Buy Smart and Play More – Games of January 2020

I’ll admit that I love purchasing board games. I love reading and seeing all of the great artwork, designs and productions that go into new releases. However, this piles up a wall/tower/pyramid/shelf of shame where lots of games go unplayed. So, for 2020, I do want to try to curb my purchasing habits and get through a backlog of purchased games from the past and only allow myself 1 purchased game a month (totally to 12 new games this year). Here are some guidelines I set up for myself.

  1. Limit to purchasing 1 game a month with a cash limit of approximately $100.
  2. Games on Kickstarter count but they will count for the month they end in.
  3. Games that I play that do not resonate with me will be sold or traded in for store credit to a local gaming store I frequent quite a bit.
  4. I would like to adopt the “multiple out / one in” mind set with these traded in games. These games do not count towards the 1 game a month.

Sure, my guidelines above do skirt my main objective but I see this as quitting a bad habit. I think being able to ‘cold turkey’ when I do have the extra spending income is admirable but I do want to be realistic and take baby steps down over the course of a year or two. This being said, I’ve already made my January purchase of 2020 and got some trade ins – so let’s take a look for this month.

January 2020 purchase – Barrage + Leeghwater Project Expansion

I love Cranio. They are doing some interesting stuff in the board gaming sphere which includes Mystery House (which I spoke about in Episode 41 of Rolling Doubles Podcast) and this heavy euro about building dams in a dark moody atmosphere of the early ‘aughts with some Tesla and steampunky sparklybits dashed throughout the box.. The concept and cutthroat nature of this game speaks to me but getting this to the table might be more of an effort than I thought going in when I bought it. The team at Cranio didn’t have to do too much to entice me on this game when it was demoed at different conventions over 2019 and hopefully it will be covered soon in a future episode of the podcast.

Store Credit Purchase – In the Hall of the Mountain King

The hype train with Mountain King has been chugging along for the better portion of 2019 and I was hard sold on the game when I saw copies arrive at ASG a couple of weeks ago. It might be because I am building a game with ‘tetris pieces’ but I am seeing a lot of games using these shapes as a main mechanism in games and I am curious how this game utilizes it. The art by Kwanchai Moriya also helps this game shine from the shelves begging to be picked up. Upgraded bits are a weak spot for me in deciding if I want a game or not. I have a feeling I bought it over fomo/hype vs. being personally excited but it is a game I wanted to play regardless.

Store Credit Purchase – Marvel Champions Expansions (Green Goblin, Captain America, Ms. Marvel)

Marvel Champions is the game I wanted Legendary to be. Don’t get me wrong though, being able to deck build your own team of Marvel heroes was cool but I never found the setup and organization to rub me the right way. Marvel Champions is a bit more ‘get up and go’ akin to the Arkham Horror LCG line of product. This was actually something I had ordered back in December from Christmas money that had arrived this January so this was me getting around to picking them up using a combination of store credit and cash I had laying around. My primary concern this year is that my want and need to pick up these packs vs. getting around to actually playing them will be something I want to ensure I don’t get in the habit of doing a lot of this year.

Trade In – Wayfinders

Wayfinders is a good family style game about bidding for resources, then travelling in a 5×5 grid, spending them to build hangers on different islands. At 2 players tho, the tension wasn’t there on the island portion of the board as we were able to travel in our own separate pathways. I imagine this game shines at 3 or 4 players but I couldn’t see this game being brought out for 2 player often. A huge recommendation in the line of gateway games tho for interested families or newcomers to the medium.

Trade In – Crusaders: Thy Will Be Done

You don’t see too many games like Crusaders with it’s theme laid on thick not only represented in theme and art but gameplay wise too. The thing is that when I looked at the game on my shelf – I couldn’t remember too much of the game when I played it. I remember it being good but I couldn’t tell anyone WHY it was good. I got the deluxified version which included plastic pieces which…we didn’t even use. I guess I am a fan of wooden pieces where were part of the retail version of the game. I like Seth Jaffe games and again – Crusaders is a good game. I’d play it again in a heart beat, it just didn’t belong on my shelf and is hopefully with someone now that will play it more than I would have!

Trade In – Western Legends

The first big box game from Kolossal Games that put them on the map. This open world design with great art resonated with people and while I did not back the game completely on KS, I did end up getting a copy at retail with all the expansions…and it sat there…and sat there…and sat there. I read the rulebook, watched videos and actually probably found myself more interested in doing research into the game than getting it onto the table. I always felt like I needed more than just 2 players to play the game and perhaps I was just scared that playing it at 2 players would break this dream about living out a board game version of Red Dead Redemption 2. I’m glad to see the support for this games going strong with Ante Up and Blood Money in the pipeline. Perhaps one day, I’ll get a group to get a game in.

Trade In – Dice Settlers

I think just as roll and writes were taking their escalating climb to glory, Dice Settlers had a crack at chuckin’ dice for resources and opportunity to ‘settle’ this environment for some area control elements set in a Viking-esque theme of settling…with dice. Unfortunately, this game did not resonate well with 2 players. It works, don’t get me wrong I just didn’t feel it in this game. I think the sweet spot here would be 4 players as the land being developed probably becomes a bit more personalized but in our game, based on the rules, it looked a bit symmetric. It’s a bummer, NSKN/Board and Dice games are good games! This one tho didn’t work for us tho. On to the next!

Trade In – Dice Throne Season 1

With Dice Throne Adventures coming up and the hype level with Season 2, I was able to pick up Season 1 at an excellent price. The game is Yahtzee with attacking. It’s cool, thematic with great art work but it wasn’t the type of game that I am all particularly interested in. I can see why this is a hit on Kickstarter and I think it still has some legs for a Season 3 or 4 if they decide to do it.

Trade In – Dead Man’s Cabal

An Origins release in 2019, Dead Man’s Cabal sets players into raising the dead using multiple different boards that interact with each other in multitudes of different ways. I did a blind teach and play from the rulebook at 2 player and it wasn’t all that bad. Once things started to click, it was actually quite zippy! My own (silly) gripe about this game is the wish that this game could be played with less table space. This game (I feel) is bigger than it needs to be and it kinda prevents me from wanting to setup this kinda game in the future. It’s a bummer. It’s not a bad game – hell I think it makes a great Halloween game for some folks. But that game for me would be Mansions of Madness 2e and I had to sadly let this one go. Play it though if you have a chance – I think it is an underappreciated game.

Trade In – The Artemis Project

The demo I got for this game at Origins 2019 was the best demo of the convention. Dice placement to different locations that do different things – the fight and control of certain resources and areas was cool and solid. Good design, artwork + gameplay all hit the right buttons for me…but it sat on my shelf for what is coming up close to a year without any urge to break it out. I have no idea why – it’s a shame because with this game plus Endeavor, they have a good solid selection of games. It was one of those Marie Kondo moments of remembering the great demo and work effort that went into the game but I think someone else in this world deserves to get this to the table quicker than I probably could.

So, that does it! When I make my February purchases for 2020, I’ll be sure to do another post like this. Until then, I hope you are all having a great start to the year.

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