My Most Played Games of 2017

My Most Played Games of 2017
It’s been an odd year for me and games.  If you read my blog post about writing reviews, you will know that I moved house right at the end of 2016 and so have had some real trouble getting games to the table. This means my list of most played games is slightly different to normal.  Rather than the big heavy thematic and euro games that I would have played at my regular Worcester gaming session, gaming has been dominated by the more entry level fair, as I have played games with my wife, family and less hard-core gaming friends.

As per usual kudos must be given to Fire Broadside, who I shamelessly ripped this yearly tradition off.

Roleplaying Games

2017 has been a mixed bag for roleplaying games. I have not played as many RPG games as I would have liked (but that holds for most games) but I have at least played some RPGs this year.

First to the table was FAITH the sci-fi RPG from Burning Games. Our sessions were mainly for review purposes but everyone at the table enjoyed the system. With the delivery of the new core rulebook just before Christmas, I am looking forward to exploring Faith's universes in the future.


Thankfully I have managed to get a few games of Dungeons & Dragons in this year, running a group of adventurers that met via As seems to be the common problem amongst all RPG groups, the game fell apart due to personal commitments of a number of players but it was fun to get back in the Dungeon Mastering chair and craft a world. Because playing RPGs seems to be so difficult to arrange I am going to try some Roll20 very soon (hopefully).

Miniatures Games

Every time I go back to playing the Star Wars X-wing Miniatures Game, I am reminded just how awesome it is. I only played a handful of games over the last twelve months but each game was quick to set up, smooth to play and came down to manoeuvring your ships rather than fancy loadouts.

Of course I would love to play a lot more X-Wing but bizarrely I am being held back by a very badly organised collection. When I moved late last year, I bundled my entire X-wing collection into a number of boxes and still haven't got round to organising them in a sensible fashion. This means rather than just grab some ships and fly I need to pull out a plethora of boxes and folders. Time to get organised methinks.


I have also dabbled a little with Runewars.  On the plus side I think it is a great fantasy war game but I seem to be alone in this assessment as I can confidently say that at this moment the game has been a flop. Around Black Friday time UK retailers were selling the Runewars core set for prices that must have been close to, if not below, wholesale price. I'm also not seeing any buzz about this game anymore and although I'm waiting to see what the 2018 tournament scene brings, I am pessimistic that Runewars will last.

Card games

You know how I really love Arkham Horror The Card Game, well I haven't played it all in 2017. The entire Dunwhich cycle is JUST sitting there ready to be played.

I did, however, purchase the Legend of the Five Rings core set, ready to jump into the game with both feet.  A lot of my gaming friends are big into the original L5R and so I knew I had a group of players on call to show me the ropes.  Unfortunately, although I have tried to learn the rules and get to grips with the game a couple of times, I am just not being drawn into playing the game.  Whether it’s the lack of players locally (a common theme in this blog post) or just that the rules for the game are a bit of a barrier to entry (it's not a simple game to learn) something is holding me back and I can't really see me playing much of L5R in the future.

Board Games

The board game I have played the most this year, both around a table with friends and on my iPhone while commuting, was Splendor (which I still want to spell Splendour). It’s hard to put my finger on just why I find Splendor is so great but it’s a game that is really easy to teach, quick to play and although not the deepest of games does allow plenty of thoughtful decisions.  It’s also the reason why Century: Spice Road has been such a hit in my household.


Speaking of phone and tablet gaming, due to my lengthy commute I have played quite a lot of Pathfinder Adventures and Eclipse on my iPad during my morning commute. Unfortunately, my train route goes through some pretty rural areas and so I can't play any multiplayer or online games. Pathfinder Adventures has therefore been absolutely perfect, as a single adventure takes up around 25 mins and my commute takes 30 minutes, which thankfully means I don't miss my stop.

Bizarrely Eclipse was one of my most played physical board games in 2016, and so I have been attempting to hone my skills via the quite frankly superb Playdek iOS version over the last twelve months. It’s not working.  I still run out of money a couple of turns into the game and I still get trounced by people who are scrambling up the tech tree like some kind of spider monkey research scientist. I don't own a physical copy of the Eclipse, so I am quite interested to see what the recently announced second edition is going to bring to the game.

Pathfinder Adventures

The second most played game in my collection for 2017 is without a doubt the Dark Souls Board Game and I think it's more a sense of stubbornness than an endorsement of the game's quality.  Eight times I have played Dark Souls and I have yet to beat the first boss, either alone or with a group.  I can't deny that I have enjoyed some of that time with Dark Souls as when things work they work really well; carefully moving units around the battlefield, managing enemies and waiting for the perfect moment to use up your lucky coin or estus flask.  With four players the game flows very well, the difficulty curve is about right and there's plenty of tactical decisions to be made. But I also can’t deny that there is also a lot of Dark Souls that is just plain shonky. Whether it’s the quite frankly terrible loot and experience system or the awful starting gear for some characters that mean you have to roll the best possible dice roll to just to cause a hit on the most basic of enemies, Dark Souls is full of awful design decisions. Oddly though, I am rather looking forward to receiving the expansions, whenever they might arrive…

Considering I bought the game just a week before Christmas I am very impressed to see that Charterstone has made it onto this list. This is partly due to my wife and me both being off work over Christmas but mostly due to the beautiful design work and charmingly flowing gameplay. Charterstone has been a joy to play, and that’s not just from the excitement of opening crates and creating your own slice of the kingdom.  

Best of 2017 Charterstone
This is all I can show you of Charterstone...
I do have some minor reservations about the game though. I feel as if some of the rules could have been better explained. Being a legacy game it’s more difficult to reverse a decision based on a misinterpretation of the rules. I also wish there was a way to reset Charterstone after a play or two. Two or three games in we got the flow of the game and really wanted to start the story again. We are also convinced that by playing Charterstone with just two players there are aspects of the game we are missing. There are crates we know should have been opened by now but haven’t. Whilst we know we could play with the Automata, we tried it for one game and thought that it felt artificial, that we were playing a race against an arbitrary time limit rather than competing against a tactical opponent.

So what can we say about this list of games? Well apart from a couple of titles, my gaming for 2017 has mostly been about older games and I feel it’s a trend I am going to continue in 2018.  Whereas we are inundated with new games in 2017 (and many of them are awesome) I have really enjoyed revisiting some games that I now consider classics. But what will 2018 being? We will find out very soon…
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