These are the hangers-on. All gamers have them, and often refer to this list as a “shame list”. These are games that were purchased with the full intent of playing them at a table, but for whatever reason, they haven’t made it to the table. I haven’t given up on any of them, and I have excuses … ummm…REASONS for why this is the case!

(1) Battlestar Galactica/Dead of Winter

(2) Road to Enlightenment

(3) $how Manager

(4) NetRunner

(5) Castles of Burgundy/Canterbury

(6) Nothing Personal

(7) Ora Et Labora

(8) Police Precinct

(9) Spyfall

(10)Ca$H N Guns!

 

All of these games have one major issue – I haven’t played them yet myself. So teaching them to other people becomes a challenge. And some of them have daunting manuals.

 

Games in the 1,2,4 and 7 slots have at least 24-32 page of manual(s) – yes, some games have the “plural” of manual. However, most of them require the right group of people – those that will not only “get” the game but actually WANT to play it!

 

 

More specifically, however…

Battlestar Galactica has a great theme, and I think playing with the right folks would be a great game. However, space themed games have never been a starter with Valerie or her sister Lynn, and since they comprise 50% of the gaming group I play with 80-90% of the time, this is why this hasn’t hit the table yet. Additionally, playing a game in which the major game mechanic is specifically designed to hit your trust buttons and give them a hard YANK isn’t necessarily a great choice for playing with your spouse, but that’s just me. I also suspect you need 4-5 people playing for it to make sense. Your own mileage may vary. Dead of Winter has similar mechanics, but with the popularity of zombies, The Walking Dead and Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop episode on this game (thus assisting greatly in the rules-vs-how-does-it-play-out hurdle), I suspect it will hit the table sooner (and possibly with Valerie-Lynn-Pete).

 

Road to Enlightenment also has a great theme (European domination during the “Enlightenment”) and it’s basically a “Use historical figures against each other” using a Magic the Gathering card “stack” mechanic merged with a Eurogame victory point system. The theme, unlike the space theme, IS something that Valerie and Lynn COULD get into, so I haven’t given up on this one yet. Out of these four it also has the most challenging manual issues (similar to Agricola but twice as frustrating since in Road to Enlightenment’s case the original manual was actually written in English and in a font twice as large as Agricola’s). I’ve heard stories that the manual is going to be revised “soon”, and I continue to check the BGG game forums for updates to see if it reads and/or logically flows better.

 

$how Manager is one of those games where my practiced set of canned excuses run out. The theme is good for the gaming group (basically, you are producing musicals, so it’s like NBC’s cancelled series SMASH). It’s not deep. It’s not a long game. I’ve read the 8-page manual a few times and grokked most of it. It’s a game by the same designer of Alhambra, Dirk Henn, one of my favorites. So this is likely going to be played SOMEDAY… but when? Hmm…

 

NetRunner has a unique challenge in that it’s a two player only game and currently is #10 of the Best Board Games EVER on BoardGameGeek. I don’t think Max is ready for it yet (but probably soon) and the subject matter (think Johnny Mnemoic/cyberpunk stuff played like MTG “dueling” style) doesn’t interest Valerie. I suspect if I play this with somebody who has already played the game I will likely pick up the rules quickly, but this hasn’t happened yet. However, now that Max is picking up stuff like Caverna and Agricola, I suspect he may very well be able to pick this one up soon, it’s whether or not he’d LIKE it that I’d worry about.

 

Castles of Burgundy is apparently a classic and is #8 of best board games EVER on BoardGameGeek. Many other people swear by it, but after reviewing the instructions, something about it doesn’t sit right with getting the point of the game across. I’ve listened to podcasts about how the game is played, but I have yet to watch a video on it. I think this is one of those games that just seems a bit too abstract, but if somebody else out there knows how to play this one…? Canterbury may also fall into this group (more “building in olden times”) but unlike CoB, Canterbury (a) seems to make more sense on paper, and (b) I think the Pete-Lynn-Valerie-Dave group could very well like this one since many of the mechanics seem similar to other games we’ve played (Suburbia meets Carcassonne?)

 

Ca$h N Guns, Spyfall and Nothing Personal are all games that are considered party/group games and do not have difficult rules. But they DO need to be played with the right group. I lean toward pulling out Spyfall next with my South Bay crew (it’s like a verbal Dixit), Ca$h N Guns with the Davis folks (who doesn’t want to see a Sean v. Christy v. Dave v. Lorin fake gun Reservoir Dogs-ish throw-down? I know I do, just so long as the guns are FOAM!), and Nothing Personal as a longer game with … members of my friends who could get into the criminal element of the game. 😉

 

So that leaves Ora Et Labora and Police Precinct. These two have been acquired within the last couple of months, so I shouldn’t count them yet per se on this list. Ora Et Labora is an Uwe Rosenberg creation (see my previous blog entry on my acquisition quest for this game), so it’s going to be pulled out someday since the family enjoys both Caverna and Agricola.

 

Police Precinct is likely a Pete-Dave-Max co-op game. It’s very similar thematically to Flash Point Fire Rescue, but with police instead of firemen, another “us vs. that darn game” kind of game. It’s going to get played eventually, but lately Max has been strongly wanting to play Eclipse when Pete is around. Max is into that whole “technology to beat up the aliens and then doing that” but has to be reminded by Pete and myself– “oh yeah, you have to make a set of money engines to pay for your actions as well”.

 

So if anyone has played these games — please tell us what we are missing in the comments. I’m putting these up at the start of the year as a sort of “Gamer’s New Years Resolution” – the idea being I will learn, teach and play these games…well, someday!

Happy New Year to all!

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