Best New Family Game of 2010?

It's always exciting (and a little nerve-wracking) to see your creations finally out there in the wild. So far, however, I'm grateful to see that Two By Two is being well-received.

With its current average rating of 7.03 out of 10, Two by Two is the 6th highest rated game on a religious theme over at BoardGameGeek, nestled right in there between the religious editions of Carcassonne and Settlers of Catan. That's fairly good company to be keeping, as those are both considered to be fairly highly regarded versions of the original classics (which are themselves rated 7.47 and 7.57 respectively).*

Two by Two is also the 109th highest rated Family Game of all time and British reviewer Geoff Hall has declared it the Best New Family Game of 2010. "It’s by far the best new family game that I’ve played in 2010," he writes, "with its nice components, easy, quick play, palatable theme and the basic scoring. Throw in the advanced scoring and suddenly it morphs into a different beast suitable for older, more competitive children and gamers looking for a light, 30 minute game to start or round off an evening’s gaming. There’s not much else out there that can boast that kind of versatility and, to top it all off, with the theme and simple play this would make an ideal gateway game too!"

Doug and Shelley Garrett of the excellent Garrett's Games and Geekiness podcast recommend Two by Two as an excellent gift for families with children and expect that it will be getting a lot more play on their gaming table over the coming months. Meanwhile, the photograph shown above is currently the 12th-hottest image on BoardGameGeek - I'm hoping it will break into the top 9 this weekend and make it onto the greatly coveted space on the main page. And, over at the 2010 BGG fundraising drive, over 125 fans are clamoring for a signed author's copy and commenting on why the game has their interest.

I also happened to be chatting with a local retailer today who just received his latest shipment from Canadian distributor, Lion Rampant. Two by Two was supposed to be included but is apparently temporarily sold out at the distributor and currently on back order - that suggests that demand's been strong but hopefully they can correct the shortfall and replenish their stock soon. I've spoken with a number of retailers here in Edmonton who've been trying to get it in but, so far I think only one has succeeded (I spotted two copies in Warp One on Whyte Avenue a couple of weeks ago) - if you've spotted it in other stores here in Alberta, post a comment to let me know.

International distribution has been fairly strong, however, with owners of the game already hailing from Canada, USA, Belgium, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Denmark, Korea, and Poland. I've also spotted it in online stores in Japan, Finland, China, and Russia. The game's primary wholesaler, Publisher Services Inc (PSI), has even given Two by Two the coveted top spot on page 2 of their 2010 Holiday Catalog.

So there are a lot of very encouraging signs but I'm worried (paranoid?) that the game is still flying under the radar and not getting the broader attention that I think it needs. The publisher, Valley Games, suffered from a poor booth location at this year's international game fair in Essen, Germany. As a result, they were unfortunately overlooked by a lot of the press and media reporting on the new game releases, which I think has hurt them across the board. Oh well, I guess we'll have to do this the old-fashioned way - by word of mouth on the back of a quality product. =o)

If you've played the game, here's how you can help spread the word. Rate it on BoardGameGeek, post a review on Amazon, talk about it on your blog, tweet about it, mention it on Facebook, recommend it to your friends, donate a copy to a charitable fundraiser, put one under the Christmas tree.

* To be clear, BoardGameGeek and the ratings there represent a fairly biased and self-selecting audience and certainly aren't reflective of the opinions of the general public (or even the general game-buying public). Faced with a lack of other easily quantifiable data, it's hard not to become enthralled by all of the wonderfully crunchy statistics that site provides.

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