Ah so long 2015, it was a good year for gaming. Not the best ever, but very good. This is going to be a long post. I think this blog is now 5 years old as well, wow.
Board Games and such
The first best is Blood Rage. I can’t get enough of the game and having it only a short time, I’ve already played it 11 times and will pretty much play any time. While the set up time is a bit long and the boxing back up time is ridiculous, Blood Rage has been worth playing every single time we’ve busted it out. I sleeved all the cards and now store it in a huge pelican case. While I won’t knee-jerk everything that CMON comes out with, Blood Rage was a design and artistic triumph of board games. I wish I had bought it at Gencon AND gotten my kickstarter stuff later because we lost a couple months there waiting for the boats to come in from China. It was a long wait.
I’m tired of worker placement games. I think during a game of Keyflower this year my eyes went blurry and it wasn’t from drink but from the ‘oh shit I’ve played this same thing before with different rules.’ While some of the new stuff looks and plays great, like Caverna, Tiny Epic Galaxies and Euphoria– I’m just real tired of that type of game. Sure, Caylus is one of my favorites, but I don’t remember when the last time was I brought that out to play. There’s just too many of these games and people keep buying them.
Dead of Winter was my second favorite game this year. Excellent psuedo co-op game that plays very smooth and is easy to teach, even to non-hardcore gamers. While the premise with these zombies has been done to death here in 2016 now, Plaid Hat did a fine job with this one. Co-op games are usually crap, but because everyone has their own goals to fulfill to win, it doesn’t fall into the pandemic trap where one player ACTUALLY plays the game while everyone else just sits there.
The new Epic Spell Wars was cool, but it hasn’t hit the table much. I got in one game of Moongha Invaders, and it was good, but Blood Rage pretty much hammered everything else to the side.
Arcadia Quest was played quite a bit, and while it’s not my favorite game, it has a certain appeal to it for the DOTA in all of us. I’m definitely interested in playing more (but not too much).
Talisman is still going strong, but we’re not. I’ve played only twice with the Woodlands and there are more expansions out than number of plays for our group. While Netherealm was awesome, Deep Realms was too difficult to figure out and I haven’t even purchased the Harbinger expansion yet. I am happy they are coming out with a new main board expansion though; that may be very cool and I’ve always hated a few bits of art on the 4th Edition main board (which Fantasy Flight did not produce originally). One of these days we are going to do a series on how to play Talisman, i.e.: which expansions to use and which to leave out. It’s a great game, but it’s over the top now to play with all expansions (not including dragons) that we keep buying.
My favorite this year went along with my splurge purchase of a 3DS XL. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is completely amazing and hellaciously addicting. It’s a shame it’s only on handhelds. It has a message in the beginning to take breaks from playing it for a reason. I’ve played mostly single player, but I have gotten in on some 4 player monster hunting and it’s great fun.
I’m still playing Darkest Dungeon, even though I just haven’t gotten it yet in terms of how to ‘win.’ I’m getting used to losing a lot of guys and on top of that, running away a lot more. Other than that, I haven’t gotten very far at all sadly, but I keep playing– and playing. It’s great!
Fallout 4 is more Fallout. It’s not a ‘holy shit WOW’ type of game like Skyrim, but there’s a lot going on and it’s been pretty compelling so far. I meant to play it more during holiday, but I didn’t get too much time in. Being able to make gun modifications is a pretty addicting part of the game, though I’m not totally sold on the Minecraft stuff yet.
Other than Fallout and Darkest Dungeon, I played a shitload of Dungeon of the Endless in 2015, which is amazing and beautiful in all ways. Rebel Galaxy has gotten some solid play, which is also good Privateer style fun.
My biggest disappointment was probably the much hyped Endless Legend. Absolutely GORGEOUS art style and aesthetic, even the UI is great, but I hated the gameplay. I’m just not a CIV-style person. Others will love this game.
I guess if I was to pick a runner up game of 2015 it would be Far Cry 3. I know it did not come out last year, but 2015 is when I got around to it. Great shooter, one of the best I remember and a redemption of the franchise after Far Cry 2.
There are a lot of video games out worth playing. Far, far, far too many to even scratch the surface to discuss. I would be like talking about TV shows you’ve seen– there’s just that many out.
When AT-43 was tanking and everything was on sale everywhere, I had just had a kid, so there was no way I could take advantage of it. That said, this year I spent some cash on it and got a large UNA army and filled some gaps in my Red Blok and Therian armies. I got to play once, but this is one I want to expose people to more since I have all the shit and it really is a great game.
Age of Sigmar was a catastrophe. It killed my desire to play Warhammer 8th Edition (for now) which is sad since I was closing in on finishing painting my minotaurs as the capstone to my beastmen army. 8th did not get enough play this past year, and that’s got to change.
We did get some Necromunda in recently, but I think 2015 was not the best year for miniature games and especially sad to see the death of what I think is one of the best rulesets for big midieval style battles- 8th edition Warhammer
This was the year of Runequest 6. Despite some trainwreck sessions I’ve had with the game, I am pretty much convinced that Runequest 6 is the best fantasy RPG for the style of play I want in a serious campaign. While Lamentations and 13th Age are fantastic and will absolutely get played, Runequest 6 just has so much going for it and so many possibilities in a campaign setting. If you have the 6th Edition books, hang on to them as it’s going to pull a Marvel Heroic Roleplaying next Spring and will start to get rarer and rarer. Hopefully I’ll be able to get this together in 2016.
13th Age is my Roll20 game, and we have yet to scratch the surface. On Roll20 it’s a TON of prep though, so when there are weeks when people can’t get it together (myself included), it’s demoralizing.
Feng Shui 2, though I’ve only run 1 session so far, is excellent. Something to bust out for a couple session runs from time to time. I’m not happy the architects are out of the setting, but as a GM, that’s easily rectumfied…
And lastly I need to mention another game I really liked running this year: Into the Odd. Extremely rules light and heavy on the weird. The character generation alone is inspirational and takes 2 minutes. I’ve got this shitty print out of the rulebook that’s stapled and is coming apart from abuse so I need to get a real copy someday. I went so far as to support the author on Patreon so yeah, love it.
I got all the 5E books, liked the DM’s guide but the PBH is just too huge to use as a rules reference. I have not yet PLAYED 5E which I hope to change in 2016. It’s not my D20 of choice, but it’s good and with the OGL now out, it will be deluged with content.
2015, see you later.