New Year, Old Year: 2016 Revisited
Day Two: Adorable!
What I Got Right!
The main success from this list is going to shock and amaze you. Ready? No, I don’t think you are. Take an extended gander at that image and get back to me. Do you know which game had the greatest staying power at the Thurot household?
Yeah, it was Happy Salmon. The one game to ever be featured on a Best-Week! list without a review.
It’s perfect. I’ve never had a bad experience with it, even when I nearly broke my finger trying to attract a pound. Or the time I ran cartoon-style into someone because we were trying to swap. As a bonus, it’s also basically exercise.
Other than that, there are some real winners here. The highlights are Kodama: The Tree Spirits and The Dragon & Flagon, both of which regularly appear on our table with particular sorts of guests. Kodama is the one we trot out whenever a specific friend’s wife shows up to game night. She loves this thing, and with its cross of cuteness and “count to ten mushrooms” gameplay, that’s no surprise. The Dragon & Flagon, on the other hand, is the game we play when we have exactly eight people. For one thing, that’s an underserviced number. More importantly, with a lot of brawlers this game is hilarious. Somebody always gets mad. Usually when you roll a barrel into them.
Not quite as high up the list sit both Mechs & Minions and Tiny Epic Western. The first is something I plan to return to when my daughter is a little older, since it’s a contender for my favorite programmed movement game, especially once things start going sideways and your mech starts spinning circles. Tiny Epic Western continues the tiny epic tradition of being two parts compelling and two parts consternating, but it’s managed to retain some of its appeal by being a pretty tight poker-’em-up. Too bad about the shootouts, though.
What I Got Wrong!
It’s a sorry state of affairs when two games published by Ryan Laukat fail to retain my interest. The first is Dingo’s Dreams, a gussied-up version of bingo, which is ninety percent adorable and ten percent, well, a variant of bingo where you’re moving around pieces to try and line up your spirit animal. I may try it out with my daughter in a year, but for now it’s been shelved.
Also from Red Raven Games is Ryan Laukat’s own Islebound. It had nothing in common with other ships & shipping games, but the similarity of setting made it harder for me to keep it around when I can’t even find time for Merchants & Marauders. Also, I’ve discovered that Ryan Laukat games sell like gangbusters about six months after they’ve shipped.
The final downturn of the year is Mr. Cabbagehead’s Garden Game from Todd Sanders, which only counts because I gave the game away to a friend and he never really mentioned it again. At any rate, it’s my understanding that we’ll be seeing this one in a final published form rather than print-and-play in the near future, so it’s possible that Cabbagehead, Eudora Brassica, and Horace Savoy-Brassica will soon make a roaring comeback.
Next up, the best iterative games of 2016 and whether they still stack up.