New Year, Old Year: 2018 Revisited

Day Two: The Pure!

What I Got Right!

Here’s a confession for you. Once a game has reached the bottom half of a category, it’s largely interchangeable with its neighbors. It could place first, second, or third depending on my mood, and I wouldn’t lose sleep. But rather than assigning them at random, sometimes I can’t help but award that hallowed first place prize to whichever title will most rile up internet folk. Yes, that’s what I did here. Before you ask, yes, I also did it last year. Maybe more than once.

But before you go digging through Best Week 2019 to figure out where I picked at the festering bandage of online discourse, let me say that The Mind is absolutely the thing I got most right in 2018. It’s a constant companion at conventions and meetups. It’s easy to play and doesn’t require any real teaching. It’s one of the most worn-down games I’ve ever owned.

The other triumph here is, peculiarly, not in the top three at all. Grant Rodiek’s SPQF has been picked up by Leder Games and will be released later this year as Fort, and I couldn’t be more excited to see how they develop it. Although I still appreciate Rodiek’s Imperius, I think their positions should have been swapped. SPQF is certainly the one that’s made the stronger lasting impression.

What I Got Wrong!

Apart from that switcheroo, my major misstep in this category was Welcome To, which fizzled faster than an underwater firework. I suspect I got caught up in the hype. Or perhaps the novelty. I like the idea of a game that can be played by a bunch of people at once, but all those sheets of paper don’t solve the problem of needing to see the cards on the table. Like most roll/draw-and-write games, it’s a genre that’s grown wearisome for me. Doubly so when the game plays like an extended lesson in arithmetic.

I wouldn’t call CIV: Carta Impera Victoria a misstep, but it certainly had a table life. Concomitant with writing reviews is the reality that you won’t play any particular title as often as you’d like. That was the case here, and CIV was one of many games that found itself sold at a local meetup.

On the third day of Best Week, I made at least one more mistake.

Posted on February 18, 2020, in Board Game and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. You come to El Salvador often? That happens to be where I live. Let me just say that I haven’t discovered a thriving gaming community yet. It has turned me into a solo gamer.

    • My father goes every year to do eye surgeries, and last year I came along and helped do near acuity vision tests during the screening process. Which means most of my time was spent working, although we did manage to see some sights around San Salvador before setting up. I didn’t go this year, but may consider it in the future!

      Which part of the country are you located in? We spent most of our times in the mountains, so I didn’t get much sense for what people’s regular lives are like.

      • Christopher Miller

        I live in the country about an hour mostly north, a little west of San Salvador. If you look for a little town called San Pablo Tacachico that would be quite close to where I am.
        But my status as a US citizen working for a non-profit, means that, while I don’t live like I do in the states, neither do I experience some of the truly hopeless living conditions that many of my neighbors do.

      • Ah! I was on the other side of Santa Ana from you, in a mountain town named Juayua. Very friendly people, at least those who attended the clinic. But yes, the living conditions were rather disheartening.

  2. Ahhhhh CIV sees major table time for me. It’s my go to pick for a game that is light enough to get people to play (it’s just cards!) but strategically deep enough that everyone wants a second go after we finish the first game. I love it and really wish more people played it. It also has such expansion potential! Small addon cards to give each person a flavor, shared boards, etc.

    • I’m glad to hear that! It really is a smart little game that only gets better with repeat plays. Not sure whether it lost its luster on its own or if that’s just part of reviewing as many games as we do. If it earned an expansion, I’d happily repurchase the game for its sake.

      • In my mind, it’s because our final play was perfect. Outside of the legendary flick (mentioned with respect to Seal Team Flix), my final CIV game is towards the top of (positively) memorable Space-Biff sessions from 2018. Me, you, Geoff, and each of us had played multiple times to understand the way the cards form leverage. The early game starts by staking position via card draw. Mid-game causes some temporary alliances. You get an advantage, so Geoff and I start dragging you back. Geoff gains an advantage, so you and I start dragging him back. All this occurs with just eye contact. No words. Towards the end game, the alliances permanently break. Every player attempts to position for victory, which means positioning for tie-breakers, due to the early checks on the leader. I don’t particularly remember who won, but I remember the eye daggers being thrown around as we watched each other take their final turn. I haven’t played it since with you or otherwise.

      • Ha, I remember that. Hard to top a play with so much eye-stink.

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