by Joe Rakstad
Yesterday, while playing games with my family, I finished my first ever 10x10 in a calendar year. Last year I came very close, getting 9 games played over 10 times and another one played 9 times. This year, I was hopeful to get it accomplished, but I never would have dreamed accomplishing it before the end of September
So here's my list of 10 games played at least 10 times and how I was able to accomplish the feat this year.
Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game (22 plays)
I picked this game up very early this year. I'm a big fan of the original Castles of Burgundy game, which unfortunately is not
on this list. I had already snatched up Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game the previous year, but I wasn't as enamored with that. Luckily, I like The Dice Game much better than the card game. It's quick - like 10-15 minutes, and I can fit in nearly 4 games in a session. In fact, it's very rare when I play that I don't play at least 2 games -- filling both sides of the sheet. The Dice game has led me to try many more roll and writes, but so far, only one other is on this list.
Scythe (18 plays)
Thank the Rise of Fenris for this one. Of course, I've also played a fair number of regular, non-campaign games of this over the year, but what's amazed me is just how prolific this game has been played for me this year. Last year, I played Terraforming Mars 15 times, and I thought that was a lot for a longer (2-ish hours) game. But just 9 months in I've played 18 games of Scythe, including over 10 just this month alone. A lot of that is credited to Rise of Fenris. I'm at the final game in my solo campaign, and my son and I have started another. I still have designs to start another campaign with (adult) friends at some point, hopefully before the year ends.
Charterstone (13 plays)
Charterstone was one of the 2 games that I got to 9 plays last year. I bought it immediately when it came out and started playing with 2 of my kids. It was an instant hit. Unfortunately, we could not get in game 10 before the end of the year. However, we finished our campaign early this year, and played an additional game (post-campaign) to boot. We played that game with 2 more of my kids. The result was that we bought a Refresh Pack in order to play through the campaign again. We're not through game 9 of THAT campaign, but the last few have been slow going. That's what happens when one of the players is a little ADD prone. Hopefully we'll finish the campaign before the year is out.
Sagrada (13 plays)
I first played Sagrada about this time last year, when a couple friends came up for Flat Con. I was instantly in love. Bright colors, puzzly, abstact-ish gameplay, lots of dice. I was already a big fan of Splendor, so this was a no-brainer. I ended up picking it up earlier this year from a friend who bought out the stock at Barnes & Noble during a sale. It had gotten regular plays early in the year, but lately it has dropped off due to the presence of the next game.
Azul (11 plays)
I first played Azul this year at Geekway. It was the first game I played there. At the time, I asked my daughter if she wanted to play with us, but she opted to play Drop It instead. Later, she did play a game of Azul with me, and she was instantly hooked. Now we play it fairly often, and she beats me EVERY TIME. But that's okay. I love the abstract-ish gameplay of this one, and the color palette makes for a unique look.
Love Letter Premium (10 plays)
This entry includes Lover letter as well as Love Letter Premium, but every time we've played, it's with the LLP set. It's just not very often we have more than 4 players. Kids love this one, so that's the only time I really play it. It's also quick, and random enough to make it so that I don't dominate every time. Simple as it is, I really do enjoy playing this one. Much more than Monopoly anyway.
Secret Hitler (10 plays)
Quickly moving into my favorite Social Deduction games, Secret Hitler has gotten played quite a bit thanks to a friend who introduced me to it last year. Yes, I understand it has the Hitler theme, but really, it's not that different from Resistance: Avalon (which has gotten played several times this year, but not enough to get on this list). My favorite play of this game this year was the Wednesday Night before Gen Con. Technically it was Thursday morning, about 2 am. It was an incredibly close match, with it coming down to the final policy. We hemmed and hawed in a semi-drunk, semi-tired debate as to who we should pick as the Chancellor. We chose Dan since he was such a reliable Liberal presence and had even assassinated a pretty obvious Fascist. However, it all turned when we realized that Dan was none other than Hitler himself, giving the Fascists a narrow victory. My team lost, but damn, we had fun losing that one.
Downforce (10 plays)
Another one that I played for the first time at Geekway this year. It was an instant hit for both me and my daughter. We played it 4 times at Geekway alone. Later, I got it for her birthday, and we've been playing it ever since. We were already fans of Formula D, and I've played Camel Up a few times. This game marries both, and I love it. An instant classic, destined to show up on many 10x10 lists for years to come.
Can't Stop Express (10 plays)
The other Roll n Write on the list. This is another quick one, and a difficult game to get positive points. While the kids didn't take to this one, I have enjoyed it as a solo game, and have even brought it to lunch a couple times. The quick play time (15 minutes) makes it easy to get through several games. It wasn't too hard to get on the 10x10 list, but it still qualifies.
Epic Monster Tea Party (10 plays)
Another Geekway discovery. This one is all on my daughter. Getting to go to Geekway was a sort of Christmas present. So as a sweetener, I told her that part of her present was to be able to get a game she wanted. Amazingly, she passed up Downforce and chose this game that we first played at the demo booth. A bit pricier than I would've liked, it's turned out to be a fun enough simple game - all about drawing out heroes and putting them in your tea (you're a monster). Short play time (10 minutes) makes it really easy to get in the 10x10, but again, it still counts.
There were several games that just missed this list with 9 plays each: Burgle Bros., San Juan, Sushi Go Party, and Welcome To.... San Juan was last year's most played game. I do think that these 4 will all get played again, but for now, my 10x10 is complete. Will I be able to accomplish a 12x12? Quite possibly. Maybe a 13x13? Who knows. Next time, I'll talk about my recent "level up" to an H-Index of 16 (16x16 all time). As you can see, a couple games are going to show up again.
What games have you played the most this year?