New Year, Old Year: 2015 Revisited
Accountability. It’s a word. It means many things, though perhaps some things more than others. For instance, perhaps most people don’t consider the adjective that means you’re a really good financial worker to be one of the word’s primary definitions. To me, it means being honest. Frank. Open. Which is why I want to revisit my Best Week 2015 picks and talk about how they held up. Which games do I still play a lot, which have disappeared to the Basement of Forgetting, and which ones truly deserve to be called the best?
Since this is going to be a long-winded bit of self-reflection, feel free to skip to whichever retrospective you like. We’ve got the best rebaked games, consternating games, overlooked games, surprising games, and everything else of 2015.
Day One: Rebaked!
What I Got Right!
To put it frankly, this was an easy list to get “right.” Since many of these were recreations of classics, whether new editions or fresh spins on good ideas, many of them are the sorts of things that continue appearing on the table year after year.
Tigris & Euphrates, for instance, is an absolute classic, and probably the estimable Reiner Knizia’s single greatest game. The inaugural episode of the Space-Biff! Space-Cast! was mostly about how great it is even after all this time, which should say something about my esteem for its blend of high-level abstraction and historical setting. Meanwhile, Mysterium is a regular appearance when we have a lighter group that just wants to have a laugh about how collectively dumb we all are, and Greenland remains one of my favorite dice games of all time. Those three alone saw many plays in 2016, and I don’t see any reason why that should change in the future.
A couple others are the sorts of things that appear less often but still on a relatively regular basis. Catacombs is pretty much my gold standard for what a dexterity game can accomplish, and that alone guarantees it a spot on my Forever Shelf. Fury of Dracula hits my table every Halloween, Dark Moon every few months when we want an in-depth traitor game that doesn’t take too long to wrap up, and every one of my BattleCON piles into a gigantic wonderful heap whenever we manage to cobble together a friendly tournament.
Pandemic Legacy is a bit of an exception, though only because I played through its campaign once and that was enough for me. The thing is, however, that I don’t regret those hours we poured into it. By the end, while I was a bit fatigued on its format, I was having a blast. So even though it isn’t the sort of thing I’ll ever play again, at least until season two appears, I’m happy to have experienced it.
What I Got Wrong!
Haven’t played Prohis much this year. No idea why — it’s still upstairs, still works fine. Just haven’t bothered. At the same time, I also haven’t revisited Sheriff of Nottingham, the game upon which is based, so maybe this system of lies-within-lies didn’t remain as fresh as I imagined it would.
Summoner Wars: Alliances is my greatest regret of the year. For a long time this was my absolute favorite game, and it remains something I’ll always remember fondly. I love that this set weighs almost as much as that team-lift Ogre box now that it has everything packed together. Even so, I didn’t get in a single play in 2016, let alone a group tournament. I might insist on doing something big with it in the early part of this new year. We’ll see. If not, I fear that Summoner Wars may have to remain something I fondly recall rather than something I actively engage with.
On the next page, things get consternating.