Games of 2004

Another year gone, another report of year’s activities. Once more, there’s probably more information than anyone wants to know, but it’s more for me anyway.

Once again I played more than 100 different games — 113 to be precise. That’s less than last year, but then again, I played overall less games this year.

Numbers in parentheses refer to 2003.

Total number of games played: 382 (557 last year)

Different games played: 113 (124)

Games I played first time this year: 65 (80)

Best game released in 2004:

St. Petersburg. Simply put, it’s my kind of game. I just loved it. I know it’ll wear off and next year I’ll be playing it a lot less (I don’t think it has the staying power of Puerto Rico), but still, it was the highlight of the year.

Best game I played the first time in 2004:

Here comes the challenge, then. Best new card game was Geschenkt. It’s light, but great fun. Power Grid deserves a mention as a representative of the heavier end.

Best classic I played the first time in 2004:

Oh, a new category! Intrige scores this one this year. Last year the winner would’ve been Mü & Mehr, I guess.

Worst game of 2004:

Biggest waste of time in 2004 was Aquarius. It’s nothing like last year’s Time Control, but still a pretty bad game. Well, not a bad game, perhaps, but just not compatible with me.

Prettiest game in 2004:

Niagara, by far. The set-up of the board, the glimmering gems, just brilliant. Zoch has done neat stuff before (Villa Paletti, for example), but Niagara is the best.

Exactly what I was waiting for:

Fresh Fish. Mindbending, difficult and rewarding, like the I expected.

Biggest disappointment:

Maharaja. It’s not a bad game, but I’ve played it just once and I’ve never had a strong need to play it again. Given the expectations, this was a disappointment.

Then the numbers. First let’s start with 10’s and 5’s lists. Second number notes how many games I played last year or “new” if I hadn’t played the game before.


Go (63/101)


St. Petersburg (34/new)

San Juan (30/new)

Attika (12/7)

Crokinole (12/20)

Geschenkt (11/new)

Gang of Four (10/6)


Huutopussi (7/new)

Ticket to Ride (7/new)

Ta Yü (6/4)

Tom Tube (6/5)

DaVinci Code (5/new)

Power Grid (5/new)

Finstere Flure (5/4)

Flaschenteufel (5/2)

Lord of the Rings: Confrontation (5/13)

Puerto Rico (5/12)

Many new games, but that’s my nature. Lots of big losers, like Lost Cities (30->3), Coloretto (25->2), Sunda to Sahul (17->0), Battle Line (18->2), King Lui (15->0), Mamma Mia! (11->0), Sticheln (13->4), PitchCar (9->0) and so on. Some of these were replaced with new games (and with games like Coloretto or King Lui, that’s just natural evolution and I’m not really sorry), some require difficult circumstances (Sunda to Sahul is a very good game that’s difficult to play), some had numbers inflated by some random reason last year.

And then again, my time was taken by the good, new games I like. After all, had I not played 30 games of San Juan, there might’ve been some time for Mamma Mia! — but am I sorry? No way!

Happiness product (games x rating x length):

1. Go (79/153)

2. St. Petersburg (77/new)

3. San Juan (35/new)

4. Gang of Four (26/21)

4. Power Grid (26/new)

6. Hammer of the Scots (23/6)

7. Attika (20/12)

8. Die Macher (18/54)

9. Age of Steam (18/26)

10. Puerto Rico (15/36)

Go wins the pot here once again, but it is the game I play most. Longer games make a strong appearance (Hammer of the Scots, Die Macher, Power Grid, Age of Steam).

Matthew Gray’s month metric:

1. Crokinole (7/2)

2. Go (5/8)

2. St. Petersburg (5/new)

4. San Juan (4/new)

4. Hammer of the Scots (4/1)

4. Attika (4/3)

4. Puerto Rico (4/5)

4. Huutopussi (4/new)

4. Sticheln (4/6)

4. Finstere Flure (4/2)

Surprisingly Go lost to Crokinole. Then again, I didn’t have the weekly Go matches I used to have last year. These were my staple games last year, pretty much.

2 players:

1. Go (62/101)

2. San Juan (17/new)

3. St. Petersburg (9/new)

4. Tom Tube (6/5)

5. Ta Yü (6/4)

Go wins, no surprises there, but it is interesting to see the two big ones appear on this list as well. Those games are mostly BSW, I think. Last year I predicted Tom Tube might reach the list, and that is indeed the case. If I counted PBEM games, StreetSoccer would be second on the list.

3 players:

1. San Juan (9/new)

2. St. Petersburg (7/new)

3. Attika (7/2)

3. Huutopussi (7/new)

5. Puerto Rico (4/6)

Once again the big ones top the list and once more San Juan is before St. Pete. Other three-player games are interesting and what’s notable is that Sticheln is missing.

4 players:

1. St. Petersburg (18/new)

2. Crokinole (10/9)

3. Gang of Four (8/1)

4. San Juan (4/new)

5. Attika (3/new)

5. Flaschenteufel (3/new)

5. Loopin’ Louie (3/new)

Now here’s St. Pete’s triumph. Crokinole makes an expected showing and Gang of Four fits the bill perfectly as well.

5 players:

1. Geschenkt (7/new)

2. Finstere Flure (2/1)

2. Niagara (2/new)

Looks like I didn’t play much five-player games this year, then.

Similar Posts:

3 responses to “Games of 2004”

  1. 2004 Review

    Almost every other boardgames blogger has done a year review, so I had better not get left behind. Looking at the Five and Dime lists at Spielfreiks and, I get a real feeling of gaming inferiority. How do these guys get to play so many …

  2. That’s really too bad. Maharaja is an exceptional game in my mind. But I’ve read several reviews online that say the same thing you did. The only difference is they forced themselves to play it again and then realized how good it can be when you go into the game understanding all of the rules. For its simplicity (i.e. the scoring, only 2 moves per turn), it doesn’t really make sense without a full understanding of the different roles and how to take advantage of them.
    Also, I play by a couple of variants I can suggest if you’re willing to give the game another go.

  3. If I didn’t have so many games, Maharaja would get another try very soon. However, there are simply so many other games that Maharaja just doesn’t attract me enough. After all, why force myself to play something less interesting when I have loads of very good games I love and I don’t get to play enough?