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Three Great Boardgames Turning 10 in 2017

Three Great Boardgames Turning 10 in 2017

Sometimes, we get caught up in the new hotness of board gaming. It’s easy to do with so many great titles being published each year. But the test of a truly amazing game is whether it is still being played a decade or more later. That’s the only sure way to tell whether it was a flash-in-the-pan gimmick, or something with an enduring legacy. Here are three titles that have stood the test of time and become 10 years old this year.

Agricola

agricolaNot only has Agricola lasted a decade, but it is still going strong. Just last year, a new revised version was published that collects the best of the various deck expansions and also provides slightly upgraded pieces. While it may not offer much for someone who owns the game already, it certainly provides the best experience for someone looking to purchase it for the first time.

What makes Agricola so enduring is the constant pressure it forces onto the players. It’s not just about farming and moving your workers efficiently – though that’s part of it. The challenge is made much more difficult (and intriguing) by the harvest. Every few rounds, there’s a harvest and during that time, you need to feed your family. That means while you are off getting points or increasing your animal husbandry, you have to dedicate enough other actions to feeding yourself. Or you’ll have to go begging and lose points.

And those harvests come more and more quickly as the game progresses. You never feel like you’ve got the time you need to do everything you want. Plus, Agricola has an unusual scoring mechanism. You can get points in various categories, but lose points if you don’t do anything in a category. This encourages players to spread out and do a little bit of everything, even though specializing might otherwise be viable.

The tense decisions and the pressure cooker of the harvest rounds keeps Agricola a very playable title – and one likely to still hit the table in another 10 years.

Notre Dame

notre dameBuilding the eponymous cathedral of Notre Dame is no trifling matter. Especially if you want to gain the most prestige while doing so. This is one of the earlier titles to incorporate drafting as a central mechanism.  After you draw a hand of three cards, each depicting an action, you only get to keep one of them. You pass the other two. Then you take one of those two and pass the last one.

Like all drafting games, this requires you to walk a fine line between keeping the card that will help you the most, or instead spitefully keeping the card that will help your neighbor. Sometimes, keeping that card out of their grasp is more important than grabbing a few more points for yourself.

And, unlike Agricola, Notre Dame encourages specialization. Each action gets better the more you do it. So the first time you go to the “get money” action, you get one coin. Meh. But the second time, two coins. Third time, three. And so on. This allows the players to really explore new and interesting strategies. And that wide-open strategic space, along with the interaction provided by the draft, has kept Notre Dame on the table for a decade.

Galaxy Trucker

ComponentsAmong all games published in 2007, perhaps none has kept their uniqueness as well as Galaxy Trucker. Even ten years later, there are few titles that even approach the same sort of mechanic or thematic space wonderfully explored here. The title combines puzzly elements with comedic destruction to create an undeniably enjoyable time.

The main portion of the game consists of building your space ship. This is done in real-time from a communal pool of titles. The players have to rush and grab what they can all while being sure not to build a ship that is too fragile. That phase is always exciting as you snatch needed tiles before your opponents can.

And how do you know whose ship was built best?  That’s where the extended scoring round comes in. You’ll fly your rickety contraption through a gauntlet of meteors, pirates, and open space all while trying to pick up valuable cargo. Often, your ship will take some hits, lose large chunks of tiles, and arrive much smaller than it started. Because it provides such a one-of-a-kind experience, it’s easy to see why Galaxy Trucker has stood the test of time.

What other 2007 games do you enjoy?  Tell us about them in the comments.

Image Credits: Mayfair Games, Rio Grande Games, and Czech Games Edition

Featured Image Credit: Teri Litorco

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