17 Unplayed Games in 2017 Challenge Recap

At the beginning of the year on BGG, there are a bunch of different challenges that you can sign up for that are designed to encourage you to play more.
Most of them are things like: 1 game x 100 plays, 100 games x 1 play, and number of games x number of plays using the last two digits of the current year, so 17x17 for this year. I know that I'll never be able to hit those kinds of numbers for a while or ever, so for the past three years I've been doing an alternative challenge: play X number of unplayed games that I own where X is equal to the last two digits of the current year.

So in 2015 it was 15, in 2016 it was 16, and this year it was 17. I say was because I've already completed the challenge for this year. By doing so I was able to bring my record to 2-1, having failed the first year after only playing 10 of the 15 games. After meeting our friends Shawn and Kelly in the summer of 2016, the challenge has become much easier because we play much more often now. What triggered the idea of this challenge was seeing my unplayed stack get increasingly higher year after year. My other goal for this year is to get my unplayed percentage below 10%; sitting currently at 13%, I'll still need to play 5 more games to get there. If I do that and don't get a bunch a games between now and the end of the year, I won't have enough to do another list next year. Kind of sad about that but I dream of a day where I've played all of my games so maybe it's a good thing.

I already wrote a little piece on each game in the geeklist I made for the challenge, but I want to go back through and talk a little bit more about each game and maybe make a decision on whether it'll still be in the collection going forward.

My copy still sits in shrink on top of my shelves but I played Shawn's copy and both Christine and I enjoyed it, like we do most of Stefan Feld's designs. The great component production and cube tower mechanism makes it one of the games on this list that I'd most like to play again very soon.
Status: Keep

Black Fleet
I like the idea of this game more than the actual gameplay. It's fine for a pick up and deliver game but as I said in the original notes, due to it's confrontational nature and lack of engagement, it won't get much play unfortunately.
Status: On the trade pile

The designer, Grant Rodiek, made two cards games on this list, both of which I really enjoyed. The first is this take that and hand management game that features a farming theme and great art. As with Black Fleet, the confrontation was a turn off for some but due to its size and my personal enjoyment, it's not going anywhere.
Status: Keep

Flick 'em Up!
I wanted to like this game so much. It was one of my most anticipated games before I bought it and I was so sad to see it sit in shrink on my shelf for so long. We played Shawn's copy and thankfully so because it was disappointing. It's too fiddly for my taste and Christine isn't much for dexterity games.
Status: Traded

If you like poker, specifically Texas hold 'em, you will really enjoy this game even if you don't play with the spell cards. But once you add the spell cards, it turns a familiar game on its head in the best possible way. This is the second game by Grant Rodiek on this list and the second game of his that's earned a permanent spot on my shelf.
Status: Keep

This abstract was pretty neat and everyone seemed to enjoy it but it didn't wow anyone. It didn't help that nobody wanted to block chains so two players maxed out their score trackers. I thought about trying to give this another go but I have other abstracts that I enjoy more that don't allow for winning without being somewhat confrontational.
Status: Traded

The three of us that played this weren't wowed by the gameplay and all felt like it wasn't quite a finished game after our first and only play. It went on the trade pile but I have since taken it off because I enjoy the theme and artwork so much. This needs to be played with player counts of two and four before I'm ready to give up on it.
Status: Needs more plays

Can I just say first that I love HABA? They make great games for both kids and adults. The case for the latter definitely rings true with Karuba. Players are all racing to the same temples on their own boards but with each tile revealed, they are rarely placed in the same spot of a given player board. It's a game that even young children might be able to pick up with a little guidance.
Status: Keep

Between the art and quick gameplay, this was an instant hit for me. I'm still looking to add the expansion but it'll take a long while before I tire from the base game. This is another game that I'd really like to get to the table more often.
Status: Keep

Lost Cities
Super simple game to teach and learn. The theme doesn't add anything to the game in my opinion but it doesn't take away from how enjoyable it is either. It's a classic two player card game that deserves space on any gamer's shelf.
Status: Keep

One of my most highly anticipated games after receiving it for Christmas last year. I had already made this list before receiving it but I gave away Jarl: The Vikings Tile-Laying Game, which was on the list, before playing it so Onitama came in as a substitution. I finally was able to play it just last month and not surprisingly, loved it. The production is wonderful and the simplistic gameplay, that any good abstract should have, is great. This is a game that I could see never wanting to turn down when suggested.
Status: Keep

Another card game with beautiful art and interesting play. It's easy to teach so I know I'll be able to bust this out during a family visit or when having guests over. Over the past couple of years a lot of my collection has become bigger boxed games, but it's titles like this that makes me appreciate small box games even more.
Status: Keep

The Speicherstadt
This may not get played very much and hasn't been since we played it back in March. HOWEVER, I really liked it even when nobody else in our group did. As I said in my initial reaction, it's not a typical Feld. There is way less scoring and there is a lot of player interaction. I don't get to play many games with bidding in them because of our groups tastes, but that's not going to stop me from keeping this beauty on the shelves along side my other Feld's.
Status: Keep

Tides of Time
I love drafting and small games so this one really fit the bill. Unfortunately, despite it's size and lovely art, I have enough drafting games that I enjoy more so this one got traded shortly after playing it a couple of times. There is nothing wrong with it, it just didn't hold up in a saturated mechanic in my collection.
Status: Traded

Trick of the Rails
I love trick taking games and was really interested in trying this one because I've never played an 18xx game before. This combines the two into an interesting game that I liked but didn't love. Trick taking isn't a favorite in out group so it'll be tough to get this back to the table for the evaluation it needs before a solid decision can be made on its fate.
Status: Needs more plays

Turn the Tide
I don't normally buy games merely by the discussion between a group of people, but after seeing this one get talked about again and again amongst people on Twitter, I had to see for myself. It didn't disappoint and I really want to play this more often. I think each player playing the same hand once is borderline genius.
Status: Keep

Valley of the Kings: Afterlife
This was a throw in on a trade I accepted last year so I wasn't itching to play it right away but after playing more deck builders since receiving it, my interest grew quickly. This is a standalone sequel to Valley of the Kings and can be combined with it and the third in the trilogy. Christine and I played this just over a week ago to complete the list. It's not my favorite deck builder but I like the theme and would like to explore it more.
Status: Needs more plays

There you have it. This was a fun exercise, revisiting each title and thinking on each one. Are there any games on this list that you really enjoy? Any that you think don't deserve to stay on my shelves? Comment below!


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