Collecting my Thoughts – 2021 edition

I almost skipped writing this annual look at my collection for 2021, as I did in 2020. A recent video by the excellent No Pun Included had me going through my collection once more. As regular readers of this site will know I am an advocate for small collections that see regular play.

I wrote once my aim was for 40 titles, partly restricted by the space I have in my study, a double kallax with a half kallax on top. 6 spaces high, 2 spaces wide. So for the first time in a couple of years lets go down what has a place in the collection and chat about each one briefly. I’ve linked reviews in the title of each game if it has one. I still hope to review every game in my collection one day.

7 Wonders Duel

A new addition I bought during the pandemic for my wife and I to play. I was never a fan of the original, but this feels like a tighter game with a lovely tug of war. Really recommend for that Civilisation game in a lunchtime kind of feel

Android: Netrunner

Not actually in the double kallax. I know, naughty. Mostly kept out of nostalgia as I haven’t played it in ages.

Arkham Horror: The Card Game

I think I’ve said all I need to about this one. Best co-op game out there.


One of the most pleasing games to play in my collection, those tiles just feel great. That said, I haven’t played it in ages. Have to get it to the table with my wife to see if it is a keeper or not.

Edge of the Earth Investigator and Campaign box
Still going strong

Between Two Cities

This is definitely in the maybe pile. I bought it just before lockdown in 2019 and haven’t had a chance to play it much yet. Since I often cater to larger groups it does fill a need, it’s just not the most thrilling game ever. Need to dive into it more before deciding .

Catacombs: Third Edition

I really like a good dexterity game, and this one seems to be that. Only had it to the table once so really not sure about it yet. It’s one of those games I was hankering after for ages and the finally got at my last UK Games Expo.

CIV: Carta Impera Victoria

I love small games done well and this is a fine example of that. Another of the civilisation games in a lunchtime with more of an abstract take on the genre. Check it out if you can.

Civilisation: New Dawn

I do like my Civ games, don’t I? This was unfairly maligned when it came out because it dared to give the feel of the computer games without the complexity of the previous tabletop entries. A surprise expansion came out last year and is on my list of wants. The core mechanic is just superb and I think it really is one of FFGs best games. Still need to play it a bit more before diving into a full review.

Cockroach Poker

Lies, damned lies, and bugs. A perfect distillation of lies and trust into a tiny box of cards.


A raucous collection of games in a tiny tin, with maths that is super interesting. Check out this video about how the game works.

Doomtown: Reloaded

This came back with a bang a few games ago and I keep this mostly out of nostalgia. Honestly it is firmly in the maybe pile.

Eldritch Horror

A big, brash, popcorn muncher of a game which sees the pulp action of Arkham head to the world stage. It’s an enjoyable co-op romp even if it runs a little long for my tastes these days.

Civilisation New Dawn cover
Sorely overlooked

Escape the Dark Sector

I loved Escape the Dark Castle, but Dark Sector improves on the original release from Themeborne in almost every way. Will likely see about getting some of the expansions later this year. A fast playing adventure game with loads and loads of flavour.


An incredibly charming tableau builder that I think will be a great addition to the collection. Quite a recent purchase so time will tell.

Flamme Rouge

The only race game in my collection. I need to pick up the 5-6 player expansion to get it to the table a little more often and see if it should stay.


A great deckbuilder with a charming theme, wonderful production, and an easy teach. Need to get the cats and dogs expansion.


A whole world in a box and the finest dungeon game out there. Planning to write more on this one over the course of the year. Much as I love it, I would probably recommend picking up Jaws of the Lion over the core box.


The troops on maps game that puts you right in the middle of the action and doesn’t let up. Considering replacing it with the new edition that smooths out some of the rough edges.

King of Tokyo

One of the first “hobby” games that I bought and has remained in my collection for years. A fabulous, chunky, dice chucker of a game.


A great word game but I’ve been eyeing up Hardback to replace it.

Lords of Vegas

The game so good I’ve written about it twice! This was an early addition to my collection. It’s a game that rewards big, bold plays, cunning deals, pushing your luck, and a good dose of confrontation.

Lords of Waterdeep

The only worker placement game in my collection, Lords of Waterdeep has survived many a cull. My regular group just doesn’t get on with a lot of worker placement style games, so for now it’s going to be the only one of these I own.

What a game!

Magnate: The First City

Almost forgot this one! Recently arrived and not hit the table yet, though I have previewed a Kickstarter version.


One of the surprises of last year for me! This is an excellent party game which has just enough bite to set it apart from the others.


I picked this up out of curiosity with Carl Chudyk’s design philosophy. I am a fan of multi-use cards and his designs lean into that in spades. Not one I’ve played enough to know whether or not to keep it.


THE game of the 2021, I still don’t know what to make of it. Got a couple of games under my belt but more needed to dive into it. Certainly ambitious, definitely bold, but is it good?


I really like this game of species manipulation and biomes below the sea. I’m not sure my home group really like it, but some more plays should decide its fate.


A 2 player game about quilts shouldn’t be this good, but it is. One of the best 2 player games out there, now has multiple versions and none of them will break the bank.

Revenge of the B- Movie

Only game I ever designed so I own copies. Not really counting it against the collection.


Friend gave me this to try out, but I have not actually managed to get it to the table. Still counts against the collection.


A wonderful 2 player duel game I championed before it even had a name. Looking forward to giving it a proper review this year.

Roll Player

A game of character creation, combos, and more dice than a casino. Would like to pick up the last expansion, if only to have my Folded Space insert be of more use.


One of my favourite games with fantastic replayability and innovative faction design. I’m looking forward to trying out the moles and corvids a bit more this year. Eyeing up picking up the last expansion.

Root in play
One of my favourites


Basically Telephone with pictures this is a classic party game that see the table on a regular basis as a good warm up for games night.

Spirit Island

To my mind one of the most generous board games out there and a cracking co-op game. Want to get it to the table more this year, and consider some of the expansions.

Sumo Gnomes

A great 2-player pocket game of battling gnomes. What more do you want?


One of my go to games to introduce people to the wonder of modern board games. Easy to play, simple to teach, and looks great on the table.

Tiny Towns

This is such a strange game, and I love it. Seems simple on the surface, but can lead to a certain amount of acrimony when that person picks brick for the 5th time. I don’t need brick!


Just got this last year second hand from the lovely Richard at We’re Not Wizards. Still to get to the table but wanted to try it out as I have really come to love Leder Games’ output.

There we have it then, 39 titles all told. Well 38 when we remove Revenge of the B-Movie. Finally under 40! Also approaching having all the games reviewed, so might try and push to get that project finished by the end of the year.

There are a few maybes in the collection at the moment, and by the end of the year I will have made a decision on whether to keep them or not. I could try and get the collection down even further but 40 seems like a good amount of games to get to the table regularly. Hopefully I’ll be taking them off the actual, rather than virtual, shelves over the course of the year.

What is in your collection? Do you keep it to a particular size? Let me know over on our Discord.


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Iain McAllister

Tabletop games reviewer and podcaster based in Dalkeith, Scotland.

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