The 2014 tournament final was last month, and we're already fully engaged with this year's edition. Last week the player groups and the game order was drawn; this week some of us had a practice of the first game: Princes of Florence, a classic I hadn't played in years.
To introduce more diversity, David established five game categories and over the Christmas break each participant nominated two games, in different categories, and afterwards voted for one nominated game in each category. On hindsight, I don't think the categories were diverse enough and we ended up with the same kind of games as in previous tournaments. The categories and nominations were as follows, with the most voted game listed first:
- Economic/Industry: Brass, Shipyard, Automobile
- Auction-bidding / Set collection: Princes of Florence, Magellan, Libertalia
- Civilisation / Fighting: Samurai & Katana, Antike, Age of Empires, Small World, La Città, Core Worlds
- More than eight dice in the box: Castles of Burgundy, Eclipse, Alien Frontiers
- Published before 2008: Caylus, Goa, Settlers, Roborally, El Grande, Tikal, Taj Mahal, Tammany Hall, Ticket to Ride
There was a definite preference for well-established games: most nominations are in the last category, there are no games published after 2011, and several are in the BGG top-40. Moreover, besides Roborally, all games are 'serious'. I now regret not having nominated Liar's Dice.
AoE was a tournament game in 2012, Brass, Kingsburg (a dice game) and El Grande were played in 2013, and we had Power Grid (an auction game) in 2014. Even the free choice (Caylus) is a worker-placement game like Pillars of the Earth, played in 2012. While there are no new game types compared to 2012-14, by enforcing 5 different categories, the 2015 tournament is more diverse than any single previous one, but only slightly so.
Nominating 2014 tournament games wasn't allowed, but maybe the exclusion should go further back to force more diversity in the nominations. On the other hand, those who didn't participate in previous years may wish to have the chance to play some of those past tournament games. It's hard to please everyone...
David told me this week that he may drop the economic category next year. I would welcome a category for race, dexterity, or bluffing games, but finding a bluffing game that plays well with less than 5 players may be tricky.
Don't get me wrong: although there's no much diversity compared to previous years, it's still a great line up of nominated games. I would gladly play many of them for the tournament, so wasn't fussed about none of my nominations (Magellan and Goa, of course) and only one of my three other votes (Brass, La Città, Alien Frontiers) making the chosen five.
I have two reasons for participating. One is to make sure I play with as many fellow club members as possible. The other is to have an excuse ('I desperately need a practice game.') to play several times ('Another one wouldn't hurt.') old favourites and new games. I've already booked my second practice game of Princes of Florence, and I'm looking forward to try out Castles of Burgundy and Samurai & Katana. Let the tournament begin!