Things of No Interest: Nickels and Dimes of 2017

Things of No Interest: Nickels and Dimes of 2017

I think my bookkeeping is mostly accurate for plays. In 2017, I decided to record online plays as long as they were against a real person and not some AI (otherwise this list would really suck). Yeah, a lot of these were online in some form or another, but I think that's great that we live in an era where good games can see action even when I don't have a chance to sit at the table with someone.

Nickels (at least 5 plays, less than 10)

Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game (9 plays)
This should be no real surprise as I talked about this game a lot this past year. I played a ton online and it spurred me to play a lot more on the tabletop after not having pulled out the actual cards in a long while. Still hate the setup/teardown, but still love this game. I love finding new combos and making do with whatever cards are available to me. Having tons of expansion sets really helps keeps this going.

Codenames (7 plays)
A little bit of a surprise to me. I had this game at work because I thought I'd 3D print a box for it. Some co-workers thought it looked interesting and asked to play. Of course, they like it. They like it more than I do, but I like it enough to indulge them since they indulge me in other games. My issue with the game is that a lot of the game is just having teams that click. If you have that one guy in your group that doesn't think the way you do...

Twilight Struggle (7 plays)
These were all online against friends after the app was released on all platforms. A good game that I maybe "drank from the firehose" on. It still is a good game, just a maybe not in large bursts. Not many other games work so well with the theme, but this one is all about the feeling/tension of the Cold War era.

Automobiles (6 plays)
I don't recall why, but I started playing this with friends online ( yucata.de ) and found it to be more fun than I expected. I'm not sure what it was I expected, but I guess I thought it'd be more like Trains, but with a race car theme. There are a "abilities/cards" that I didn't care for that kind of ruin some matches, but generally speaking, this one is a fun little "bag builder" and race game.

Can't Stop (6 plays)
I have over 900 plays of this online at yucata.de and another PBM friend had never played, so I gave him a quick lesson so that he could say that he's played Can't Stop. This is still my number one favorite push your luck game. It is simple and fast and a masterpiece of a game.

Carcassonne (6 plays)
These plays were all online via the amazing iOS app. Carcassonne boasts one of the best apps of all time, which make playing this a joy - for two players. I just don't enjoy the game with more than two as there is too much downtime and a lack of control. I love almost all of the expansion content as well (maybe not The River, but that doesn't break the game either).

Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries (6 plays)
Ticket to Ride also boasts one of the best online games with a ton of maps. This map got the most attention from me this year. We found it to be a good alternative to Switzerland, which is a fast and furious two-player game (the map plays more, but we like it best head-to-head). I actually enjoy just about all the maps in one form or another, but the newness of this (vs Switzerland, which still has the best music) earned it a number of plays.

7 Wonders Duel (5 plays)
This game has no app (that I know of) so these were actual tabletop games for me (gasp!). My daughter and I like this little game, though it does suffer a little from "hate drafting". If you aren't familiar with the concept, it means that a lot of times you are taking/drafting the card that screws your opponent more than anything. This can make for a frustrating game, though at least the games are quick. If you have the 7 Wonders itch, this is a good quick fix.

Epic Card Game (5 plays)
What? Another tabletop only game? The Epic app should be out in 2018, so I suspect that I'll have a ton of this game played next year. I still enjoy a quick draft and fight with my son. This is Magic, but without any pretense - jump in and duke it out.

Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper (5 plays)
What the what? Still another tabletop only game (I'd love to see this series hit the app scene)! Jack is my favorite of the Mystery Rummy series and we prefer it two-player (though we skip the "Guess the Ripper" part). My love and I play it and I think we are split for wins all time. Another that needs regular playing. I think I'd like to play some others a little more as well, but every time I do, I think - I'd rather be playing Jack the Ripper. I'm not even sure why I like this one better. I think it is because you can hide your hand to try and go out (ala Gin Rummy), but if you get caught, every card that was playable counts against you. Because of this, there is a little bit of push your luck against the other player - you don't know how close they are to a lay down.

Quarriors! Quest of the Qladiator (5 plays)
I forced 5 games of this on my son earlier in the year to figure out whether I should (once again, no less) keep or sell the game. We like the game, but it still isn't a first (or 5th) choice, so back to the chopping block it went. Really, if someone pulled it out and wanted to play, I would - its a fast and fun little bag builder game, but I'd rather play Dice Masters head-to-head I think.

Santorini (5 plays)
I missed the kickstarter (frankly, I didn't even know the game existed until chatter about the shipments started) on this and when I found out about the game, I was a little sad - it reads like exactly my kind of game. So what did I do? I 3D printed a copy! The game is a lot of fun and I liked it exactly as I thought I would - without any special power cards. I need to print a set and try the game again, just to mix it up a little.

Spires (5 plays)
This was a surprise game and perhaps the best new game I played last year. Spires is a card game that is a mashup of Parade and Edel, Stein and Richt. What that means is - you are trying to collect limited amounts of cards - get too many any your pile of points suddenly switches to a giant pile of negative points. The trick is that each round, you and your opponents pick one of the cards from a set of shops. If you are the only player that picked a shop, you get the card. If more than one player picked a shop, all those players bid for the card there. Bidding is simply a choice of a card from your hand. There trick here is that the winning player gets all the cards that were bid in addition to the shop's card. So now, when you don't want anything, you are trying to guess what other players might want so that you can try to hose them. Of course, they are trying to do the same to you as well.

Splendor (5 plays)
This was a mix of online (iOS app) plays and tabletop games with my family. Despite being a gateway game, I really enjoy this game a lot. It is simple to learn (mechanically), but not as simple to grasp the top player tier of playing (at least for me). I think not having fully figured it out is what keeps me coming back to it.

Dimes (at least 10 plays)
Race for the Galaxy (27 plays)
The first of three dimes that were all thanks to a new app being released last year. This is a combination of the base game and expansion plays - all thanks to the app. The app did give me a better appreciation for the game in general, though not enough that I ever want to play this on the tabletop now. The app is well done enough that I have zero desire to mess around with the cards for this game. Sorry Race fans, I still just don't love this game and still don't know why you do either.

Paperback (23 plays)
My introduction to this game was because of the app (and I still have not ever played it on the tabletop and suspect I'm unlikely to). I like word games and the digital realm is perfect for this kind of thing. Word game mashup with deckbuilder? Yes please!

Cthulhu Realms (11 plays)
I am (was - I got a little burnt out) a huge Star Realms fan, so when I tried this game, I liked it - its basically a slightly slimmed down Star Realms, but with a Cthulhu theme. When the app came out, I was super happy to play it - again, Star Realms, but not Star Realms. So I played it a bunch and then the burn out returned. Still a fun game.

Biblios (10 plays)
I'd been hearing about this for years and got it in a math trade last year. It then became a staple and favorite lunch game at my office. We like it with either three or four players and it is quick and easy to play. I can see us playing this quite a bit in the coming year as well.

And that covers it for the list of games I played most often this past year. I know there are a few great games on the horizon for app conversions so I suspect there will be a few new games that will appear in the list and I'm sure we'll see games like Ticket to Ride again next year as well.

Board Game Gumbo: Best Games of 2017, Part One

Board Game Gumbo: Best Games of 2017, Part One

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