Over the next few months, instead of going with my Three Games articles, I am going to take a look at my collection and try to discuss why certain titles survived the great purge of 2019. During this process I may take a look at some games that didn’t survive, but only as a measuring stick for what did survive. Since I am silly, like a lot of gamers, I use Ikea Kallax shelves to display the games that we own. This makes it pretty easy to break things down cube by cube, so that’s what we’re going to do, twenty-four cubes, plus a top shelf for games that don’t fit in the cubes, over the course of a few months. I hope you enjoy!
One of these days, I should sit down and write my ode to Carcassonne. A swan song to reviewing as it will probably be the most annoyingly glowing piece I have ever written. I find it very difficult to find any fault in the design of this game. Simply put, Carcassonne is my favorite game in the collection and has been for quite some time. Question becomes, why do I have two copies, especially when one of them is as all encompassing as The Big Box. Well, because there are promos and expansions in the old design box and also expansions and promos in the new design box. Carcassonne is a completionist’s nightmare. There are special Essen tiles to get every year, there are now weird maps to get as well. While my collection is not complete, I was working on it in the old style until I realized that the new style had things as well that couldn’t be added to the old style. For my wife and I, maybe only Ticket to Ride can rival the importance that the game served in our formative gaming time. Carcassone is fantastic at any player count, except maybe six players, especially if you are just playing with the base tiles. At two players though, it can be a downright exciting and kind of mean game. Perfect fit for us. Nothing makes us happier than stealing a castle, or stealing a field out from under each other. In spite of my desire to, I still have not played Carcassonne with everything I own at one time, I think the largest play I ever did was with three expansions, plus The River. Someday though, some day. 34 plays since 2013.
The Castles of Burgundy
Kind of weird that I kept this one, as I think I have maybe played it in physical form five times? But I do have almost one hundred plays of it logged via various online sites. I love Castles of Burgundy, it’s a wonderful dice and tile game. Like any game with dice involved, it frustrates me from time to time, and I don’t fully believe that there are enough ways to off-set bad luck rolls, but ultimately if I am going to play a game where I have to roll dice and plot out my round based on that roll, Castles of Burgundy is my choice. It’s ugly, it’s a pain in the ass to set up in physical form, but I just don’t think that there is anything like it out there that can compare. It is point salad-y, but damn it, who doesn’t like scoring a lot of points for just about anything you do? Yet, it sticks around and it still is one of my favorite games to play, only with two players, maybe three, never four, and rarely on the table. 95 plays (mostly online) since 2013.
Carson City The Big Box
One of my first big box Kickstarter games was a game that had long been on my wishlist based on my love of the designers other big game, Ginkgopolis. Carson City has it all, it has worker placement, tile placement, area majority fighting with dice and dueling. It really is a wild west battle each and every play. It’s a fantastic game that got a wonderful re-release via Kickstarter. These are the kind of games that I look for on Kickstarter any more. I have never had much luck with Kickstarter games, I would wager that my collection now contains very, very few of them, but proven games, getting re-releases in improved quality is where my head is at. I don’t get to play this one nearly often enough. It’s big and is a bit of a table hog, but man does it deliver each and every play. 4 plays since 2016.
Codenames & Codenames Duet
Codenames has kind of fallen out of favor for us. This past year or so has given us a plethora of great, family weight games. Just One & Letter Jam being the two that we have latched on to. So when it came time to decide what to keep, I had to take a long look at Codenames. I just wasn’t sure that it would get any play time. Ultimately though, I think that Codenames brings something to the table that the others don’t. It’s a small box game that can handle an almost infinite number of people and I have seen Codenames bring those people together for a really competitive and fun time. Codenames Duet is mine and my wife’s preferred way to play Codenames though, so it had to stay as well, even if it has been a long time since it has hit the table. Besides, who gets rid of Spiel des Jahres winning games? Codenames has 16 plays since 2015 & Codenames Duet has 12 plays since 2017.