Since I've managed to acquire a massive backlog of games to blog about, some of the games mentioned here won't have links or blogs yet. They'll be added as and when possible.
At the start of 2021, I wondered whether my gaming would pick up in '21? The answer is a resounding yes! The breakdown is below.
Number of different games played: 78.
Of which were new (To me.): 46.
Total number of gaming sessions: 333.
Total number of different games played: 29.
Of which were new (To me.): 13.
Total number of gaming sessions: 49.
Why have the numbers have significantly increased? Put simply, it's due to Board Game Arena: Around May 2021, we reconnected with an old friend who had moved abroad and we started playing games on BGA and playing games digitally is really quick! There's no unpacking and packing, or setup and clean up, there's even no need to tally scores, it's all done automatically. As a result, it's easily possible to play 4 or 5 games in a 3-4 hour window and this includes playing a game several times! Hence the six fold increase in game sessions.
Which games were played the most?
Love Letter is a fairly quick game to complete and we probably play 2 or 3 games per session on BGA, so I don't doubt we've played it over a 100 times in 2021; not bad for a game that only consists of 16 cards.
Over 2021, Love Letter became more of a ritual than a game, the calculating, the guessing and double-bluffing, twists of luck and reversal of fortune, along with the banter and bragging made it our mainstay over BGA.
Enough of boring numbers; it's time to now talk about the highly coveted and still world-beating 3 Spellcaster and a Dwarf 2021 game awards!
These are not necessarily new games, but they are games I first encountered in 2021.
Game of the year: The Crew: Mission Deep Sea.
What a game! It blends analytical, cooperative gameplay and whist-like trick-taking to pack so much longevity and replay value into a 40 card deck, a 96 card task deck and some tokens; it's almost mind boggling.
Even after the final level has been completed it remains re-playable.
We only started playing The Crew: Mission Deep Sea in late October and by the year's end had played 25 sessions.
It was an instant hit.
Disappointment of the year: New Frontiers.
I find it hard to believe that I'm saying this about a game that shares DNA with the singular Race for the Galaxy, but I found New Frontiers just frustrating to play.
It takes the core concepts of Race for the Galaxy and turns them into a board game, also adding 2 currencies (Money & colonists.) to the mix, this serves to add complexity to the game, yet somehow New Frontiers seems quicker to play and makes for a less satisfactory experience? So quick in fact, that often the game ended before I managed to do anything interesting.
It's not bad because it's based on a great game, just.... disappointing.
Surprise of the year: The Crew: Mission Deep Sea.
I'm going have to give it to The Crew: Mission Deep Sea for the reasons above.
Honourable mention: Railroad Ink.
This roll-and-write, dice-rolling and route-building game is accessible, easy to learn and a pleasure to play. It throws a healthy dose of luck into the game, but because of the way the game plays, this luck affects all players equally, so if a player doesn't score well, they've only got their planning and themselves to blame.
I play, I paint.