As of this month, my blog will be 2 years old, so I think it’s time I start looking back and revisiting some of the games I talked about in the beginning. As time goes on, our gaming tastes change and I feel value in looking back at what I was keen on, and how much staying power a game actually has. It’s one thing to say ‘this game is eminently repayable’, but how does it actually fare when the rubber hits the road? When put to the test against all the other games, and it no longer has that ‘new game shine’, does it come back? Did my interest wane? Here’s where we find out.
Now, not all of these games came out in 2021, but they were new to me in 2021. So, here we go!
#10 – Regicide
Designers: Paul Abrahams, Luke Badger, and Andy Richdale
What made it special: An engaging cooperative game that uses a standard deck of 52 cards.
Thoughts over 2022: Regicide came to Board Game Arena, and I played it about a half dozen times during my lunch breaks. It’s amazing how a game using a generic deck of cards can evoke strong feelings of tension and peril. I love the ebb and flow of cards as you crush through the royal family, sending each one to their grave.
Regidice is also on Board Game Arena, which is an interesting take on the Regicide system. I found Regidice to be a bit less interesting, but still fun none-the-less. Both games require that you maintain a sense of momentum. If you stumble and falter, you’ll be overwhelmed quickly.
#9 – Project L
Designers: Michal Mikeš, Jan Soukal, and Adam Spanel
What made it special: Polyomino puzzles plus Splendor-like engine building puzzle, with candy-like pieces
Thoughts over 2022: I played this once with my mom in May, and we both really enjoyed it. It’s a great little game with great production quality. The little pieces are super colourful, and satisfying to slot into the double layered tiles.
One thing to note, I had hoped to pick up the expansion(s) for Project L, but following the crowdfunding campaign of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, publisher Boardcubator announced they were shutting down. I don’t know what that means for the future of Project L, or the availability for expansions, but I suppose we’ll see!
#8 – The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine
Designers: Thomas Sing
What made it special: Cooperative trick taking with limited communication
Thoughts over 2022: During 2021’s Black Friday sale, I picked up the follow-up The Crew: Mission Deep Sea, and I found I enjoyed that version quite a bit when playing with a group that doesn’t gather together regularly. The Crew: The Search for Planet Nine is a game that I look forward to playing with my regular group as we plod our way through the quest book, but not one that I would necessarily pull out for a casual game night.
#7 – Cascadia
Designers: Randy Flynn
What made it special: A lovely tile placement, pattern building, hex grid, drafting game.
Thoughts over 2022: I haven’t revisited Cascadia since September 2021. I have played Calico a few times (which my mom said was her favourite game that she played when she came to visit) and I think I still prefer Calico, although it seems I’m in the minority.
Cascadia has received a lot of acclaim over 2022, including winning the prestigious Spiel des Jahres! Congratulations to Randy Smith and Flatout Games!
#6 – Beyond the Sun
Designers: Dennis K. Chan
What made it special: It’s a big, interesting tech tree! That changes every game!! That you get to control!!!
Thoughts over 2022: Beyond the Sun is another game that I keep playing on Board Game Arena, which is really exciting. I’m impressed with the variability of each game, and playing it again in person during Cabin-con was one of my highlights of the weekend!
I’m eagerly awaiting an expansion to Beyond the Sun to ratchet up the asymmetry and give us more excuses to return to this wonderful game!
#5 – MicroMacro: Crime City
What made it special: It’s Where’s Waldo, but you can follow people’s actions backwards and forwards through time! Everything is happening all at once!
Thoughts over 2022: My partner and I have played through MicroMacro: Crime City – Full House, and thoroughly enjoyed it. There’s no way around it, it’s exactly the same, just, more of what you’ve already seen. I just got game #3 in the series, MicroMacro: Crime City – All In. I do enjoy this system, and I continue to be invested, if only to see what the whole city will look like with all 4 maps stitched together.
#4 – Calico
Designers: Kevin Russ
What made it special: A tile placement, pattern building, hex grid, drafting game. BUT WITH CATS!
Thoughts over 2022: Calico remains one of my favourite pattern building tile laying games. It’s simple to play, but has sharp teeth that can make you regret the very first tile you place in your double layered player board. I like how bright and colourful Calico is, and the variety in the patterns you need to build and the objectives that are slotted right into your board.
I played Azul: Queen’s Garden in 2022, and halfway through reading the rulebook I looked up at my friends and said “This is kinda like Calico!”. That framing helped learn Azul, but as soon as we were done, I think we all agreed that we would much rather play Calico.
#3 – My City
Designers: Reiner Knizia
What made it special: One of the few legacy games we’ve actually completed.
Thoughts over 2022: The first few chapters of My City filled me with excitement and wonder. Just what would we be discovering in each of the envelopes. As the chapters wore on, mechanics came and went, the forest got cut back to make room for more tiles, and we delved too greedily and too deep.
In the end, My City was a great game, but the campaign ended on a whimper. No great climax, no revolutions to the gameplay, just small twist after small twist until the engine sputtered and finished.
I enjoyed my time with My City, but I just wish then ending was a bit more exciting. A bit more impactful. Nevertheless, I’ll be playing both My Island and My City Roll and Write as soon as they become available to me.
#2 – Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated
Designers: Andy Clautice and Paul Dennen
What made it special: Lots of discovery and humour sprinkled throughout the gameplay
Thoughts over 2022: Near the end of 2021, we played Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated four times in a single day. Early on, it becaome clear that my goal wasn’t to win any specific games, but to hit as many story encounters as possible. I mourned when I failed to complete a goal before it’s time limit was reached and we had to read the ‘failure’ text.
Over 2022, Bigfoot chose to bow out of the campaign. Fair enough, he wasn’t enjoying himself, and our hobby time is too precious to waste on playing games we don’t like, even for the sake of the group. So Clank! Legacy has become the game we play when Bigfoot is unavailable to us.
We still haven’t finished it, but we’re close, I think only 2 plays remain. I’m hoping the campaign ends on a very exciting note, but playing a game once every three months makes it hard to remember the narrative continuity.
#1 – Bullet❤️
Designers:Joshua Van Laningham
What made it special: A very clever push your luck, puzzle-y, pattern matching game with an excellent solo boss battle mode.
Thoughts over 2022: Suzanne Sheldon said it best when she said “some games spark“. A spark game is one that captures both your mind and your heart. They feel fresh and excite you!
Now, I might be struggling with burnout, but sometimes, it can feel like board games sort of, blend together. Nothing stands out, nothing really elicits that joy that I felt when I was really getting into this hobby. Bullet❤️ is a game that sparked for me.
In 2022, I picked up Bullet⭐️ and mixed both sets together. This has become one of my go-to solo games. The evenings where I don’t really want to sit in front of a screen, or if I only have 30 minutes to kill before moving on to something else. Every character is unique, and each character doubles as a boss mode to crash against. I love exploring this puzzle and this system.
I did play the multiplayer game a couple of times, but found it a little lacking. It’s real-time and tense (which I love), but it’s extreamly heads-down. During the real time phase of the game, I have no idea what my opponents are doing. Not until I pop my head up and see the mound of bullets they sent my way.
If someone was equally enthusiastic about Bullet❤️, I wouldn’t hesitate to play it with them over and over and over again. Until that person makes themselves known in my life, I’ll be content with the solo mode.