Well, after last month’s misery and gaping abyss where new KS games and toys were concerned, in August I managed a short break in Cornwall, went to a music festival weekend (Leedsfest btw), playtested a couple of new game ideas and had a ‘windfall week’ in which no less than FOUR new games landed on my doorstep: Snowdonia Deluxe Master Set, Barrage, Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea, and Undaunted: Normandy. To be fair, that last one I pre-ordered a week or so previously, and mainly for research purposes because one of those aforementioned playtests involved a card-based wargame I’m still working on — the rest have been ‘on the radar’ for a great many months, going back to last year’s KS free-for-all, actually.
At time of writing, I’ve only managed to get Barrage and Ancient Civ. to the table, and have been hugely impressed with both games: I played a 3-player game of Ancient Civ. t’other weekend and spent 6+ hrs doing so — it speaks volumes that not only was it a cracking game, but there were no regrets and all of us remained fully engaged throughout. One player went so far as to suggest that he’d be willing to start another fresh game of ACIS straight away if there were enough hours left in the day… a sure sign of a winner, that!
I was particularly pleased with Barrage as well: deep and complex, with pretty neat mechanics and a solid, empowering learning curve to boot. Alas, the publisher has had a complete nightmare KS campaign with this game: production changes, quality issues, and a slack handful of backers really laying into them via the KS forums, etc. for their lack of clarity, broken promises, communications issues, and all manner of other things. While I agree the majority of these issues can be rightly placed directly at the publisher’s door, the hatred and bitterness that is pouring their way in some boardgaming circles is a tad frightening, especially when they’re planning to make amends and hoping to sort a lot of the mess out piece by piece, one headache at a time. I have always had plenty to say about the way some KS campaigns work (or otherwise), and may write about this in a lot more detail another time, but suffice to say I don’t agree with the manic fervour and general cry of “Ban and boycott everything they’ve done and will ever do again in future!” — bottom-line, they fucked stuff up, and —in my opinion— at least deserve an opportunity to try and put things right again, however long and in whatever form that may take. You can read a lot more about the whole thing here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/craniocreations/barrage/comments
A number of other critics and reviewers have seen fit to print or publish blogs and videos providing gaming stats and other bits’n’bobs this year, so I took a quick look at my own game diary to see how I’ve been doing… Disappointingly, the numbers make grim reading: I’ve managed just 170 games so far this year. How’s 2019 been treating you?
In the first 8 months of this year, and excluding playtests and party games (and a few I may have simply not recorded), my gaming calendar can be broken down as follows:
January: 24 games played
February: 13 games played
March: 46 games played! (AireCon weekend)
April: 13 games played
May: 15 games played
June: 28 games played
July: 17 games played
August: 12 games played
September: only 2 games so far…
Reading between the lines, there’s a definitive ‘peak-and-trough’-type thing going on here, and while the school holidays managed to zap a fair amount of boardgaming activity (and the AireCon weekend in February helped bump the numbers up considerably!), my guess is that I’d maybe play another 20-25 games this month. Putting aside Christmas for now (sure to be a hectic time, I suspect), I think I’d be extremely lucky to scrape past the 250-mark this year, and especially if I’m planning to play more games of Ancient Civ. and Barrage: both of these titles can really eat into those gaming hours, in a positive way, mind!
Does anyone else keep these kind of stats? Perhaps you’re even more nerdyrific (invented word aka terrific), and also track your win/loss record, and other minutiae like no. of players, final scores, etc? Honestly, much as I think this sort of information would be fun to break down and analyse, I am universally lousy at most games, so I suspect these stats would make even more depressing reading unless I opted to add a “Fun Factor” to every gaming experience: rating them purely on a social comms level, perhaps? In which case The Mind could possibly be at the very bottom of that particular stack, but nigh-on every other game in the whole world ever would get a pretty decent rating on that basis alone: if you’re not playing games purely for the fun, social experience of getting together with friends and like-minded gamers, you may well be doing it all wrong… or is that just me? And in case you were wondering, The Mind ain’t so bad, but as a social experience it kind of sucks, at least until it’s all over… lol
** Incidentally, although January’s Temptation List had no less than 7 titles on it, subsequent months have always had 4 or less, with none at all in June,
and just two titles on the August list…