Boardgaming Retreat

Hans, Jan and Urban learning Istanbul. Hans, Jan and Urban learning Istanbul.

This past weekend saw my sixth annual boardgaming retreat: 43 hours in good company at our usual small Nyköping hotel, all meals included. My buddy Oscar organises everything. There were a bit more than 20 of us this year after a few late cancellations, mainly guys in our 30s and 40s. After Sunday lunch I left early and drove to Norrköping where I gave a talk about my recent excavations to 50 keen members the Friends of the Town Museum association, just like after the 2010 retreat.

I played thirteen sessions of nine different games in Nyköping. To give you an idea of how popular each individual game is, I’ve included its current BGG rank. For instance, Splendor’s 71 means that right now there are only 70 board games that the largely US-based users of rate more highly than that game.

  • Splendor (2014). Ranked 71. Short abstract numbers and colours game that makes for a fine filler when you're waiting for someone to come off another game or for a meal to be ready.
  • Istanbul (2014). Ranked 102. Shortish worker placement and resource management game set in Istanbul's bazaar. I brought this one and it proved quite a hit.
  • Boggle (1972). Ranked 1686. Word game with random letters on a grid. My buddy Jan brought the game and completely crushed everyone who had the misfortune to play against him.
  • Legendary Encounters: Alien (2014). Ranked 62. Combines cooperative play against hostile game mechanics with deck-building, all clad in terms and imagery from the scifi film franchise.
  • A Study In Emerald 1st ed. (2013). Ranked 397. Lovecraftian horror meets spy fiction and detective fiction in Victorian Europe in another hit game by the revered Martin Wallace, based on a 2003 story by Neil Gaiman. Combines deck building with various other mechanics in a nice salad. The best new game I learned at the retreat.
  • Elysium (2015). Ranked 290. Card game about the Greek pantheon. I bought this for the retreat to contribute something new, and two of the three guys I played it with agreed with me that it's pretty great.
  • The Resistance: Avalon (2012). Ranked 33. A Werewolf variant in an Arthurian setting, where half of the players are baddies and know it, while the other half are goodies and don't know who's bad. Us baddies won, to some extent because I managed to convince everyone that I was a baddie and then complained loudly every time someone suggested that another baddie could be sent on a quest. They didn't trust me enough to take my advice and so a lot of baddies got to go on quests that they could sabotage.
  • Codenames (2015). Ranked 54. This simple word association game is all the rage right now, and I don't quite get the appeal.
  • Cyclades (2009). Ranked 110. We played with the 2014 Titans expansion that completely transforms the game. I was on a team with my buddy Jonas who knows the game well, so I mainly just did what he suggested. I did pick up that the game has a pretty neat auction, initiative and action space engine at its heart, and I'd be happy to play the basic version one day. I'm generally not fond of expansions.

I've blogged before about the retreats in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014. In 2013 I was recovering from pneumonia and teaching my first term in Umeå, which may be why I never wrote that one up here.

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Did you play Boggle in English, Swedish, or both? I would think that to play in Swedish, you would have to accept the standard transliterations for accented characters (å->aa, ä->ae, ö->oe), as there aren't enough Swedish speakers to justify a version of Boggle with those characters (as opposed to Spanish, which might have enough demand to include an Ñ in those countries). Boggle is, of course, the only one of those games I have played.

And TMBG would like to remind you that Istanbul is no longer Constantinople. ;)

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 16 Nov 2015 #permalink

There are at least two Swedish editions of Boggle. One is stupid though, having ÅÄÖ on the same die.

Sounds like you had a lot of fun! It does seem that you went for shorter games during the event? Unlike one of the really huge and long empire builders?

By Artis Aboltins (not verified) on 17 Nov 2015 #permalink

Indeed, I prefer games that play out in less than three hours. A perfect game night for me is one where we play three games and drink two pots of tea.