02BC1: Board Game Clusters

Sunday New York Zoo

Metro Manila Community Quarantine - Day 953

Given the size of our board game collection, we inevitably have clusters of games that we could group together by theme. I'm not just referring to family of games based on the game mechanic or the designer, but really just about the core concept of the game. For a time, we tried to avoid owning too many games of a single game theme just to maintain a sense of variety. It's why we own Suburbia but never got our own copy of games like Quadropolis (although Machi Koro still kinda lives in this category, too). But we're definitely at a point where we own a lot of games with overlapping themes.

This came to mind today as we played New York Zoo, as it's not our only zoo or amusement park-related game. Our first big park game is definitely Dinosaur Island, of which we now own various expansions of and at least two standalone spin-offs. But we also game other theme park games like Unfair and more recently Dice Theme Park. And that doesn't factor in that we also have the big zoo game Ark Nova.

Before our main Mars-related game was Terraforming Mars (and so many expansions!), but we broke the "no other games about Mars" rule once Portal Games released First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet, and eventually Tobie got a copy of the weirder Martians: A Story of Civilization. The prior "rule" delayed us from getting a copy of On Mars by Vital Lacerda, but I already placed a pre-order for a copy for this earlier this year, so that's a moot point as well.

How about games where we play detectives? We have a range of Sherlock Holmes games including Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective and recently The Sherlock Files. We have the very literal Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game and I guess you could argue games like MicroMacro: Crime City. And how do we factor in similar deductive reasoning games where we're instead spies like [redacted], The Initiative, MIND MGMT and maybe even Decrypto?

And don't get me started on the crazy number of games we own that tie back to farming. There's the big fancy ones like Caverna and the lighter Reykholt both by Uwe Rosenberg. But we have silly ones like My Happy Farm and literally lighter ones like Agropolis. And maybe we could throw in Lowlands since it's sheep farming? And maybe Catan? Oh my god, Bohnanza. And digitally we've played a lot of games of Agricola and Viticulture online.

And let's not think about the clusters of games based on franchises. At least for shows like Firefly and The Expanse, we only one the official board game line. But then you have things like Dune that has managed to spawn several games by different publishers along with the big boys like Star Trek, Star Wars, and various Marvel properties. 

Games involving pirates? Seafall, Treasure Island, and the fun Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot.

The lists go on and on and on. And I think this is why we genuinely celebrate games that have an original theme that comes out of no where. This includes Consumption, which is about maintaining a healthy diet or games like Spirit Island, where we're ancient gods protecting an island from colonial invaders or whatever. Or another great niche game is Trickerion, where we're rival magicians trying to put up the best magic show or stuff like Dungeon Lords, which feels like an analog version of Bullfrog's classic Dungeon Keeper video game series.

The board game hobby is incredibly wide and continues to grow with each new designer taking a stab at creating a new game. And this is going to continue to keep us geekily busy for a very long time.