We're gonna need a bigger shelf - Weekly Challenge #1
(My freshly installed collection after our recent move, shares the space with my partner's books on modernity and theo-political issues in the Middle East: very indicative of us as individuals :D)
How long have you been in the hobby? How long have you been collecting?
I have been playing games since before I can remember: my Mum, while not 'in the hobby' loved games and would forever be bringing home a game she had found in a charity shop for us to play (a habit I have definitely acquired). I messed about with both Magic Cards and Warhammer/40k from ages 8-14 and probably started getting more into card/board games at 16/17ish: I have always been a massive nerd! At university I was fortunate enough to find a group of friends who enjoyed board games and spent many an evening playing Cards, Catan, Pandemic and Werewolf (all of which can be turned into drinking games as it turns out). I would say I have been 'collecting' for the last 5 years, with a one year break while I was living in rural southern France: although did have copy of Skull and Catan to keep us going!
Most of my games come from charity shops or second-hand on Ebay, so I have often had limited options about what I get. Now that I have built a pretty sizeable collection I am being much more discerning about what games I buy (even if there is a great deal) and plan to sell on/gift a few games that never see the table.
How would you describe your board game preferences?
The joy of board gaming has always been having a group of people around a table, so games that involve negotiation or bluffing have always been high up there for me (Dead of Winter, Archipelago and Coup being prime examples). I like co-op games, again because I think they promote discussion and interaction, many of my favourites co-ops I have gifted to my family as we enjoy them together (Pandemic: on the Brink, XCOM and Legendary: Aliens). There is the part of my brain that loves a good puzzle, especially if it is wrapped up and integrated in a solid theme (Great Western Trail, Valley of the Kings, Architects of the West Kingdom). Across all of these genres I have a huge soft spot for asymmetry and any kind of engine building.
More recently I have been more and more drawn to area control games/ dudes on a map games, I think partially as they provide a lot of that interaction and my current board game group tends not to like hidden traitor or co-op games as much.
What are the favourites in your collection? Why?
I adore Archipelago, I have never found a game that allows for such outlandish deals and rewards you so much for making them: A fairly complex euro, it is built on the foundation of negotiation and trying to read the other players. The semi-cooperative aspect is done so well and really tests people's ability to work together while also getting ahead. With the right group it is probably my favourite experience. It potentially is troublesome in that you play pretty ruthless colonialists but I have often used that as a way to discuss the issues while we play so hopefully a net positive.
I have really enjoyed the small amount of Cry Havoc that I have gotten to play (arrived just as the lockdown kicked in over here), it is a highly asymmetric and very tight area control game. You only get 15 actions the whole game so each of them feels meaningful, the dynamic across the board is very enjoyable as each player feels like the others are too powerful. Also, the combat is so much fun and highly tactical, with no dice rolling and both player can potential leave it with what they wanted or both can feel like they lost out.
13 Days is my favourite 2P game, I try to talk it up whenever I get the chance as I feel it flies entirely under the radar, however, it packs a lot of the feel of Twilight struggle into a 40 minute game, has some wonderful mechanics and is easy to teach.
(The many smaller games and DVD shelves, plus my pitiful attempts to learn Russian)
What is your least favourite (or least played) game in your collection? Why?
I have a copy of Cards against Humanity that I was gifted that I have never used, it's not a game I enjoyed even when I first played it and came to actively dislike/find problematic many aspects of it over time.
That aside, Catan hasn't been used in a long time, Codenames is still in shrink (everyone I know has a copy so I still play it from time to time and I picked it up for £3 so no real loss) and a few other smaller games that have generally only been played once or twice.
What do you like about your collection? Is there anything you'd change?
I really appreciate and have been intentional about trying to get a good range of games, to be able to match a game to an occasion. As I adore seeing people enjoying themselves and like being able to facilitate that as much as possible. I also friggin' love games, so I like that my collection exists: there are happy memories attached to most every game on the shelf.
I think I will try to streamline my collection in the coming months, having discovered a little more over the years what works for me/my friends and what doesn't, I would liek to focus
(My newest additions, so they must share space with the yarn, it's like the initiation ritual of my collection)
Which game would you absolutely LOVE to add to your collection and why?
Anyone who has seen much of anything I have posted know I am very keen to get my hands on a copy of 878: Vikings - Invasions of England. Love the 2 vs 2 asymmetric team concept, the randomness of the dice meaning that hopefully there won't be too much AP going on and feel like it would be a wonderfully narrative game to play.
I also cannot wait for my copy of The Defence of Procyon III to arrive from Kickstarter (in 2021).
Feel free to add anything else to this!
It is only in the last 6 months or so that I have really started to engage with the wider 'board game community' and that has been a fascinating and educational experience, thank you all on BGA for being a part of that. It has introduced me to a tonne of new games, ways of thinking about games and I have learnt a lot about the industry and how games come into being.
Thanks for reading!