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2023 a year in review - part 2

Dear reader, we left you at the end of June, and we reconvene now to celebrate the end of the year and to wrap up the rest of the year! My year review is caveated in that I realise my game logging has been at times shockingly bad. There are games I recall playing, but they are nowhere to be seen on my BG stats.

July saw a three-way tie for top spot for most played, Gloomhaven, It's a wonderful world, and no thanks all finished top. The most forgettable of those games? It's a Wonderful World, I can barely recall the games, where as No thanks brings so much laughter to game night that those moments are memorable, and Gloomhaven continued to carry us through its interwoven story. Books of Time was new to me this month, and sadly wouldn't stand the test of time, in part because the components were showing so much wear after just a handful of plays. In part, I felt that the game lacked something to want to bring you back after the 4th or 5th play. July also saw Manorcon, which I'd put down as one of the worst recent gaming conventions I've recently attended.

August was the After Us month, despite hearing online how much this game is generally disliked by the community. It's one I've come to love and want to keep playing! Although I'm pretty confident on reflection that there have been gamrs where folks have cheated, it's a game reliant on trust as you get absorbed into your own game, and everything is simultaneous. A couple of games now have ended with accusations of cheating by the winner, and that's disheartening to hear, but I'm convinced now that at least one game was won by a cheater. Whether they actively cheated or cheated repeatedly by mistake is another question.

September, saw me rediscovering solo games in the Legacy of Yu. This has been one of my highlights of the year. It made such a nice mix-up to the usual evening to sit at the table and just start playing. There was minimal setup. So the ease of going from one game to another and having it left on the table was a blessing. But also a curse, I managed all those plays when I had a week off work, and since then, I've not had a week off and haven’t mamaged to come back to finish off the two remaining games! I'm pretty confident I'll be going back and losing because I won't remember the game plans I had. September also was a month of War of the Ring, such a great game and enjoyable experience!

Now apparently in October, I only played 13 games, considering I have that many live games on the go on Boardgamearena at any time as a minimum, and looking back through Boardgamearena I played more than 13 games in Octoebr there! However, October saw Revive making it to the table 3 weeks in a row, although each time with a different group, meaning I'm yet to get beyond the introductory game. Which has made it an easy decision not to get the expansion! There's little point in expansions for a game, I'm yet to see all the content for. Unlike Ark Nova..

November saw Midcon, Ark Nova Marine Worlds, and some of my new to me favourite games! Ark Nova Marine Worlds just adds a sprinkling of content and mechanisms that for me improve the base game significantly, so much, I don't think I'd ever go back to the original (and I can't be bothered to remove the new cards). Midcon was a blast, a gaming highlight, a great weekend of gaming, and I played and loved Arborea, Schaudenfreude, London, and Carnegie. How I regret getting rid of Carnegie, nobody in my regular game group owns it either! So it means I have to hunt down a copy. There were also two plays of Nucleum, and I'm not sure it's for me. I'm feeling that Brass is just my preferred game in the networking type genre/mechanism.

And before you know it, we're in December! My highlight of December was probably the 3 race campaign/series of Flamme Rouge. It's just a breeze to teach, and everyone involved from start to finish. Otherwise, there were a lot of single plays, and nothing particularly stood out. Llamaland was a Christmas gift, that we've since got to the table and it was lacking alot of crunch for me, its cute and new player friendly, probably, but otherwise I need to revisit it with the advance rules to see if there's much else going for it. Llamaland was my last game of 2023, I'd hoped to get Barcelona to the table, but it wasn't to be. However, January is looking to be full of gaming, I've Handycon planned and scheduled games of Kutna Hora, Outlive, Barcelona, and War of the Ring! Now to try and plan in Voidfall and Obsession.

And that's it, 2023 is over before it even began! It's been a real mixture of gaming experiences for me. But a key takeaway for me is that despite the countless number of review games I got sent, hardly any featured in my top most played games or even in my recap of each month. Which I think really demonstrates, for me, at least the importance of playing games I enjoy instead of reviewing games. And games brought on the back of review hype have been bitterly disappointing; Earth, Heat: Pedal to the Metal, Cape May have all been nowhere near my gaming highlights of the year. In fact, I sold them all! A review game doesn't even make it into my top 30 most played games if 2023, with them all sitting at 5 plays and below.

2024 is here, and that means gaming resolutions!

- No purchases until UKGE

- No review games unless it's been blind play tested, there's a rulebook, it comes with a reaosnable turnaround time, and it's a game I'm genuinely interested in.

- I'm still aiming to get to 50 owned games, but I've reached the point of struggling to know what to keep.

- I'd like to get a game of Warhammer 40k to see if I have a use for my space wolves.

Here's to 2024!

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