MY BEST GAMING EXPERIENCES OF 2010
In this 3 part series, I will explore some of the best of 2010. These selections are based on things I experienced in 2010, not necessarily things that came out in 2010. Please feel free to discuss my list and what you would add in the comments section.
When I first dove in to the table-top gaming world, Bohnanza was a recommendation that kept coming up. This game, by Uwe Rosenberg, has been around since 1997 and was nominated for the Spiel des Jahres (Germany’s game of the Year). For some reason I stalled on picking up a copy until this year. Cleary, it was one of the most fun decisions of 2010. This is a fun a little card game that revolves around set collection. Each person is a bean farmer planting and harvesting bean fields in order to gain the most money. The neatest part of the game is that you have to play the cards in the order they are drawn. This makes collecting sets of matching beans cards challenging but trading with others allows each player to plan ahead and set up their hand of cards so they get the right cards in the right place for future turns. This is a fast, light, family game with a silly theme and hilarious artwork. It’s usually less than $20 so pick up your copy and become the best darned bean farmer their ever was!
Part of the Gryphon Game Bookshelf Series, Incan Gold is a press-your-luck game with an adventure theme. It’s designed by Bruno Faidutti and one of my favorite game designers, Alan R. Moon (creator of Ticket to Ride). Each turn, players decide to go deeper into an ancient temple looking for treasure or return to camp before disaster strikes and all is lost. This is a very quick, addictive game that works great with large groups (up to 10 can play at a time). I’ve played it with all kinds of different people and it seems to always be well-received. If you like good tension and games with fun themes, Incan Gold fits the bill.
Dominion: Prosperity is the latest expansion to the 2009 Spiel de Jahres winner, Dominion. I’ve written about Dominion here so I won’t go into great detail in this post. I’ll just say that Prosperity adds some fun, new elements to an already fantastic game. Players build decks of cards to buy more cards that help them score the most victory points. This expansion adds more opportunities to spend more money and highly increases the amount of victory points that players can earn during the game. If you have Dominion, you need Dominion: Prosperity. If you haven’t played Dominion, you should do so right away!
U-Con Rio Grande Game Design Contest in Ann Arbor
If I had to choose one gaming experience that stands above the rest in 2010, my foray into game design would top the list. This past year, I went from consumer to contributor. I designed a 2-player, family strategy card game called Over The Road. After a discussion with a truck driver who made a delivery to my church, an idea began to take shape. I went home and sifted through my box of spare parts and started fiddling until I had figured out the basic structure of a game. I was pretty surprised because for my first attempt at designing a game of my own, it felt unique and worked really well. I enlisted the help of my friend Brian to do graphic design, and we put together prototype. I entered the game in the Rio Grande Game Design Contest and got second place in my region. The feedback I received was overwhelmingly positive so in 2011, I will be exploring avenues for publishing the game. Oh yea… in Over the Road, players compete as truck drivers, picking up goods and delivering them to different loading docks around the country to earn the most money. The game features a mix of mechanics that include set collection, pick-up-and-deliver, and a modular game board. The process has been a blast and I can’t wait to see what happens next!
Super Mario Brothers
The retro console games that are available for download in the Wii Shop has to be one of the greatest things to happen for the video-gaming world (keep in mind, you are reading the worlds of a non-digital gamer here). The nostalgia has been thick in my house since Christmas. After putting our daughter to bed, my wife and I have spent a lot of nights directing Mario and Luigi in search of the Princess. Our thumbs are cramping and we pushed our self to the edge of cursing but the completion of new levels and celebratory high fives have made the ulcers worth it. We’re hoping to work through the trilogy before the end of 2011 and it will only cost us about $15 (plus the cost of a few bottles of Pepto) for a year’s worth of fun.
Share your favorite gaming experiences of 2010 in the comments!