Thursday, February 22, 2018

Obligatory End of 2017 Post Part II: The “Late-ies” Awards (Best of 2017)

Alright, we’re back with my “End of 2017” series and this post is one of my favorites of the year.  This will take a look at some different categories that I choose every year and give my winners in those categories.  


This isn’t the “usual” categories (i.e. “best game of the year”) because I haven’t even come close to playing all of the 2017 releases out there but there are a ton of categories that I can still weigh in on!  Before we move on to the 2017 “Late-ies” Awards feel free to check out the first post in my current series at the link below.


Alright, now with that out of the way we can go ahead and move on to the awards.  Thanks for taking the time to read and I hope you enjoy the third annual “Late-ies” Awards!

Best Overall Art:
First Runner Up – Near and Far (Red Raven Games)
Winner – Yamataï (Days of Wonder)


This category was a tough one this year.  I looked at all of the games and ended up landing on Yamataï.  This game has some absolutely amazing art that is all throughout the game.  The game’s art is done by Jérémie Fleury and looks absolutely incredible on the board and tiles.  I love what he did with the direction of the art and thus it takes home the trophy in overall art.

Best Card Art:
Second Runner Up – Villages of Valeria (Daily Magic Games)
First Runner Up – Tiny Epic Quest (Gamelyn Games)


This was another really tough category!  The last few years haven’t been nearly as difficult with some of these are categories but so many games are going with amazing artists!  I ended up choosing the art done on the cards in this game because they are so very vibrant and beautiful and just ooze the theme throughout them.

Best Board Art:
Second Runner Up – Yamataï (Days of Wonder)
First Runner Up – Anachrony (Mindclash Games)
Winner – Outlive (La Boite de Jeu)


This wasn’t quite as difficult of a category as I saw this board an immediately thought it looked amazing!  The art just pops off the board and looks like a city that has going through difficult times.  I love it when a board just looks incredible and this one takes the award for board art this year!

Best Box Art:
Second Runner Up – Noria (Edition Spielwiese/Stronghold Games)
First Runner Up – Charterstone (Stonemaier Games)


This was another category that was a homerun in my mind!  I think Kwanchai Moriya is an incredible artist and I love what he did with this game.  Everything from the box art to the cards to the board art oozes a retro-90’s theme and I love what he’s done.

Best Graphic Design:
Second Runner Up – Dice Forge (Libellud)
First Runner Up – Century: Golem Edition (Plan B Games)


This category is always a tough one for me to choose.  Do I pick the overall presentation or some specific icons that work really well?  This year I gave the award to Quests of Valeria which I think pulled off the whole package.  The game looks amazing with the art and matches up very well with some nice iconography.

Best Components:
First Runner Up – Dinosaur Island (Pandasauras Games)


Incredibly heat transferred dice, 11.5 gram poker chips with some awesome stickers, pvc cards and neoprene mats…all in a great insert.  Yeah, this category was taken ever since I opened up this box and saw the contents.  It just makes me super glad that I’ll be getting even more content this year!

Best Miniatures:
First Runner Up – Massive Darkness (CMON)


Every year it seems that there are even more amazing miniatures being made in the industry and this year isn’t a different.  I think the overall quality and detail of the miniatures from Mythic Battles: Pantheon are absolutely amazing and because of this get the “Late-ie” award for best miniatures in 2017.

Best Artist:


This year’s best artist was a no brainer for me.  Kwanchai Moriya has done so many amazing pieces for different boardgames and this year was his best in my opinion.  I especially loved the artwork done for Dinosaur Island and how bright and colorful it was and how much it screamed of the 1990’s.  I can’t wait to see what he has in store for next year.

Best Designer:


Now this was a tough category.  I absolutely loved the games that these designers put out this year and it was tough for me to give one of the top billing.  In the end I went with Kiesling due to the fact that he just had a ridiculous amount of games come out that were loved and highly respected.  Any one of these designers could have gotten the award in my opinion, but in the end it went to Kiesling!

Best Publisher:


This was another tough category as I had a really hard time choosing between the top 2.  I decided to give the award to Renegade Game Studios because they had so many different releases and really didn’t have much of a misstep in those releases.  I can’t wait to see what games they have in store for us next year as I think it will be even better!

Best Box Insert:
Second Runner Up – Lisboa (Eagle-Gryphon Games)
First Runner Up – Dice Forge (Libellud)


This was a slam dunk.  I got Wasteland Express Delivery Service and opened up the box and knew that it would win my best box insert award for the year.  This is so cleverly packaged and Game Trayz has done another amazing job with their custom, vacuum molded inserts.

Best Game Mechanism:


This year’s winner for the best game mechanism is one that I’m not generally a huge fan of.  After looking at all of the different games and what categories they go in I had to give it to pick-up-and-deliver!  So many good games were made this past year with the pick-up-and-deliver mechanism and I’m happy to say that it gets the nod!

Best Use of an App:


This was a tough category for me.  I love what the app does in a game like First Martians.  I also love what the app adds to Imperial Assault.  However, in the end I went with the Unlock! series of games.  This app creates such an interesting experience and really runs the “escape room” game in a way that makes it incredibly interesting and actually replayable which is also cool.

Best General Game Theme:
Second Runner Up – Theme Parks (Dinosaur Island/Unfair/Bärenpark/Coaster Park/Isle of Monsters)


There were some great themes out there this year.  I loved what some games were doing with the theme park idea.  We had bear parks, dinosaur parks and coaster parks.  I also love how many games came out with the post-apocalyptic theme.  However, in the end I went with the space theme.  The games that came out with this theme this year were absolutely amazing and thus it gets the win!

Best Specific Game Theme:
Second Runner Up – Painting with Bob Ross (Bob Ross: Art of Chill Game)
First Runner Up – Building a dinosaur park (Dinosaur Island)
Winner – Running a fantasy library (Ex Libris)


This category was nearly an automatic win.  When I saw the game Ex Libris come out with the super-cool fantasy library theme I was automatically taken!  While Dinosaur Island nearly took the top in the end I chose the fantasy library over the dinosaur park.

Best Dice:
Second Runner Up – Dice Forge (Libellud)
First Runner Up – Too Many Bones (Chip Theory Games)


This was really a two way race for the win between my beloved Too Many Bones and Dinosaur Island.  The dice in Too Many Bones are absolutely incredible and the heat transfer on them is great as they’ve not even started to show wear.  However, while I absolutely adore the dice in Too Many Bones, the dice in Dinosaur Island look incredible and are amazingly thematic!  Gilmour stated during an update in the campaign that they wanted the dice to look like amber that a fossil would have been in and they succeeded!  Rumor has it that they are planning on releasing a Kickstarter expansion sometime this year and I’m pumped for that!

Best Innovation:
First Runner Up – The 7th Continent (Serious Poulp)


The best innovation category is always a tough one for me.  I’ll go through the list of 2017 games and try to find those games that truly have something different and that can be tough.  This year these are the three games I landed on having something different in them that I think could last.  The winner however was Noria for the wheels that hold the different actions the player can take during the game.  These constantly shift which change what actions can be taken in what order and make the game look very interesting as well.

Best “Gimmick”:
Second Runner Up – Changeable Workers (Chimera Station)
First Runner Up – Changeable Dice (Dice Forge)
Winner – Folding Player Boards (Keyper)


This year’s “gimmick” category was interesting.  I use the gimmick category as one where there is some sort of interesting component or mechanism that isn’t used often (or at all that I know of) but it is something I don’t really think will be followed by other games.  This year’s “gimmicks” that I thought were cool are the changeable workers in Chimera Station, the changeable dice in Dice Forge and the folding player boards in Keyper.  I ended up on the folding player boards on Keyper because I think they are so cool and really work with the game but I doubt they’ll take off as a common component.

Well everyone, there you have it!  These are all of the “Late-ie” award winners for the year of 2017.  This is always a labor of love going through all of these games and giving out the awards but I love doing it!  I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store and which games will take home the awards next year.  If you can think of any other categories I should include just let me know!  Keep an eye out for my next post in the “End of 2017” series which will take a look at games from 2017 that I haven’t yet been able to try but am really interested in!  Thanks so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed it!  Until next time, game on!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Obligatory “What I Played In…” Post Part XXXI: January 2018

Yay!  Here we are with my first “What I Played In…” post of the 2018!  This past month was a pretty good month and we played some great stuff!  We were able to play 20 different titles to the tune of 43 plays.  I’ve moved the challenge portion of this post to an entirely different post.  If you’re curious about which challenge we’re doing and where we’re at feel free to check it out at the provided link.


Alright, with that out of the way let’s move on to the meat of the post and find out which games we played in January 2018!

Statistics:
Total plays in January 2018 – 43
Total unique games played in January 2018 – 20
New games played in January 2018 – 6
New games acquired in January 2018 – 5
New expansions acquired in January 2018 – 5
Most plays of a single game in January 2018 – 6


Designer – Alan R. Moon
Publisher – Days of Wonder
Last play before January 2018 – 12/22/17
Total plays in January 2018 – 6

Yes I know, super surprising that our most played game in a month was this one!  I don’t think we’ll ever tire of this fun and quick game.  We added on another expansion map this past month as well which really adds more flavor and replayability to the game!


Designer – Jamey Stegmaier
Publisher – Stonemaier Games
New to me
First play – 1/13/18
Total plays in January 2018 – 4

We got this game for Christmas and were able to crack it open and start our plays in it this past month.  We have a group of four including myself, Em, Zach and Steph and we are having a blast with this one!  I love the way the board has grown and the game has slightly changed each round and am looking forward to more of it.


Designer – Dávid Turczi/Vangelis Bagiartakis
Publisher – Artipia Games
New to me
First play – 1/9/18
Total plays in January 2018 – 4

We got this one this past month from a completed Kickstarter and have had a chance to play it a few times so far.  This is a super fun game and I love the real-time co-operative play and frantic nature of this game.  This one has an extremely strong theme and feels like you are running around a restaurant trying to complete orders.  I can’t wait to play this one more!


Designer – Michael Kiesling
Publisher – Plan B Games
New to me
First play – 1/12/18
Total plays in January 2018 – 3

This was another Christmas present that was delivered and that we got to play a few times this past month.  This is an absolutely great game that is super simple to teach and has some absolutely great depth to the decisions.  I just want to play more!


Designer – Uwe Rosenberg
Publisher – Amigo Spiele/Rio Grande Games
Last play before January 2018 – 12/31/17
Total plays in January 2018 – 3

This is a game we take with us to every family vacation because we know we’re going to get some plays of it in.  We were able to get a bunch during our Christmas vacation and as usual it goes down as one of my favorite card games.


Designer – Isaac Childres
Publisher – Cephalofair Games
Last play before January 2018 – 12/14/17
Total plays in January 2018 – 3

We were finally able to get together almost every week for Gloomhaven night and it is absolutely amazing every time!  We’ve had some retirements and been able to try out some new classes which has been awesome.  Can’t wait for more of this game!


Designer – R. Eric Reuss
Publisher – Greater Than Games/Fabled Nexus
Last play before January 2018 – 10/13/17
Total plays in January 2018 – 3

This has quickly flown up the ranks of my top games and has become one of my favorite co-operative experiences.  This game is incredibly meaty and crunchy and absolutely amazing when you have good players to play along with you!


Designer – Phil Walker-Harding
Publisher – Lookout Games/Mayfair Games
Last play before January 2018 – 10/13/17
Total plays in January 2018 – 2

Em and I pulled this game out a couple of times this past month and played some rounds.  I think this may be my current favorite poly-omino game as it is just a ton of fun.  I was able to pull off the first win and Em took the second.  I am looking forward to the recently announced expansion.


Designer – Jonathan Gilmour/Brian Lewis
Publisher – Pandasauras Games
Last play before January 2018 – 12/21/17
Total plays in January 2018 – 2

I played a solo round of this game in January and Em and I also picked it up to play a two-player medium length game.  I got 86 points in the solo (not sure how good that is yet) and Em was able to create an herbivore-strong park to beat out my carnivore-strong park for the win.  Love this fantastic worker-placement game!


Designer – Hisashi Hayashi
Publisher – Tasty Minstrel Games
Last play before January 2018 – 11/15/17
Total plays in January 2018 – 2

Em and I broke this one out during our trip back to Maryland with our buddy Ross.  We played two rounds and just barely lost the second one.  This is one of those great and simple co-op card games in the vein of Hanabi and I’ll always enjoy them!


Designer – Matt Leacock/Rob Daviau
Publisher – Z-Man Games
Last play before January 2018 – 12/25/17
Total plays in January 2018 – 2

We got in one gaming session of this game this past month and played the month of March.  We were absolutely manhandled by March but it was amazing!  We are having such an amazing time with this game and can’t wait to continue the ride.


Designer – Steve Finn
Publisher – IELLO
Last play before January 2018 – 5/4/17
Total plays in January 2018 – 1

Josh pulled this out at a gamenight with a couple of other guys and we got in a 4-player game.  This is a great little card game that really shines in its two phases.  I’d highly recommend this to anyone looking for a solid filler!


Designer – Emerson Matsuuchi
Publisher – Plan B Games
Last play before January 2018 – 12/30/17
Total plays in January 2018 – 1

Josh and I pulled this game out at a gamenight this past month and played a great round of it!  We actually tied but Josh took the last turn and thus was able to get the tie-breaker.  I love this game, so simple and yet so deep!


Designer – Andrew Fischer/Nathan Hajek
Publisher – Fantasy Flight Games
Last play before January 2018 – 12/8/17
Total plays in January 2018 – 1

Josh pulled this out for a gamenight with me and Jeff and we played an epic game!  The best way to explain this game is that it is an experience.  I love how the cards create an entire story and branching paths and every time I’ve played it the experience has been different.


Designer – Kane Klenko
Publisher – Renegade Game Studios
Last play before January 2018 – 11/11/17
Total plays in January 2018 – 1

Josh, Jeff and I played this game once this past month during a gamenight.  We played it on normal and were actually able to not only win but do really well!  This is one of those perfect games to just pull out and play quickly and enjoy!


Designer – Scott Almes
Publisher – Tasty Minstrel Games
Last play before January 2018 – 12/6/17
Total plays in January 2018 – 1

Em and I pulled this game out once this past month when we had a few minutes after a larger game.  This is a great little economic game that is in a super small box and is just clever and fun.  It is definitely better at larger player counts but perfectly fun still at only two.


Designer – Bruno Cathala/Bruno Faidutti
Publisher – Fantasy Flight Games
New to me
First play – 1/3/18
Total plays in January 2018 – 1

I was able to pick this game up in a trade just before we went on vacation so we brought it along and were able to break it out with Ross when he was over.  I’d never played before but I really like the action selection and the area control of this one.  Plus, the production of the game it top notch!


Designer – Daniel Fremgen
Publisher – Renegade Game Studios
New to me
First play – 1/20/18
Total plays in January 2018 – 1

This was another Christmas present that actually held up the shipment of games that I got from my parents.  We got it and pulled it out shortly after as the theme was something that my wife was super excited about.  We really enjoyed this worker placement game and the way the worker get weaker or stronger depending on what you do.  I really look forward to playing this with more people.


Designer – Thomas Spitzer
Publisher – Capstone Games
Last play before January 2018 – 8/24/17
Total plays in January 2018 – 1

Josh and I pulled this out one night this past month when it was just to two of us at the gamenight.  This is a fantastically crunchy Euro-style game where you are picking up coal and delivering it to different towns and factories throughout the play.  I have really enjoyed this one during every play.


Designer – Martin Wallace
Publisher – Space Cowboys
New to me
First play – 1/1/18
Total plays in January 2018 – 1

We picked this game up just before going on vacation and thus were able to try it out while we were there.  This is a super fun, streamlined, 18xx-style game but definitely made more for family weight.  I am really enjoying this game and looking forward to playing it more!

New game acquisitions in January 2018:

New expansion acquisitions in January 2018:

Well, there you have it!  Another month of some great games!  I am looking forward to playing some of these new games even more and continuing to roll through our 25x5 challenge.  Here’s to a new year and another great one!  Thanks so much for reading and check back soon as I hope to have up my awards for 2017 soon-ish.  Until next time, game on!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Obligatory 2018 25x5 Challenge Post Part I – January 2018

Hey all, new post time!  This year my wife and I have decided to forgo the 10x10 challenge and try something new.  We’ve made the decision to take on a 25x5 challenge and instead of including it in my monthly gameplay post I’ve gone on to make it into its own post.  What follows will be a quick and simple post that I’ll update every month along with my statistics.  These will be the 25 games we chosen to play at least 5 time this year.  I’ve also made tthree personal challenges of playing at least 100 games for the year, getting in at least 500 total gameplays and playing at least 25 new-to-me games which I will also update at the end of the post.  Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy!

2018 25x5 Challenge:

- Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn (0 plays in January, 0 total plays in 2018)
- Bärenpark (2 plays in January, 4 total plays in 2018)
- Baseball Highlights: 2045 (0 plays in January, 0 total plays in 2018)
- Broom Service (0 plays in January, 0 total plays in 2018)
- Champions of Midgard (0 plays in January, 0 total plays in 2018)

- Dinosaur Island (2 plays in January, 0 total plays in 2018)
- Dungeon Petz (0 plays in January, 0 total plays in 2018)
- A Feast for Odin (0 plays in January, 0 total plays in 2018)
- Fields of Arle (0 plays in January, 0 total plays in 2018)
- The Gallerist (0 plays in January, 0 total plays in 2018)

- Great Western Trail (0 plays in January, 0 total plays in 2018)
- Imperial Settlers (0 plays in January, 0 total plays in 2018)
- Kitchen Rush (4 plays in January, 4 total plays in 2018)
- Mechs vs. Minions (0 plays in January, 0 total plays in 2018)
- Millennium Blades (0 plays in January, 0 total plays in 2018)

- Near and Far (0 plays in January, 0 total plays in 2018)
- Roll for the Galaxy (0 plays in January, 0 total plays in 2018)
- Roll Player (0 plays in January, 0 total plays in 2018)
- Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Card Game (0 plays in January, 0 total plays in 2018)
- Seasons (0 plays in January, 0 total plays in 2018)

- Spirit Island (3 plays in January, 3 total plays in 2018)
- Too Many Bones (0 plays in January, 0 total plays in 2018)
- Via Nebula (1 play in January, 1 total play in 2018)
- Viceroy (0 plays in January, 0 total plays in 2018)
- Yokohama (0 plays in January, 0 total plays in 2018)

100 Unique Games Played in 2018 Challenge:

- 20 unique games played in January
- 20 total unique games played in 2018

500 Gameplays in 2018 Challenge:

- 43 gameplays in January
- 43 total gameplays in 2018

25 New-to-Me Games Played in 2018 Challenge:

- 6 new-to-me games played in January
- 6 total new-to-me games played in 2018

Well, there you have.  This will be a regular, monthly post that I’ll update and keep rolling throughout the year to keep up on the challenges and how we’re doing.  I think that’s all for now.  Thanks so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed!  Until next time, game on!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Obligatory End of 2017 Post Part I: Final Statistics from 2017

Alright, now let’s take a look at my next series.  This series is going to be looking at a whole bunch of things from 2017.  The first post will take a look at the final gameplays statistics for 2017.  I’ve done this every year so if you’re curious what my previous stats were I’ll leave the links just below.



So this post will take a look at my final statistics from all of 2017.  I’ve mentioned this before but I don’t put Asmodee as a separate publisher for the sake of these statistics (unless they are the only developer) because it would make them boring!  Instead I’ve split them into all of their different publishing houses.  The next post I’m working on now is my annual “Late-ies” awards for some “best of” categories that I’m interested in.  Finally I’ll take a look at some things I’m interested in from 2017 that I haven’t played yet and then look ahead to some games I’m looking forward to in 2018.  Enjoy the read!


Final Statistics from 2017:
Total plays in 2017 – 660
Total unique games played in 2017 – 142
Total new unique games played in 2017 – 70
Total new unique games played with a 2017 release date (recognized by BoardGameGeek) – 34
Most total plays in a month – 82 (November)
Most plays of a unique game in 2017 – 38 (Sentinels of the Multiverse)
Most unique games played in a month – 34 (August/November)
Most plays of a game in a month – 16 (Fabled Fruit/January)
Most months a unique game was played in 2017 – 8 (Gloomhaven/Ticket to Ride)
Total designers (recognized by BoardGameGeek) played in 2017 – 149
Most unique games by a designer played in 2017 – 6 (Uwe Rosenberg)
Most plays of all games by a unique designer in 2017 – 41 (Uwe Rosenberg)
Total publishers (recognized by BoardGameGeek) played in 2017 – 88
Most unique games by a publisher played in 2017 – 10 (Z-Man Games)
Most plays of all games by a unique publisher in 2017 – 52 (Greater Than Games/Stronghold Games)
Total games acquired in 2017 – 37
Total games acquired with a 2017 release date (recognized by BoardGameGeek) – 21
Total game expansions acquired in 2017 – 17
Total game expansions acquired with a 2017 release date (recognized by BoardGameGeek) – 12
Total Half-Dollars (50 plays, or more, of a game) in 2017 – N/A
Total Quarters (25 plays, or more, of a game) in 2017 – 2
Total Dimes (10 plays, up to 24, of a game) in 2017 – 22
Total Nickels (5 plays, up to 9, of a game) in 2017 – 22


Half-Dollars in 2017 (total plays in parenthesis):
N/A


Quarters in 2017 (total plays in parenthesis):


Dimes in 2017 (total plays in parenthesis):
Coup (20)
Red7 (13)
Bohnanza (12)
Kanagawa (12)
Triplock (12)
Codenames (10)
Tokaido (10)
Unfair (10)


Nickels in 2016 (Total plays in parenthesis):
SeaFall (6)
Harvest (5)
Unearth (5)


Well, there you have it!  It was a great year of some awesome games and I am really looking forward to what 2018 has in store!  If you’re more curious about plays feel free to check out BoardGameGeek and take a look at my handle, LateToTheTable for more information.  Thank so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed.  Until next time, game on!