Our picks for the 17×17 Challenge

Starting in January, we’re going to begin the 17×17 challenge. If you’re not aware of this, it means for 2017, we need to play 17 games at least 17 times each. Most of the games in our collection have never been played over 10 times, so this is going to be a challenge for us for sure. We decided to do this because we have a lot of games. More than our shelves can hold, yet we keep getting new stuff. We’re trying (read I’m trying) to not buy as much in 2017. We have a lot of games we really like and want to get more invested in, but haven’t had the chance to because we keep getting new games. This challenge is mostly for me. I want to be able to curb my desire to spend money on games by playing what I have more often. We chose our 17 games mostly off of what we really enjoy or what we want to dig more into than we have. I also chose some that are able to be played solo so I can work to complete the challenge if Rachael’s not interested in playing that day.

We put some time into it, and we came up with our picks for the challenge. A short rationale comes with each game as to why we chose it. We also have a rule that if we don’t want to play a game anymore, we can swap out up to 3 games for a new game, but the 17 plays reset with the new game choice. This leaves room for something we get in 2017 that we want to play a lot of, but one game on this list we get 5 plays in and get bored with. (This could very well be Tiny Epic Quest which will be fulfilling next year.)

If you want to follow along on BGG with the games, I’ve got a GeekList over there where I’ll be logging each play. I’ll give a monthly update to the list here as to the general progress we’ve made, but more detailed info will be at BGG.

Agricola – We got this in a trade with several expansion decks and have played it just a couple of times. I first played it on my iPad but got horribly lost. Since then, playing it on the table has allowed me to figure out how it works. Now that I understand it, I want to explore all the various decks we have and get to know more of the strategy.

Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn – For as many cards and dice as I’ve bought for this game, I have not played it nearly enough. Granted, I don’t personally know too many people outside our house that play it, which is probably why I haven’t played it as much as I’d like. With the new decks and dice coming out next year, I’ll want to buy them. But if I’m going to do that I need to play it more in order to justify it. I’ve built a couple of decks for us to play with and continue to revise.

Carcassonne – A classic that I played last month and remembered how much I enjoy it. I have the old artwork which means getting more expansions is getting pricey, so I’ll likely just stick with what I’ve got, but begin playing epic sized games with all the expansions we have. I did find a scoreboard start tile on BGG that I’m eager to try out and see how it goes. This is one that will work with pretty much any group too, so it should see time on the table pretty often.

Castles of Burgundy – I ignored this game for a long time, and finally tried it and fell in love. I haven’t played it all that much, but this is one we just really enjoy playing. We bought the different player boards but haven’t used them yet, so I look forward to that.

The Duke/Jarl – Because the Duke and Jarl are basically the same game and can be played together, so I’m lumping them together as one. Rachael says she wants to get better at abstract strategy games, and the best way to do that is to play them more. Because they can be played together or individually, I’m thinking it should provide some good variety for keeping this interesting and developing strategy.

Guilds of London – This is one of my favorite games that I just haven’t played enough of. (Notice a trend?) I love the multiuse cards and I want to keep getting better at it. I missed out on getting the solo card from BGG, but the rules are posted online, so I’m going to try and get that going as well.

Hive – This is kind of the gimmie on the list. Hive is a game I love so much I’ve bought it twice. I usually have the pocket version in my backpack. This is the game that we can bust out a game or two at a restaurant without much effort, so it’s on the list to help make the list a bit easier.

Memoir 44 – This is a game we began buying expansions for because Rachael really likes the game. Then we barely played it. I’m hoping to keep expanding it and finding better storage solutions for it too. We’re both pretty evenly matched in it so we often win the game one or two rounds ahead of the other which makes for tense games we both enjoy. Hopefully we can really get this going and get through many of the scenarios we haven’t finished yet.

Mystic Vale – Another game I want to play more. I love the idea of it, and now that the first expansion is out, I want to get it, but I need to play the base game and learn the combos better before I buy it. You’re sensing a theme here right? Want to buy the expansion, play the base game more. I like deck builders, so crafting the deck as I play is a unique twist on the formula and one I want to explore more.

Networks – This is one of Rachael’s favorite games. She learned it from Gil at Origins last year and we bought it then. It’s a fun game that I didn’t get the first time, but then played it solo and it suddenly clicked. I look forward to playing this more and seeing if my understanding holds up.

Orleans – This is one of my top 3 games right now. We got the deluxe version at Origins and recently got Invasion which I think will give us plenty of options to play over the next year. It’s just such a satisfying game to play and a fun puzzle to figure out. I can also play it solo thanks to Invasion.

Race for the Galaxy – This is also one of my top 3 games. I enjoy finding the combos and getting the best cards out there to chain points and get great rounds of play out of. It also fits in our Quiver which allows us to keep working on this list if we go on vacation to see family.

Raiders of the North Sea – This is one of those lesser known games I think everyone should play. It’s got clever mechanics and great art. It’s a fairly light worker placement game, but because of the way you place and remove workers, you have to plan your moves against what your opponents might want to do. After each game I realize how much I enjoy this game.

Scoville – This is one of those neat games we like to play. The planning of where to go so that your planting and harvesting will pay off in the future is a good brain burner. We also have the Labs expansion so we’ll have that variety to play. It also supports up to 6 players which is nice for some of our game days with friends.

Star Realms – We’ve been buying this since it pretty much came out. We have a lot of cards, but some we’ve never used like the Colony Wars deck. It’s also one of those simple quick games to help us get through the list.

Viticulture – This is one we have enjoyed playing a lot lately and is another game with tense scoring because we usually are within 5 points of each other on the final round. We got Tuscany recently too (See this post for my initial thoughts on it.). I enjoyed it and there’s still a lot of variability with the structures and the special workers I want to see more of.

X-Wing Miniatures – This game we got big into really fast, and then the friend we played it with the most moved across the country, so we generally stopped playing it. Big surprise, I want to buy all the ships for them because I like the look of them all. But I’m trying not to buy more ships until we start playing more again. This is also a game that can be played with more than 2 players if you do teams which can be a lot of fun too.

Overall, we’ve got our work cut out for us. As I said, you can follow along with the monthly recaps on here, or with the fully GeekList over on BGG. I’m excited for this, and think it might just do the trick with our gaming collection to get us more invested in the games we already have over the games we want to keep getting.