Race for the Galaxy +70 #29
Agricola +14 #13
Quick! Name two big games that were released in 2007. Not much surprise that these two showed up in the prime movers category. RftG had early reviews as far back as Oct. 2007 stirring up gamer's desire to get their hands on this game and when it was more widely available near the end of the year, this game was THE game to be played. This felt like a slightly more wide open version of San Juan and it was obvious from some of the things on some cards that there was going to be more to this game than just this one set of cards (and there was a lot more planned). Sadly, it took TEN YEARS for us to get a port of this game onto our tablets and phones. I've played a fair bit of Race because of the app this year, and while I enjoyed it more than I enjoyed the tabletop game initially, I still think the game is a little random and that you can have a good idea if you are going to win or lose after the first 3-4 cards are down. Well, of course its random, it is a card game, but this has never really sunk its hooks into me. Race currently still resides in the BGG Top 50.
Agricola was of course the Puerto Rico killer. That one game people liked enough to knock PR off its top spot (a spot that nobody thought PR would ever surrender). Obviously it hadn't done so yet, but climbing to #13 in the first year of release is pretty impressive. Ten years later, Agricola sits at #15 on the BGG charts.
NONE! Fallingest star was Louis XIV dropping six to #82. I don't think I've talk about Louis before so let take a look! Louis XIV was/is the first in Alea's Medium Box line of games (released 2005). Something of an area control/influence game, players are trying to gather influence in the Sun King's court. The game's rules were pretty bad by Alea standards, but the game itself wasn't terribly hard to learn. It was a cool little game except for one thing - there was a set collection portion to scoring points and unfortunately it was totally random. At least for me, it spoiled this game. Out-planning the other players only to lose because someone got lucky isn't terribly appealing. Others must agree to some extent as Louis is sitting at #503 ten years later.
StarCraft: The Board Game #96
Blood Bowl - Third Edition #100
I'm going to mention Blood Bowl first - I love the concept, but have never played. This looks like one of those games that stays around with its cult following and it would periodically poke its head up and then disappear back into the woodwork. This particular entry on BGG currently sits at #230, but there are multiple entries and still tons of fans, so I'm sure we'll all still know what this is 10 years from now.
Starcraft was a new release in 2007. One of FFG's coffin box games meant that you were about to get a monster of a game. Tons of plastic and probably a heavy (physically and time commitment-wise) game. And they didn't disappoint. Fans of the original computer game loved Starcraft because of the amazingly well balanced factions and cool story (let's face it, Blizzard used to make tons of kick ass non-MMORPG games). Here, we got a tabletop game that had six factions (2x each of the three races) and lots of "toy" factor with model ships (that broke a lot) and armies. There was also a pretty fun game here. The game was designed a bit like AGoT such that you were going to be in conflict with the other players from the moment you started the game - the biggest twist was that everyone secretly placed orders on the board spaces. The orders stacked and were executed in reverse. If someone placed an order and then that got covered by three other orders, you could get screwed by that particular action getting delayed, or happening well after the board had changed. Don't get to a spot early enough and you allow someone else the chance to invade or occupy a space last. Truly, the planning portion was what made this game amazing.
Unfortunately, this was one of FFG's premium games and was expensive. Coupled with it being long playing, it had somewhat limited appeal. Additionally, FFG lost the Blizzard licenses and it didn't see a reprint and is slowly getting harder and harder to find. Nowdays, Starcraft sits around #326
Top 5 Winning Movers for December
These are the the five games that made the biggest jump up the BGG charts since the last month.
- Agricola (Second month!) - see above
- Commands & Colors: Ancients - I've been a big fan of Borg's C&C system which has been used in an almost silly number of games. This feels like the Penultimate version to me (I count Battles of Westeros as the top version) and the huge number of expansions that came out for it and the number of fans probably agree to some extent or another. The reason I like this version is the mechanics have been refined and just work really well with this style of warfare. And while a lot of the C&C based games used minis, the GMT Ancients line bypassed that for simple blocks, which made it easy to setup and handle during the game.
- 1960: The Making of the President (Second month!) - 1960 was the followup to the amazing Twilight Struggle. It is also a card driven area-control game, but instead of the cold war, this game focuses on the Presidential race between Kennedy and Nixon. I've heard it described as more strategic than the tactical nature of Twilight Struggle, but have never had the chance to play it. This is one that I really wish would get made into an app or computer game.
- Combat Commander: Europe (Second month!) - Combat Commander is simply one of my favorite games of all time. I know that war games are not everyone's cup of tea and I know a number of people that have tried CC and said it was too random or chaotic for them. I still love this game (and in fact, embrace the chaos of war that this game injects). The main reason this game is so fantastic is that this game has a better narrative than any game I've ever played. This game has more memorable moments per game than any other I have played. I can remember more details about a number of matches from this game than I can from all other games I've played over the years. There are more highs and lows produced each session than almost any other game I've played and I can't stop gushing about how good Combat Command is and how much fun I have when I sit down to play it. There are a lot of expansions and scenarios that have been released for CC and yet almost universally, fans of the game will tell you that they'd play the very first scenario in the game over and over because you never really know what is going to happen and each session is just that much fun. It says something in a scenario based game when you don't get bored with the very first scenario, but even if you played through all the pre-defined scenarios, the random scenario generator in the game is so well done that you have to wonder if the designer didn't make that up first and then started cobbling together stories for a random set of stuff he generated.
- Race for the Galaxy - see above