The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

The New Golden Age

We’re in a new golden age of boardgames. Here’s my curmudgeon card.The thing is, it’s not a golden age for Euros. There have been  decent ones in the last few years; but I’m not sure many of the games of the last 5 (ish) years have lasted more than a year or so. (Certainly looking through my owned games by year, I don’t see many pure Euros recently. Hansa Teutonica, Small World, Seven Wonders … two of which I’m tempted to drop to indifferent).

But consider the more amertrashy side.

Over the last two years the bigger thematic games and LCGs have exploded. Not in terms of quality, but quantity. As an OCD guy, I’ve gotten a game and played it 10+ times quickly (although that happens less than you’d imagine), but playing 15 games of Mage Knight Solo (in as many days). Playing 30 games of Eclipse in a year. Playing 30 games of Netrunner in a month. (It’s not to my tastes, but X-Wing may qualify). Sentinels of the Multiverse seems to be played everywhere this last few months. (I’ve played 15 times in a month, and that was with only having a copy available for 3 weeks).

I’ve played 291 games (year to date) and 200+ of them come from a mere six titles (the aforementioned 3, Bridge, Coup and The City).

Maybe I’m in a bubble, but it’s a good place to be.


Written by taogaming

May 26, 2013 at 11:45 am

Posted in Ramblings

6 Responses

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  1. I guess it all depends on what kinds of games you like.

    I won’t deny that the emphasis in gaming has shifted to more thematic games and away from classic Eurogames. As a dyed in the wool Eurogamer, this occasionally bugs me. But the fact is that there are so many games being released these days that there’s still plenty of excellent Eurogames to sample. Using your period of the last 5-ish years, three games came out (Automobile, Ora et Labora, and Navegador) which I rank among my top 15 favorites. There were a bunch of great games from Feld and a bunch of great games from Wallace. Last year was pretty mediocre for my tastes, but even then, there were two excellent new games, in Tzolk’in and Terra Mystica. That’s an awful lot of new games over 5 years to get excited about and there seems to be no lack of interesting new ideas and well-honed designs.

    So yes, this may well be the Golden Age of thematic games. But don’t feel too sorry for us Eurogamers–we’re still doing fine!


    May 27, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    • Well, Ora et Labora got played for a month, haven’t seen it since. Ditto Navegador. Automobile still hits the table (or is offered, as recently as yesterday).

      Now, to be fair, BSG isn’t getting nearly the play it used to, but it’s still being offered up and played once every few months. (BSG also, IMO, requires exactly 5). Terra Mystica is good, although I think I’m souring on it after four plays.


      May 28, 2013 at 5:48 pm

  2. Hmm, looking over games I’ve rated 8 or higher from the past 6 years:

    Core Worlds
    Innovation + expansions
    RftG + expansions
    Sentinels of the Multiverse
    Small World
    Snow Tails
    Wings of War: Dawn of WWII

    Planet Steam
    Power Grid Expansions
    Ticket to Ride: Team Asia/Legendary Asia
    The City
    Tribune + expansion

    Mord Im Arosa

    First off I haven’t updated from the latest Gathering, so there might be a couple things I’ll add. Second, categorization is tough. There’s quite a few that bleed into different types. What is RftG? I’ve never really thought of it as a Euro, but I don’t know many fans of Ameritrash who like it, at all. Several of them I could put into different categories (Maria, Snow Tails, Mord Im Arosa, Pandemic, RftG) depending on my mood.

    If I take a slice from the six year period before that (2001-2006):

    Blue Moon
    Formula De Mini
    Manifest Destiny
    Memoir ’44
    Neuroshima Hex
    Through the Ages
    Street Soccer

    Age of Steam
    Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers
    Edel Stein & Reich
    Louis XIV
    Power Grid
    Sceptor of Zavandor
    Settlers of the Stone Age
    Ticket to Ride: Marklin, USA 1910

    Hula Hippos
    No Thanks

    Blokus Trigon
    Factory Fun
    Take it to the Limit

    Plus or minus a few they are pretty close in number. What has dropped off precipitously is quality abstract games, or perhaps my taste has moved away from finding them out.


    May 28, 2013 at 11:32 am

  3. I wonder how much this could be a reflection of you at various stages in your life? In Grad school when your machismo was at it’s peak, you turned to games like Titan and Star Fleet Battles to assert strategic domination over your peers. Later you matured, tamed (perhaps by the introduction of a Taolette) and found yourself with less time to play, so the order of the day became simple, elegant, non-confrontational euro games. Now with children, you trend toward the thematic, enjoying the games as much through their eyes as your own.

    I think there are still great games coming out in all genres. Perhaps your tastes are just changing to suit your status.


    May 29, 2013 at 9:47 pm

  4. I thought the same thing last year. But I’m in my own fantastic renaissance of Euroish games:


    I think of my very recent top 5, the only non-euro is Sentinels of the Multiverse.


    June 5, 2013 at 3:58 pm

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