Friday, January 05, 2007

Games I Hope to Play in 2007

Looking back on my 2006 gaming year, what springs to mind is not so much the games I played, but the other benefits of devoting considerable time to the hobby. I mean the deepening of friendships inspired by gaming, the conviviality of attending gaming conventions, and the thoughtfulness necessitated by writing a blog about the hobby. If playing games only created a momentary intellectual pleasure then it would seem to me to be an emotionally sterile activity. But the social aspect of gaming makes it so such more than just a weekly exercise in plotting strategy.

But enough sentimentality.

I’m grateful to Gone Gaming readers, especially those who make comments. I judge the success of an essay by how many remarks it generates, and one that inspires five people to write You’re dead wrong is more successful to me than an essay that causes one person to comment that I’m right. I don’t always reply to readers’ comments--chiefly because I have nothing intelligent to add to my original remarks. But I try to read every comment offered.

But let’s now look to the year ahead.

Here’s a list of some of the games that I hope to play in 2007. It may not be of any interest to many, but maybe I can point out some upcoming or newly-published games that some are not yet aware of. If this list seems to contain more wargames than euros that is because wargame companies are more likely to have pre-publication lists. I’ll probably be playing many more euros than wargames in 2007, but I know a lot less about what euro-games are on the horizon.

Pirate Games. I believe the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is at least partly responsible for the fleet of pirate games sailing our way. Soon to come from GMT games is Winds of Plunder, a low-complexity euro-style game. Also on GMT’s pre-publication pledge page is Blackbeard, a Richard Berg’s redesign of his old Avalon Hill pirate game. Sea Rovers is a pirate game (published in 2006) designed by a gentleman named Van Overby that has received respectable reviews on Boardgamegeek. Merchants & Marauders is another upcoming pirate romp from Bloodline Games that has also been getting (or manufacturing) a lot of attention on Boardgamegeek.

Samurai-era strategic wargames. The classic euro-wargame Wallenstein has just re-appeared as Shogun, a Rio Grande game, and I hope to be getting a copy in the not-too-distant future. Multiman Publishing has two Samurai-era wargames on their pre-publication page. Both are American versions of games that originated in Japan. Samurai Lords is the bigger and more comprehensive game that will come with a multitude of scenarios which can accommodate varying numbers of players. A Most Dangerous Time is a more focused two-player game that concentrates on one crucial fourteen-year period of Japan’s history. And GMT has a game called Sekigahara on their pre-publication page. This seems to be a low or medium complexity two-player wargame.

Investment Wargames. I got the Martin Wallace game Perikles for Christmas, and I hope to acquire Imperial (from Rio Grande) soon. I think of these games as investment wargames because they both use variations of the same game mechanism: players are not assigned any nations or military forces to command. Instead, players acquire influence in the nations or city-states they wish to command. Players have the same relationship to the nations of the games as players do to train companies in the 18XX series of railroad games. I think Perikles is a fine game, and I look forward to comparing it to Imperial.

Long Games. The Appalachian Gamers own a large number of games with long-playing times that we want to get to the table, but so far have not been able to do so. These include Arkham Horror, Die Macher, Britannia, and Age of Renaissance. We managed to play Struggle of Empires once last year, and some of us would like to try it again.

Pillars of the Earth. Caylus lite. Enough said.

Lord of the Rings: Battlefields. Fantasy Flight’s production of Knizia’s Lord of the Rings game was one of the first euros I ever played. Even if the token–collection mechanism at the heart of the game seems very abstract, the we-are-all-in-this-together feeling of this cooperative game captures the comradeship at the heart of Tolkien’s trilogy. I look forward to Fantasy Flight’s new expansion.

Stephenson’s Rocket. Rio Grande Games has been promising to reprint this Knizia train game for some time. Let’s hope it finally happens this year.

Hermagor. Another Rio Grande Games import that got lots of favorable coverage at Essen this past year. This appears to be another medium-complexity resource-conversion game.

A War of the Ring mystery project. On a recent Boardgamegeek post, Roberto Di Meglio of Nexus games commented that although Nexus was not going to be producing any full-fledged expansion to War of the Ring this year, they have “another special thing” in the works. War of the Ring fans began speculating about what this could be. I would be happy just to get bigger and easier-to-read decks of cards.

Happy New Year.


Anonymous said...

No interest in Axis & Allies Battle of the Bulge? I did notice that some wargame type boardgames are in your list. It's actually very different than all of the other A&A games and really the only thing that makes it A&A is that it is WWII and the plastic pieces are very familiar.

Anonymous said...

Your wrong. A success!!!!

Kris Hall said...

I knew someone would make that joke.

Coldfoot said...

Why, oh why, didn't Disney make a Ninjas of the Caribbean movie?

On the plus side I guess it is good that they didn't produce an Ancient Egyptians of the Caribbean movie.

Knizia would have been all over that.

Fellonmyhead said...

Please, please, please, please dissociate Pillars of the Earth from Caylus now - it isn't anything "lite" and that will only affect your view of the game.

Melissa said...

I really like Pillars of the Earth, Kris - I think the sweet spot is 3 players. But it's not really very like Caylus at all, although there are some similarities in that both use placement on the game board as the action drafting mechanism.