I traditionally do a Year of Game post for video games, but this year I played far and away more boardgames and discovered several sub-hobbies (PNP, thrifting, boardgame design) in the process. It’s been a full year for tabletop gaming, with 784 logged plays across 118 unique games, and I have an H-index of 15. I had a stretch of several months where I played at least one game every day, but that has tapered off recently as I’ve gotten back into video games again. Additionally, I built over 50 PNP games and have compiled a list of my favorites.
I started looking at boardgames in December 2018 as a way to engage with Minnow, who just turned 4. Originally I envisioned it as a fun family activity. I purchased a few kids games and on a whim, decided to visit the Goodwill to see what I could find. Somehow, in an act that has not repeated since despite dozens of thrifting trips, I found a like new copy of Pandemic for $2. Thus, I discovered modern board games, and my fate was sealed.
I played the game with two others and had a lot of fun, but could never get it to the table again. Marlin’s idea of gaming is once every few months at best. I soon realized if I wanted to play board games with any regularity I would have to play alone. I signed up for BGG in February and started perusing the 1 Player Guild in March. Around that time I started buying games to play solo. I tried and mostly failed with PNP due to the limits of my dinosaur laser printer, but my first PNP build, Deep Space D-6, left a real impression on me, and after several months I invested in a color printer and was building just about any solo game I could get my hands on.
When you don’t have board gamer friends or an easy way to borrow or try games building a library becomes a trial and error process. I did a lot of research in the early days of the hobby and I think I did ~okay~ on my purchases, but I still ended up with too many games and a stack of games that will have to be resold at a loss.
My favorite titles this year ended up being Race for the Galaxy, Tournament Fishing: The Deckbuilding Game, Underwater Cities, Agent Decker, and Helionox: The Last Stand, but I have a lot of great games I’d like to continue to play and refine my strategies on.
If I could give past self any advice, the main bit would be to hold off on expansions. There were several times I was really into a game and bought the expansion only to find my interest in the game had waned by the time the expansion arrived. The notable exception is Race for the Galaxy, which is my favorite game and was only improved with additional cards. I wish I’d invested in a color printer a little sooner, considering how much mileage I got out of it and the HP Instant Ink program. The third would be to be less vigilant about “deals”, there was a period of time where I checked eBay, Gamenerdz, and BGG for listings every single day. That was a significant time investment that bore little fruit, and I got burned a few times on “good deals” that ended up not being very good when the item arrived and was definitely not in the condition described.
This coming year I’d like to focus on increasing my H-index, which will be easy, as I have plenty of great games to play, and being more proactive in selling off games when I’m tired of them or know they aren’t a good fit. Outside the March of the Ants expansions, which should be in the mail soon, I have absolutely nothing on my radar, which is a wonderful feeling.