Happy New Year and Happy Gaming for 2018! With so much great gaming ahead it's easy to get lost in the new. Then you leave a long time or even recent favorite on the shelf. As 2018 kicks off and I look at all the amazing Kickstarter board games we backed last year, and get excited about the other new release we'll find to bring you - I'm also looking at my own collection and the games I just don't play enough. I've pondered how to balance getting more of these out against all the great new games landing in 2018. Then my social feeds started lighting up with more and more 10x10 (or 5x5, 7x7...etc) challenges.
Sounds like just what I need. My challenge isn't finding time to game, it's finding enough time for the games that get me the most excited. There are a ton of great games on my shelf that I do get out and play a lot. I play them because I really enjoy them, and in most cases they either play really well with casual gamer friends (such as Tokiado) or I can play them solo (currently hooked on One Deck Dungeon). The games that make it to the table top regularly are fun and challenging enough to scratch a gaming itch. However the kind of games that truly inspire me are the ones that tell a story through visually creating a world on your table top. Recent examples would be Scythe, Gloomhaven and Lords of Hellas. They are bigger boards and include great miniatures. They take longer to setup and longer to play - and they often aren't what my regular gaming friends are in to (those that still live close by anyway).
So my 7x7 challenge focuses on getting these games to my table. Some are old faves and some will be new this month, but I've been excited for them since backing them 7+ months ago. The challenges for me will be carving out the time (around the business, a day job and a young family) and the ways I want to play. I'm including in my challenging getting in at least one play with Susie, one solo, one with gaming friends and one introducing new players to the games. If you're familiar with the challenge you can jump down to see the games I picked below and grab my template for your own challenge.
If you're asking - what is a 7x7 challenge? - it's a simple grid where my goal is to play 7 games, 7 times. Typically it's a yearly challenge (but I'm secretly hoping to finish by summer). Your challenge doesn't have to be 7x7, more common is a 10x10, and some gamers will even do a 5x5 or a 4x20. There is some debate about these challenges such as "why limit yourself to a certain number of games?" or "why make getting in plays a chore?" But I feel that misses the point. This is a personal challenge. It's meant to work for you to help you experience more of your collection. It's about setting a goal to do that, however it fits your play style. While to some it might seem unnecessary, I for one have not got the games on my list out enough. And someone once told me "what gets measured gets done" - so I'm tracking my progress!
One last added bonus to reflecting on my collection, what I already play a lot, what I don't get to enough and what i just don't have an interest in playing anymore. Yes there are some of those games out there. I've also pulled these off my shelf and will look for opportunities to trade them at local meetups or through Facebook gaming groups. There are a handful of older games I don't own yet, so hopefully I can fill those holes!
So what games are in my challenge? (in no specific order)
1. Terraforming Mars - An easy pick for me. I loved this when it first came out. Played a bunch with friends and solo, then it fell to the "other new game" trap. I'm not only planning to play it lot more, but I want to break open the Hellas and Elysium expansion before Venus next. As an added bonus Susie filled my stocking with the trilogy that inspired it by Kim Stanley Robinson so I plan to read the series this winter too!
2. Aeon's End - The first deep solo game I added to my collection. The play in Aeon's End drew me in and the fact I could play solo was an amazing bonus. I'd never been a solo gamer before. I think a few friends will dig it, but haven't got around to playing it with them yet.
3. HeroQuest - My all time favorite board game. I was truly bitten by the board game bug a few years ago, having been more of a role playing and tabletop miniatures player. I got HeroQuest decades ago and it is an amazing mix of all three kinds of gaming. I can't wait to play through some campaigns again and share it with my nephews!
4. GKR: Heavy Hitters - This game, along with Myth Dark Frontier are my personal two most anticipated arrivals. Both expected this month. GKR has a solo game mode, making it something i can play more to really familiarize myself with. With awesome minis and a really cool theme, I can see it drawing in new players. But it also looks like it might be a beast on the table so made this list to ensure I don't get lazy sharing it.
5. Myth Dark Frontier - I have a feeling this will become my next generation HeroQuest. Fingers crossed it doesn't disappoint. If it it does live up to my expectations it may not need to be taking up a spot on this list...only a few play throughs will tell.
6. Star Trek The Dice Game - As I find more kickstarters and connect with more creators that have print and plays, I have a growing excitement for them. Printing and creating the pieces makes me feel like more part of the process! Recommended by a number of people I printed this months ago only to have it sit in an envelope uncut! Love the theme so I can't wait to get it out more. It'll be played solo all 7 times, but that's why i got it anyway.
7. Guild Ball - While not officially a board game Guild Ball fills my tabletop miniatures need. I love the storylines Steamforged has created and how a game and really be tweaked to fit your play time by changing up the size of the pitch or selecting a lower victory point total to hit. This year i'm breaking out beyond the Mason and Brewer teams in Kick Off! to start a Fisherman's guild team. I don't have a regular league so i'm looking forward to meeting new friends for games!