Episode 13 – Holidays 2019

In our latest episode we talk about the games we played and then discuss our plans for the holidays, followed by a roundup of the year.

If you want to join in, below are the annual round-up questions we asked each other. It would be great if you shared your answers in the comments.

Annual round-up questions for 2019:

  • Best game
  • Biggest surprise
  • Biggest disappointment
  • New trends
  • Most underrated title
  • Best small box game
  • Best medium-sized box game
  • Best big box game
  • Best theme
  • Best mechanism
  • Best components
  • Most innovative
  • Game on your shelf you’ve not played in the longest time
  • Game that got better the more you played it
  • Game you wished you’d backed on Kickstarter
  • Your Top 5 Games of 2019

Music: Black Moons by The 126er on YouTube

Games List

2 Replies to “Episode 13 – Holidays 2019”

  1. RogerBW

    My wife and I don’t have family living close, and we’ve invented many of our own traditions: Christmas lunch in the pub beforehand (she doesn’t like turkey, but I do, so I get to eat it without her having to cook it); doing the King William’s College Quiz; and of course Boxing Day Boardgames, for a few nearby friends who are similarly not encumbered by family.

    Bearing in mind that I buy most games when I decide I want them, it’s very hard to get gaming presents for me. (Though I’m looking for some good boardgame-related t-shirts…)

    I hadn’t even heard of Sorcerer, and I’m getting updates on most of White Wizard’s new stuff because of the big Star Realms Kickstarter last year.

    As for your questions…

    Best game

    I think the game I’ve had most fun playing this year is V-Commandos, both on-line and face to face. For me it hits the sweet spot of puzzly cooperative play with plenty going on. I picked it up at Essen 2018 but most of my plays have been this year.

    Biggest surprise

    Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn. I started getting into this when it got cheap after PHG announced they were stopping production, and as two-player magician duelling games go… I really like it. (I hated Magic, but this design seems like Vega saying “I know what’s wrong with Magic, and I’m going to fix it”.)

    Biggest disappointment

    The non-arrival of Rallyman GT, Project L and D-Day Dice – all of which should have been here by now.

    If you want me to make it more specific, and name a game I expected to like but didn’t… Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: A Board Game of English Magic, which was utterly dreary. It’s not that it didn’t catch the flavour of the novel, it’s that it didn’t catch any flavour of anything at all.

    New trends

    I felt that this was a year of retrenching in big releases rather than doing anything especially innovative. For me Roll & Write was getting big last year (Welcome To and Railroad Ink were both out at Essen), and this year the slower publishers were cashing in on it, but there wasn’t anything utterly amazing. I suppose I’d have to say “video game tie-ins” as I saw a lot more of those this year than before. Also expandalones, so that you can satisfy both the “buy a random box off the shelf” customers and the “combine to make a huge game” ones.

    Most underrated title

    There’s nothing this year that I latched onto with a feeling that this was the Best Thing Ever. Mental Blocks maybe? I’m certainly surprised not to see imitators.

    Best small box game

    Letter Jam. Played it once, bought it immediately.

    Best medium-sized box game

    Tricky, but I think I’ll pick Bloom Town. City-building is a standard thing in games and a lot of the time I’ll play Between Two Cities instead, but there are bits in here I like a lot.

    Best big box game

    It’s going to be Ashes again, new to me if not new to the world of games. But also because it’s the only big-box game I’ve acquired this year. (See above re non-arriving Kickstarters.)

    Best theme

    Not a very themey year for me, though new-to-me Coldwater Crown does an excellent job of making fishing interesting.

    Best mechanism

    Among Thieves is “Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma: The Card Game”. But I’ll go for new-to-me Tobago with its clues and deduction.

    Best components

    The cards and poker chips in Letter Jam.

    Most innovative

    Odyseja, which is basically a set of pattern-matching tiles. But that’s out of what felt to me like a really weak field this year.

    Game on your shelf you’ve not played in the longest time

    The Stars Are Right, a sort of programming-ish game where you rearrange the stars to summon Cthulhoid beasties. Great fun but I haven’t played it in too long.

    Game that got better the more you played it

    In the last couple of weeks I’ve been scrabbling at my 10×10 for the year, and I’ve really enjoyed having a concerted go at The Networks. Runner up, for the same reason, Sagrada.

    Game you wished you’d backed on Kickstarter

    V-Commandos – I have almost all of it now, but some of it is still eluding me…

    Your Top 5 Games of 2019

    Of games I’ve acquired this year:

    Bloom Town
    Aeon’s End the New Age
    Letter Jam

    Of all time:

    Flash Point
    The Resistance
    Leaving Earth

    • Oliver

      Thank you for sharing, Roger. It’s always great to see what others think. You’re probably right about roll-and-writes. It started last year, but a lot of other publishers jumped on the bandwagon this year. Thank you also for sharing your top 5 – or rather your two top 5. It’s also great to hear that you are working on a 10×10 challenge. So thank you for listening to our podcast and sharing your thoughts. We hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s.

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