Thursday, December 31, 2009

Jerusalem Strategy Gaming Club: Nickels and Dimes of 2009

Last year's number are in parentheses.


Dominion x 36 (0)

A fantastic new filler game, Dominion's numbers only inflate if you add the expansions (listed below) which we got late in the year. I'm fairly sure it will be a quarter next year, as well.


Magic: the Gathering x 20 (26)
R-Eco x 14 (17)

Sad to see only two dimes, and both of them short card games. The Magic sessions included several 45 minute drafts. I expect Magic to continue next year, and every year for the foreseeable future.

R-Eco is a nice game, but it could easily show less plays next year in favor of better ones (such as Parade).


It's Alive x 8 (12)
Stone Age x 8 (0)
Traders of Carthage x 8 (0)

More light games. It's Alive will continue to be played, of course. ToC is in the same boat as R-Eco: a nice game, but an easily replaceable filler. Stone Age is somewhat meatier; the group enjoys it (I enjoy it, but not as much as they do).

Agricola x 7 (4)
Antike x 7 (1)
Bridge x 7 (8)
Fairy Tale x 7 (0)
Pillars of the Earth x 7 (1)
Puerto Rico x 7 (12)
Race for the Galaxy: the Gathering Storm x 7 (0)
Tichu x 7 (8)

Finally some of the meaty games. Agricola is very hefty, and a good game experience. But it's very hefty. I love Antike, but some of the others in the group don't like it as much. I'm surprised at the poor showing of Bridge, but Tichu tends to eat into its play space. Fair Tale was acquire with a trade for Saboteur, and I think both of us are happier for it; it's light, kind of random, filler game.

Pillars of the Earth is a nice worker placement game, but several other games are now competing against it, including Tribune, Stone Age, and Endeavor (yet to be played). Puerto Rico is The Game, and will always be around. RftG expansion can be combined with the base game for play total (see below). It was played five times straight on Games Day.

Chess x 6 (2)
Year of the Dragon x 6 (9)

Chess only gets played during special events, such as by newcomers on Games Days. YotD competes with other mid-weight games, especially Notre Dame (below).

Cosmic Encounter x 5 (4)
Notre Dame x 5 (17)
Pivot x 5 (0)
Power Grid x 5 (9)

Cosmic is a classic, but a strange kind of strategy game, and so doesn't come out too often. Notre Dame now competes with Year of the Dragon and other new games. Pivot was a prototype played only during a Games Day. Power Grid didn't see as much play as I expected, but should continue to see some play next year.


Bridge Troll x 4 (0)
Jamaica x 4 (0)
Pentago x 4 (2)
Princes of Florence x 4 (7)
San Juan x 4 (0)
Taluva x 4 (0)

Bridge Troll and Taluva are decent games, but didn't grab the group's interest. Bridge Troll I traded away; Taluva will likely share that fate next year. Jamaica is a good, not great, game. We played Pentago one game evening by request; it's not that deep of a game, but good for non-gamers.

Princes of Florence is still a great game, and likely to see play next year, still with low numbers. San Juan seems to have lost out in favor of RftG; it really needed to have an expansion made for it soon after it was published (there is a mini-expansion available now).


Amun Re x 3 (3)
Amyitis x 3 (0)
Jambo x 3 (2)
La Citta x 3 (2)
Lord of the Rings: the Confrontation x 3 (3)
Santiago x 3 (2)
Settlers of Catan x 3 (7)

Amun Re is not stored at the group, and so sees less play than it probably would otherwise. Amyitis was brought to us by Binyamin, and I picked up a copy late in the year. One play of it by some new players wasn't successful. I hope to bring it out again.

Jambo is a fluffy filler for two-players. LotR:tC is a better filler for two players. La Citta and Santiago are two meatier games that are good, but typically not chosen as first choice. Settlers of Catan is The Game for new players, but not played much by old-timers. Some people would like to play it more.

Alice and Wonderland Parade x 2 (0)
Apples to Apples x 2 (0)
Ark of the Covenant x 2 (0)
Atlantic Star x 2 (1)
Carpe Astra x 2 (0)

Parade is not yet available outside of Germany, so we used a Sticheln deck to play it. It's a very good filler. Apples to Apples is a party game, only played on special occasions with the right group; not a game generally brought out to the strategy gaming club.

Ark of the Covenant was brought by a one-time only attendee who wanted to learn how to play it; it plays similarly to Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers. Nice. Atlantic Star is not a favorite of the group, though I think it's quite nice. It's biggest problem is it's reliance on a crayon to write values. We tried Carpe Astra, didn't like it, and traded it away.

Claude x 2 (0)
Dominion: Intrigue x 2 (0)
Fluxx x 2 (0)
Mr Jack x 2 (6)

Claude is a prototype someone brought for us to play. We only got Dominion: Intrigue late in the year, so it's play count will go up. Fluxx is only played when I'm away, thank goodness. Mr Jack is a nice, meatier two player game, for when Lord of the Rings: the Confrontation is not long enough.

No Thanks x 2 (3)
Path x 2 (0)
Race for the Galaxy x 2 (17)
Shadows Over Camelot x 2 (2)
Trias x 2 (1)
Vegas Showdown x 2 (2)

No Thanks is a nice, quick filler for up to five, but Parade is also good for this spot. Path was an ok abstract which I traded away. RftG is enjoyed by several in the group, but with its expansion now (see above). Shadows is a good cooperative game; I find it a bit straightforward. It can take a lot of players, who can come and go without disrupting the game flow.

I love Trias, but haven't gotten others to love it, yet. Vegas Showdown always surprises us as to being a good game. We played it to see if we wanted to keep it, and we did.

The remaining games were played once:

Age of Steam (0)
Battlestar Galactica (0)
Blokus Trigon (0)
Boggle (1)
Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers (0)

Age of Steam is awesome, but long; I just got the slightly lighter game Steam, at the end of the year. Battlestar Galactica is another good coop game, which will probably see more play than Shadows Over Camelot, if a cooperative game is called for. It's also pretty long, however.

Blokus Trigon is lighter than the usual fare played, but I think it's an excellent game, especially for new or non-gamers. Boggle is not usually played by the group, except on a lark; we don't play word games. C:H&G was traded away in favor of Carcassonne: Cities (which didn't get any play). I need to introduce it to new players; the older players are not enamored with the Carcassonne series, for some reason.

Caylus (3)
Checkers (0)
Cities and Knights of Catan (3)
Cuba (0)
Dominion: Seaside (0)

Caylus is too long for my tastes, and the game tends to play you; others like to play it occasionally. Checkers was played on Games Day by transient attendees. Cities and Knights was played by newer players. I still like it, but only if you add a rule that the game ends once a player is 5 points ahead of any other player.

We played Cuba once, and have to explore it a lot further. Dominion: Seaside will also see more play next year.

Dvonn (0)
El Grande (4)
Galaxy Trucker (0)
Greedy Greedy (0)
Hacienda (1)

Dvonn is a great abstract that doesn't see enough play. I'm shocked to see El Grande only at one play, but it's also a pretty long game. Someone brought Galaxy Trucker while I was away, so I can't comment on it. greedy Greedy is a variant of Farkle which someone wanted me to review; traded away. Hacienda is an ok medium-weight game, but not good enough to keep.

Hare and Tortoise (0)
Homesteaders (0)
Imperial (0)
Le Havre (0)
Louis XIV (1)

Hare and Tortoise is a nice, friendly game; not sure how much play it will get next year. Homesteaders was played once by some of the others, who called it fiddly; it looks like a great game to me, and I hope to try it out. Imperial we either played incorrectly, or it's just not for us. Le Havre is fantastic and should see more play next year. Louis XIV is a good game, a little annoying at the end, but a good medium weight. Not sure how much play it will get next year (probably 1 play, again).

Market of Alturien (0)
Medici (0)
Merchants of Amsterdam (0)
Metropolys (1)
Odin's Ravens (3)

Market was brought over by Binyamin; the players liked it enough, but no one asked me to buy it. Medici is a good auction game, but straight auction games always feel a little empty. Everyone hated the Dutch auctions in Merchants, so we traded it. Binyamin also brought Metropolys, with the same results as Market. Odin's Ravens is a fluffy two-player game.

Phoenicia (0)
Pirate's Cove (2)
Pitchcar (0)
Rock Paper Scissors (0)
Rook (0)

One play of Phoenicia which we all liked. Pirate's Cove has too many dice for some people; oddly, I like the game. Pitchcar is not a strategy game, but was brought over for Games Day. Michael insisted on playing RPS on Games Day. Rook is a nice partnership trick-taking game, in the same space as Bridge and Tichu.

Taj Mahal (3)
Tigris and Euphrates (3)
Tribune (0)
Winner's Circle (1)
Yinsh (1)

Taj Mahal is an old club favorite, now pushed aside by all the other games in the same weight category. It's a scandal that T&E only got one play. Tribune is an excellent worker placement game, sure to see more play. Winner's Circle is fun for non-gamers only, and I traded it away. Yinsh is another excellent abstract, which sees occasional play as a filler.


Played last year, but not this year.

Alexander the Great (1): It was boring.
Anagrams (1)
Arkham Horror (1): Too long.
Before the Wind (2): Flawed.
Blue Moon (2)
Blue Moon City (1): Good game, but brought by Binyamin.
Carcassonne: the City (1)
Children of Fire: RPG / Universalis (2)
Colosseum (1)
Cribbage (1)
David and Goliath (1)
Down Under (1)
Dungeon Twister (2): We're not a FFG group.
For Sale (1)
Go (3): Adam didn't come that often this year.
Havoc: the Hundred Years War (3): Not really a gamer's game.
Industria (2): Good, but not good enough.
Kingsburg (1)
(Lo) Ra (1)
Lost Valley (1)
Mexica (2): Flawed.
Mission: Red Planet (1)
Mississippi Queen (1)
Mykerinos (1)
Netrunner (1): Damn. I think I'll end up trading these away. A pity.
Pandemic (1)
Reels and Deals (2)
Robo Rally (8): Great game; one of our regulars hates it. Might see some group play again this year.
Saikoro (4): I wouldn't mind playing this quick game on occasion.
Samurai (1)
Scrabble (1)
Solomon's Stones (2)
Texas Hold'em (1)
Tikal (1)
Torres (1)
Tower of Babel (3)
Ubongo (1)
Verrater (1)
Zertz (1)


Poet said...

Heh, we have the exact same issue with Robo Rally. One guy hates it, so it never gets played.
I you either love it or hate it ;)

Nadine said...

We also play games on Shabbat, which tends to follow this list, but doubles the play of some games like El Grande