Category Archives: Vital Statistics

Muskegon Area Gamers Year in Review

Muskegon Area Gamers Year in Review

It’s time for our annual retrospective. What games did we play? What was our attendance like? What were the major events that affected the Muskegon Area Gamers and The Gaming Annex?  And what will be in store for 2017?


Game Plays

Muskegon Area Gamers Year in Review
Game plays for 2016

Oh my poor, poor game plays. My game plays have been dropping off in the past few years. I hit my apex in 2013 and have been dropping ever since.

To be fair, we have been playing a lot more epic length games. This could account for some of the decline. The other reason is my job has been more demanding and I’ve missed a few more gaming sessions than normal in 2015 and 2016.

I do have a recovery plan for 2017: my doting wife. Little does she realize it, but she and I will be board gaming it up in 2017.


Notable Sessions

Eight player Twilight Imperium
Eight player Twilight Imperium

We managed to get an 8 player game of Twilight Imperium: the Long War to the table in 2016. It took us two sessions to complete. But it was definitely worth it. So much so that Jon has all but written off the original game because the Long War fixes so many issues.

Mega Civilization from Pegasus Spiele
Mega Civilization from Pegasus Spiele



We also got a game of Mega Civilization to the table in 2016. This was done in a one session fashion–a mistake we are correcting in 2017. After 17 hours of gaming, we called the game.

Muskegon Area Gamers Year in Review
Opening set up of Diplomacy



We mustered not one but two games of Diplomacy. This classic is becoming a favorite at The Gaming Annex. We will have another Diplomacy session in 2017, probably right before CabinCon IV.

Muskegon Area Gamers love Into the Woods Retreat
Into the Woods Retreat



Speaking of CabinCon, we had CabinCon III in 2016. We had 8 full time gamers plus several others who dropped by. CabinCon III saw the addition of Nick Sima, Dr. Steve and Jeremy to our lineup. We nixed Twilight Imperium from the schedule and added several other shorter games. It goes without saying that CabinCon III was a huge success.


Heavily Played Games

Karuba from HABA Games
Karuba from HABA Games

My most heavily played game of 2016 was [drum roll…]


I played Rudiger Dorn’s new family game 12 times in 2016. This game is an instant classic. The Gaming Annex loves. And I get to play it with my doting wife. She has played it with me a few times. She’s still working on her path-building skills.

It turns out there is a mini expansion for it (the volcano). And the completest in me will need to own it.

Battlelore 2nd Edition
Battlelore 2nd Edition


I fell in love with Battlelore 2nd Edition during 2016. I played this 10 times in 2016. And I have not scratched the surface of it yet.

Everyone who has been taught Battlelore has also loved it. It’s unfortunate that Fantasy Flight seems to be giving this game the axe 🙁

Empires: Age of Discovery
Empires: Age of Discovery


Empires: Age of Discovery was another hit in 2016. I played it 7 times last year. The game has a lot going for it so I suspect it will get lots of traction in 2017 as well.

The game has lots of cool minis, it’s got other great production values. Plus the rules are easy enough to teach new players while also have depth for the serious gamer. I liked it so much I bought the recent retheme Rebellion: Galactic Empires.


Attendance in 2016

Muskegon Area Gamers 2016 retrospective
Attendance in 2016 by day

We had 1,105 visitors to our events in 2016. This includes all gamers at all The Gaming Annex events plus the events held at other venues that The Gaming Annex directly supported (like CabinCon).

We’ve only been keeping attendance since the middle of 2014. This is our second full year of data. Compared to 2015, we are up in attendance by a nice margin: 18% increase! This increase is almost entirely due to our thriving Thursday night group. Our Thursday night group has surpassed Sundays in attendance by a wide margin. And this shows no sign of letting up. We have several promising candidates in our group.

The Gaming Annex 2016 year in review
2016 Attendance by gamer

Have you ever wondered how much time you spent at The Gaming Annex? Check out this graph to find out. This shows our top 15 attendees. If you are not on here, then you do not spend enough time with us!


Special Events

PitchCar at Kids' Gala IV
PitchCar at Kids’ Gala IV

We had Kids’ Gala III and IV in 2016. These Kids’ Galas are a huge hit. And they seem to be getting more popular too!

We had 20 kids and parents over in March (Kids’ Gala III). This was amazing. But then we had Kids’ Gala IV in October. We mustered a staggering 30 kids and parents! We may need more room to accommodate this growth.

The Brew House in Muskegon
The Brew House in Muskegon

We had a second gaming event at the Brew House on Seminole. This was also the last event there since the place closed down only weeks after we sponsored an event. Even if the Brew House had not closed down, the Muskegon Area Gamers would probably not sponsor events there anyway. The crew and managers there were not responsive or conducive to our club’s needs. Judging from their input at our last event in February, I can understand why they had to close their doors.

Byte Club Gaming
Byte Club Gaming

The Gaming Annex in Muskegon has partnered with a local gaming store. Byte Club Gaming in North Muskegon hosted an Extra Life event in November. Our group supported the efforts. We raised $600 for local charities.

We have also demoed games there. Look for us to continue to demo games once a month at their facility on the corner of Whitehall Road and River Road.


Other News

Board games 1976 W. Sherman Blvd 49441
The Gaming Annex

The Gaming Annex was given the option to rent the adjacent suite (1980 W Sherman). This will take place in early 2017. We will increase our size by about 60%. We will have a full kitchen and enough table space to keep multi-session games.

Our facebook page
Our facebook page

Our facebook page (see below) has reached the 500 likes milestone. (563 as of this blog post). Take that, West Michigan Table Top Gamers (462 likes). Not too shabby, considering the West Michigan Tabletop site covers a population over 10 times what we cover.


Want to learn more about our club? Follow us here! Join us for a wild ride in 2017



The Gaming Annex’s Year in Review 2015

2015: we hardly knew thee. There were big stories in 2015. Lots of laughs and some drama. We hit many of our goals as a game group. But not all of them. This post is to show where we have been but also to let everyone know that the best days are still ahead of us.


1. Game Plays in 2015

Game plays thru the years
Game plays thru the years

Oh boy. I knew my game plays in 2015 were going to take a dip. But 2015 was the lowest amount of game plays since 2009! Why was 2015 so low?

Partly this is due to my attendance. My new job is far more

TI3 Plays through the years
TI3 Plays through the years

demanding. I’ve missed a few Tuesdays and a few Thursdays because of work. This would account for some of my low game plays. But certainly not all of them. I am still playing games 3 times a week typically.

Clash of Cultures plays
Clash of Cultures plays

Maybe I’m playing too much Twilight Imperium–a game that takes 6+ hours.

Alas, this has not been the case. We played 12 games of TI3 last year. We typically play between 10 and 12.

Maybe we are playing other longer games? I looked up my game plays of Clash of Cultures. Lo and behold we played it 12 times last year! That’s almost as many times as we played it in all other years combined. It seems that our group has been playing other longer games lately instead of more (and shorter) games.

Let’s keep an eye out in 2016 to see if this trend continues.


2. Fives and Dimes

Notable game plays dimes
Notable game plays dimes

Fives and dimes is a gaming term used to describe games you played at least 10 tens (called a “dime”) and games you played at least five times (called a “five”). Let’s look at The Gaming Annex’s five and dimes.

Topping the charts are the two main social deduction games: One Night Werewolf and The Resistance. These games get plenty of play. For me, their charm is wearing a bit thin although I did recommend The Resistance last Tuesday (before Bruce showed up–he hates that damn game).

Next is Merchants & Marauders at 14 game plays. I love Merchants & Marauders. I’ve done a huge turn around on this game. And our group (now) loves it too. The expansion has added tremendously to this game as well.

Next is Imperial 2030. The Muskegon Area Gamers love them some Imperial 2030. Imperial is a special game. It’s unusual. And it is also free of randomness. I’ve convinced Kevin to write up a blog for Imperial 2030. Look for that later this month.

And rounding out the “dimes” are TI3 and Clash of Cultures. I love these games. Speaking of these games, I have to schedule our next game session for these. It’s been too long since I’ve played.

Notable game plays fives
Notable game plays fives

I’ve played Witness nine times in 2015. It’s a very good game. I would like to finish the 64 scenarios in 2016.

I managed to play Twilight Struggle seven times in 2015. That is not enough. I may need to teach my wife how to play 🙂

XCOM has become a recent favorite. We got slaughtered on New Year’s Eve. I even picked up Space Cadets recently because I thought if the group liked XCOM, they might like Space Cadets.


3. Attendance at The Gaming Annex

Attendance through the years
Attendance through the years

In 2015, there were 939 attendees at The Gaming Annex’s events. We had our best attendance ever in July with 92 attendees. When you get 939 in a year and 92 in a month, it makes your goals for 2016 very easy: get 1,000 attendees in 2016 and 100 attendees in a single month. Let’s make it happen!!!

Attendance in 2015
Attendance in 2015

Our Top 10 Attendees are seen here. I’m at the top. But notable newcomer Nick Sima is far and away the #2 attendee. We cannot seem to get rid of him.

The group went through some changes in 2015. Charles moved to Maryland (taking my copy of You’re Bluffing! with him, the villain!). And in 2015, we lost Dugas. Not because he died. There was some…unpleasantness. He had a meltdown.

This year has also seen the addition of Prof. Mike and Tasha to our Top 10 as well. Nick Sima, Tasha and Prof. Mike have been welcome additions to the Muskegon Area Gamers.


4. Events in 2015

Muskegon Area Gamers love Into the Woods Retreat
Into the Woods Retreat

The Muskegon Area Gamers had several events in 2015. Looking back, I wished we had had more. But we can improve upon this in 2016.

The biggest event of the year was obviously CabinCon. Every year, Dusty puts together a gaming retreat. In 2015, it was our second such event. And Dusty picked a fantastic cabin. Eight of us descended upon Into the Woods Retreat in West Olive to spend 3.5 days gaming. We are looking forward to the next installment in 2016. I’ll keep you posted with any developments.

The Brew House in Muskegon
The Brew House in Muskegon

We had an event at the Brew House on Seminole Road. The folks there asked us to come out and play games. And we obliged. The turnout was pretty good at 13 people. We’ve been asked to make another appearance. I’ll try to set something up in February. Keep your eyes on the facebook calendar if you’re interested.

We also had our second Kid’s Gala at The Gaming Annex. The kids always have a good time when we have these galas. I think the vital stats for our last Kid’s Gala was: 16 people in attendance and 60 chicken McNuggets eaten.


5. Odds & Ends

Our facebook page
Our facebook page

Our meet up group has passed 100 members in 2015. We now have 108 members. Obviously, many of them are not regulars. But the door remains open to them.

Our facebook page now has 366 likes. Not too shabby.

I’ve started using google analytics. I am by no means an expert. But I thought I might share some of our data. The google analytics looks at both our website and this blog.

Google analytics for the Muskegon Area Gamers
Google analytics

We’ve seen lots of internet traffic from West Michigan. Grand Rapids, Wyoming, Norton Shores, Grand Haven and Muskegon are all on the list. Someone from Detroit and from Ann Arbor have been serious readers of our blog too. I don’t know who you are, but your readership is important to me!


6. Where the magic happens









The Gaming Annex Vital Statistics: August 2015 Edition

August 2015 is almost over. There will not be another gaming session between now and the end of the month. So this is a good time to do our month ending wrap. As you probably know, I track my game plays along with attendance at The Gaming Annex. (Copies of the data are available upon request). I have also been tracking our website hits via google analytics. This month will be the first time we will review them in this blog. Enjoy!

1. Game Plays

Game Plays through the years

I had a measly 44 game plays in August. I strive for 60+. But despite this, my year-to-date total isn’t horrible. With a strong last quarter, the total could be 800+. Let’s make that happen!

There have been several reasons for the low game play quantity this month. Some of these reasons will be discussed below. But I would like to offer an additional reason now. I think we’ve become a bit complacent in our game choices. We are playing a lot of longer games. It might be time to introduce some of our newer Thursday players to games like Small World instead of games like Merchants & Marauders. While I love M&M, I’ve been teaching it a lot lately. A lot! It might be time to play some shorter games and in so doing, pad my stats.

2. Attendance

Attendance at The Gaming Annex: 8/2015
Attendance at The Gaming Annex: 8/2015

We had average attendance this month at The Gaming Annex with 72 total attendees. There was a Thursday that we did not meet because of some last minute cancelations. This in part also caused the low game plays.

From the next chart we see the opportunity for growth. Our Sunday and Tuesday groups are about even in number. The Thursday group can use some help.

I’ve been working on recruiting for the Thursday night crew for some time. I’ll post about my struggles on that in another blog post.


Attendance by day in August
Attendance by day in August

In the next few months there will be some huge transformations for our Thursday night crew. Matt wants a stead A Game of Thrones: 2.0 group. I offered him Thursdays for this. Plus Out of the Box Games in Muskegon is going to be having game nights on Mondays. Jeff wants me to help out with this. This would be in lieu of a Thursday. So there will be a floating Monday game night. Between these two constraints I think we can find a large stream of local gamers.

Look at the meet up for more details.




3. Google Analytics

Google Analytics for August 2015
Google Analytics for August 2015

Given that I do a month end wrap up with tons of charts and data, it should come as no surprise that I also track data using google analytics. I am by no means an expert at their powerful tool. Yet.

But I’ll give you a brief overview of what’s going on in the world of “Muskegon”, “board game” and “The Gaming Annex in Muskegon”.

In August, our biggest hitters came from (SURPRISE!) from West Michigan. Grand Rapids, Wyoming, Norton Shores and Muskegon are five of the top six. I suspect many of these would be from my mom except I don’t see Whitehall on here.

Google Analytics #2
Google Analytics #2

We have another website too. This one I use to try to draw gamers to our clubhouse or to our meetup group.

Amazingly, people from New York and Overland Park are drawn to The Gaming Annex’s website. I am not sure why that is. But if you are reading this blog and you’re from NY or Overland Park: hi!





4. Notable Game Plays

7 Ages from Australia Design Group
7 Ages from Australia Design Group

We are playing 7 Ages. This epic length game will take around 15 to 20 hours to complete. And we are playing with a full 7 players. We finished the first session last Sunday. Our second session is TBD.

This is another reason for my low game plays: epic length games that are multi-session.

So far, Bruce is got a slight lead over Dusty. Bruce’s lead will grow in the next game round given his board position. I have the lead in progress but not in victory points. Let’s see if I can turn that around.

In other games, we managed to play Letters from Whitechapel not once, not twice but thrice in August. See Nick’s nice write up for some of his views on this game.

We also played Merchants & Marauders along with Clash of Cultures. We seem to be playing these games a lot in 2015. Probably because they rock.



5. Our social media presence

We now have 83 members of our meetup group. Our facebook page now has 347 likes. Not too shabby.

If you’re not a member but would like to check us out, here is the link.

Muskegon Area Gamers

Muskegon, MI
87 Muskegon Area Gamers

This group is for anyone interested in playing board games, card games or any table top game. This group learns and teachs new games all the time. We welcome fresh players. We…

Next Meetup

Thursday Night Games

Thursday, Oct 1, 2015, 6:00 PM
4 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

Muskegon Area Gamers: Month in Review

July just flew by. With my new job, I have not been able to game as much as I want. And it shows in the stats below. I’m posting a new chart this month. Let me know how you like it. It shows individual player’s sessions at The Gaming Annex.


1. Game Plays in July

Game plays through 2015
Game plays through 2015

My poor, poor game plays 🙁

I mustered a measly 36 game plays in July. This is the lowest amount of game plays I have had since May of 2013 when I only played 31 games.

New job which is more demanding is the largest reason. I have missed a few Tuesdays recently. But another reason is an influx of new players (which is very positive).

Despite the weak July output, my numbers are about average for the past several years. I should hit 800+ game this year with a possibility of hitting 900.

My doting wife is really helping with this too. She will on

Game plays through the years
Game plays through the years

occasion ask if I want to play Tsuro or Castle Panic–two of our favorite couple games.










2. Attendance at The Gaming Annex

The Gaming Annex attendance in 2015
The Gaming Annex attendance in 2015

We’ve had our largest attendance numbers yet! This month we hit 92 people!

For those keeping score at home: we only started keeping attendance stats since August of last year so these stats do not have a tremendous amount of history behind them. But still: 92!

And why did we hit this new high? Because of outstanding attendance on Thursdays. Our Thursday nights have mushroomed into larger game nights.

Thursdays in July produced 36 of our attendees, surpassing even our veteran game nights on Tuesdays at 28 attendees. This influx of new players is good for the group overall. But in the meantime, my game plays are suffering due to the

Attendance in July 2015
Attendance in July 2015

fact that I am taking more time teaching noobs.

Because Ben came back from the US Navy, we accommodated him with a very rare Wednesday night game session.

Our Sunday attendance was down in July too. This is partly because we played on a Saturday in July. But also because our Sunday crew is off to GenCon this week and had to build gaming capital with their wives.





3. Who’s been coming to The Gaming Annex?

Player Attendance at The Gaming Annex
Player Attendance at The Gaming Annex

I thought it would be cool to see who the big attendees have been in 2015. I redacted the last names. Except for Nick Sima. Because screw him.

I have more sessions than any others at 86. I knew I would have the most. But I was surprised at some of the other numbers.

Nick (screw him) Sima was number 2! He has surpassed even Dusty. I was surprised at how often Professor Mike has been at The Gaming Annex in 2015: 23 times.

By the way: if your significant other peruses this blog and complains that you’ve been going to The Gaming Annex too often, just reply that you could be going to the bar instead.


4. Notable Game Plays in 2015

Top 10 Game Plays
Top 10 Game Plays

This chart shows how I’ve been spending my time at The Gaming Annex.

Despite its mediocrity, One Night Ultimate Werewolf has seen more plays in 2015 than any other game. It has even more than its older, wiser cousin The Resistance.

I’m glad to see Clash of Cultures and Merchants & Marauders near the top of the list. I love those games. And I can’t wait to play them again. 🙂

Witness, due to its brevity and cleverness, is inching its way forward. Look for that to max out at 64 (the entire case book) by the end of the year.



5. Other important News

Twilight Imperium Champion at GenCon 2015
Twilight Imperium Champion

A member of the Muskegon Area Gamers won the GenCon Twilight Imperium Championship yesterday. The next time you see Dusty be sure to congratulate him. He has honored our group and our hometown.



The Gaming Annex’s Vital Statistics for June 2015

It’s time for another boring statistical recap. (Hopefully it’s not too boring). Our numbers for June are showing some signs of life. And there is reason to be cheerful. I hope I am not the only person who finds these statistical recaps of interest 😉

1. Attendance through June 2015

The Gaming Annex attendance 2015
The Gaming Annex attendance 2015

Our numbers are stable. The Gaming Annex is pulling in around 75 people per month, give or take.

I was thinking there might be some unusual spikes in the data if I kept meticulous records of attendance. This has not been the case.

Of course our attendance could spike in the coming months. See below.



2. Attendance in June 2015

Attendance at the Gaming Annex June 2015
Attendance at the Gaming Annex June 2015

Our monthly numbers for June can be seen here. Tuesday was the biggest draw by far. And Thursdays are languishing behind.

Interesting though, Thursdays have been all over the place. There was one Thursday in June that was cancelled. There was one Thursday that only had myself and Nick on hand. And last Thursday we had 12 people over. It’s feast of famine Thursdays. Maybe that should be our new Thursday motto.

It’s about tima we had a motto.




3. Game Plays through June 2015

Game plays through June 2015
Game plays through June 2015

I managed to squeeze in 60 game plays in June. This is about average.

I seem to be stuck in a rut. I cannot maintain triple digits for game plays for several months in a row anymore. I blame Twilight Imperium.







4. Notable Game Plays in June: A Few Acres of Snow

A Few Acres of Snow by Tree Frog Games
A Few Acres of Snow by Tree Frog Games

I was able to get three games of A Few Acres of Snow to the table this month. Two were against Nick and one against Dusty. And they really enjoyed the game.

And I love the game.

It’s a flawed masterpiece (google Halifax Hammer if you’re bored). But Martin Wallace has created a game I find to be quite excellent.

Come to The Gaming Annex sometime and I will teach you how to play.


5. Notable Game Plays in June: Forbidden Stars

Forbidden Stars from Fantasy Flight Games
Forbidden Stars from Fantasy Flight Games

I had the opportunity to play it once so far. And I love it. I won’t waste your time here. I will dedicate an entire blog post to this fine FFG game.







6. Notable Game Plays in June: World of Warcraft the board game

Muskegon World of Warcraft
Muskegon loves World of Warcraft

We played our annual game of WoW this month. I like this game. But it only needs to hit the table once per year.

The game is long with lots of downtime. And the downtime increases as the game goes on. While fun, I like my long games to be more streamlined.

See you next summer World of Warcraft!





7. Other News

Century Club in Muskegon
Century Club

My favorite local game store, Out of the Box Games, got a little bit more local. They opened up in Muskegon at the Century Club. We inaugurated their grand opening with a full Muskegon Area Gamers blitz. I bet we spent $1,000 there just from our extended group members.

Go there and support a great local business! Then come to The Gaming Annex and play your purchases with me! Then go home!



The Vital Statistics of the Muskegon Area Gamers: June 2015

It’s the first of the month again. And I am submitting our monthly vital stats. There was definitely a spike in some of our numbers. I hope this portends good things for our group and our hobby.

1. Attendance in May 2015

Attendance for May 2015 at The Gaming Annex
Attendance for May 2015

Sunday was our biggest draw in May with 24 attendees. We managed 21 attendees on Thursdays, more than on Tuesdays. This is probably an anomaly due to CabinCon.






2. Attendance in 2015

2015 Attendance at The Gaming Annex in Muskegon
2015 Attendance at The Gaming Annex

Our numbers in May are very impressive. We had our highest turnout yet. This is due in part to CabinCon. But also due to a tiny uptick in new attendees.





3. Game plays in May 2015

Game plays through 2015
Game plays through 2015

We see another spike in our data for May. Here is a look at how many games I have played in 2015. May stands head and shoulders above the rest of the year.

Help me keep up the pace! Come out to the Annex and game.








4. Game plays historically at The Gaming Annex

Historical game plays at The Gaming Annex
Historical game plays

2015 is has been about average for game plays. Typically I am in the 300 game plays by this time. And 2015 is no different.

It would be nice to bump up to 400 game plays by May like I did 2012. Oh well :/








5. Notable Game plays for this year

Notable game plays for the Muskegon Area Gamers
Notable game plays

I have played 15 games of The Resistance: Avalon. And I have played 14 games of One Night Werewolf. Due to their brevity, I get more game plays of these quick social deduction games.

Of more considerable note: I have play 8 games of Merchants & Marauders and 7 games of Clash of Cultures! Yay!

Imperial 2030 and Memoir ’44 both come in a 6 game plays apiece.





6. Other News

Dusty bought a Twilight Imperium trophy. The plan is to have it be our Stanley Cup. We will add placards to it for each game winner, date and race. The current holder of the Twilight Imperium Cup is Rocky for his stunning victory at CabinCon.

7. How to be a part of our stats (i.e., how to join the Muskegon Area Gamers)

Muskegon Area Gamers

Muskegon, MI
87 Muskegon Area Gamers

This group is for anyone interested in playing board games, card games or any table top game. This group learns and teachs new games all the time. We welcome fresh players. We…

Next Meetup

Thursday Night Games

Thursday, Oct 1, 2015, 6:00 PM
4 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

The Gaming Annex in Muskegon: Vital Stats for April

I know it’s been a while since my last post. Much has happened in the past month. I’ll try to keep everyone up to date with all the happenings of the Muskegon Area Gamers. Here is the vital stats installment for April 2015.

1. Game Plays

Muskegon Area Gamers board game plays
Game plays through 2015

April was a lackluster month. A mere 45 game plays for me. Several reasons for this could be the cause. 1. We’ve been trying to recruit newbies and thus there has been a lot of teaching going on. 2. Regulars were busy, probably because of CabinCon II.

I’m hoping May is a stronger showing.


 2. Comparison of 2015 to other years

Muskegon Area Gamers board game plays
Game plays through the years

2015 is shaping up to be a lackluster year. Only 216 game plays so far. This is about average to slightly below average. Several reasons could account for this.

1. My regular Thursday night crew has been replaced with an irregular Thursday night crew.

2. Lots of illness in the group in February and March.

3. Permanent losses to the group from 2014.

There is still time to salvage 2015! Come tNoo the Gaming Annex in Muskegon and play some games.


3. Notable game plays in April 2015

Muskegon loves Merchants & Marauders
Merchants & Marauders Seas of Glory

Merchants & Marauders with the new expansion Seas of Glory hit the table three times. The more I play Merchants & Marauders, the more I appreciate it. There is tremendous subtlety in the game that was lost on me the first few years after its release. I should (and will) write an entire blog post about M&M.

I’ve been teaching people how to play 2008: Campaign Manager as of late. This is a simulation of the election between McCain and Obama. It’s a lighter game but can be quite good.

I also played War of the Ring. After a stinging loss to a first time player, I’ve lowered my rating of this game considerably. I rated it a 10. But losing to a new player because of blind dice rolls forces me to reduce its rating to 7. Such a shame. I may trade my copy now. 🙁



4. Attendance Stats

The Gaming Annex in Muskegon's attendance stats
Attendance 2015

Note: Our attendance stats are less than a year old so it’s difficult to compare where we are at since last year.

April was about average for attendance for 2015.

After we get a year’s worth of attendance, it might be interesting to find a correlation between game plays and attendees.



5. Notable Events in April 2015

Rhino Hero from Haba Games
Rhino Hero from Haba Games

The most notable event was our second Kids’ Gala! We had strong turnout (16 people). And the turnout was so positive there have been calls for a third Kids’ Gala. I’ll probably put it on the calendar in August or September.

We scraped together a 7 player game of TI3 in April. Dusty won so it wasn’t THAT noteworthy.






 6. Join the Muskegon Area Gamers

If you would like to learn more about us, I encourage you to join our meetup.

-Chris, on behalf of the Muskegon Area Gamers

Muskegon Area Gamers

Muskegon, MI
87 Muskegon Area Gamers

This group is for anyone interested in playing board games, card games or any table top game. This group learns and teachs new games all the time. We welcome fresh players. We…

Next Meetup

Thursday Night Games

Thursday, Oct 1, 2015, 6:00 PM
4 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

Muskegon Area Gamers: January Wrap Up

January 2015 is almost over. Another chance to review The Gaming Annex’s Vital Statistics. We will be looking at quantity of game plays, attendance, notable new games and other organizational shake ups.

1. Game Plays: Sheer quantity

Muskegon Area Gamers: Game Plays
Muskegon Area Gamers: Game Plays

I managed to log 57 game plays this January. That is about average for me in the month of January. In 2012 I peaked at 82; last year I only managed 29 game plays.

I would like to crack 100 game plays in a January. Maybe in 2016…




2. Game Plays: Notable Games

Muskegon loves GMT Games. Grognard!
GMT’s Here I Stand

If you’ve been following this blog then you know The Muskegon Area Gamers love Twilight Imperium. And we managed to get it to the table this month. Unfortunately Kevin won.

We also played GMT’s Here I Stand. Here I Stand is like a six player version of Twilight Struggle. Card driven action with mini-games and diplomacy. Players vie for victory during the time of the Protestant Reformation.

The game lasted for about 5 hours including Kevin’s excellent rules explanation. We got through about three game rounds. Our next session is planned in February. We will be using the tournament set up for that game. The game should play faster than this session.


3. The Gaming Annex in Muskegon: Attendance

The Gaming Annex in Muskegon: attendance
The Gaming Annex in Muskegon: attendance

We had a total attendance of 59 people covering 10 meetups.

We had three different venues in January: Open Gaming, Tiered Gaming and Midweek Gaming.

Open Gaming (most Tuesdays and all Sundays) had 45 people. We only had one league (tiered) game this month–we played Here I Stand (see above). We had two Midweek sessions (Thursdays).

Our Thursday group is showing signs of life! If you are interested in checking us out, Thursday evenings might be the best introduction.


 4. New games added to our collective library

Muskegon loves Cthulhu mythos
Eldritch Horror: Mountains of Madness

Dusty picked up a copy of the expansion for Eldritch Horror. The expansion is “Mountains of Madness”. It’s based upon the novella by HP Lovecraft. Since Dusty doesn’t own the base game he gave the expansion to Jon. NOTE: Dusty doesn’t buy expansions for games he owns.

I picked up Castle Panic, Skyline, Napoleonic Wars and Inkognito.

Jon picked up the Titans expansion for Cyclades. Since Jon doesn’t own the base game, he gave it to Dusty. NOTE: Jon doesn’t buy expansions for games he owns either.




 5. Organizational Shake Up: Two new “leaders”

Board games 1976 W. Sherman Blvd 49441
The Gaming Annex

There are two other game groups in the area that use our meetup. They are the “Play More Games” group which meets at the Spring Lake Library and the Lakeshore Game Group in the Fruitport/Spring Lake area. The fellows that run these groups have crossover attendees from the Muskegon Area Gamers. Due to conflicting schedules, our three groups haven’t been able to merge into one.

But Joe (from Spring Lake) and Eric (from Fruitport) want to be able to use the meetup to draw bigger attendance to their (typically) Saturday game events. They are now organizers on the meetup. If you want to play some games in the North Ottawa area with a couple of family friendly groups, Joe and Eric can help you out.


Muskegon Area Gamers: The Year in Review

The year 2014 saw some big changes to our group. Ben went off to the Navy. Mongo had (another) kid. We’ve added another day of gaming. We’ve created some bucket lists and worked to achieve them. Below are some stats on what we’ve accomplished.

1. Game Plays: Year Analysis

Muskegon Area Gamers: Game plays
Muskegon Area Gamers: Game plays

2014 marks the first year that I actually played less games than the year before. 🙁

Since compiling my game plays (December of 2008–thanks Obama!), I’ve consecutively played more games every year. I was really hoping to break the 900 game play mark in 2014. But it was not meant to be. With my wedding in June, my game plays took a beating.

2015 should prove to be a better year. I think hitting 900 should be doable.


 2. Game Plays: Fives and Dimes

Fives and Dimes
Fives and Dimes

My most played game of 2014 was A Game of Thrones: The Card Game. No other game was even close. We haven’t played AGOT in several weeks. Our regular group for this game is in flux so I’m not sure when/if this will be back on the menu.

The Resistance: Avalon had 34 plays in 2014. This is a great party game. In fact, it’s probably my favorite party game. It fits into almost any game setting quite well. I don’t see The Resistance going away anytime soon either. The other Resistance game (the one without the knights of Camelot theme) just got two expansions in 2014. I wonder if they will release expansions for Avalon in 2015.

We managed 10 games of Twilight Imperium in 2014. We keep separate stats (our leaderboard) for TI3 so I won’t bother you with an analysis of Twilight Imperium here.

Although I’ve only had King of New York for a month or so, it’s already hit the five & dime status of 2014. King of New York fired King of Tokyo for me. I like King of Tokyo. But I sold it and all its accouterments after playing King of New York just once.


3. Attendance Stats

The Gaming Annex's Attendance
The Gaming Annex’s Attendance

Maintaining a robust game group requires constant vigilance. And nowhere is that vigilance more needed than in recruitment.Since the beginning of August, I started tracking our attendance statistics. I’ve been doing this in an effort to see opportunities or weaknesses. Above is an overview of what the Muskegon Area Gamers are about on a people level. We have several forums: open gaming, tiered gaming, kids days, poker tournaments, etc. And from the bars above you can see what draws the people.

Open gaming means the general public is usually invited. Tiered game nights are typically for our hardcore wargamers. Kids’ days are days when we have games specifically tailored for 4 to 8 year olds. We’ve been dabbling with the idea of playing poker at the Gaming Annex. To date, we’ve done this once. Also, we have galas which are game days where we invite most anyone–typically people who wouldn’t even come on an open game day.

Sundays are one of our main game days and it shows. We’ve had 111 people over on Sundays–all open game days. Tuesday are our other main game day. We’ve had 81 people over for open gaming and 57 over for tiered/hardcore gaming.

We have a strategic alliance with the folks at Shoreline Minis. This is categorized under “Demo” as we usually teach their 40K players about board games.

Our first Kids’ Day was quite successful. I think we will do another in the spring. Look for it on our meetup. Kids from 4 to 8 (give or take) are welcome.

Also we may have another poker game in the coming weeks. I’ll keep you posted.

We don’t have a lot of “galas” as there is not a big difference between a gala and a day of open gaming. Usually a gala happens on a Saturday instead of Sunday. And we usually have non-gaming folks come out and play.


4. 2014’s Bucket List

We set up a bucket list of games we wanted to try in 2014. And we worked diligently to plow through that list.

  • We wanted to play Twilight Imperium often. We accomplished this.
  • We wanted to play Pax Britannica. This happened a few weeks ago.
  • Republic of Rome is a favorite of several of our members. And they are constantly bugging me to put RoR on our meetup calendar. Whenever it is put on the calendar, we give it a cute name to help give character to this epic grand daddy of a game. In 2014 we played: Republic of Rome: From Patrician to Caesar and Republic of Rome: Crossing the Rubicon. Kevin and Jon would like to be more often than just twice  year but we had so many other games to fill our schedule (see below) that it wasn’t justified.
  • Advanced Civilization. We played this not once, not twice but THRICE in 2014. It may be some time before we bring it back to the table. Look for maybe one game of this in 2015.
  • Blood Royale. We had to give Games Workshop’s classic “Blood Royale” two goes before we threw it on the trash heap. It’s not good. At all.
  • Mage Knight. Rocky and Matt really like this game. And we’ve tried to make it a monthly or bi-monthly gaming event. But things have come up and we’ve only had two MK days in 2014. Look for about four more Mage Knight game days in 2015.


2015 should be an outstanding gaming year for the Muskegon Area Gamers. If you are interested, check out our meetup. –Chris, on behalf of the Gaming Annex.

Muskegon Area Gamers

Muskegon, MI
87 Muskegon Area Gamers

This group is for anyone interested in playing board games, card games or any table top game. This group learns and teachs new games all the time. We welcome fresh players. We…

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Thursday, Oct 1, 2015, 6:00 PM
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Muskegon Area Gamers: November Wrap Up

November is all but over. Another month in the books means another wrap up for The Gaming Annex. Here is a list of the board games and other vital stats for this month. 


Vital Statistics

Gaming stats

Total game plays: 59 plays

Game titles: 39 titles

Most played games: Avalon: The Resistance (five plays) followed by King of New York (four plays)

Attendance stats

Total attendance: 59

Total meetups: 9

Average attendance: 6.6


Notable Games

1. The Resistance: Avalon

Muskegon loves The Resistance: Avalon
The Resistance: Avalon



















The Resistance was an okay game. Avalon fixes any problems I may have had with it. The roles of Merlin, Morgana, Percival and the Assassin make this a very good game. We played this five times this month with 6 to 10 players.

The only issue I have with The Resistance: Avalon is teaching new players. The game breaks down quickly if you have new players who do not understand the easy-to-learn rules (but subtle-to-implement strategy).


2. King of New York

Iello's King of New York is the King of Muskegon!
Iello’s King of New York



















King of New York has been a runaway leader in recent weeks. Everyone loves it. And everyone likes it more than King of Tokyo. I cannot wait for a power up expansion that augments this game the way the first expansion “fixed” King of Tokyo. Hoo-rah Iello!


 3. Twilight Imperium

Twilight Imperium is Muskegon's favorite game. The whole damn town loves it.
Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition








We managed to play not one but TWO games of TI3 this month. Our leaderboard stats were updated (see previous post). Furthermore, a statistician on BGG subjected our data to some analysis. Here is the thread:

Ben is coming back for a visit around Christmas time. Look for our next game around then. Until, I’ll be licking my wounds after getting pasted twice–once by Matt and once by Dusty.


4. Imperial 2030

Muskegon loves Imperial and Imperial 2030!
Rio Grande Games’ Imperial 2030
















I love Imperial. And I love it’s alternate map/set up: Imperial 2030. It took a few palys for me to figure out the game. But now I think it’s great. Most games will give players autocratic control over a country and then have to finesse alliances. In Imperial or Imperial 2030, players have total control over the alliances but not necessarily over the countries. That little twist is quite fun.

In our recent game, I managed a slim victory over Mike, Dusty and Rob. Rob and Mike both thoroughly enjoyed the game. And both are looking for a rematch. And I’ll be happy to grant them one!


 5. Five Tribes

Muskegon is on the fence about Days of Wonder's Five Tribes
Days of Wonder’s Five Tribes



















Bruno Cathala has authored a twist to the classic abstract game Mancala. Players pick up meeples and deposit them one after the other onto different tiles. The last tile you drop a meeple onto dictates the power or action you may take. Players gather victory points, coins and cards. Players then convert those coins and cards into more victory points.

I was not a big fan of this game. There was no theme, no narrative. It was a mechanical exercise. Certainly there are tons of tactical and strategic decisions to make. But the game lacked a narrative and thus fell flat for me.


6. Battle at Kemble’s Cascade

Muskegon love space scrolling shooters like Battle at Kemble's Cascade
Battle at Kemble’s Cascade


















The Muskegon Area Gamers tried out Battle at Kemble’s Cascade. Most of us enjoyed it. Quite a bit in fact. It’s a space scrolling shooter. Players can shoot their opponents, shoot the bad guys, gain energy, position themselves to avoid damage and survive to face the bad guy. It’s a tight game. It’s only drawback is it takes a bit too long for what it offers. Further plays may bring the game time down a bit.


7. Advanced Civilization

Muskegon loves some old school gaming and Avalon Hill is just about right!
Avalon Hill’s Civilization


















Our third play of Civilization (and our first to completion) took place in November. It was lackluster. Most of us are not looking forward to playing this again. The randomness of the commodity decks dictates the outcome of the game. And that sucks for a game that is 10 hours long. We may play this again in 2015. But I don’t see anyone wanting to play this again before we play Republic of Rome again.