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19438Gaming Year In Review

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  • Craig Massey
    Jan 1, 2004
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      The Numbers

      Total Games Played: 692
      This is the second year in a row that I played less
      games than the previous year. I don't think this
      constitutes a trend. At least I hope not.

      # of Different Games Played: 262
      While the total number saw a decrease, this ticked up
      a little from last year.

      # of New Games Played: 133
      Another number that saw a drop off. This is natural
      though as each year the pool of potential games that
      are new to me decreases.

      Five & Tens
      11 games hit the 10+ mark and 25 hit 5+. 12 were
      repeats from last year's list. 2 more games had been
      on a past 5&10 list as well.

      Web of Power, Princes of Florence, Spades, Ra, Lost
      Cities, Liar's Dice, Password, Catchphrase and some
      form of Carcassonne all have been on thd 5&10 list at
      least 3 years running saying something about the
      "stickiness" of these games.

      This contrasts with 24 games that were on last years
      5&10 list and didn't make the cut this year. Some of
      these 24 see a few plays every year, but many will
      not. Dshunke and Alles im Eimer are two notable
      examples that didn't hit the table once this year
      after big splashes last year.

      I have no doubt that there will be a few '03 games on
      this list that will struggle to see any table time in
      '04 (cough - Attika - cough). On to the actually

      Magic - 25 (See the comments made by Scott H.)
      Ohne Furcht und Adel - 25 (Largly due to a play by web
      version. Campbell, Phil, Adam, Dave F., and
      Constantine made each game an entertaing whine fest)
      Alhambra - 20 (Very worth SDJ winner)
      Puerto Rico - 20 (Lots in the first half of the year,
      nothing since)
      Paris Paris - 19 (Same as Puerto Rico)
      Carcassonne Builders & Traders - 17 (I won't go back
      to basic Carcassonne)
      Spades - 17
      Smarty Party - 16
      Europa Tour - 12
      Princes of Florence - 10
      Ra - 10
      Coloretto - 9
      Liar's Dice - 9
      Ave Caesar - 8
      Catch Phrase - 8
      Web of Power - 8
      Amun Re - 7
      Edel, Stein & Reich - 7
      Five Hundred - 7
      Lost Cities - 7
      Poker - 7
      Transamerica - 7 (not sure how this made the list
      again since I'm not really a fan of this game)
      10 Days In Africa - 6
      Adel Verpflichtet - 6
      Attika - 6 (never to be seen on a 5&10 list again)
      Buffalo - 6
      King's Breakfast - 6
      Password - 6
      Scene It? - 6 (I own Pitt in this game)
      Tichu - 6
      Flowerpower - 5
      Mystery Rummy Case No. 1: Jack The Ripper - 5
      New England - 5
      Settlers of Catan: Card Game - 5
      Top Race - 5

      Best of 2003
      While many of my favorites from the year are
      represented in the 5&10, it isn't an accurate picture
      of what I really enjoyed playing this year.

      Railroad Dice, Kogge, Princes of the Renaissance, and
      Global Power are all meatier games from Essen that I
      found to be very compelling. I doubt that any of them
      will see more than a handful of plays in the next 12
      months because they are meatier games and time and
      biases towards shorter games makes it tough to games
      like this to see a lot of plays.

      Even though Coloretto saw more plays, King's Breakfast
      has a longer shelf life. It has been very successful
      with the non-gaming friends and family members. Both
      Europa Tour and 10 Days In Africa proved popular with
      non-gamers as well.

      I thoroughly enjoyed Alhambra. I doubt I'll play it
      20 times this year, but I hope it shows up on 5&10
      lists in the future.

      Smarty Party was my party game of choice in '03 and I
      doubt this will change this year. There are a few
      standing grudge matches that help this get to the

      I hope New England has some staying power, mostly so I
      can figure out how to win the damn game. It is now
      squarely on the top of my list of games that I
      couldn't win if my life depended on it. I have no
      idea why this is, but I intend to figure it out.
      Pitt, Richard S., and many others have humbled me.

      Santiago is the one game from one of the big German
      companies to come out of Essen that I really enjoyed.
      I expect this to be hit 5+ plays.

      Fading Into Gaming Oblivion
      I played a ton of new releases this year - 84 '03
      games to be exact. Most of these won't get another
      look. Here are a few that I know won't get my further

      Attika - I realize I'm squarely in the minority, but
      the game bores me to tears. I wouldn't be surprised
      if this one vanishes of the radar for a lot of people.
      It certainly will for me.

      Destination Tresor - After a glowing review from Ben
      Baldanza in Counter early in the year, I was very
      eager to try it. Great concept that works for the
      first 30% of the game and then it is dull, repetitive,
      and tedious. One play is enough.

      Bohn Hansa - Lots of promise and excitement about
      Bohnanza as a board game. Fell woefully short of
      almost everyone's expectations.

      Anno 1503 - Like Bohn Hansa, the game was saddled with
      high expectations and couldn't meet them.

      There are a host of others that will just fade away -
      only seeing an occasional play when the game catches
      someone's eye as something on a shelf that hasn't been
      seen in awhile.

      Anyway, that's it for now. Hope to see you at the
      game table in '04.

      Happy New Year

      Craig W. Massey

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