And I’m Back!

Welcome to the new!

As mentioned last year, the site now focuses on my gaming thoughts. has become my gaming journal. 

Every Monday (yep, went back to Mondays) I will post gaming I had in the last week. This is very similar to my previous Last Week’s Gaming pieces.

You will notice that a lot of the gaming info has gone from the journal. Instead, the game title is a link to a page just for that game.

Here, you can see game information, a review link, and individual journal entries. So if you come in late and want to see what my thoughts are on a game over time, it’s here!

And this good news is this isn’t a ‘coming next week’ thing. The journal started in 2022 and is all here ready to go!

20220204 - And Im Back - Weekly Journals
The site is all ready to go and explore

That’s the primary content – more is here as well

There is only one review up at the moment – my 2020 review of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Reviews will come out roughly once a month, and if I can a board game and a video game review each month.

Why Animal Crossing: New Horizons? I thought an ‘old’ review and current thoughts including an island restart would work on the new site. It would be interesting to see the changes both in the game and in the way I look at it.

And then there are general posts and bits and bobs I will post from time to time, like this one. This all comes under the heading of ‘Shenanigans’.

What do I mean by general posts? No specific ideas. Game news and Crowdfunding for games I am keen on, general rants, anything I particularly want to say. There is nothing specific, and definitely no timetable, for reasons you will see below.

Podcast Ready to Start
Hardware wise I am all ready to go. Now I just need me to be ready.

The podcast is back on hiatus though

I still want to start doing an audio version of the weekly journals, and I will. This year. Not sure when though. 

The reason for this is simple – I started recording myself for the journals this year, and I can hear how tired I am. I moved the site launch to the end of January because my work projects should have ended in early January.

And that got blown out to the end of January. So instead of having January ‘off’ to concentrate on the new site, I was juggling work and the site.

There will be more on my time coming up when I know what is happening. Everything work-wise is in flux, so I can’t plan around things.

So as soon as I don’t look and sound like a warmed up zombie, more interactive things will be back on the table. For now, no one wants to listen to someone that sounds two words away from snoring!

But stumbles aside, the site is all ready to go!

I hope you enjoy the new layout, and the focus on journalling my gaming journey. There is only one way to find out though!

Have fun, explore, and let me know what you think.

Have fun!


2022 went by quickly! Time for an end of year break!

Wow – the end of 2022. It’s been a journey! I hope you have had a good year overall. Ups and downs are a part of life, and the last few years have definitely had their share of both! I think it’s time we all enjoyed a well deserved break.😊

In terms of, I didn’t get to do the monthly reviews like I was hoping to. It’s one of those strange balancing acts. Play games to talk about on the site, or sit and write about games I used to play and review them!

This is part of the reason why I changed Last Week’s Gaming to the gaming journal style. That seems to be working well!

20221226 - Shenanigans - Break - Holiday Gaming
There are a few games I want to try and get to the table during the break

Today though is a quick note on the annual site break. I am in need of a real break, but work wise I probably won’t get one until February. So a mini break for the end of year it is!

What does that mean for the site?

I am going to go quiet for a couple of weeks. I will still be working over the holidays, but not full days. This will let Rabbit and I play some games and catch up with Alpal again, which I look forward to!

Everything will come back as I have done this year, with weekly notes on what I have been playing. Come February and a proper break from my day job, I will think about some tweaks to the site and content then.

The biggest change next year is the weekly journal titles. I am going to stop trying to work the names of the games into the titles. I haven’t decided what format the titles will be, but that’s the only change on the cards.

20221226 - Shenanigans - Break - Hopefully I can play GoW again by the time you read this
I haven’t touched God of War Ragnarok for a couple of weeks – I hope to finish this before I come back as well!

So nothing for a couple of weeks?

You don’t get out of it that easily! To the right, you will see my gaming challenges for the last year. Some goals I made, and others I missed by a mile.

This has let me reflect on my gaming for the year. So for the remaining 2 weeks of my break, there will be two new articles – 2022 Board Games in Review and 2022 Video Games in Review!

They will come out instead of the gaming journal. These articles will include the game most played, my favourite new game, and my picks for Game of the Year!

I hope you have a break as well!

Being tired and stressed is something we all experience. I hope you are looking after yourself, and if you are working over the holiday period, that you have a break soon.

Look after yourself, and I can’t wait to see you again on January 16th 2023!


My 2022 Board Games Challenges Roundup

Setting gaming challenges can be a fun way to try and gamify what you get to the table. As long as you aren’t hard on yourself for falling behind or missing a goal. As long as you and the people you play with are having fun, that’s always the primary goal. That’s why I set my Board Game Challenges each year.

My 2022 Goals were a mixed bag. I made some, and I missed some. The challenges are there to prompt me to do certain things, not a serious ‘I have to do this’ goal.

But as I haven’t been doing reviews this year, this is probably the best way to show you some of my favourite games of 2022!

My 2022 Board Game Challenges

Goal 1: Record 200 Game Plays ✅

Progress: 211 Plays

Goal 2: Play 25 New Games

Progress: 19 New Games

Goal 3: Get specific games to the table

My City ✅
Return to Dark Tower
Chronicles of Crime: Millenium Series

Goal 1 – Record 200 Plays

I managed to make this lofty goal thanks to digital gaming. Between Board Game Arena and implementations like Cartographers, I played quite a few board games digitally this year.

The number one played game? 7 Wonders Architects! 43 games with Alpal and Rabbit on Board Game Arena this year, and I can’t wait to play a few more soon!

20220221 - 7 Wonders Architects - Science gives you various bonuses
Science will help you but isn’t a single path to victory

Super quick to play (especially on Board Game Arena) and plays brilliantly with 3 players. When the biggest issue I had with the game was I was tired of being assigned the Colossus of Rhodes, that’s a pretty small quibble overall. Still BGA – let users pick their wonder! 😋

Some people may say digital board games don’t count, and I don’t agree with that. As long as you are playing the same rules as the physical copy, or the gameplay isn’t sufficiently different from a physical game, then I don’t see an issue.

For example, Cartographers the app and physical Cartographers/Cartographers Heroes play the same. Playing on the app counts to me as a solo board game, I just record the location as Digital.

That said, I am tweaking my ‘number of games’ goal for 2023. I am going to split the total between digital and physical games moving forward. Digital games will be the primary way to play again in 2023, with Board Game Arena helping the three of us play interstate. I want a little nudge to spend some time away from a screen next year though, hence the split.

Check out my thoughts on all the 7 Wonders Architects gaming sessions here.

Goal 2 – Play 25 new games

I was so close to this one! Thanks to the delivery of Paperback Adventures in mid-December, I nudged this up to 19 games for the year. In a busy time, it’s easy to fall back on old favourites where you don’t have to learn new rules. This challenge exists to try and push this familiar mindset, and I think it did well.

So even though I didn’t quite make the goal this year, I will leave this in place for 2023. With more games coming out and all of Board Game Arena to explore, I should be up to the challenge!

If I have to pick a favourite new title this year, it’s a hard call. 7 Wonders Architects and Isle of Cats are both new games to me this year, with Isle of Cats coming in at 25 plays for 2022. But the number of plays doesn’t always reflect how much you enjoy a game. And for that reason, I am going to say my favourite new game of 2022 is The Search for Planet X!

20220725 - Search for Planet X - I found Planet X first but still soundly lost
My player sheet at the end of the game. If you don’t know about the game, it will look complicated and intimidating.

The Search for Planet X is not a quick game like 7 Wonders Architects. There is a lot of deduction, which some people do not enjoy in their games. There is even the fact that an app runs the game for you that can turn people off.

This year, The Search for Planet X had me both the most excited to get to the table, and the most excited to try and play again. Unfortunately, the setup for remote play is so fiddly. Same for solo gaming – although that may change this year!

For more information on The Search for Planet X, click here.

Goal 3 – Get specific games to the table

If there was a challenge that I was disappointed in my performance this year, this is it. Backlog gaming is a challenge for all players, but I was hoping to do better this year.

Rabbit and I did start playing My City, but I didn’t even get Destinies or Chronicles of Crime to the table solo. Return to Dark Tower will be fun, but I need a group of people to play an intricate game, and probably best if I lock Enzo away. I don’t want him ‘helping’ chasing skulls across a table!

20220502 - My City - Very simple components
Some tiles, a board, and a deck of cards. All your attention is on your game only.

So for 2023, the challenge list will remain pretty much the same. I still want to get these games to the table, and I want to finish the My City campaign. But I can’t pick a favourite from this category, as we only played one title – My City!

My Game of 2022

2022 was an interesting year, but I can definitely recommend 7 Wonders Architects and The Search for Planet X. Isle of Cats is a lot of fun as well, and I am hoping to play the Draw and Write version with Rabbit early in the new year.

But given all that, I would have to give my number one game of the year to 7 Wonders Architects. Not only did I first play it in 2022, but almost a quarter of all games played were 7 Wonders Architects!

Cover Art - 7 Wonders Architects
My 2022 Game of the Year – 7 Wonders Architects

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know! 

If you think another game I played should have taken the game of game of the year, shout out! You can reach me on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter, Hive and Instagram! And don’t forget you can get random gaming and pet pics on Instagram as well. 🙂

Until next time,