# x # Challenges: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Forcing Myself to Play Games

I wrote earlier this year about how I had set up a 15 x 5 challenge this year, as the 10 x 10 I tried to play last year didn’t go well.

Well, spoiler alert: The 15 x 5 isn’t going well either.

This is my usual thought process:

Hey, I want to play a game!

Let’s look and see what games I need to play for my challenge.

All of those are okay, but I want to play something else.

I should really play one of my challenges though.

Play what you want.

What’s the point of having a challenge if you aren’t going to play those games?

Anyway, at this point I usually shut the door to my game room/office and go play a video game.
I get the appeal of challenges, especially for people who are in groups like I am that tend to not replay games a ton.  But when my wife made me a deck of “what should we play” cards for Christmas this past year, I specifically requested that she not include specific games.  “What if I don’t feel like playing the game that week? Shouldn’t we play things that we want to?”

I don’t know why I felt compelled to keep up with a yearly challenge, especially when I’ve acknowledged the mindset of playing what I want being more important.

So, I’m going to be pulling down my Challenges page.  In it’s place will go a “Bucket List” page where I list games I want to play at least once.  There will be a list for owned games and a list for not owned games. I think this will help me focus on games that actually need a dedicated day where everyone is on the same page to play, because I had actually been keeping up with my 5 x 1 challenges throughout the year.  So I’m going to lean in to that. As I play games on the lists, I’ll strike them through so I can keep track of what has been completed on my bucket list.

What about you? Do you do any challenges in gaming?  Do you stick with them? Let us know in the comments!

Challenge Update!

Hey all!

We are almost ¾ through the year, and so I thought it was a good time for Ryan and I to give an update on our 10 x 10 (and other) challenges.

Andrew’s Challenges

On my 10 x 10 front, I am not looking so hot.  I’ve played 46 of the 100 total games, and have finished 10 plays of 2 games:  Azul and Ganz schon clever.  I need two more plays of Kingdomino, and that will finish it off as well.

Even though my wife and I loved Charterstone, we lost a lot of momentum midway through the year.  We could normally count on our daughter to go to bed and give us enough time to get a game in during the week, but as bed time has become a more drawn out process, we are finding that the time and mental effort of getting back into the swing of things during the school year is making it difficult.  We still want to finish it, but I am not sure if we can get 7 more games in by the end of the year.

I have quite a few solo wargames on my challenge to play as well, but I also have newer games coming in that are vying for my attention (and I’m sure I’m the only gamer on the planet who has this problem).  I should just focus on one game at a time and get a proper campaign in, but this is also compounded by the fact that I’m a huge video gamer and that’s been taking my attention as well.

As far as my 5 x 1 challenge, I only have one more game to play on it, and I’m not sure if we will play it or not.  It’s a pretty complicated entry in the system, so I have been trying to work on a VASSAL game of an easier game in the system, but again, finding time to get that set up and working has been difficult.

Even though I may not complete my full challenges, the width of games from the deck of cards has been nice (even if we’ve fallen behind on that as well).  I definitely consider this year a success so far, but I’m excited to try to at least get 75% of the way done with my 10 x 10 games.

Ryan’s Challenges

My gaming numbers have been up a lot this year from previous years. Part of that is my dedication to getting the 10×10 list completed.

I am not doing a hardcore 10×10. I am willing to add games if I think it will get that many plays. My goal is to end up with 10 games played 10 time, regardless of when I started playing them. You will see a pattern in the completed games mostly being new acquisitions, almost all this year.

I have a 4 year old who likes playing games. I have several games on my list that she enjoys. Kids games are pretty quick and easy to get to the table.

Gaming over the past couple of months has slowed a bit, not really sure why exactly. I’ve just been lazy about getting anything to the table, In fact September has already had more games played than August, 10×10 games or otherwise.

I won’t go into details on every game on the list, but wanted to talk about the games I’ve finished, and where I am as far as the rest.

I have played 86 games so far, so I only need 14 more plays to finish. Being so close to finishing, I have obviously completed several games already.

The first one I completed was Friday, partially due to it being a solo game. I enjoy it quite a bit, although now that the pressure is off, I haven’t played it since. I actually borrowed Drew’s copy to complete this, so I kind of packed them into a short time.

Charterstone was a game that got added once we bought it. After 2 plays, I knew we were going to finish this game quickly. It’s a legacy game that requires 12 plays to complete, and we flew through it in a couple of months. Eric, DIna, and Joe and I really enjoyed it, so much that Eric bought the recharge pack so we can do it again, and I can try to avoid some mistakes I made that quite possibly contributed to my overall win.

The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game is a fun, quick co-op game. It’s difficult, plays in about a half hour, has a nice variety of characters to play as, plays solitaire, and I am a huge fan of the book series. I enjoyed my couple of plays from last year, and added it to this list so I would play it more. We have completed 4 of the 15 novels in our 10 plays, so we are winning more often than I would have expected, but they are rarely easy wins. I am not sure if all 15 are available to play for the game yet, but it’s close to that many.

Ganz schön clever was a game that fascinated me from the moment I first heard of it. I have discussed it in a previous article. It plays solitaire, but I rarely have trouble finding someone to play it with me. It’s a fantastic game.

Codenames Duet is one of my most recent purchases. It takes a great party game, and cleverly designs it for 2 players. We are usually willing to sit and play it multiple times in a sitting, so I got in 9 plays over Labor Day weekend alone. It’s not easy, we’ve only won twice, but it’s a ton of fun, and can be played in 15 minutes.

The last game I have on the completed list is The Lion Guard: Protect the Pridelands. It’s a kid game that has really nice bits, plays in 15 minutes, and is a cute little co-op. Aleksia obviously enjoys it, and it’s not too grating on a parent playing it multiple times.

Some other games that are really close and will likely contribute to the final 14 plays:

Legendary: A Marvel Deckbuilding Game  (7 plays)

Outfoxed! (7 plays)

Sagrada (6 plays)

The Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game (6 plays)

Ghost FIghtin’ Treasure Hunters (6 plays)

Azul (6 plays)

There are a few more at 5 or less, and who knows, maybe they’ll jump up suddenly, but I think these are the most likely games to complete the challenge. I do love that I’ve gotten Legendary to the table that many times, it’s probably my favorite game right now.

Quick update to my other 2 challenges. Nothing has changed since my last post about them. I have finished playing 10 of my Unplayed games as of January 1st on June 12th, so I am pleased with that.. The other challenge of playing 10 “It’s Been too Long” games, I’m still at 9. I am kind of holding the last spot for Power Grid, but may just play something else anyway.

2018 5 x 1 Challenge

Normally on Sunday I would write a review of a game in my collection, but with my 10 x 10 challenge post last Wednesday, I figured I would take the time to post my other board game challenge I’m doing this year.

I have a soft spot for meaty games.  Whether they are wargames or thinky games about logistics or things like that, the idea of sitting down for a lengthy game always appeals to me…but I rarely find the time to sit down and play them.

So this year, I am focusing on 5 lengthier games that span genres so I can at least say I’ve played them.

Special thanks to Heavy Cardboard (@HeavyCardboard) and Katies Game Corner (@katiesgamecrner) for recommending a few of these, either through Twitter or through excellent playthrough videos on YouTube.

Without further ado, here’s the list:

The Colonists

I found out about this game through Heavy Cardboard, and watching their playthrough I knew I had to have it.  It takes place over 1 – 4 phases (depending on what the players want) and the 4 phase game takes something like 8 hours.  I don’t think I’ll get a 4 phase game played, but I’m hoping for at least a 2 phaser at some point.  This has worker placement and tile placement which is why it appealed to me in the first place.

Day of Days: The Invasion of Normandy 1944

This is a Standard Combat Series monster game of the D-Day landings in WWII.  I am a WWII wargamer at heart, and the D-Day landings are by far the most interesting operation to me, so I’m looking forward to getting this accessible monster to the table this year.

Liberty or Death: The American Insurrection

This recommendation came from Katies Game Corner as an introduction to the COIN series from GMT.  I didn’t have many Revolutionary War period games, and the board with this looks absolutely phenomenal.  While I had tried Cuba Libre a few years ago, it left me lacking and I had written off the COIN series.  I am glad I took Katies advice and picked this one up, as my play through of the tutorial (of sorts) in the Rulebook made me absolutely need to play this; the icing on the cake is I have a group of friends who have already said they want to try this one.

Roads & Boats

This is another rekindled love thanks to Heavy Cardboard, and the only game I’ve played previously on this list.  This is a game about logistics, which I get doesn’t sound all that interesting, but the one time I’ve played this in the past I really enjoyed it, so I figured it was time to dust it off and make sure we get it played again this year.

Star Wars Rebellion

I am a huge Star Wars fan, so it saddens me to think I’ve had this game since release and it hasn’t hit the table.  This is everything I love in Ameritrashy games, so it has to happen this year.  No doubt about it.

Well, these are the 5 longer/heavier games I chose.  I’m already looking for opportunities to get these played, and who knows, maybe this will expand to a 10 x 1 if things go well.

Any heavier games you are wanting to play in the new year? Let me know in the comments!

2018 10 x 10 Challenge

I know, I know, you were expecting the Top 10 Games I want to play in 2018.  But I got distracted on Facebook, talking with a friend who is doing a 10 x 10 challenge this year.  For those not familiar, 10 x 10 challenges are popular on BoardGameGeek (I tried to find the original post but couldn’t).  The goal is to play 10 games 10 times.  There are some other stipulations or modifications that people can make, but that’s the gist of it.

I have tried to do 10 x 10 challenges twice before.  They did not go well.  I think part of it is that I tend to go in gaming spurts.  I’ll be really into board games for a while, and then I’ll switch over to disc golf or video games, and then continue cycling through my hobbies.  I also never really recorded plays on Boardgamegeek so remembering to go back and record a playthrough never really happened and I ran out of steam.

Not this year though! I am doing not only a 10 x 10 challenge, but also a 5 x 1 challenge (Play 5 separate games one time each).  I figured for this first post I would share my 10 x 10 list with you all and explain a bit about why I like the game and why I chose to include it (The 5 x 1 selections will be revealed next week, as it’s highly unlikely I will play any of them before then).

So, without further ado:

2018 10 x 10 Challenge (in alphabetical order)

7 Wonders: Duel (including the Pantheon expansion)

I love games that let you build an engine, and the drafting in this one is unique compared to its bigger brother.  I especially love that this is a quick 2 player version that my wife and I can play when our daughter is taking a nap.


This legacy worker placement game from Stonemaier games was my game of 2017…and it was released at retail on Dec. 12.  We have played two games so far, and there are 12 games total, so we have the perfect number to complete this challenge.  The art is great, the placement mechanic is something I haven’t seen a ton, and the ability to write on the board and unlock more cards and further mechanics as the game progresses is always fun, even if I’m not the one getting points for unlocking things.

Club Stories

This is a solo game of managing a football club.  I’ve started to get back into soccer the past couple of years, and I will play this while rocking my Sporting KC kit (I’m also a passing Aston Villa and FC Seville fan).  This game has a progression style system where it gets harder as you complete each scenario.  I’m really looking forward to this.


This is a super quick thinky but not too thinky game that was introduced to us late last year.  I’m looking forward to playing this with my wife (including the 7 x 7 variant) as well as continuing to introduce friends who haven’t played this yet.


This is probably my most successful Kickstarter purchase that I received in 2017.  This dice placement game is surprisingly deep and has a solo mode (which is always a plus for Euro games).  It looks super pretty (the technical term) and my wife and I have also visited the Cathedral it’s based upon, so this game reminds me of that as well.

Sherman Leader

This was the last Kickstarter that was delivered to me in 2017, and I am super excited to get it to the table.  I am a WWII buff, and also seriously addicted to Dan Verssen Games products (there are 4 total on this list).  This is a solitaire game about commanding American groups of tanks, infantry and everything in between.  Any game that has a campaign component is usually a must by for me if I’m interested in the subject material and Sherman Leader is no exception (much like the other ‘Leader’ games from DVG)

Target for Today

This spiritual successor to B-17 Queen of the Skies has you take control of a B-17 flying air missions out of London in World War II.  While there are many who question if this is a game (there is a lot of die rolling and looking up things on charts and maybe not so many meaningful decisions) the campaign aspect of this and the narrative it provides means I’ll probably make it past 10 sessions, to see if my plane and crew can make it to 25.

Thunderbolt/Apache Leader

Another DVG title, many consider this the pinnacle in the Leader series.  In this game, instead of commanding an aircraft carrier of aircraft or a group of tanks, you take over helicopters and other aircraft providing close air support.  This is the only game on the list that was on one of my previous 10 x 10 lists, and I’m really looking forward to making this one stick.

Warfighter: World War II (including all Wave 1 expansions)

And another DVG title as well.  This is card driven game of tactical WWII combat.  I have had this game for about 6 months and haven’t yet gotten to dive in.  That’s all about to change.

As part of the challenge, some people provide alternate games that they can swap out or move on to if they quickly accomplish 10 plays of one game.  I’ve included 5 alternates that, should I need to, I can fall back on (or add in and make it a 15 x 10 challenge).

B-17 Flying Fortress Leader

The final DVG game on this list, this is on the opposite end of the spectrum of Target for Today.  Instead of controlling one bomber (although there are rules included so you can do that), you control squadrons of bombers as they make bombing runs against the Third Reich in WWII.

Enemy Coast Ahead: The Doolittle Raid

This is a game from GMT that I P500’d (their version of preordered) but haven’t had a chance to play yet.  This is a system that tackles famous air raids in history, and one of the earliest memories of learning about WWII I have was learning about the Doolittle Raid.  I’m excited to get this one to the table, even if it isn’t part of the challenge.

Imperial Settlers (with all current expansions)

An engine building civ builder? Count me in.  This was my game of the year the year it was released, and I still won’t turn down a game of it.  With expansions adding new mechanics and civilizations, and a variety of solo modes including a campaign style game, I am sure I’ll be playing this one this year regardless.

Sentinels of the Multiverse (with all current expansions)

This is on here as I’m currently awaiting the final Kickstarter product of this series.  There is so much content already, with the Kickstarter expansion I’ll be all set.  This is one my wife hasn’t played a bunch of, so I am hoping that this is the year I can introduce her to it.

Terraforming Mars

This is a card drafting/engine building game about settling Mars. I’ve played it a few times, but have only scratched the surface, so this is one I would love to force myself to play more in the coming year.

So there you have it.  10 games I will play 10 times in 2018. I’ve created a page that will allow me to track my progress and show you what games I’ve been diligent about playing and what games I still need to get to the table.

Are you doing any gaming challenges? Have any particular games you are looking forward to in the coming year? Let me know in the comments!