The Best Games of 2013

wild party

Why did I eat so much paper last night?

Every end-of-the-year board game article I read makes a general assessment over the entire year, something I’ve never felt qualified to do. For starters, there are a lot of big releases that I still haven’t played. If I don’t get a review copy of something, I have to catch the wave of popularity every new release gets before my gaming friends have moved on. When that doesn’t happen, it becomes less likely that I’ll get around to something without trading for it. That’s why a couple of major releases like Pathfinder and Kemet passed by without comment from me. They haven’t made a lot of impact in my immediate circles, though they have been very well-regarded online. Besides that, the end of the year is when Essen releases are just beginning to trickle to the US. Some promising games are about to be inserted into my rotation (like Tash-Kalar and Steam Park) that would normally be considered 2013 releases. Let’s just assume those will be eligible for the 2014 list, especially a couple of games below are in that shadowy realm between 2012 and 2013. Continue reading

Video Game Punishment

I Wanna Be The Guy

Still wanna be the guy?

A couple of years ago I discovered through a couple of different avenues a concept known as “platformer hell”. As you may or may not know, a platformer is a video game where you have a guy and he jumps around, often on platforms. The prototypical one is the Mario games, but until the 3D age it was the dominant form  of video games. Platformer hell is a specific genre of these games that has come along with the advent of the internet. The idea is that it’s a platformer game that is so hard that it crosses the line from brutal and becomes hilarious. TV Tropes has a pretty good working definition. Continue reading

My 2013 Ancient Treasures

zelda treasure

It can only be used in this dungeon.

Ahh, the Christmas season. Irritating songs, endless social functions with co-workers, and a easy five pounds to round out that girlish figure. For a game blogger/writer, it’s also a time to start making lists. I already did one a couple weeks ago with my favorite games ever, which is an annual tradition I’ve done for four years now. In a couple of weeks I’ll have one with my top games released roughly in 2013. Continue reading

The Worst Christmas Songs Ever

broken christmas ornament

Christmas is RUINED.

I  like Christmas songs a lot, but I don’t think any of us could doubt that a large percentage of holiday music is terrible. This became obvious when I discovered 24-hour Christmas music stations, and realized that a couple of songs were awful no matter what. There’s a magical balance between schmaltz and earnest emotion that only the most skilled of musicians can hit. I’m more tolerant of sacred music, if only because it resonates on a deeper level for me and isn’t played mercilessly on the radio. There are awful versions of good songs too, like all of those overwrought renditions of O Holy Night. But there are some that are terrible at a deeper level, the kind that make you change the station before you are compelled to jump out a window. Continue reading

Is the Age of Reprints Over?

Nexus Ops

I visited a friend of mine to play some games a couple of weeks ago, and as often happens we spent some time chatting about different games we enjoy. I commented on his copy of the Fantasy Flight edition of Dungeonquest, and he informed me that it’s now unavailable with no plans for a reprint. Scouring the BGG forums, I did see a rumor that it might come back in a new edition, closer to its classic incarnation without the new combat. That seems little more than speculation, however. As of right now, all we know is that a game that just got a new edition three years ago is out of print once again. Continue reading

Rumpus Room Top Twelve – Parallel Universe Edition

Imperial

When I posted this year’s Top Twelve list to Facebook, a Euro-fan friend of mine noted that our two lists of favorites had now totally diverged. It’s true too. I started out as a fresh-faced fan of Eurogames, and then cynicism and darkness crept into my soul until only the deep embrace of dice could soothe my fevered brow. Continue reading

The Rumpus Room Top Twelve – 2013 Edition

This is the fourth year I’ve done a big countdown for my top twelve games, but I still feel like it’s a work in progress. My first installment back in 2010 seemed to assume that these were the twelve “best games EVAR,” like there was a standard that these games were held up to, and they were the ones found to be at the top of a linear list of every game I own. Now that I’m putting together this list for the fourth time, that’s obviously a load of crap. Not that I don’t consider these games among the best ever made, but the list this year is almost totally different from the first one that I published in 2010. I mean, I put Dominion on the first iteration of this list, and Puzzle Strike on the second one. Those might reflect the last time I wrote much positive about either one of those games. One list by itself doesn’t mean much anyway. I’m not the same gamer I was in 2010, and that’s fine. I keep doing these lists because they tell me a lot about where I am right now as a gamer. Consider this a portrait of what I want in a game in December of 2013. Continue reading