2021 10×10 Results!

First, Happy New Year! Woo! 2021 is in the books. Here’s a look back at my gaming log for 2021 and plans for 2022.

For 2021 I set up my 10×10 with 9 specific games and one special row called “Pick It!” The extra row was designed to allow some flexibility in which games actually got played, while the other 9 games were (hopefully) going to be ones that I have either had for a while (and really enjoy playing) or have had for a while (and needed to get to the table). Ultimately I completed, officially, five of my ten rows. One, of course, was the Pick It! row, as you might imagine. 🙂

I played ten games of Defenders of the Realm last year. I completed this one playing a couple of games solo (lost both) and several games in person plus a couple over Zoom. Enjoyed them all. I still find this a fun game.

I played ten games of Carcassonne, mostly because that’s a shorter / quicker game that I can play in the evenings with my wife. I had put Calico on the list for the same reason but we only played that six times last year so we didn’t make the full row.

We did play ten games of Pandemic mostly because we picked 2021 to finally get around to playing Pandemic Legagy Season 1. I have already written several posts about that; all I will say here is that it was part of the best gaming for the year.

My “must get this game to the table” game for 2021 was Wingspan. It was all the “Hotness” a few years back, and I bought and sold several copies during the times that it was going in and out of print regularly. I finally opened my copy and got it to the table. I had a Game Weekend with a friend, and we played eight games in two days, and he went out and bought a copy for his own family to enjoy.

Those are the five games that I completed my 10x challenge. What else happened? As mentioned, we got in six plays of Calico. We added five games of Takenoko, six of Dead of Winter, a couple Red Dragon Inn and several Codenames. Overall I filled in 72 slots of my official 10×10 grid. Does that mean I failed?

I say, “No, not really.” In the margins of my sheet I wrote down all of the other games that I played for the year, and how many times I played them. The goal of a 10×10 is to get some games to the table. While I was 28 short of fulfilling that goal with the limited ten games I listed, I added 62 additional games to my “played in 2021” list. It included four games of chess and 14 games of Quarto with my younger son. I met a new group of gamers who meet on Wednesday evenings in downtown Carrollton. With that group I played Stone Age and Deep Vents (both of which I had played before) as well as Colosseum (an older OOP Days of Wonder game), Village (a worker placement / resource management game where your meeples have to eventually die to win the game), and Merlin, recently released as a “big box” edition from Queen Games. Our regular gaming family played a couple of games of Red November with us. And much to my surprise, I managed to get one new game from 2020 to the table almost immediately and played two sessions of Lost Ruins of Arnak.

So, for the year 2021 I played (or at least logged) 134 games. As I am writing this I remember we played some games during a summer camp (Zombie Dice and Travel Qwirkle and Hive) that didn’t make it to my game log notes. That means I won! Woo!

For 2022 instead of a 10×10 I have opted to set up a 20×5. For the past two years I have noticed that it’s harder for me to get one game played ten times than it is to get multiple games played. A 20×5 is now twenty games I plan to play at least five times, which seems to fit my game playing patterns better. And yes, some of those 20×5 games will be “Pick It!” as before.

What are some of my tentative plans for 2022? Well, Nemesis is coming in. I picked up a used copy of Spirits of the Wild and it has been a fun evening game to play with my wife. I forgot how much I enjoyed Stone Age until it came up with my Wednesday night group; I hope to play it some more. And my “game that’s sitting on the shelf for far too long without being played” game (the role Wingspan played for 2021) is going to either be Quacks of Quedlinberg or Everdell, still to be decided.

Oh, and Flamecraft is scheduled to ship in 2022. I hope they make it, and assume that if it does, that will definitely be one of the games that I want to see get to the table. 😎

2021 10×10 Progress Update

This is my second year for putting together a 10×10 for the year. If you are not familiar with that concept, it’s a list that I created at the beginning of the year that included ten games that I wanted to try to play at least ten times over the coming year. This year I included Pandemic (we had the goal of playing Pandemic Legacy finally) as well as Wingspan (a recently published / well received game that we had not yet tried) as well as a few others.

How am I doing?

I have completed several of my selected games, made minimal progress on others, but overall, here in the middle of December, I can say (with pleasure) that I have played over 100 games over the past twelve months. Were they all on my list? No. Did I enjoy them all? Yes. Did I learn some new games this year? Also yes.

That means while I have not yet finished my official 10×10 grid, the unofficial goal of playing at least 100 games has definitely been completed.

Heroes of the Aturi Cluster Original Archive

I started to save this privately, but decided to go ahead with a public post so I can share it. The original archive site for Heroes of the Aturi Cluster, one of the best things ever to happen to Star Wars X-Wing from Fantasy Flight Games, has expired. The original author has collected the materials in a drop box, available at the following link:


The End of a Legacy

Pandemic Legacy Season 1
Pandemic Legacy Season 1

We recently finished Season one of Pandemic Legacy. What a wild ride that was! As with my prior posts about this game, this will be 100% spoiler free. I appreciate the effort that many folks went to in order to allow late-comers such as myself to enjoy the game, and I want to continue that tradition. So, what can I say?

I can say that this game was one of the best experiences I have had with board gaming. We started earlier this year and played with the same group for the duration of the game. (We would have done it last year, but…you know. It was already happening.) We had also played regular Pandemic game with this couple so we already had a background in the basics. This both helped and hurt us. The first twist was…interesting. Because we were used to playing “regular” Pandemic, I think it took us a while to really understand that as the game changed we had to change our play strategies along with it. If the game starts to give you a new “thing” to do or use? You should probably start thinking about how to do or use it rather than ignore it. 🙂

Honestly I had concerns about a legacy game. Why spend money on something with a limited number of uses? I justified it by guessing that by the end of the game (and I knew going in there would be modifications to the board and so on, that’s not exactly a spoiler) we would have a unique game of Pandemic that we could continue to play. It turns out that even if that was the case, we probably would not want to. We played somewhere between the minimum and maximum number of games provided by the legacy system, and we loved every bit of it. It felt like a good book, or a movie. It starts with something familiar, and then BAM! 😯 a plot twist. Something you didn’t see coming. You might be getting comfortable with that and then another twist. In a book / movie timing is important. I thought the timing of the various challenges was excellent.

The bottom line(s):
Yes, it’s a legacy game, and when you’re finished you’re done. That’s okay. The entertainment value (dollar per hour) is well worth the investment.
If you are on the fence on whether to buy / play this game, and you are a fan of the base Pandemic game, do it! I don’t think you will regret it.

Matt Leacock and team did a fantastic job with this experience, and I look forward to playing Season 2 (and Season 0) at some point.

The Middle of a Legacy

Pandemic Legacy Season 1
Pandemic Legacy Season 1
Our group playing through the first season of Pandemic Legacy has been having a blast! Don’t worry, there are no spoilers in this post. 🙂

If you have read anything about Pandemic Legacy then you probably already know that the game plays out in months. You get two tries to “win” a month and then you move forward, no matter what happened. We have just finished July and wow. Just. Wow. The game is amazing. I can certainly see why it stayed at the top of the Board Game Geek ratings for so long.

There are mechanisms in the game that help keep it balanced. If you lose a game, the next game you play has a little bonus. Win too often, and the game starts taking things away to make it harder. Knowing how to play regular Pandemic helps when you get started, but it doesn’t take long for the game to start throwing you curve balls. Learning how to react to those (and use the new variations to your advantage) is a huge part of the fun for us.

We lost two games for June. Both times I could look back at the game as it played out and say, “There. Right there. That move, that decision we made, that’s what lost the game for us.” Last night we played a game and this time I could say, “There. Right there. That was the move that won the game for us.” It was a nice switch.

We are just about to start August. I’ll let you know how it goes!

The Beginning of a Legacy

Pandemic Legacy Season 1
Pandemic Legacy Season 1
I have owned Pandemic Legacy for a while now. I even went so far as to remove the shrink-wrap last year, thinking that we might start playing. Spoiler alert: We didn’t.

Yesterday, we finally pulled it out and actually played it. I thought I had read all of the Legacy tweaks, but I missed an important one. At the end of our first game (we won!) I read the top card of the legacy deck, where it said to place the reminder token on the third spot on the Infection Track. Oops. I quickly looked at the back of the card and realized there was no way to retrofit the requirements into our game, so we simply reset and started over. This time we did it correctly.

I won’t say what happened in case there are others reading this that – like me – want an unspoiled experience. Let’s just say that while we still won the game (and extremely fast, I might add) the new challenge is going to make life interesting as we move forward.

Delayed Gratification

Atlantis Rising Second Edition
Atlantis Rising Second Edition
I will freely admit that I buy games faster than I play them. I don’t think I’m unique in that regard. But sometimes it pays off. How? eBay. 🙂

I purchased a copy of Atlantis Rising Second Edition a while back when it became available. I picked up the custom play mat at the same time. (I think I have previously posted that I really like custom play mats.) A few months ago I read that they were running a Kickstarter campaign for an expansion (yay!) and they had rewritten the rule book to provide clarifications and updates (boo!). To the credit of the game company, they made the revised rule book available as a PDF but also as an add-on during their campaign so that’s all good.

In the meantime the current stock of the game has sold out, and people are still wanting to buy it. What does this mean? Rising prices in the aftermarket arena…specifically eBay. A few days ago I put my still in shrink copy of the game up on eBay, and I already have a bid. The current selling price is more than enough for me to pay for the new version with the expansion! By not opening the game I was able to sell it today, and get an upgraded game with an expansion (and corrected rule book) tomorrow.

Well, not tomorrow, but in later 2021 or early 2022. I don’t think I will have played all of my other un-played games by then, so I am okay with the delay.

Forty-One Minutes To Go…

As I type this, there are only 41 minutes remaining in the current Kickstarter campaign for Everdell. By the time you read this, the campaign will no doubt be closed. I own the Collector Edition of all of the prior Everdell games (where available). It would seem that this would be a slam-dunk for me to back, right? So far, I haven’t. I am hoping that writing out my thoughts here will clarify whether I am (or am not) going to back, and why. Continue reading “Forty-One Minutes To Go…”

To Deluxe Or Not To Deluxe, Is That A Question?

Maybe the title of this post should have been, “Too Deluxe Or Not Too Deluxe?” 😀

I purchased two games recently. One cost close to $200 because I sprang for the super deluxe aka “Legendary Edition.” On the other I spent under $40, despite the existence of a $100 upgraded version. Why did I spend so much on one game and not on the other? It wasn’t because of budget. It was about consistency. Continue reading “To Deluxe Or Not To Deluxe, Is That A Question?”