In celebration of my first 100 reviews here on iSlaytheDragon.com, I’m looking back to see which games I’ve kept and which I’ve purged. Last week I looked at the first fifty games. (You can check out that post for some of my introductory musings on how I choose what to keep and my general thoughts on the state of my gaming hobby.)
This week, I’m tackling #’s 51 – 100. Which games stayed and which have moved on to new homes?
- Stronghold 2nd Ed.: Gone. This is a great asymmetric two player game, but it’s simply too heavy and long for our current gaming situation. It was never getting played, so it went to a home where it will be better appreciated. Simply a victim of changing times and tastes.
- Africana: Gone. I don’t really know what happened here, except that one day we just looked at it and said, “We wore it out.” We simply had no desire to play it again. I think between the various incarnations of Ticket to Ride, the fact that we own quite a few other set collection-type games, and that pick up and deliver isn’t a favorite mechanism, we kind of got all we were going to out of it. But do note that we played it a lot before we got rid of it.
- Birds of a Feather: Gone. It was beautiful, but the random dummy players at lower player counts doomed it.
- Oregon: Kept. This classic stays with me because it hits the sweet spot of a light Euro that’s easy to play and teach. There’s enough luck to level the playing field, but not so much that it feels unfair. It’s pretty to look at and relaxing to play. Such a shame that it’s OOP.
- Wombat Rescue: Kept. Even though it needs more than two players to shine, I keep it because the theme is priceless. Wombats pooping to find their way around the board. Who can’t get into that? It’s one of the few pick up and deliver games I enjoy. Plus, it was my first Kickstarter backing, so I have a soft spot for it.
- Piratoons: Gone. This was another beer and pretzels game that we simply outgrew. We played it for a while, but ultimately got tired of the meanness and arguments that the game engendered. When it stopped being fun, it was time to go.
- Vikings on Board: Gone. Oh, if only this one played better at two, I’d have kept it. Alas, the gorgeous production wasn’t enough to save it. (But I really wished I could have kept it.)
- Stellar Conflict: Gone. This game was too fiddly, too big for our table, and too uninspired to keep around for long. It was too chaotic and never felt fun.
- Sushi Go Party: Kept. This is one I keep around for holidays and get-togethers with non-gamers. Plus, it’s the simplest introduction to card drafting I have. The party edition accommodates big groups and the cute art appeals to everyone.
- Antarctica: Gone. Despite its good looks, the theme of Antarctica never came through. Worse, the rules were hard to understand, the scoring was difficult, and people knew when they were out of the game, which led to them either giving up or intentionally ruining other people’s games. Not fun.
- Snowdonia: Gone. Man, I really wanted this game to stick around. To me it was the perfect weight Euro, challenging but not overloading. Unfortunately, I was the only one who liked it. Everyone else in my group felt it was too dry and wanted to play “real” train games that focus on trains, not tracks. Sigh.
- The Pursuit of Happiness: Kept. This became my go-to life sim game, replacing CV in my affections for the genre. I like the worker placement mechanism and I feel like it has more staying power than the dice roller that is CV.
- The Networks: Gone. I loved the humor in this game, but sadly it never reached its full potential with just the two of us. It was a bit easier to let go after a while because the shows and jokes did get old, and gameplay often felt too long. Still, now that there are expansions for it, I wonder if I should have kept it.
- Roll Player: Kept. This remains one of my favorite games. I love the theme of creating an RPG character from the ground up, and the puzzly gameplay of trying to get the most points from your dice tickles my brain in just the right way.
- Dream Home: Gone. Despite the fun building aspect and the lovely looks of the game, this was really too simple for us. Between this and the Best Treehouse Ever, we felt that Treehouse offered a bit more for us and since we only needed one home building game, Dream Home got the axe. Dream Home is a great game for families, however.
- Fight for Olympus: Gone. As much as I love Greek mythology, this game was too confrontational for us. Plus, it didn’t do much better/different than a lot of other 2-player card games we love like Raptor, 7 Wonders Duel, or Jaipur.
- Legendary Inventors: Gone. As much as there was to like here, Inventors was ultimately too light and unfulfilling. For a game that has you moving through the ages of history, we never felt any sort of true progression. The engine we were building never really grew, and then the game ended abruptly. It was too heavy for a filler and too light for anything else. Odd ducks like this are hard to find a place for.
- Praetor: Gone. Despite the beauty of the game and the unique worker retirement mechanism, the game was ultimately a “nothing special” Euro that needed some house rules to tweak the experience to our liking. Add in the cutthroat play and we just weren’t thrilled by the experience.
- Castle Panic: Engines of War: Gone. Have you ever had the experience where your love of something just goes “pop” and down the drain without a good reason? This is what happened to Castle Panic for us. It was a game that we loved and then one day, we didn’t. We looked at each other and said, “I’m kinda done with this.” I’m not sure if it was a case of just one too many expansions pushing it too far, or that we simply played it out. Whatever it was, Castle Panic went out the door and this expansion went with it.
- Imhotep: Kept. This is a fun game that still fits right in our sweet spot of short set up time, quick gameplay, and meaningful decisions. The fact that we enjoy it with just two and it requires no dummy players or special rules to work is a bonus.
- Dice City: Kept. This is what I think will ultimately replace Machi Koro for us. I love the art, the balance of strategy vs. luck, and the feeling of building an engine. Bonus: That you don’t have to play with the attacking rules means we can play two player without attacking each other.
- Galactic Rebellion: Gone. This was simply a long, mediocre game in too big of a box. It was easy to see this one off.
- Saboteur: The Duel: Gone. It’s always hard to get rid of dedicated two player games because there aren’t that many of them. But this one was simply too mean for our tastes. I wasn’t surprised; it’s in the name, after all. Still, though, the rest of the gameplay wasn’t special enough to offset the negative of the meanness.
- Vinhos Deluxe Edition: Gone. Another victim of the weight and size lightening. It’s too long, too heavy, and takes up too much room for us these days. Great game, just not one that fits us anymore.
- World’s Fair 1893: Kept. This is still one of our favorite games. It’s a perfect weeknight game with an interesting theme. Gameplay wise, it’s just one of those games that’s fun, doesn’t take itself too seriously, and yet delivers a good mix of decisions and strategy.
- Veggie Garden: Kept. This is a solid card game that we keep around to play with some family members who are avid gardeners. They always ask for, “That garden game.” It’s a good gateway experience, but not without strategy.
- Histrio: Gone. Oh, the heartbreak. This one was so cute and lavishly produced and I really loved it the first ten plays or so. But then the main mechanism of guessing what your opponents will do wore thin. We started wanting a bit more that simply trying to outguess one another. And it really wasn’t to be found. Bummer.
- Port Royal: Kept. This is one of my favorite card games. It’s simple, quick, engaging, and portable. I enjoy the push your luck element, as well. It’s just good fun.
- Red Dragon Inn: Battle for Greyport: Gone. This one didn’t wow me when I reviewed it. It was too long, too punishing, and didn’t offer much in terms of gameplay to set it apart from a lot of other co-ops. Easy to purge.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Board Game: Kept. I’m a huge Buffy fan and this is the best franchise offering yet. Yeah, it’s random and light, but it’s Buffy and it’s co-op, so it stays!
- Slide Blast: Gone. As much as I love tile-laying games, this one was ultimately too simple to sustain our love long-term. We played it a few times and moved on. It’s great for families, though.
- Kingdomino: Kept. The original and, to my mind, still the best. I got did of Queendomino but kept the king because I love the simplicity of it. It’s easy to rope anyone into playing it, yet the puzzly-ness of fitting dominoes into a square tickles my brain.
- Barenpark: Kept. Another huge favorite. I love the puzzle it presents, the variants for added/reduced difficulty, and the gameplay that’s entirely luck-free. The theme is cute and often requested. It’s moved to the top of my tile-laying love list!
- Incantris: Gone. Another that failed to wow me at the time of review. It was a light, mediocre, bland wizard skirmish game that didn’t offer much in the way of replayability or strategy. Add in weak components and this was an easy pass.
- Go Nuts for Donuts: Kept. Much like with Sushi Go Party, I keep this one around for those times I have a bigger group and need a simpler game that appeals to a variety of audiences. Plus, it’s so cute it’s hard to get rid of those donuts!
- Sagrada: Kept. Much like Roll Player, this is a favorite. A little simpler than Roll Player, this is one I can get family to play and it’s great for weeknights. It’s beautiful and mixes light-ish gameplay with a challenging mental puzzle.
- Agility: Kept. This is a strong two player game themed around dog agility training. What’s not to love? It’s highly re-playable and offers a good amount of strategy in under an hour. A great weeknight couples game, this one will stay for the foreseeable future.
- Cities of Splendor: Kept. I love Splendor and even though I remain iffy on some of these expansion modules, I do enjoy the Orient and Trading Posts. The expansion adds a little more to the base game without a lot of bloat or rules overhead, so it stays as long as I stay in love with the base game.
- Fog of Love: Gone. This was such a unique experience, but that’s what ultimately led us to pass it along. It was more “experience” than “game” and after we’d played through the scenarios, we felt like we’d done all we wanted. I understand that there may be more scenarios coming, but with no guarantee or solid release date, we didn’t love it enough to wait indefinitely.
- Ticket To Ride: Germany: Kept. Another map pack for TTR that I enjoy. The passengers are fiddly, but less so than in Marklin. The map is small enough to be good with just two players, and I like the ability to choose between short and long routes. It’s TTR, so it stays with me. (I’ve never purged anything TTR-related other than the card game, which just felt lackluster and like I’d rather be playing the board game.)
- Ticket To Ride Map Collection: France and Old West: Kept. Old West lets me use Alvin from Alvin and Dexter, so that’s cool. The France side of the map is lovely. Both maps are confrontational, which I don’t love, but I do enjoy the added challenge over some of the other maps we own. Basically, it’s TTR so it remains in the collection.
- Ex Libris: Kept. A book themed board game for a bookworm. Really, there’s not much else to say here. It’s fun to play, offers a lot of variants and variability to change things up, and is non-gamer friendly. With the set collection mechanism and spatial puzzle, it has more going on than straight worker placement. A sheer joy to play. Did I mention the books?
- Pursuit of Happiness: Community Expansion: Kept. I mentioned above that Pursuit of Happiness supplanted CV as my life sim game of choice. This expansion add a little more to the game without bloat and unnecessary complexity. The community board gives you something more to think about, and extra jobs, goals, items, etc. add to the variety of the base game. As long as I keep the base game, this will stay with it.
- Photosynthesis: Gone. A gorgeous abstract game that ended up being a bit longer, meaner, and more punishing than we prefer.
- Queendomino: Gone. I prefer the simplicity of Kingdomino. Queendomino is a fine game but, for me, it complicates the original and not for the better. Plus, I can get non-gamers to play the king with no trouble while they often balk at this one.
- Indian Summer: Gone. Another heartbreaker. I enjoyed the game and loved the artwork. But… It came down to the fact that this game and Barenpark do almost the same thing, and I love Barenpark more. Yes, there are some subtle differences, but ultimately not enough (I felt) to justify keeping both. When shelf space is an issue, these are the decisions you have to make.
- CV Pocket: Gone. A much as I loved CV, I never felt the love for this smaller version of it. It was too simple and lacked the theme/storytelling aspect of the original. On its own it was fine, but having played CV I just kept wishing I was playing the board game.
- Bunny Kingdom: Kept. I’m not sure this will stay forever, but for now it’s getting by on its cuteness and the fact that I love bunnies. It’s the card drafting that brings it down for us, although it does so much more that it’s worth keeping for now. Much like Histrio, I’m pretty sure we’ll get to a point where we’ve played it out and even the cuteness can’t save it, but it remains for now.
- Iquazu: Gone. This one was hard to let go. It’s gorgeous, puzzly, interesting, and family-weight, but ultimately the fiddly set up killed it. The game wasn’t long or engaging enough to justify the amount of time that it took to put the board together. We always reached for something else when we wanted a light weeknight or family game and, as it’s not heavy, it was never chosen for those nights, either. Not chosen=gone.
- Council of 4: Undecided. As a fairly recent review, I’m undecided about this one. On the one hand, I really like the gameplay and the feeling of building toward something big. On the other, I’m not a fan of the minis and over-production/odd theming of the game. When we bring it out for others, it’s hard to explain/justify the weird appearance and that none of it really relates to gameplay. I may compromise and try to hunt down the original game which had a modular board and a more restrained production.
That’s it, folks. My first 100 reviews are in the books!
Reviewing has taught me a lot about what we like and don’t like in games. As a result of this review/keep/purge cycle, I now find myself buying a lot less games, simply because I know a lot more about my tastes. I can look at most games and know whether there’s a realistic chance of them being keepers or not, something I struggled with before I started reviewing. As a result, I wasted a lot of money but now my spending has dropped way down. Plus, we’re freeing up a lot of space on the shelves.
Onward to the next hundred reviews!
(Photo courtesy of Alexas_Fotos)