GCL Mafia 88: Going for Gold
Mc Jarvis
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Arlington
Virginia
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Welcome to GCL Mafia Division's special-event list! If you stumbled onto this list by accident (or on purpose!) and want to know more about the Game Chat League concept, please see the wiki. If you want to look at past GCL Mafia lists, go here: GameChat League: Mafia Division Subscription Thread.

Our current roster in order of preparation (next week's poster in bold):

Rishi
Dolus
petroleumjelly
ecargo
McJarvis
1awesomeguy
mith
tscook
Thesp
Butterfly0038
cferejohn
touchstonethefool

The first few items are intended to foster discussion.

Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of September 17-23, 2012. List any games played along with any other information that you deem appropriate. Also, feel free to give life updates, fun facts, or any other super exciting and utterly interesting thoughts you may have.
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Mc Jarvis
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Arlington
Virginia
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The time for nominations for the Golden Geeks are here. You can find the voting page here.

Every year when I start out on my quest to distill down the best experiences, I find myself overwhelmed. Not just by the number of games I play in a year, but also the categories. Out of all the categories for prizes, which are your top three favorites? Are there any which encapsulate games you completely ignore?

Here are the categories:

2-Player Game
Abstract Game
Artwork & Presentation
Card Game
Children's Game
Expansion
Family Game
Innovative
Party Game
Print & Play
Strategy Game
Thematic Game
Wargame
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2. Board Game: Go to the Head of the Class [Average Rating:4.58 Overall Rank:19371]
Board Game: Go to the Head of the Class
Mc Jarvis
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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Select your top nominations for 2012 game of the year from your top categories above. If you're unsure if it counts for the year 2012, just assume it does.

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3. Board Game: Craps [Average Rating:4.92 Overall Rank:19225]
Board Game: Craps
Mc Jarvis
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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This item will take some time to populate. Look at a fellow GCL'rs list of game categories they don't like and/or don't have experience in. Try to sell them on a game which falls under that category of game.
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4. Board Game: Winner's Circle [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:799]
Board Game: Winner's Circle
Mc Jarvis
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Arlington
Virginia
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Finally, post your nominations for all categories and defend anything you think that needs defending.
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5. Board Game: Eclipse [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:44]
Board Game: Eclipse
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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Descent
2x *Cthulhu Fluxx
2x A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition)
7 Wonders
*7 Wonders: Cities
7 Wonders: Leaders
The Castles of Burgundy
*Eclipse
*Family Business
*Trajan
*Wizard

*new to me

Commentary forthcoming. I'll be playing Descent tomorrow. It was supposed to be a marathon, but now it's just at night, so maybe we'll get through two quests. We're starting the Act II quests.

All in all, this was an awesome week of gaming and lots of incredible new games. I had a good time with every game I played. Yes, even Fluxx. Fluxx is still random, but for a time-waster, it was fun. I got to win as the secret cultist before everybody had a turn (although I read the rulebook before we dealt out a second time and saw that there were "undoom" counters in play, so I hadn't quite won, yet. 7 Wonders was interesting with the expansions. It was fun, but I think I prefer the base game. Family Business was kinda fun, but really annoying that the rules never were taught/explained, and he didn't know the answer to most anything we asked. Trajan was a ton of fun and I would like to play it again. Wizard is a pretty tense trick-taking game, and the top three players were all very close, with 4th pretty far behind. I also did well on Castles of Burgundy, winning by probably around 50 points in the end.

Game of Thrones

Two players from Denver Games came over early, so we started a 3-player game to go over the rules and try to work through any gameplay hiccups that come up in a first play. We ended early somewhere around Round 7 or 8 once everybody else arrived, but it was clear that Stark (me) was being taken off the map. It was close between Baratheon and Lannister, but Lannister looked to be closest to winning.

Then we started our full 6-player game, which ran for four hours before we called it on time. We completed 8 of the 10 rounds. This time I was Tyrell. Myself and Greyjoy were having trouble, because we couldn't muster and the muster card wasn't coming up. I felt like I just sat stagnant in the south while my neighbors built up their forces. Finally we could bid on the influence tracks. Myself and Greyjoy earned star orders, but then we couldn't play consolidate power orders that round, so we still couldn't muster!

Additionally, all the houses quickly went for broke in how many power tokens we had. We ended up getting attacked by the wildlings.. oh, maybe 6 or 7 times throughout the game. Usually they attack no more than 2-3 times, and not of any substantial strength either. There were a couple of times that they attacked twice in a round.

For a good part of the game, Martell and Stark were holding their positions strong, spreading out in their area and building up troops, but getting into few, if any battles. Once Lannister's fleet was built up, Lannister marched on Greyjoy, taking Ironman's Bay and Pyke in one turn. Wiping Greyjoy off the map concerned myself, Tyrell, in terms of letting Lannister grow too powerful, so I promptly marched in myself and with Ser Lloras I was able to double-march and take Lannisport in one turn.

Then I realized my mistake. Yes, Lannister would have grown very powerful without intervention, but Baratheon, unchecked, could've won the game the following turn. I had to abandon Lannisport to move east to stop Baratheon. Lannister had to abandon Pyke to try to take back Lannisport. And Stark had to put a hold on his plans to move South in order to hold Moat Cailin and his other castle against Baratheon.

Over the course of a few turns, Baratheon was held back enough and dwindled enough in troops (mostly from wildling attacks) that he was still a threat, but no longer a "he will win this turn if we don't do anything" threat. Lannister stabbed me instead of Baratheon in the beginning of this, causing me to lose two troops, so instead of pushing more on Baratheon, I pushed hard against Lannister again, and again took Lannisport. Between myself and Greyjoy, we took all of Lannister off the map save 3 ships in bay and 1 knight in Stoney Sept. Greyjoy was quickly becoming the new threat (previously he had only one castle) because he moved up to 6 castles and had control of the Fiefdom and King's Court tracks. A brutal combination for the likes of Greyjoy.

Eclipse

I finally got to try Eclipse. It was a 5-player game, and Jennifer and I stuck with the human sides because that's the side we had up when the game was explained. In the end, I still managed 29 points. I was proud of myself, because while my round 1 seemed good and I did some exploration and population, my 2nd and 3rd round seemed to be a bust. I didn't gain anything from exploration, didn't have anywhere else to populate (so no additional income), and I was still too weak to defeat ancients. Very unfortunate for me. But I started making a comeback. I think at the start of the last round, I must've had about 15 points. Because when I totalled up what I could manage to get that turn, I would have 22, but I got into war against the black alien race, won, and among other things, managed to push myself to 29 points instead.

Descent

We played the Twin Idols quest. From traveling, we managed to find 3 or 4 search items, which was ridiculously awesome. In the first encounter, due to Dash cards, there were a few scares, but we took the game pretty easily and were able to search all of the search tokens before the second encounter. The second one we seemed to be doing pretty well, but no matter how many monsters we slaughtered, we never seemed to be able to whittle his numbers down. And having access to Dash cards is so painful. It seems to be the OL's most powerful card in the deck, especially with so many quests being about getting from Point A to Point B.

Also, thanks to Tomble's appraisals and the massive searches we got going to the Quest, we started the second encounter with 5 cards. I took advantage of appraising to know that I had an almost guaranteed shot at getting two more Act II quest items. But in the end, we made a few mistakes and with a Dash Lady Eliza was able to take the idol far away and be surrounded by monsters. Stopping her wasn't possible, and our chances of killing her were slim, and pretty useless as the swarm of adjacent monsters would merely take care of the idol instead. Thankfully, due to my prior actions with Tumble, Resting, and my OPQ of disappearing, I was able to start next to the idol we needed. I could've taken the final search token, but this would've basically been throwing in the towel. With such high rewards for winning the quest, we decided to go for the win.

Whether we stunned Eliza or not, she had two turns to get out. So we had this turn and one more turn to win with the idol, or we lost. Everybody felt defeated, but I refused to let that happen. I convinced the team to set up a chain to pass along the idol to the exit. Unfortunately, they moved to hastily and recklessly to perfect it (also, it would've been better to move, fatigue move, rest, then to move twice and keep fatigue from earlier rounds). And we used one hero to blow up the flesh moulders blocking my path, and step in front as far as he could. Finally, on my turn, I abandoned the search token, grabbed the idol, and moved and full-fatigue-moved (9 spaces) as far as I could. It was enough to stand just behind Leoric, which was great because this was enough to prevent all monsters (except Eliza if he was foolish enough to bring her back) from touching me with her in the way.

The plan was that I was going to move 5 back, drop the idol, the fighter Syndrael would pick up the idol, fatigue-move once (all she had left), and drop it, then Ashrian the priestess or w/e would pick it up, run, and fatigue-move off the map.

Start of the OL's turn, he plays Dark w/e it's called. He targetted the weakest link, the fighter. We had to make a wisdom roll of 2 or less or less the OL could move him... Due to this, our chain was now just myself and Ashrian. This caused Ashrian to have to move back one space in the water to grab the idol and move on, leaving Ashrian one step from off the board. Ashrian started with 1 fatigue, so if he would've gone one less space, or fatigue-moved and rested instead, we could've won. Of course, then the OL could've targetted Ashrian instread and moved her. But we were so close.

Again, another win for the OL. So far we've won A Fat Goblin and First Blood. OL has won Cardinal's Plight, Masquerade Ball, the Interlude, and Twin Idols. 2-4, our record is pretty bad... 2 more quests and then the finale...

But at least we picked up two ridiculously awesome items (one being the Steel Greatsword) and 350 gold in the quest!
 
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6. Board Game: War of the Ring [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:118]
Board Game: War of the Ring: Second Edition
Mc Jarvis
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Virginia
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I had planned on getting together for Roads & Boats this afternoon, but I irresponsibly didn't cement a time to meet up with players in time. One had to drop out due to prior commitments, so I decided to switch from Roads & Boats to War of the Ring. This was a pleasant surprise in terms of gaming: I rarely get to play War of the Ring due to its epic size and scope. It was decidedly a teaching game, but I think I may try to get this to the table. The game manages to weave theme into solid strategic mechanics so well that even as someone who doesn't like LOTR that much, I find myself enraptured. "The Nazgul have been harassing the fellowship, but Gondor is in trouble! Strider and Legolas will split off and hope to help enlist the aide of other countries to help in Gondor's plight."

And, of course, the end of the game: Gondor lay in ruins, so Gondor's last mighty army sprang forth from their last stronghold, led by two of Gondor's greatest leaders, Legolas, Aragorn, and Gandalf the White. The mighty army managed to defeat the forces at Mount Doom, thus disbanding the will of the forces of evil to continue their battle. [Military victory for the fellowship!]
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7. Board Game: Big Points [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:3140]
Board Game: Big Points
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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A ridiculously good week of gaming with TONS of new plays (marked by the asterisks). A special thanks to James for visiting on Saturday and bringing his massive bag full of stuff I wanted to try! I will give a short snippet of each of the plays this week.

1960: The Making of the President* (1x): Chris F. was right in saying that if I didn't like Twilight Struggle, I wouldn't like 1960. It's a good game and I can recognize it as such, but it's neither Matt's nor my taste. I ended up winning (without New York!) despite feeling crushed through the whole game. We did play a few things incorrectly, but I doubt it'd change my opinion on the game.

Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small* (1x): This played much faster than I thought. It felt very much like an Agricola mini game. Not bad, but in its simplicity it felt like I didn't get much time to develop anything. I'd play again if the occasion arose and glad I got to try it. Also, James stomped me.

Babel* (1x): What a boring game. We misread a rule about the temple cards so the game ended faster than it should have, which was thankfully a good thing. The game was thoroughly uninteresting. Speaking of games that show their age, this one very much does. Snooze fest.

Big Points* (1x): I don't actually hate everything. This was a delightful little set collection esque, pseudo stock game. It kind of felt like Paris Connection and Cartegena had a baby. I may spend some of my Amazon gift certificates and grab myself a copy.

Dominant Species: The Card Game* (1x): I was curious about how terrible this game was. My favorite part was when James was taking it out of the box and said, "Prepare to be underwhelmed." The mechanics themselves were not bad. I like the hand management and card play, but the scoring needs to be thrown out the window. It almost felt like the game wasn't playtested enough. There's a good game in there somewhere. Unfortunately, it's not in its current form.

Famiglia* (1x): Convoluted ladder-climbing game with the typical atrocious Friedemann Friese rules. Boring.

Glory to Rome (1x): Not my first play of this, but first one in over a year AND it was James's pretty black box edition. We played by the Republica version, which I quite enjoyed. I really need to play this more and enough to warrant dumping my I.V. copy for the black box edition (or at least picking up the Republica I.V. styled expansion cards from the BGG store).

Lords of Scotland* (1x): A cute little game that had a slight DS: TCG feel to it. I enjoyed it as 2-player and am not sure I'd want to play with more than that.

Paris Connection (1x): I forced this on James because I felt like his life would be better having played this. He will undoubtedly post about how much improved things are since playing this game.

Sleuth* (1x): A nice alternative to Clue. That Sid Sackson. Pretty cool dude.

Sobek* (1x): Wonky and fiddly scoring. An okay game, but not one I feel the need to play again.

Through the Desert (1x): Every time I play this, I think about how I should play it more.

Tulipmania 1637* (1x): An interesting market game. Ugly art. Despite feeling a bit lost, I'd play again and give it another chance.

Village* (1x): A good game, but not great. I think removing the cubes as a means to take your actions is unique and novel, as well as the time track / family members death mechanic. We played this with three, but I think it'd be pretty decent at all player combinations. I would like to play it again, hopefully sooner rather than later (when I forget everything about it).
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8. Board Game: Eclipse [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:44]
Board Game: Eclipse
Jennifer Dean
United States
California
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7 Wonders w/ Cities* & Leaders x1
Cthulhu Fluxx* x2
Eclipse* x1
Family Business* x1
Fresco* x1
Innovation x1
Trajan* x1

So my list isn't all that different from Travis's this week, we had a lighter crowd at our gaming group, and I tend to disdain dungeon crawlingesque stuff, so I wasn't part of the Descent stuff.

7 Wonders
This was my first time with the Cities expansion, and probably my first play with Leaders since last year. Our game group was bashing the Leaders expansion as a stand alone, which was curious because I had tended to like playing with it. The thought was that the Cities expansion balanced everything. Personally, I think I would have rather just played the base game. I think it's more logical and better strategy wise. I might give it another shot though.

Cthulhu Fluxx*
I have really enjoyed previous iterations of Fluxx (randomness aside), and this was no exception. The theme was well played out, with doom symbols & such. This has made me want to take a look at Lovecraft. (although you won't find me playing lovecraftian themed rpgs any time soon )

Eclipse*
After the large amount of explanation, and I recovered from my eyes being glazed over, I enjoyed this game. I had a little bit of a tough break in terms of explored tiles not netting me cash/ not allowing me to colonize as much so my economy stayed pretty small for the game length. I think on a second play I'll have a better idea how to get the right technologies. I also think I won't play red if I can help it.

Family Business*
This was a fun, light game. I liked the theme too. I think some of the rules were misapplied, but I enjoyed sliding under the radar (until my own husband made it possible for my last four guys on the hit list/ they got taken out in a mob war.

Fresco*
This was a close game. I think I was one of two newbies to this for the night. I really liked this as a worker placement game... the types of planning it takes is a little more straight forward, and you really have to watch other people with the paint cubes they're taking so you don't have wasted action.
I think I won the straight up points war in this one, but was foiled in the end by points for leftover goods.

Innovation
I taught this one to one of the guys we played Glory to Rome with last week. I spent part of the game convincing him to hit the early leader in achievements score pile, then snuck a few of the special achievements in. I had a card that let me take two cards from my opponents hands, which kept their options minimal for part of the game. The leader applied an interesting minimalist strategy that I hadn't seen before, and he almost won with it. The new guy had a huge score pile toward the end, but no achievements. Interesting game.

Trajan*
As far as worker placements go, this was not my favorite. By the time I had gotten my strategy really going, I realized it wasn't going to get me enough points. The resources were just tight enough that I ended up losing 4-9 points every quarter as well, which hurt.
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9. Board Game: Equinox [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:5872]
Board Game: Equinox
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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Weekly Plays:

Dominion - 6 (all isotropic)
7 Wonders: Cities - 1
Brass: Lancashire - 1
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game - 1
Stone Age - 1

Not a lot of plays obviously, but I did get in a few with Liz this weekend.

Saturday, we tried 7 Wonders with both Leaders and Cities using the team rules from Cities (playing two neighboring wonders each). It was fun, though significantly longer. The most obvious difference was that it was a lot easier to specialize, since you could see what was coming a turn in advance for one of your wonders each age. One of Liz's ended up with a huge science score (52, and 1 coin short of getting to 63 with a sixth compass), the other scored a bunch from leaders, one of mine went heavily military (supported by all three leaders), and the other went for direct points with blue and black cards. I won by 6 (and the play she came up just short on would have net her 7 points, I think), with all four wonders between 67 and 76. I'd still like to try a 2-player variant with two free cities, which I think would be closer to a reasonable playtime (though losing a little something in planning and specialization).

Yesterday, we tried Lord of the Rings again, swapping decks from the previous play so she could try focusing on combat, and taking on the Anduin scenario. It was pretty brutal, though we stayed alive long enough for her to finish off the Hill Troll, after a series of locations nearly finished us off by threat (and then we lost to back-to-back treacheries which wiped out our injured heroes, before we were able to get back on our feet and make progress). She decided that she doesn't like this... which is fine, I like it just fine solo (and I've just added the second arc of expansions, yay).

Then we played Stone Age, after she was surprised to find she had only played it twice (after learning it early on in her intro to board games). She played a solid game but struggled a bit with food, while I had no trouble there and somehow ended up with a bunch of civ cards very early (almost never happens) which allowed me to focus on other things. I'm wondering if this needs a tweak with two on the civ cards, since with two of each in the deck and most of the cards tending to be bought by the end of the game (even if we end it on huts, though this may just be because of my playstyle?), both players tend to end up with a mostly complete set (and blocking isn't that strong until maybe the last couple cards, unless the immediate benefit is good). Of course, just adding the expansion cards might help here. I still find this enjoyable with two, but my play is becoming a bit robotic... haven't had a close game in a long time.

Linked item is a game published by Asmadi and designed by Jason Boomer, who I know from the Grey Labyrinth (the parent site to mafiascum). Looks neat, and I could afford to order a copy (unlike the other GLer designed game, Key Market), so it's on the way. (http://asmadigames.com/detail_equinox.html if you're interested)
 
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10. RPG Item: Fiasco [Average Rating:8.29 Overall Rank:5]
RPG Item: Fiasco
Chris Ferejohn
United States
Mountain View
California
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At Silicon Valley board gamers there were some new people - a father and daughter (around 12 or 13 I would guess). They liked games (and in fact had been working on creating one), but they weren't familiar with anything we had. I volunteered to teach them a couple things since I'm good at that (and I like doing it). We were joined by a couple other folks.

Started off with No Thanks, which is a game I think anyone who is working on game design should consider, just because it shows how you can make a pretty compelling game out of what is basically one novel mechanic and very little else. Rachel (the daughter) showed nascent signs of AP - kind of getting frozen and asking "what should I do" - that's kind of charming in a 12 year old. It gets annoying when the person is 30. Entertainingly she won pretty easily.

Pandemic
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Pandemic is another game that usually hits for new gamers. I did my best not to tell everyone what to do (and in fact Rachel and her father both had some good suggestions). We played with 5 epidemics and open cards. We won pretty easily because of how the Epidemics were distributed, but probably good to give them a success experience.

Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small
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Had a little time left after Pandemic (Rachel and her father left), so I borrowed a copy of the new 2-player Agricola that someone had brought. It was…all right. If you are familiar with Agricola you'll learn this pretty quick (though the scoring is a little different - you get a flat 1 point/animal in addition to the other scoring). It lacks the tension of feeding and the variability of the minors/occupations, but it played in about 30 minutes with two new players (albeit ones familiar with Agricola) learning out of the rulebook. I'd be happy to play it again, but I probably wouldn't seek it out.

Android: Netrunner x4
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I broke down and got the new hotness. Played 4 games, 2 against a friend and 2 against my wife. All games but the last one were with the suggested starting decks (I did a little tweaking for the second game my wife and I played). Unfortunately, it doesn't look like this is going to be my wife's kind of game - there are just a few too many leaps between what you are doing and the goal of them game (compare to Summoner Wars where he goal is "kill that guy"). However, I quite liked it, so I'll be hopping on that money train for at least the first cycle. My friend Ian liked it as well, and I think there are a couple more folks I can talk into playing with me.

It's kind of interesting that this is a customizable deck game that doesn't really require each player to have his own copy of the game since there is no overlap between cards the two players can use. To me, that's always been the actually interesting thing about the Magic model - not the random distribution, but the fact that typically all players in the community will have their own "copy" of the game (compare to a board game where I still don't own Power Grid because everyone I would play Power Grid with already does).

Tok Tok Woodman x3
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The $11 that keeps on giving. Had a friend in from out of town and we played a few games of this with my wife bracketed around a game of…

Fiasco
My wife didn't play - just me plus a couple friends. I hadn't played since Rishi taught it to me at BGG.con when I was fairly drunk so had to do a bit more reminding myself about rules than ideal (and totally forgot that you were supposed to give away your Act I dice), but still pretty fun. We played "Suburbia" and ended up with a story where I was trying to prevent a mafiaso from killing my brother (who had failed to throw a boxing match to him in the big city) by faking that he had been devoured by 100 feral cats. We actually were successful in that but I was run out of town for animal cruelty. Good times.
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11. Board Game: Indonesia [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:219]
Board Game: Indonesia
Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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So this is the sort of week I dream about. I started out with

1x 1853

Then on our date night, Amanda and i played

1x Roads & Boats

Then I went to a gaming con where I got to play several games with my kids,

2x Piece o' Cake
1x Zombie Dice
1x Cartagena

as well as getting to learn a new game that is not out yet from the developer,

4x The New Science

and then play some heavier games,

1x Indonesia
1x Key Market
1x Prêt-à-Porter
1x Roads & Boats

Then, finally when I got back from the Con, I had the UGOI over and we played

1x Agricola: Farmers of the Moor


(I did leave out one intro play of Galaxy Trucker which didn't seem to fit anywhere above)

So, let's see. 1853 was ok but probably one of my least favorite 18XXs so far. I can't say why. It just didn't grab me. It was long for what it was. It didn't have the stock manipulation of 1830. The start of the game is screwy. There are no privates and in our 3 player game, the narrow gauge didn't come into play until the last 2 or 3 ORs.

Roads & Boats was interesting. The first game Amanda and I played 2-player and she cleaned my clock by just making wood and building the wonder. When we played at the Con, we had a different map and I got to see the resource conversion aspect of R&B. Unfortunately, we didn't start until 10:30 and I was working on 4 hours of sleep for the past two nights; so I called it at 1:30. It's an interesting game and I'm looking forward to playing it again when I've got some more sleep.

Indonesia is also... interesting. This is one I'm anxious to play again to see if it makes more sense the second time. The rules are simple but the strategy isn't. I'm very interested in trying to play this one more.

Lastly, Key Market, Pret-a-Porter, and Agricola: FotM were great as usual with me winning all three. Key Market and Pret-a-Porter were both 3 player games. I still need to play Key Market with the random draw of the guilds. Every time I play I'm introducing all new players so I keep playing with the first XX guilds. Pret-a-Porter was great but took way too long (at slightly over 3 hours including rules explanation). Lastly, FotM was great. I got to see Ron and Brian for the first time in months, which was cool, and I got to win by a lot (63 to 38?). For some reason I do better at FotM than I do at the base game. No idea why, just lucky.

Lastly, if anyone is interested, I wrote a review of The New Science, Some thoughts after 4 plays.
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12. RPG Designer: Rishi Agrawal
From gallery of BoardGameGeek
Rishi A.
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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Plays (all two player):

Quarriors!
Blink
YINSH

I tried Quarriors with the variant for the first time (two buys, you have to cull the die you scored) and I loved it. It felt like the game was longer and less random. The two buys was a huge improvement. It's actually a difficult (and meaningful) decision whether to buy the most expensive thing or split that buy into two lesser dice.

I hate Blink. Becca loves it. She pointed out that I hadn't played it in about a year and a half, so I agreed. We played three games. The only one I won was when she dropped her cards on the floor. (She actually did this in two games, but still won the other one.)

First time that Becca played YINSH. Despite the fact that I'd played several times before and she was falling asleep, she still trounced me.

In other news, I like Ascension now, mostly because of the absolutely amazing iOS implementation. If anyone has it and wants to play a game, I'm up for it, though I only have the base set at the moment.
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13. Board Game: Seasons [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:202]
Board Game: Seasons
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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New Games

Merchants and Marauders x1
Through the Desert x1
Paris Connection x1
Dominant Species: The Card Game x1
Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small x1
Seasons x1

Old Games

Glory to Rome x1
Lords of Scotland x1
Sobek x1
Tulipmania 1637 x1
Sleuth x1
Owner's Choice x1
Junta: Viva El Presidente! x1

Sorry for the delay, I'm reporting live from Cape Cod on a two week vacation, so I'll be a bit absent from the GCL until I return on Oct. 10th. Grace has filled you all in on our game marathon last Saturday, but I thought I'd contribute a few things as well as the usual weekly plays.

Merchants and Marauders is a fine adventure game, Ameritrashy yet with a wide variety of strategies. It's surprisingly generous for a game with player destruction (not so much elimination, you come back in with a fresh ship if you get trashed), as I managed to get 7 of the 10 required victory points despite getting utterly annihilated by a merchant frigate. It's not really a game I will request, but I'll definitely say yes to it if someone suggests it.

Through the Desert is a nice little game. Juggling the various camel colors gave some neat variety, along with the various scoring methods. The odd thing was that I can barely remember the game itself, or at least what I did to win it. The experience went in one ear and out the other, and despite there being some tiny moments of crunch the whole thing just didn't really stick. I imagine this is what contributes to Grace getting the same "oh yeah, this is a good game" vibe every time she plays: it's well designed, but kinda forgettable.

When Grace started gabbing on about this "train" game Paris Connection, I admit I was somewhat skeptical. The last thing I want to experience is some light rail game, completely harmless and utterly forgettable, or at least that was the impression I was getting. Boy was I wrong! Pleasingly simple, wonderfully economical in rules and with an interesting strategy shift as the game progresses; this is one of the better medium-light fillers I've ever played. My life is indeed improved for having played it.

Dominant Species: The Card Game is just...blah. Play Condottiere or Lords of Scotland, you'll have a better experience.

I'm liking Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small more than it's big brother, though after a few plays it's starting to get samey. I think I'll probably more interested the the two player version of Le Havre when it comes out later.

And finally: Seriously, don't play Seasons with 4. All the little niggling problems that sometimes come up rear their heads with a vengeance in a full 4p game. Play with 2-3 and you'll have a great time.
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