New Year, Old Year: 2018 Revisited

Day Five: The Hybrid!

What I Got Right!

Man, what a year. Even with a few titles that probably didn’t deserve to be elevated, there were some real standouts.

For one thing, it was a very good year to be named Cole Wehrle, with both John Company and Root finally making their appearance. The former is a masterclass in how to design a historical game, while the latter will likely leave an impact that should be felt for years to come — although whether its emulators will understand the lessons of its asymmetry is to be determined. If anything, I’m a little disappointed that this category was so boring. Would anybody contest Root? I’d love to hear that argument.

What I Got Wrong!

For the sake of argument, I’m being as generous as possible with “wrong” here. Haven, like Heir to the Pharaoh, looks like it was yet another Alf Seegert design that was criminally overlooked, despite artwork and branding by Red Raven Games. Maybe that’s not the case, but it certainly doesn’t seem to pop up very often.

As for the other two, I have a fondness for AuZtralia and Everdell, but they don’t seem like titles I’m likely to return to. That isn’t the only marker of quality; I’m not likely to return to Meltwater, either, but that doesn’t diminish the bruise it leaves. But some games are made for impact and others are made to be played, and something tells me these two fall into the latter category. I may write about AuZtralia down the line, which might necessitate a revisit, but that’s for the sake of an article on its approach to history. Not exactly an acquittal, is it?

Either way, 2018 is probably the Best Week I’m most pleased with in retrospect. It was a strong year, and many of its best titles have held up marvelously. If you’re the sort of person who likes to wait until the passage of months and years has sifted out the last of the stinkers, might I recommend some of these?

 

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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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