This past weekend, I made a last minute decision to go to the Origins game convention in Columbus, Ohio. It's a true gamers haven. What can I say other than I'm pumped!
The last Origins I attended was in 2005. That convention, along with the truly wonderful, in-depth games database at BoardGameGeek and the entertaining and informative Dice Tower podcast by Tom Vasel (along with co-host Sam Healey and former co-host Joe Steadman), were the things that really rekindled my current interest in board games.
I'm not a total newbie when it comes to the hobby gaming scene. I grew up playing lots of board games as a kid, teen, and young adult. From Talisman to Statis Pro Baseball to Slapshot to the 3M games like Acquire and Feudal and Win-Place-&-Show, there are several old classics that I still love to this day.
But post-college, my gaming focus shifted to other things (namely rotisserie baseball and miniatures wargaming). Part of that change was just a lack-of-time for multi-player gaming get-togethers. But part was due to the board gaming scene's slow fade into the sunset. At least that's the way things seemed in the mid-1980's. But from the late 90's onward, board-gaming has experienced a major resurgence.
As I sit here and write in June of 2008, the sheer number of good games available to the board game enthusiast is staggering. Whether you like light, family-friendly Euro games, highly thematic and colorful American style games (Ameritrash), quick playing card games, abstracts, or captivating 2-player wargames, there's bound to be dozens of games out there to suit your particular tastes. And there's really no better place to soak in the atmosphere of gaming as one of the mega gaming conventions (Origins, GenCon, or Spiel in Essen, Germany). If you love games, you really owe it to yourself to make the journey to one of these conventions at least once in your lifetime. I have a hard time imagining you would be disappointed.
While I don't get to game nearly as often as I would like, and my game collection is already big enough in most casual gamer's eyes (close to 150 games), the lure of NEW GAMES is way too hard for any true tabletop games enthusiast to resist. Even though I have easily 25 games in my collection that have yet to hit the table, there's always room for more -- although my closet is starting to disagree with me on that point! I know that in order to make room for new goodies, I'm going to have to start selling off those games that I'll never play again. eBay awaits.
So the biggest blip on my mental radar as I head to Origins this weekend is "what cool new games should I buy?" Here's my HOT LIST of games:
ADVENTURE = Fearsome Floors, Drakon, Last Night on Earth, Fury of Dracula, and Bootleggers.
CARD & PARTY GAMES = Wits & Wagers, No Thanks, Dragon's Gold, Odin's Ravens, Dragon Lairds, and For Sale.
EXPANSIONS = Battlelore (Goblin Marauders, Earth Elemental), Wizard Kings (Maps 5-8), and Carcassonne (Traders & Builders).
SPORTS = Pizza Box Baseball, and Blood Bowl 3rd Edition.
STRATEGY = El Grande (Decennial Edition), Manhattan, Hive, Aladdin's Dragons, Mr. Jack, Downfall of Pompeii, Fire & Axe, Railroad Tycoon, I'm the Boss, Jamaica, Power Grid, and Taluva.
WARGAMES / BATTLE GAMES = Titan, Crusader Rex, Conquest of the Empire, Command & Colors Ancients, Battue, Wallenstein, War of the Ring, Warriors of God, Quest for the Dragonlords, and Age of Gods.
FUTURE RELEASES / NEW EDITIONS = Age of Conan, Cosmic Encounter (FFG edition), Battlelore (Heroes), Monster Liner, and Wiz War.
I'm not Bill Gates, so obviously I can't afford to buy all of these games in one fell swoop! So if I had to pick a Top-20 Most Wanted Games today, here would be my list:
- Fearsome Floors
- Age of Conan
- Wits & Wagers
- El Grande
- Last Night on Earth
- Mr. Jack
- Blood Bowl (3rd Ed.)
- No Thanks
- Wiz War
- Downfall of Pompeii
- Aladdin's Dragons
- Conquest of the Empire
- Fire & Axe
- Dragon's Gold