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Monthly Archives: December 2013

Top 10 Board Games in 2013

These are the best games i played in 2013. They include releases prior to 2013 but which i only got to play this year for the first time.

Games which i have only been played once i have taken out consideration as i think it’s difficult to assess a game after just a single play. Unfortunately this has taken out games for which i had excellent first impressions such as Suburbia, Coal Baron and Sentinels of the Multiverse. A final thing before i start with the list is that the short comment that accompanies each game is positive. I know there are negatives for all 10 of these games but i’d rather just mention the positive stuff today.

Let’s go!

1

Hanabi (32 plays)

There was never any question that Hanabi would be my game of the year. Simple enough that i can teach it to anyone in 5 minutes but still manages to tease the brain just enough. It’s the only cooperative game i never have trouble getting to the table and above all it generates so much table talk after each play.

2

Stronghold (2 plays)

Unfortunately, although i love 2 player games,  i don’t get to play many nowadays. One of the few i did play for the first time in 2013 was Stronghold. This is an asymmetric euro/war game where 1 player takes the side of the invader (Orcs/Goblins/Trolls) and the 2nd player is the defender (humans) of the Stronghold. You use cubes to depict your units but there is so much theme in this game it’s incredible. Fantastic game. (not owned)

3

Space Cadets: Dice Duel (3 plays)

Played this for the first time at Essen and won me over immediately. A team based game with a maximum of 8 players split into 2 teams. It’s also real time i.e. there are no turns. Everyone plays at the same time. There’s so much tension and  it’s incredible that your heart is beating so fast while playing a board game. It generates so many emotions. Anger, frustration, joy, laughter, camaraderie. I love this game for this reason.

4

Trajan (3 plays)

Out of the 10 games on this list this is the only game that i consider a solitaire game. That is, a game with limited interaction where the focus of all players is mostly on their individual boards. However, the mancala mechanism located on these boards is such a wonderful brain burning puzzle. A beautiful sensation when you manage to pull of a few combination of actions.

5

Neue Heimat (5 plays)

An auction game that comes in a shoe box. Players bid against each other to build a small town and with components so easy on the eye. Yet, it’s probably the most vicious new game i’ve played this year. I love the bidding. the simplicity of the rules but also the physicality that is offered with the components. A great game to play, watch and touch.

6

Keyflower (3 plays)

Keyflower combines a few mechanics together that i really like. Auctions, tile placing and worker placements. If it wasn’t for Trajan’s mancala mechanism this would have been my favourite new medium/heavy euro of the year. (not owned)

7

City of Remnants (6 plays) 

Dudes on the map games are rare with my people. Most of them prefer cubes! However, i did manage to play CoR quite a few times considering that it takes around 3 hours. In this game you can create your gang with a lot of flexibility. Each gang starts off with different advantages but you can still mold them as you play. It has given me some long and excellent gaming nights.

8

Firenze (2 plays)

Andrea Steding is the designer of Hansa Teutonica. He is also the designer of Firenze, FivePoints: Gangs of New York (below) and is one of my favourite game designers. His games have clean, straightforward rules but provide a lot of depth and demand replayability. Firenze is one of his lighter games but it’s such a joy to play. Building towers, using cards to sabotage other players and placing those bricks! Those beautiful, colourful brick towers..

9

Love Letter (10 plays)

Many gamers are commenting that this is the year of the micro-game. Love Letter is such a game. With just 16 cards is definitely one of the best filler games of the year.

10

Five Points: Gangs of New York (2 plays)

Another Andrea Steding game and another Essen purchase but this time an area control game with a few twists. A game that plays well with 3 to 5 players, incredibly replayable, fun and mean. It’s a game that generates a lot of interaction between players and usually that’s what i’m looking for when playing games.

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2013 in Board games

 

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Books in 2013

It’s been a weird year for me. Although i can’t explain why, books have taken a back seat this year. I mostly concentrated on magazine articles, blogs and also board games rules. I read in total 23 books compared to the 26 of 2012.  It’s definitely been the year of the non-fiction which has totally dominated my reading in terms of quality and number of pages read. 2013 has also seen the return of the comic book and the graphic novel in my reading. Finally most of my fiction books are what you would categorize as Young Adult… Like i said, a weird year.

Must Read

rise-and-fall-of-the-third-reich-anniversary-editionAll the Shah's MenThinking,_Fast_and_SlowThe Photographer

Unsurprisingly all my must reads are non-fiction. Let’s start with the giant.

  • The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, by William Shirer – The book of 1,266 pages had taken me 8 months to read. From February to August. It’s brilliantly written and captivating to read. Definitely a book to remember for a long, long time. I’m not too keen on this kind of lengthy books but this is one to seriously consider.
  • All The Shah’s Men, by Stephen Kinzer – This is a re-read and it’s as good as i remember. If you want to read about the roots of how the United States has become the Satan in the eyes of Iranians you can start here.

Highly Recommended

Non-Fiction

Deep Sea and Foreigh Going

  • Deep Sea and Foreign Going: Inside Shipping, The Invisible Industry Which Brings You 90% of Everything, by Rose George

Fiction

Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold FryThe Windup GirlThe Age of MiraclesThe Rosie ProjectJute's Charmed LifeRetribution FallsKafka on the Shore

  • The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce
  • The Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi
  • The Age of Miracles, by Karen Thomson Thomas
  • The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion
  • Jute’s Charmed Life, by Garret Alley
  • Retribution Falls, by Chris Wooding
  • Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami

Comic Books

Locke & Key 3Locke & Key 4Persepolis 1Persepolis 2

  • Locke & Key: Crown of Shadows, by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez
  • Locke & Key: Keys to the Kingdom
  • Persepolis, by Mariane Satrapi
  • Persepolis 2

Recommended

  • Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes
  • The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
  • Irrationality, by Stuart Sutherland
  • Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba & Then Lost it to the Revolution, by T.J English
  • The Reason I Jump, by Naoki Higashida
  • Room, by Emma Donaghue

Avoid

  • Jesus’ Son: Stories, by Denis Johnson
 
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Posted by on December 26, 2013 in Books

 

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Movie of the week – Drinking Buddies

Sometimes a movie without been exceptional, just hits all the right spots.

Weekend trips, office parties, late night conversations, drinking on the job, marriage pressure, biological clocks, holding eye contact a second too long… you know what makes the line between “friends” and “more than friends” really blurry? Beer.

Drinking Buddies

 
 

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