I'm Saddened... (Board Games)


North Star Games did a keynote speech at an unpub.


This is a bigger news about a larger issue of counterfeit merch on Amazon, but it’s affecting board games enough that Rio Grande is going to court.


I guess this is the board game news thread. Betrayal at House on the Hill is getting the Legacy treatment.



Met up with Chris and Anthony for a game night at Geoff Engelstein’s house last night. Good mix of games, with an interesting wrinkle: a few mid-weight strategy games that felt genuinely best with 3, not 4. Those were Pulsar 2849 and The Sanctuary.

Rescue Polar Bears was a neat co-op that felt like speed Pandemic with cute components, but not something I feel the need to replay. I wouldn’t pass it up if it was set up for me though.

Istanbul the Dice Game felt great just b/c the ratio of how much there was going on vs turn speed felt very tight. It’s hard to go AP on this one, but it doesn’t feel baby-mode easy, even if I did run away with it due to a few lucky rolls in early turns, which set me up with permanent bonuses right from the start.

Last game was Steamrollers, which nailed the execution of a tight little dice-driven train game. I’ve played my fair share of crappy light train games (Days of Steam, Railroad Dice), but this one was very good.


The new Civ game… I fear I might end up liking it a lot. I need another play to be sure.


Everyone is doing their top 10s now that we have a week left in 2017, how about “best new to me board games in 2017”? I can definitely do that.

10. Fast Forward: FLEE - easily my favorite of the Fast Forward games. A bit ‘expendable’ like the escape room games, but an incredible use of pacing and surprise in a teamwork-based puzzle.

9. Jump Drive - came out in January and everyone’s going to forget about it, but it’s such a bite-size little engine game. Scramble to cobble together a tiny economic snowball over ~7 rounds.

8. Small City (2012) - finally got a copy from a BGG auction lot, and I’m very fond of it. Take some ideas from Antiquity, but iterate on them in a unique way. And it’s SimCity.

7. Finished! - second Friedemann game on the list, and it’s a solo game. The theme seems perfunctory at first, but it creates a flow state remarkably similar to coding once you understand the breadth of what the game is asking of you.

6. Wind the Film (2016) - uses the Bohnanza mechanism even better than Bohnanza: The Duel, and looks gorgeous, too.

5. Sidereal Confluence - I wasn’t sure at first, but I love this and could grow to love it even more. I love trading, easily my favorite form of direct player interaction.

4. Bus (1999) - first new-to-me Splotter in 2017. I would LOVE to have a copy of this, it is exceedingly simple, clever, and the board is wonderful. Aesthetics are subjective, but I CANNOT BELIEVE anyone talks shit about that board art.

3. Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 - you already know this is good. We just finished December and yeah, it’s good.

2. Indonesia (2005) - second new-to-me Splotter, only this one actually got a reprint so I DO have a copy. Don’t care about the component problems in the reprint. Mergers are such a fun tool to use to interact with the board and the other players.

1. Spirit Island - I love Spirit Island. Mage Knight is one of my favorite games ever… Spirit Island isn’t like Mage Knight at all, but planning your turn FEELS like assaulting a city in Mage Knight. And everyone gets blowout turns like Shadowrun: Crossfire. It’s great.


A 2017 reward show that does not stink.


I still want to try playing this with teams. No rules changes: just two humans per board.


Dan King mentioned Codenames: Duet, which got close to being in my list. And The 7th Continent, which I am looking forward to actually playing.

That seems like a possible variant if you have 4-5 teams of 2. The difficult part would probably be coordinating with your partner.


I don’t understand what advantage there would be to having a second brain help you play sidereal confluence.


No advantage, really. But it would work better than most games, like having a model UN with two delegates from each nation.


If I had a partner, I’d split “what do we need” from “let’s make a deal” to ensure engine AND trading optimization.


I didn’t really have any trouble optimizing both on my own. You assholes just didn’t want to trade for shit.


All the garbage you were trying to offer us for our jungle planets was just that: garbage.


I didn’t have anything else.




Now now, kids. Who wants this amazing grey cube? You can use it for ANYTHING! Step right up!



At dinner last night, Rym brought up the idea that “a game that gets more than 6 plays is a legendary game.” That got me wondering about how many games I own that would qualify as “legendary,” a question I can actually answer since I’ve been tracking my plays since 2012.

Looking at the data, making a list of games I have played 6+ times would be incredibly long, boring, and overfull with games that are very short. I changed the question to “games that I have played for 6+ hours, or 6+ times, whichever number is larger.” From there, I limited the list to games that I have continued to play multiple times over at least two years, to cut out games that got played a lot in one short burst.

Finally I cut out games that I primarily play solo, which only affects Mage Knight.

Everything on this list is something I’ll happily play today. With that introduction, I present my list of legendary games, with a total play count in parentheses:

  • Race for the Galaxy (82 face to face, hundreds digitally)
  • Innovation (61)
  • Roll for the Galaxy (57)
  • Carcassonne (33)
  • Ticket to Ride (26)
  • Factory Fun (23)
  • Fabled Fruit (22)
  • 6 Nimmt! (17)
  • Saint Petersburg (17)
  • Favor of the Pharaoh (17)
  • Bohnanza (16)
  • 1846 (15)
  • Tigris & Euphrates (15)
  • Quartermaster General (15)
  • Cosmic Encounter (14)
  • The Settlers of Catan (13)
  • Food Chain Magnate (11)
  • Phoenicia (11)
  • Schnäppchen Jagd (11)
  • Viticulture (11)
  • Baseball Highlights 2045 (11)
  • Fast Food Franchise (10)
  • Russian Railroads (9)
  • The Voyages of Marco Polo (9)
  • Glass Road (9)

If you look at designers, there are two clear winners. Uwe Rosenberg made the list three times (Bohnanza, Schnäppchen Jagd, Glass Road) and Tom Lehmann designed five of these games (Race for the Galaxy, Favor of the Pharaoh, 1846, Phoenicia, Fast Food Franchise) and contributed to two more (Roll for the Galaxy, Saint Petersburg).


I like the idea, but I think 6+ times or 6+ hours is too small a number. One of my friends has a rule that he doesn’t buy an expansion to a game until or unless he’s played it at least 10 times. I would think that a “legendary” game would be one that you play at least 10 to 15 times.