Top 11 Games and Experiences YTD

Gen Con 2016 board games

Three cheers to my Gen Con traveling buddy!

Wow! I’ve already played more board games so far this year than I did all of last year!

So far this year, I’ve already played 142 different games!

Whereas, during 2015 I played 132 different games.

How do I know how many different board games I’ve played?

Because I like to keep track of the games I play. And this year I started tracking my board game plays with a new app that I really like — Board Game Stats.

For a number of years I’ve tracked the games I play on and via the BGG app. (That’s also what fuels the side banner on this site showing my recent games played.)

However, this year I decided to try Board Game Stats and I love it!

Now rather than just record that I played a certain game, I also record who I played with, where we played as well as the outcome.

Board Game Stats app

The Board Game Stats app is fantastic!

With the app, it’s so easy to do right after playing a game. A couple taps while putting the game away and it’s recorded. So simple.

Taking a look at games I’ve played during 2016 so far, here’s what I found:

  • 326 total plays
  • 142 different games
  • 93 different players
  • 17 different locations

While numbers alone don’t tell stories, looking back over the list of board games I’ve played, good memories come flooding back.

And that’s why I keep track — to bring to remembrance the fun times with friends and family.

As I looked over my list this past weekend, I started thinking about my favorite gaming moments for the year so far.

In some cases, I thought of particular board games I’ve had a blast playing. And in other cases, it’s more about the experience overall.


Top 11 Games and Experiences 2016 YTD


11. Abyss

The first board game on my “favorite games I played this year” list goes to the board game Abyss. I’d looked forward to playing Abyss for a long time. And finally playing it at SaltCon this year made the wait totally worth it. I was hooked. I was also lucky enough to get a copy as a gift for my birthday the following month and discover that it was a hit with the family as well. Score!

SaltCon 2016 Abyss board game

Love the art style and game play of Abyss


10. Ice Cool

If you’ve seen our recent review of Ice Cool, you’ll already know that Ice Cool was the first game to hit our table after coming home from Gen Con 2016. I never would have guessed that either a children’s game or a dexterity game would make my “favorite games I played this year” list. But we’ve had a genuinely fun time flicking penguins all around their icy school.

Ice Cool board game

Flicking penguins around is lots of fun.


9. Deception: Murder in Hong Kong

Deception is another game that has taken our game table by storm. It’s a deduction game that’s hit its mark with our family, our extended family, and our friends who we’ve played it with. It’s already one of our most-played games of the year and for sure will be showing up on our Game Gift Guide before the holidays.

Deception: Murder in Hong Kong board game

Deception is a very fun group deduction game.


8. Luchador with Mark Rivera

When you get a home visit from a game designer from another country who’s great to visit with, engages with your family, and convinces your daughter to play a game she was previously uninterested in, it’s definitely going on my “favorites” experiences list. Thanks again Mark for the visit and fun games of Luchador!

Luchador dice game

We had a great time playing Luchador with the game designer, Mark Rivera.


7. Scythe

I was very impressed watching the Kickstarter for Scythe reach $1.8 million. Yet I was also cautious to see if it would live up to the buzz. I shouldn’t have been worried. Because the next thing you know, I’m recording my video review of the 17 Things I Love About Scythe. There are so many aspects of the game I really enjoy that it’s a “no brainer” to go on my favorites list for the year.

Scythe board game

Vying for control of territories and resources in Scythe.


6. Star Wars: Rebellion

Fantasy Flight Games sure knows how to make the most of their Star Wars license for board games. If you check their website you’ll see 11 Star Wars themed games. The catch for us players is that they’re all so stinking good! I was able to play Star Wars: Rebellion last month in a 4-player game and it was awesome! It was a tense battle between the rebels and the empire the entire time. It’s a longer game, but very well worth it. I so want to try it as a 2-player game — the consensus is that’s the way it really shines.

See our full review of Star Wars: Rebellion.

Star Wars: Rebellion board game

Star Wars: Rebellion is a fabulous Star Wars game. Looking forward to playing again.


5. Dead of Winter

Since I detest zombie-themed everything, it’s quite surprising that I’d list Dead of Winter #5 on my “favorite games” of the year list. Yet, we’ve had a blast playing Dead of Winter. It’s a cooperative board game where the objectives change slightly from game to game. In addition, each player has their personal objective they’d like to accomplish as well. Who knew that trying to survive as a colony against zombies could be so fun?

See our full review of Dead of Winter.

Dead of Winter board game

I’m not a zombie fan, but I’ve had a lot of fun playing Dead of Winter.


4. Memoir ’44 Game Night

Our annual Memoir ’44 game night around D’Day was once again a super fun night. During our Memoir ’44 game night last year we played an Overlord scenario with a battle map. This year, we wanted more action. So we split up with multiple copies of the game to have a bunch of head-to-head matches instead. Since it was during the summer, dads brought their sons along to play as well. It’s a good thing guys have loved it enough to go buy copies for their family because we’re going to need even more copies to repeat the fun, and growing, game night next year.

Memoir '44 board game

Fathers and sons playing Memoir ’44 — so fun!


3. Birthday Gaming in Washington D.C.

Finding myself out of town on business for my birthday this year, I ventured out to a board game store that evening in Washington, D.C. I found one (Labyrinth Game Shop) that had opening gaming schedule for that night so it sounded like a good omen. However, I was also ready to just take a quick glance and leave as well. But to my delight, it was a packed place and I met a number of people that I enjoyed playing board games with. It was so cool to spend an evening with total strangers over shared enjoyment of board games! It totally made my day, my birthday, and my trip!

Labyrinth game store

We found a spot to play Between Two Cities.


2. SaltCon

Once again, SaltCon, our local board game convention, was so much fun! This year I went for all 3 days and played games late into the night each day. I love meeting up with friends I’ve made at past SaltCons as well as making new friends each year. SaltCon is all about playing games. There are some exhibitors and other events, but at the heart it’s just pure board game playing. And oh what fun it is! You can see my full recap of SaltCon here: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3

SaltCon 2016 playing

SaltCon is all about open gaming.


1. Gen Con

Topping off my “favorite game experiences” this year is hands down my trip to Gen Con! Having heard about it for years, I finally took the plunge and ventured to Indianapolis for 4 for days of gaming goodness. The spectacle was amazing. But the best part of it was meeting so many wonderful people that I’ve only know virtually for years. Publisher contacts, podcasters, and other board game reviewers that I’ve communicated with only through email and social media were there in force and I love meeting them in person!

Such a wonderful hobby full of very friendly people!

Gen Con 2016

So happy I could finally make it to Gen Con this year!


Looking back on the year brings out a huge smile. It’s been awesome!

There are also way more than 11 great board games and experiences that come to mind. But I’ve got to draw the line somewhere.

Unfortunately, it means games like Bring Your Own Book, Lanterns, Burgle Bros., Jamaica, Roll for the Galaxy, and Cosmic Encounter just missed the shortlist.

And who knows what the next 3 months will bring as the year winds down. After all, we still have plenty of board games from Gen Con that haven’t hit our table yet.

Here’s to looking forward to even more fun friends and family gaming memories ahead!



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