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.