Board games – Top 5 of 2018

It’s been a solid year as far the quality of new-to-me games. I made a considerable effort to avoid being introduced to too many new-to-me games this past year and maybe that has had an effect.

This year i didn’t do a top 10 because to be honest i didn’t play that many great games and this has reinforced my belief and intend to play more of the games i already know i enjoy. There are so many of those already.

Without further ado here are my top 5 games of 2018.

1. Sidereal Confluence & The Mind: Two very different games but they have both been a breath of fresh air. Sidereal has finally given me a negotiation game i can love while The Mind’s ability to provide entertainment at any time and with any group is remarkable.
3. Gloomhaven: The best dungeon crawler I’ve played. The card scenarios I’ve seen so far look a bit samey (kill all enemies) but i enjoy the card play and appreciate the built-in timer with the exhaustion mechanism.
4. Quartermaster General: 1914 Needing 5 instead of 6 players means it’s easier to get to the table than the original version. I’m also a big fan of the WWI setting which helps. The best team vs team game I’ve played this year.
5. Fog of Love A game that constantly surprised me after each session. Started as a fun role playing game for me and evolved into something very different. A game with more meat and less role playing? Probably. The best new to me 2 player game.


Kakerlakenpoker Royal  Much better in practice than on paper. The ShutUp-Sitdown recommendation was spot on.
– Azul Easy to teach, great components, has enough depth and is liked by everyone at the table. Very solid abstract.
– Menara Only played it a few times at a single gathering. Really liked what i saw though.
– Assault on Doomrock Too long and too difficult? Maybe, but i still like it.
– Shadowrift I love the Town mechanism. Solid co-op deckbuilder.

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Posted by on January 15, 2019 in Board games



Thank you posts

During Christmas there was an article in the Financial Times encouraging us to write thank you notes.  In the author’s household the rule is “you cannot unwrap the next present until you have written a thank-you note for the last one“.

I am modifying the idea in order to help me be more thoughtful with what i buy, read and play. The rule is, i can’t give up a book/game* and start another unless i write a thank you note first.

This will also help on another matter, which is articulating what i like and don’t like about a specific book/game*.

The first thank you is to Gone Home.

* game => board games & video games


Thank you Gone Home

On Sunday i played Gone Home (PC) which i had in my Steam Library for some time. It had a very moving and immersive story.  Even though it only lasted 2 hours i think it will stay with me. Based on the achievements i can see that i missed journal entries (i also failed to open something) but i don’t want to go back now just for that. This is what i did with Her Story and it sort of ruined the experience for me. Maybe in a year or two and i will go through the whole thing again.

Thank you Gone Home!

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Posted by on January 7, 2019 in Video games


Board games – December highlights


On December 20th we held our annual Christmas Party. This year, for the first time, we organised a raffle and all proceeds (€220) were donated to the Sophia Foundation for Children. I was really pleased with both the size of the donation and the interest shown by everyone. We have also just gone through the 4 Games of Christmas and there was increased participation after each game.

It had been a difficult and frustrating year for the group to be honest but in the last couple of months things have improved. The early signs for 2019 also look very promising as people are showing greater interest in the administration and organisational side in the group.


Skies Above the Reich – Indifferent

Ever since reading Tom Chick’s review of the game this has been my most wanted solo game and I purchased it during the annual GMT sale. I am disappointed though. GMT solo games always have a habit of understating their weight. I am constantly looking up charts to see what the die roll outcomes represent. Compared to other GMT games this might be relatively light but for me this might prove too much.

I intend to give a lot more chances but first impressions have proved disappointing.

Cockroach Poker – Suggest

This was probably the best new to me game this month. A very simple bluffing game which can lead to both tense and laughing out loud situations. It has surprised me because on paper this did not really speak to me but i got it because Shut Up and Sit Down strongly recommended it.

Decrypto – Suggest/Indifferent

I played this 3 times. The first time the game (3v3) was hugely enjoyable but went incredibly long (2hrs or so). The second time (4V3) was a mixture of strangers and friends. We used a timer that time and the game ended under an hour which was better while still being enjoyable.

The third time (2v2) was disappointing. I am not sure whether it was the number of players or the group. Too competitive and having only one person interpreting your code proved to be a lot more random? Not sure

It definitely needs to  be played under an hour in my book so a timer is a must for this game.

Ilussion – Indifferent

I played this with the family and they liked it. Not something i would ever suggest but i will keep it around because it’s the sort of game they want to play.

Feudum – Avoid

1.5hrs of rules explanation….. Seriously. It looks a decent enough game but definitely not something i would want to play for 3 hours considering how many rules there are in the game. I should have never agreed to try it in the first place.


Gloomhaven – Enthousiastic

My friend, thankfully, pushed to get this back to the table and continue our campaign. Such a good dungeon crawler. 2 things i absolutely love are (1) the card play which is a lot more satisfying than any dice rolling and (2)  the exhaustion mechanic which acts as a timer for the game. Helps keep each session to a reasonable and still enjoyable length. Very good game.

The Big Book of Madness – Enthousiastic

I rate this one an 8 but my appreciation for it is higher than that. I’ve never played it with 4-5 but i suspect the sweet number is 3 which is how i played the last 2 times. One of my favourite co-op games due to the high player interaction. It’s short enough where playing back to back games is very doable. Love it!

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Posted by on January 7, 2019 in Board games


Board games – 4th Quarter 2018 review

Total plays: 108

Distinct games: 36

New-to-me games: 10

Assault on Doomrock, Blue Lagoon, Cockroach Poker Royal, FF: Fortress, Feudum, Illusion, Menara, Power Grid: Factory Manager, Sidereal Confluence, Twilight Imperium.

Ten+ times: 1

The Mind

Five+ times: 5

Spirit Island, Skies Above the Reich, Assault on Doomrock, Cockroach Poker Royal, The Big Book of Madness

Decrypto, Arkham Horror: LCG, Sol: Last Days of a Star, Habitats, Zendo and Push it.

A lot!

Owned: N/A

Unplayed: 26

Best New to me:

Sidereal Confluence and Cockroach Poker Royal.

Although i enjoyed some of the other games too, i’d like to play them some more before deciding how good they are.

New 10s: n/a

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Posted by on January 1, 2019 in Board games


Board game resolutions 2019

These are the resolutions that will guide me through board gaming year 2019.

  • Will not buy new games until I’ve played all of the ones i already own. I don’t kid myself. I am unlikely to enforce this 100% but the aim is to get my unplayed board games number down to less than 10 by the end of the year. This number is currently 26.
  • Will not sell a game until I’ve played it at least once. The collection is at a size where it’s no longer the burden it was in 2018 so i can take more time making sure that the games i’m selling do not interest me before selling them.
  • Rotate my board game groups more regularly to play with other people too. I have 2 regular groups which meet on Mondays and Wednesdays. I don’t want to increase the number of days where board games take up my evening so 1-2 times a month i will skip those nights in order to make time for others.
  • Reduce collection to 100 games. According to my BGG collection, which might be inaccurate, i am currently at 157.
  • Spend more time and effort articulating why i like and/or don’t like the games i play. Ideally this would be done together with my board game buddies.
  • Improve my teaching of board games. This past year I’ve felt demotivated and unwilling to teach games to people and it showed.  I did not like it. I used to pride myself about the care i took when teaching board games.
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Posted by on December 31, 2018 in Board games


Board games – November highlights


We held our ALL DAY Board games event this month and it was broadly a success. For the 2nd time during an all day event there was a tournament, this time of Hanamikoji. It’s a wonderful game.

There were a few new people attending as well which was nice. I think we could have had a few more people coming though.  Overall, i think it was a success so i can’t complain and I was very happy to play games with a few people i hadn’t played for long time.


Twilight Imperium – Indifferent

One of the most well known hobbyists’ games. It’s ok. The actual gameplay is more robust than expected. I only played it once of course so take my opinion with a grain of salt. My main problem with the game is that everything revolves around combat. It wants you fight or at least build fleets. I prefer trading, having technologies etc. This is not it.

FF: Fortress – Indifferent/TBD

We played a few rounds and i was quite disappointed with it. I also found it a bit difficult to understand how to play without reading a rulebook. Will try it again probably but too discouraged to bring it to the table soon.

Factory Manager – Indifferent

Even though i respect Power Grid’s design nowadays i avoid playing it. It’s too mathy for me and these are no longer games i enjoy playing. FM has similarities at its core with PG but is a lot faster, more streamlined and less mathy. Solid game.

Blue Lagoon – Indifferent/TBD

The gameplay is true Knizia. You can do 1-2 things on your turn and that’s it. A lot of player interaction with some meanness. These are things that i like. However, what i’m not sure about is the scoring. There are too many ways to score points which reminds me less of Knizia than Feld.


This continued from the previous month. Lots of games out. Even games such as Eldritch Horror which i played a lot (34 times) but i’m now tired of its length and with some of the design issues it has (i.e. action phase).

A few more board game purchases in the month of November than i would liked but it’s difficult to control the urge when i’m so involved in a hobby.

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Posted by on December 4, 2018 in Board games