How often do you play new games? And of those new games, how often were they released in the same year you are playing them? Don’t get me wrong, I love playing the new hotness. Sinking my teeth into a new game fresh in our hobby’s collective consciousness is among my favorite gaming experiences; though by far my exposure“new games” are most often older gems or games that hit wider availability in the year following release. While much of the discussion this season will be dominated by new releases, let’s honor some of the older games that were new to me in 2016.
I’ve gushed plenty about Suburbia on the site. We picked it up in a trade early in 2016, and wow, what an impact it’s had throughout the year. Time and time again, month after month, my wife and I would find ourselves passing other games up for Suburbia. Not only does it have an incredibly satisfying set of mechanisms, the theme is really strong. You really get engaged with the operation of your city, and see it come to life. Set up is relatively quick, the pieces are of high quality, there is tension and player interactivity through the market, this isn’t just one of my favorite games new to me in 2016; it’s one of my favorite games of all time.
Catan was my entry point into modern tabletop gaming. I existed on the fringes for a long time, playing CCGs and occassional tabletop miniature games, but it was Catan’s city development and adding abstract little wooden pieces to a board in a non-confrontational (but secretly EXTRA! confrontational) manner that hooked me. My lust for Catan has waned, but I still long for that feeling of development and investment that I first had so many years ago. Fortunately, Concordia delivers. This game is has incredible strategic depth while maintaining a solidly middle-weight approach. Perfectly balancing limited choices with a wide breadth of options, Concordia is one of the games that I feel most satisfied after having played. Like a good stew, a game of Concordia sticks to your bones.
Pandemic Legacy: Season One (2015): *no spoilers*
I’m still undecided on the whole Legacy thing. I can’t tell if a few years from now I’ll look back on destroyed games and feel like my time with them was as satisfying as the many more games I played of more traditional games. But there is no doubt that I had an incredible time playing through Pandemic Legacy during 2016. Along with my wife Christina and our friends Sarah and Mikko, we played through the campaign over the course of the year. At the beginning of each month, we’d contact eachother, schedule a game session, figure out who was making food, and try to save the world. Tension was high as we ripped cards, marked the board, and fretted over each strategic decision. The weight of each action and it’s consequences added such stakes that I’ve never felt in a game, it was really something to behold. So while I can’t say Pandemic Legacy is my favorite game that I played in 2016, I can easily say that it facilitated some of my favorite gaming experiences of the year.
That’s it! What are your favorite new-to-you-old-games-of-2016?