Thursday, January 05, 2017

2016 in Review -- Games

After an alarming low of board games played in 2015, things ticked back up a bit in 2016 -- I played 85 games throughout the year. (Alright, so my gaming habits are sort of still on life support, but at least the vital signs are trending in the right direction.)

Here's how it all broke down:

1    Above and Below
1    Adventure Time Love Letter
3    Beyond Baker Street
1    Boss Monster
1    Bruges
1    Can't Stop
1    The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game
6    Codenames
2    Codenames: Deep Undercover
2    Codenames: Pictures
1    Coup: Rebellion G54
1    Disney Apples to Apples
1    Dixit
4    Dr. Eureka
1    Eight Minute Empire
1    Evolution
1    A Feast for Odin
1    Firefly Fluxx
1    Five Tribes
1    The Game of Life - Twists and Turns
1    Glass Road
1    Gravwell
2    Gruselrunde zur Geisterstunde
4    Happy Salmon
1    Harbour
2    Imhotep
1    Isle of Skye
1    Istanbul
1    La Isla
2    Las Vegas
2    Lotus
1    Machi Koro
4    Medieval Academy
1    Metro
1    No Thanks
1    North Wind
1    Orleans
2    Perudo
1    Quadropolis
1    Race for the Galaxy
4    Sanssouci
1    Sea of Clouds
2    Sheriff of Nottingham
2    Snorta
1    Star Wars Pictopia
2    Telestrations
3    Telestrations After Dark
1    Ticket to Ride
1    Vikings on Board
1    Viticulture
4    Wonky

The top slot (most plays) went to Codenames this year (and by an even wider margin if you lump the Pictures and Undercover spin-offs in with it). It's easy to understand why -- the game supports pretty much any number of players, it's easy to teach even to people at a party not as deeply into board games, and you can just play it for as long as you want. It does help that's it's also really good, almost certainly the best of the clue-giving games. I feel like if daytime game shows were still as big today as they used to be, someone would have snatched this up to adapt for TV.

Actually, the real top slot of the year went to Clank!, the deck building game released by my company, Dire Wolf Digital. But arbitrarily, I've never counted games I play if I play them in the course of work. If I did, the development of Clank! would have put that game atop the heap by a mile. Hilariously, it's not on the official list above at all; I have yet to play the completed version of the game outside of work. But that's definitely on my to-do list for 2017 -- I'm proud of how it turned out, and would be happy to play it "just for fun."

I've continued to note which games I've played in app form on my iPhone, though I've also continued in failing to keep an accurate count of how many times I've played them. The apps I played last year included:

Disc Drivin' (essentially, Pitch Car for phone)
Evil Apples (essentially, Cards Against Humanity for phone)
Glass Road
Lanterns: The Harvest Festival
Stone Age
Ticket to Ride: Europe
Ticket to Ride: Switzerland

Lanterns (in app form) is another game from my company, Dire Wolf Digital. Unlike our physical release, Clank!, I've had plenty of opportunity to play the game outside of work. [plug] If you like the board game, you'll love the app! [/endplug]

I gave up Agricola fairly early in the year. The game seemed so great when I played it infrequently, but the more I played it, the more it seemed to come down to luck of the draw on Improvement and Occupation cards.

I gave up Glass Road almost immediately after installing it. It might be the worst board game adaptation app ever made. Every aesthetic decision made by its creators is terrible, from the micro-font to the ugly layout. Its multiplayer is practically non-functional, and supports only two players even when you can get it to work. Do. Not. Buy.

Splendor had an intriguing solo player, puzzle-gamey kind of mode. But it lacked multiplayer entirely until just recently, and even the multiplayer it supports now is not the simple, asynchronous play any app of this type should include.

Here's hoping for an uptick in gaming for 2017. There are just so many great ones out there, and so little time. Though, as a good friend of mine says, any time spent gaming is Time Well Spent.

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