Who doesn’t love New Year resolutions? Get healthy. Get tidy. Buy a house. It can be anything. We reflect on the last year, and set ourselves challenges for the next, ways to make our lives even better.
This is no different in the board gaming community and this year my wife and I have decided to jump on the bandwagon. These come in the form of board game challenges and this year my wife and I have decided to join in. If you’re not familiar with board game challenges then I’ve added a bit of an explanation in the glossary for you to take a look at.
This year we’ve decided to embark on a 10×10 challenge. A pledge to play 10 different games 10 times. As Lauren (my wife) will be my player two, it’s only fair that we each pick 5 games. Here are our choices and why we picked them:
#1 Arkham Horror TCG (published by Fantasy Flight Games)
Though out the end of last year we spent most of our weekends playing through Mice and Mystics (Published by Plaid Hat Games). We enjoyed having a long campaign style game for us to work our way through week by week, chapter by chapter. Arkham Horror TCG is another campaign style game that we’ve had for a while, but we’ve only played it a few times, with each part of the campaign spaced apart. Because of this, we’ve never really felt comfortable with the rules and the game has felt like a bit of a slog.
I’ve chosen Arkham Horror TCG in the hope that we can block out a few consecutive weekends to play it, filling the mouse-sized whole in our hearts that Mice & Mystics has left behind. If we learn the rules properly we’ll be able to enjoy the game more and start to understand why this game is so highly regarded in the community – Matt
#2 Carcassonne (published by ZMAN Games)
Carcassonne brings me so much joy, because technically – technically – it was the first ‘tabletop’ board game Matt & I ever played – we just didn’t know it at the time! It was on a big family holiday, staying in a lovely barn full of books, dvds and a random dusty game that we’d never heard of. Little did we know that a few years down the line we would be tabletop-obsessed!
We quickly learned that the random dusty game was actually one of the cornerstones of modern board games, and it was one of the first games in our own collection. I’ve got a real soft spot for it, and I find it an easy go to when introducing new people to gaming, but that’s really the only time we play it anymore. We’ve never played much with the Farmers, and never even played once with the ‘Abbot’. I want to give Carcassonne more time, to explore the strategy more. Who knows, maybe we’ll become pros and enter the Carcassonne tournament at UKGE this year! – Lauren
#3 Keyforge (published by Fantasy Flight Games)
I’ve been toying with the idea of getting into a collectible card game for ages now and there are loads to choose from: Pokémon, Andriod Netrunner, YuGiOh and Magic the Gathering are probably the best known, but they aren’t the only options. The more I looked into these games, the more I realised that I would need to invest some serious money to be able to really get into them. This was definitely off-putting and why I’ve never taken the plunge.
Keyforge on the other hand doesn’t need the same upfront financial investment. With the unique and un-customisable decks, players are forced to learn how to master the deck they own and not just sink money into buying the best cards available. I like the idea of this as it focuses the game on your ability to strategise rather than how deep your pockets are. Thanks to Lauren’s great taste in Christmas presents I now have a couple of Keyforge decks I’m now ready to learn! – Matt
#4 Dead of Winter (published by Plaid Hat Games)
Again I’ve gone for one of the first games we bought when getting into board games. We really like Dead of Winter – Matt loves zombos, and I think DoW works the theme really well, particularly with the different scenarios and different goals. There’s only one thing holding the game back – it’s such a faff to set-up! I’m so lazy, and if I’ve got the boardgame itch I’m far more likely to grab something quicker to set up and play. And it’s a shame, because when we do play DoW we enjoy it so much, we easily play it two or three times in a row.
Putting DoW on our 10×10 list will give us the motivation we need to push through that set-up phase and playthrough DoW more. I’m also hoping that we might be able to play it with bigger groups so we can bring in the Betrayer mechanic to add that extra dimension. – Lauren
#5 Tiny Epic Zombies (published by Gamelyn Games)
If Lauren’s picking a Zombie game then I am too – it is one of my favourite themes after all! And if Dead of Winter’s taken, then I’m going to pick Tiny Epic Zombies.
When I first played Tiny Epic Zombies, I couldn’t believe how much game came in such a tiny box. It really packs a punch. I also immediately saw a number of similarities with Dead of Winter: both games centre around surviving the zombie onslaught long enough to complete missions (collecting different resources, killing zombies, etc.), both games can be played competitively and cooperatively and both games contain ZOMBIES!!!
TEZ really got me thinking… is Dead of Winter’s longer set-up time, bigger box and premium price tag actually worth it? I’m choosing Tiny Epic Zombies so I can really compare these two games. And this way we get to play even more zombie games! – Matt
#6 Century: Golem Edition (published by Plan B Games)
So far I’ve been impressed with all the Century games, but the Golem edition of Century Spice is still the best, and the most beautiful, and I’m hoping that there’ll be similar variants for the other Century games in the series!
Century: Golem Edition was an easy pick, for the simple reason that we haven’t played it as half as much as it deserves. It’s one of my favourites in terms of design and artwork – and the pretty pretty crystals… I’m also a big fan of how straight forward the game is and how well the instructions are laid out (on one page!). It’s also quite quick to set-up a play, so it shouldn’t be too hard to tick this one off. – Lauren
#7 51st State (published by Portal Games)
This is a bit of a different choice because we bought 51st State at last year’s UK Games Expo. But we’ve not played it yet… so we don’t even know if we’ll want to play this game 10 times! gulp!
I bought 51st State because I wanted to try a game designed by Ignacy Trzewiczek, a very well known designer in the industry who designed Robinson Crusoe, First Martians, Detective: A Modern Crime Boardgame, and many others. Also, I believe this game is best with only two players, so I thought it’d be a good fit for us. I’m really excited to try out 51st State over the next year! – Matt
#8 Dwar7s Fall (published by Vesuvius Media)
Often our boardgames are Matt buys, or ‘we’ buys. Dwar7s Fall was my UKGE 2018 buy. And it came with all the trimmings (even extra box artwork!)
It’s our first and only worker placement game (one of the reasons I bought it), so it’s different from other games we have. We’ve had it out once for a couple of games, but despite enjoying it haven’t played since. I’d like to explore the strategy a bit more (I was just starting to get the hang of interfering with the opponent’s area). Besides, I bought all the trimmings, and I want to play with the trimmings! It’ll be great if we can explore the other expansions by the end of the challenge. – Lauren
#9 Castles of Burgundy (published by Ravensburger)
Castles of Burgundy is a fantastic game that I really enjoy playing. I’ve only ever had positive experiences playing it and I genuinely have fond memories of past games with Lauren. But I’ve found despite this we rarely get Castles of Burgundy to the table. This is mainly because it takes a lot of time and concentration to play and we often don’t feel up to it. With so many pieces it also takes a long time to set up and tear down, and that definitely has prevented us from choosing it in the past. I know that over this year we will love playing this game! With a bit of encouragement in the form of this challenge we will get to it to the table more often. Which in turn will help us familiarise ourselves with the rules. I’m also excited by the idea of trying Castles of Burgundy with a group of 4 players as so far we’ve only played it two player. – Matt
#10 Star Fluxx published by LooneyLabs
I have a leaning toward quick games, card based games that are easy to just pick up and play (like I said above, lazy!). I also always like to make sure I have a game to hand wherever we go, because you never know when the opportunity to have a quick play will strike. Handbag friendly games are important to me, and I had to have a handbag friendly game in the challenge.
There were a lot of small games to choose from, but I went for Star Fluxx in the end because it’s one of my faves (again, one of the first games in our collection). It used to be played a lot too, but as our collection expanded and with more options to choose from, Star Fluxx has fallen out of favour. Adding it to the challenge means more of those sweet, sweet sci-fi pop culture references! – Lauren
So these are our choices: some new to us, some old favourites and some we’ve just never really got into. I think it’s going to be an exciting year playing them all!
What did you think of our choices? Are you doing a board game challenge this year? What games are you including and why are you setting the challenge?
Let me know in the comments below or you hit me up on the socials.