1 of 13 but still only 9 of 9

Natalia July was an interesting month for games. I managed to get in a decent number of Game of Thrones sessions, and even managed a Dice-Masters tournament – it was a rainbow draft: I picked up the Natalia Romanova chase-rare in the first round, and won all my games, coming away with a full set of the OP cards, including an alternate art Villainous Pact, so a pretty successful evening all-round.

Looking at the gaming challenges in particular, there was a little progress, although with no new milestones actually being hit: I’m still not quite there yet on the 10 of 10, (and way off on the un-played) but making progress on both fronts.

 

9 of 9 (still)

It’s getting tight at the top of the chasing pack for the 10 of 10 challenge. Nobody has yet made that last fateful step, but it can only be a matter of time. Surely? There are 3 games on 7 (with some tenuous accounting, I could probably push one of these to 8, but I’m resisting the temptation), 3 on 6, and 5 on 5, (I was keeping track of the 4s as well, but there were several review games in this group that have now been moved on, so I’m simplifying).

 

Symmetry
I drew this table a week or two ago, when I started drafting this article. It had a pleasing symmetry, so I decided to include it, even though it’s now out-of-date…

Beyond-Baker-Street-Board-Game Some of those were new entries for July: games that came brand-new to my house, or found themselves dusted off after a longish hiatus. Beyond Baker Street (7) and AYA (4) were both review games that I picked up, and both things I wouldn’t have looked twice at in the shop – a strange domino-toppling activity, and a deduction game, which is basically just a re-theme of Hanabi. It might be far too expensive for the amount of components included, but it’s a fun, clever, well-presented game, and each time we sat down to play it, we’d find ourselves playing it multiple times in no time at all.

Dominion is not new at all. It’s been around for years, and over that time, the core cards have gotten well-worn.

Dominion-Storage-Card-Game I like Dominion. I own the base game, the first 5 retail expansions and a handful of promos, although there had been a bit of a lull in buying things. I thought long and hard about picking up Adventures last year, before eventually getting into Marvel Legendary instead (an expensive decision, but a popular one amongst most gaming friends). This year’s Empires expansion found its way to me as a demo copy, and breathed new life into the game, hitting the table half-a-dozen times in a week.

As much as I like Dominion, it’s not always the most popular game for me to wheel out: I probably have an 80% win record in 2-player games with my wife, and too long a winning streak can sap the fun for others. That was what eventually decided me against buying Adventures last year, and it was my big hesitation as it headed towards 10 plays this year – I could very easily see it getting binge-played to 10 in July, then disappearing back onto the shelf until next year. I’ve very deliberately put it back on the shelf whilst still in single digits for July, but I hope to see it re-appear later in the year to make it to ten – whether that happens remains for me to be seen.

So far only 1 game has made it onto the top ten this year in a single month (i.e. without being played in any other month) Curse of the Black Dice, an entertaining enough semi-co-op which I picked up for review, played ten times in March, then ended up selling on to make room for other things. It earned its place on the list fair and square, but somehow it feels slightly less worthy than those which surround it (incidentally, 7 other games have been played 10 or more times in a month, but all of those have recorded plays in at least 3 other months…)

 

1of 13

SettleDice
You only actually need the dice and the sheets – the cup keeps it all together, but also bends the paper

The only game to make it off of the Un-played list for July was Settlers of Catan: the dice game (regular Settlers remains un-played, awaiting full article-treatment).

As a dice game, this one is light, in both the physical and the mechanical senses, and transports easily, although it has the downside that I have long-since lost the rules. This one made it out of the box during a weekend at my parents’ house (they didn’t play it. My parents will basically only play Mah Jong with us – I think I’ve even scared them off at Trivial Pursuit and Articulate after previous Christmases…) and was a perfectly tolerable way to pass half an hour. That said, this was one of those games, where I was very conscious of the fact that I was playing it because I have a list of un-played games that I’m trying to work through. As I say, it was “fine,” but I don’t foresee any compulsion to play it again lots in the near future. I’m not expecting get rid of it any time soon – it scores enough points for being light, small, portable etc that keeping it is no hassle, and it’s unlikely that I’d make enough selling/trading that it would be worthwhile by the time I’d covered postage etc.

SomeUnplayed
A few of the un-played games

That leaves 12 games left that weren’t played last year, and haven’t been played this year yet. Given the way that the Academic Year tends to define our lives (I work at a University, my wife works at an FE College), I have a strong sense that August may be the last chance for a lot of them to make it to the table.

It’s also reaching the point in the year, where I need to start paying attention to the “new” un-played list (currently 12 games I own which were played last year, but haven’t left the box in 2016). On the one hand, I’m already in the position where I’ll have fewer un-played games in 2016 than 2015 (unless I suddenly get a load of new stuff then don’t play it), but If Firefly or Middle Earth Quest can’t get a game during the holidays, what hope have they when term resumes and work is really busy again?

 

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