Collecting my Thoughts – 2017 Edition

It’s been a quiet year for me purchases wise, apart from the inevitable march of Arkham expansions. Despite that I’ve been going through my collection recently and having a bit of a purge so let’s see where I’ve ended up.

According to my BGG collection I own 58 unique items and that is not counting expansions or things I currently have that I am in the process of getting rid of. That is actually more than I thought, and probably too many. You can see my plays there as well though I have only really been keeping track of that better this year and I have definitely missed some.

My ambition over the next year is to make sure every game in my collection has a review, some already do and I will link where appropriate, and then to probably sell off the ones that I don’t play anymore. I’ll be giving patrons a prize draw out of that and also letting them have first call on anything I am selling after that.

Let’s have a look at my modest collection. 

Adrenaline: A recent addition this excellent game of FPS themed point collection was a blast to play and I look forward to getting it to the table some more for a full game.

Android Netrunner: A game I fell in love with, then out of love, then back into love with after a recent update. It’s been a rollercoaster but I am hoping to play a bit more of this over the new year, when I can find room for it beside my new love….

Arkham Horror: The Card Game: Look deep into my eyes and see my abiding love of horrors man was not meant to know. This game has consumed a lot of my gaming time this year as it is absolutely phenomenal. You can see content for this game all over my site and I will be keeping up with that over the course of the year.  

Ascending Empires: I fell hard for this game when it came out and I really enjoyed it’s combination of 4X and dexterity. However it has not seen play for a long time and I think I’ll be looking to shift it in my next purge.

Captain Sonar: I have had a ton of fun with this game and I can’t think of a better choice when I have 6-8 folk to entertain. It’s an absolute riot and such a simple premise. I’m very interested in the smaller player count game in the same vein Matagot are releasing next year.

Castles of Burgundy: I haven’t played this for a while either but I quite enjoy it’s gentle euro style mechanics.

Catan: I have kept this one mostly out of nostalgia, but it really does feel like it’s time to let it go.

Chess: I have chess because why wouldn’t I. Don’t play very often but nice to have and occasionally gets brought out when my Dad is down.

Citadels: Arguably the game that brought the mechanic of role selection to a bigger audience a new collectors edition is now out with loads of extras. I like how much game is in this tiny box and its still a great example of the mechanic.

Cockroach Poker: Although quite similar to Skull in that it is a game about pure bluffing there is a bit more of a game here which means some groups will take to it a bit more.

CodenamesA fantastic game of codecracking and tearing your hair out at why your spymaster or spy team are such a bunch of idiots. That clue was obvious, wasn’t it?

Colony: An interesting engine builder with a lovely little app that changes the setup each time. Quick playing, fast to setup and put away, it’s a great puzzle of a game.

Condotierre: A small box game that honestly is yet to hit my table. I got it as a small man on maps style game I could carry around. Need to try and play it this year to see if it is going to survive.

Cry Havoc: This is a really interesting sci-fi themed man on maps game I am eager to get to the table more using all the skill cards as so far I have only really played some intro games.

Design Town: A cool little deckbuilder style game that was originally called Flip Town. I am not entirely sure why it was repurposed since Flip Town seems to have more expansions out for it, might be worth picking it up instead.

Doomtown: Reloaded: I backed the recent Kickstarter to keep this game alive. It’s a complex beast of a game and I love it. Hoping to get to play it more in the coming year.

Eldritch Horror: This has been largely replaced in my affections by the Arkham Horror LCG, but if you want a globe spanning romp of pulp action it’s still a beautiful beast of game. The coming ‘Masks of Nyarlathotep’ has renewed my interest in the game with the promise of a campaign mode.

Escape from the Aliens in Outer Space: An interesting, and beautifully presented game of sneaking around a powerless spaceship trying not to be eaten by one of your supposed friends.

Flash Duel: Sirlin’s blog is an interesting read if you are into game design in any way or form and he is one of my favourite designers. Flash Duel is the most accessible of his designs, being a simple duel on a bridge, but still has a lot of subtlety in it.

Fury of Dracula: Another hidden movement game and honestly I probably don’t need this and Escape in my collection. This is another of those beautiful games that I haven’t played enough. Going to need to give it a proper shake in the new year before deciding where it should go.

Galaxy Trucker: This has become a regular favourite over the last year and is a great laugh. Throwing together your ramshackle spaceship then firing it into space on a wing and a prayer is a great concept and never fails to entertain.

Game of Thrones: The Board Game: An absolute classic of a game, with a load to recommend it. My only problem is getting it to the table regularly enough.

Go: A Christmas present from an age ago, I’ve got a mate who gives me the occasional lesson. Would love to play more.

Guns & Steel: This one is on my pile of shame. I really want to get it to the table as it sounds interesting. If they have nailed a civ builder in a small box that is really interesting to me.

Jaipur: Bought this one specifically to play with my wife and it’s been enjoyed a couple of times. Should hopefully see more play in the coming year.

Jenga: Hoping to replace this with Rhino Hero Super Battle soon.

Jungle Speed: A game I used to get out on a regular occasion but has fallen away for more sedate, but no less fun, fillers. May get culled in the next purge.

Kemet: Another man on maps games, honestly I have too many as I’ve been searching for the right one. This is a brutal, aggressive affair that is a real breath of fresh air as you are in each other’s faces right from the off, rather than building slowly to inevitable battles.

King of Tokyo: A firm filler favourite that will likely be in my collection for a long time to come.

Legacy: A game designed by a couple of friends of mine that I really like. It hasn’t seen play in years though, so it is probably time to purge it next time I do a cull.

Lords of Vegas: An excellent game and one of my goto choices for an introductory game. Recently played this with the guys from work and they had a great laugh.

Lords of Waterdeep: The only euro style worker placement that has spent any time in my collection, all other attempts have been met with failure. It may be light, but it gets to my table and that gives it value.

Love Letter: I was initially lukewarm on this game but it has some real subtlety to it that I love. Designing games with limited components is an interesting challenge and it gave me inspiration for a couple of designs.

Mafia de Cuba: I love this game so much and every time it comes out I have an amazing time. Easy to explain, quick to play and presented beautifully I can’t think of a party game I’ve enjoyed more.

Mage Knight Board Game: Mage Knight is a strange beast. It feels very much like a snapshot of a particular moment in game design history with all the mechanics of the period thrown into it to see what would stick. Turns out it was everything. A behemoth of a game I don’t get to the table very often.

Mahjong: I used to play a lot of this with my parents and their friends as a kid. I have it more out of nostalgia than anything else, but also a fascination with very early boardgame design.

Mysterium:  Easily the prettiest game in my collection, Mysterium combines the ethereal images of Dixit with a more robust game  with hints of Cluedo about it.

Patchwork:  A firm favourite of my wife and I, Patchwork is a great two player game and one I have used to introduce people to the wider hobby.

Pentago: A beautifully presented abstract game that I’ve always enjoyed getting to the table. Hasn’t seen a lot of play recently but it’s a small game so isn’t a huge burden to keep in my collection.

Pocket Mars: Picked up at Expo and not played yet. On the pile of shame with you.

Polarity: A fascinating abstract game that attracted me because of it’s use of magnets. Again I haven’t played it in a while but I do love the presentation and feel of the game.

Puzzle Strike: I love Puzzle Strike. I don’t understand it, but I love it.  Another Sirlin design, it’s probably the most complex of the three I own and I have not even begun to scratch the surface of what you can do.

Revenge of the B-Movie: In the dim and distant past I designed and published this one to some success.

Scrabble: Picked this up to have a wordgame in my collection but it has been surplanted by Wordsy and others. Probably won’t survive out the next year.

Shadowscape: I really like the ‘big game in a small box’ trend and I picked up Shawdowscape this year as a dungeon version of that. Not quite what I was expecting but interesting nonetheless.

Skull: A game of pure bluff this is a great thing to pull out over a pint or two.

Space Hulk: Third Edition: Bought for me as a wedding present by some dear friends, but something I haven’t played much since then. This is a beautiful edition of a classic game that I have a lot of affection for.

SpyfallThis is one of those games that sings with the correct group, but can fall a little flat without the right combination of people. If it doesn’t get played in the next year it will probably get purged.

Star Trek: Panic: A really fun coop, that although it doesn’t have a lot of variety to it’s gameplay, looks fantastic on the table.

Star Wars: X-Wing: I dabbled in this absolute phenomenon of a game early on in it’s development. I have not kept up at all and will be looking to sell my ships at some point.

Suburbia: I really love Suburbia and it was one of the first games my wife played with me. I really get into games where a story emerges during play and in this one you can be creating anything from an industrial wasteland to a garden paradise. Would be keen to try Castles of Mad King Ludwig in the same vein.

Takenoko: The game that has really replaced Catan in my collection, this is another of those things that looks magnificent on the table and plays really well.

Terraforming Mars: One of the new hotness that I picked up this year as an engine builder addition to my collection. Only had 1 play of it so far so not sure what to make of it yet.

Tiny Epic Western: One of the few kickstarter games I have backed, and only recently got to the table. It’s actually a pretty tight puzzle and I enjoyed the game I’ve played. Going to see about playing it more in the new year, as for game to size its great.

Twilight Struggle: Fascinating game that I have played not nearly enough. If I can get myself a regular opponent I would be really interested to play this more. Anyone in Edinburgh up for that?

Warhammer Underworlds: ShadespireTo give it its full title. Shadespire is an excellent arena brawler and my first GW purchase in years.

Wordsy: Continuing my interest in small box games, Wordsy is an excellent word game that doesn’t outstay its welcome.

XCom: The Board GamePlayed a few times in the past and mostly picked up because of the app integration which I find a fascinating avenue for future development. A frenetic co-op game that doesn’t quite deliver on all fronts but is fun nonetheless.

Yomi: The game that first got me interested in Sirlin as a designer and still a firm favourite of mine. Hasn’t seen a lot of play this year but I’ll probably play some with my Brother-in-law over Christmas.

Phew, that’s a lot of games. I said at the start of the year that I believe in small, well curated collections and I still do. I don’t get huge collections of games that surely can’t all get played very often, nor do I really chase the new hotness that much. I’m very much of the opinion that I still have too many games and although I’ll probably get a few more over christmas it is likely they will be replacing games I already own.  If by the end of next year every game I own has been played at least once in the year, I think I’ll call that a win.

Iain McAllister

Tabletop games reviewer and podcaster based in Dalkeith, Scotland.

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