5 Shelved Games I Want to Play This Year

There are a few games that I have picked up and just have not been able to play.  Usually, this is down to a lack of time, not having a suitable group at the right times, or the sheer size and complexity being too much for the average game night.  Below, I list 5 games from my collection that I have yet to play, and which I would love to play this year.  For each, I will detail what appeals to me about the game, and the obstacles to play that I have encountered.

Twilight Imperium 3

Twilight Imperium 3 comes in a huge, coffin-esque box stuffed full of plastic and cardboard.  The game really appeals to me because of the sheer scope of it.  Each player takes on the role of one of several species competing for control of the galaxy.  The games plays out as a massive space opera that can, with enough players, take the better part of a day to play.  8 hours is one figure that I have heard bandied about.  The complexity and scope for rich and diverse strategy really make me want to break this game out.

It is this same complexity, and the time commitment it requires, that makes this such a difficult game to get onto the table.  I need several players (at least 4 or 5) who can not only grasp the concepts quickly, but also have several (read: many) hours they can commit to the game.  This is not one for the club, and I will have to invite players around for a weekend session if I really want to play.

Dark, Darker, Darkest

A Kickstarter game stuffed full of extras and bonus material, Dark, Darker, Darkest is an interesting zombie game with lots of replay value.  It represents the sorts of games that I like, employing the ‘team in peril’ approach that you find in games such as Forbidden Island and Forbidden Desert.  It resides in two large boxes – the second of which is full of Kickstarter bonuses and exclusives – on the top shelf of the games cupboard and has been largely collecting dust.  There are some cool miniatures in there, too.

As with Twilight Imperium, the size has been a big factor in not playing this game, but there’s a little more to it than that.  Not only are the rules in the box quite complex, but they are also really bad – or at least not particularly good and lacking in clarity.  When I do get a chance to play this game, I won’t be using the standard rules, but rather the “2nd edition” rules that can be found on Board Game Geek.  These rules apparently rescue the game, making it a lot more approachable, playable and fun.

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I don’t think Fantasy Flight Games still has the Blizzard licenses.  You can no longer buy any of the Blizzard-themed games, such as Starcraft, Warcraft and World of Warcraft.  The only one I have managed to get my hands on has been World of Warcraft: The Board Game.  I’m just not willing to pay the prices people are wanting for the others.  You can tell this is an older game that has not been reprinted by the fact that the Fantasy Flight Games logo is still red, rather than the contemporary blue.  This game is an adventure game that has a whole host of really cool miniatures.  Like many of the older Fantasy Flight titles – and several of the new ones – the scope of the game is huge, and this represented by a massive amount of miniatures, tokens and decks of cards.  I don’t know a lot about the rules, but I do love getting into these big, fun games.

Once again, and you may see a theme here, the size has been an obstacle.  Whilst many newer Fantasy Flight titles are packaged into standard square boxes of varying depths, this uses one of their old coffin boxes.  There’s just so much stuff packed in there.  Just getting a chance to read the rules and play a couple of turns on my own would really help to get this on the table with others.

Merchant of Venus

Merchant of Venus is the third games from Fantasy Flight Games on my list and, although it has a lot of pieces in the box, it is also the smallest by that company.  The game itself is older than you would think, originating in 1988 as an Avalon Hill title.  Fantasy Flight Games published the second edition in 2012, but give the ability to play both the old and the new versions by providing alternative rules and a double-sided board.  The game uses an economic theme, with players taking on the roles of explorers and traders.  As you explore and encounter new alien races in an unexplored portion of the galaxy, you open up more trading opportunities as you race to accumulate the most wealth.

The rules, I have been told, are actually quite elegant and not too hard to follow.  The size of the game is not really a major factor, but there are a lot of pieces in the box.  I think the economic theme can be a hard sell with some groups who would perhaps prefer something more action-oriented.  I’ll see if I can push this one in the near future.

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Another Kickstarter purchase, Among the Stars is the smallest and simplest game on this list.  I had no idea whatg I was opening when a slightly beaten-up package arrived with a Hellenic Mail stamp on it, but I was really impressed when I cracked it open.  The quality of the pieces are fantastic.  The game supposedly plays a lot like 7 Wonders, and it’s been recommended that I don’t play it without the Ambassadors expansion (which I also recieved as part of the Kickstarter).  Throughout the game, you purchase and place tiles to create a space station, competing against other players to build the best and most efficient station.

It’s just been time and players that have stopped me on this.  I keep taking it along to club night, but by the time I get there and we get started, people are understandably keener to play a game they are familiar with.  I think if I could take the time to play through this at home with one or two more adventurous players, then I could go to club night with a better idea of what to do, and more ability to really pitch this game.

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