I’ve acquired a ridiculous number of boardgames lately—eight of them in the past three weeks. (I bought 11 boardgames in all of last year, and most of those were near the end of the year.) Which I’m calling ridiculous partly because I’ve run out of space on my boardgames bookcase, but mostly because I’m unlikely to see any humans in person for at least the next three weeks, so I won’t get to play some of them for a while.
A quick list of game acquisitions so far this year:
- A bidding game themed around storytelling. (You don’t do any storytelling to play the game, though.) Kam and I played this a couple of times before she left town, and it seemed intriguing but there were weirdnesses about the way the bidding worked—it seemed to encourage some roundabout strategies that avoided bidding. I posted a question about it on BGG and got an answer that seemed to imply that we were doing it right, so now I’ve asked some followup questions.
- A fiber arts game, in which the players play rival knitters who are trying to make blankets and scarves and such. It looks like fun, but I haven’t played it yet. (The ad that convinced me to buy it showed gamepiece bowls that were yarn bowls, with the spiral cutout in the side. Unfortunately, the real game just has solid plastic gamepiece bowls. But I suspect that there are nicer third-party bowls available.)
- A time-travel-themed card game that I gather is basically a reskinning of a classic playing-card game (that I had never heard of) called Cuttle. This is a pretty deck that comes in a very pretty box, and my attempt at playing out a game between two players (both of them me) worked fairly well, but I haven’t yet played it for real.
- Enchanted Plumes
- “Play proficiently to produce perfect peacock plumes.” A card game in which the (very pretty) cards show peacock feathers in 10 different colors/patterns, and players build inverted-pyramid-shaped peacock tails out of them. Kam and I played this a couple of times and liked it; works pretty well, despite some minor occasional issues around my color-blindness.
- The Expanse
- Got this months ago, may have mentioned it here already. It’s an area-control game that works pretty well but involves a lot of fiddly adding up numbers to see which of the available moves at any given moment is most to your advantage. The theme is well-implemented, with cards representing people and places and situations from the TV series (with photos from the show). And I’m tickled by the fact that the Rocinante frequently switches sides to help out whichever player is furthest behind at any given time. I’ve only played the two-player version so far; there’s an interesting mechanism that requires three or four players that I’m looking forward to trying sometime.
- A Gentle Rain
- A very pretty solo or cooperative tile-placement game. It reminds me a bit of Lanterns, except that Lanterns provides abundant resources for matching stuff on the board, while A Gentle Rain requires careful and lucky placement to make everything work out. I played solo two or three times, and lost each time; then played with Kam over a video call (with my phone on a tripod pointed at the table where the tiles were), and we won pretty solidly. …Also, the tiles have a really nicely satiny finish that adds a tactile aspect. (The tactility doesn’t have anything to do with the game, just makes the tiles feel nice.)
- Letter Jam
- Another one I picked up a few months ago. Fun multi-player figure-out-the-words party game from the publisher of Code Names, though this is a very different game. This has an everyone-else-can-see-your-letter-but-you-can’t mechanism that works pretty well.
- A recent game designed by Elizabeth Hargrave (designer of Wingspan), about migrating monarch butterflies. Looks pretty, but I haven’t played it yet.
- Mass Transit
- Cooperative card game about getting commuters home from the city using various transit modes. Kam and I have played it a couple of times and liked it, though there are some mildly confusing corner cases that we felt weren’t entirely clear in the rules. (But the designer was very quick to answer my questions on BGG.)
- Another one from a few months ago. Designed by Inuit designer Thomassie Mangiok. Pretty neat mechanisms in which the players try to win while also keeping more or less in balance. Unfortunately, the physical design of the board and cards is a little clunky, not as easy to physically use/manipulate as would be ideal. And this one, too, requires a certain amount of finicky adding-up-numbers-in-your-head. But still, fun and interesting and unusual and worth playing.
- Party game in which one player (who’s secretly a “spy”) is trying to figure out a mystery location that all the other players know. I played it online (taught by my niece), and enjoyed it more than I would have expected to, so I bought the physical set.
- T.I.M.E. Stories
- I’ve been hearing about this for years, but just recently decided to buy it. But still haven’t played it. I gather that it has some tabletop-RPG-like aspects? And it’s time-travel themed, and you can replay a scenario if it doesn’t go well? Or something? I’ve read the rules, but they don’t seem to match my impressions of the game from hearing players describe it. So I think I’ll just have to try it and see how it goes.
- Pretty sure I did post about this at some point. I had been more or less avoiding it for a while because I thought friends had disliked it, but finally played it with Mary Anne and liked it quite a bit, and proceeded to get my own set along with fun third-party accessories. Have also played this online a bit; the Steam implementation leaves a lot to be desired, but works well enough to play it if the players are already familiar with the game.
Whew. And that’s not even counting the dozen or so crowdfunded games that I’ve backed that won’t be out for a while yet, or the couple of games that I’m waiting for on backorder. Many games! At some point, I’ll have to figure out where to keep them all.