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Play Matt: Best Of 2021

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20 Dec 2021 04:08 #328931 by Matt Thrower
It doesn’t take a feature piece to tell you that...

It doesn’t take a feature piece to tell you that 2021 has been a bad year. No. But perhaps unsurprisingly it’s also been a bad year for board games, with all that badness rubbing off on the designers and publishers along the way. Turns out a pandemic rolling ever onward like the rock of Sisyphus saps the creative juices. Who knew? 

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20 Dec 2021 07:38 #328932 by sornars
Replied by sornars on topic Play Matt: Best Of 2021
An interesting list! After our games of Oath I was really looking forward to your review to hear your thoughts more fleshed out, I'm guessing I might be waiting for that review for a long time :P!

I love auctions and the twist about second place getting more than first place seemed like a great twist but the engine running part of Furnace looked like the opposite of fun. The standard game looked like it backloaded analysis into a very slow endgame and the fixed sequence variant looked like it brought it into the front; neither one looked like a good time.

I'm a big fan of the aesthetic but the tile laying games of Cascadia and Calico looked a bit too abstract to be a hit in my house. In terms of solo play I'm not a big fan of high score type modes.

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20 Dec 2021 09:53 #328937 by Matt Thrower

sornars wrote: I'm a big fan of the aesthetic but the tile laying games of Cascadia and Calico looked a bit too abstract to be a hit in my house. In terms of solo play I'm not a big fan of high score type modes.


Ah, but that's one of the things that makes Cascadia stand out: played solo it's not about the high score at all, but working your way through the solo achievements. There are 15 of them, and they challenge you to make a score threshold with increasing numbers of hands tied behind your back. Some of the later ones modify the basic rules in small, interesting ways. It's a great idea, and very well realised.

That said, no argument that it's an abstract dressed up in nice art. And the fact it drags a bit with 4 does highlight its shortcomings.
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20 Dec 2021 10:14 #328939 by charlest
Replied by charlest on topic Play Matt: Best Of 2021
It's funny how different reactions and preferences can be. For me, this is one of the best years in recent memory. I could make a top 20 and it would feel like I'm not stretching.

Appreciate your thoughts and writing, Matt.
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20 Dec 2021 15:44 - 20 Dec 2021 15:46 #328965 by Matt Thrower

charlest wrote: It's funny how different reactions and preferences can be. For me, this is one of the best years in recent memory. I could make a top 20 and it would feel like I'm not stretching.


I'll be interested to see your list if you make one. It may be that among the games I've missed, which I listed at the start, I've just missed the real gems: you're a fan of Ankh, for example. I've also got Dune: Conquest & Diplomacy here, unplayed which might make the cut.

It may also be that I've become very jaded. I know you liked Overdrive which was fun enough but honestly, if you want a miniatures battler, I've got a half dozen better games on my shelf already in that genre, maybe more.
Last edit: 20 Dec 2021 15:46 by Matt Thrower.

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20 Dec 2021 15:59 - 21 Dec 2021 23:34 #328967 by charlest
Replied by charlest on topic Play Matt: Best Of 2021
I also adore Descent and I know you were less impressed.

OverDrive wouldn't make my top 20, probably top 30. I think it's pretty good, but it's not even Mantic's best game this year (Deadzone 3e).
Last edit: 21 Dec 2021 23:34 by charlest.

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21 Dec 2021 20:32 #328986 by Kmann
Replied by Kmann on topic Play Matt: Best Of 2021
Enjoyed reading this. Nice work.
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27 Dec 2021 04:05 #329050 by thegiantbrain
Interesting list. I feel the same way about Oath at the moment. Need to get a lot more plays under my belt before going down that road.

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27 Dec 2021 16:09 #329054 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Play Matt: Best Of 2021
I haven't played Oath yet, but I have played a few games of Root. Assuming that Wehrle's design technique hasn't changed significantly, maybe the problem is that some players perceive a thematic disconnect between actions they take and what they represent. The game might produce thematic effects, but that disconnect makes it harder for those players to see what they should be doing. I had a couple of other issues (programmed faction strategies and the sense that you are playing a completely different game than your opponents) with Root that don't seem relevant to Oath, so I do look forward to trying Oath.

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13 Jan 2022 11:12 #329767 by jpat
Replied by jpat on topic Play Matt: Best Of 2021
Came here for more hot takes on Can't Stop. Left disappointed.
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