Dale Yu: Looking back at a year’s worth of gaming with the local group

It’s that time of year again – when most gamers pull out their notebooks or spreadsheets to go over the data that they have meticulously collected and relive the glory of the previous year in gaming.  OK, so I don’t usually do that with the data, but why else do we gamers keep such records?  It’s not like I’m going to need to know in 2025 how many games I played this year…

So, I didn’t do the best job of keeping records.  I pretty much lost the data on anything that didn’t involve my weekly group.  But, with the help of the other members of my group, I was able to successfully fill out the Google Doc which we share amongst us with the goings on of the local group.

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a group that was this stable – and it has helped me play games almost every week.  We have limited this particular group to only 5 people – and I’d say that we average just under 4 gamers at any particular meeting.  But, even if we all show up – finding a game that easily accomodates five players is no problem.  By keeping the numbers intentionally low in this group, we always stick together at a single table, and there isn’t any of that funny “waiting around for the other table to finish” business that happens in larger groups.

We meet about once a week, usually Tuesday or Wednesday night, starting around 6:30pm and going until we get tired – usually between 11 and midnight — meaning there is about 5 hours of gaming in each session.  As part of the email chain to decide which night to play, we often propose a game or two to make sure that we play that week.  The upside of this early discussion is that we often have all had a chance to read the rules to the games ahead of time – so even if we are playing a new game, we  can get through the rules explanation at a fairly quick pace and get into the fun of actually playing a game!

All five of us are fairly open-minded in our gaming, and we all pretty much will try anything once – though we’re not afraid to exercise a veto if there is something that we didn’t like the first time around.  The other nice thing is that we mostly play fast – this allows us to get in 3-4 games on most nights.

So looking at the spreadsheet, our group met at least 42 times this year – though I think that we missed a few weeks of data!  We usually miss a few weeks around the holidays as well as the weeks just before and just after Essen and just before and just after the Gathering of Friends.

Over those 42 sessions that were recorded, we played 263 games.  Interestingly, there was only one game that would make a nickel/dime list… We played Finito 5 times (four of them in one gaming session).  The next most popular games were all played 4 times: Terra Mystica, Seasons and Love Letter.  Then, there are  a bunch of games that were played 3 times.  Why 3 times?  Because that’s the number of times that I like to play a game before reviewing it, and that therefore becomes a target for many games.

An alphabetical list of the games that we played over 2012 will show the breadth of the games that we played.  We also made a point of playing a number of older games as one of the guys in our group is still relatively new to gaming.

  1. 1969
  2. 1000 island railways
  3. Acquire
  4. Aeroplanes
  5. Agricola all creatures great and small
  6. Aloha: the spirit of hawaii
  7. Among the stars
  8. Aquileia
  9. Arabian Adventure
  10. Ark&Noah
  11. Arngriff der Klonkrieger
  12. Asara
  13. Atlantis Rising
  14. Attraction
  15. Banana Matcho
  16. Battle beyond space
  17. Bayon
  18. Burdigala
  19. Burgund
  20. Can’t Stop
  21. Carrara – basic
  22. Carrara – advanced
  23. Catan Junior
  24. Caveman Curling
  25. Chipswitcher
  26. City of horror
  27. Climb!
  28. Copycat
  29. Coup
  30. Courtier
  31. Crazy Creatures of Dr Gloom
  32. crazy derby
  33. Croa!
  34. Defenders of the Realm card game
  35. Der dreizehnte Holzwurm
  36. Der Elefant im Porzellanladen
  37. Diamant
  38. Die tore der welt kartenspiel
  39. Doge Ship
  40. DrachenSchatten
  41. Einfach Genial: Das Wurfelspiel
  42. Enigma
  43. Epic spell wars of the battle wizards: duel at mt. skullzfyre
  44. Escape
  45. Family Vacation
  46. Famous 500
  47. Famous fairways
  48. Famous fastball
  49. Famous football
  50. Famous forehand
  51. Felinia
  52. Filipino Fruit Market
  53. Finito
  54. Fleet
  55. Flower Fall
  56. For Sale
  57. Fruit Ninja the Card Game
  58. Game
  59. Gauntlet of Fools
  60. Giganten der lufte
  61. Ginkgopolis
  62. Gipsy King
  63. Goblins inc
  64. Greg’s Tagebuch
  65. Helvetia
  66. High Society
  67. Hobbit card game
  68. Hols der teufel
  69. Il Vecchio
  70. Irondie
  71. Kaispecher
  72. Kalimambo
  73. Karnaxis
  74. Keltis: Das Wurfelspiel
  75. Keyflower
  76. King of Tokyo + Power Up
  77. Kleine fotosafari
  78. Kosmonauts
  79. Lancaster
  80. Last chance
  81. last days of pompei
  82. Lets take a hike
  83. Liar’s dice
  84. Limits
  85. Little Devils
  86. Lords of Waterdeep
  87. Love Letter
  88. Mage Knight
  89. Master of Rules
  90. Metropolitan
  91. Milestones
  92. Myrmes
  93. Neighborhood planner dice game
  94. Nur peanuts
  95. Oddville
  96. Ole
  97. out of gears
  98. Oversight
  99. Pala
  100. Palaces of Carrara
  101. Payoff Machine
  102. PG: first Sparks
  103. PI
  104. Pizza theory
  105. Puerto Rico
  106. QIN
  107. R
  108. Ra
  109. Rapa nui
  110. Riff Raff
  111. Rocks!
  112. Rolling Freight
  113. Rolling Racers
  114. Rondo
  115. Saint Malo
  116. Samurai Sword
  117. Santa Cruz
  118. Santiago de cuba
  119. Schnuff
  120. Seasons
  121. Settlers of Catan
  122. Seven Sisters
  123. Sheepdogs of Pendelton Hill
  124. Sheepland
  125. Siberia TCG
  126. Smash Up
  127. Snowdonia
  128. Spellbound
  129. Star Wars Angriff der Klonkriegers
  130. Starship Merchants
  131. Step by Step
  132. Stichmeister
  133. Stone age
  134. Suburbia
  135. Tenakee
  136. Terra Mystica
  137. The Crow and the Pitcher
  138. The Dwarf King
  139. The hobbit card game
  140. Through the desert
  141. Tokaido
  142. Tooth and nail faction
  143. Town center
  144. Trains
  145. Trajan
  146. Trick of the rails
  147. Tricky Bid
  148. Troyes
  149. Truckers 1.5
  150. TTR Asia Team
  151. TtR India
  152. Uchronia
  153. Unexpected Treasures
  154. Vanuatu
  155. Verflixxt
  156. Web of power
  157. Wurfel bingo
  158. Yellowstone park
  159. Yspahan
  160. zirkus flohcati
  161. Zooloretto wurfelspiel

This year, we are keeping to the same schedule, and we’ve got a lot of games still to play from Essen 2012!  Hopefully, we’ll get through all those games by the time the Gathering rolls around in April because that’s when I’ll get the first batch of Nurnberg releases to try out!  I would also like to explore the idea of theme nights – where we pick a year and then only play games released in that year.

For instance, if we chose 1998, I’d try to get Through the Desert, Elfenland, Verrater, Schnäppchen Jagd and Honeybears to the table.  For 1992, it would be Modern Art, Tal der Konige, Stimmt So!, Spekulation and Loopin Louie!  We had also thought of going through and playing only SdJ winners for a week or two.  Anyways, those are all good ideas for the summer when we’re in between waves of new releases…

Thanks to the regular members of the group for playing so many different games and for not being afraid to try something at least once!

About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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9 Responses to Dale Yu: Looking back at a year’s worth of gaming with the local group

  1. gschloesser says:

    Wow! 3 – 4 games in a 5-hour period? You guys really play fast. Many in our East Tennessee Gamers group — myself included — tend to play considerably slower than folks in your group. Unless we are playing games that have a 1-hour time frame, we can usually only fit 2 games at most in an evening. Some games take the entire evening, like our Clash of Cultures adventure last week.

  2. Dale Yu says:

    Greg, well if you look at the list of games, we also play a lot of fillers. Easy to get to 4 or 5 games a night when you play things like Love Letter, Finito and Can’t Stop!

    What we usually do is trade emails back and forth early in the week. Usually one or two “meatier” games are nominated, and we generally start off with the heavier games. The benefit of knowing the games ahead of time gives everyone a chance to read the rules prior to game night. While we still go over the rules before playing a game for the first time, this process is greatly streamlined when most folks are already familiar with the basics of the game.

    When we played Clash of Cultures recently, Luke was able to get us started in about 20 minutes with rules… Then our game itself took just under 3 hours (for a 4p game). Of course, we all planned our turns out in advance when we could to avoid Luke’s promise of punching us in the face if we hadn’t at least started planning!

    • gschloesser says:

      That is a great process … but I fear it would not work in our group. We regularly get 15 – 20 people at game night, and the vast majority of times we do not plan in advance what games we will be playing. Occasionally someone will make a post requesting a specific game, but more often than not we decide on the spot. I do make sure I have read the rules in advance to any games I might be teaching, but if it is a new game, usually no one else is familiar with it.

  3. Dale Yu says:

    Well, that’s one of the reasons why this group has been specifically limited to 5 members. We always play at a single table, and while we lose some of the camaraderie of a larger group, it is a much more stable group to play in. We all like each other, we can tolerate everyone’s habits, and there isn’t any of the politics that I have seen in larger groups. No one has to avoid playing with anyone else. Also, there is less downtime because you’re never waiting around for 20 minutes for the other table to finish up to re-distribute. When we finish a game, we just look for the next one and then dive right in.

    It’s not the perfect plan for everyone, but it works for us.

  4. gschloesser says:

    So if I moved to Cincinnati, I wouldn’t be able to play with y’all? :o)

    • Dale Yu says:

      Well not in this group. Anyways, you might not be fast enough to keep up with the group ;) Luke would be punching you in the face a LOT…. ;)

      If you moved up here, the easier solution would be to make a second group with the same rules!

  5. Lucas Hedgren says:

    Note: No faces were actually punched in the making of this game group.
    This one-time, good-natured cajoling was specific to Clash of Cultures, which is both long, and particularly suited for allowing for turn-planning. I swear I am not violent. Much. We do like to keep it moving though. Even with all my take-backs.

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