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
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.


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.

Anonymous 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!!!