present

The Christmas season is upon us once again and so I find myself with the annual conundrum of what to request as a gift. I have talked before about my reticence to acquire new games, but, what the heck – I did it last year, so once again I will compile a list of the 3 games I most want to own.

But first, however, a follow-up to last year, where I expressed an interest in Troyes, At the Gates of Loyang and Space Alert. Over the course of both Christmas and my birthday 4 months later, my wife bestowed all 3 upon me and I have been mostly happy with my choices. As heavy Euros, Troyes and At the Gates of Loyang have a hard time coming out to play often, but when I do play them, I enjoy them immensely.

Space Alert, as I discussed previously, was a complete dud, though. So much so that I am considering removing it from my collection. It breaks my heart to find a Vlaada Chvatil game so unenjoyable and the revelation of that fact was genuinely surprising to me.

But anyway, on to this year’s list!

time stories

T.I.M.E. Stories

I talked a bit about playing T.I.M.E. Stories in my BGG Con write-up, but the general idea is that I mostly enjoyed the concept and I feel like my wife and I would have a great time playing the Asylum scenario with its stronger emphasis on puzzles, moreso than all the rolling dice at zombies that we encountered playing the Marcy Case, T.I.M.E. Stories‘ second installment. And the best part about playing the Marcy Case is that now we don’t have to buy that as well. We can just get the base box, play Asylum, and then pick up any other expansions that look interesting. I think the next one coming out is in some, like, fantasy setting, which sounds great to me, but we’ll see if my wife is on board for that.

Ultimately it could be an expensive road to go down, buying up all the expansions T.I.M.E. Stories, but they’re each just a deck of cards, so they’ll be easy to store at least. And they’ll provide plenty of entertainment unlike anything else I’m likely to find in the board gaming world.

codenames

Codenames

Codenames never disappoints. I called it the best game to come out of GenCon this year, and that’s a claim I still hold firmly to. And here’s another claim: it is easily the best party game out there. I can’t even explain why it is so much fun, but I simply cannot see myself ever turning down a game of Codenames.

I think one or two people in my regular game group own it, but it only comes out very sporadically. Plus, no one in my weekend game group has even heard of it, so that needs to change right quick. I have an obligation to introduce them to Codenames.

So yeah, unlike last year’s Vlaada Chvatil request, this one has been tried and tested by me, and the desire is real.

seasons

Seasons

I know, I know, I appear to have joined the cult of the new with all these games that were recently released. So how about a game that I have been thinking about getting for years and have just never pulled the trigger on? I love Seasons in a serious way and somehow still don’t have it my collection.

Inexcusable. I need to get on this right away (and by “right away” I mean “maybe at some point in the future”). I used to play the crap out of it on Board Game Arena, but I am not tired of it at all. In fact, every time I go to games nights, I secretly hope that someone brings Seasons so that I can play it.

I don’t know why I find such enjoyment in this game. The randomness of the dice play a huge factor in how things play out, as do the random card draws. And there is so much nasty direct conflict – another thing I’m not a big fan of. But the synergies created by a good hand of cards combined with the Euro-y nature of manipulating a myriad of resources – it is just a wonderfully entertaining game.

The score track is awful in every conceivable way, and keeping track of all the millions of special effects can be cumbersome, but my mind just keeps coming back to this game week after week. I might just need to own it. And all the expansions because more cards is always better.

Runners up

I tried to limit myself to three games, but really, there are a couple more I would mind seeing under the metaphorical tree.

Pandemic Legacy – Any board gamer who is not interested to try out Pandemic Legacy is just plain crazy. It is rocketing up the BGG rankings in a ridiculous fashion, plus, you know, legacy. I’ve sort of hitched my cart to that horse, so to speak, so it would be downright irresponsible of me not to check out the biggest legacy game on the scene.

Look, I’m not a big fan of Pandemic. It’s all right, but I’ve never found it all that exciting, and it suffers hugely from the alpha gamer issue. But the number one thing I’ve heard is people saying, “I don’t really like Pandemic, but I love Pandemic Legacy,” and plus my wife has even expressed a desire to possibly play some more Pandemic, so I think this might be a nice thing to experience with her.

Ora et Labora – You can never have too many Uwe Rosenberg games, and this is definitely the next on the list. Last year I almost put it on the wishlist, but it got beaten out by At the Gates of Loyang. Now we don’t have that problem and I am still interested.

So there you have it – a lot of new games, which is concerning, but, really, T.I.M.E. Stories and Pandemic Legacy are really quite unprecedented. They are phenomena that demand to be experienced. And Codenames is just awesome, so I make no apologies for my selections.

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