MJ's Games Played in 1997 | Back to MJ's Games Played in ...
MJ's Games Played in 2001   |   MJ's Games Played in 2000   |   MJ's Games Played in 1999   |   MJ's Games Played in 1998   |   MJ's Games Played in 1997   |   MJ's Games Played in 1996   |   MJ's Games Played prior to 1996

Here, at last, is my personal listing of the games I played in 1997. I say "at last" not only because it's already February 1998, but becase I've read others' year-end reports since about 1995, and positively drooled over the number and variety of games those posters played. In late 1996, out of desperation, really, I formed a local gaming group and was delighted to find it take hold. We've been meeting every other Wednesday night for close to 18 months now! (If anyone wants to discuss how to get one of these going, by all means ask.) I also was lucky enough to find some people at work willing to play lighter games (or whatever fits in an hour) during some lunches.

Try as I might to keep an accurate listing, I know the following has a few ommisions. Oh well, I'll try harder in 1998. I listed the games alphabetically, with the number of times played and a 1-10 rating value listed. The ratings are subjectively assigned according to the following scale. At the end of the listing I've broken out just those games that scored 8+, and added some commentary besides. I'll be happy to discuss any of this.

Rating system:
10 - My Favorite Game (I still haven't pick this, though)
9 - Excellent. One of my very favorites.
8 - Very Good. One I would request to play again.
7 - Good. Will definitely be played again.
6 - Worthwhile. Will be played from time to time.
5 - Okay. I'll play it if everyone else wants to.
4 - No thanks. I'd sit this one out.
3,2,1 -- Varying degrees of real disappointment, not recommended to anyone.


Game
Times Played
Rating
Ace of Aces
1
8
Acquire
2
5
Across Five Aprils
2
8
Air Baron
11
7
Ali Baba
1
4
Awful Green Things From Outer Space
1
6
Banana Republic
1
6
Ben Hvrt
2
6
Black Morn Manor
1
5
Bohnanza
10
8
Bridgette
1
5
Car Wars
1
4
Cribbage
2
6
Detroit/Cleveland Grand Prix
11
7
Dobles
1
4
Dossier X
1
6
Down In Flames (dogfight only)
8
6
Down In Flames (campaign)
4.5
7
Drunter & Druber
2
8
El Grande
1
6
Elfenwizards
1
6
En Garde
13
8
Entdecker
1
8
Eurorails
1
6
Die Erbraffer
2
5
Express
1
4
Family Business
1
4
Formula De
2
6
Der Fliegende Hollander
1
7
The Fantasy Trip
3
7
For Sale
5
7
Freight Train
2
7
Full Metal Planete
1
7
Gettysburg '88
1
8
GEV
2
8
Give Me The Brain
1
5
The Great Dalmuti
4
7
Gridiron Fantasy Football *1
4
7
Groo: The Game
3
7
Gunslinger
2
5
Hannibal: Rome vs. Cartharge
1
8
Hase und Igel
1
6
Hearts
1
7
Hol's der Geier
1
7
Icebergs
1
5
K'ap T'ai Shap (Chinese dominoes)
1
3
Kuhhandel
2
6
Das Letzte Paradies
3
6
Lamarckian Poker
4
6
Lost Worlds (fantasy)
5
7
Lost Worlds (Battletech)
1
8
Lunch Money
1
5
Magic: The Gathering
9
7
Medici
7
9
Mille Bornes
1
4
Mississippi Queen
5
7
Montcalm & Wolfe
3
7
Mu
1
6
Musketiere
7
7
Mustangs
5
6
Naval War
1
2
Pico
1
7
poker
1 night
8
Power Lunch
1
4
Quebec 1759
1
7
Razzia
6
7
The Settlers of Catan
16
9
Space Empires
2
4
Starship Commander
5
7
Streetcar
1
6
Take it Easy
1
6
Take 6/6 Nimmt
8
7
Tante Tarantel
1
5
Tutanchamun
6
7
Twilight Imperium
1
6 *2
Up Front
2
8
Vittoria (S&T #151)
1
5
We The People
1
8
Wildlife Adventure
1
7
Notes:
*1: Using house rules to make it more of a regular card game (instead of CCG)
*2: This is a pretty high rating for a game I feel requires modification, but there it is

Rating system
(initially from Joe Huber, reworded a bit by Mark)

1 - Dire. Not worth spending any more time on it, except to unload.

2 - Poor. Not going to be played again, not unless I find or devise needed modifications.

3 - Weak. Might get played again, but probably not without some changes. Or maybe it's just not sort of game.

4 - Sub-par. Will be played again, someday. Again, I may try a tweak to see if I can improve the game (at least for me).

5 - Okay. Will get played once in a while, after my playlist goes down (shouldn't need modification).

6 - Worthwhile. Will be played from time to time.

7 - Good. Will definitely be played again.

8 - Very Good. One I would request to play again.

9 - Excellent. One of my very favorites.

10 - My Favorite Game.

Chronological listing, with commentary

January 8 (TVB)--El Grande seemed too abstract to really enjoy, but I may need another try at the game. The Great Dalmuti was surprisingly fun.

January 14--February 3 (PBEM)--Settlers game via email. This was the first test of my ASCII map-based email game. Worked great, though I lost handily.

January 15 (Lodi)--Bob finally got his chance to play Magic, two games against me. Big Green Meanie won both, I think. Interesting that it is the descendent of the deck that beat Bob in our friendly championship match two years prior.
Then I successfully pitched Settlers to the gang, and everyone had a good time! Jeff won, Ron asked to play again (no time, alas), and Bob has asked about buying it.

January 16--January 29 (PBEM)--Another round of Settlers. This was done concurrent with the other one, though with different people. Moved quite fast. I lost again.

January 22 (TVB)--Naval War was near-mindless, useful as a distraction only.
Family Business plays pretty knee-jerk, too, but at least has lots of flavor.
(And I won!) Lunch Money is wickedly funny, or maybe just wicked. And Down In Flames (twice) was a good intro, though a little confusing. (What can wingman do and not do?) Finally Icebergs, which was too abstract for me, though others liked it.

January xx? (lunch)--Bridgette with Paul, my first intro to any form of Bridge.
Much less intimidating than I'd been braced for. As with all trick-taking games, I never completely like I know what I'm doing, but I did okay.

January 29 (Lodi)--A couple games of Magic with Ron. My best deck (Big Green Meanie) cleaned his clock, but only through the use of the darned Zuran Orb, a cheese card if there ever was one (since removed). Then we gave Streetcar a go. Okay, but definitely more fun with more people. Ron blew me away.

January 31--February 20 (PBEM)--Yet another Settlers game. And yes, I lost again. Did my worst ever as a matter of face (5 VPs at end.)

February 4--??? (PBEM)--Still more Settlers via email. This will be my last one for a while, though. I'm doing better, so there's a chance I could end on a good note. :-) Plus I'm ready to try a couple more variations: Air Baron PBEM using a similar system, and also Settlers via IRC/WWW.

February 5 (TVB)--Played the shortest scenario of Across Five Aprils, Pea Ridge. I took the Rebs, and lost badly. Had a great time doing so, though!
Then tried RotL, but didn't know the rules well enough yet. Finished up with The Great Dalmuti, and this time I did well, finishing second.

February 12 (lunch)--Met Hank for another crack at the Pea Ridge scenario of Across Five Aprils. Darn if I didn't get wiped out again, though I put up a marginally better fight.

February 19 (TVB)--One game of Car Wars. I remembered more than I'd hoped (and the game changed little) after 10 years. Still slow, alas. I was given the best car, and did fine, until I became overconfident, exposed a shot-thru side to an enemy, and was gunned down.

February 25 (lunch)--Two dogfights of Rise of the Luftwaffe, me versus Hank.
First game it was my Hurricane element versus his Bf-110's, and I won. Then we switched sides and added two new elements, one of Spitfire V's and the other Bf-109F's. I won again. The second game was a little more interesting, having more planes in the air. However, I still think the campaign games (i.e., missions) will really help this game. Plain old dogfights are good to get the system down, but sort of flat.

February 25 (Lodi)--In less than two hours we completed three 2-on-2 games of Jeff's Captain's Challenge. Sean and I took Star Wars micro machines, while Jeff and Ron took Star Trek ships. I took the speedy, lightly gunned ship, Sean the big slow pig with a big gun, Jeff took a slightly faster ship with an even bigger gun (and nothing else), while Ron took a well-balanced design. In all three cases, Sean failed to connect with his big gun before Jeff ran him through.

March 5 (lunch)--Two games of Das letzte Paradies (The Last Paradise), a game I'd wanted to try after reading Joe Huber's session reports. I won the first without really knowing what was going on, then tried an actual strategy the second game and lost terribly! :-)

March 5 (TVB)--Chinese dominoes, Fast Food Franchise, Take It Easy, Das Letzte Paradies, and Razzia.

March 11 (Lodi)--Settlers and Mille Bornes! Sean wasn't there, and we jumped right into some non-RPGs.

March 12 (lunch)--Medici and Die Erbraffer. Didn't know really what to bid in Medici, and lost badly. Managed to win the other game through some luck (Hank misjudged a final inheritance and gave me just enough to beat him).

March 19 (lunch)--Medici two times. This time I had a clue about this bidding game, even winning both times!

March 19 (TVB)--Medici and Die Erbraffer, both with 6. The latter suffers with that many people. Then tried Gettysburg, the Smithsonian edition, and loved it (despite losing badly as the Rebs--we played day 1 only). Finally gave Fox One a quick go, mostly to familiarize myself with the publisher's wares, since I'm supposed to be a playtester for them.

March 25 (lunch)--Air Baron, a western 4-player. I went into immediate fare wars to grab most of DFW, later took it and HOU. Got my warchest before everyone else, then went on a rampage through ATL and DCA to win the game. Played the basic game again, but would like to try the advanced sometime.

March 25 (Lodi)--Got them to try Ben Hvrt, believe it or not. Bob was the runaway winner. I again was intrigued by the game, came in second. Jeff did lousy, and hated it (but agreed he would've had a good time if he was winning).
Ron didn't enjoy himself. This one needs some tweaking before I try again.

April 2 (lunch)--Drunter & Druber. Cool tile laying game that also includes voting! I won.

April 2 (TVB)--Air Baron (brutal, long slugfest). I lost but was a contender.
Also Der _____ Hollander. Same results.

April 8 (Lodi)--Wow, the guys are really ready to try new stuff. We played Air Baron, which went rather long. I slowly but surely built up a very defensive position, and was unstoppable.

April 9 (lunch)--Another go at Air Baron, only a 3-player east game. Hans was there, but no Paul. I tried a different tactic: a toehold all over the map, and got creamed. With me so weak, Hans & Hank managed to play a quick game, though. Hank won.

April 16 (lunch)--Freight Train. Liked it more and more *after* I played it. Eager to try again. I was winning after two turns.

April 16 (TVB)--Acquire, Settlers, Power Lunch, and Mustangs.

April 22 (Lodi)--Good ol' Settlers. Bob was really strong, but I came from a little behind and took the prize (longest road, and victory). I think we need to try some tweaks next to keep Ron into it. Bob says leave it alone.
Not sure where Jeff stands.

April 23 (lunch)--Lamarckian Poker as a filler (Hank won with a straight flush, 9-high). Then Kuhhandel, where I did lousy (typical for me during the first run at a bidding game). Hans won.

April 30 (lunch)--Air Baron. First try with the advanced rules, and was a little long for our lunch. Especially the multiple fuel shortages. Definitely more chrome, though. Hank and I learned how *not* to borrow money, and struggled with interest payments until Paul finally put us out of our misery. Had two spectators this time, who might join us later.

April 30 (TVB)--I showed up late, but got to squeeze in a playtest game of Air Duel (not listed in the ratings) and then my first Columbia wooden block game, Quebec 1759. Played lousy, got smeared, had a great time! :-)

May 3-7 (New Orleans!)--Dobles, En Garde, Mustangs, Rise of the Luftwaffe, Lost Worlds, Lamarckian Poker, GEV, Gridiron Fantasy Football, Gunslinger, AGTFOS, Cribbage, Starship Commander. Check out my "Big Fun in the Big Easy" report.

May 14 (lunch)--Settlers. Actually, this was my first time playing with the German set, and I was a little off at first. What you're used to, I guess.
I thought I was in good position, grabbing most of the rock. But both Hank and (especially) Hans got good port economies going, and Hans won.

May 14 (TVB)--Air Baron, again with advanced rules, but this time enough time to do it right. A 5-player western game, where I opted for the LAX-PHX pair, and never built into a solid triangle before losing to Arlette in the south. Express was betted than I'd remembered, but still pretty gamey and abstract (I prefer Freight Train). Ali Baba was next, and I was clueless.
Fun for the silliness of it, but a rather weak game.

May 21 (lunch)--Freight Train. Again only got to finish two days' worth.
This time I was bringing up the rear, however.

May 22 (Lodi)--One 3-way game of Magic, where I got to blow away Jeff only to get trounced by Bob. Then just four downs of Gridiron Fantasy Football (but enough to get them hooked--we'll play next week). Finally another stab at Settlers, just 3-player. Much more competitive and even this time. We all had seven points, a VP card in hand, and only needed one more road section to make a 5-segment game winner. Jeff was the only one to see that, but Ron was the one who made it happen.

May 28 (lunch)--Air Baron, with advanced rules.

May 28 (TVB)--Ben Hvrt.

June 3 (Lodi)--Settlers.

June 4 (lunch)--Air Baron.

June 11 (TVB)--Space Empires, En Garde.

June 12 (lunch)--Detroit/Cleveland Grand Prix, twice!

June 17 (Lodi)--Detroit/Cleveland Grand Prix, twice again!

June 22 (???)--Vittoria, Space Empires

June 19 (lunch)--Acquire.

June 25 (lunch)--Detroit/Cleveland Grand Prix, twice.

June 25 (TVB)--Twilight Imperium.

July 2 (lunch)--Medici, twice.

July 2 (Lodi)--Met on Wednesday to leave Candy's birthday free the day before. Got some roleplaying finally started--TFT's Grail Quest.

July 9 (lunch)--Razzia, twice.

July 9 (TVB)--Hannibal.

July 12 (Anniversary trip)--Candy tried En Garde with me!

July 15 (Lodi)--Second Grail Quest session. This time Bob got to take a walk-on role as the evil Sir Roger of the Castle on the Sea. They whacked him and his pathetic giant bodyguard. (Ron's 31st birthday, btw.)

July 16 (lunch)--Air Baron (advanced rules but w/o fuel hike). Good option.

July 23 (lunch)--Die Seidler, with six players! It went well (quick), and I finished in a face-saving 3rd.

July 23 (TVB)--Mustangs, where I died horribly to the two newbies I was teaching! Then Mu, where I lucked into a tie for first, finally Kuhhandel, again boggling me.

July 29 (Lodi)--Our third Grail Quest session. This time the knights offed a half-dozen hobgoblins, but were later cut to pieces by bandits. Jeff's Sir Alec survived, just barely. The same could not be said of Ron's Sir Ian.

July 30 (lunch)--Take 6, then a shortened game of Mississippi Queen.

July 31 (lunch)--Detroit/Cleveland Grand Prix. I did lousy, but had fun as always. Cars went cheap in the bidding, so final position virtually decided the race, and having two cars really helped. Talked about some ways to run a two-lap race by recycling cards.

August 3 (???)--Jeff and Sean came over for more wargames, this time my impulse-system variant for GEV. It really breathed some life into the game!

August 6 (TVB)--Montcalm & Wolfe playtest with Charles, then 2-player D/C GP.

August 7 (lunch)--Settlers, 3-player. I won!

August 8 (lunch)--More Settlers!

August 13 (lunch)--Montcalm & Wolfe.

August 14 (lunch)--Take 6, twice.

August 15 (???)--Eurorails with Candy!

August 20 (TVB)--En Garde (I won), Montcalm & Wolfe.

August 21 (lunch)--Take 6, then Mississippi Queen.

August 22 (???)--Detroit/Cleveland Grand Prix with Candy, twice!

August 29 (???)--Had Hank & Angela over for dinner. Played Medici and Drunter & Druber afterwards, which Candy sort of liked!

September 3 (TVB)--Air Baron, Settlers, Mississippi Queen. (I won the last two).

September 11 (lunch)--Bohnanza.

September 17 (TVB)--Tried We The People with Charles, and lost the same way (Washington). Then Bohnanza (won). Wrapped up with 6 Nimmt.

September 23 (Lodi?)--Ron bailed on us, so Jeff came over and we played a game each of Down In Flames and Mustangs.

(some time in here we had the consim dinner, where The Great Dalmuti was played)

October 1 (TVB)--Formula De and Full Metal Planete.

October 3 (lunch)--Down In Flames. Finished the Fall of France campaign with Hank, winning by not getting beat as bad as the French did historically.

October 14 (lunch)--Played Up Front for the first time in ages. Played the Germans defending a pillbox. Though Hank did manage to drop a demo charge in there, it didn't wipe everyone out, and I hung on for the win.

October 15 (TVB)--Hase und Igel, Elfenwizards.

October 16 (lunch)--Tutanchamun, For Sale. First time each for my new games!

October 17 (lunch)--Up Front. My Japanese vs. Hank's Brits. I had the game under control but just *had* to see how those Banzai rules worked, and got mowed down!

October 17--Candy was willing to try Tutanchamun a couple times. We split the wins.

October 23 (lunch)--Bohnanza, For Sale. Did pretty mediocre at both.

October 29 (TVB)--Groo (x2), Black Morn Manor, For Sale. I won both of the Groos, and was part of the collective win in BMM. Came in second in For Sale, which is my best showing to date.

October 30 (lunch)--Dossier X. Also known as the later issue Casablanca, we played Hans homemade kit of the game from rules he knew by heart. These sorts of games aren't my forte, though I managed to win.

November 4 (Lodi)--Tutanchamun (I smoked 'em! They thought it was ok), Mississippi Queen (Ron was robbed of victory by Jeff, and I poked in for 3rd--went over well!), and a shortened game of Bohnanza (which Jeff had asked for!)

November 5 (???)--Hank and Angela came over for dinner again, and we played Bohnanza, Take 6, For Sale. Candy was sort of sick with a cold, and barely hung on for the last two, but liked Bohnanza (and won!).

November 6 (lunch)--Bohnanza, then an aborted game of For Sale (due to rain!)

November 6 (poker nite)--Played poker with Hank and others. Lots of weird games, and I cleaned up.

November 12 (TVB)--Joe Huber was the special guest, and we played Hol's der Geier, Formula De, and Tante Tarantel.

November 13 (lunch)--Last one with Hans? Played Take 6, and I did okay (not great).

November 15 (???)--Joe Huber came by, and we got to play En Garde (x3) and Entdecker, which I won, also Banana Republic and Pico, which I lost.

November 20 (lunch)--Hey, finally played my *own* set of Razzia, three games--and our last with Hans :(.

November 25 (lunch)--Give Me the Brain was quick, but okay. Bohnanza was great, as ever. And Groo was too quick, going only once around the table before I won.

November 26-30 (Matt)--En Garde x2 (split), ROTL (campaign x2, lost both), Hearts (Dad), The Great Dalmuti, Bohnanza (Candy), Tutanchamun (x2, won both), Gridiron (won a low-scoring matchup), Ace of Aces, Magic (x4), Mississippi Queen (won).

November 30 (TVB)--Musketiere (x6!), D/C GP, Settlers, Air Baron, Bohnanza

December 2 (Lodi)--Settlers, a really tense game that ended with Bob's win...though both Ron and I were poised to win on that same turn!

December 4 (lunch)--Musketiere, 2-player with Paul. Still good. Then Bohnanza with my new expansion deck! Yea! I won a close game, 20-19-18-18.

December 10 (TVB)--Byzantium (S&T#???). Held my own as the Khazars.

December 11 (lunch)--Wildlife Adventure (did fairly poorly, but enjoyed the game), Bohnanza with six!