How Much Data Do We Need About Boardgaming?
Mark Johnson poses the question “what's right for 2005?” in terms of year-end reports (games played, 5/10 reports, etc.). I don't know either, but I can say this: my inbox is filled (well, not exactly as I used gmail to auto-archive and label them) with 117 unread spielfrieks messages that are mostly end of year reports that I probably won't ever read. I also decided not to track my games played this year - that quantitative summary isn't very useful to me. I prefer to rely on a subjective retrospective.
I am a fan of the aggregated 5/10 summary reports that should be coming out soon so that I can see broad trends (other than the fact that, surprise surprise, a lot of people were playing Ticket to Ride last year). The problem, however, with the aggregated report is that you lose some of the value of the individual reports where you might find tidbits of surprise.
Looking back on 2004, what games do I subjectively recall playing a lot? Here goes:
- Memoir '44 - at least 10 of these plays were at GenCon teaching others on behalf of Days of Wonder. Even with that I played the game around 20 times I suspect.
- St. Petersburg - fun, easy to learn, great depth/time played ratio.
- San Juan - same comments as St. Pete.
- Acquire and Union Pacific stick out in my head not because I played them a lot, but because I played each about 3-4 times and would love to play them even more next year.
- Magic: the Gathering - still, in my book, one the best games ever designed. And yes, you can play this game without taking out a second mortgage.
- Havoc, Pizzza, NW Trek, and Tres Amigos - KC Humphrey designs that I played frequently for a good reason (we are likely to publish one of these in 2005).
- O Zoo Le Mio - I think this is the best gateway game for kids ages 6-10 and I expect to see it come out even more frequently in 2005.
Beyond this list there are probably 50 or more games that I played once or twice. There's good and bad in this approach, but mostly I love learning new stuff and surveying the landscape. If it happens again next year that will be fine, though I'd like to explore a few games with depth and play them 5-10 times.
My unplayed but owned list isn't all that big any more. I hope to play all of these in 2005:
- War of the Ring - Played 2 turns with Jacob, so we have a decent handle on the rules. Time to play it through.
- Europe Engulfed - Played 1 or 2 turns in an aborted email game with Doug Walker (sorry Doug). I need to reserve a 12 hour day to play this through face-to-face.
- 1830 -Considered one of the best of the 18xx games, and I haven't played any of them yet.
- Iron Dragon