Looking back at 2012, ten years later, it seems like a decent year. It wasn’t hard to come up with a top ten.
My top 10:
10. Keyflower. This is an exciting mix of weird auctions and worker placement, and the game works rather well with the whole range from two to six players. That is remarkable. In the end, I did let this go, probably because this was, after all, slightly too heavy, but I wouldn’t mind giving this a new shot. I also had the next version, Key to the City: London, but that was streamlined in the wrong way and was very fiddly.
9. Las Vegas. Not a bad filler. The gambling theme works rather well. The neutral dice variant is a must! I don’t need to own this myself, but I wouldn’t say no if someone else suggested this.
8. Ghost Blitz. A classic among reaction test games. A card is flipped, and the players must grab the correct object based on the things shown in the cards and their colours. Choosing the right object takes some quick mental acrobatics. This is something of an evergreen already, and I’ve played this a lot with my daughter. I still own a copy. (Looks like Ghost Blitz is originally from 2010; I count it as a 2012 game because the Nordic edition came out then.)
7. Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small. Not really Agricola, but something close to it. Especially with the expansion buildings, this is nice. Fortunately, the current Big Box edition comes with the expansions. I ended up culling this from my collection, but I still would enjoy playing this.
6. Le Havre: The Inland Port. Another small-box version of an Uwe Rosenberg game. This one is lovely but was eventually made obsolete by other games. Still, it’s something I’d play without a moment’s hesitation.
5. Merchant of Venus (second edition). The old 1988 classic was re-released in 2012 in a new big box with a new way to play it. Fortunately, the classic rules are also included in the box. I’ve only played the traditional version and recently posted my impressions of the game. I still own this, but with some hesitations, whether it’s a keeper or not.
4. Machi Koro. Mention this, and many people will tell you how this game has been made obsolete by other games (Space Base, mostly). I don’t really care. Machi Koro may be a silly game with flaws, but it’s a silly game my kids and I like. I’ve played it over 50 times, and we still play it. The Harbor expansion is mandatory, though; the game wouldn’t be here without it. I am also somewhat interested in the upgrades from Machi Koro 2, but I haven’t done anything about that yet.
3. Suburbia. It’s the best city development game, but it still got culled from my collection. I really enjoyed it, but few people wanted to play it with me. I’d still play this at any time.
2. The Great Zimbabwe. This is my favourite Splotter title, I think. It’s confusing at first and, in the end-game, probably falls a bit too heavily on the turn order, but still, it’s weird and delightful.
1. Love Letter. In my records, Love Letter is the third most played game after Go and Magic: The Gathering. Granted, it’s a short game, but still, having over 150 plays is something. When the kids were younger, we played this almost a hundred times within two years. Now we play it less often, but I’d still play it at any time. There’s just something so fascinating in this small game. It mostly comes down to luck but doesn’t feel like that, and that’s not a small achievement.
War of the Ring: Second Edition. I’ve played this or the first edition once, I don’t know which one it was, and yeah, I guess it’s okay? But this is too long a game for me in any case.
Terra Mystica. This was never my cup of tea. Initially, I was intrigued, but the more I played, the less I enjoyed this. Some two-player games with Nooa made me appreciate the game more, but Terra Mystica isn’t a good two-player game. I might be persuaded to give Gaia Project a go with Nooa, but it’s probably too heavy for me.
Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar. I’ve played this once, and it was fine. The gimmick with the gears is neat and apparently does something useful, but I’ve never felt it necessary to go back to this game.
Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island. This seems very popular with the solo crowd; I don’t play solo. I already have Spirit Island for my needs for a challenging co-op game.
Lords of Waterdeep. I’ve played this a few times. It’s okay, very non-offensive, but also has nothing of particular interest for me. The Dungeons & Dragons theme falls totally flat for me.
Android: Netrunner. I used to play the original Netrunner for a while. I gave Android: Netrunner a go but should’ve known without trying that it’s a good game but utterly unsuited for my needs. I don’t have room for lifestyle games in my life.