1. Blogs, Podcasts, and Videocasts, oh my.
Where 2005 was the year of the board game blog, 2006 was the year of the board game podcast. Podcasts and videocasts sprang up like roses and/or weeds in a garden; which was which depended on your taste. Board Games With Scott's videocast started at the end of 2005, but really came into its own during 2006.
Joe Steadman left The Dice Tower, but that didn't stop TDT from continuing an amazing assortment of giveaway contests.
Geekspeak changed to BoardGameSpeak, but then it ceased to speak at all.
2. Board Game Geek goes commercial
Board Game Geek turned commercial on day one of 2006 with a new look and walls of advertisements. Aldie quit his job to run BGG full-time. Even so, BGG was down for one dark week in August, and we had to rely on Google News Groups to take up the slack.
BGG ran a number of different giveaway contests during the year, and Tom Vasel once again organized a super Secret Santa. BGG co-launched Tanga.com, selling cheap electronics and board games, a site which appears to be better than anyone could have hoped for.
On the dark side, the comments and community of BGG got wilder, leading to a number of infamous battles, such as "Eurosnoots" vs "Ameritrash".
3. Games that made a splash
C&C:A/Battlelore - apparently the system to beat for light wargaming.
TtR:Marklin - another in the TtR series, and they get better and better.
Thurn and Taxis - the English version of a good game that no one is really enthusiastic about.
Simply Catan - a simplified version of the classic board game.
Canal Mania - Apparently good, but expensive and difficult to find.
Tempus - A civ-light game that suffered from some early overhype.
Rocketville - From the genius of Richard Garfield, but the rocket crashed and burned on the launching pad.
Many, among which were Ra, Traumfabrik, El Grande, Die Macher, Through the Desert, and a deluxe version of Lord of the Rings: the Confrontation.
A number of publishers updated their websites, such as Days of Wonder and Fantasy Flight Games. Their sites became richer with information, easier to navigate, and often had complete online versions of their games.
On the other hand, a number of publishers had some big problems: Palladium was destroyed by an insider betrayal. Eagle crashed, taking with it other companies, such as North Star.
Game conventions, such as Nuremberg, Gathering of Friends, Origins, GenCon, Essen, and BGG.con 2 continued, successfully. Board Game News and numerous blogs and podcasters carried extensive reports.
7. Rick Thornquist quits Board Game News
Speaking of which, Roving Reporter Rick finally bowed out, at least for the moment. Our main consolation on BGN is the new and oft-updated Board2Pieces comic.
8. Mike Doyle blows us away
Mike Doyle's board game art rightly earns him high accolades, as he turned out new box covers, boards, and cards for every major Eurogame and then some. His Modern Art redesigns are simply out of this world.
9. FunAgain Games
FunAgain, while around for some time, appeared to gain a lot of strength this year, gobbling up several exclusive game distribution deals, all of Eagle's assets, and several game features such as The Dice Tower and Board Games With Scott (well, hosting in the latter cases, not gobbling).
With their extensive games collection, community supplied game ratings, referral bonuses, and new games point system, they are emerging as a force to be reckoned with, despite having rather higher prices than some other online stores.
10. More online boardgaming
As I mentioned, it seems that just about every publisher has finally gotten comfortable with the idea of providing full versions of their games online, and nearly always for free. That's good news for people living in remote locations and people who want to try out a game before buying. I guess the number who buy the game because they could playtest it balances or outweighs the number who don't buy the game because they can play it for free online.
11. Gone Gaming and the BGIA
I'm biased, seeing as I'm one of the contributors, but Gone Gaming continued to put out an incredible year worth of high quality articles, as well as wrapping up it's first Board Game Internet Awards and starting nominations for the second (Nominate now!).
THINGS THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN
Whatever happened to the planned Puerto Rico league, with a $5000 reward after a paid trip to Vegas?
Despite rumors to the contrary, and a few spurts, The Games Journal remained dead, or at least unconscious.
A Puerto Rico expansion promised by Andreas Sayfarth with new rules and a sixth player never materialized.
And whither the reprint of Princes of Florence? Is it available, yet?