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Play Matt: Best Of 2021
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?
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.
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.
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.