My personal 2010 real bargain.
It is not easy to make now a real good list of best 2010 games. I’m still rushing to play some games to be able to produce my top 10 list for the first round of the International Gamers Awards selection. What I can write now is a list of the 2010 releases I have played most. In a world full of nice games, with many good releases and an horde of average games, I think playing a game several times is a good index of quality.
I’m used to say that boardgaming is one of the best hobby also looking for the quality/cost ratio: buying a 50 euros game you are not going to play means something like 25 euro/hours (just reading the rules, unpounching the components, dreaming about, thinking where to place the game in your library and why you have bought a game you are not going to play is not less than 2 hours!). If you are playing the game 1-2 times it drops close to 12 euros/hours, less than riding horses or playing golf and something close to looking a movie. If you are going to play the game 5 or more times it becomes a real bargain. And, luckily not all the games are 50 euros affairs.
So, here is my list of 2010 true bargains: games I have already played more than 5 times or, anyway, spent more than 5/6 hours thinking about …
Probably the best 2010 bargain because I was able to play it with all my different groups. At Club TreEmme, with gamers; at home with my wife and Caterina (my daughter) and after dinners with friends. It is not too much difficult to explain, not too much long too play, not too much lucky driven, not too much simple … I’m still trying to find the real point of strength of this game but I’m sure it is really difficult to find something wrong: I’m not sure it will be enough to get 7 Wonders some award but I’m sure is more than enough to guarantee a long life on my table.
I was not sure about this game and I bought it sometimes after Essen, especially for the art. I was surprised how well Asara deserve on the table: all the games played so far were funny and tense. Not a real deep game but a title I really like to play with family and friends. The rush for the high towers is nice, the mechanic elegant and the arts wonderful. For me the best SDJ candidate for the 2011 award.
A really nice game interesting both for gamers and occasional players. I was able to introduce it also in my “primary school games laboratory” with great success. The possibility to scale the difficulty using winter/summer tiles and map is great. It could be a real SDJ candidate having the right publishers/distributor.
Pocket Battles: Orcs vs Elves
Since it easy, quick, and portable Pocket Battles: Orcs vs Elves was one of the games I played most in the last months. I really prefer the fantasy setting so Orcs vs Elves is much more playable for me than Romans vs Celts. Once you master the rules you can set-up and play it in less than 30 minutes having a nice playing experience everywhere.
I’m a Memoir’44 addicted and the deep the Breackthrough maps offer to the game is impressive. Memoir’44 was usually a line against line affair but now with the Breackthrough scenarios you can have a real full battle experience including outflanking, second line defence and more. Of course it cost you more time in scenario’s set-up, the only drawback of Memoir’44.
The RedGlove Loch Ness is a really a nice kid game starting from 4-5 years old. It is actually the game I’m playing more with Francesco (my 4 years old son) and it is really a good game for this range. Since kids are used to be fanatized by a game and play it to the death, Loch Ness is actually probably my best 2010 bargain at the moment.
I was not impressed by Fresco in the beginning but I have to admit it is a good game with solid mechanics and a nice theme. It is probably the game I played more this year with friends in the after dinners sessions. Not yet tested the variants included in the box but the basic game has enough to guarantee a lot of session.
My opinion about this game is not so clear now. I really like the game, the theme, the arts and the mechanics but it is a game difficult to play since the diplomatic aspect is preponderant and it is not easy to find players able to like and substain 2 hours of tense negotiation in order to win. You need the right group and a lot of energy to play Dakota well and, unluckily, it is not easy to play it with low diplomatic since the importance is stressed also in the rules.
I really like this title and I like it more every time I play. I got a review copy from Italian publisher (Asterionpress) and I played it with gamers, family and friends. It is easy to learn and there are many different road to the victory. Nice theme, graphics and materials complete the “cake”. A sure SDJ runners but probably the fact Tikal already won the award can influence the judges.
Defenders of the Realm
I’m not a fan of cooperative games but I really like Defenders of the Realm, probably because it is not easy at all to win. Of course it is an evident Pandemic clone at first sight but the new setting and the new mechanics actually make the game flows really different. A real good bargain for gamers, like me, easly dazzled by fantasy settings and theme.
So here my list of best 2010 bargain (at least until now). Not the best 2010 games, not the games I would like to play most but the games, until now, appeared more frequently on my table.
Regarding Fresco, I would definitely recommend playing it with the additional rules. The basic game is okay for a light family game but you need the additional rules to make it a good Gamers game.
Like I said in my article, the Fresco expansion box also has a couple of nice things in there.
Thanks for saying nice stuff about Pocket Battles – it’s a great little portable combat game where almost 1/2 the game is building your army (and in a game that only takes 30 min. or so!)
I’m all behind the price/performance analysis, but what you’re leaving out is the storage problem… figure out what you pay monthly/yearly per square foot and then realize you’re paying about that for each game or two you own… that makes some of the cost/game go up…