were I loved it, Jacob... disliked it and the others were somewhere between the two of us. However, I feel that they have barely scratched the surface of what it means to play Torchbearer (or any BWHQ game for that matter) and although I'll likely let it rest for a bit, I'm intent on bringing out either Torchbearer or Mouse Guard for some mini-campaigning next year. And speaking of Mouse Guard, you know there's a new edition in the works, right? :D

Miniature Games

I think mini gaming took the largest hit in 2014 as it is probably the most time and preparation intensive of the three categories. Still, I did play some games at least!

Deadzone comes in at number one as we played it a number of times during the spring. The core game is good fun and the Enforcers and Plague are well balanced. Unfortunately the other races we've tried so far are less so and the campaign game, which was by far the largest reason for my investment, turned out to be lackluster and plain. I hate to seem so negative, especially as there is a good, fun core experience in Deadzone, but I will likely try to get rid of most of my Deadzone stuff except for maybe the Enforcers so I have something I can pull out when in the right mood. Still, I'll be sure to play it some more before that... as soon as I actually receive my (long delayed) Enforcers.

The other miniature game played was of course my old workhorse, Infinity. The reason this hasn't been my top played miniature game every year is that no one in my local group played it. Me and Anders started out at the same time, but he abandoned it soon after and although I'll try to inspire him with the new edition I really don't see it happening. On the other hand Claes has just invested in a Haqqislam force and seeing as he's one of my primary gaming opponents I'm hopeful that Infinity will see play a lot more in 2015. But now I'm getting ahead of myself... :)

You might wonder what happened to X-Wing and Dust Warfare. To be honest I had to double check when it looked like I hadn't played a single game of X-Wing in 2014, but it's actually true! Even though I got both the rebel transport and the Tantive IV we haven't played with either of them. I'll simply have to blame it on the deployment of the baby and make sure to do better next year. Dust Warfare is pretty much in the same state as last year; I'd love to play it more but Anders is waiting on his Babylon kickstarter stuff and we still haven't tried the new Dust Tactics Battlefied rules. Although they look decent enough I'm pretty happy with Dust Warfare. Again, we need to try them out of course, but if I find myself not really enjoying them as much as Warfare I'll simply call my collection complete and keep playing the old rules with what I have.

So that was my analogue gaming in 2014! I'm guessing 2015 will see a little less gaming now that the proto-gamer is hanging around. Still, after a mostly game free four months in Japan I will be literally jonesing for it when I get back! More on next year's games in the Future - 2015 post!

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