Saturday, April 13, 2013

Tabletop Day and beyond!

A couple of weeks ago, on Saturday, March 30, I celebrated the first International Tabletop Day. Tabletop is Wil Wheaton's YouTube show in which he films himself and friends playing different board games and explaining them to the viewer. The series does a great job of introducing new games to viewers, particularly people new to the world of these kinds of games, and it's a great way to learn how a game works. As part of the promotion for the day, they encouraged gamers to organize events for playing games and to go to their FLGS (internet speak for "Friendly Local Game Store") to get some of the promos that they had available. We went to a couple of local stores and managed to get some great swag, including a brand new copy of The Resistance!

We played five games that day, including three rounds of the cooperative game Pandemic: On The Brink, since my wife refused to quit playing until we won. (The final result of the winning game is included below.) That day of gaming brought my plays for March up to 19, which is the minimum I'd like to play each month, but more than that, it brought me back into the groove of gaming, which is why I thought this would be a great chance to recap my first quarter of board gaming.

7 Wonders and Pandemic continued to be my two top-played games in the first quarter of the year, as I recently acquired the expansions for both and they continue to be two of my wife's favourite games. I played four games for the first time - At the Gates of Loyang, Eclipse, Egizia, and Lords of Waterdeep - and I enjoyed them all. Only one of those - Loyang - was on my list to play this year, leaving me with nineteen to go on that list from December. (Maybe I should look at editing that list down a bit - perhaps a top ten to play would be better; more on that later.)

In terms of adding to my collection, I added four games from January to March: The Resistance (a social deduction game for 5-10 players); Barons (an area-control card game which I have yet to try); At the Gates of Loyang (the third part of Uwe Rosenberg's Harvest Trilogy, along with Agricola and Le Havre, which plays particularly well as a solo game); and Egizia (a worker placement game based in Ancient Egypt). It might seem like four is a lot, but I have actually slowed down my pace from last year. In fact, one of the things I have realized is that I need to get rid of some games, since I own some games that I know I will never really play. Addition by subtraction. I have a couple of games on my radar for picking up on Kickstarter, but those will not come in until the fall, so for now, I might just try to sell games to refine my collection and fill in a couple of the existing gaps.

Most of my collecting efforts have gone into finding the many Carcassonne expansions I did not yet own before they went permanently out-of-print - an imminent threat given the unknown status of some of the smaller expansions with the switchover of the distribution of the game in North America from Rio Grande Games to Z-Man Games. I added two big expansions - The Tower and the gimmicky-but-great-for-kids The Catapult - as well as the six new mini-expansions and most of the other existing mini-expansions (The River II, Cult Siege and Creativity, and the Games Quarterly mini-expansion from 2006). I'm at the point now at which the other expansions I don't have are fairly rare, as many of them are micro-expansions that were released at specific conferences mostly in Germany and go for exorbitant amounts on eBay. If I ever found them for a good price, I'd buy them, but it's not worth it to pay $25 for two tiles. (Trust me, they go for that much.) I took a bit of time to organize all of my current expansions in a Plano 3700, and I'm pleased with the result. Now I just hope that this helps me play the game more often!

So what am I looking forward to in the next few months of gaming? There are always games I want to try , and there are a couple of interesting games being released soon that I might even buy, such as Forbidden Desert, the sequel to Forbidden Island and Alien Artifacts, the new expansion for Race for the Galaxy that reboots the game - but that might change when the Spiel de Jahres nominations are released near the end of May. Mostly, I just want to play the games that my group already owns and has tried. Some of those are short games that I want to play more to really appreciate the nuances therein (Citadels, Glory To Rome, Innovation, Race for the Galaxy); some are medium-length games that we enjoy and can play with better strategy (Alhambra, Lords of Waterdeep), and some are the longer games that we have barely begun to learn (Caylus, Eclipse, Egizia, El Grande, Le Havre, The Princes of Florence, Power Grid, and Puerto Rico). So that's my goal: play more of the games I already own and enjoy. Seems like a good idea, right?

And, for good measure, here is my list of games I want to try by the end of the year, which I was able to edit down to fifteen from twenty before (excluding Barons, which I will play soon). The games are: Android: Netrunner; The Castles of Burgundy; Core Worlds; Eminent Domain; Flash Point: Fire Rescue; For Sale; Fresco; Jump Gate; Ora et Labora; Stone Age; Through The Ages; Tigris & Euphrates; Twilight Struggle; Village; and Zooloretto. So let me know if you're in the area and you want a game to hit the table - I'm in!

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