I have quite a large collection of board games that covers a lot of different genres, both mechanically and thematically. Generally speaking, I have a title to scratch most itches. Despite this, there are still a lot of games out there that I really like the look of, and many more being released every year. Recently, I’ve picked up Eldritch Horror, which I’ve wanted for a while to really scratch that H. P. Lovecraft Itch, along with Star Wars: Rebellion which is proving to be a fantastic two player strategy game.
In terms of growing the collection, most purchases fall into two categories. The first of these are games that I have looked into over time and been really interested in purchasing. Generally, I will keep an eye out for a good price over time. An example of this sort of purchase was Star Wars: Rebellion, which I was aware of from release and read a lot of reviews and articles online before purchasing it. The second type of purchase are games that I see on offer, prompting me to look into them before making a decision. These represent more impulsive purchases. A good, recent example of this sort of purchase was the X-Com board game, which I was aware of and generally interested in, but did not rally pursue until I noticed it selling for an incredible £20 from Tesco Direct. I read a few articles and reviews to see if it was worthwhile and, satisfied, made my purchase.
So, that said, what’s on the wishlist at the moment?
Looking at my current list, many of the games I am current interested in come from GMT Games, a company I initially ignored when I entered the hobby. GMT are known for comparatively heavy, comparatively dry, comparatively complex war games. They are also not known for flashy design, with many of their games consisting of maps and cardboard chits, with the occasional wooden block thrown in. These factors all contributed to my overlooking this company. I can’t deny that I like flashy games, as shown by the large number of Fantasy Flight Games titles in my collection. Similarly, the perceived dryness and complexity of their games was off-putting to me as I was still getting into board games, and would be difficult to get on the table with many of the people in my usual groups.
One of the major factors in my change of heart has been my love of Twilight Struggle, GMT’s game that covers the Cold War. It is one of the finest games I have ever played and has taught me that although some of GMT’s games may appear quite complex, they can actually be quite simple once you get into them. The games I am now interested in from GMT are:
- Washington’s War: a war game covering the American Revolutionary War. It is a card driven game, like Twilight Struggle, but focuses on actual troop movements and battles, rather than the spreading of political influence.
- Triumph and Tragedy: a game set during the second world war. What’s interesting about this game is the fact that you actually begin before the war starts, and so everything can play out very differently. It looks interesting, and it’s quite rare to find a game that is specifically built and balanced for three players, which is another reason I’d quite like to add it to my collection.
- Labyrinth: War on Terror: Another card driven game, this time dealing with the geopolitical quagmire that is the middle east. I’d call the themes in this game quite mature.
- Churchill: Another three player game, this time focused on politics, with players taking on the roles of Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin.
- 1960: The Making of the President: Originally published by Z-Man games, GMT are working on a reprint. This is basically Twilight Struggle reapplied to the American electoral system. You play as either the Nixon or Kennedy campaigns fighting the presidential election of 1960. This is probably the highest priority title on the list for me. It’s a real pity I’ve not had this to hand during the current election cycle.
Many of the games on this list are currently out of print and can be hard to find and/or prohibitively expensive on the second hand market. With so many great games out there, I’ve really got no interest in paying £100 for a copy of 1960 or Labyrinth. These games are also not always my first choice when weighing up potential purchases. For example, I was faced with the choice of Washington’s War or Forbidden Stars recently and I went with the latter. The main reason for this is that I reckoned that Forbidden Stars would be a lot easier to get to the table and actually play. So, although I would really like these games, they are not always my priority and other games get attention for various reasons.
There are a few titles from other companies that I am keen to add to my collection. These are:
- Merchants and Marauders: First and foremost on this second list, Merchants and Marauders is a game of exploration, trade and dicking over your friends. I was actually initially looking at Xia: Legends of a Drift System to fulfil this role, but Merchants and Marauders looks more polished and also has a theme that isn’t really covered elsewhere in my collection. I have loads of sci-fi games, but no pirate ones.
- A House Divided: A classic wargame set during the American Civil War. It looks a lot like the GMT game, despite being published by Mayfair.
- Die Macher: Another classic, this time dealing with German politics, following seven elections after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Hard to find, and harder still to find in English.
- BattleCON: A card game that tried to simulate the experience of a beat-em-up game, like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat. Several versions are available and I am mulling over which to get.
These games – well, Merchants and Marauders and BattleCON anyway – are a lot easier to justify purchasing than the GMT games from the first list as they have a more mainstream appeal and would be far easier to get to the table with a typical group.
It’s interesting that there aren’t really any ‘light’ games in this list, but I think that’s mainly down to already having enough of these. Others might crop up that I see on offer or which grab my interest. Isle of Skye is one that I’m taking a look at just now, for example.
There also seems to be a more historical theme to my list at the moment, and maybe that’s just where my interests lie at the moment. This is really just a snapshot, and the list is constantly changing as my limited attention is drawn this way and that – I just wanted to share where I am and what interests me at the moment.