2011 - A Retrospective Hot

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Egg ShenEgg Shen   February 02, 2016  
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I don't like to do end of the year lists. Some games get overhyped, some games will be overlooked and nobody really knows how any of them will stand the test of time. So I'd like to do a retrospective and look back at how games from 2011 are doing. I feel like five years is plenty of time for a game to cement itself as a success or failure. So let's hop in my time machine and head back to the days when Charlie Sheen was #WINNING, Deathly Hallows Part Two was concluding and I sang Katy Perry and Brit Brit nonstop in my car. Oh, for those of you wondering my time machine is a giant oversized shoe. Nobody ever suspects a shoe.

Let's take a look back at some of the big trends and stories:

The Year of Feld? – Stephen Feld is the darling of many doting Heavy Euro lovers. He crafts wheels within wheels and interlocking systems that are somehow still a game. It's sort of impressive if you're into his design philosophy (mad scientist chic?). He dropped two bombs in 2011; Castles of Burgundy and Trajan. With these two games, Feld etched his name next to Uwe Rosenberg's as THE heavy Euro designer du jour. I can honestly say that when I go to local meetups and boardgame stores I still see people playing these two games ALL the time. I'm not a fan, but clearly I'm wrong because if you even utter the names of one of these two games you're bound to find a few willing players. I mean they're idiots who don't know how to have fun the right way... but who am I to judge? I'm kidding... relax!

The Downfall of Wallace? – Martin Wallace has been a popular designer for a long time and in 2011 he crafted one of the first games to give deckbuilding a purpose, A Few Acres of Snow. It was heralded as an instant classic and people began naming their children, MartinWallace and Automobile. I myself fashioned my lower back with a tramp stamp that said, "BRASS" (and y'all thought spending $200 on a Kickstarter game was a bad idea!). Life was good for Mr. Wallace. Then some bloke discovered the "Halifax Hammer", which sort of, kind of, maybe, meant his new golden goose was broken. After that it all went to hell. I for one could care less about this as I would never look up how to purposely break a game, but the damage was done. People lost their MINDS over this. Subsequently, in 2012 Wallace went on to Kickstart a version of Moongha Invaders that was mired with delays and production issues. It wasn't pretty. I think these two events damaged Wallace's reputation almost permanently.  I feel like he still makes interesting designs, but my gut tells me people haven't forgiven the man for these blunders.  The fact that Wallace tends to be a bit prickly towards gamers probably doesn't help his reputation. Or at least that is my perception of the situation. I believe it was announced in 2015 that A Few Acres of Snow would be going out of print for good. It's successor, Mythotopia generated about as much of a buzz as a four hundred pound man sipping a Zima.

Legacy games – 2011 brought us the first "Legacy" game with Risk: Legacy. At the time it was a novel concept and brought "nerd cred" back to the classic game of Risk. The radical idea of permanently altering the game was a big hit for those that hopped on-board. The game itself seems to have been lost in the shuffle of time, but its, ahem, legacy (ugh, what a horrible pun) is stronger than ever.  Back in 2011 most of us hemmed and hawed at what Risk: Legacy's footprint on gaming would ultimately be.  I don't think any of us could have predicted just how big this idea would eventually become in 2015. Thanks to the success of Pandemic Legacy I think it's a forgone conclusion that we will soon be seeing Legacy EVERYTHING. Munchkin Legacy, Love Letter Legacy and of course the inevitable Carcassonne Legacy. HOLD ON TO YER BUTTS!

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Now let's take a look at some of the big releases from 2011 and see how they've held up:

Mage Knight – This is arguably designer Vlaada Chavitl's crowning achievement in gaming. Mage Knight is the fantasy adventure epic to end all others. Over the past five years it's been supported with a few expansions and it's still in print. It was one of the best games designed in 2011 and five years later nothing has comes close to topping it in the fantasy adventure genre. Like King Conan sitting wearily on his throne, over the years this game has taken on all foolish enough to challenge it. If Mage Knight were to ever go completely out of print it would surely become a cherished, sought after, grail game. The near future seems empty for Mage Knight, but the game is getting a Star Trek face lift in February. So it will continue to live long and prosper.

Yomi – David Sirlin released this game and people showered it with praise in 2011. Then he opened his mouth. Over the years Yomi has fallen into relative obscurity. I believe its fall from grace has to do with the utter disdain people have for the designer. By many accounts Sirlin is some sort of master level asshat and this reputation has tainted all of his designs. If I recall correctly he was constantly updating the rules like a videogame tournament fighter. This lead to Yomi release fatigue. I'm sure Yomi still has its fans, but if it went out of print I'm sure nobody would really care.

Eclipse – Eclipse, like many games, was originally toted as a Twilight Imperium 3 killer. While I don't think it ever lived up to that particular hype, especially since Eclipse is essentially an economic game instead of a space opera, it's still an incredibly well regarded game. It just received another expansion and people clearly are still all about Eclipse. Fans of hybrid games still count this as among one of the best available. 

Game of Thrones 2.0 – Man, FFG really struck gold having this license in their back pocket. With the HBO series becoming one of THE "water cooler" shows of the year the interest in this property was astronomical. FFG capitalized and re-tooled the game. GoT lives in a dangerous, crowded, genre but I think many people are still enamored with the design. The popularity of the license certainly helps, but I don't see this title going anywhere for a long time. This game remains relevant despite only receiving a couple "print on demand" expansions from FFG. Most impressive.

King of Tokyo – This game added to Richard Garfield's impressive resume and it INSTANTLY made IELLO a publisher to watch. When it was first released KoT was hard to find because the voracious demand gobbled up any and all supply available. The simple dice chucking Yahtzee mechanics made it easy to play and it remained quite popular for years. Its successor King of New York debuted in 2014 to critical success... but it seems the luster may have worn off a bit. King of Tokyo's success created a glut of simple dice chuckers and many gamers have picked a new favorite.  Still, I fondly remember when everyone and their pet iguanas were playing King of Tokyo nonstop. It was like a perfectly crafted pop song that would just play endlessly on repeat and folks never tired of it. I still think it's a great design, but its popularity might finally be starting to wane.

Mansions of Madness – Mansions was THE big release from FFG in 2011. It was marred with production issues, the immediate need for errata, and scenarios that were considered unplayable. Despite all that I personally loved the game and was able to move past its warts. Sadly, after the flat out broken release of the Forbidden Alchemy Expansion all but hardcore fans jumped ship. I have a bad feeling that this will soon be going the way of Middle Earth Quest, Horus Heresy and many other FFG under-performers. So if you're on the fence I'd get this sooner rather than later.  Who knows, maybe MoM will get a 2.0 version that uses the Call of the Wild expansion as it's starting off point in a few years.

Quarriors – The game that took Dominion, added dice, put it in a tin, and gave it a dumb name. Quarriors debuted at Gen Con 2011 with playful art, easy to grasp rules and a crap-load of buzz. When the game hit retailers there was almost as much backlash as there was fanfare. People complained about the quality of the dice, the simplicity of the game, the need for rules updates (which the designers officially adding via expansions). Quarriors' fate was that of a game that didn't meet folks expectations. It was a simple game and it worked well for what it was. People wanted it to be this in depth, highly strategic, dice builder and that never seemed to be the intention of the game. While it was heavily expanded by Wiz Kids for a few years I believe this beast is now dead. Its corpse has been resurrected by the popular Dice Masters series. For many that was a consolation prize worth waiting for. 

Cargo Noir - I don't think I've ever seen a themeless Euro get so mercilessly ravaged by people for essentially being a themeless Euro. The expectations for this were higher than Vince Neil in 1984. Then people played it and found out it was a very basic auction/bidding game with a pasted on theme. I feel like there is an irony joke to be made here. The outrage at the waste of the Noir theme was laughable at best and in my mind completely misguided. Days of Wonder has been known for its lavish productions and Cargo Noir was no different. However, I don't think Days of Wonder was ever really known for pumping out these heavily themed designs. I'll let you in on a little secret though, Cargo Noir is very good at what it is. It's an incredibly mean auction game that is perfect for family game night. The game was essentially tossed off a skiff into icy waters with concrete Adidas when it arrived, but don't believe the anti-hype about this one. If you're an unscrupulous bastard like me you'll find a game that is very enjoyable.

And now for some categories and awards:

Biggest Whiff – Godzilla Kaiju Wars. Has there ever been a more disappointing licensed game? Not for me there hasn't. This game had awesome components and some HORRIBLE rules. Having this piece of crap shat out of Hedorah's rectum hole the same year as King of Tokyo was a slap in the face to Godzilla fans. Can a designer out there come up with a big ass, awesome, Kaiju game that is worth a damn? Pretty please? Maybe Gale Force Nine can make a licensed Pacific Rim game for me...that would be sweet.

Hidden Gem of 2011 - Tom Wham's Feudality. I love this game. No it's not the greatest game out there, but what it lacks in tight design it more than makes up for with sheer, unbridled, fun. You get to build your own fantasy fiefdom, sleep with a slutty-victory-point-spewing Queen, fend off monsters, go to war and all sorts of other awesome stuff in less than ninety minutes. The game happily zips along and it's just a bunch of fun in box. Nobody bought it and nobody seems to have heard of it. It's awesome.

My Game of The Year Then? – Mansion of Madness. As a big Lovecraft nut the chance to play out these intimate stories was a dream come true. The game had issues, but I could happily look past them. When this game was firing on all cylinders it was magical. I still enjoy it, but that love has waned a bit over time. Plus, finding people to play with is a chore.

My Game of The Year Now? Mage Knight. It took me a long time to get around to playing this one, but damn is it satisfying. It has a stigma of being difficult to learn and play, but I think that is a bit blown out of proportion. Plus, the investment is easily worth it. Few games offer the sheer amount of depth and replayability as Mage Knight. This is special kind of game that only comes along once in a great while.

Game That Needs To Be Back In Print? – Without a doubt it NEEDS to be Ascending Empires. Someone... anyone, please Kickstart this game with a deluxe board or something. It's simply too good of a game to be left in the dust. I waffled between this and Mage Knight for my game of the year. In my heart I know that Mage Knight is simply the better game. Still I love this flicking, inter-galactic, space empire, hodgepodge of a game.

 

My Top Ten Games from 2011

10. Last Will

9.  Letters From Whitechapel

8.  Feudality 

7.  D&D Adventure Systems - Drizzt

6.  Mansions of Madness

5. King of Tokyo 

4.  Survive – Escape from Atlantis

3.  Blood Bowl Team Manger

2.  Ascending Empires

1.  Mage Knight

 

Thoughts on the year

Well I hope you enjoyed this little retrospective. Sorry if you now all smell like a pair of bowling shoes... it's a weird side effect of the time machine. Looking back I have to admit that 2011 was a pretty damn good year for boardgaming. Any time a few potential all time greats get published in a single year it's a cause for celebration. Hell, my top four of the year are some of my all time favorites! 2011 had something for everyone. Whether you were a hardcore Euro Lover or a dice chucking Trashlandian, 2011 had you covered with something great. I'm sure I missed talking about some major releases like Lord of the Rings LCG, Flashpoint Fire Rescue, Village, Gears of War and many more. I went with my memories for a lot of things so I'm sure I screwed something up. Feel free to tell me what I messed up or forgot to talk about in the comments.

I look forward to dissecting the year 2012 next January. Until then,"keep on dancing til' the world ends" you sexy bitches!

 

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Hey, look who stowed away on-board the time machine from our adventure to 2011!

Posted: 02 Feb 2016 02:38 by lala #221332
SuperFlySwatter's Avatar
nicely done Egg, I much prefer this kind of retrospective, and wish more people would put the effort into it.

I get why Feld is popular, I quite enjoyed some of his stuff too but I find it harder to understand the lasting appeal, they are very repetitive and low on interaction. Contrast Burgundy to Troyes, which in some ways has some Point salad elements, but the way the Dice can be bought and used against other players adds a level of interaction that raises it way beyond any Feld, and the use of a subset of activity cards makes the development of games very different each time, in a much sharper and clearer way than the randomness in the Feld stuff. I Think the only game on my shelf from 2011 is Fighting Formations and I only got that because it looked pretty cool with the order matrix and seemed to have some Combat Commander feel under it, but I have not yet played it - the bigger scenarios scare me quite a bit.
Posted: 02 Feb 2016 02:40 by lala #221333
SuperFlySwatter's Avatar
Good work on Wallace too! yeah, that was quite the drama haha. Nerd Rage!

Eclipse is one of the most terrible things I've ever played on the ipad. I know a F2F game would be different but based on the app and the rules, and Reading around a bit, I feel like I couldnt be less interested in that shit.
Posted: 02 Feb 2016 08:37 by Legomancer #221339
Legomancer's Avatar
Great article, Egg/Michael!

Martin Wallace also didn't do himself any favors with that dumb Doctor Who card game he put his name on in 2012.

As for Quarriors, I don't think people expected it to be a highly strategic and thinky game; I certainly wasn't hoping or that. I was just hoping for something that felt like it needed me at the table for a reason other than the fact that dice can't roll themselves. I think the record will show I have zero problems with dice games, but random draws on top of random rolls, along with outcomes that are determined solely by other players' random rolls of random draws kept me waiting for something to happen in the game. If Quarriors got better with expansions I'll give it a try; I couldn't care less about superheroes.
Posted: 02 Feb 2016 08:56 by Josh Look #221341
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As someone who has on and off contributed to this site via articles and podcasts, Egg, you're doing our lord Crom's work, my friend. Outstanding article, not just as an assement of a banner year for gaming, but also as something that might put things in general into perspective. I'd love to see more stuff like this.

Folks, if you didn't believe it before, this is it right here: A newcomer has entered the arena.
Posted: 02 Feb 2016 09:42 by iguanaDitty #221344
iguanaDitty's Avatar
Nice article!

Risk Legacy is a fantastic game that has "died away" for I think three reasons:
1) It's Risk and BGG will never pay it much attention.
2) The best parts of the game are spoilers and no one has figured out how to talk about them. It's not like a movie - revealing the packets and what happens as a result is fantastic and would not nearly be as fun if the packets were known ahead of time. The stuff that happens in this game is crazy and outlandish and wonderful.
3) You really need a core group to play it at least 10 times. It took our group a year and a half to accomplish this. It can be hard to commit to that kind of thing.
Posted: 02 Feb 2016 09:44 by iguanaDitty #221345
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Also I agree about Mage Knight and I think it's done more than any other game to usher in the solitaire boardgaming "phenomenon". It's complicated and thorny enough that playing it solo is almost preferred for many people.
Posted: 02 Feb 2016 10:21 by lala #221367
SuperFlySwatter's Avatar
iguanaDitty wrote:
3) You really need a core group to play it at least 10 times. It took our group a year and a half to accomplish this. It can be hard to commit to that kind of thing.

Theres so much interesting in just this one line.

Why is it so hard? Friends get together and do stuff all the time, its not that hard, my wife meets her friends several times a week, they do the same shit they enjoy, why is it so hard for, or so common that so many people that are so into boardgames that they spend inordinate amounts of time and Money on them (on websites, forums, communities, and then buying the stuff) but so many people seem to really struggle with any kind of ability to get together.

In my case, the two local Groups I've been in so far are just Classic "I wouldnt hang out with those guys in any universe" situations, just socially odd, unpleasant people to spend time with, not my idea of fun. Theres a couple of Groups of nice people locally but both of them play, and in one case, I exaggerate not one bit, a new game EVERY. SINGLE. PLAY. No I actually mean that. So I gave up on them, even though they are great to hang out with. I dont see the appeal at all in only experiencing those shit "learn the rules, OK thats how it works" "plays" of a game and I find it so pointless in trying 143 different area Control games instead of why dont we just play El Grande every time for a few weeks so we get some kind of continuity and uncover some of the depths. Sure, we can try Tammany Hall after that, but why a different one each time. They are not different enough, no matter how many "twists" they put on the idea. Its just utterly pointless, I have a hard time fathoming that kind of interest out.

So that leaves me with one last Group, 2 guys I really like, thank fuck they like similar games and also like to "get into" a few games properly, but fuck trying to organise just a weekly get together around jobs, family, living what in USA terms is a comically small distance apart (check out the map, Malmö, Lund, Södra Sandby), you would Think we were all working for the government and lived in San Diego, Acapulco and Buffalo with the struggle just to get together only once a fucking week!

But I see all the time posts like the one you made, people who struggle to play a game ten times, what the fuck?!

just to be clear I'm not criticising you igD, I'm saying isnt it mental?


Yes, this is the kind of comment that is a cue for Chapel to come in and spout off how he just plays with his friends 17 Days a week and gets through his 14000 games no bother, whats the problem
Posted: 02 Feb 2016 10:31 by Egg Shen #221384
Egg Shen's Avatar
Legomancer wrote:
Great article, Egg/Michael!

Martin Wallace also didn't do himself any favors with that dumb Doctor Who card game he put his name on in 2012.

As for Quarriors, I don't think people expected it to be a highly strategic and thinky game; I certainly wasn't hoping or that. I was just hoping for something that felt like it needed me at the table for a reason other than the fact that dice can't roll themselves. I think the record will show I have zero problems with dice games, but random draws on top of random rolls, along with outcomes that are determined solely by other players' random rolls of random draws kept me waiting for something to happen in the game. If Quarriors got better with expansions I'll give it a try; I couldn't care less about superheroes.

I had no clue he even made a Doctor Who card game...he seems to make some odd choices.

As for Quarriors I think "highly strategic" was probably the wrong phrase to use in the article. I just seem to remember people wanting it to be a bit more than it was. It was a game of few actual choices and barely more than a simple time waster (at least with the as written rules from the base game). I think because it looked really good and the buzz out of Gen Con was so high people were just expecting it to be something really special. When it turned out to be just a touch above a filler game I think the backlash began. I know the "buy two" and "cull what you score" variant rules improved the game a bit, but probably not enough to sway most people. I can't say what many of the expansions added. I only tried one and it had some locking the dice rule that didn't seem to add all that much.
Posted: 02 Feb 2016 10:36 by Alastair MacDirk #221396
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Great, great article. Among the best things I have EVER read on this site. Thanks and please feel encouraged to do more.

The bit about Yomi reminded me that I can be counted among the Sirlin haters. I got Puzzle Strike only to have him "rebalance" the game by releasing a set of new chips to replace some of the "broken" ones. Ok, fine.... fooled me once.... as I threw another twenty something dollars into the game to make it right. Then six months later he does the same shit again... telling you you need to purchase a second"fix" for the game. Fuck you David Sirlin. He is dead to me.

Dang, wish you had written this before we just math traded. I coulda woulda shoulda unloaded that Puzzle Strike for something decent.
Posted: 02 Feb 2016 10:53 by charlest #221420
charlest's Avatar
What bothers me about the Wallace thing after A Few Acres of Snow blew up was that he tried to fix it and failed. Also, the Halifax Hammer strategy hinges on a particular mechanic which is in pretty much every deck building game and a core strategy of base game Dominion. I know he wasn't an experienced player with Deck builders (I believe it says as much in the AFAoS rulebook designer notes) but I don't think it was properly playtested by experienced deck builder players.

After his attempt to fix it failed, he made some off-handed comments about how a two player wargame can never be properly balanced which really lowered my opinion of him unfortunately. It seemed like he was frustrated with his failure to balance and tried to deflect.

Mythotopia is pretty bad.

Eclipse is the best game of 2011 in my opinion. It's still perhaps the single most highly regarded game across my entire group. It remains in my top 10 ever since its release. I remember playing it on New Year's Eve right after it came out and it blowing my mind. We've returned again and again and it's the heaviest game that I've played the most, if that makes any sense.
Posted: 02 Feb 2016 10:59 by Shellhead #221421
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2011 was a year of hype followed by backlash. I still would love to get a regular group together to play a Risk: Legacy campaign.
Posted: 02 Feb 2016 11:12 by Egg Shen #221424
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charlest wrote:
What bothers me about the Wallace thing after A Few Acres of Snow blew up was that he tried to fix it and failed. Also, the Halifax Hammer strategy hinges on a particular mechanic which is in pretty much every deck building game and a core strategy of base game Dominion. I know he wasn't an experienced player with Deck builders (I believe it says as much in the AFAoS rulebook designer notes) but I don't think it was properly playtested by experienced deck builder players.

After his attempt to fix it failed, he made some off-handed comments about how a two player wargame can never be properly balanced which really lowered my opinion of him unfortunately. It seemed like he was frustrated with his failure to balance and tried to deflect.

Mythotopia is pretty bad.

Eclipse is the best game of 2011 in my opinion. It's still perhaps the single most highly regarded game across my entire group. It remains in my top 10 ever since its release. I remember playing it on New Year's Eve right after it came out and it blowing my mind. We've returned again and again and it's the heaviest game that I've played the most, if that makes any sense.

Yeah I was trying to remember his response to the AFAoS situation and I knew he was kind of stand-offish about the whole thing. Probably not the best tact to take with something relatively small like a boardgame community. The dude could have certainly handled that whole situation better and not come out looking like an ass.

I've never been enamored with Eclipse for whatever reason. I like it. It's fine. If I never played it again I'd probably be OK. I'm probably in the minority though. People seem to really love it.
Posted: 02 Feb 2016 11:23 by VonTush #221426
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Re: Wallace - I don't feel he's fallen, he just hasn't grown proportionally to the rest of the industry in the past five years. He has this solid core of groupies that seem to appreciate the quirkiness of his designs and the drama that apparently follows him wherever he goes. And more and more I feel drawn to him as well, quirks and all. His games don't have that feel that they were ran through the polishing and sterilization process many times over, I kind of appreciate that they do come out a little less than perfect...At least that's my take on Moongha and Emerald (I'll admit I haven't played much Wallace).
Posted: 02 Feb 2016 12:01 by Michael Barnes #221431
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2011 was really kind of the last year before Kickstarter completely blew up...Alien Frontiers was still seen as kind of a fluke, not a floodgate opener.

Godzilla Kaiju Wars...wow. I had almost erased that from memory. That is one of the worst games released in the 21st century. It's unbelievably bad...and it's a RICHARD BERG game. Who the FUCK gets Richard Berg on board to do a licensed Godzilla game? Oh, Toy Vault I guess. And it's pretty damn clear from playing it that RICHARD BERG had zero interest in the subject matter...and didn't even really understand it to begin with.

Martin Wallace...how timely. I've been digging into A Study in Emerald. How that man gets away with designing such janky, awkward and confusing games is amazing. He is given a leeway that no other designer in the business gets. With that said, I think some of his games are pretty great and he's actually less risk-averse than a lot of other popular designers. He also does the Knizia thing where he iterates ideas. ASiE is the culmination of a couple of ideas from a few crap games finally coming together to make something good.

All that said, I played AFAoS a few times and I never did figure how to do the Halifax Hammer or whatever. I also didn't really like it. Count it among the crap games that eventually wound up making something good with ASiE.

Yomi is still an awesome design...but yeah, Mage Knight was definitely the best and most significant release of 2011. And it is definitely Vlaada's best game, by quite a margin.
Posted: 02 Feb 2016 12:01 by JonJacob #221432
OldHippy's Avatar
Ah yes, 2011, the year my first son was born and probably the last year I was totally involved in what got released. Mage Knight was a shock for me. An adventure game that doesn't rely on card text at all? Never mind the lack of dice, it's the lack of text that is so shocking to me. To think that the story is moved forward by the players actions instead of reading shit off a card. After playing this and Mansions in the same year I saw the highlight of both what card text games can do and the polar opposite with story through actions instead. It was weird to see two games, both well done in my mind, go about this so differently. I still like both of them too although Mansions is a trickier game to make work well.

I bought into Quarriors that year, and bought every expansion since. I still like that game and think that each expansion improved it until by the time Quests came out it was a very solid game. I've resisted all the dice masters stuff because it seems like it would be redundant with a huge box of Quarriors around the house. I also prefer original content and I'm not so big on the endless parade of licensed properties that dice masters is a part of.

But goddamn what a great year 2011 apparently was. Survive, King of Tokyo, Mansions of Madness, Mage Knight, Eclipse, Blood Bowl TM, Quarriors...

Great job Egg!
Posted: 02 Feb 2016 12:28 by Almalik #221436
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Nice article Egg! I agree that Feudality is an awesome hidden gem (I'd also include Wiraqocha and Scrumbrawl from that year, so what do I know?).

Looking through the 2011 games on BGG, I was disappointed that Battleship Galaxies never received any expansions. I was hoping for a simple space game to play with the kids. Games from 2011 I'd really like to get back to the table: Bios:Megafauna, Space Empires 4x, and Cave Eeeevil!
Posted: 02 Feb 2016 12:41 by iguanaDitty #221437
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lala wrote:
iguanaDitty wrote:
3) You really need a core group to play it at least 10 times. It took our group a year and a half to accomplish this. It can be hard to commit to that kind of thing.

just to be clear I'm not criticising you igD, I'm saying isnt it mental?

In my case I was the limiting factor. Since my daughter was born (she's 6 now) my wife and I alternate Fridays off, so at most I'm gaming twice a month. And if something else comes up I would prefer to do that week, or I just don't feel like dealing with other people, I'm down to once a month. It's starting to get to the point where we are exploring opening up other timeframes, but I want to get back into music again. And now with Pandemic Legacy, the other main couple who is playing now has a baby and have their own family and whatnot commitments.

Oddly in some ways the Legacy games make keeping this kind of group easier as it's a commitment we've made to play through this game so even though it might be some time between plays we all try to figure out a time that will work.

I see folks who play a crap ton of games and in some respects wish I was there, but at the same time I am not making that the priority in my life.
Posted: 02 Feb 2016 13:52 by Joebot #221446
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lala wrote:
Eclipse is one of the most terrible things I've ever played on the ipad. I know a F2F game would be different but based on the app and the rules, and Reading around a bit, I feel like I couldnt be less interested in that shit.

That was exactly my reaction as well. I never played the Eclipse boardgame, but the iOS app was such a boring piece of shit that I never had any desire to seek it out. There was a jarring disconnect between the visuals (Spaceships! Aliens! Laser guns!) and what you actually do (I can't even remember, something about orange planets helping your science track?? Fuck, I'm getting sleepy just thinking about it).
Posted: 02 Feb 2016 15:08 by metalface13 #221456
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Great format for an article, Egg! I think there's a lot of us here like me who don't get to play many or all of a year's release, or at least enough play throughs to form an opinion. But five years on kinda gives us a chance to keep up, or at least see what isn't worth bothering with anymore.

Mage Knight is awesome. Part of the experience for me is creating the story through your in-game actions. Oddly enough I had never noticed there wasn't a "text on cards" mechanic.
Posted: 02 Feb 2016 15:23 by wadenels #221461
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Almalik wrote:
Nice article Egg! I agree that Feudality is an awesome hidden gem (I'd also include Wiraqocha and Scrumbrawl from that year, so what do I know?).

Looking through the 2011 games on BGG, I was disappointed that Battleship Galaxies never received any expansions. I was hoping for a simple space game to play with the kids. Games from 2011 I'd really like to get back to the table: Bios:Megafauna, Space Empires 4x, and Cave Eeeevil!

Scrumbrawl and Bios Megafauna are big 2011 stand-outs for me. Four (five?) years on and I'm still playing them both.
Posted: 02 Feb 2016 16:10 by VonTush #221470
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I don't think any of us could have predicted just how big this idea would eventually become in 2015.

Reading this made me remember a conversation...Hell coming up on two years ago at this point:
fortressat.com/forum/19-trash-culture-ca...type?start=30#171214
Posted: 02 Feb 2016 16:55 by craniac #221478
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lala wrote:
Good work on Wallace too! yeah, that was quite the drama haha. Nerd Rage!

Does anyone remember the Steam/Age of Steam brouhaha? Apparently the designer of Fjords, the deceased Franz-Benno Delonge was also a professional mediator. He ruled in favor of Winsome Games and Wallace decided to ignore the ruling. I guess John Bohrer was banned from BGG in 2010 for being creepy. There were no real winners there.
Posted: 02 Feb 2016 17:09 by JonJacob #221480
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craniac wrote:
lala wrote:
Good work on Wallace too! yeah, that was quite the drama haha. Nerd Rage!

Does anyone remember the Steam/Age of Steam brouhaha? Apparently the designer of Fjords, the deceased Franz-Benno Delonge was also a professional mediator. He ruled in favor of Winsome Games and Wallace decided to ignore the ruling. I guess John Bohrer was banned from BGG in 2010 for being creepy. There were no real winners there.

We all won when John Bohrer decided to release an actual game called "Age of Scheme: Routes to Riches" which was one of the oddest and funniest things to happen in boardgames. I remember even Christian Peterson said Wallace was a dick - or words to that effect. Bohrer just got angrier and angrier until he had no defenders left except Clearclaw.

boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/38637/age-scheme-routes-riches

There's some funny old threads on there, including one where Wallace asks John personally to change the name of the game.
Posted: 02 Feb 2016 17:45 by engineer Al #221484
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Nice job, Egg!
Posted: 02 Feb 2016 17:54 by Mad Dog #221485
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Eclipse and King of Tokyo are the only games from 2011 to hit my forever shelf. Eclipse mainly because it reminds me of playing Master of Orion II, which is an all-time favorite. MOO2 was a micro-management game above all else and a resource management board game works best to duplicate it in a couple hours. King of Tokyo isn't my ultimate kaiju game (I do have ideas for that), but its damned good light fun and the setting is part of that. I also think every dice game should use large dice now.

I haven't played it, but Rune Age also came out in 2011. I believe several people here consider it an underrated deck-builder.
Posted: 02 Feb 2016 17:57 by JonJacob #221486
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Mad Dog wrote:
I believe several people here consider it an underrated deck-builder.

Shit yes, the best deck builder ever made. It does more with less than any game I know of. I totally forgot it came out in 2011.
Posted: 02 Feb 2016 18:06 by Michael Barnes #221487
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Rune Age has aged exceptionally well...it didn't seem like it at the time, but it is one of the best and most compelling deck builders.
Posted: 02 Feb 2016 18:30 by wadenels #221489
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I forgot about Rune Age too. I kind of got out of games where deckbuilding is the central mechanic, but if I were to get back in I'd re-buy Rune Age with the expansion and be content. If it had been something other than Terrinoth (Warhammer?) it probably would have done better.
Posted: 02 Feb 2016 21:28 by Mr. White #221501
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Great article, Egg!

This is the sort of article that's fun for me to read. Reflecting back on what stuck and what sucked. I don't keep up with all the new releases, so weekly reviews of multiple titles doesn't do much for me. However, a retrospective like this I can digest a little better as chances are if I haven't played it, I've at least had plenty of time to read about it so know a little of what you're talking about. Heck do a 10 or 15 year one as well. :)

For me, I think BB:TM is the best of 2011. It's a great game, but I have yet to buy the two expansions. I've played games with them and I'm not super thrilled about the extra rules. For the most part they seem to add more crap to manage, but don't seem to multiply the fun. Getting new teams would be nice, but like I posted at BGG, I'd really like FFG to release at least one more expansion to provide some order or 'good' teams to this game. There's just too much evil as it stands. 3 order teams to 9 chaos. A conference that was high elves, amazons, and lizard men would make perfect sense. As would Norse, amazons, and lizards. Worse case they could do one of those POD (do they even POD anymore?) things that contains the star players for these races that could then be shuffled into the existing conference decks. Represent!

I dunno...it feels like the game has come so far, in respect to teams, but stopped short. IMO, this serves to spotlight the huge gaps. It's easier for me to just get down with the core six.

Still haven't tried Rune Age. I've gone back and forth on it over the past year, but my son is so involved in Pokemon I'm not sure I need to buy a game that plays at deckbuilding when we have a favorite that actually requires it.
Posted: 02 Feb 2016 21:54 by Sevej #221507
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I actually enjoyed Castles of Burgundy the two times I played it.
Posted: 03 Feb 2016 00:33 by sharpobject #221512
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I got lucky and got into Yomi after the one time it was ever patched, four years after its initial release. I definitely would have a dreadful case of release fatigue if I had bought V1 and then paid $10 to patch my 10 V1 characters to V2!
Posted: 03 Feb 2016 01:25 by Michael Barnes #221513
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VonTush wrote:
I don't think any of us could have predicted just how big this idea would eventually become in 2015.

Reading this made me remember a conversation...Hell coming up on two years ago at this point:
fortressat.com/forum/19-trash-culture-ca...type?start=30#171214

Yeah...it looks like Pandemic: Legacy may have been that "defining moment" I was looking for.
Posted: 03 Feb 2016 08:39 by lala #221524
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Sevej wrote:
I actually enjoyed Castles of Burgundy the two times I played it.
yeah we liked it the first half dozen or so times, but you soon start to see the repetitiveness and lack of soul in whats going on, as in most of Felds games

I Think thats why he is so popular, first of all this style of game just taps into the gamer "oo, thats clever and a bit fun" figuring/puzzling stuff out gene, and most of the people who are into this kind of stuff will never play it more than a handful of times to question it
I'm amazed by people who play this, say 10 times and not start to see and feel the lack of any sense of feeling that would hold long term interest, but then again I used to feel like that about people who smoked Marlboro Lights and Silk Cut for decades, I mean chain smoke the fuckers, how can you chain smoke 40+ a day but still be stuck puffing on stuff thats got about 1 nanogram of anything in it.
Posted: 03 Feb 2016 08:53 by SuperflyTNT #221525
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Always fun to read your work, Mike. Good stuff.

I'm still in the camp that Prophecy is a better game than Mage Knight, but it's probably the world's smallest camp. I tried to hard to play MK, but the barriers to entry were just too much for me.
Posted: 03 Feb 2016 10:40 by Unicron #221547
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Eclipse and Mage Knight were both great. I haven't played either in a while, but I think both hold up. I think A Few Acres of Snow was more interesting than good, but I generally like Wallace's designs. A Study in Emerald (1st Ed.) is definitely a top ten game for me. It's telling that even a reprint is incapable of capturing what that game does so well
Posted: 03 Feb 2016 10:41 by Egg Shen #221549
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Thanks Pete! I happen to really like Prophecy as well. Problem is that nobody else does lol. I would love to see Vlaada go back and make a 2.0 of that game with new artwork and better support. That ain't gonna happen though.

Jeff - I'm really glad someone decided to talk about Blood Bowl TM. Man that game is SO GOOD. It's funny because as much as I love it I've never purchased any of the expansions either. There was quite a bit of content in the base game though. Still I keep telling myself that I'm gonna pick them up for more teams. I'm actually really surprised that FFG has kept this game in print. I can't imagine that it does all that well for them.

Von Tush - can we start calling you "The Prophet" Von Tush?

More on Wallace - As I said in the article I'm still intrigued by the guys designs. I'm really interested in that space game Onward to Venus. I also want to try out A Study in Emerald at some point. Apparently, he is working on a zombie game for Space Cowboys/Asmodee. Discworld: Ankh-Morpork was another Wallace game from 2011. That one I really enjoyed.

Also, I agree with Von Tush and Barnes...Wallace certainly marches to the beat of a entirely different and unique drum. He doesn't seem interested in conforming or making his stuff refined. I agree that is what makes him interesting and still worth keeping tabs on as a designer.

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