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!
If you are a BoardGameGeek user, you can also follow along on the Geeklist I created.
Another shelf, another Knizia auction classic. Yup, I even kept the old ugly copy while others were picking up that new, overly pretty Osprey Games version. High Society just missed out being one of the Top 10 Knizia Games on our list last year. That list is a tough nut to crack, and being an honorable mention says an awful lot about how highly we think of High Society. It has that wonderful Knizia twist, while yes, you want to acquire the most glorious items to showcase your wealth, you have to also have more money that others at the end or all of that consumption is for naught and you lose the game. Is the game making a giant societal statement? Maybe, but it’s also a good, strategic time while making the statement. It loses some play time around here thanks to our love of Modern Art, but it really is a fantastic use of 20 minutes. 5 plays since 2013.
I mentioned Linko! in the Unheralded Games of the 2010s series and I stand by that. Simple shedding game in premise, but really tricky to play well in practice. You are trying to get rid of thirteen cards in hand by playing them in front of you. You can play singles, doubles, triples and so on in front and if you play the same number of cards as people before you and yours are higher, you can make them pick those cards up, or you can take them and make them draw new ones to replace them. It’s light hearted enough to fit almost any age gamer, plus strategic enough to work with even the most battle hardened of gamers at your table. 10 plays since 2014.
It’s honestly really tough being the resident Jeff Allers’ fanboy on this site (thanks for that moniker, Dale). But in the past couple years, I don’t think that there is a game that’s been as overlooked as this one. Take Heartland, which is also on my shelves now, and give it a new theme and some small rules changes and you have a wonderfully tactical tile laying game. I know that the theme was a bit of a turnoff for some folks, but this game is good. Another turnoff for folks is the necessity to reign in the leader, you just can’t ignore them, you have to definitely try to cut their feet out from under them so to speak. It’s aggressive, unapologetically so, at any player count. But far more than that, I kind of blame the publisher for basically forgetting that it existed as soon as the game was released, and seemingly even before given the lack of reviews out there in the wild. Luckily Chris has us covered here on the Opinionated Gamers site. Added bit of useless knowlege. Of all the Allers’ titles I owned at the time of the purge, the only one that didn’t survive is Order of the Gilded Compass. 11 plays since 2018.
Gold West is one of those games that I originally bought, reviewed and then gave away to others to do the same. There were many times after that fact that I wanted that copy back in my collection and with TMG re-releasing it and needing reviews again, that was the opportunity I needed. Gold West is a wonderful set collection, area majority game, but the coolest and most unique thing about Gold West is the mancala styled track for the resources that you collect. They have to move through this mancala to be available to use. It’s a wonderfully strategic timing mechanism that works seamlessly here. You gain more points by placing them further down the track, but closer on the track means they are going to be available for use quicker. Plus, it’s a wonderfully underutilized theme in board gaming, the gold rush. This one ranks right up with Sentient as far as favorite Kevern games go, I’d hate to have to choose between the two. Full review here on Opinionated Gamers. 4 reviews since 2016.
MARBLES again! I have been super happy to see Jelle’s Marble Runs being posted about on twitter since I mentioned them when talking about Potion Explosion. Gizmos also uses marbles, in a bit of a different way. Dale hit Gizmos right before Gen Con in 2018. In Gizmos the marbles represent energy that you will be using to power your gizmos. Once powered, these gizmos will go into your tableau and give you more and more benefits on your turn when you do different actions. It’s a brilliant little tableau builder with some charming table presence. And honestly, another game that kind of suffered from the lack of support from the publisher, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise as CMON doesn’t seem to support much of anything for very long unless it has a bunch of minis and makes a million on Kickstarter, which kind of sucks as they seem to have a pretty good eye when it comes to finding decent games outside of that comfort zone. 6 plays since 2018.
Heaven & Ale
You ever have one of those games that just lights the table on fire as soon as you get it and it gains a half dozen plays in the first couple weeks and then you never get to play it again? That’s what has happened with Heaven & Ale around here. This time on the OG, Tery has the floor with the review. I love craft beer, and my favorite style are Belgian Quadrapels which were mastered by the monks. Part tile laying, part rondel play, Heaven & Ale boasts that always challenging scoring mechanism where the lowest score of multiple possible scoring tracks is your score at the end of the game. It requires planning and the ability to balance everything going on in order to be successful. From legendary designer Michael Kiesling and relative newcomer Andreas Schmidt, Heaven & Ale is a bit heavier than my normal fare, but it never really felt that way to me. This needs more game time at the table. 6 plays since 2018.
I reviewed Hats back in August. It still stands as one of my favorites from the 2019 field of games that came through our doors. I think my conclusion of that review still stands up, “Hats is simple to teach, quick to play and allows you to feel like you are playing a game that requires your utmost attention for each and every action you take. I wish that more games made you feel that way.” 9 plays since August 2019.