Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Board Games by Year Acquired

Sometimes people ask "What was your gateway game?" I didn't really have an answer so I went back and labeled when I got every game in my collection.

Childhood: Scrabble, Monopoly, Clue, Scotland Yard,

2009: Ticket To Ride, Pandemic

2010: Lost Cities, Cleopatra

2012: Settlers of Catan

2013: Clue: The Great Museum Caper, Zombie Dice, Forbidden Island

2015: A Duel Betwixt Us, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, Roll For It, Police Precinct, Flash Point, Carcassonne, Splendor, New York 1901, Labyrinth, Escape, Love Letter, Tsuro, Sushi Go, Burgle Bros, Codenames, Pandemic Legacy

2016: Onirim, Hostage Negotiator, Dead of Winter, CV, Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, Friday, Castle Panic, Eldritch Horror

- - -

So 2015 was sort of a turning point. I'm going to break it down by months:

January: A Duel Betwixt Us
May: Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective
June: Tsuro
July: Roll For It, Carcassonne, Love Letter
September: Codenames
October: New York 1901, Pandemic Legacy, Burgle Bros, Escape
December: Police Precinct, Flash Point, Labyrinth, Sushi Go, Splendor

- - -

So the first board games that I purchased were Ticket To Ride and Pandemic on the same day. They were Christmas presents for Brit--I was looking for something that we could do together besides watch TV.

Over the next few years, I got a game or two here or there, but it was very much a minor hobby. After getting Tsuro for Father's Day (which was on a list for years but I never pulled the trigger) I got deeper into reading about games over the summer. At this point almost everything I had gotten I'd heard about via Tabletop, but now I was learning about games from all sorts of places.

Codenames was the first game that I pre-ordered and first time I got a game through a niche board game site instead of Amazon.

So, Ticket to Ride and Pandemic were my gateway games. And it wasn't really a certain game that triggered my resurgence in 2015, but Codenames was the first game I picked up after it became a more serious hobby.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Looks like I'll be dabbing during the Super Bowl. Let's go Panthers!

Saturday, January 23, 2016


Roy's Avs are always outshot, but are currently sitting in a playoff spot.

Pull That Goalie!

Avs have scored more goals with their goalie pulled than Sharks, Bruins, Ducks, Flyers, Jets, Lightning, Islanders and Blues combined.

Avs are tied with Maple Leafs for 7 goals scored with the extra attacker, leading the league.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

West Playoff Odds on Jan 21

Still 31 games to be played. Let's see how this compares to the final results, eh?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


Clearly over the net. Come on.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Habs' Playoff Chances

Can you actually have a 99+% chance of making the playoffs in the NHL in December?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Passer Rating is Almost Always King

In 3 out of this weekend's 4 games, the team with the better passer rating won. The exception? The Broncos.

Once again, here is the regular season ranking of the remaining quarterbacks by passer rating.

3. Palmer
4. Brady
8. Newton
34. Manning 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Best Season of My Life Comes To A Close

The Patriots just played better. I think they're a better team and they executed better.

I said to win the Chiefs would need to win the turnover battle and the sack battle. They did neither. They had no pass rush and couldn't stop the Pats from scoring. They had a couple of chances for picks but couldn't hang on to it. And Knile Davis who was a star last week, fumbled and lost the ball.

I am more than satisfied with this season. Even if we lose the next playoff game we're in, we don't have to hear about a 23 year losing streak. As of this morning we had the best winning streak in the league and finally won a playoff game. Can't complain too much about any of that.

Injury Report for Today's Game

Dave P (stomach bug)
Kids Q (attention span)
Brit OUT (apathy)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Helpful Eight

Going into the playoffs, I was actually confident in Alex Smith. Over the last three years, he's been good--solid, limits turnovers, usually in that range of top 10-15 quarterbacks, maybe just outside the top ten.

But during this winning streak, something changed. He was actually attempting throws into tight windows down the field. And completing them. See more here. To the point where I didn't think he was as good as Rodgers or Brady, but that he might be an excellent playoff quarterback. When you need to limit turnovers, make plays with your feet and make clutch throws.

Then I saw this article: Ranking The Playoff QBs

Before I read it, I was thinking Smith would be in the top 4. Then I read it. And I was almost surprised they had him that high at #5. What I didn't factor in, is how many good quarterbacks there are left in the playoffs. (The Helpful Eight)

We all know there's a lot more to a team than just their quarterback. But seeing that ranking got me thinking: you really need to have a great quarterback to get here. So let's test that out.

Here's the list of the teams based on 2015 regular season passer rating: (playoff teams in italics, active playoff teams in bold, )

1. Seahawks
2. Bengals
3. Cardinals
4. Patriots
5. Washington
6. Saints
7. Bills
8. Panthers
9. Lions
10. Chiefs
11. Steelers
12. Chargers
13. Giants
14. Browns (McCown)
15. Packers
16. Bears
17. Titans
18. Texans (Hoyer)
22. Vikings
25. Broncos (Osweiler)
34. Broncos (Manning)

8 of the top 11 QBs made the playoffs.
6 of the top 11 QBs are still alive.

4 playoff teams had QBs outside the top 11.
2 playoff teams are still alive with QBs outside the top 11.

One of them is Aaron Rodgers, who many would say is the best quarterback in the game, just had a down year.
The other is a true outlier. The Denver Broncos who earned the top seed despite poor quarterback play.

The Saints, Bills and Lions got good quarterback play but I guess didn't have a strong enough team around them to make the playoffs.

If you look at the wild-card games, the team with the better quarterback play won in 3 out of 4 games. The exception? Bridgewater had a better game than Wilson, but Walsh shanked the kick.

So yes, it's a team game. But quarterback is still the most important position. We'll see if better quarterback play means wins through the rest of the playoffs.

Chiefs vs Patriots

The Patriots are favored by 5 and that feels right. Maybe a little high? Pats by 4 or 3.5 would also make sense to me.

The Pats started 6-0. The Chiefs 1-5.
The Pats finished. 6-4. The Chiefs 10-0.
At this point, both teams have won 12 games this year.

Pats are 7-1 at home. Chiefs are 6-3 on the road counting the playoff game.

The Chiefs lost Jamaal Charles for the season and Maclin is banged up. The Patriots had a number of players injured, some or most may be seeing their first action in a while.

The weather looks to be rainy, cold, possibly snowy. The Chiefs played 3 games in a row in the rain during in their winning streak.

What The Chiefs Need To Do To Win

They need to play their best football in all phases.

Marcus Peters has racked up the interceptions but he's still a rookie who can get beat for big plays. The pass rush needs to be consistently strong and the defense will need to create takeaways. I'd say at least two for a good chance of winning.

The offense needs to do a better job than they did last week. They need to protect the ball but also generate big plays to Kelce and Maclin?/Conley/Wilson. If the Patriots focus on Kelce/Maclin, the other guys will have to step up. Alex Smith has generated big plays by scrambling and that will need to continue. West and Ware will need to be able to get yards and first down and pick up 3rd down conversions.

Special teams has been a strength. So yeah, it would be good for Santos to keep making field goals and Colquitt to pin them deep.

The Chiefs path to winning definitely includes winning the turnover battle and sustaining long drives.

What The Patriots Need To Do To Win

If their offense is healthy, they need to execute. It starts with protecting Brady to give their receivers time to get open. I don't expect them to run much even in the rain. I think the most important battle in the game will be Pats O-line vs Chiefs pass rush.

On defense, they'll look to take away big plays forcing the Chiefs to pick up first down after first down, where one incomplete or sack can stall a drive.

Gronk and Edelman will get their yards and scores, so the Chiefs have their work cut out for them.


If the Chiefs win the turnover battle by +2 and win the sack battle by +3, I'd expect them to win. If they can't do both of those, I'd expect the Patriots to win.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

2016 NFL Cities

Using this list of most populated metro areas, I thought it would be interesting to cross-reference with the 2016 NFL teams, counting Raiders as Oakland, and Chargers as LA.

1. Giants and Jets
2. Rams and Chargers
3. Bears
4. Cowboys
5. Texans
6. Eagles
7. Washington
8. Dolphins
9. Falcons
10. Patriots
11. 49ers and Raiders
12. Cardinals
13. (none - Riverside, CA)
14. Lions
15. Seahawks
16. Vikings
17. (none - San Diego, CA)
18. Bucs
19. (none - St. Louis, MO)
20. Ravens
21. Broncos
22. Panthers
23. Steelers
24. (none - Portland, OR)
25. (none - San Antonio, TX)
26. (none - Orlando, FL)
27. (none - Sacramento, CA)
28. Bengals
29. Chiefs
30. (none - Las Vegas, NV)
31. Browns
32. (none - Columbus, OH)
33. Colts
36. Titans
40. Jaguars
45. Saints
50. Bills
157. Packers

- - -

With Riverside being so close to LA, it really seems like St. Louis and San Diego are now the top two cities deserving of a NFL franchise. Hmmm.

Portland, San Antonio, and Las Vegas all seem at least as viable as Nashville and Jacksonville.

Monday, January 11, 2016


I was afraid of something over the last couple years. That once the Chiefs finally won a playoff game that I wouldn't be content. That I would be greedy. After years of saying "just win a damn game" that I'd be longing for more.

And yes, of course, I'd like the Chiefs to win this weekend. If they actually win this weekend, I'd actually start thinking about the Super Bowl and that's more than I can even handle right now. But you know what? I'm genuinely content. They won a damn game. They won a game and made it to the divisional round. And there's something special about that.

Because now we're in the final 8 teams. All 8 teams are playing. There aren't better teams sitting out. Everyone is on the line. And sure some teams are home teams and some are favored by the spread. But once you get on that field, anybody has a chance.

The other thing that's special? There are playoff teams eliminated. The Texans, Bengals, Vikings, and Washington all won their divisions, which means they had a good season. And they're already done. They never had a chance to hope.

This whole week is joy. It's 7 days where your team is a winner, still alive, while others are not. Your team has hope. You're on the front pages of NFL.com.

You're in the discussion. I get to talk to the Broncos, Patriots, Steelers and Packers fans at work. And that's something.

The 2003 Chiefs had a better regular season record (13-3) but were one and done in the divisional round. These Chiefs won a postseason game which means this is the best Chiefs season I've ever seen.

It's really hard to wrap my head around, that the best Chiefs season I've ever seen was one where they started 1-5.

Divisional Round

Since 2003, this is the second time the Chiefs have been playing in the divisional round. If that was determined by random, you'd expect one of those every four years, or between 3 and 4 for any time since that time. But of course, it's not random.

The Patriots have been to the divisional round 11 times out of 13. 
The Jaguars have been once. 
None of the Browns, Lions, Bengals, Bills, Dolphins, Bucs, and Raiders have been once since 2003. 

So twice since 2003 isn't ideal, but it's better than nothing.

What Vegas Thinks

This weekend's games, ranked by closest lines:

Seahawks at Panthers -3
Chiefs at Patriots -5
Steelers at Broncos -6.5
Packers at Cardinals -7
These fans lost the game.

FarCry 4 Highlights

My first montage! FarCry 4 was the video game du jour this Christmas break for Bridget and me. I think most of the clips are self-explanatory, but I'll add a few notes below.

I think :05 was the first time we'd seen a rhino in the game and quite the introduction, applying the truck stick to our friend over there.

At 1:30, I throw some bait. In this case, it attracted a bengal tiger. At 2:02, you can see it in the lower left of the screen. Yes, I am quite partial to the grenade launcher.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Even More Rocket League

I've got three goals that were all scored from distance off the kickoff:

This was my brief stint online. This was the fourth goal I scored.

I love a good assist maybe even more than a good goal.

Here's a championship-winning goal as time winds down.

And here's a mistake I made that cracked me up for a few good minutes. My AI teammate makes a great save and is still in good position to cover the rebound. Except...watch out, I'm coming in hot! I doink him out of the way and we immediately give up a goal. Shit happens.

Scanning the Roster

Obviously this win means a lot to me, but I thought it would be interesting to see who else has been waiting a long time for this one. I can't do the entire roster, just some highlights.

Marcus Peters, CB, 1st year in the NFL, 1st playoff win
Chris Conley, CB, 1st year in the NFL, 1st playoff win
Cairo Santos, K, 3rd year in the NFL, 1st playoff win
Spencer Ware, RB, 3rd year in the NFL, 1st playoff win
Charcandrick West, RB, 3rd year in the NFL, 1st playoff win
Travis Kelce, TE, 4th year in the NFL, 1st playoff win
Knile Davis, RB, 4th year in the NFL, 1st playoff win
Eric Fisher, LT, 4th year in the NFL, 1st playoff win
Dontari Poe, NT, 5th year in the NFL, 1st playoff win
Justin Houston, LB, 6th year in the NFL, 1st playoff win
Josh Mauga, LB, 7th year in the NFL, 1st playoff win
Eric Berry, FS, 7th year in the NFL, 1st playoff win
Sean Smith, CB, 8th year in the NFL, 1st playoff win
Jeremy Maclin, WR, 8th year in the NFL, 1st playoff win
Jamaal Charles, RB, 9th year in the NFL, on IR :(
Tamba Hali, LB, 11th year in the NFL, 1st playoff win
Derrick Johnson, LB, 12th year in the NFL, 1st playoff win
Dustin Colquitt, P, 12th year in the NFL, 1st playoff win
Alex Smith, QB, 12th year in the NFL, 2nd playoff win
Andy Reid, HC, 17th year as HC in the NFL, 11th playoff win

I'm honestly surprised that I couldn't find more Chiefs with playoff wins. Maclin had played in two losses before on the Eagles. Smith played for the Dolphins but never made it to the postseason. But most of these players have spent their whole careers with the Chiefs and this was their first taste of postseason victory. Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson were the inspirations for the post.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

A Big If

Fun Fact: IF the Chiefs play in the AFC Conference Championship, it will either be in Denver or Kansas City.

22 Years In The Making

When the Chiefs hired Reid, I said if he wins a playoff game it's a success.

When Reid traded for Alex Smith, I said if he wins a playoff game it's a good deal.

- - -

I didn't want to run through all the history this week. I didn't want to think about the game two years ago. Because I couldn't shake the idea of Hopkins going wild for 180 and two scores. I couldn't shake Watt getting a strip sack and taking it the other way for six. This Texans team went 7-2 down the stretch with a QB carousel. It's as winnable as a playoff game as you'll ever get. But it's on the road. One play, a blocked punt, a fumble, could swing the game.

- - -

In 2003, the Chiefs went 13-3 and got the second seed. But were bounced in the "no-punt game" by Peyton. I watched that game at Brit's Parents house in O'Fallon. I cried as soon as it was over.

In 2006, the Chiefs squeaked into the playoffs based on everything going right in week 17. Trent Green was banged up and the Chiefs lost to the Colts again in a game they never had much of a chance of winning. I watched it at home, on our little TV in the downtown Chicago apartment.

In 2010, the Chiefs won the division. The season started on MNF, the opening of new Arrowhead and me doing a rain dance in Burnsy's apartment on Milwaukee. I went back there to see their season end at the hand of the Ravens. It was a beatdown.

In 2013, the Chiefs could have gotten a better playoff seed if it weren't for Peyton Manning. Instead they had to go on the road to Indy again. It was Brit's birthday so I actually missed the first half. I came home to this Highlands Ranch house and saw the Chiefs with a 28-point lead. And then saw it evaporate. I think it hurt less because I didn't see any of the good parts.

In 2015, I was optimistic coming into the season. I believed good things were coming. After one game I was talking about the Super Bowl. And then they lost their next 5. I thought the season was over. They'd need to win 9 of their last 10 to make the playoffs and who thinks a 1-5 team is about to do that? They won all 10. I watched the game in the Highlands Ranch house again. The boys and I were all wearing our Chiefs shirts. We stood for the national anthem. And then saw the opening kickoff get returned 106 yards. Holy crap.

- - -

I was still nervous at halftime. We had a 13-0 lead after getting a kickoff return and 3? turnovers. And they would get the ball to start. It could be 14-13 real quick. 

And then Maclin goes down. Which took a lot of wind out of my sails. Without Maclin, we're down to a puncher's chance in the 2nd round. But I'll worry about that later. For the first time, I've seen one of my teams advance in the playoffs. My first Chiefs playoff win. Andy Reid and Alex Smith, I won't ever forget this game. In fact, let's go down the line. 

Knile Davis with the opening touchdown. 
Eric Berry, the NFL Comeback Player of the Year and Man of the Year, First Team AP All-Pro (best in the league at his position), gets the first pick. 
Allen Bailey who drives his man back forcing a Hoyer fumble. 
Alex Smith and Travis Kelce with big pass plays. 
Cairo Santos hits two 49-yard field goals plus another one late. 
The whole defensive line for stopping a JJ Watt Wildcat.
Josh Mauga with a pick on the goalline. 
The whole offensive line who had multiple injury swaps and still gave protections and opened lanes. 
Marcus Peters who got another pick and never gave up a big pass play. 
Dustin Colquitt with great punts, pinning them deep. 
Chris Conley, the rookie WR, who stepped up after Maclin went down and got the first offensive TD.
Hussain Abdullah with a pass deflection.
Spencer Ware with a bunch of big runs including a rush TD.
Sean Smith joins the pick party. 

Basically, I just named the whole team. All phases, offense, defense, special teams, coaching combined for an outstanding performance. The offense was shaky the first half. But everything else was solid the whole way. That's how you beat a team 30-0 in the playoffs. 

- - - 

I was critical of the Alex Smith deal when I heard about it. This morning you would have said that Joe Montana was the last QB to win a playoff game for the Chiefs. But now the answer to that is Alex Smith. 

This morning this was reality: 

Now this is:

The Streak Is Over

First time I've ever seen a team advance in the playoffs. Holy shit.

Thank you, Alex Smith. Thank you, Brian Hoyer. Thank you, Andy Reid. Thank you, everyone in red and gold.

My first Madden 16 Online game

I've never been very interested in online video games. I hate it if there's any lag and there's something comforting to me about not playing against another person. Perhaps, I'm too competitive and it makes losing easier to handle. On the PS3 it was free, but on the PS4 you have to pay $50/year for online access. It's not that much but I didn't want it anyways, so I never paid.

Over Christmas break, Grant was messing around and activated a free two-day trial.

So I figured I would try out Rocket League online as well as one game of Madden. I figured I would be severely overmatched in my first game. Here's what happened:

My custom team (Froyo in Lions uniforms) was paired against a custom Chargers team. I have no idea if this is his 1st or 50th online game.

I received the ball first. I had three first half possessions. I got a touchdown on one, was intercepted on another, and I think I punted the other time. The other guy got a touchdown and field goal and was driving before the end of the half. He was up 10-7 and had the ball on my 18 yard line with 5 seconds left. He could have taken a field goal. Instead he goes for it.

He gets the ball to start the 2nd half, still up 10-7. On the second play, this happens:

Eric Berry! I use the short field and convert it into a touchdown. 14-10 good guys.

Then I miraculously force a punt.

I start running the ball and try to run out the clock. I'm facing a 3rd and 12 with 2:10 in the game.

A few plays later and he's out of timeouts. I'm facing 3rd and 8. If I convert, I can run the clock out.

It didn't look good early on. Could easily have been a 24-7 game if he scored at the end of the first and half and getting the ball in the second half. Heck of a game.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Who uses Bing?

Using 538's current percentages, here's their bracket:

KC over HOU
CIN over PIT
SEA over MIN
GB over WSH

DEN over NE
CAR over ARI

CAR over DEN

*It's hard to accurately gauge their odds in the divisional round. This might change by next week.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Monday, January 04, 2016

The Results Are In...Man vs Machine: 2015 NFL Predictions vs Five Thirty Eight [A Modern Day John Henry]

A quick primer: back in August I made NFL regular season record predictions. Now I'm comparing them to Five Thirty Eight's fancy algorithm. 

Who got the most teams correct (if not correct than closest)?




Well, shit. Looks like we need computers after all. 

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Chiefs get first game, 2:20pm (mountain) Saturday

Chiefs Playoff Paths

The Chiefs travel to Houston next weekend. Even though the team can't look past them, I can't help it.

Divisional Round Scenario #1, if Steelers win:

Steelers at Broncos
Chiefs at Patriots

AFC Conference Championship Scenario #1, if Steelers win twice

Steelers at Chiefs

AFC Conference Championship Scenario #2, if Steelers win then lose

Chiefs at Broncos

- - -

Divisional Round Scenario #2, if Bengals win:

Bengals at Patriots
Chiefs at Broncos

AFC Conference Championship Scenario #3, if Bengals win twice

Chiefs at Bengals

AFC Conference Championship Scenario #4, if Bengals win then lose

Chiefs at Patriots


In other words there are four possible sets of future matchups for Chiefs:

Set #1
Chiefs at Patriots
Steelers at Chiefs

Set #2
Chiefs at Patriots
Chiefs at Broncos

Set #3
Chiefs at Broncos
Chiefs at Bengals

Set #4
Chiefs at Broncos
Chiefs at Patriots

Set #3 is my favorite, with Set #1 close behind. I think the Broncos and Bengals are beatable right now. The Patriots are banged up but I don't like my chances going into Foxboro with them on two weeks rest. But if KC beats NE, obviously the AFC Champ game at Arrowhead would be amazing. I'd prefer Set #4 over Set #2 for the reasons I just stated.

The Top Ten of 2015

Let's get right to it.

10. I got into board games.

9. I went snowboarding.

8. I got a vasectomy.

7. I predicted the Super Bowl exactly.

6. I started skateboarding.

5. I won an award.

4. 7-Eleven was too honest.

3. The Chiefs finally beat Manning's Broncos

2. The freaking Royals won the World Series


Number One

Alamo Bowl Box Score by half

Oregon 31 0
TCU 0 31

This seems applicable.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Favorite Board Games: January 2016

Previous Installments: 
July 2015
October 2015

New to this list: 26, 17, 12, 11, 10, 9, 5, 4, and 1!

28. Scrabble

I've played some good games of Scrabble. But it's slow and being good at Scrabble involves memorizing two-letter words and manipulating the game instead of being creative.

27. Monopoly

For being America's most popular game, it gets a bad rap both from casual gamers and hardcore gamers. Amongst families, it has a reputation of lasting forever and being boring. Among hardcore gamers, they think it's child's play or crap. But if you actually play by the rules of auctioning every property and not placing money on free parking, it can play quicker than you think.

26. Police Precinct

So I bought this game because I was trying to build a detective game and wanted to make sure it wouldn't overlap. Plus, I thought that it would be cool. Well, I only played it once and kind of hated it. Maybe I'll give it another shot one day. 

25. Clue

This was my favorite game as a kid. I loved the mystery element and that it required deduction and not luck. Also, as an adult there are advanced strategies that eluded me as a child. Unfortunately, winning is more based on luck (randomly finding the missing cards first) than deduction skills.

24. Roll For It

I bought this both for kids and adults, but in my opinion it's really just a kid's game. It's a little more fun than Yahtzee, but that's about it.

23. Ticket to Ride

This was the first modern game I was introduced to. I think I played it too much. Also, the fact that it's the same map every time, limits the replayability for me. Basically, to win you need to construct a route that goes from coast to coast and get route cards to match up.

22. Cleopatra

A good game with a nice twist of eliminating the most corrupt player. Has some great mechanics. Still, it feels like the same strategy every time.

21. Lost Cities

A two-player game that is not very complex. The simplicity makes it fun and easy to play but also not very deep or engaging.

20. Clue: The Great Museum Caper

This game really has nothing to do with Clue at all. It's an art heist game, which to me is really the best theme ever. The gameplay isn't perfect but it's still a cool game.

19. Settlers of Catan

I've never owned the board version or even played it, but I have extensively played a computer game version. It's the gateway modern board game for good reason. It requires strategy and a bit of luck, with multiple different ways to succeed.

18. Zombie Dice

This is simple and fun, mostly luck based but with a touch of strategy (when to stop, when to keep rolling).

17. Flash Point
A co-op game I got for the kids. It seems like there's hardly any tough decisions to be made. You just go in and put out fires on the way to rescuing people. But I need to play it more to give a full opinion. 

16. Forbidden Island

This is a game by Matt Leacock, the designer of the #1 game on my list. It's not quite as good at that game, but still has interesting co-op mechanics and great replayability.

15. Carcasonne

Along with Catan, one of the most famous modern games, I think Carcasonne is interesting and fun. I've only played the Android app, which makes it easy to learn the rules. Yet, despite all the strengths, I find it a little lacking.

14. A Duel Betwixt Us

This is a two-player game that I bought on Kickstarter. Okay, I didn't buy in on Kickstarter. I saw it on Kickstarter and then bought it on Amazon. It's pretty cool and has some great mechanics, but for the first time ever, I had to make some house rules to fix some broken mechanics. As created, it's way too easy for the game to be lopsided, not fun in a 2-player game that can take 90 minutes to play.

13. Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

This is the best detective board game I've come across yet. It very much simulates solving a murder case and gives you free reign to go wherever you want to find clues and piece it all together. There's so much that I love about this. And yet, there are 10 cases. I've only played 2 and once you play them all, that's it. Unless you can forget what happened. Also, I find it terribly difficult. I'm glad it's not too easy, but I was pretty lost in the first two cases. 

12. Splendor

This was one of the most popular games of 2014. (Currently has 566 reviews on Amazon with a 5-star rating.) I wasn't going to buy it, but the app went on sale for 99 cents. I like it better than I thought I would. I like that there are multiple strategies to win. It's basically an abstract puzzle game.

11. New York: 1901

This has the building placement reminiscent of Ticket To Ride but with layers of strategies. I don't get to play it much since it requires other people and it's above the kids for now. #sologamerproblems

10. Labyrinth

Another game I got for the kids that I like to play. There are people in a maze and by sliding a maze title in from the edge you can shift the maze for everyone. The boys have trouble seeing the moves ahead of time, but I think it's a great game to build those kind of skills. 

9. Escape: Curse of the Temple 

This is the most intense game I've ever played. You have 10 minutes to escape a temple by rolling dice as fast (and as smart) as you can. It comes with a soundtrack and when I say 10 minutes, I mean 10 minutes.

8. Love Letter

This is a simple, light game that's nice because it only takes about 3 minutes to play. It might drop in future ratings, but for now I rate it pretty highly. 

7. Scotland Yard

Along with Clue, this is a game that I grew up with. But finding people to play it with was always a problem. Well, I just recently got the Android version (4.99) and it's awesome. It's nice to be able to control all 5 detectives against an AI Mr. X.

6. Tsuro

The amazing thing about this game is that it's strategic enough for adults but a three-year-old can play it too. It's quick and fun. Every game is different because of the tile-based gameplay. I think it's a great game for non-gamers. Also, for what it's worth, I learned of Sushi Go, Tsuro, Forbidden Island, Zombie Dice, Love Letter, and Roll For it through Wil Wheaton's Tabletop series.

5. Sushi Go 

I picked this one up in Target right before Christmas 2015 as sort of an impulse item. This has all of the same qualities as Tsuro. Kids can pick up and play but I'd play this with adults only too. What I love is that there's so many different ways to win, so you really have to adapt to the cards in front of you and not rely on any one strategy.

4. Burgle Bros.

I love co-op games and I love heists. And this game pulls off both with new interesting mechanics. Where Forbidden Island takes Pandemic actions and waters them down, this takes the actions and reinvents them through the theme. Great game.

3. Codenames

This is a word game that revolves around making strange connections. It seems like a party game but it is actually intense. I think it's awesome. Although there's a 2 or 3 player variant, and you can play standard with 4 or 5, this game shines when you have at least 6, but it's flexible up to 12 or more. One game can be finished in about 20 minutes, but I always want to play 4 or 5 at a time. 

2. Pandemic

Do you have what it takes to save humanity? I love this game. It's a co-op game. Either everyone at the table wins or everyone loses. What makes this game #1 for me? You can use cards in different ways and you have to balance priorities: finding cures and removing diseases from cities. This game is intense. With the game on the line, you could have three equally viable options to decide between. And the difference between winning and losing can be razor thin, so every decision is important.

1. Pandemic Legacy: Season One

So you take my favorite game of all time and then you create a game that unfolds over 12 months with new rules, characters, and pieces. This game is incredible. It very much feels like the story is alive, like you're in a movie, instead of just playing a game with a theme.

I decided to spend some Christmas money on presents for me. So yeah, there's a shipment of 8 games on it's way.

Ordered January 2016: 


Hostage Negotiator

Dead of Winter


Deception: Murder in Hong Kong


Castle Panic

Eldritch Horror

Purchased February:

Patchwork (app)

One Night Ultimate Werewolf

Possible Wish List


Back to the Future?

Quadropolis (city building game for 2-4 with unique cool mechanics)

Between Two Cities

Onitama (2 player game somewhat similar to chess but modern)

Archaeology: The New Expedition (set collecting card game for 2-5 players, inexpensive)

Arboretum: (tree planting card game for 2-4 players, inexpensive)

TIME Stories (time travel game with multiple cases for 1-4 players)

Mafia de Cuba (secret role game for 6-12 players)

Operation FAUST (bluffing art game for 3-8 players)

Robinson Crusoe (longer, complex survival game for 1-4 players)

The Networks (tv executive game, 1-5 players)

Freedom: The Underground Railroad (co-op historical game with serious theme)

Patchwork (really cool game for 2 players only)

[redacted] (bluffing, hidden information spy game best with 4 or 6 players)

The Resistance (like Mafia but without eliminating players, 5-10 players)

7 Wonders (civilization game, 2-7 players)

King of Tokyo (good first serious game for kids, 2-6 players)

Two Rooms and a Boom (cool party game for 12+)

Tesla vs Edison: War of Currents (complex invention and stock market history simulation, 2-5 players)

Letter Tycoon (better version of scrabble gameplay where you can patent letters, 2-5 players)

Colt Express (western game on a 3-d train, good for kids, 2-6 players)

Portal: The Uncooperative Cake Acquisition Game (cool theme, not sure if good gameplay, 2-4 players)

Jaipur (quick two-player game, selling cards at the market)

Tobago (deduction and competitive treasure hunting, 2-4 players)

Train Heist (family game, 1-4 players)

Nations (civilization game, 1-5 players)

Glass Road?
D-Day Dice

Infection: Humanity’s Last Grasp 

Nations Dice?