I heard this fun podcast the other day from The Dice Tower, in which Tom Vasel, Zee Garcia and Sam Healey made a list of their Top 10 Enemies of Gaming. It was altogether an amusing game podcast, an unexpected topic to me (I don’t know, maybe they do tongue in cheek lists all the time), but it was goofy and meta and philosophical all wrapped in one. I cracked up at a lot of Sam’s – humidity. grease, time and space (storage space).

Some notable items on the top ten that correspond to some of our posts:

Those are all great enemies of gaming. Here’s one that has stuck with me – in Tom’s list was Hype, and he commented on the “Cult of the New”. Actually, he said with Kickstarter it’s more the Cult of the Future. I think of this more and more as games do “box office opens” only to be immediately replaced. I know I fall victim to it. Not only because I’m a gamemaker, constantly entranced by new mechanics and ideas in forums, discussions, but also too – I have a pile of Kickstarter games I can’t enjoy fast enough.

BUT! Last night, I was playing THIS game:

Lord of the Rings

Remember this one? Lord of the Rings, 2000. Maybe when I first discovered Knizia Oh, it’s been too long! In fact, when I looked at the enclosed “Hall of Fame” sheet included in the game (more games should do this, btw!), I noticed that the last recorded game was in 2005. Wow. That shocked me. 10 years ago! Where has the time gone? There’s been Lord of the Rings movies since then! Why haven’t I pulled this game out more often? When I first got it, we had so many epic battles against Sauron, many of which did not end well for Frodo and his mates.

I am glad I finally introduced it to some gamers that didn’t have the pleasure yet. It wasn’t quite the co-op masterpiece I remembered (and we owned Sauron), but it did still have lots of fun and charm and interesting mechanics in it. Got me thinking. What are some other older games I should pull out of the closet and give another go, like old times?


Feel like playing along too? Let’s hear some oldies but goodies. One simple rule though – let’s not criticize anyone’s top 10. Yes, some may deserve to be buried in the closet, and maybe nostalgia is all it is, but let each person have that nostalgia. Let’s keep it positive, and focus on why something is on YOUR list.

9. DRAKON – really great tile laying fun.
8. MAGIC THE GATHERING – because, well… magic!
7. AGRICOLA – Never did see all those occupations. Worker placement cult of the new took it’s toll.
6. NEXUS OPS – Horrible box cover, glorious game, best 3 player match ups!
5. ROBO RALLY – Yes. 8 people, lasers in every direction!
4. RISK – Well, not original Risk. Sometimes new IS needed. Maybe more Risk Legacy is in order.
3. D&D – If only time was not also an enemy of gaming.
2. CARCASSONE – the phone version scratched the itch for awhile.
1. PUERTO RICO – I miss it so!

Ok, that’s a few of mine. Not really in top 10 order. In fact, it doesn’t need to be 10 – just curious to hear YOUR games or any thoughts you have on the topic of how we stop this particular enemy of gaming at our tabletops!

ALso, write in if you’ve played an ‘older’ game recently!

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Peter Vaughan

Game Developer at Breaking Games

Peter eats games for breakfast! Founder of First Play LA, Squirmy Beast and League of Gamemakers, and Director of Development for Breaking Games. First published designs include What the Food?! and Nightmare Cove, and development credits include Letter Tycoon, Boomtown Bandits, Sparkle*Kitty and Rise of Tribes.

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  1. Jeff Cornelius on June 1, 2015

    Let’s see, I don’t think I have 10, but here they are:
    Scotland Yard – Great asymmetric deduction game. Although I do think Letters From Whitechapel is slightly better, I just don’t own it.
    Dominion – played the hell out of this game when I first got it. Looking forward to trying it out with the new expansion
    Acquire – such a great classic game!
    Venture – another treasure from Sid Sackson
    Axis & Allies – I grew up on A&A, would love another game
    Diplomacy – I have some friendships I can lose, right?
    Heroscape – There is something about the Heroscape system that always appealed to me

    That’s it for me, great topic!

    • Peter Vaughan Author on June 1, 2015

      Jeff – great list. A&A – yes. I totally miss Diplomacy. We used to do fun ones where we played a day session then a bunch of turns with email (and hilarious bcc emails), then met up live again to finish.

    • Peter Vaughan Author on June 1, 2015

      HEROSCAPE! Why did they stop making this (I know, to make the “new” version in MtG universe). Seriously, I didn’t own it because my buddy Steve had it all and built awesome maps, but if I did, I’d think this may come out now with my son getting to gamer age.

  2. Scott Caputo on June 1, 2015

    I’ll play. I’m not sure the priority of my oldies but goodies, but here they are in alphabetical order:

    1. Acquire: I traded for my own copy a while ago, but it still hasn’t hit the table. It’s a deep thinky tile-laying game with lots of intriguing stock economics.

    2. Aladdin’s Dragons: I love the bluffing you can do in this game though the mechanism of blind bidding and how nervous people can get if you put 3 tokens on one spot. It’s also amazing how much you can accomplish in one turn if you use your tokens well.

    3. Clans: Maybe my favorite Colvini. The rules are so simple, but results can be so brutal. You can wipe out 2 villages with a smile on your face since you just scored 2 points.

    4. Defenders of the Realm: My wife and I played it once and it was an epic co-op game that we barely won. Somehow it hasn’t gotten back to the table since. Maybe it’s the 3 hour play time, but this game deserves more plays.

    5. Go: I got my own copy, but I’ve been too intimidated to actually try to play. It’s the highest rated abstract game of all time, even better than chess. So I need to give this one a try.

    6. Heroscape: It’s sadly out of print, but I still have a huge amount of armies drawing dust. My boys love the pieces to this game, but it’s too advanced for them. In a few more years, I could see my boys and I playing this one a LOT.

    7. Le Havre: I really like this one especially for lower player counts. I bought the expansion with extra buildings, but never tried it. This game really gives you a feeling having accomplished something.

    8. Mexica: This game is too darn clever not to see more play time. I love it every time I play. It’s cutthroat in all the right ways.

    9. Survive! I actually have the pre-Stronghold version and it’s still awesome. How many of your guys can you save? How many of your opponents’ guys can you kill?

    10. UR: It’s a game discovered in a royal tomb–how cool is that? It’s actually quite fun especially if you play the advanced version. It’s a blend of mancala and backgammon.

    • Peter Vaughan Author on June 1, 2015

      I almost put Acquire (for all the memories) and I own the tile version! And I did think of Le Havre too. Many more games to get deeper in the strategy would be nice.

  3. Royce Banuelos on June 1, 2015

    I Think, You Think, I Think was a party game my family would play all the time. The questions haven’t aged very well ha ha but the neat double betting and cries of “You’re Lying!” are still fun for me. Haven’t played in years, would enjoy to play again.

    Recently played Hotels, it’s a bad game but nostalgic for me and ultimately had fun replaying it.

  4. Peter Vaughan on June 1, 2015

    Fury of Dracula! Forgot that one. Combat system may be why it disappeared but I loved the concept and fun of hiding as Drac

  5. Small World is tops on my list. I know they just put out a new version and such, but I can’t justify getting a new version because the old version just sits on my shelf.

    Puerto Rico also has to be on the list. For some reason that game just never sees daylight anymore.

    Marvel Vs. Having over 2,000 cards for this game makes me want to beg people to play it with me. Heck, I’ll give you one of my many decks I have preconstructed.

    Cosmic Encounter. No takers, ever.

    Heroscape! Nice to see others love this game. Sad that I’ve move everything related to the basement as I accept the fact that it will not be played any time soon.

    Advanced Hero Quest/Warhammer Quest. Need more 90s style miniature dungeon crawls.

    World of Darkness role playing. Little time and little interest from friends means not going to happen.

    • Peter Vaughan Author on June 1, 2015

      I have the exact same problem with Cosmic Encounter. Maybe I need to find Tom Vasel at Origins…

  6. Jon Fromm on June 1, 2015

    How about a quick 5:
    5) Heroscape – And the bigger and more ridiculous the map the better.
    4) Axis and Allies – Let’s say old school second edition, bring on the heavy bombers!
    3) HeroQuest – I was in awe of that when it came out 20 odd years ago. Wonder if it still holds up on some level.
    2) Stratego – 9,8,7,Boom!
    1) Torpedo Run… Just for the nostalgia value of annoyingly launching discs at friends

    • Peter Vaughan Author on June 1, 2015

      I almost put Stratego on my list. My step-father had a house rule of movable bombs. You could move them but just not attack with them. It kept it a really dangerous time in someone’s back rows.

  7. Susan Davis on June 1, 2015

    What do you mean, “wish I still played?” I still play my older games; half my collection is from the 1980s. I have trouble finding opponents for big “monster” games like World in Flames any more; I’d love to get WiF, Empires in Arms, Federation and Empire, or Imperium Romanum II going one of these days….

    • Peter Vaughan Author on June 1, 2015

      Awesome that you still play these games. Cheers to that!

  8. Susan Davis on June 1, 2015

    Also, it’s really weird to see Agricola or Dominion or Defenders of the Realm or even the Knizia LotR listed as “older” games. An “older game” to me is one from before the industry cratered in the early 1990s and wiped out many of the major publishers.

    • Peter Vaughan Author on June 1, 2015

      Ahh Susan, but that could be right to my point. It shouldn’t be going this fast. But it is. Games are coming out and going by before we’ve even enjoyed them fully. I even look at the “age” of Settlers of Catan – which feels ancient in gaming years, and then look at it and say, no, my car is older…

  9. Seth Jaffee on June 2, 2015

    Off the top of my head, I am thinking of some classic Alea titles such as…

    Princes of Florence
    Notre Dame
    In the Year of the Dragon
    and maybe Traders of Genoa.

    Railroad Tycoon is an old favorite, and I played it once recently, but I’d like to play it more often.

  10. Tim Moore on June 3, 2015

    Quick list:

    Kingmaker – always loved this. Takes a certain group to play it – or at least, to convince to play it. Most have fun once they start.

    Twilight Imperium – Long, long game. It’s hard to get someone to set aside a full day – but when we do – man, it’s glorious!

    AH Squad Leader 2nd Ed. – I have some friends who love this – and we have a couple of scenarios we always revisit when we reminisce…

    Joan of Arc – Again, certain group loves this, others have to be convinced to try it. Everyone who tries it, loves it.

    Talisman (with ALL expansions) – it’s just LONG. But so many memorable moments with my friends.

    Union Pacific – this was our friends’ casual go to game for a while. We even brought it to Disney on a group couples’ vacation and played on the floor of the our hotel room…

    Conquest of the Empire and Supremacy – I had a group of guys in college that would grab beer, snacks and sit around in my dorm and play these games into the week hours. The threats, diplomacy and outright backstabbing was legendary. Difficult to get those kinds of games going these days – but always hoping to reunite the callous conquerors for another go.

  11. Dave Howe on June 8, 2015

    Great idea, here’s my list of “Need to play…soon!”

    1. Tigris & Euphrates – Easily one of my favorite Knizia games. While playing on iOS is ok (over 1200 games), there’s nothing like playing it IRL. Not sure what to think of the new plastic edition, but overall, glad to see another publisher pick it up to give this game more “legs”.
    2. Torres – Another abstract game. Love the variety of game options that it includes, so that it scales nicely depending on player experience.
    3. Robo Rally – Chaotic, programming fun… with nukes! Classic!
    4. Strasbourg – Interesting Stefen Feld game with a nice card-based bidding system.
    5. Pret-a-Porter – Such a good business sim/game.
    6. Stronghold: Undead – I’ve only played this expansion once since ordering it a couple years ago. Nicely changes the gameplay quite a bit.
    7. Mage Knight – I just wish there was less downtime with large groups, maybe the next time we have 3 people at the table I suggest this.
    8. In The Year of the Dragon – Feld during his “beat them up” stage of game design. 😉
    9. Le Havre – Such a good, meaty game.
    10. Reef Encounter – Undersea trading game, essentially.

  12. Ian Anderson on June 25, 2015

    I got to play El Grande for the first time in far long, 3 weekends ago. I have also recently played Taj Mahal and Traumfabrik again.
    But it has been far too long since I last played: Modern Art, Through the Desert, Alhambra, Coloretto, Cartagena, Tigris & Euphrates or Bohnanza.

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