Things of No Interest: Cult of the Not So New - February 2009

Things of No Interest: Cult of the Not So New - February 2009

Here we are in February 2019! Time to look back at the hotness from 10 years ago! 

BGG user JonMichael Rasmus (jmsr525) has been doing analysis of the games and their trends each month for what seems like forever. I like looking back, because frankly, there are lots of good games that didn't come out in the last two years, and lots of games you probably heard of that don't get played (for good reason). So sit back and enjoy this blast from the past. Based on information in the geeklist - BGG Top 100 Analysis February 2009

Prime Movers

  • Space Alert: +14 to #83. Space Alert is a cooperative team survival game. Players become crew members of a small spaceship scanning dangerous sectors of the galaxy. The missions last just 10 real-time minutes (the missions came on a CD, which required you to have a CD player). When this was released, everyone wasn't running around with a smart phone and bluetooth speakers - so a CD was a reasonable way to release the soundtrack. At the time, it did something new and interesting (and was a short co-op where you played in a panic) and how the heck is this still sitting at #168? I assume you can download the soundtrack now, but still...

Falling Stars

Well, technically there were no falling stars, but Mr. Jack fell 6 spots to #76 (a "falling star" was something that dropped more than ten spots). Mr. Jack is two-player game where one player is secretly moving Jack the Ripper and the other player is trying to catch the first player (think of it like a two-player Scotland Yard). A decent little two-player that has an expansion and a variant or two. The original currently sits at #447. If you want to give it a whirl, you can even try it online -

Hot Lava Birth

  • Cosmic Encounter - this oldie but a goodie (seriously, this was I think the 4th or 5th edition of the game) was redone by FFG in late 2008, so received a resurgence and push into the Top 100 at #89 (currently #113). CE is one of those love it or hate it negotiation games where each player takes on the role of a faction (each having their own rule breaking power) that wants to take over the galaxy. FFG saw the potential of a game with a built in fan base and a good amount of expansion potential and ran with it.
  • RoboRally - I have no explanation for why this game from 1994 might have jumped into the top 100 (at #98, currently sitting at #366). If you have never played it (and it was redone in 2016) then you are missing out on one of the few "programming" games out there. The game setup is simple - put out a number of boards representing a factory. Program a handful of moves into your robot, then everyone executes the moves. Of course, you are trying your best to both foil the other player's plans while trying not to have yours screwed up. Its chaotic and some people love it. Others really hate the chaos and having their plans screwed up after their first planned move. I think it was too long for what it is and it has a little bit of a Mario Kart problem - if you can pull away from the group, you have the best shot at winning. Get knocked around a little and stuck in the pack and you are hosed for most of the game. Honestly, it defeats the purpose of the game if you get away with pulling off your moves every single round (leader) and its frustrating when you can't do anything. So, the chaos is fun for a bit, then I'm not sure where the entertainment is in this game.

Top Ten Trends

I like the top ten trends. Some of the PBM folks were talking about the #1 spots earlier and I had a fair idea of a number of them just because of this particular topic.

  • Through the Ages (+1 #7) - TtA kept on with its steady rise (though it never held the #1 spot). I've mentioned it many a time in the past - I was a huge fan of this for a long time, but after a number of games, it fell out of favor with me due to a couple of (IMO) serious issues. For a longer game, bash the loser sucks, especially with no way to recover once it starts. If you enjoy this, great, have a good time.
  • Swapping places with TtA in the top 10 was the super classic area control game - El Grande. El Grande has fallen outside the top 50 (currently #57), but is still a phenomenal game that everyone should play at some point (if you are a euro-gamer). 

Top 5 Winning Movers

These are the highest ranked games that have shown any positive position movement in the last month that aren't in the top 10. I especially like this portion of the article, because typically games that showed some kind of movement upwards in the top 100 were (and often still are) good games.

  • Command and Colors: Ancients - this was about the 5th iteration of Borg's C&C system and is one of the best. I don't have any particular love for this setting, but as a "light" wargame, the system is really well done. Well done enough to have at least 5 expansions. If you have not ever played any of the C&C games, don't let your attention wander to the variations that have minis - the blocks work really well here (the biggest drawback of this game is actually sticking the damn blocks).
  • Die Macher - game number 1 in the BGG database! Who wants to play a game about elections in Germany? Well, besides being a crazy brain burner, it is an amazing game. The theme sounds dry as toast, but it works perfectly (and what you do makes sense, despite being a dry-euro-cube-pusher). All euro-gamers should play this at least once. Even if you only try the "short" version.
  • Goa - I have never tried this game. It came out a few years before I got into boardgames again and by the time I arrived on the scene, the local group had pretty well played this out. As most newbies soon learn, there are so many games out there you don't know what you are missing (if anything). I've been told this is best with people of similar experience, so someday I'll need to find a copy and a group that has never tried it (or they need to release an app of the game).
  • Le Havre - Some find this game a little dry (it is), but I think this is one of Ewe's better games. It takes a few plays to get a handle on the flow and the main buildings that will come out, but after those few plays, this is a beast of a mid-weight engine building euro. I'd rather play Ora et Labora or Caverna to get my Ewe fix, but this is definitely in the mix.
  • Battlestar Galactica - oh BSG... This is one of the more popular co-op/traitor games, but its length and my lack of desire to play this kind of game has always kept me away. Love the source material, but not enough that I want to play it. I'd rather play One Night Werewolf for a quick fix of the traitor genre, and Eldritch Horror is one of the few co-ops I'd actively try to play, so this just isn't my cup of tea. That said, she still sits in the top 100 at #64
And that's all for this look back at BGG history and what was hot a decade ago.

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