Monday, August 07, 2017

Cult of the Not So New - July 2007

Wow! July flew by and I'm behind in posting this look back. Without further ado...

BGG user JonMichael Rasmus (jmsr525) has been doing analysis of the games and their trends each month for, well what seems like forever. I thought it might be interesting to look back at what was so hot 10 years ago, so sit back and enjoy this blast from the past. Based on information in the geeklist - BGG Top 100 Analysis July 2007.

Prime Movers for July - Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery
This game continued its rise from the previous month, moving up a whopping 37 spots to #21. If you haven't played this excellent worker placement / action selection game, go find it or the revised version (Empires: Age of Discovery - renamed due to the license).

Still a thing?
AoE:III dropped at some point, but only down to #118. It was originally published through the now defunct Tropical Games and then was only available through Eagle Games IIRC. This made it a little harder to come by. I honestly think if the distribution and marketing had been better, this would have gotten a lot more attention, because it is a good game. Even when it got a revision I hardly knew it had happened, which is way too bad for a game this good.

Falling Star - Bonaparte at Marengo
Not a true "falling star" as it only moved down 9 places (falling stars are supposed to be ten or more places). I've never had a chance to play this game, though I've seen it played a handful of times and it looks interesting as heck. The game itself got decent reviews, but was hard to come by even 10 years ago and is even harder to get your hands on now.

Still a thing?
BaM currently sits at #1031 - in large part I'm sure to the rather niche spot it holds (2-player war-game), the scarcity, and the fact that it was supplanted by Napoleon's Triumph (#320). Triumph is larger and broader in scale (covers more scenarios) and thus more sought after.

Hot Lava Birth for July - Tide of Iron
Tide of Iron is/was a coffin box game from FFG that arrived on the scene at #46. I never have had a chance to sit down to play it despite hearing decent things about. A couple things have kept me from ever really trying to find out. WWII war games are not something that my regular playing partners (except for maybe Robert Bolan five years ago) have been interested in playing. I discovered Combat Commander first, which is one of my Top 3 favorite games of all time. When you find something that good, you don't need to try something else. And lastly, this is a huge box of a game, and I just don't have the room for another game system, especially one that isn't going to get any attention.

Still a thing? ToI currently sits at #512 and still has a number of fans. FFG published a fair number of expansions for it (as FFG does), but at one point turned over its license to another publisher for a while then took it back. Not sure that there is any kind of recent / active development on this. I still have a small itch to play it/try it, but a much bigger desire to go play Combat Commander: Europe, so
I certainly don't think I'll be making a dent in this rising again.

Top Ten Trends for July
Oh hey look, Princes of Florence (+1) and BattleLore (-1) swapped places in the top ten. Not very exciting

Still a thing?
Ten years later, they are sitting at #99 and #214, replaced by the newer hotnesses. PoF was an auction and tile placement "puzzle" and is still a decent game. While it isn't special now, it is well done and still probably deserves its rank. BattleLore was a foray into a new branch of Richard Borg's Command and Colors systems. The fantasy setting allowed for some new elements to be added and a lot of expansions to come out (which was something of a newer concept at the time, but one that Days of Wonder had been seeing success with in Memoir '44). I enjoyed BattleLore, not because of the fantasy or the spell card addition to the game, but to some of the other additions that were also made to the system that found their way into other C&C systems - Ancients, Westeros, BattleLore 2nd ed.

Top 5 Winning Movers for July (Highest ranked games that have shown any positive position movement in the last month that aren't in the top 10.)
  • War of the Ring - here is a grand war-game set in middle earth. I liked the movies, but otherwise am not overwhelmed with the theme material. Coupled with the length of this beast and I've never tried it. Fans rave about the game...
  • Wallenstein - The last few months saw a lot of action for the successor to Wally - Shogun, so it isn't really a surprise that the original got more attention too. At their heart, the two are the same, a different map being the main difference. 
  • Railroad Tycoon - the "glitzy" spiritual successor to Age of Steam. Talk about overproduced - the board was HUGE (and yet the track tiles were smaller than Age of Steam). When this came out, it was designed to appeal to the crowd that really wanted to play a game of excellence like AoS, but were put off by the stories of how ruthless and tough AoS was. RRT was more spread out and more forgiving (and looked like a real game, not one printed in my garage and thrown together with a bazillion tiny wood cubes). This game itself got redone later as Railways of the World - I'm unclear if that was part of the feud between Martin Wallace and everyone else doing AoS "stuff" or if they just wanted to rebrand this. 
  • Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery
  • Imperial - this rondel/stock game, while not as popular as Antike, was doing well at the time. Its biggest drawbacks - it looked like another wargame and it was on the longer side. Well, it was sort of a war-game, except that you didn't win by taking over the world, you invested in countries and tried to push them to victory as a way to increase your portfolio. Still a decent game, but a niche one.
That's it for July 2007 - check back soon for the August edition, which I'm going to try and get out on time this month!

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1 comment:

Matthew Frederick said...

Princes of Florence isn’t a game I’d request now, but, like Puerto Rico that came soon after it in the Alea Big Box Series, it was absolutely groundbreaking. It served as a foundation for a lot if the best games and mechanisms to follow.