GCL Amoeba 90 -- There's a crack in everything (2012-09-24)
Mikko Saari
Finland
Tampere
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Microbadge: GameChat League - Amoeba Division: "Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious predator on Earth!" ABOUT GCL Microbadge: GameChat League - Amoeba Division: "Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious predator on Earth!" ABOUT THE AMOEBAE Microbadge: GameChat League - Amoeba Division: "Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious predator on Earth!" SUBSCRIBE Microbadge: GameChat League - Amoeba Division: "Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious predator on Earth!"

Welcome to this week's Game Chat League Amoeba discussion group!

If you found us randomly (via subscription, perhaps), you're welcome to join in with constructive conversation -- we're friendly symbiotes in real life, though vicious competitors at the game table. (Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most dangerous predator on earth!) Read the links above for more info. (If you're shy, just thumb the list so we can see who's stalking us :-) )

Our hosts:

elemental - Ed
fizzle - Jens
garygarison - Cary
Morganza
Msaari - Mikko
out4blood - Tim -
sprocket314 - Carlos

Our non-hosting members:

BrenoK - Breno
cadavaca - Jevon
jasonwocky - Jason
jdludlow - James
paulclarke339 - Paul
photocurio - Peter

Everyone should feel free to switch off as life requires. (Our valued regular visitors and former members might also want to speak up here...)

This week's topic is inspired by the Finnish Players' Picks voting that ended yesterday. I've listed some popular games from the voting. Time to analyze - what is that makes these games successful?

(Complete results of the voting are here, in Finnish, but I assume you can understand a ranking table.)
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1. Board Game: Eclipse [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:44]
Board Game: Eclipse
Mikko Saari
Finland
Tampere
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Eclipse won, with 66 votes. Not a surprise, but it was a really close match between Eclipse and Dominion. The newcomer proved victorious, despite being a much heavier game.

We can assume couple of patriotic votes, since it's the best Finnish game ever. That's not all, as can be seen from Eclipse's meteoric rise on the BGG charts. So, what is this game doing right?
 
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2. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:91] [Average Rating:7.63 Unranked]
Board Game: Dominion
Mikko Saari
Finland
Tampere
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Dominion was close second with 64 votes. Before this, Dominion had three wins in a row, and all decisive victories with no doubt whatsoever. This is a real keeper.

Do note that you couldn't vote for expansions, so all expansion votes are included in the main game votes. How much of Dominion's continued success is thanks to the constant flow of expansions? What do you think, would the game be as long-standing without the expansions, or with say two or three expansions?

What is it that makes the deck-building mechanism in Dominion work so well?
 
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3. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:52]
Board Game: 7 Wonders
Mikko Saari
Finland
Tampere
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Third place went to 7 Wonders, with 56 votes. This is ten votes more than last year, when 7 Wonders made its debut, so an upwards trend can be seen (especially as we had less voters this year). 7 Wonders was a hit, but looks like it wasn't at least a total flash in the pan.

Is the success of the game explained by the wide player scale? There are few games that work so well with five to seven players.
 
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4. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:176] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
Board Game: Carcassonne
Mikko Saari
Finland
Tampere
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Carcassone is one of the most successful games in the voting. This year it was fourth. It has been on the lists every year since the voting started in 2003, and the worst rank was 6th in 2007. It has become a mainstream classic, a game that is readily available in all stores at all times.

Why is that? What it is that Carcassonne does so well? Why it became a massive hit, and wasn't just one ordinary tile-laying game that's quickly forgotten?
 
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5. Board Game: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:772]
Board Game: Netrunner

Eugene
Oregon
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Played this week

Android: Netrunner
Netrunner x 3
Daytona 500
Löwenherz
Amun-Re
1989: Dawn of Freedom

Netrunner in both flavors this week. I think I'm coming around to the conclusion that I prefer playing NR with starters or mock-starters, not constructed decks. Constructed play emphasizes special powers and synergies, and that just doesn't turn me on. What also doesn't turn me on is going into a game with a plan of action already in mind, and that's what constructed play is all about. Now I'm wondering whether creating original NR styled starter decks is possible with the FF edition.

A rare win for me in Daytona 500. Are we ever going to actually play three races in a row, like the rules suggest?

I crushed in Löwenherz, appearing to be in non-threatening second place for most of the game, all the while holding 12 concealed points in cards. I let everyone else build walls while I worked around them.

Amun-Re with three. Lost badly. While AR isn't quite as balanced without a full five, the swift playing time with just three still makes it an attractive option at that count.

Truth be told, 1989: Dawn of Freedom really should have been my highlight game this week. Completely absorbing session with me playing Democracy. Perhaps the most lopsided power struggles I've yet to experience in this game, with me on the the short end. A couple times, I lost them by not being able to respond to my opponent despite my holding 10+ cards. I had Poland, Czech, and Hungary in the bag, but the Communist got two E. Germany scores in quick succession, pushing him over the 20vp top in round 8.
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6. Board Game: Da ist der Wurm drin [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:4749]
Board Game: Da ist der Wurm drin
Mikko Saari
Finland
Tampere
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3 x .10!Oregon
2 x _8_Viva Topo!
3 x _7_Da ist der Wurm drin
1 x _5_Happy Families

Quiet times. Oregon at the circus school. The rest was an old-fashioned family game night, first time with all the family attending. That was good, and we'll certainly do it again, now that our daughter is getting old enough to actually play games.

She is very keen on winning. She decides before the game: "now it's my turn to win". That's of course bit tricky, when the game we're playing is almost 100% luck. Well, she doesn't take too losing too bad, and when she did win in Da ist der Wurm drin, she was very happy.

Our son, in the other hand, had a bit of a meltdown when we were playing, despite winning games. I think when his sister is involved, things get more emotionally complicated. Well, handling disappointment isn't his strong suite and it's good for him to learn to survive disappointment, and this is a good way for him to practise.
 
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7. Board Game: Dominion: Hinterlands [Average Rating:7.98 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.98 Unranked]
Board Game: Dominion: Hinterlands
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Chicago Express 4p
Lords of Waterdeep 4p
Hansa Teutonica 3p, won

Dixit 6p, won
Dominion + Dark Ages + Hinterlands (New) 4p
Paranoia Mandatory Bonus Fun! Card Game 6p (New)

7 Wonders + Leaders (new) 7p
Ticket to Ride 5p, won
 
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8. Board Game: Kalua [Average Rating:5.63 Overall Rank:13276]
Board Game: Kalua
Carlos Moreno Serrano
United Kingdom
Guildford
Surrey
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Finally.
With a love-it-or-hate-it cover.
My game is being printed as we speak.
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9. Board Game: Sherlock Holmes: West End Adventures [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:6810] [Average Rating:7.55 Unranked]
Board Game: Sherlock Holmes: West End Adventures
Jevon Heath
United States
Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
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_8_ BattleCON x3
_7_ West End Adventures
_6_ Dinosaur Chess
_6_ Catch Phrase

I like BattleCON.
 
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10. Board Game: Vanuatu [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:866]
Board Game: Vanuatu
Jens KH
Germany
Karben
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Games played

Wednesday
_8_ Commands & Colors: Ancients
_6_ DruidenWalzer x2 (new!)

Thursday
_5_ Glory to Rome
_8_ Race for the Galaxy
_8_ Vanuatu

Friday
_6_ Belfort (new!)
_6_ Samarkand: Routes to Riches


Vanuatu was another 3p game without the role cards. Once again, the player left alone on his side of the archipelago won. I think I'm going to avoid it with only 3 going forward although playing it with the roles might alleviate he issue because they make it much cheaper to sail longer distances.

Belfort is part worker placement, part area majorities, and while it does include a few clever twists the overall result felt quite muddy and milquetoast. I'm sure some of the ideas could have been used for much better effect.

It's not a particularly wise course of action to enlarge your collection closely before Essen but I still bought Agricola: Farmers of the Moor and Animal Upon Animal last week.
 
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11. Board Game: Android: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:49]
Board Game: Android: Netrunner
James Ludlow
United States
Saint Louis Park
Minnesota
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Played last week

9x Android: Netrunner
3x Magic: The Gathering
1x Go
1x Pathfinder Roleplaying Game (1st Edition)


Josh beat me senseless in our pre-D&D go game. It was a very strange game with many large exchanges that I managed to get the worse of each time. I made up for it with some Magic beatings of my own later.

I went to two gatherings of Netrunner players last week, and played against 6 different people. It's interesting to see other peoples' ideas, even when they're playing the same factions as me. "The big FFG tournament" is 6.5 weeks away. Netrunner unfortunately interferes with AGoT LCG, so I won't be jousting this time. Must run, and corp.



 
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