Things of No Interest: Cult of the Not So New - October 2007
What is Cult of the Not So New? Well, I've been playing games for a while now and I enjoy talking about games that newcomers to the hobby have never played. While everyone seems to be focused on the Cult of the New and Kickstarter the fact is that there are a lot of great older games out there. Maybe one or two of them can hit your table as a "new game".
BGG user JonMichael Rasmus (jmsr525) has been doing analysis of the games and their trends each month for, well what seems like forever. I thought it might be interesting to look back at what was so hot 10 years ago, so sit back and enjoy this blast from the past. Based on information in the geeklist - BGG Top 100 Analysis October 2007.
Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization - Once upon a time there was a computer game called Civ (by Sid Meier) which occupied a fair portion of my life (and many others too). Then someone thought it'd be cool to make a boardgame version of the game to play with your friends and thus we got TtA, which claimed 12 spots on the BGG chart in Oct. 2007 to reach #48.
I've talked about this game before and will again in coming months as we all know (and if you don't, you may have been living in an anti-boardgame cave) TtA climbed into and stayed in the BGG Top 10 for a long time. Amusingly, the boardgame was recently released as an (wait for it...) app for your tablet and computer.
Is it still a thing?
Sort of still a thing. This version still sits at #18 on the BGG charts today. I mention version as a newer revision of the game was recently released and almost immediately shot up to #2 on the BGG rankings. If you are interested in this game, please skip the older version and investigate the newer one.
Bonaparte at Marengo - jmsr525's definition of a falling star is a drop of more than 10 places in the top 100. Technically, there were none in October 2007, but BaM did fall seven places to #92 this month ten years ago. Though I am not a grognard nor a historian, I still think this game looks fascinating. One day I'm going to sit and watch this game get played at a convention or maybe learn it myself.
Is it still a thing?
Not even close. Today this sits at #1071 - as I've mentioned previously, the designer released Napoleon's Triumph which was the followup and was a much expanded game that eclipsed BaM enough that it has become an afterthought for collectors.
Three games jumped into the top 100 for the first time in October 2007 - Mr. Jack (#80), Here I Stand (#94) and Thebes (#98).
Mr. Jack is a clever little two-player where the players take turns playing as Jack the Ripper or Scotland Yard. Its a quick little logic puzzle really. The goal (of course) evade or find the other. The game has spawned expansions and other versions and today sits at #388.
Here I Stand is a card driven game from GMT about the political and religious conflicts of early 16th Century Europe. Here's the rub (assuming you haven't been stopped reading already). It plays best with six and is about an hour a player, so this is one of those really cool con-games that probably doesn't get much regular playings. There is a two-player variant that might get this out more. Maybe. I have been interested in this for years, and everyone I know that has played it raves about it. Despite the historical material and lengthy play, this game still only just missed the Top 150, sitting at #152.
Thebes is one of those great family games from Queen games that I don't think got the kind of print run and recognition it needed. Originally released in limited quantities as Jenseits von Theben, it was much sought after. I think by the time it was redone by Queen games, people were already on to the next thing. It may not be everyone's cup of tea - there is a fair bit of luck involved, but really the whole game is about mitigating the luck factor. It plays quickly, is easy to teach, and frankly, digging for treasure is kinda fun. It feels a little like Indiana Jones minus being chased by Nazis. This currently sits at #352, but is definitely worth checking out if you have never played it.
These are the movers in the Top 10 in October 2007:
- Power Grid +1 #2: All you need to know about PG is that since its release in 2004, it has remained relevant - just look at the golden geek awards. Since 2006, PG has finished as the top game 5 times and runner up another 3 times. Nothing about it is outdated or has been re-done better. You might not enjoy the mathy-ness of the game, but it isn't just an exercise in math. This is part auction game where planning and positioning is what matters.
- Tigris and Euphrates -1 #3: One of Knizia's early masterpiece is still a great game. Not one that is easy to grok, but still a thing of beauty.
- Age of Steam +3 #8: I love Age of Steam, but I have to admit I prefer the revisions that followed (I prefer Steam). Really a great train game that got "derailed" because of issues between the designer and publisher later on. In 2007, this was still going strong and expansion maps were fetching crazy amounts of money.
- BattleLore -2 #10: This may have been the height of the Command and Colors system. Memoir 44 was going strong, C&C: Ancients was going strong, and BattleLore ruled with its cool minis and fantasy play. Unfortunately I think BattleLore couldn't ultimately decide whether to be semi-fantasy or all-in-fantasy and despite a ton of expansions, just kind of faded. I personally think that they kept too close to the Memoir 44 mold instead of really taping into the potential they had of crazy fantasy battles between legions of monsters and wizards. Eventually, this would fall out of the Top 10 and Days of Wonder would sell the rights to the game to FFG, who would end up doing exactly that - making it a crazy fantasy battle game!
(Highest ranked games that have shown any positive position movement in the last month that aren't in the top 10)
- Ra - Another great Knizia game! Seriously, if you have never played Ra, stop what you are doing, find a copy and four friends and go play this.
- Goa - an auction and resource management game. I've heard good things about this, but never played, mostly because my normal game group had played this to death before I joined and it sounded like they had most of the game down pat already, so trying to play with them would have been a waste of my time. I'd love to try this out with other newbs.
- Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage - a great card driven game that in many ways felt a lot like Twilight Struggle (I'm positive that TS was based off this). This looks and sounds like a war-game, but it is really an area control game between two asymmetrical sides. I enjoyed everything except that combat play, which was kind of luck based and would have been better and faster to just roll a die to resolve...
- Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery - So many great games mentioned this month! AoE3 was a fantastic worker placement game. It has been revised a couple times now and while it is probably overlooked, it shouldn't be. Lots of ways to score points and mess with other players.
- Settlers of Catan, The (Second Month!) - and of course, the granddaddy of the hobby. Like it or hate it for what it is, it brought a lot of people into mainstream boardgames. This likely saw some blip in movement due to a reprint in 2007