Time for data analysis, because I’m a nerd!
Unsurprisingly, my gaming in 2016 was affected by my health issues. I had medical appointments, minimal energy, and because of a suppressed auto-immune system, I avoided large gatherings like conventions and in-store game days. The only convention I attended was my beloved Big Bad Con in October, and I still had to have regular naps in my hotel room! The games I did play, I tended to play repeatedly at home, online, or with a small group of close friends. The length and complexity of games I could play was often reduced — even the size, since we played games with a small footprint on a surgical tray in the infusion room during chemotherapy!
By December 31, I still ended up with 47 different games in my list, down from 62 in 2015. Let’s start with some summary numbers:
My game types were divided between about 55% tactical and strategic play (2 miniatures games, 13 board games, 11 card games for a total of 26 different titles) and 45% narrative play (19 role-playing games, 2 storytelling games, and no live-action role-playing game this year, for a total of 21 titles). This does not reflect the respective amount of time or number of instances I played each; I have not been tracking this level of detail.
- Games I labelled “storytelling” rather than “role-playing” included Fiasco and Downfall.
- The distinctions between board games and miniatures games or board games and card games can be blurry, such as in games like Yggdrasil or The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game.
Some 28 of these 47 different games (60%) were new to me: I had never played them before 2016. And of these new games, 5 were playtests (18% of the new games or 11% of the year’s total.)
To my chagrin, only 6 (13%) included at least one woman among the designers (Megan Bennett-Burks, Emily Care Boss, Peggy Chassenet, Caroline Hobbs, Anna Kreider, and Emma Larkins.) I’m unable to track persons of colour among designers, though I believe there are a few (e.g., Christopher Badell, I think?) I want to do better in supporting diversity.
I also rated each game subjectively, from 1 to 5 stars:
- Among the 19 games I had played before, the average rating was 4.0 — no surprise there — with my favourites being Night Witches and Sentinels of the Multiverse, each scoring 5 stars.
- Among the 28 new games, the average was of course a little lower, 3.4; my favourite new games were Masks and Venture City, each rating 4.5 stars, and my least favourite were Exploding Kittens and Haiku Warrior, each earning only 1 star.
I played with a total of 46 different people, 21 of which were new to me (46%.)
Here is what my list of games looked like (after the cut):
- Atomic Robo Adventure Card Game (Evil Hat Productions)
- Bloodshadows (West End Games)
- Call of Catthulhu (Joel Sparks)
Dead Men Tell No Tales (Minion Games)
- Downfall (<3Games)
- DramaSystem, with the “Colony Wars” playset (Pelgrane Press)
- Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game (Evil Hat Productions)
- Duel of Ages II (Worldspanner)
- Dungeon World (Sage Kobold Productions)
- Earthdawn: Age of Legend (Vagrant Workshop)
- Exploding Kittens (Matthew Inman)
- Fate of Aldis (Edmund Metheny, homebrew based on the Blue Rose RPG from Green Ronin and Fate Core from Evil Hat Productions)
- Fiasco, with the “Heroes of Pinnacle City” playset (Bully Pulpit Games)
- Flash Point: Fire Rescue (Indie Boards & Cards)
- Ghost Stories (Repos Production)
- Haiku Warrior (Wiseman Innovation)
- Heartcatchers (Brooklyn Indie Games)
- ICONS (Ad Infinitum Games)
- It’s Not My Fault (Evil Hat Productions)
- Just Sentinels (Alan Hodges, homebrew based on Just Heroes, itself James Mullen’s homebrew based on Sentinels of the Multiverse from Greater Than Games and Powered by the Apocalypse)
- Kapow! (SFX! Role-Playing Games)
- King of New York (Iello)
- Leaves of Chiaroscuro (Bennett-Burks Design)
- Lost Cities (Kosmos)
- Love Letters (Alderac Entertainment Group)
- Malifaux (Wyrd Games)
- Masks (Magpie Games)
Mint Tin Pirates (subQuark Games)
- Monster of the Week (Evil Hat Productions/Generic Games)
- Mutants & Masterminds (Green Ronin Publishing)
- Mysterium (Libellud)
- Nephews of Dune (Steve Pisani, homebrew)
- Night Witches (Bully Pulpit Games)
- Race to Adventure! (Evil Hat Productions )
- Samurai Spirit (Fun Forge)
- Savage Worlds (Pinnacle Entertainment Games)
- Sentinels of the Multiverse (Greater Than Games)
- Splendor (Space Cowboys)
Star Wars Imperial Assault (Fantasy Flight Games)
- The Grizzled (Sweet Games/Cool Mini or Not)
- The Watch (Anna Kreider & Andrew Medeiros)
- T.I.M.E. Stories (Space Cowboys )
- Tokaido (Fun Forge)
- Venture City (Evil Hat Productions)
- We Didn’t Playtest This at All (Asmadi Games)
- XCOM (Fantasy Flight Games)
- Yggdrasil (Z-Man Games)