Unplayed Games – My Secret Shame…

As an early Father’s Day present, Gwen and my girls got me another bookcase for my game room, because my game collection had thoroughly burst forth out of what I had before to accumulate in piles on the floor and table and the top of almost anything flat in the room.  At this point, it looks all pretty and neat, and I’m really proud of the collection.

But at the same time, having more complete visibility of and access to all my games also calls more attention to that point of shame for almost everyone with a large collection: unplayed games.      

Why do games go unplayed?  There are lots of reasons.  Maybe it’s an older game that I’ve traded for but which gets trumped by something newer.  Maybe it’s a game that takes 3 or 4 hours and is hard to get played at game night.  Maybe it’s simply a 2-player game, but I rarely ever play games with just 2 (especially if it’s not something my wife would like).  Or perhaps biggest of all, maybe it’s just because there are too many games and not enough freaking time.

But whatever the reason, when I look at my collection and filter out all the expansions and children’s games that my girls aren’t old enough for yet, my unplayed list totals around 45 games.  Here it is:

Ace of Spies (2012) *
Alibi (1993)
Aton (2006)
Battleship Galaxies: The Saturn Offensive Game Set (2011)
Beowulf: The Legend (2005)
Beowulf: The Movie Board Game (2007)
Black Gold (2011)
The BoardGameGeek Game (2009)
Castle (2000)
City of Horror (2012) *
Conquest of Planet Earth: The Space Alien Game (2011)
Constantinopolis (2010)
Diplomacy (1959)
Dragonheart (2010)
Fzzzt! (2009)
A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition) (2011)
Genegrafter (2012)
Glen More (2010)
Hex Hex XL (2010)
Jericho (2006)
Launch Pad (2010)
Liberté (2010)
Lightning: D-Day (2004)
Lightning: Midway: June 4th to June 6th, 1942 (2004)
Mage Knight Board Game (2011) * 
Merchants & Marauders (2010)
Mousquetaires du Roy (2010)
Nemo’s War (2009)
Neuland (2004)
No Retreat! (2008)
Paths of Glory (1999)
Phoenicia (2007)
Rage (1983)
Rex: Final Days of an Empire (2012)
Scotland Yard (1983)
StarCraft: The Board Game (2007)
Startup Fever (2012) 
Stratego (1947)
Summoner Wars: Master Set (2011)
Terra Mystica (2012) *
Twixt (1962)
De Vulgari Eloquentia (2010)
We Must Tell the Emperor (2010)
Western Town (2005)
Wizard (1984)

Some of these are definite priorities for me (which I’ve marked with asterisks), but for the others, I’d like your opinion.  So in response to this post, I’m looking for 2 things:

#1 – Tell me what games you’d like me to play and review.  Anything interest you?  Something you’ve been wondering about?  Want to torture me somehow?

#2 – Share your own shame and tell me how many and/or what games sit unplayed in your collection.


  1. Game of Thrones Board Game… but only if you’ve really immersed yourself in the world either through the books, like myself, or through the HBO series. I’d love to know what you think of it!

  2. Dragonheart and Summoner Wars are 2 of my favorite games. And Stratego is just a classic. All 3 would work perfectly on a 2 player game night…

  3. The English Major in me really wants someone to cover “De Vulgari…”

    I think everything in my collection has been played at least once, but there are a LOT of things I wish would hit the table more frequently (Cosmic Encounter, Tzolk’in, Alien Frontiers, etc).

    Origins *IS* coming up though. So, depending on my budget, my unplayed list could have quite a few more entries again.

  4. Chris Norwood


    Jodi – I’ve read the first book and half of the 2nd, but I don’t have HBO, so I’ve only seen a handful of the episodes.  But I like the “world” and think it would be great to try (obviously, since I picked it up). The main thing has been time and the level of interest from other people in my group.  But maybe I can schedule a “special event” sometime for it.
    Grant – But I don’t have 2-player game nights! I think my wife might go for Dragonheart if I pushed her to it.  I’ve played some Summoner Wars on iOS, and just haven’t been blown away by it, so I wonder if it’s worth the effort to invest in for me.
    Eric – Doug Garrett talked about De Vulgari on Episode 250 of his podcast.  That’s what made me trade for it…  But then I just haven’t gotten it played since.
    Jim – I know! I’ve played quite a bit on iOS, but just need to get it in front of my group sometime.
    Thanks for the comments, everyone! Keep ‘me coming!

  5. I’ll second Summoner Wars because I listen to the Plaid Hat Games podcast (as well as your own). I’d like to hear (or read) an objective viewpoint on the game.

    I’d also like to get your thoughts on Alibi. I picked this up in a bgg auction because I thought my family would enjoy it as an alternative to Clue. It didn’t go over as well as I expected, and I don’t know whether it was just one of those “first time” things that we should try again.

    You inspired me to poke around in my own game closet and see how many unplayed titles I have. I thought I’d find four or maybe six. It actually turned out to be quite a few more.

    Now that my dirty laundry is aired, allow me to recommend that you put three of your unplayed games on the top of the stack for getting to the table:
    A Game of Thrones – a good dudes-on-a-map game with simultaneous action commitment on several levels – very fun
    Merchants and Marauders – I only played once but immediately put it on my wishlist – fun stuff
    Scotland Yard – This has become one of our family’s favorites.

  6. JK

    Definitely try Glen More. It’s much better than the small light game with meeples it seems.

  7. Jesse Catron

    I’d like to hear your thoughts on Merchants & Marauders. Sadly, my board game playing (and designing) is now almost nonexistent.. My unplayed games list is the most shameful of all:

    Airlines Europe (2011)
    Amazonas (2005)
    At the Gates of Loyang (2009)
    Automobile (2009)
    Bombay (2009)
    The Castles of Burgundy (2011)
    Chang Cheng (2007)
    China (2005)
    Dakota (2010)
    DiceAFARI (2012)
    Eminent Domain (2011)
    Fleet (2012)
    For Sale
    The Golden City (2009)
    Hotel Samoa (2010)
    In the Year of the Dragon (2007)
    Innovation (2010)
    Intrigue (1994)
    JAB: Realtime Boxing (2011)
    Kingdom Builder: Nomads (2012)
    Kingsburg (2007)
    Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game (2012)
    Liberté (2001)
    Lost Cities: The Board Game (2008)
    Ming Dynasty (2007)
    Navegador (2010)
    Nexus Ops (2005)
    Ninjato (2011)
    No Thanks! (2004)
    Oregon (2007)
    Pastiche (2011)
    Power Grid (2004)
    Pulsar (2011)
    Rise! (2012)
    Saint Petersburg (2004)
    Shadows over Camelot (2005)
    Small World (2009)
    Tahiti (2012)
    Terra Evolution (2011)
    Thurn and Taxis (2006)
    Tokaido (2012)
    VivaJava: The Coffee Game (2012)
    Yin Yang

    Ugh, just writing this list is depressing.

  8. Embrace it, Jesse. The first step to recovery is acknowledging the problem.

    You’ve got a great list here. When you do manage to make time for gaming, you can’t go wrong with nearly any of these titles (at least of those with which I’m familiar).

  9. Lance

    I’m choosing to not count the unplayed games; I don’t want to be scared.

    Non-Starred games

    1. Black Gold – I’m an Texan

    Then in no particular order..
    – Glen More
    – Mousquetaires du Roy
    – Merchants & Marauders
    – De Vulgari Eloquentia

  10. It’s not that bad for me as most of the unplayed games are either expansions or card games.

    My unplayed list:

    1. Catan: Cities & Knights
    2. Archaeology: The Card Game
    3. The Climbers
    4. Formula D
    5. Bohnanza
    6. Meuterer
    7. 2 De Mayo: Assault on Palace Grimaldi
    8. Pandemic: On the Brink
    9. Incan Gold
    10. Kaigan
    11. Kamakura
    12. Neue Heimat

    I’d like to see you play and comment on:

    1. Glen More
    2. De Vulgari Eloquentia

  11. Beowulf: the Legend is a great overlooked Knizia that you should definitely play – best with 5!

    I think I only have three unplayed games in my collection.

  12. Chris Norwood

    Okay everybody, thanks for all the responses!

    Based on the “voting” that you did, the most-requested games (with 3 mentions each) were:

    De Vulgari Eloquentia
    Merchants & Marauders
    Glen More

    So, along with my starred games above, I’ll try to give them some attention as soon as I can!

  13. Costas, of these, I’d recommend:
    Catan: Cities & Knights, especially if you love Settlers of Catan but you’re ready for something meatier;
    Formula D for a surprisingly good roll-and-move;
    Bohnanza for an equally surprisingly good trading game;
    Incan Gold for a terrific push-your-luck game.
    I’ve also read very good things about 2 De Mayo but haven’t played it myself.

  14. Chris Norwood

    Very shameful indeed.  But come on!  No Thanks!?  If you can’t find anyone to play No Thanks! with, you’re not trying very hard.  Heck, if you’re really lonely, you could probably even train some stray cats or a small colony of cockroaches to play No Thanks! with you!

    Other priorities I see on your list include China, The Castles of Burgundy, and Eminent Domain.  And what’s that?  Pandemic: On the Brink?!!!  There’s absolutely no reason not to add in On the Brink to your copy of Pandemic and use at least some elements of it every time you play!  Heck, you can even play it solo!

  15. Jesse Catron

    Thanks Paul. I know I have a problem 😉

  16. Jesse Catron

    It’s not really a matter of finding players but finding time and managing priorities. Three jobs, a 9 month pregnant wife, and an IRS audit leaves me with little time or energy for gaming. Eventually that will change but in the meantime my unplayed collection will continue collecting dust.

    Asking your readers to share their list and then mocking them for it…No Thanks!

    While my gaming may be on the brink, I don’t own Pandemic or its expansion. I would like to own it but I really can’t justify buying anymore games while I have so many unplayed.

    China and Burgandy are high on my list.

  17. Chris Norwood

    Oh, quit yer whinin’!  Get those priorities straight!  Gaming über alles !  And it’s not mocking, it’s “gentle ribbing”; an activity between peers who have equally shameful lists of unplayed games, especially from one who has far less excuse towards one who I’m surprised has time to pee on a regular basis, let alone play games.

    As for On the Brink, I was looking at the wrong list.  Costas needs to get his butt in gear and play that, not you.  

  18. I have been visiting this site for a long time. I am very much impressed to see your game collection. The way the bookcase being brilliantly used to arrange the games is brilliant. I am happy to see their efforts. Thanks for posting this.

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