I've discussed what I purchased in 2011, now it's time to see what I played. I've always liked Dave's "Nickel and Dime" list, which is a convenient way to group games. However, I think there's some value in picking numbers other than 10 and 5. In my case a "dime" is five or more plays, a "nickel" is three or four.
I should also note that I am using data from the Geek (again), as that's where I've logged the data. However, I was a bit inconsistent in how I did this - an "incomplete" game may have meant I was playing the game over several sessions, which is misleading as the game was not incomplete at all. Also, I started the year using the expansion name of the game I was using, but I have decided that I will log the game in 2012 under the core game title and note the difference in the comments section. This will give me a better sense of the games I'm playing.
Only one game saw more than ten plays, and that was Dominion. Almost all of them happened at my family's Sunriver vacation over the summer, when Alex and I (and our niece Alexis) played this frequently. I'm finding that what events I attended had more to do with what games got played than a lot of other things. The other games that got played a lot over that week were the Lord of the Rings LCG and Nightfighter and in fact almost all of my LotR games and all of the Nightfighter games got played over that week.
Some games were solitaire or had a solitaire version and I might have played the game repeatedly to try to "grok" it better or because the game was pissing me off. Elder Sign is an example of both, and I'd given up on it completely as a solitaire game and it was headed for the sale pile before I played multiplayer and enjoyed it much more. Soviet Dawn, on the other hand, saw me playing the game seven times, but all of them happened in about a two hour period when I was losing the game six or seven cards in over and over, and I kept playing because I wanted to get to at least the second deck. Thunderstone I played several times with the new expansions solitaire just to get a sense of the game.
Otherwise, there are a lot of wargames in the Dime section because, as noted, they were played over several sessions. The exceptions were Up Front (which I played in a tournament in November), Axis Empires: Totaler Krieg (which were small scenarios to learn the game), Fighting Formations, and Gears of War.
Other games that saw repeated play were 7 Wonders, Labyrinth (some solo, some not), Ascension (not counting the over 600 games I've played since this iPad app came out - it's evil), and Magic: The Gathering (because of the tournament at Salishan). Various Combat Commander games came out as well, and this is definitely the wargame I played the most over the year.
On to the Nickels!
These games, in comparison, were mostly real games: no incomplete sessions for one game or test games. These tended to be non-wargames, but there were a few: No Retreat!, Here I Stand, Nightfighter, and PQ-17. The euros were Quarriors, Eminent Domain, Mage Knight, Rune Age, Dominant Species, London, Power Grid, Sticheln, and the Ticket to Ride Asia maps.
Beyond that, there were quite a few other games played in the 1-2 game range. In fact, I played over 120 different titles. I don't quite have the gumption to try to figure out how many games total, but it was well over 300, and that doesn't include electronic versions unless it was a wargame (so no Race for the Galaxy, no Ascension, no Ticket to Ride on the Mac or the iPad). That's a healthy number although I'm not sure it's a healthy variety.
One friend of mine, a wargamer, comments to me that he's amazed I can keep the rules for all of these games in my head. Of course that's silly, I can't do that. What I can do is remember that there are various types of mechanisms and remember, to a point, what games include what mechanisms and how they work in that game. That said, I rely heavily on the rules in most games and while there are a few that I know very well indeed, most of the time I need to doublecheck something in any game I play.
As a dude, I know that different = attractive. At the same time, in some ways I am a creature of habit. For example, I eat Frosted Mini Wheats for breakfast nearly every day, but I like eating completely different types of food for lunch and dinner (although I don't mind leftovers). Eating, say, pizza (other than the health issues) for dinner every day would bore me silly after a couple of days. OK, maybe that's the wrong example, but it's generally true.
With games, there are some that have attracted my full attention (Totaler Krieg, Up Front, Combat Commander, PQ-17, Fighting Formations, Labyrinth, No Retreat! in the wargame arena) and some that I enjoy but simply require the right time and place and players. In the end, I guess I really like variety and I really like new and shiny, but in the end I think it comes down mostly to who you play with.
I will discuss the highlights and lowlights as well as my own Favorite Games in the next entry.