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2023 - a year in review, part 1 - board games, conventions and more!


2023 has been a bit of a year, to say the least! Not only board gaming wise, but personally I've started in a new role, taken on new responsibilities and had to balance what at times feels like 3 full time roles, the life of a board game content creator, normal full time employee, board game group organiser and then everything else in between!


2023 saw the Launch of Board Game Overlord, a rebrand from Preston's Gamer's Guild, which separated out the weekly Club night to board game overlord me, the content creator. I think it may have impacted group numbers or at least the visibility of the group, and it's definitely confused. Some folks! But enough about that, let's talk gaming. This year, was the year I discovered, or maybe, rediscovered solo board gaming. I've never been a big solo board gamer, but Legacy of Yu saw me fall in love with a solo game that I sat and played every night. It was a joy.


January 2023, Splendor Duel was our new to us highlight, hitting the table during the weeknight And Week Night gaming is a rarity, we normally come home, make dinner, clean up, prepare for the next day, grab an evening walk and then spend the evening on the sofa. Splendor Duel bucked that trend, with us having it permanently setup on our table throughout the month, leaving to some tense games. But here we are a year later and I feel that maybe I'm all done with Splendor Duel.



January, February, March, April and May saw one game being a consistent hit though, although its expansions have never made it out of the box! And that game is Teotihuacan, to me there's a crunchyness of decisions that actually at times feels so mentally exhausting, I've not felt able to finish the game (that's happened once this year).



Feburary looking back seems like a fairly quiet month, and this is where I realise my logging of gaming was at one point been terrible, or maybe consistently so! Apparently I only played 8 games in February, being someone who captures every play even digital, just going back through BGA games, I played more than 8! (I later realised, I had a filter set on my BG stats, which meant only a fraction of my games were showing!) Luckily the photos from game nights help.



Undaunted: Normandy, made 6 outtings to the table this month, which is sublime deck building game, that I need to play more of. February 2023, also began our weekly affair with Brass Birmingham! Although I've played Brass Birmingham previously, in fact I've owned a copy for sometime. February was the start of a 7 week relationship, whereby Brass Birmingham hit the table every week, sometimes more than once! I long to go back and play Brass Birmingham again, there was a mixture of great games and equally some rather tense ones, largely driven by rule debates. We also played Tiletum, which is a bit like marmite, I want to love it, but end up feeling so disengaged by the end of the game, that I dislike it.




March 2023 saw Airecon and we generally had a good time, however, were let down by multiple people we'd planned games with. It was made worse by their excuses of sorry we're leaving, going to eatch a movie etc, only to see them sat starting another game. Meaning we'd essentially travelled 2 1/2 hours to play two player games. March saw me being essentially re-taught New York Zoo, although its one we've owned for some time, I remember hunting down a copy a few Christmas's ago. We'd actually been playing wrong ever since, as the one who read the rules, that's me to blame! New York zoo feels like Patchwork, but with animals, I think it's the best way to describe it and, most importantly in double the time! We also made our first two board game purchase of the year, Hiroba and DorfRomantik! Ironically, then left the collection a few months later, as I realised it was one I was never going to get to the table. And DorfRomantik felt all kinda flat for us.



April, looking back, seems like a fairly average month, nothing new, so to speak of, although we did play Heat: Pedal to the Metal, I then sold it. We then played 1754: French Indian War, I then sold that. Oh, and Earth, I sold that too. The "old" favourites continue to hit the table. And oh, we made a fair bit of progression in both of our campaigns! Rise of Queensdale saw 4 games, which brought the campaigns end ever closer. And gloomhaven, we continued to explore.



May saw us conclude Rise of Queensdale, which was enjoyable, but largely forgettable and equally there came a point where although it was mathematically possible for me to still win, it was never going to happen. So the last 3 or 4 games felt like a forgone conclusion. May was also the month we got to try Lacrimosa, another new to us game that just didn't stick around. After a few plays, I just felt like there were other games of a similar weight I'd rather play.



And we'll conclude part one of this wrap up, with June! The month of the UK Games expo, the jewel in the UK board gaming crown (?). From reading other attendees comments (skipping the entirely, OH MY GAWD its amazing) there was a reoccurring theme of queues, not enough demo space and some rather crammed in aisles. I did my research before hand and made my list based on Boardgameprices.co.uk and found all the games I wanted were cheaper online. There were probably deals to be had in the bring and buy if you wanted to brave the queue and the hordes of bargain hunters. But it saw me Demoing for the first time in years which I loved, which of course did mean I didn't get to see everything at the expo. June saw 27 ganes played with starship captains leading with the most plays, again it wasn’t one we kept, I felt like we'd seen literally everything that game had to offer in just a handful of plays.


And thats part one! Anyone noticing a reoccuring theme here? New games aren't sticking!


Although going back through my plays, I regret moving on Atiwa and would still love a copy of Bunny Kingdom.



Stay tuned for part 2..



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