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Most Played Games of 2019
Jarvis wrote: Drewcula, I was the exact opposite on Betrayal Legacy. It was my favorite of the Legacy games and one of my friend group’s favorite games of the year.
Why didn’t it work for you? Just curious.
The same gaming group has played three Legacy games:
my wife and I played Pandemic: Season 1.
The Mrs. and I thought Pandemic was fine, but nothing spectacular. We felt the ending was a bit flat (Earth), and have zero intention of pursuing the second season.
Risk was our hands-down favorite, and I think the reason was simple: less is more. Risk has very simple rules. It's always strengthened by the personalities playing (like most games). The Legacy version had us war-mongering gamers-with-grudges build rivalries with lasting game effects. And perhaps most importantly for my later criticism, it was limited in text.
SeaFall was hotly anticipated. Our group pre-ordered it. We COULD. NOT. WAIT. We played three times and said enough. Convultued rules with (seemingly) no pay-off. Further, I started to detect really, really bad writing. Not the rules. No. The narrative. It was just tone deaf and frankly, dumb.
Pandemic was... Fine. Two other fellas in my group got copies and played with their wives. Everyone enjoyed it to varying degrees. But none of us have bothered with the second season. Personally, I thought it was better than regular Pandemic (but that's not saying much from me.) The story seemed a bit heavy handed in how linear it was, but it was briefly written.
Betrayal Legacy? It just fell terribly flat for us. Five of us were committed, and three of us are self described horror fans. Three of us had played OG Betrayal, and felt it was a great premise that was way too hit or miss. We had the same criticism that everyone else had about the original; some scenarios were fun, but most were not. We had high hopes that Daviau could add some level of consistency. He did not. Maybe the back two-thirds of the campaign could have brought it together, but the first "act" was just not cutting it for us. Despite the majority of us digging horror tropes, Betrayal Legacy felt cheap and derivative. None of us felt we were making meaningful choices and it was all buttressed with really bad writing. I am absolutely convinced Daviau cannot write fiction. His strength is in game design, not story telling. I'm not expecting some sort of pulitzer level of skill, but I am expecting some level of coherency. And I am perfectly fine with Japanese horror's lack of cause and effect.
Maybe Betrayal Legacy really turns a corner. I'm sure we missed out on some cool component boxes. More miniatures. Flashlights. Vials of blood. Shards of viking bone. IDK, and worse? I don't really care. Daviau lost all of us pretty early. We're a discriminating bunch, with little time for bullshit. We unanimously felt it was all bullshit.
I'll still seek out games designed by Rob. I've enjoyed his recent consulting work with Restoration Games. But if he writes a book? I'm not touching it.
Mice and Mystics 13
The Duke 12
Potion explosion 11
10 Days in the USA 7
Star Wars Legion 6
Twixt, Codenames, Nemesis all at 5
Huh. other than X-wing and Legion these are not the games I would have chosen to play the most. Mostly gaming with my kids these days.
1. Vampire: the Eternal Struggle, fka Jyhad (50): Once a CCG dies, it usually stays extremely dead, because the players tend to move on to something else. But Vampire has now come back from torpor twice (2000 and 2018), and many fans kept playing for years after the game went out of publication. Now there is a weekly play group in my area, just three miles from my home. New cards have been published in the last two years, and the game has always been one of the greatest multi-player games made.
2. Camp Grizzly (8): This game remains a big hit with my friends, and is easy to teach even to non-gamers, so it continues to hit the table regularly even 4 years after I got it.
3. Cards Against Humanity (7): The monthly hipster boardgame group tends to go for party games at the start of every session. Depending on the players, we might stick with party games the whole night, since a lot of them are not really into board games. The only reason we haven't played more CAH is because we sometimes play copycat games like What Do You Meme? or social deduction games like Werewolf or Secret Hitler.
4. The Gothic Game (5): Another big hit with my friends that is also easy to teach to non-gamers.
5. Battle for Rokugan (3): With attractive components, relatively easy rules, and a one-hour playtime, Battle for Rokugan is relatively easy to get on the table. The hipster group won't go for it, but I still got it played a few times this year.