I’m going to try something new. This epic post will be a wrap-up of what’s been going on this year, what’s coming up, and my top 100 board games (now that I’ve regularly been playing enough to make it interesting). I think it’ll be a good way to cap off each year. So, inspired by my upcoming game, Winds of the North, which has many important effects that resolve at the End of Year, here’s my End of Year!
End of Year
I started the year with a series of board game app reviews. It was a mixed bag, with some highs and lows, but really only one major disappointment (Viticulture). The big surprise for me was Lords of Waterdeep, a relatively straightforward game with a strong app. It’s a bit unfortunate that most board game apps don’t have their expansions available. And Tokaido‘s Crossroads expansion is really good.
Winds of the North continued playtesting and had two big updates this year, 0.8.2 and 0.8.3. The first update added a lot of the missing content into the game and expanded Fame. Both updates also added a variety of balance adjustments and some streamlining. I recently finished my 0.8.3 campaign character (also testing some other changes) and I think this was the most fun I’ve had with the game. The simplified Winter Sickness chart really speeds up Winter resolutions, especially for larger farms. The expanded End of Month tasks and the new Mead Hall building are great. The coming update I think will really help get some of the systems closer to perfect.
One of the biggest things this year was the release of my first finished game, The Unseen World, a completely new project. I know I’ve had a lot of other works-in-progress, but with each project I take on, I learn so much, that the next project just comes together more easily. The Unseen World, while a small game, was a lot of fun to put together. I wasn’t even sure what to expect from sales, but I’ve been surprised. People actually thought something I made was worth the money! I’ll be looking to send out review copies starting early next year. And if you haven’t taken a look, there’s a free demo you can download to try it out.
Beyond all that, I was able to play a lot of games this year, and for once, they weren’t all new. My group and I found ourselves enjoying games we’d played before mixed in with new ones. I’ve got a lot of reviews to catch up on, but I’ve also enjoyed my new method of doing session reports and first impressions, combining several into one big “catch-up” post, which also seems to have done well.
I’m looking to finish Winds of the North and release it in 2023. The next update might not be the last, but it’s definitely getting closer. Though even once all playtesting has finished, it’ll take a lot of work to actually put it all together with fully edited text and completed graphics. But making the PDF is one of my favorite parts anyway.
If I can finish up Winds of the North without taking all year, I have another game or two almost ready for open playtesting, but I’m trying to stay focused on one game at a time. Keep an eye out for more on those.
With a little money coming in from The Unseen World, I might also try hiring an editor and see if I can get a short story properly published. I’ve certainly got a backlog of stories, but the ones I’ve tried to publish just pile up rejections. I’m hoping an editor will make the difference.
Top 100 Board Games
Earlier this year, my game group and I toyed around with Pub Meeple’s ranking system. It was just a preliminary trial and we recorded our lists, but I never got around to sharing mine here. Now at the end of the year, with several more new games played and many games I got to replay, I redid my rankings (182 games, but missing some). And while a lot of games could move around if I had more time to replay stuff, the reality is that you’ll never have enough time for them all. You play what you can and rank as best as you can, accepting that you can just do it again another time.