Home > Monthly Gaming, Musings > Our month in gaming: December, plus bonus 2015 roundup

Our month in gaming: December, plus bonus 2015 roundup

January 10, 2016

Happy new year! I’ve been more than a bit tardy with getting back to blogging this year but here, at last, we have the final gaming roundup for 2015…

Scrabble Scramble: a pocket sized, dice based word game; not bad!

Scrabble Scramble: a pocket sized, dice based word game; not bad!

December was a bit of a quiet month for us from a gaming point of view, with only 17 plays of 7 different games. Based on those numbers, you’ll be able to infer that there were some multiple plays, and indeed there were. The biggest game of the month was Codenames, with 6 plays: three plays were just one-on-one games with Miss B and I working for the best score we could, but on Christmas day we had a few games with the extended family, with proper team play, and it was a lot of fun.

Our other multiple plays in December were Loopin’ Louie with 3 plays and Balanx with 2.

And, of course, that brings us to the totals for the year. We got up to an impressive 360 plays throughout the year, so were unbelievably close to averaging a game per day. This is better than we have managed in previous years: 2014 had 223 plays and 2013 had 326.

As for variety, we played 121 different games in 2015, beating 102 in 2014 and 112 in 2013. And, just for the hell of it, let’s work out the mean number of plays per game: 2.98 in 2015, 2.19 in 2014, and 2.91 in 2013.

So, whichever way you cut it, 2015 was a bumper year of gaming by our standards.

I’m sure you can guess what our top game was, based on previous posts, but I’ll go through the games we played at least 10 times in an attempt to build up some dramatic tension.

Apples to Apples, Boggle Slam, Dobble, and Love Letter all had 10 plays each.

Backgammon and Timeline were each played 11 times.

Loopin’ Louie got to 12 plays.

Yardmaster Express had an impressive 16 plays.

But our game of the year, with a walloping 19 plays, was the little tin of dice called ‘6’. This was particularly impressive as our first play of this was on the last day of May, so it only had a little over half the year to amass all those plays. But, like Yardmaster Express, play is quick and we often played more than once in a session.

All this brings us to our final results for the 10×10 challenge. Well, as we only played nine games at least ten times, and some of those weren’t on the challenge list, you can see that we failed. We did manage to get a tenth play of Apples to Apples in over Christmas, but that was about it. Our final scores were as follows…

Game Plays so far
Dobble 10
Plyt 9
Love Letter 10
Empire Express 8
Apples to Apples 10
Piece o’ Cake 7
Gubs 6
Heckmeck am Bratwurmeck 7
Dungeon Roll 4
Timeline 10
Backgammon 10

If we had gone with a “standard” version of the challenge, where we can declare the games we are going for as we go along, we would still have been one short, but then, maybe we would have edged another one over the line. We’re not planning to do the challenge again this year, but I guess we can change our mind later by joining this standard version.

Finally, I guess we have to consider the status of this blog. The truth is that, while Miss B enthusiastically plays some games sometimes, most of the time she would much rather be doing something else. She’s growing up so fast and, while she will always have the opportunity to play games, the priorities of a nine-year-old are not the same as those of the four-year-old I started with.

I expect we’ll keep the blog ticking over for the time being and post occasionally (maybe I will go with the monthly updates at the least), but I expect I might not often get up to even the couple of posts a month that was the norm for last year.

But then again, maybe things will change again. We’ll certainly be playing now and then, and we’ll just see where things go.

Thanks for reading.

  1. Barnetto
    January 11, 2016 at 11:29 am

    Feels like the end of an era….!

    However, I very much know what you mean. My 10 year old son is now an awful lot less keen to play a board/card game nowadays compared to 4 years ago when I started on this boardgame discovery journey. My 8 year old son is still very keen on the whole, but he is going through periods when he is not interested in playing too.

    I think it is just part of growing up – at 4, 5, 6, 7 even 8, Dad (or Mum) can still be the bees knees and they desperately want to do stuff with you and, indeed, do the stuff that you do… around 9 and 10 they start to grow away from you and what you do is not necessarily so cool anymore (or worse, it becomes by definition uncool). At that point, they need to decide if they actually enjoy playing boardgames for its own sake. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t – though in part if you have made it a fun experience, then hopefully the answer will be that they do still want to play boardgames when in the right mood. That’s just growing up.

    At the same time, in the last four years I too have “grown up” in a boardgaming sense and, whilst I still enjoy playing the lighter games with my boys, what I really hanker after is the bigger, meatier gaming fayre that I get from my adult boardgame group on a Monday evening! (With a bit of Yucata thrown in when it doesn’t get too distracting!)

    As for 2015, our annual leader board ended with Yardmaster Express on top with 25 plays (though it is so short that feels like cheating!)

    Harbour (much more of a meaty but still short game) was second on 24 and Sushi Go third on 20.

    Fauna was the best placed big box game on 19, closely followed (to my surprise) by Splendor on 18 with Nations Dice Game on 17, Augustus on 14 and Port Royal on around 12. Ticket to Ride also deserves a mention as the most played longer game on our list at 9 plays in the year.

    A special mention to The Builders games. The Builders Middle Ages managed a decent 10 plays (I would have thought more!), but the Christmas present of The Builders: Antiquity is set to blow that out of the water! It adds a few extra tweaks and turns it into a much more interesting game with various optional paths to follow. It was our most played December game (on 3 plays). 7 Wonders: Duel was second on 2 and is a big late 2015 hit too. In fact, we just managed our first three player 7 Wonders proper and it went down very well with both boys.

    So to sum up, 2015 was a significant year for us too. Lots and lots of games played (I reckon I have clocked up around 650 plays in the year (including online) with probably around 500 being family plays! But the vast majority have been 2 player with my 8 year old son, with the 10 year old becoming less involved and the difficulties of 3 player gaming (arguing, crowing, tears, tantrums) making that experience far from universally rewarding!

    All the best – Happy New Year – and many thanks as always for the blog.


    • Rob
      January 12, 2016 at 12:17 pm

      Hi Gary, thanks for that! Sounds like it was a great gaming year for you, with some great games played. I must admit The Builders games are high on my wish list as I keep hearing good things about them — I really should just buy one; it’s not like they are expensive!

      My personal gaming year was good too — according to BGG/Friendless, I had 638 plays of 223 different titles, which is probably the best I have managed since about 2000 (when I wasn’t logging plays). I’m hoping to really reduce the number of unplayed games in my collection this year. đŸ™‚

      • Barnetto
        January 12, 2016 at 12:46 pm

        Get the newer The Builders: Antiquity version for sure – the original feels very similar to Splendor – but the added elements (captives, education, tools, loans) turn an OK game into a much more interesting experience – and if you really, really like it then you can always transfer some of those elements over to The Builders: Middle Ages as a change of scene!

        Here’s to removing cellophane and actually playing the blighters in 2016….

        PS For the first time, I played one of my Kickstarter purchases at my games club last night – Raiders of the North Sea – and it proved itself an admirable acquisition….. !

        • Rob
          January 12, 2016 at 4:37 pm

          Thanks for the tip! And yup, here’s to even more gaming to come!

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