The Rumpus Room Top Twelve – 2014 Edition

A pogo stick!

The holiday season is a time for tradition, and as we all know “tradition” is a Christmas-y word for obligation. I’ve been at my tradition for five years now, where I look at my twelve favorite games and see what has shifted over the last year. My approach has evolved some, but I do it again from scratch every year. Our tastes aren’t set in stone after all. You can see by reading my lists from 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013Continue reading

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Games Of The Years

I got involved in this hobby seven years ago, and I’ve been writing about it pretty steadily for about three, with occasional pieces before that. At some point every board game writer will have to deal with the expectation to crown their “game of the year.” This is tricky for a lot of reasons. Continue reading

Hex Education – Wiz-War: Malefic Curses Review

Wiz-War Malefic Curses

They are not all accounted for, the lost seeing stones.

For several years, I’ve was convinced that Fantasy Flight’s greatest reprint was the outstanding work they’ve done on Cosmic Encounter. They republished a long out-of-print classic and made it relevant for new audiences, but they also support it with solid expansion work that keeps taking players deeper in the world of the game. Well, don’t be surprised if one year from now we’re crowning a new champion, because I’m starting to think that as an update to a classic game Wiz-War might be even better. The first expansion, Malefic Curses, is everything it needed to be. I can heartily recommend it to anyone who alrea Continue reading

I’ve Seen The Lights Go Out On Olathe

2003 blackout New York

I saw the Empire State laid low.

Taking advantage of the long weekend, I planned several weeks ago to get together five friends and play a game of Dune, the classic game based on Frank Herbert’s book. This was going to be my fourth game, and I’ve been waiting to get it played again since this winter. It’s not always a long game, but it can go as long as six hours if it goes the distance, so it can take considerable effort to get it set up. Needless to say, this was a pretty exciting prospect for me. Continue reading

Training Wheels

I pledge allegiance to training wheels

Training wheels for America

Being the guy who reviews games means that I’m usually the guy teaching them. This was the case even before I started writing about games regularly, since I was one of the buyers among my friends. I would decide what I wanted to play, buy it if no one had it already, and then teach it to everyone else. Teaching is something that most gamers need to figure out, and I feel like I’ve gotten pretty good at it. But lately I’ve grown weary of being the teacher. I’m not sure if it’s a function of too many games, or a growing sense that more and more games require “training wheels” to enjoy the experience. But either way I’m tired of learning and teaching games. I’d much rather play them. Continue reading

Resolutions

The New Year means a lot of things to a lot of different people. For college football teams, it’s a way to crow about winning a meaningless game. For parents of young children, it’s a reason to stay up until exactly 12:15 and then go straight to bed. For me personally, it actually means a birthday. (Thanks to my Facebook friends for the well wishes, by the way. For someone who never gives birthday greetings on Facebook, I sure got a lot of them.) And of course, it means resolutions. 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