As 2018 wound down, I considered goals and resolutions for the new year. Every year I make a long list of categorized bite-sized goals:

  • a handful of books on my to-read list
  • a monthly hike at the local forest reserve
  • floss daily

I wanted to ensure that I was setting goals for the relationships in my life too. Working full time and raising two kids, sometimes a scheduled goal is the only thing goading me to make time for healthy relationships:

  • write at least one pen pal letter each month!!!

When it comes to making time for my spouse it can be a real challenge. We’re parents more than a couple these days and that has its own rewards but we decided to promise more focused time together. Two years into a tabletop games hobby, we have lots of board games we haven’t played yet. We collect, we back Kickstarters, we shop in board game stores when we go on holiday, and I bought my husband a fancy-shmancy board game table. Out of this was born our 2019 challenge:

104 games in 52 weeks

Two games a week, repeats don’t count, and we even put a calendar up in our game room to keep track. It was an opportunity for my partner and I to sit down, come hell or high water, and intentionally be together.


In the coming months, I’ll be updating you on the games we play with a general run-down of their mechanics and highlight my favorite game of the month, starting with what we played in January. Won’t you join us?

Box cover art for Coimbra board game.via Gameology

1: Coimbra (2018)

Player count: 2-4

Run time: 60-90 min.

Publisher: Eggertspiele

Mechanics: Card drafting, dice rolling, set collection

Coimbra, a cultural center of Renaissance Portugal, is the setting for this economics game. Your strategy must be to curry favor with the influential powers of the era.


Box cover art for River Dragons board game.via Board Game Geek

2: River Dragons (2000)

Player count: 2-6

Run time: 30 min.

Publisher: Matagot

Mechanics: Movement programming, point to point movement

Why did the pawn cross the pond? Why to get to the other side of course! It’s your job to help them get there. Using a set hand of cards, you’ll program your actions to construct planks thereby providing safe passage for your pawn, and hinder the crossing of other players. But beware the river dragons!


Overview of the board and components for Great Western Trail, a board game.via Philibertnet

3: Great Western Trail (2016)

Player count: 2-4

Run time: 75-150 min.

Publisher: Eggertspiele

Mechanics: Deck building, hand management, point to point movement, set collection

A cyclical game of American West cattle ranging. Herd your cattle from Texas to Kansas City, protecting them from dangers along the trail. When you reach Kansas City, you’ll need to ship your most valuable cattle by rail to gain even more victory points.


Box cover art for the board game Root.via Leder Games

4: Root (2018)

Player count: 2-4

Run time: 60-90 min.

Publisher: Leder Games

Mechanics: Area control, hand management, variable player powers

This game takes some obvious influence from Redwall as animal factions vie for control of the forest. Play as the Marquise de Cat, the Alliance of forest animals, a wandering Vagabond, or the Eyrie of birds. Each faction has its own strengths to give you a paw up in the game.


Box cover art for The Godfather board game.via CMON

5: The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire (2017)

Player count: 2-5

Run time: 60-90 min.

Publisher: CMON Limited

Mechanics: Area control, card drafting, worker placement

Take the role of one of New York’s leading mafia families. You’ll complete for control of the crime syndicates and increase your family’s wealth and power.

Favorite of the Month!

The Godfather was a surprise favorite of this group. I’ve never seen The Godfather films and usually theme is my main draw to a tabletop game. But this game has some clever mechanics as you seek control over boroughs, stash cash in your suitcase (an adorable suitcase-shaped tin for each player, *thumbs up*), and send your enemies to sleep with the fishes.


Box cover art for the board game Speakeasy Bluesvia Kickstarter

6: Speakeasy Blues (2018)

Player count: 2-4

Run time: 45-60 min.

Publisher: Artana

Mechanics: Dice rolling, worker placement, set collection

1920s Prohibition New York – lure celebrities, bribe the law, smuggle hooch, all in the pursuit of making your speakeasy the talk of the town. You just have to survive until the 18th Ammendment is repealed!


An overview of the board and components for the board game Thief's Fortune.via Kickstarter

7: Thief’s Fortune (2018)

Player count: 1-4

Run time: 45-90 min.

Publisher: Artipia Games

Mechanics: Card drafting

In this game each player represents a possible timeline of the same character, a thief in the glimmering desert oasis of Nabbarah. Your goal, as you steal valuables and forge & break friendships, is to craft the most valuable and least dangerous future for yourself.


The box and cards of the board game Lovecraft Letter.via Voiceofe

8: Lovecraft Letter (2017)

Player count: 2-6

Run time: 5-15 min.

Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group

Mechanics: Hand management, player elimination

A variant of the original game Love Letter. This card game takes the bluffing aspect of its simpler origins and provides an “insanity” twist, as the old gods influence the investigators.


Box cover art for the board game of Clank!.via Renegade Game Studios

9: Clank! (2016)

Player count: 2-4

Run time: 30-60 min.

Publisher: Renegade Game Studios

Mechanics: Deck building, point to point movement, press your luck

Get in to the dungeon, get the loot, and get out. The deeper you delve the better loot you’ll find but SHHH! Too much CLANK! and you’ll wake the dragon!


Join us next month to see what we played in February. You can also follow along on Instagram by following #104Gamesin52. What games have you played recently? Have any suggestions? Let us know in the comments below!