Boardgame Retreat

This past weekend saw my third annual boardgaming retreat: 48 hours in good company at a small Nyköping hotel during the slow season, all meals included. Me and my buddy Pieter took a walk upriver to the first bridge and back past the castle ruin late on Saturday night, but otherwise I spent my waking hours in the gaming/dining room.

I played eleven sessions of nine different games. To give you an idea of how popular each individual game is, I’ve included its current BGG rank. For instance, Indonesia’s “98th” means that right now there are only 97 board games that the largely US-based users of Boardgamegeek.com rate more highly than that game. I’m not quite so enthusiastic about it myself.

  • Oregon. Ranked 540th. A Norwegian abstract game with a thin coat of 19th century Frontier theme. Short and sweet.
  • Chaos in the Old World. Ranked 47th. Each player assumes the role of a chaos god vying with his buddies for domination of Games Workshop’s fantasy version of Renaissance Europe. Oddly you don’t kill or corrupt the civilians much. The game’s graphic design is ugly but the mechanics are fun.
  • Sid Meier’s Civilization. Ranked 40th. This is the second, more successful attempt to make a boardgame out of the wildly successful computer game of the same name which took some inspiration from a classic 1980 boardgame that takes 14 hours to play. The best new game I learned at the retreat.
  • Indonesia. Ranked 98th. The board is a big drab map of Indonesia, divided into a myriad small districts. You move square cardboard chits and little colourful wooden boat markers around. Game money changes hands. Nobody really knew the rules, it took over five hours and I was bored to tears.
  • Glory to Rome. Ranked 70th. I brought a recently redecorated and much prettier edition of this intricate card-based logistics game. It was designed by Carl Chudyk who later released the excellent Innovation. Good fun, not too long!
  • Castles of Burgundy. Ranked 23rd. A dry, drab and abstract game which is largely concerned with the movements of hexagonal cardboard tiles, which, to paraphrase Douglas Adams, is odd because on the whole it isn’t the small hexagonal cardboard tiles that the game is supposed to entertain.
  • Yggdrasil. Ranked 336th. I brought this fine French cooperation game about Norse mythology. “Oh how prog rock” said one participant when he saw the board art. Sadly the forces of chaos overran Asgard.
  • King of Tokyo. Ranked 145th. It may only be simplified Yahtzee with a deck of cards and some giant monsters, but the art is so good and the in-yer-face-ness of it all so entertaining that we had to play it twice in one sitting.
  • Gem Dealer. Ranked 6605th. Short and bland.

I blogged about the gaming retreats of 2010 and 2011 too.

Comments

  1. #1 Hans Persson
    Linköping
    November 27, 2012

    I think my average liking of the games I played was somewhat higher than yours, but only one game (King of Tokyo) was played by us both.

  2. #2 Martin R
    November 27, 2012

    What games did you enjoy the most at the retreat?

  3. #3 Hans Persson
    November 27, 2012

    I played Snowdonia, Skåne, Game of Thrones, King of Tokyo, Airlines Europe, Ingenious, Dixit and Bandu. Bandu was my own game and I’ve played Dixit before.

    Airlines Europe and Ingenious were great. I’d consider buying them.

    King of Tokyo was fun fluff.

    Skåne as a surprisingly interesting kids’ game that I’d be happy to play again.

    Snowdonia was interesting and I’d be happy to try it again, but it felt a bit “fiddly” for some reason.

    Game of Thrones was fun (surprisingly so, since we took something like fourteen hours to finish a game labeled “2-4 hours”). I’m not sure how we managed to get it to take that long. I liked the game as such but I’m not likely to play it again if I think it’ll take that long. Playing five other random games simply has better potential to include at least a couple of great games.

  4. #4 Martin R
    November 27, 2012

    I’ve played Airlines Europe once too. Good game! Both myself and my wife enjoyed it.

  5. #5 Jan Silverudd
    November 27, 2012

    For the second time in a row we got Troyes set up. This time there was even an extra instruction, which sadly was ambiguous. Next time? Un, deux, Troyes…

    King of Tokyo was an excellent filler and a sure buy. More mayhem any day. Yes, Oregon is a very nice classic. And Yggdrasil was ok, even though we lost. I had heard a lot of praise for Glory of Rome. Alas, pick yer combo and win. Nothing intricate there. I think there is a hole missing in this game. No five hours of torture, though. A sure Nero action for me.

    My third Nyköping weekend. Excellent gaming orgy, good players, nice place and food. Oscar deserves a huzzah for his arranging this. Until next time!

  6. #6 Mats
    Frescati
    November 27, 2012

    Yggdrasil was fun and challenging; it ignited a competitive instinct in me, which surely is a good grade for a co-op game (where it is the game that is the competitor).

    I think I share Hans’ view on GoT. (Although I managed to get out after *only* 10 hours…) That said, I’m not foreign to try it again in the future.

    Favorite new games for me were probably King of Tokyo (I appropriated a copy yesterday at Dragon’s Lair, seems to be out of stock everywhere else!) and Puerto Rico (yep, this was new for me. I kept saying things like “aha, this mechanics reminds me of game xxxx”, of course all the games I referred to were made after PR. The feeling reminded me of going to a Bee Gees concert many years ago and saying “these old guys are pretty good, but why do they only play covers…”)

  7. #7 Martin R
    November 27, 2012

    Worth noting though that Peter, who figured out a killer combo, didn’t actually win.

  8. #8 Birger Johansson
    November 27, 2012

    “I was bored to tears” Idea for a game. Zombies vs. Robots, fought over the ruins of Indonesia.
    — — — — — — — —
    Tomorrow has a TV documentary about China. A case for your VCR?

  9. #9 Martin R
    November 27, 2012

    Tonight has one too, on which my good lady wife has worked.

  10. #10 Pieter
    November 28, 2012

    Great times indeed! My verdict of games played:

    Games I know/own:
    – Chaos itow: always fun!
    – Airlines Europe: confirmed again that this is a great game
    – Ghost Stories: won at Normal level = high fives around the table
    – Eketorp: Swedish fun
    – King of Tokyo: brilliant, not?

    Games new to me:
    – Glory to Rome: mind-boggling. Enjoyed a lot. May buy
    – Village: really, really enjoyed playing. Have ordered this
    – Arkadia: Interesting. I like games with spatial element

    To all: Thanks for having me join and playing games with me in English . Nästa gång, jag ska pratar Svenska met dej!

    Hejdå!

    Pieter.

  11. #11 peter
    vårberg
    December 1, 2012

    Bandu was the most fun
    Ghost stories was the most catching theme
    Eclipse was the longest (but we finished before GoT :) Want to play again, think a lot of the timeconsuming questions can be avoided with an aid
    Airlines Europe was the most familiar (ticket to ride, union pacific) but managad to stand well on its own legs

  12. #12 Martin R
    December 1, 2012

    I really felt sorry for you guys! Eclipse with six newbies, what a nightmare. Excellent game though!

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