Wednesday, 9 January 2013

A Year in Boardgames

Inspired by Martins post over on FireBroadside I thought I would go through my boardgaming over the past year, this includes all the card games and miniature based games I found via boardgamegeek.

When i'm not head down in wargames rulebooks or paint I am usually spending the odd evening relaxing with a boardgame, over the years i've picked up a modest collection and every few months I just need to scratch that itch and pick up a few new releases. So here is my overview of my board gaming last year, keep in mind that due to difficulties in finding a gaming group the majority of these games I play solo.


OK, while not strictly a boardgame per say, this was one of the biggest releases of last year and I was really excited to get my hands on it (even got a black felt table cover to play over). Unfortunately due to some supply issues I ended up getting my hands on it a couple of months after release which diminished its impact for a me a bit, that and the delay of the second wave releases till late February this year kind of reduced the momentum a little. Saying all that though, it is a great game to play and there is definitely room for strategy and tactics in the mix of cards and gameplay, looking forward to the second wave and getting some bigger games in.

Lord of the rings the card game:

Big glossy FFG box for this card game that can be played solo and it plays really well. You are essentially challenged by the enemy and scenario deck across the middle of the table and need to use your hand and heroes resources to overcome them. It plays a little like MTG (tapping your heroes etc) but every game I played was tense running up to the last few cards. Deck building comes into this as you can mix and match the different focus areas for the heroes and other cards and to be honest there was enough of a game in the starter box to keep me going, i've not needed to pick up any of the expansions yet.

Mage Knight:

The big solo boardgame, considered by many on boardgamegeek to be the ultimate boardgame for solo adventuring I just had to pick this up, it was a reward for finishing my course last year but it's yet to hit the table! Noted for being complex I have to say it does not look too bad, more procedural, if you do this then do that but if you have this do this instead type of play, the rulebooks are big but they look to cover everything and provide enough meat to get into the game, as initially opening the box there does not appear to be a lot of content considering the price. Going to have to devote a week of evenings to this soon and get stuck in but first I really want to try my hand at repainting all the pieces that come with it.

Arkham Horror Expansion:

The original Arkham Horror is hand down my favorite game of all time and i've yet to play it with anyone! I love this game out and spend the evening running a few characters around Arkham, it ticks all the boxes for me and the combination of theme along with all the possible avenues and things you can do in Arkham make it for me, very interactive. I have been a huge fan of Lovecrafts work since an early teenager (I once very foolishly contacted our local library services requesting they track down a copy of the Necronomicon for me!) and this game really does it for me, although after over twenty plays it started to go a little stale so I got my first expansion that tops the enjoyment up for me. I just wish I could ever get the chance to play Mansions of Madness but I can't justify getting hold of a copy to never see it hit the table :(


A christmas present from my wife and a complete nostalgia trip for me, I used to own the original Dungeon and Legend of heroes so this was a trip back in time, plus it's one of those games that's so easy to play that i'm hoping I might be able to get my daughter to get a few games in with! (although at 3 I might be pushing it)...

Space hulk - Death Angel the card game:

The original Space Hulk was the first GW game I ever owned, on the first day of a local FLGS opening I went in with my father and was told to pick any game I wanted off the shelf, after a long talk with the shop owner he described this as a good gateway GW game so off I went. Then never won a game, ever. I just found the whole experience so frustrating and my Terminators would die again and again and again, over the years I tried the various computer games but still the same experience, never got past level I read all the reviews about Death Angel and picked up a copy and it's...ok. I've completed a few missions with it and pull it out now and then for a game but it never really inspires me to keep playing, it's a good game for such a small box and I won't let it go just in case my past experiences are clouding my judgement on this.

King of Tokyo:

Giant monsters battling each other in a game by Richard Garfield? I'm in! Managed to get this one on the table with a few friends and it played out alright, the power up cards never came into any of our games so i'm not sure we were playing it quite right as it seemed to reduce down to a game of attrition but it would be good to get this one back on the table for a few laughs.

Dungeons and Dragons - the boardgame:

A really basic D&D boardgame with a load of minis, I picked this up really cheap on ebay back in the beginning of last year and popped the box a couple of times for some solo plays to get a feel for it. It's generic, simple and just does the job but again it would be good to get this on the table with some friends for some turn your brain off fun.


The beast! My own personal Moby Dick. I got hold of the third Starter Kit this year and began playing through the vehicle rules but I can't keep up the kind of commitment ASL demands, I did reread the main ASL books infantry rules and setup a couple of scenarios but then life got in the way and it's hard to dive straight back in. I'm never going to get rid of the ASL kit I have managed to collect over the years, not just because it's so hard to get hold of! but when I can find the time to really get stuck in to the scenarios it really is the most intense, brain burning and rewarding wargame/game I have ever played. Hopefully this year I can invest a few weeks to pick up on the rules again and really get going, be great to at least play through all of the Beyond Valor scenarios!

Gears of war:

Coming in a big Fantasy Flight Games box with a pile of (really nicely detailed) mini's it's a boardgame interpretation of the Gears of War videogame, incidentally GOW was one of the last video games I ever played through before kids arrived! Someone once described Gears of War not as a third person shooter but more of a platform game played in the horizontal third person and the board game pulls that together perfectly. With mechanics such as the cards in your hand also being your life and the stop/start motion of the videogame being recreated it works really well, along with the way that the AI can be changed for each scenario by changing the deck. Plus the minis are begging to be painted! In fact writing about the game makes me want to get it out and go for a spin.

Elder sign:

Being a big fan of the original Arkham Horror I was really excited when Elder Sign was announced and was put forward as an Arkham Horror Lite. Playing the game on the other hand is not quite the same experience, part of Arkham's experience for me is the story that unfolds as you move between locations yet when playing Elder Sign a lot of that is lost on the small card texts and rolling dice. The original manual was a bit vague in some areas but Fantasy Flight have put up a much needed revised one on their website. One thing I keep holding out for though is that this might start seeing some expansions to add more to it.

Phew! Well, there about sums up my year in board gaming and hopefully this year will bring some new gems and surprises! :)


  1. Quite a few similarities between our lists. :)

    Still haven't really played a proper game of Elder Sign. Should nag my buddy who has it about that...

  2. Yes, I wonder sometimes if I need to invest in some Fantasy Flight Games shares... they do make some great games. Watching Wil Wheatons tabletop Elder Sign session prompted me to get the game out again last year.