At some point I decided to start writing full reviews of all my Speil Des Jahres games. This is mainly because while I'm collecting the SDJ winners to study them for game design lessons and mechanics I'm not filled with motivation to play them all, particularly some of the earlier ones. As such this particular series of blogs is going to become more of an SDJ collecting diary and less about the games themselves, my opinions on which will turn up in the review blog soon enough.
Since the last of my SDJ blogs I've only picked up a couple of additional winners for a few reasons. Firstly, because charity shop raiding is a fairly luck based practice and I've claimed a lot of the low hanging fruit there. Secondly, because for some reason Tabletop Gaming Live didn't have a bring and buy section and at Dragon Meet I was running two game systems at once on my own so despite being sat 3 meters away from the bring and buy table all day I never actually got to look at it. On the other hand I have a wonderful and understanding wife who bought me Colt Express for our anniversary, because that's the sort of thing that people who know me do.
Colt Express is an all round delight, from the 3D train board through its meeples to its rootin' tootin' theme and its super neat programming with deck fouling game play. It now has a set of A.I. mini-expansions that allow for solo or semi-co-op play that I'm looking forward to trying out when time allows so expect related reviews at some point.
The other pick up was the inevitable new SDJ, 2018's winner Azul. Sometimes its not clear which game will win the SDJ but this year (or last), with all due respect to the other nominees, was not one of those years. 2018 was a case of the avant garde high concept game, the too complex for families Euro game and the obvious winner.
I have at best mixed feelings about Azul which I'll get into in a review at some point, suffice to say its not my favourite SDJ winner, but my mother-in-law liked it. Still, it was a well received Christmas present, played with the family. Just on the subject of family Christmases and boardgames, I do enjoy the old school choices (Monopoly etc) although I've not played any of them except Scrabble in years. The thing I don't understand is the people who both play Monopoly and hate it. We are in an era where you can pick up genuinely interesting entry level games on every high street. Boardgames are a broad church, don't play a game you don't like, but don't think that not liking one game means you don't like boardgames.