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The Diary of a Madwoman - Part 10

The Final Entry

And here we have reached the end of our journey together. I have had a chance to recharge and recover from the brain burning challenge. And so this is the reflective round-up.

In the 28 days of this challenge we played 98 games, and 87 different base games were played as part of the challenge. Bonuses were Santa Banter and Metro X which we also played but weren’t part of the challenge. We have been keeping track of our win rates, how long games took and also the colours we chose each time there was a colour choice available.

I am a yellow player. Yellow is my favourite colour, all my coats are mustard yellow, in fact actually so is the comfy jumper I am wearing to write this entry. The thing is, when I knew that I was tracking it and always picking yellow, I felt this need to not be predictable. So I found myself choosing rogue colours rather than faithful yellow who has served me so well. Then I told MJ about the fact that I thought I might be doing this, and me expressing that meant that he also now started to pick odd colours too. So what I am saying is that colour choice is influenced by knowing that you are being watched.

Anyway, despite my best unintentional efforts to skew the colour stats, yellow was still the most selected colour. In total, 43 colours were chosen throughout and yellow was selected 9 times. Below is a summary of the colour choices we made. As a scientist, I rarely find a pie chart a useful representation of data, but here it works perfectly with the colours.

Next onto win rate. I gave you a bit of a taste of how we were doing against each other previously, I was leading the win charge quite heroically. But before I update you on the competitive game win rate, let’s first look at the co-op games.

We played 14 co-op games throughout the challenge, and we won 12 of them (86%). I would say that was pretty good playing. MJ and I have had almost a whole year of being cooped up just the two of us, so I guess we have learnt to be more in tune with each other. It clearly has improved our ability to work well as a team though as our win stats evidence.

Most of our games are competitive though, and of all the games we played, I won 56% of the games played, MJ won 24% of those played, and the rest were co-ops. Blacknell reigns victorious, although since the challenge ended I have been absolutely smashed into submission on Doppelt So Clever and Metro X which I have won precisely twice out of the 15 games played.

And finally, how long did we spend gaming during the challenge? The tallied total stands at 2920 minutes or 48 hours and 40 mins. Well quite frankly, given the state of the world, I cannot think of a better thing to spend my time on!

The Award Ceremony

Stand-Out Game:

Absolute stand out game, the game that we thought about afterwards.

HB: This was hard for me to decide, but turns out MJ picked one of the two so I plumped for the other one. So I will pick Lost Ruins of Arnak. This is a new game for 2020 that is an absolute diamond. It is brilliant. A combination of deck-building and worker placement and lets you perform “dumb combos”. I mean they make you feel clever even if you don’t win!

MJ: I pick The Triple Century, has to be. We finished the challenge on this game. I loved Spice Road but wasn’t that fussed about the second one (Eastern Wonders), so I didn’t know what to expect at all. I certainly was not expecting such a smooth and great game. Also I liked that there seemed to be loads of ways to score, and it didn’t seem to pay off to hate-draft. (Hannah: I will confirm that MJ has an irritating tendency to hate draft, so anything that negates that is an absolute winner by me.)

Biggest Surprise:

HB: For me it is the ultimate gateway game; Carcassonne. I thought that I didn’t rate this game, and I am happy to have been proven to be a fool. Carcassonne in its absolute base game is a really good game, it does not out-stay its welcome.

MJ: The Dwarves surprised me as we have had it six months and I have never felt the desire to play this game. The rulebook was confusing, but luckily a video runthrough really helped us to get going quickly.

Go To Game:

This is a game that you will never say no to playing.

HB: I always have room in my brain for some Hero Realms. I love this game at 2, it is a competitive game, although I think I usually have the edge which may contribute to the enjoyment factor. I like that the game itself is cheap, there are loads of different expansions that you can use to switch it up. But vanilla Hero Realms is absolutely top notch.

MJ: Nmbr9 is my go-to game. It plays really quickly in 5-20 minutes, and all you do is create the perfect tetris stack of number tiles to try and score max points. I spend all the time saying “oh if only I could flip this over!” Spoiler alert; you cannot flip the tiles over. It is a puzzle that hurts my brain but not for so long that I don’t immediately want to play another round.


This challenge really was just that, a challenge. I know that not only because I found it hard, but also because everyone else was surprised and shocked that we decided to do it. I think we initially decided to do the challenge without understanding the full undertaking that it would be.

We ended up learning and then playing 10 brand new games. We also thought we knew some games a lot better than we did, so there was a lot of rulebook checking over the past month. This made it take longer and ensured that some games felt a bit more gruelling than perhaps they needed to be.

My piece of advice for anyone attempting this kind of challenge is to play smart, make sure you play those big games early on so you don’t have it looming over you. Also, please learn the rules first, and practice the games to save your brain. Also, taking a day off to recover is sometimes a good idea.

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