Musings

On the Chopping Block…

Out with the old to make room for the new!

August 2022 Edition

My husband and I love to try new games, but we also like to keep our collection somewhat manageable. That means we have to be willing to get rid of some old games to make room for new ones. We have some Kickstarter games set to deliver very soon so it is time to clear up some shelf space.

We have a pretty loose system for determining what stays and what goes. These games are meant to be played, and if a game isn’t hitting the table it’s time to discuss whether it deserves a spot on the shelf. We have to consider what limitations prevent it from getting played, whether we have another game that “does it better”, and frankly whether we both like it or not. Ultimately, it comes down to how we feel about it. A game isn’t doomed simply because it rarely get’s played, and sometimes games that have been played a lot end up leaving. It’s complicated.

Without further ado, here are the games that are on the chopping block:

Cryo

Z-Man Games, 2021

My husband cooled on Cryo rather quickly, but I found my first few plays fun and engaging. I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel without getting at least one more play of it. We were able to try it again recently and the experience fell flat for all involved. It was fun for a few plays but I don’t think I have anything left to explore. Of the games I’ve tried designed by Luke Laurie, I would play Whistle Mountain or Dwellings of Eldervale over this game any time (despite preferring the look and theme of Cryo).

Photos from boardgamegeek.com

Creature Comforts

Kids Table BG, 2022

There is so much to love about this game. The artwork, the premium components, the clever mechanics… When we backed this game on Kickstarter we thought we would be getting a family game with some meat on its bones. Unfortunately, even the shortened game lasts too long to keep my children’s attention. The adults I have played with have enjoyed the game, but it is far too long for its weight. Sadly this one has failed to find an audience.

Photos from boardgamegeek.com

Ark Nova

Capstone Games, 2022

As I type this, Ark Nova is ranked Number 7 on boardgamegeek.com, but only time will tell if it holds. I enjoy the theme, love the action-selection mechanic, and am ambivalent about the often-criticized art style. The personal zoo-building puzzle is ok (but I prefer the interaction that occurs on the shared map in Terraforming Mars). The biggest problem for me lies in the huge deck and limited hand size. Luck of the draw is a factor in any card game but when poor draws hit here, they hit hard. I have had quite a few games of it that just left a bad taste in my mouth and that feeling is compounded by the lengthy playtime. We played it a lot when it was new to the collection, but I do not find myself excited to revisit this one.

Photos from boardgamegeek.com

Scythe + tons of extras (maybe)

Stonemaier Games, 2016

We used to play a lot of Scythe. We even had a group that was able to get through Rise of Fenris – it was a memorable experience. We have cooled on it, though. It isn’t a good fit for some of the people we play with regularly, and we always reach for other games before Scythe. My husband loves the efficiency puzzle and might want to hold on to it a bit longer. Maybe we can get a different group together for another Fenris campaign but it doesn’t seem likely. I think it’s time to let another gaming group have that experience.

Photos from boardgamegeek.com

So, how do you feel about purging games? Are you a collector working to build an epic library, or do you try to keep your collection slim? I’m always curious to know how people decide what to save and what to get rid of.

4 comments

    1. I wanted to love Ark Nova and I’m surprised we are wanting to unload it so quickly, too. It was so highly anticipated. There are some things about it that I really appreciate. But when it came down to it, it gives me an experience so close to Terraforming Mars I don’t feel the urge to keep both. And although it has its own flaws, I would rather play TM.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Of the four mentioned I have only played Scythe. I really enjoy Scythe and own it as well as several of the extras. There is one guy in my game group who can’t stand it though, so we can only pull it out when he’s not there. This means it hits the table less often than I want it to. That said, even though it takes up a lot of shelf space and it doesn’t see as much table time as I would like, it is still one I am keeping around because when it does hit the table, it is generally a very fun epic-type game feel. We will see how the future plays out, but currently, I’m still able to table it about twice a year, which seems like enough. I’ve bought Rise of Fenris but still haven’t had a chance to play it.

    I’m curious about Creature Comforts. You talk about it being too long. The box says 45 minutes. Is that not the case?

    I’ve also really wanted to give Ark Nova a try but from the look of it it seems similar to Terraforming Mars and you are the 3rd person I’ve heard say they like Terraforming Mars better (not that you necessarily said that… you just said you liked the shared board better…) which gives me pause when I’m looking at the price tag to buy it. It’s one I’d like to try out before I decide if I want to own it or not. Now to convince one of my friends to buy it so I can give it a try :).

    Like

    1. I had a lot of fun with Rise of Fenris, and wouldn’t mind playing it again. I played it in the past with a group of people I can’t get together with as much anymore. My husband bought his own copy of Fenris hoping we could get our regular group together for a campaign but too many of them do not enjoy the base game and it’s just not going to happen, realistically.

      I think the Creature Comforts box is very optimistic with that playtime estimate. Our 2 player games were taking at least an hour. We played a short variant with 4 adults and it took well over 90 minutes. I’m sure there are other ways to speed it up. It’s a shame – I think it would be a really wonderful gateway game if we could have gotten the play time down. But I bought it for my children and at 4p it’s way too long for them to sit still.

      I didn’t outright say it but I do prefer Terraforming Mars. There’s luck involved with the card draws in both, but I always feel like I can get something going in TM, even if it’s not enough to win. I have had games of AN where I started with a strategy that made sense for my hand, then spent the rest of the game searching for something, anything, that would synergize with my tableau. It was consistently frustrating. On the other hand you can get very lucky and run away with the game – it’s happened to both of us and it felt a bit cheap every time we won. I also prefer the interaction from the shared map in TM. Those are just our experiences, though. Definitely give it a try if you can – it’s popular for a reason. If you have a lending library of some sort that would be a good way to give it a spin. We have a local game store that does rentals…

      Liked by 1 person

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