GCL Phoenix 90 - What Puts a Smile on Your Face!?!
Nicolai Broen Thorning
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Welcome to the 73rd installment of the Phoenix Game Chat League. If this is your first visit or you just want to know more, check out the general Game Chat League information hub.

We welcome regular lurkers and strangers alike, but please refrain from posting any items to our regular members. Feel free to comment and join in the discussions and banter that should hopefully ensue.

Our roster comprises of:

Benny D
Bruzza
chally
Eeeville
Dormammu
enzo622
Hawkeye77
indigopotter
JohnRayJr
Judoka
leroy43
Lowengrin
Mr_Nuts
ravenskana
rynelf
Taibi
tjshields (up next)
topherr
Yokiboy

Life has its ups and downs, last time I asked about what was fun, I will do the same this week, because you can't let life get you down, but it will have a different angle.
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1. Board Game: Smile Squad [Average Rating:4.75 Unranked]
Board Game: Smile Squad
Nicolai Broen Thorning
Denmark
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Life has been rough these past few months. I focus on keeping a smile on my face, remembering all the great things I have going for me and that I have a purpose.

What makes you smile when you are down in the dumps or when you are just having a bad day?
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2. Board Game: Happy Hour: The Game [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Happy Hour: The Game
Nicolai Broen Thorning
Denmark
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This is an extension of previous question - when was the last time boardgaming made you smile (perhaps every time?)?

What games, circumstances, people make you smile and feel good?
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3. Board Game: King of Tokyo [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:303]
Board Game: King of Tokyo
Nicolai Broen Thorning
Denmark
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Games Played Week 38:
2x King of Tokyo
1x By Golly!
1x Animal Upon Animal

Game of Choice:
Well, given that it was the first time in 2 months that I played any game, they could all have counted, but this push-your-luck game takes the nod. It is great fun and we played it with 3 and then 4 - both making for very interesting decisions.

In the first game M. won when E. and I decided to push our luck a bit too far. We had V. and M. on the ropes given how E. had been throwing the dice, but needing 3 wounds to kill them off we hit 1 - then M. proceeded to knock us out - with 2 health left.

The 2nd game E. joined us on her own and I won the game on my turn scoring 3 VP on my throw and getting 2 lightning points enabling me to buy a card to be played giving me a total of 21 points and leaving me with just 1 hit point (the card cost me 3 hit points).

The Week in Review:
In other gaming we managed a game of Animal Upon Animal, which E. won. M. then had enough and the rest of us finished the afternoon with By Golly!, which saw V. won just ahead of E.!

It was a very enjoyable Sunday afternoon and the first time in a long time we had time together all 4 without any engagements - just being able to sit and talk, play together and just enjoy the moment.

So, a nice, quiet end to a ups and down week. I spent 2 days at home with the flu in the middle of the week. M. was then run over on his way to school Friday. A car making a right turn in a crossing with M. and the car crashing. Fortunately the car was going very slowly, so he survived with a big bruise just below his right knee. Today, when the pain has subsided in the knee, he has felt pains in his ankle. They went for an x-ray, but they don't do x-rays on kids (go figure) on Sundays, so they will have to go back tomorrow (about 30 mins each way).

Hopefully it is nothing, but it could be a strained ligament or worst case a fracture in the bone - we will know tomorrow.

The Week Ahead:
Thursday - and over the weeken - I get to spend more time with V. - I can't wait. I will probably spend time looking up the new Essen releases, though I think I have enough games already (coming in) and nothing interesting aside from those mentioned already last week.

Still, a nice way to spend an evening alone.
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4. Board Game: Glen More [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:330]
Board Game: Glen More
"L'état, c'est moi."
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Vancouver
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This is the week that was:
Glen More 1
Scrabble 1
TransAmerica 1

A very low gaming week for me. I had to work on Wednesday night, so I missed out on the bi-weekly Combat Commander session with HMS. The only gaming I got this week was with my lovely wife at the pub on Friday while my daughter was in her art class. We played Glen More, and she absolutely walloped me (clearly having learned the game too well from the week before), and then a game of Transamerica where I managed to pull out a last ditch victory after being horribly behind all game.

All three of my Virgin Queen games on VASSAL have stalled. My Here I Stand game has also stalled; there's one player in that game who's very pushy about people keeping a brisk pace to the game, including having threatened in the early part of the game to drop out of we had a negotiation period longer than 48 hours. He of course is why the game is stalled because he's off for a week...

My four Unhappy King Charles games are all going slowly, mostly because of me, but I'm blessed here with opponents who are also somewhat pressed for time and are enjoying the leisurely pace.

And finally, I've actually been more active in my 1989 game.
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5. Board Game: Zombicide [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:463] [Average Rating:7.17 Unranked]
Board Game: Zombicide
Yoki Erdtman
Sweden
Södertälje
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Games Played: (Links to play details, with my ratings in color, and milestones noted in red italic.)
Zilch, zip, nada, ingenting, and nothing at all.

New Games in My Collection:
I think it was last week that I finally received Andean Abyss, but it may have been the week prior.

Week in Review:
My wife had her birthday (a nice even numbered one) on Labor Day, and we celebrated the occasion with a party Saturday. It was mostly family, and while still numbering 22, we managed to seat everyone in our kitchen. My wife worked herself to the bone, but luckily had her best friend helping out with the preparations, while I stood for entertaining her two sons with the help of our PS3.

Representative Item:
I'm sticking with Zombicide as it has never left my mind and I'm so looking forward to playing again, something I intend to rectify soon. However, Andean Abyss is also beckoning.

Plans for the Week:
Thursday will be the last weekly game night for my brother before SPIEL. That may mean that we'll do a heavy euro in his honor. He's so picky about thematic games, loving a few, hating most.

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6. Board Game: Rattus [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:971]
Board Game: Rattus
Max Maloney
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Games Played

.10! Hanabi 10
_8_ Pandemic 1
_8_ Arkham Horror 1
_8_ Dixit 1
_8_ Taj Mahal 1
_7_ Horse Fever 1 New!
_7_ Kingdom Builder 1
_7_ Eclipse 1
_7_ Survive: Escape from Atlantis! 1
_6_ Netrunner 1
_6_ Rattus New!
_6_ A Game of Thrones: The Card Game 1
_6_ Diamant 1
_6_ Betrayal at House on the Hill 2

Week in Review

I took a break from Magic this week, as the coming weekend is the prerelease for the new set and I am resting before the storm of new Magic engulfs me.

Both new games this week were intriguing and I also got 3-4 games to the table that I've been wanting to play lately. Overall, great stuff. I'll hit the highlights tomorrow at a more reasonable hour.
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7. Board Game: Biblios [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:358]
Board Game: Biblios
Bryan Maxwell
United States
Burtchville
Michigan
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Trajan x 2

Kat and I got 2 more plays of Trajan in this week. She's been busy with school, but she's digging this one and we squeeze a play in when we can.

Ascension x 1

Wednesday game night started with this one. I started this with the first guy to show up, and a third quickly showed so we added him. This was an uneven play where one player wound up with all the constructs and the monsters stopped showing up halfway through the game.

Biblios x 3

Our 4th showed up late and we didn't have the 5th as expected. We wound up with not a lot of time and a table of varied tastes, so I figured Biblios would be fast and easy to teach. We played a trio of 4-player games and it went over really, really well. I was already high on Biblios as a 2-player game, and after player the 4-player game I've bumped the game's rating to a 10 and moved it into my top 10.

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I'm working this Wednesday night for the first time in years. I've had to open up my availability for that day at work, so my usual game night is in jeopardy. I'm trying to figure out a way to trick my brain into writing my resume without me knowing it. I really need to develop some other personalities. Trying to self-promote is extremely distasteful for me to the point of being just about impossible. It's a world fueled by bullshit, but I'm going to start putting applications in around town because what do I have to lose? It looks like there may be a mass exodus from my department at work. Morale is extremely low.

I need a job that will pay the bills for a few months while wife finishes school so that I can go to school and get the HELL out of retail and into something that matters.

Ahem. So anyhow, gaming prospects aren't that good this week.

I do want to give 1812 a try soon.
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8. Board Game: Vinhos [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:403]
Board Game: Vinhos
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Wurtsboro
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Last night I got some foamcore and put together an insert for Vinhos:

Board Game: Vinhos


The setup time for a game is inversely proportional to the likelihood that it will get played, and this game was calling for a custom insert. I don't usually throw out inserts, but it was a very flimsy cardboard one that just had a canyon in the middle for plastic bags, and one flap was already torn off when I got it.

While I was making the insert, Sam came over and primed a figure, as he wants to do some painting, too. That will be a fun thing for us to do together.
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9. Board Game: Paris Connection [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:1459]
Board Game: Paris Connection
Lo
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Games Played
Ascension: Storm of Souls x1

Expansions Used
Ascension: Return of the Fallen x1

The Week in Review
Not much better than zilch, nada. Distractions abound. Although I did get to some game shops, bought Biblios in one, and even took it out of its shrink, haven't had time to read the rules or play it yet.
Board Game: Biblios

The Week Ahead
Hopefully sometime this week, I'll get some gaming in. Things should hopefully slow down in the next few days for S and I. So we might actually get a few plays out of Biblios.

Edit: Changed game of the week.
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10. Board Game: Le Havre [Average Rating:7.87 Overall Rank:43]
Board Game: Le Havre
Jon
United States
Urbana
Illinois
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Games Played:

_10_ Le Havre x1
Played at Wednesday night meetup with Dane and Amos. Dane was familiar with the game through the iOS version while Amos was new to the game. I managed to grab early ships, with an amusing assist by the picket line special building, then did some early shipping turning about a dozen wood into charcoal to supply me with a lot of energy. In the end I won with 267, while Dane had 209 and Amos 193.

_6_ Thebes x1
Played a four player game with two people sharing one position (Ash and Liang-Feng), one person (Colleen) who left early and whose position was played by comittee, Dave and myself. I won primarily due to picking up a ton of congress cards and dominating in the green site collection.
Jon 74
Dave 60
Colleen 59
Ash + Liang-Feng 56


_8_ Outpost x1
My oldest son and I taught this to three new people. Unfortunately, my son got tired and hungry sooner than expected and he ended up more or less giving up at the beginning of the third era. He says he still had fun though. I won due to avoding hand limits with research and microbiotics and tossing in some new chemicals in there.
Jon 92
Amos 78
Jon G. 57
Dane 56
oldest son 24

_7_ Navegador x1
Finally opened my copy of the game and played a two player game to get the ruleset in my head. End game player board bonuses won me the day 137 to 106 and I think we got through it with no problems this time.


_8_ Plato 3000 x1
My youngest son wanted to play this and I got my oldest son to play too. It took five rounds to get the end and I won 114 to my oldest son's 41 and my youngest son's 79. I still like this as a quick playing card game but my oldest son was slightly annoyed when in a couple rounds he had negative points which caused his end scoring to be so low.
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11. Board Game: Ascension: Deckbuilding Game [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:579] [Average Rating:7.03 Unranked]
Board Game: Ascension: Deckbuilding Game
Mark Johnson
Canada
St.John's
Newfoundland
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King of Tokyo (3)
Ascension + Expansions (2)

---

Probably a record low amount of plays for Ascension. I guess I was feeling a little burnt out before Immortal Heroes was released. I was ok with this as I felt that Immortal Heroes would reignite my interest. It sadly did not as the Soul gem mechanism is extremely boring. After 15 games of the expansion, I've decided I'm not going to try and force myself to enjoy it. I went back to making a highlander cube and including cards from Immortal Heroes but excluding cards that mention Soul Gems. I'm sure I'll get Immortal Heroes when released on iOS and then I'll have plenty of time to try an come to grips with them. In the mean time, I'll just play highlander. Here's a link to the list if anyone is interested:

Highlander-ish Cube for those that don't like Soul Gems.

I also got together with the light games group. We end up playing King of Tokyo like three times in a row. While I think King of Tokyo is a decent game, three times in a row was a bit much for me. To be honest, I think I'm going to try and avoid getting together with the light games group. Why? If I was to compare the experience to tell you how I feel about it, it would probably be something like this: When you're craving a steak, potato chips just don't satisfy unless you're starving. "But Mark, games are not simply about playing, it's about getting together with your friends!" People in the light games group are more acquaintances than friends as I never see them outside of gaming. Maybe the the lack of gaming will facilitate other activities. Maybe it will mean a complete disconnect with any sort of communication. I'm ok with whatever happens. I'm sure I'll still play light games time-to-time and it will be more satisfying to play these types of games with true gamers.

---

In Other News

Mu computer is fine now. I didn't do anything special. Basically when I restart my computer, it will go through a phase of where it will bluescreen like I had mentioned. Usually after a few times it goes back to working normally. When I had previously mentioned my troubles it didn't seem to be getting better at all which was a cause for concern. Anyway, my computer seems to have self-corrected itself again which is fabulous. Obviously my computer has some issues but I'll go back to being ignorant about them until the next time it happens. =P

I'm prepping my collection for another major culling. I hate having so many unplayed games in my collection. Beyond that, I do like some of the games that I put on my trade list but they seem unlikely to be played as they would be competing with games that I prefer. I think it can be cut down even further but this is a good first step. I'll only be keeping approximately 55 games. My owned number is a bit embellished due to the large number of promo cards and expansion that I have. If anyone is interested in anything on my trade list before the auction goes live in a week or so, send me a message and maybe we can work something out.

I had a rather unsavory experience recently with a co-worker. I had talked to them a bit at work and mentioned how I played board games. I'm not the kind of person that tries to hide my hobby. I am who I am and if you don't like me for who I am, then that's less time I have to waste on you. Anyway, I invited them to a game night at my place. They were so-so on Blood Bowl but enjoyed Pandemic. After the game night we spent time going for coffee and such. They would comment that 'You're really into games.' One time when I was at their place I happened to be browsing BGG and they asked what I was looking at and various questions about it. I showed them and when they saw my owned list with all of the comments and the fact that I have tracked how many games I've played of each of my games, they were dumbfounded and flabbergasted. They basically said that I was too deep in the rabbits hole and that I need to get myself a girlfriend or do something else to occupy my time. I kind of felt attacked. Afterwards they said they were joking but I think they only said this because I perhaps came off as extremely offended. It's really annoying as they told me some private things about themselves that they weren't proud of and I'm pretty sure they would agree that I was pretty understanding about it. Anyway, it really made me question if I am too much into games. I don't really have an answer to this question.

Tomorrow a game order should be showing up: Seasons and 3 Core Sets of Android: Netrunner. I'm really looking forward to examining the physical contents of the Seasons and getting it played with a friend who I've talked to about it, but hasn't played it on BGA with me. As for Netrunner, it was a big impulse decision. Part of me feels like it was a bad decision to even consider it for the multiple reasons I've said in the past. Big time buyers remorse. I'm seriously considering just sending these Core Sets backs for a refund. Yeah I'll lose out on the shipping costs but maybe it would be for the best. On the other hand, people are raving about this game and someone has apparently made a good solitaire variant. Who knows what I'll end up doing.

As to the card game I'm designing, I finished all of the text and stats of each card. This past week I had to tweak a lot of the text. I've also finished the prototype card layout in paint. I just need to copy/paste the text/stats, save the cards, then create a pdf and have it printed.

I think I'm starting to come down with the flu so I'm probably not going to get much gaming done but we'll see what happens.
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12. Board Game: Zendo [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:814]
Board Game: Zendo
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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_10_ Ultimate Werewolf: Ultimate Edition 5
_9_ Agricola 1
_9_ Agricola: Gamers' Deck 1
_8_ Zendo 6
_7_ A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game 2
_6_ King of Tokyo 2

Zendo was new to me and a pleasant surprise. Nobody, especially me, thought I would like it but I really enjoyed the logic puzzle it is and kept wanting to play another. I did well in my turn as the Master with my rule of "must be three different colors."

I was happy to pull Agricola out for a 3P play along with the Gamer's Deck. I'm reminded that I like this one best by far of Rosenberg's canon. The cards provide the sizzle that his other games don't have for me. Of course, the problem is when one player has a superior combo over the other players, but we drafted and I'd say it was the most even assortment of cards I've seen. I won by 1 little point even though another player kept stepping in front of me with my Day Laborer special ability. It's notable that I played only one occupation the whole game (which gave me the Day Laborer ability I hardly used).

Spent Sat night at a friend's 40th birthday party where we played Werewolf and a couple games of 6P King of Tokyo. WW was its usual awesome self and I could've played more but people started to head home early so we played KoT. I won the 2nd game in a tense battle to the finish. Conversely, the first game was dull and over before it was over. I find the game very inconsistent in this regard and have taken my rating down to a 6 which is where I have a bunch of other light, filler games. I wouldn't choose this one over those for the most part. Also, I dislike the clunky dice.

A Touch of Evil was new to me and I played it twice. The first time was a team game and it fell completely flat. I knew it was a Flying Frog, light, dice rolling game but it just went off the rails in terms of balance and tension. We all wanted it to just end, and I was ready to ship it out ASAP.

But the next day, a friend came over and we tried it 2P competitively with some new rules I either made up myself or cobbled together from the BGG variants forum. Usually trying to fix a game is a waste of time, but I'm happy to report that tension was created and balance restored to the point where I'm keeping the game to try in individual and team mode. I'm finding myself enjoying more thematic games for the moment so it works in that regard, and I euro-ized it a bit. For anyone who's interested, here are my changes (though I'm sure I'll tweak them still).

Movement
1) Either 3 minus your wounds or
2) the roll of a die. If you choose to roll, you must accept the results. A 1 gives you an Event card as a bonus.

Lair Cards
May only be purchased when the Shadow Track crosses into a new section or is in the final section

Hand Size
You can hold seven cards of any configuration total. The four cards that allow you to hold extra cards are removed. If you draw an eighth card, you may discard one that you have to keep it.

Knockouts
You must lose a card.

Mystery Phase
Roll a die and consult the chart:
1= the Shadow Track moves 2 to the right
2= the Shadow Track moves 1 to the right
3,4,5= resolve a Mystery card
6= place two investigation randomly

Secrets
The elders are placed randomly at the start of the game. You must travel to them to investigate them. Place no more than one per space. For 1 investigation, you can discard an elder's Secret card.

Victory Conditions
Add: If 4 of the elders are ever killed, the Shadow forces win.

Collecting Investigation
You may either interact with the space you're in OR collect all the investigation chits in the space.

Other Stuff: My Vassal game of Paths of Glory continues. I'll give a report later. No other online activities at the moment which is good b/c I've been working some nights and weekends and reading.

Also, I finally got around to a playtest of Lords of Baseball. I'm happy to report that I'm still enjoying the essential gameplay, but I want to strip things out so there's less stopping to do things. Still, I need more plays to concretely conclude that and determine what I think could go. Not sure the designers will agree with me, but I'm not shy about speaking up about stuff that needs to go. Also, in a fit of anal retentiveness organization, I rewrote the rulebook this weekend.

Sorry to miss last week. Who won?
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13. Board Game: Mister Zero [Average Rating:5.06 Unranked]
Board Game: Mister Zero
Tom Shields
United States
Tacoma
Washington
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No games. I have my first ftf gaming in a while set up for Tuesday. Temperatures here are autumnal, but the sun is still out, else I'd be getting Red Winter: The Soviet Attack at Tolvajärvi, Finland – 8-12 December 1939 on the table for a campaign. Likely, that'll wait until I return from Iowa and the big grey sets itself up.

I pushed Android: Netrunner around the table getting re-familiarized, studying just a bit to design a couple decks to play with Max.

Tonight, on national tv, the Seahawks will bloody Green Bay. So I hope you Packerheads are ready for a Pacific Northwest spanking. With that secret mole you inserted to run our organization and draft pansies (Holmgren) long gone, we finally rebuilt with some young, hard hitters on defense. No more finesse crap. We're mean.

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14. Board Game: Battle Leader Tactics [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:10983]
Board Game: Battle Leader Tactics
Judit Szepessy
Canada
London
Canada
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The week in gaming

Battle Leader Tactics x2
Chicago Express x1
El Grande x1

Battle Leader Tactics is a two player card game that was designed by Robert Carrol. It is a wargame but has no scenarios and the conflicts are abstract. You get a leader card that determines what is the highest level of tactics card you can use (12 is the highest), it can also tell you how many cards you can use from your hand to attack and defend, but, most importantly, the higher number of leader will decide who attacks and he also chooses which card the opponent has to discard as the result of losses he incurs. Then the players chose a tactic cards and attack/defense cards secretly. The attack cards have various strength. First you resolve the effects of the two tactic cards with the help of a table, and, finally, you attack and defend. This is one round - a little bit simplified-, and the game consists of ten rounds. It has a strong bluffing element when chosing tactic and attack cards because you reveal them simultaneously. One drawback I can see is if you have a weak leader. You can chose another leader from the deck, but has to sacrifice one of your attack cards and what if you draw an even weaker card. The following leaders are featured on the cards: Charlamagne, Cyrus The Great, Gustavus Adolfus, George Washington, Hannibal and Simon Bolivar, just to mention a few. Leaders from all nations and all times!

Chicago Express: I did better this time with the shares and would like to play the game more to get a better understanding of the synergies and various effects of certain moves.

El Grande
was a four player game and wonderful as usual. I ended up in the second place only with two scores as the result of the lower mobile score board (4) got placed in a region where I had dominance. Of course, other players could not stand that till the end of the game.

I have been reading the rules for Inca Empire. I hope to put it on the table towards the end of the week.
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15. Board Game: Dominant Species: The Card Game [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:4169]
Board Game: Dominant Species: The Card Game
Dave Peters
United States
Belmont
California
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Scorecard for the Week/Month/Year as of 22Sep2012:

2/10/284 plays of 1/8/145 total games, with 0/7/26 expansions employed.
Plays with 3/14/95 distinct opponents.

0/3/24 games acquired (plus 0/2/16 expansions.)

With son #2:
1x _7.3_ Dominant Species: The Card Game New! - It's quite a charming two-player game - which I hadn't expected at all. It worked nicely, and - better - son #2 found it entertaining enough to want to play again. The game isn't "balanced"; at least in the sense that some cards are significantly stronger than others. But it plays quickly enough that one could just try again if the cards aren't cooperating.

With a couple of the no-longer-on-Fridays guys:
1x _7.3_ Dominant Species: The Card Game - This one wasn't quite as enthusiasm-inducing as the first play. That's not to say the game doesn't have potential: it does! But the balance point is hard to see for novices. So it becomes a game that one loses, even more than a game that one wins. Now, that's not to say in our particular instance that the winner didn't play well (he did!) But I think the other two of us also simultaneously ensured that we couldn't win. I think it'll end up being pretty tractable, even if it isn't quite there yet.

Owned-and-unplayed: 19 (+0/-1)

Outlook for the week: Oh, no idea. It's nice to not have travel plans this week - nor a couple evenings of rehearsals and performance. I hope that we'll get some gaming in occasionally, though. As to the travel: many thanks for the Flights of Fantasy and Sara Bella Pizza recommendations, Indigo; we ate there twice (son #1 is a huge fan of pizza; our third dinner was at a Thai place in Schenectady) and I had fun perusing the shelves (though I fear I spent a lot more time on the impressive book shelves, rather than the fairly unimpressive-except-for-Games-Workshop-and-Magic game collection.)
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16. Board Game: Here I Stand [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:246]
Board Game: Here I Stand
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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All life is only a set of pictures in the brain, among which there is no difference betwixt those born of real things and those born of inward dreamings, and no cause to value the one above the other.
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So there's talk of getting an online game of this going. I and my friend, Wayne, are in. We can help each other with rules as we go along.

Who else?

1) Kurt
2) Wayne
3) Roger


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17. Board Game: Commands & Colors: Ancients [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:134]
Board Game: Commands & Colors: Ancients
Games Played
Tichu x1
Palastgeflüster x1
1989: Dawn of Freedom x1
Commands & Colors: Ancients x2
King of Tokyo x2
FlowerFall x2

Week in Review
Ended a nearly 2 week gaming drought on Friday night! We had a dinner date and played Tichu with another couple. The guys ended up crushing the gals. More games were planned for Friday night but we were joined for dinner by my friends 93 y/o mother who is a survivor of the Holocaust. We spent the majority of the evening talking with her and listening to some remarkable stories. A really amazing evening that I'm honored to have had the opportunity to experience.

Saturday I got in my first game of 1989 with my wargaming buddy. We should be getting back to our semi-regular wargaming very soon as his mother (referenced above) will be returning for the winter to her home in Florida. I played as the Communist in this session. It was the first time playing for both myself and my opponent. Neither of us were familiar at all with the cards and as a result we had a dizzying roller coaster of a session.

I ended up winning at the end of turn 8 after playing the New Years Eve card. I was still in control of 4 countries at that point but had lost Poland (turn 1!) and Hungary (turn 4 or 5). Things were starting to look really grim for me in East Germany as well. A part of me wishes we would have went the entire distance just to see how everything would have played out.

I certainly enjoyed the game and felt a tremendous amount of tension. It's far too early for me to compare it to Twilight Struggle or make any claims about its long-term standing. The best thing I can say is that we both enjoyed it and are anxious to explore it further.

Tori and I spent a relaxing time after the kids went to bed Saturday night with a couple of sessions of Commands and Colors: Ancients. It's the gaming highlight of the week for me because Tori and I decided we would attempt start a weekly CC:A night. We intend to play each scenario twice, switching sides, in the same evening. We started off by playing the very first scenario in the base game.

This game just captures me every time I play it. It just hits such a sweet spot. We took this session really slow to help Tori get a grasp on the rules and some different strategies to consider with movement, evading and various troop strengths/weaknesses. I'm looking forward to seeing where this goes for us and will provide more details of each scenario as we play them.

Sunday morning was spent playing games with my wife and kids. King of Tokyo is requested nearly every time we game. My oldest claims to be the Queen of Tokyo and is always eager to defend this claim. Her mother won the first session and I claimed the win in the second. My daughters response to that was that mom could be the princess and I could be the prince but she already has claims on being the Queen! I look forward to picking up the expansion for this one after Spiel.

We ended our morning with a couple of games of FlowerFall. It was the first time they had played and it proved to be a quick and enjoyable game. Final scoring is a bit wonky and took a bit of explaining but I think they get it now. Tom we might just want to keep all those Wallace titles and heavy economic games on the shelves and just do a FlowerFall tournament while you visit.

Upcoming Plans
A really busy time right now at home and work. I'm getting ready to hit the road for nearly a week and head to Florida for work. Tom then arrives less than 2 days after I get home!

While in Florida later this week I plan on hitting the beaches, picking some oranges, wrasslin' some gators and hunting down the legendary Jesse Dean to get some gaming in if at all possible.

I'll likely be a bit quiet the next couple of weeks when I'm on the road and then after Tom gets here. I expect to be off having a good time and hopefully have plenty of stories to share with you all!

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18. Board Game: The Great Zimbabwe [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:347]
Board Game: The Great Zimbabwe
"L'état, c'est moi."
Canada
Vancouver
BC
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Roger's Reviews: check out my reviews page, right here on BGG!
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Caution: May contain wargame like substance
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I see that Funagain is having their annual "we're bringing stuff from Essen to BGG.Con" offer on.

The Great Zimbabwe is $120. robot

Even so I'm tempted...
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19. Board Game: Glory to Rome [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:190]
Board Game: Glory to Rome
Железный комиссар
United States
Indiana
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Another light week.

I played a four-player game of GtR black box. We were using all of the cards, which includes a ton of new ones, and these cluttered the experience. No-one seemed to think they added much or matched the creativity of the original card set. I may revisit them later, but for now I'm going to pull them out.

All three of my opponents commented that the new look was a bit intimidating and serious and that it didn't seem, to them, to fit with their image of the game. They missed the playfulness of the original art.

I like both, but I don't think the production values of Black Box are what they should be. The box-bubbling is the most obvious defect. But the cards and player mats aren't all pristine either, and the whiteness of the cards is too stark. You can tell it's meant to be a top-quality production, but that the printer didn't apply a high enough standard. A bit of a disappointment.
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