Friday, December 28, 2007

A Plain Vanilla Gamer

This Christmas I asked for and received not a single 2007 boardgame. Instead, I asked for and received two older games that I thought should be part of my collection. The games are Manhattan and El Grande. You don’t get Euro-games more classic than these. I believe that both are Spiel des Jahres winners. Manhattan is a quick-playing light strategy game that I expect to play with non-gamers like my in-laws. El Grande is…well, if you’re reading this, you already know what El Grande is.

Now that I’ve come to the end of my Gone Gaming blogging career, I think I’ve earned the chance to be both lazy and to pontificate for once. In other words, here is a list of recommended games. This is not a list of all the games I own, or even a list of all my favorite games (although it comes pretty close to being the latter). But it is a list of ten strategy games that could be the foundation of any good Euro-game collection. (I have a different list of easy-to-play games to be pulled out when non-gamers are around; that list includes Manhattan).

The Hall List of Ten Essential Medium-to-Heavy Strategy Games You Should Own:

El Grande
Puerto Rico
Power Grid
Twilight Struggle
Union Pacific
Liberte
Caylus
Reef Encounter
Struggle of Empires
Age of Empires III

I now own all of these except Reef Encounter, and I hope to add that to my collection in 2008.

What strikes me looking at that list is how mainstream and bland it is. Is there a single controversial choice? About the only unconventional decision I made was to drop Tigris and Euphrates and replace it with Liberte (I’m not that fond of tile-laying games). Many of you undoubtedly would replace Union Pacific with Age of Steam, but overall my tastes are so conventional that I could be a stand-in for that hypothetical beast: the average gamer.

So I guess that is my strength and my weakness as a boardgame blogger as well as game collector; I am a plain vanilla kind of guy. Don’t expect too many quirky insights from me, or too much exploration of the odd corners of gaming. I tend to keep my boat in the center of the current.

I want to thank Coldfoot and the rest of the Gone Gaming crew for allowing me to give you a dish of plain vanilla once a week. I hope most of you readers will check out Boardgame News where some of us will still be chattering about the hobby.

It’s been fun.

4 comments:

huzonfirst said...

Your list may be not have any shocking entries, Kris, but it's still very much your own. For example, I own only four of the games on your list: Puerto Rico, Power Grid (and I've never played a game with this version), Caylus, and Reef Encounter (actually my wife's, from a Secret Santa; also hasn't been played yet). Most of the others are good games that I either would be hard pressed to play away from my regular games group (like SoE), perfectly good, but not great games I can play elsewhere (like AoE), or games I just don't like (like El Grande). So even in a hobby with this many "must have" items, there's still plenty of room for individual likes and dislikes.

Thanks to you and all the Gone Gaming crew. I look forward to reading your excellent contributions on BGN.

scott said...

I love Ages of Empires! Wore that board out!

Sue said...

Ages of Empires isn´t so great... there are much better ones...

bubblegum casting said...

Age of empires all day!!!