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.
From what I can tell, this is an ancient Canadian flicking game. I remember first being introduced to Crokinole at my very first Geekway to the West. At that time they had a wonderful tournament that happened every year, and they gave away a beautiful board every year, we never won either. But my youngest daughter and I signed up for the tournament and lasted all of one game before being eliminated by a team that had clearly been practicing, or playing, maybe they weren’t specifically training to beat us, but it sure felt like it. Crokinole is a flicking game played on a circular board that is broken up in segments. We usually play in teams of two versus two, but you can certainly play one on one. The outside ring is broken up in segments of four so the players will sit around the board each with a section, teammates across from each other. From there you are flicking wooden discs, attempting to land them in a small hole in the middle of the board. Landing a disc in that hole will score you, or your team, twenty points. Here comes the trick though, if an opponent’s disc is on the board when it is your turn, your disc has to hit one of your opponent’s discs. If you miss, your disc, no matter where it stops, is taken off the board and does not count. In team play, each player is going to get six discs to shoot in a round in an attempt to score as many points as possible, or even stopping your opponents from scoring points. Along with the center, there are three other spots that your discs can rest that will give them fifteen, ten or five points respectively. Any disc resting on a line counts in the lower scoring section. Crokinole takes a lot of skill, and you definitely know when you are playing against someone who plays it a lot more than you do. There are some really finesse shots that you will have to make in order to follow the rules of touching an opponent’s disc on the board, you can’t just sit and flick and hope you are going to win. Crokinole and the following game are the only two games that I rank as tens. They are absolutely perfect. You don’t need a fancy board, I’ve played on home made boards that work just as well as any artisan board, but man, those artisan boards can be art. We play on a Ferti, nothing fancy, my only quibble with it is the rubber bumpers on it instead of wooden pegs. I’ve thought many times about upgrading, but I just haven’t pulled the trigger yet.
As I said, there are only two games that I will rate as tens, and PitchCar is another one. There are no teams in PitchCar. You are racing your car around a track trying to be the fastest racer. Well, really you are flicking your disc around a track, but still, you get it. Much like Crokinole there is a skill to flicking discs in PitchCar. You can’t just go flicking as hard as you can and hope to make it around the track, that’s a quick way to be in last place. One thing with PitchCar, you have to be able to flick straight. The hardest shot, the shot you should practice, is flicking your disc in a straight line over a long distance. I’ve seen more players think the straight aways are the easy part and end up pulling their hair out as they have to reset their disc four or five times as others pass them by because they keep going off the track. The biggest joy of PitchCar is the infinite variety. The base game comes with a set of wooden track pieces that offer an awful lot of track variety, but add in expansions, long straights and loops and you have infinite fun and infinite headaches for the racers. Geekway to the West used to have a couple of folks who attended who liked to throw PitchCar tournaments, but those tournaments have faded away due to all the work and just sheer size of the convention. We’d spend most of a full day playing if you made it to the final table. It was a wonderful time and I kind of miss those tournaments. For your viewing pleasure, here are a couple examples of tracks, the first one from the 2015 Geekway to the West Finals and the second one, just a track that my oldest daughter created.
This one is mostly my wife’s choice. And it took us awhile to find a real, original version, and we payed a pretty price for it, but everything had been refurbed into absolutely perfect condition. Battling Tops is another Geekway tournament tradition, one that my wife has actually won. The basic premise of Battling Tops is that each player has a top, and some string and you are going to set them to spinning in the arena and the last one standing is the better top. Simple, raucous fun that some folks will tell you takes a lot of skill, but in reality, this is a grip it and rip it type of game where the folks you are playing with make the real excitement and there are definitely nights where that is what you need.
These are my top shelf games, the ones that don’t fit in cubes, so I don’t really have a photo of them on a shelf. That’s why you got a couple of old videos from me instead. These are also games that we don’t really play a whole lot at home, they are more event type of games that we will play in larger groups or at conventions. But I won’t have a board game collection with out them.