Every once in a while, The Dice Tower podcast has a good idea. It’s rare, frankly, I think they’re one of the worst offenders in this ridiculous “cult of the new” madness that has afflicted hobby board gaming, but occasionally, they hit a gem. A while back, Tom and Eric talked about games that they would never ever remove from their collections, even if they never played them again and I thought that was a really interesting topic, so here are my three games that are in my collection forever and ever, no matter what.
It should come as no surprise that none of these are new games.
Cosmic Encounter – Arguably one of my favorite games of all time, I’ve been playing Cosmic Encounter since the early 80s. I own the original 1977 Eon Games set, as well as the 1991 Mayfair edition. I keep meaning to grab the recent FFG release but I haven’t played in a while and it seems a bit pointless at the moment. Cosmic Encounter is a game that breaks all of its own rules. Each player gets one or more alien powers that allow them to break some rule in the game while they battle to achieve bases in other player’s systems, while protecting their own. It’s a blast because no two games are ever the same and this can be expanded by playing multiple powers, each player getting two or more powers to play with at the same time, which adds even more complexity. With expansions, you can add in moons, flares, lucre and other different effects which affect gameplay. This is just an all-around fun game to play and even if I don’t pull it out much, I look forward to every single time that I do.
Star Fleet Battles – Another old-school game, this was a Star Trek based tactical battle game that I’ve again been playing since the early 80s. It was a staple in my original gaming group, back when I was more into Star Trek (back before TNG and the rest of the crappy sequels). It always reminds me of the time I went with a friend to a convention where we met DeForest Kelley and ended up going out to lunch with him. It just brings back a ton of good memories. Of course, I have all of the original sets, including the Pocket Edition from 1979. The game is not simple, the rule book is hundreds of pages long and is ridiculously technical. We even spent a lot of time painting dozens of lead miniatures, even though I think that using the small cardboard chits works better because you can stack them and they fit nicely within the hexes of the map. This is a forever game because of the memories I have of it and even though I may never find anyone who wants to play, I’d do it in a heartbeat and still remember all of the rules.
Heroscape – Heroscape was a miniatures based game system that came out in 2004 by Hasbro. Essentially, it started as a fantasy wargame system, but it quickly expanded into virtually all genres, you could have fantasy characters fighting against space marines and mix and match your armies to have some of the coolest battles imaginable. Unfortunately, when the price of oil started to skyrocket, the price of plastic for all of the pieces became unrealistically high and Hasbro discontinued the line. Perhaps my biggest regret was when I saw Walmart clearing out their expansion packs, I didn’t buy every single one that they had. I just didn’t know the system had been discontinued and by the time I found out, it was all gone. Today, sets are prohibitively expensive and players hoard them. There are some fan-produced sets that pop up from time to time, new terrain and new characters, but the originals are just gone. Even though I haven’t played in a couple of years, this is one thing that I’m never going to get rid of because it simply isn’t replaceable.
There are other games on my short list, like Talisman, but these are three that no matter what happens, I’m going to keep them around, even if I never play them again. So what’s on your list of games you’ll keep forever? Let me know in the comments.