Sunday, January 01, 2006

2005: My Year of Boardgaming, Part II - The Best Games

In a previous post I mentioned that we have a very tight rotation of games. Most of the games that "click" with us will get a lot of repeat play, and those that fail to make a good first and/or second impression likely will not see the table again in a good long while. In 2005, I acquired many games based on their chances of breaking into the rotation. I whiffed with some (Through the Desert, Santiago, Mexica, La Citta - I like them all, but my group likes them less) but others outperformed expectations.

Here are our Top 10 Games Played in 2005. All these games, save for #3, made it to our dime list.

10. Euphrat & Tigris

Much as I'd like to play this a lot more, some of our group just get paralyzed on E&T. I realyl have no idea why. In specific combinations of players, we can polish off a 4P game in an 75 minutes, which is pretty good.

9. Samurai

Got play despite its arrival pretty late in the year. Speed and elegance. Games are over in under an hour. Will continue to see time in 2006.

8. Taj Mahal
7. Modern Art
6. RA

Three rotation staples. Taj gets less play than the two auction games due to length, but overall I don't see them leaving the list anytime soon. RA was finally reprinted so I have an uberplay edition to supplement the lone alea edition we have for play.

5. Clash of the Gladiators

Purchased on a whim, due to the Knizia/HiG pairing and the theme. Turned out to be a huge hit, and hit the dime list in under two months. I think the heavy play will want eventually, but it should be a rotation staple for years to come.

4. Traumfabrik

T-fab surpassed my lofty expectations, becoming more popular than RA and Modern Art just because of the Hollywood theme. It's also surprised me with its mechanisms - I wasn't expecting much due to comments read, but it's a lot more intricate than I was led to believe. It's at least as interesting as RA and Modern Art. I consider this US$70 well spent, as the 2006 reprint does not look promising. This was my best purchase of the year.

3. Die Macher

Follow the story here and here. We have played Die Macher every game night since it got here, which is 5 times. Not unexpected, despite Macher's 4 hour playing time. I've managed to come in last or next to last every single time, which is a sign of a very good game. ;)

2. Puerto Rico

If I did this list for the past three years, PR would have come up as #1 every year. It slips to #2 this year, which is still nothing to sneeze at. I chafe at the 5P game that the rest of the group loves, but still would play 4P in a heart beat. This must have contributed to the rise of our new #1.

1. The Princes of Florence

I finally got some of the people in my gaming group to say that Princes is better than Puerto Rico. Well, of course it is, a lot of people just haven't realized it yet. We usually play with 5 or 4, and Princes plays with 5 in half the time (or less) than our 5P PR games last. So it gets the nod, having even served as "the appetizer" for our last Die Macher game. Isn't that amazing? Princes is still the best Euro ever made.

(No, it's not lost on me that 7 of our top 10 are Knizia games. However, none of the top 3 are by Reiner. Interesting. Just missing the list were Amun-Re, Goa, Power Grid and Java.)

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