GCL Phoenix 93 - Yoki's Annual SPIEL Top 10 Extravaganza!
Yoki Erdtman
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Welcome to the Phoenix Game Chat League
If you stumbled upon this geeklist by accident or through your subscriptions, please read the GameChat League: Phoenix Division's Wiki page for information about what this is all about.

In short, adding items to this list is restricted to the current members, but we do welcome input from lurkers, fans, and other visitors on our discussion topics.

Theme of the Week
My annual SPIEL inspired Top 10 lists of all sorts. Enjoy!

Membership and Host Rotation:
BennyD (up next)
Dormammu
Eeeville
enzo622
Hawkeye77
indigopotter
JohnRayJr
judoka
Kingdaddy
leroy43
Lowengrin
Mr_Nuts
ravenskana
rynelf
Taibi
tjshields
topherr
Yokiboy

Saved Spots:
Bruzza
chally


Here's the 2011 version of this list: GCL Phoenix 45 - Liar's and Dice!
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1. Board Game: Twilight Struggle [Average Rating:8.30 Overall Rank:9] [Average Rating:8.30 Unranked]
Board Game: Twilight Struggle
Yoki Erdtman
Sweden
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Favorite Games of All Time!

Please share at least a Top 5 list, or perhaps several lists based on types of games or player count. Bring it!

And yes, I'm aware we have Top 10 lists in our profiles, but I'd like to see them discussed here, so please please me.
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2. Board Game: Eclipse [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:44]
Board Game: Eclipse
Yoki Erdtman
Sweden
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2011 Eagerness Ratings!

The BGG 2011 Top 10 titles are all currently ranked among the Top 100 games on BGG, and the list looks as follows:

1. Eclipse
2. Mage Knight Board Game
3. Puerto Rico: Limited Anniversary Edition
4. Ora et Labora
5. The Castles of Burgundy
6. Summoner Wars: Master Set
7. A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition)
8. Trajan
9. The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
10. A Few Acres of Snow


Please sort the BGG 2011 Top 10 titles into the following categories:
- Love to Play
- Happy to Play
- Lukewarm About Playing
- Rather Not Play At All

What does your 2011 Top 10 look like?
Please give us your own list of favorite games from 2011, at least a Top 5 would be appreciated.
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3. Board Game: A Few Acres of Snow [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:326]
Board Game: A Few Acres of Snow
Yoki Erdtman
Sweden
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2011 Games That You'd Still Like to Try

Are there any specific games from 2011 that you'd still love to try, but haven't had the chance to play yet? Perhaps the game's still high on your wish list, or sitting unplayed in a closet yearning to hit the gaming table. Please list a couple titles that you're still yearning to play for the first time.
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4. Board Game: Lords of Waterdeep [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:63]
Board Game: Lords of Waterdeep
Yoki Erdtman
Sweden
Södertälje
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2012 Eagerness Ratings!

The still volatile, and pre-SPIEL '12, BGG 2012 Top 10 looks as follows:

1. Lords of Waterdeep
2. Android: Netrunner
3. Descent: Journeys in the Dark (second edition)
4. Thunderstone Advance: Towers of Ruin
5. Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game
6. Wiz-War (eighth edition)
7. 1989: Dawn of Freedom
8. Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small
9. The Manhattan Project
10. Rex: Final Days of an Empire


Please sort the above BGG 2012 Top 10 titles into the following categories:
Love to Play
Happy to Play
Lukewarm About Playing
Rather Not Play At All

The Final Shakeout
There are only 3 BGG Top 100 titles among the current 2012 BGG Top 10. What do you think the final tally will be and can you guess the games and their order in comparison to each other? Can you guess how many, and which, games on the current list that will still be on the list a year from now?

What are your current 2012 favorites?
Please give us your own list of favorite games from 2012.
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5. Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:37]
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Yoki Erdtman
Sweden
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Your Highest Anticipated Game of 2012

What's the one title of 2012 that you're most looking forward to playing for the first time? Do you have a game you're dying to play, or would love to have on your gaming table right now? Take a moment to be a game advocate, and please sell us on the game.
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6. RPG Item: Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game Box Set [Average Rating:8.40 Overall Rank:26]
RPG Item: Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game Box Set
Yoki Erdtman
Sweden
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Games Played in Chronological Order: (Links to play details, with my ratings in color, and milestones in red italic.)

.10. Mouse Guard Daniel and Sara came over Monday to finish the Mouse Guard session that we started Friday. It was quick work, and afterwards Sara wanted to try her hand at creating her own character. I look forward to seeing her new mouse, Eoin the Weather-Watcher, in play.

New Games in My Collection:
None, but I have pre-ordered several for SPIEL pick-up.

Week in Review:
Apart from the RPG session of Mouse Guard, I didn't play any board games. Two of my gaming group members were busy, and we're all gearing up for SPIEL.

Representative Item:
Mouse Guard was the only game I played this week, and while it wins this honor by default, it also totally deserves it. This is a gem of an RPG.

Plans for the Week:
I'm going to this small gaming get together down in Germany. It's called SPIEL, perhaps you've heard of it?

External image
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7. Board Game: Elder Sign [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:539]
Board Game: Elder Sign
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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Can't Stop 3
Magnate 3
Yahtzee 3
Elder Sign 2 (new to us)
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8. Board Game: Hanabi & Ikebana [Average Rating:7.47 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.47 Unranked]
Board Game: Hanabi & Ikebana
Jon
United States
Urbana
Illinois
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Games Played:

_8_ Hanabi & Ikebana x4
First I taught my younger son Hanabi and we ended with a score of 19. The next day I taught my oldest son by himself and we ended up at 17. I then brought it to the Urbana Free Library gameday and with Amos, John, Caleb, and myself we scored 22! Finally, later that night I got both boys together with me along with my oldest son's friends R. and K. and the five of us only managed 16. I also looked at the rules for Ikebana and want to get that played next. So far responses to this here have been positive.

_6_ Olympos x1
Amos taught this and I did well concentrating on one tech track and having military, pious, and democracy to win ties. I liked the use of the time track here and there's enough going on I'd play this a few more times at least.
John 40
Jon 53
Amos 49
Caleb 43

_7_ Morels x1
A quick game where my wife won with 37 while I had 26.
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9. Board Game: God's Playground [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:1910]
Board Game: God's Playground
Games Played
Biblios x3
Trick of the Rails x3
Sentinels of the Multiverse x2
Space Alert x2
God's Playground x2
China x1
Container x1
Glen More x1
Hanabi x1
Le Havre x1
Kolejka x1
König von Siam x1
Lectio x1
Libertalia x1
Metropolys x1
Palastgeflüster x1
The Resistance: Avalon x1
Stephenson's Rocket x1
Stick 'Em x1
Was sticht? x1
Andean Abyss x1 (partial game)

Week in Review
I'm going to approach this by giving you all an overview of how we spent our week and include some pictures as well. In the comments below I'll cherry pick some of the games to talk about in more detail. Most likely I'll have frequent edits in my item this week as I add more pictures and details as the fog clears and memories surface.

Tom arrived late Friday night. Jon joined me for an airport run and we got together with Joel in Iowa City for a late night snack at Pancheros. Got home after 1 AM and hit the bed as we had a special edition AMSP planned for the weekend.

Saturday we kicked off the AMSP and had a total of 8 gamers. A big chunk of my games played listed above were during the weekend. We followed the normal script with gaming as much as we could, good food and lots of laughter. So just how excited does everyone get for an AMSP? Let's see!

Jon and Joel bonding prior to playing some games.

From gallery of Hawkeye77


Tom getting excited for his first AMSP.

From gallery of Hawkeye77


Joel just being Joel.

From gallery of Hawkeye77


Monday we hit the road for St. Louis. Tom and I are both huge baseball fans and I was lucky enough to score some tickets to a playoff game between the Cardinals and the Nationals. We got into town with just enough time for a brief walk around and some bad BBQ.

From gallery of Hawkeye77



Tom gets his first visit to a Cardinals game and lovely Busch stadium.

From gallery of Hawkeye77



A bite to eat after the game and strolling back to our car we saw this curious statue.

From gallery of Hawkeye77


Tuesday and Wednesday we hit the road and headed north to go camping. We were lucky enough to have Joel join us for this leg of the trip. We had a nice little cabin at Harpers Ferry, Iowa which is just across the bridge from Wisconsin. Sadly it was raining the first day and we spent the late afternoon/evening inside.

Tom and Joel spending some time playing with an espresso machine.

From gallery of Hawkeye77


Wednesday the weather cleared and we spent the day enjoying the outdoors in a couple of terrific state parks (Pikes Peak and Backbone).

Taking a quick break to stretch our legs and enjoy the rolling Iowa landscape.

From gallery of Hawkeye77


We ended the day hiking a trail called the Devils Spine at Backbone. This is a high ridge that splits the river and creates a very scenic hike.

From gallery of Hawkeye77


We found a peaceful glade while on the hike that offered a great place for a memorable game of Sticheln. We then headed back to Iowa City to get Tom some decent BBQ and drop Joel off before heading home.

So after spending a lot of the early part of the week running around we stuck closer to home on Thursday and Friday. We hit a small river town Thursday afternoon. Spent some time sitting down by the Mississippi drinking a nice wheat beer from KC and playing a few games of Scripts and Scribes. It's a shame I didn't take any pictures of this spot because I think it's perhaps the most beautiful spot on the river that I know of.

Friday was a lazy day around the house with Tom providing an excellent introduction to Andean Abyss to me. The hooks have been set and I'm eager to explore the game further. We spent the evening watching a historic come from behind win by the Cardinals to advance in the playoffs.

So a couple of random observations about Tom.

From gallery of Hawkeye77


He really loved our food. You put anything breaded in front of him and it's demolished. I think he is considering a trip back next summer to experience the Iowa State Fair and the variety of fried foods he can gorge himself with.

From gallery of Hawkeye77


I couldn't keep him out of the corn! He would often make mad dashes off into a field only to come tumbling back out after a few minutes with a big grin and appearing much more relaxed. Strange.
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10. Board Game: Android: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:49]
Board Game: Android: Netrunner
Mark Johnson
Canada
St.John's
Newfoundland
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GOSU 2: Tactics (5)
Seasons (3)
Android: Netrunner (2)
Agricola (1)

---

I have played a bunch more Gosu 2: Tactics since last week and am continuing to enjoy it. I'm a little concerned about a few things. Even if I were to eventually prefer the original edition, however, I definitely think I would modify the original game with some aspects of Gosu 2. Basically the next time I play Gosu, I'm going to play the original with the following modifications: activation tokens can't be used to draw cards by themselves (they can only activate goblins), abilities are never boosted by what's in the parenthesis , and the card drawing aspect between turns. I'm hesitant to talk more about my concerns until I play Gosu 1 with the modifications and more Gosu 2.

Seasons continues to be a great purchase. I didn't know if it would see much play since I've played it online so much. Troyes is on the sidelines due to this issue but Seasons is still seeing many plays. I don't think anyone that I've introduced it to has disliked it so far. One of my friends who started playing it online with me when it first came to BGA is starting to burn out on it, but if you can get over a 100 plays on a game, I think that says something about it's quality.

I played my first game of Agricola in a long time. We drafted occupations/m. improvements which is probably the thing I enjoy most about Agricola. I've always thought it's a game where the person who's able to grow their family first without taking a begging card is most likely to succeed. The owner of the game disagreed with me. Anyway, I focused on getting my family expanded and did get all 5 member at a decent pace. I ended up winning but the owner of the game tied points with me. I do feel that I made some bad action drafts with my family members and should have been able to eek out a win, but tying was fine enough. Still prefer Agricola without FotM and still prefer OeL to Agricola, but it wasn't a bad experience at all. In fact, this play made me question if I actually do prefer Le Havre to Agricola. I might actually prefer Agricola. I saw this because I love the drafting of the cards at the beginning and you don't have to feed EVERY DAMN ROUND. I'm looking forward to when Playdek has Agricola on iOS.

Last Sunday I played Android: Netrunner for the first time. I have to say that I quite enjoyed the experience. Based on everything that I had saw and read about, I wasn't surprised that I would like it. What did surprise me was that I liked it enough to want to keep it, consider deck building, and collecting the monthly packs as they're released. I don't know if I will end up doing much deck building or not, but I do have that option. There are at least 2 local players that play Netrunner... one has a single Core Set and the other has my leftovers. So, I'm not sure the extent that I'll play Netrunner in the future but I look forward to playing it, regardless of how deeply I decide to delve into it.

How did my games go? The first game, my opponent was Hass-Bioroid and I was the Anarch runner Noise. I made the mistake of not running against his ICE as often as I should have. I say this because it meant he didn't need to spend money to rez his ICE and was money rich to activate assets and advance agendas. In the next game he played the Anarch runner and I played as Jenkiti. He ran against me quite a bit and had a lot of virus counters to do negative things to me, so I would have to periodically forfeit a turn to purge them. I should have taken a Mulligan as I had a lot of Agendas in hand but like Michael, I forgot that this was an option. I left my HQ undefended for the majority of the game. He ran against my HQ when I had about 3 Agendas in hand but picked something else. He thought that I didn't have any because I wasn't protecting my hand and he didn't get one from there. Eventually he wised up after digging through my R&D and not finding anything. So, my opponent won again. I don't mind losing if I feel I've learned something and had interesting decisions to make throughout the game. Android: Netrunner certainly delivered on that front.

---

In Other New

I don't really have a lot of things planned for this week. I might get to play some games Tues and Wed since I have those days off. I think it's going to likely be 2 player games but if we can round up a third, Ora et Labora may see play. if the two player stuff happens I would like to get the follwoing to the table for the first time: Tooth & Nail: Factions and Arena: Roma II. I'd also like to try the Gosu variant for the original game as I've mentioned. I'd also like to introduce Netrunner to someone. We'll see what happens.
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11. Board Game: Le Havre [Average Rating:7.87 Overall Rank:43]
Board Game: Le Havre
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United States
Indiana
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My wife and I are totally swamped with work lately (we just finished what we've lovingly dubbed "the week from hell" - in the middle of which my wife had scheduled a photography session that neither of us had time for, but hey, it was fun!).

I did have a chance to teach Le Havre to a couple of friends. Trying to lay the groundwork for some local iOS games since we're often too busy to set aside time for the tabletop version.

Also, I turn 30 on Tuesday. I don't have any plans but my Mom sent me an email with the subject line: "DON'T READ THE EMAIL I JUST SENT"... apparently it would have given away a surprise. Melissa can't believe I actually deleted it like a dutiful son.
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12. Board Game: Plato 3000 [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:4462]
Board Game: Plato 3000
Nicolai Broen Thorning
Denmark
Ebeltoft
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Games Played Week 41:
4x Innovation
4x Plato 3000
1x Eminent Domain
1x Glen More
1x Isla Tetra 2
1x Jet Set w/ Distant Lands
1x Troyes

Game of Choice:
The fabled Glory to Rome Black Box Edition does exist - it arrived yesterday and with it the consolation gift of Plato 3000. We have played it 4 times and enjoyed it a great deal, even if some times the luck of the draw can screw you over. It plays fairly quick and is a great diversion.

The Week in Review:
Well, last weekend V. confided in me that she had had time to think - a lot - and was convinced that she and I could have a great life together. She felt that I had changed for the better, had been (and continue to be) working with myself and she has seen the light and realized that she has some issues to resolve herself.

Bottom line though, she felt, as do I, that we would be great together - and in 2 weeks time I move back home. It gives us both time to get used to the idea and to mull things over. We have spent this weekend together playing a lot of games and just being together.

The Week Ahead:
Work for 4 days. Thursday I get to take care of the kids while V. goes to the shooting of a tv-show in Aarhus and hopefully over the weekend we get to go to the local fun-park (Djurs Sommerland) while also helping my parents getting the sommer cottage ready for the winter.
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13. Board Game: Musketeers [Average Rating:6.07 Overall Rank:6144]
Board Game: Musketeers
Judit Szepessy
Canada
London
Canada
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Musketeers x2
Dominion x1
Scrabble x1


Light week of gaming, and I sometimes think of Bryan as we seem to have in the same boat in terms of being at such a stage when there is not as much opportunity to play as we wish.

Musketeers: we have quite a few better fillers as this but we have not played it for a long time. Lots of luck and bluffing but still fun as you try to beat the guards and get the gems or get rid of the prison cards. The artwork is excellent.

Dominion
I had too many curses and could not generate enough money to offset the balance.

I still have not finished 1989 online, maybe this week. I won the second power struggle in Poland, but lost in Germany the first time, now the VPs are almost at zero.

I had a lovely experience in the classroom this week with Crappy Birthday. There was one class where I got called quite a few times last year, and we often played this game. This week I went back for the first time since Sept., and the teacher actually suggested I play Crappy Bday at the end of the day because the kids love it. Moreover, there was a new girl in the classroom who has serious behavioural issues, and the teacher could calm her down by telling her she can play a fun game as soon as I arrive - which we did.

On the weekend one of our friends is coming over to play 1989, I am so much looking forward to it.
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14. Board Game: God's Playground [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:1910]
Board Game: God's Playground
Tom Shields
United States
Tacoma
Washington
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Biblios x3
Planet Steam x1
God's Playground x2
Container x1
Reef Encounter x1
Was sticht? x1
King of Tokyo x1
Outpost x1
Stick 'Em x1
Trick of the Rails x1
Space Alert x2
Kolejka x1
König von Siam x1
Lectio x1
Andean Abyss x1 (partial/learning)
Clans x2
Slappy Hands x1
Making espresso with Joel's La Pavoni instead of playing Maria x1

From gallery of tjshields
Iowa. Her ethereal hill glades are uncorrupted at a cost, inhabited by protective but demented pixies who have cast a strange spell, run amok, on the locals. In the form of a magical compulsion to flatten & bread crumb & fry everything.

From gallery of tjshields
This is the Iowan specialty, Pork Tenderloin hammered flat, breaded, and fried.

At first I found this Iowan compulsion charming. Pork tenderloin? Flatten it with a hammer then bread it. Fish? Smash it flat then bread it. Fry it up. Oh, and then bread the bread... above you see that you place the tenderloin frisbee in a bread bun. Anyway, being charmed was naive as I will explain.

Picture me, a visitor to a river town in Iowa for the Friday night fish fry buffet. I've had two plates of flattened and breaded catfish & carp, all you can eat. DJ's wife, Tori, has returned from the dessert buffet.

Tori: "Do you like bread pudding?"
Me:
Tori (gushing): "I love bread pudding!
Me:
Tori: "You have to try the bread pudding!
Me:
Tori:
Me:
Pixie: /dusts the table
Tori (in a trance, insistent, fork extended): "Here try a taste…"
Me: (in a trance, pliant): "Oooo that's yummy."

I entered a bread fugue state. I went back into the buffet line for more breaded catfish. That's when I became an Iowan.

*

But the hammer-it-flat-and-bread-it spell of the pixies has run amok, as Iowan's don't just bread food. Being charmed became alarm as I learned that Iowans use bread as underwear too. I pieced this together in my first visit to a public bathroom. There's a little bowl of bread crumbs and a basket of eggs. After the urinal, instead of washing at the sink you break an egg, swash your fingers in the raw stuff then into the bread crumbs, then repair your breaded privates, which serves as Iowan underwear. There's an attendant who scans the urinal line to enforce and assist, and he carries a hammer. Putting this all together like any good gamer I projected a likely flattening of my precious parts and fled, hopping and clenching because I had to pee so bad. The rather aggressive attendant tried to stop me but I kicked him in his breaded parts to escape. Which I thought meant I wasn't an Iowan after all, pixie fugue state or no, but I was wrong. Because when I ran outside to pee safely in the nearest empty field of corn I noticed many Iowan males doing the same, exchanging knowing nods. I promised myself to be one of the whole Iowans, the unflattened, the resistance.

*

DJ is born and raised in Iowa, and his bread-fu is strong. Which led to the incident at the ballpark.
From gallery of tjshields
Here's DJ at the ballgame in St Louis. See his t-shirt? Blue in a sea of red shirts? Hang on to this information: blue shirt = DJ.

We had field level seats. As the game began with the ritualized exchange of lineup cards, DJ jumped the rail and hurried to home plate. See him, his blue shirt? Kneeling?
From gallery of tjshields
He's in a sort of urgent trance, breading their packages! I was paralyzed at first, yelling too late "Noooo! DJ, DJ don't! We're not in Iowa!! We're in Missouri!!!" After traumatizing the umpires and managers, the park bouncers escorted him firmly back to his seat and I had to promise the Mariners wouldn't make a playoff game for another decade to keep him out of jail.

*

Here we are gearing up for a hike.
From gallery of tjshields

Iowan underwear being bread, they make use of the more common underwear garments as head gear for chilly hikes. Here Joel is putting on his boxers and DJ has on his woolen tighties. Thank goodness I'm not in the photo, my ears squeezing out of my thong, shivering.

*

Seriously, what a great experience DJ. You were so generous with your family and friends and took me in. I utterly fell in love with your beautiful & warm wife as the week went on. Tori anchored us all with her grace & joy & somehow the whole home spun around her like she was the sun keeping us all going. Please, please give her a hug for me.

One of my favorite memories is sitting in the way-back of the van between your daughters. Morgan animated and chattering away on my left and Emma on my right scrunching up her beautiful face, picking up your parents and you all flung teases and chatter around the van while we drove through river towns showing me the sites.

And Joel. What a prize. A new friend who is crazy brilliant & dancing madly in the gutter at once. Days of continuous conversation, riffs, inside jokes, games, and climbing out of the car to pee in the corn fields. I'm so glad he was able to join us after the gaming weekend on our 2-day jaunt. More on Joel in the games discussion.

I'll remember Jon blowing up games left and right. And Michael carefully navigating the dogs to get down to the gaming basement and to play God's Playground. And Adam's relentless grin over Container. And Chris's good natured play. Games going on upstairs and downstairs all weekend.

And, omg, attending the first playoff game in my life in one of our true, storied baseball towns, St Louis.

And thank you, my friend, for driving Joel & I a thousand miles while I pressed my nose against the window, giggling while we analyzing games & the people who play them, wandering the conversation into filbert driven economies & the local owl assaults & personal histories.
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15. Board Game: Plato 3000 [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:4462]
Board Game: Plato 3000
Bryan Maxwell
United States
Burtchville
Michigan
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Plato 3000 x 2

Magnate x 2


These are the sort of games that Kat and I can manage at the moment: light, quick and not overly challenging (I don't mean that in a bad way). Life is still busy busy, and I've started grappling with some personal issues that I've trying not too look at too closely in hopes that they'd go away on their own (do they ever?). I was reading about symptoms of depression and much of what I read (particularly the long-term depression) sounded all too familiar. Kat and I had one of those conversations where I fell apart and cried like a little girl (for the first time in a very long time). We're looking to make some changes and see what our insurance covers as far as therapy/counseling/blahblahblah.

So that's what's happening.

Oh, I also want to get Seasons.
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16. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.86 Overall Rank:36]
Board Game: Power Grid
Dave Peters
United States
Belmont
California
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Powers:Coleridge:Milton: Faith...must be, if anything, a clear-eyed recognition of the patterns and tendencies, to be found in every piece of the world's fabric, which are the lineaments of God.
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Scorecard for the Week/Month/Year as of 13Oct2012:

11/19/309 plays of 9/13/159 total games, with 1/3/29 expansions employed.
Plays with 12/14/97 distinct opponents.

1/1/25 games acquired - 1825 Unit 1 - (plus 2/2/17 expansions - Power Grid boards Brazil/Spain & Portugal and Russia/Japan.)

With the left-coast remnants of the I've been Diced! gang:
1x _7_ Igel Ärgern - This game featured a guest appearance by Tim's wife - who normally hangs out with my lovely wife and daughter #1 on Game Nights. It's a cool little race game - and while one can win on randomness, it's normal for the victor to be the one that had made the best decisions. Given that I didn't win, I can happily assert that this game was no exception.
1x _7.7_ Power Grid (plus Power Grid: Québec/Baden-Württemberg New!) - I'd not played for a while. And I'm happy to say that it was a lot more engaging and interesting experience this time out than it had been historically. Possible a result of the opponents; possibly that my tastes in games have changed slightly; but I re-rated it up a couple ticks.
1x _7.7_ Palastgeflüster - I was sad to read last week that this hadn't worked for Jon: I find it charming! Each hand presents a puzzle, and one does as well as possible. Sometimes that's smelling out weakness in one's opponents' play (and forcing them to play a duplicate card); sometimes that's wrangling a victory - but I find the decisions (and even the decisions I see my opponents making) to be interesting.

With son #2:
1x _6.3_ Scrabble - He's been playing at school, so it was a nice diversion for him before bed. He was unimpressed with my play of RADIX - (double word, with the X on a triple letter) though. I was impressed that he understood my explanation of "radix" (It wasn't my best work. I think I invoked "base π" (which has a radix of 4) to show how "base" and "radix" weren't quite the same.)

With daughter #1:
1x _7.3_ Ligretto - Another trying-to-extend-bedtime game. We played a couple of decks of cards each - with seven single piles and a blitz pile of size 19 - to try to duplicate the time pressure produced by a regular four-handed game. It doesn't quite scale that way: even though there's close to the same number of opportunities (yeah; with only one card visible in the cycling deck, it isn't quite the same) it's hard for a single person to move at the speed that two can. Still, it worked well - and probably better than Ligretto 2
does.
2x _5_ Walk the Dogs - A blast from the past. This is a game that she'd received for a birthday at less than half her current age. She still agreed that the dogs are cute, and that the game works pretty nicely. It's probably better with three or four players, though.

With daughter #1 and a couple of the Friday Night youngsters:
2x _5.5_ Coda - A couple hands; it's trivial, but it's also over very quickly. I suspect it's better with 3 than 4.
1x _5.5_ Queen's Necklace - If Walk the Dogs was a blast from the past, this one was even more so: I'd not played for seven and a half years. It worked pretty well, but I think I'm even more allergic today to the blind bidding than I was then. Despite the excellently drawn and lovely Three Musketeers theme, I don't think game works very well for me. The others didn't seem to mind, though.

With the no-longer-on-Fridays guys.:
1x _8_ Stick 'Em - Oh, I was annihilated. It was quite cool still: I really like Sticheln.

Owned-and-unplayed: 20 (+1/-0) The Wednesday Night guys were intrigued by 1825 Unit 1: while it didn't get to the table this week, there's potential for the future.

Outlook for the week: Looking forward to Andean Abyss on Saturday with Dave & Aliza. And very much looking forward to Yoki's SPIEL reports. (No pressure!) I'll be checking out several others: there's a couple of BGG.users that have provided some impressive photographic coverage in years' past; and Frank Kulkmann's blog is a must-read. I'm not at all interested in video coverage, so the BGG channel isn't something that I'll be visiting.
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17. Board Game: Seasons [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:201]
Board Game: Seasons
Lo
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Games Played
Seasons x7
Android: Netrunner x2
Carcassonne x1
Vanuatu x1

Representative Game
The season has changed up here in the last few days. From solid sunny weather for weeks on end, it has now rained pretty much non-stop since Friday. But more than that, I've really noticed that in the two weeks we were in France, the hours of daylight have dropped drastically. Tomorrow, when I get up and head to work (for the first time in three weeks), I may actually be getting up in the dark.

soblue

The Week in Review
In spite of the fence post and the faucet, it was the best week of gaming I've had in over a month. S and I played seven games of Seasons using the basic cards. After tonight's game, though, I think it's time to break out the advanced ones.
Board Game: Carcassonne

As much as I've liked Seasons up until now, I don't think I'll ever love it. It's just a bit too light and too short. But it's pretty close to perfect for a work-night game to play with S - along the same lines as Ascension: Storm of Souls and Glen More. Although we haven't played the latter recently, we did play Carcassonne on Wednesday while still feeling a bit jet lagged. S won.
Board Game: Vanuatu

The day before, P came over and the three of us played Vanuatu. I played very badly from the start and though I was determined to get back into contention, I was deluding myself. Nevertheless, I really enjoy this game and would be happy to get it on the table again sooner than later. However, with Android: Netrunner now in my possession, the two games are competing for P's attention (never mind a bunch of other games that either require three or two who like direct competition).
Board Game: Android: Netrunner


The Coming Week
As I said, it's back to work this week so I can put away thoughts of playing something like 1860: Railways on the Isle of Wight with S. I had thought of playing this one last week, but jet lag and water faucets killed that idea. I would like to get both Android: Netrunner and Vanuatu on the table this week, but something has also given me an itch to get God's Playground out again. Wonder where that came from?


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18. Board Game: Last Night on Earth: Zombies with Grave Weapons Miniature Set [Average Rating:7.24 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.24 Unranked]
Board Game: Last Night on Earth: Zombies with Grave Weapons Miniature Set
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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_8_ Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game 1
_8_ Last Night on Earth: Hero Pack 1 1
_8_ Last Night on Earth: Survival of the Fittest 1
_8_ Last Night on Earth: Zombies with Grave Weapons Miniature Set 1
_8_ Palastgeflüster 1
_7.5_ Nuns on the Run 1
_6_ Zombie Plague 1
_5.5_ Jungle Speed 1

Sunday was the premier episode of season 3 of The Walking Dead which I'm following both on TV and via the graphic novel (two different stories). Some friends and I decided to make it a day of zombie games followed by watching the season premier together at 9pm, and what a great day it was. Great food, lots of laughs, and the premier was a great episode.

First up was Zombie Plague which is a PnP game I had Andrew Tullsen print up for me last year when I was in the grip of TWD fever. In hindsight, that was an unnecessary and impulsive expenditure. I had read so many great things about the game and I am partial to any action point system (which is present here). But in the end, the game is a more of a tool box for you to create your own rules and such. We did just that and played a coop scenario where we were coworkers who had to get back to someone's house, get the car keys, and escape in the car. It worked, but wasn't anything particularly memorable. I'll probably move this one on.

Then we played Last Night on Earth which is a game I have not played in quite a while. It was its usual "so broken it tends to even out" self but the heroes failed. The zombie player spawned 11 zombies at the beginning of the game which never gave the heroes time to search and get equipped. We devised a plan at one point which involved blasting a zombie out of a house we needed to barricade as a victory condition, but the stupid kid forgot to light the dynamite before throwing it (rolled 1) so it didn’t ignite. LOL. There were some dramatic moments and overall, the game rendered a good story though it could have been more balanced had we been allowed some mulligans or something. I would definitely like to play this one again sooner than a couple years.

Of note: we played with the Survival of the Fittest, Grave Weapons, and Hero Pack expansions, and I liked them all. I particularly like the Grave Dead as they are unique sculptures that represent a particular zombie with a particular weapon. Yoki, I referred to your LNOE summary document -- thank you!

Friday night turned out to be an evening of light games; not sure why this is happening recently, but I had fun. We started with Jungle Speed which is fun for one game for me. I really am not into dexterity games it seems.

Then we played Nuns on the Run which I like for the tension and the fiascos the novices create for each other. What are you doing here, you idiot?! Where the experience falls apart is as a competitive game. The secret wishes are simply not balanced and exacerbated by the routes the nuns choose. You can start off in great shape or having to waste turns early on, and a frequent result (which happened in our play) is that a bunch of players are getting into and out of tight spots while one player quietly and efficiently wins the game with little or no tension. I turned to that player and said, Yeah, but you had such a boring game! Suddenly the story the game was telling is cut short and it can feel unsatisfying for the rest of the table.

So I suggested we continue playing with the rule that 3 of the 5 novices had to get back for a Team Novice win. Regular victory conditions for the nuns still applied. This change to a team focus negated the imbalances and made the rest of the game relevant and of interest to everyone while amping up the tension for the finish. Turns out the novices got 4 of the 5 back, but we played out the last turn and the 5th was caught for a well-fought tie between Team Novice and the nuns player. Much like Lost Valley for me, this game has revealed itself as a much better team game than individual and I will only play it as such from now on.

Palastgefluster is a very good game with a crappy scoring system. I'm looking into variants for us to adopt to keep players in the game even after they've busted. As it is, once you bust you are most likely out of the game and just playing it out. I like the idea that when you make someone bust, you get a point but no one else does. This can help players get back into the game as well as avoid the constant tie-breaker points.

Online: Paths of Glory continues in all its brilliance. The game is so damn thematic in creating a constant back and forth in who has momentum and advantage. I just had the Germans invade Italy so as to reclaim the tempo as the Allies had retaken the tempo on the west and were scaring me with an offensive buildup there. I am poised for an offensive on the east and already struck in Italy, threatening the entire Italian army, so he should have to back away from the west for a while. My hand is utter crap this turn; a bunch of Combat Cards (only off 2 Ops) and I have a Mandatory Offensive for the Turks. Agh!

My gaming seems to have slowed down lately due to various non-gaming activities. Looks like I won't be gaming this Friday but I do have a good weekend planned: spending Friday morning and afternoon watching a friend of mine play Silent Hill 2 which I recently bought him. Then Saturday will be a playtest of Lords of Baseball followed by a reconvening of my Sunday Thematic Gamers group. Nice!

Also, I'm preparing for EuroQuest 2012 in a couple weeks. I helped come up with a list of games that we are going to procure from Essen and have volunteered to demo one of them (TBD). I was going to offer Ground Floor but doesn't look like I'll have in time.
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19. Board Game: Conquest of Paradise [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:1680]
Board Game: Conquest of Paradise
"L'état, c'est moi."
Canada
Vancouver
BC
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This is the week that was:
Spot It! 2
Ticket to Ride 2
Conquest of Paradise 1
Levée en Masse 1
London 1
San Juan 1
TransAmerica 1

Conquest of Paradise is a game I often try to promote to people, and yet I have a hard time getting it to the table. For those who want a light game, it's too deep, and on the flip side, for those who want to play a civ building game, they expect something more along the lines of a 4x game like Space Empires or Eclipse with tech trees and a big economic thing. Of course, Conquest of Paradise comes right up the middle and provides, for me, a really rich gaming experience, but I have a hard time getting it to the table. For what it's worth, the pastel graphics don't help the cause either.

Fortunately I'll be spreading the gospel of Conquest of Paradise at BGG.Con. I'll be teaching it to a group on the Saturday and potentially 10 people will be showing up for the session so in theory I could have three games going.

Spot It is a grand filler game. You get a stack of cards. A centre card is revealed. Everyone looks at the top of their stack. Only one of the seven elements on your card will match one of the seven elements in the centre. First person to call out the match places their card in the centre and it continues like this until someone's out.

San Juan, London, Ticket to Ride, Transamerica were all games with my wife at one point or another this week. I won London.

Levée en Masse, the iOS version, is identical to the board game, but it loses a little bit in the electronic version for me because you just tap the screen and you're not actually rolling the die, and the speed up in play means the time I normally take to "get into character", that is, to suspend my disbelief and buy into the notion that I'm trying to save the fledgling republic, gets lost in translation a little. Still, a great game for filling in the time.

Play by email:
- we've found a replacement player for my Here I Stand game, and things are moving again. This is good.

- two of my three Virgin Queen games are back in action, albeit slowly. The game with Marco seems to have died, but of the three that's the one I was most interested in.

- my ACTS ladder game of Twilight Struggle is likely to see me continue my plunge on the ladder. To think that I was once at number 6... shake

- my four Unhappy King Charles games are all in various stages.

- my 1989 game with Ania is in the midst of a power struggle in Czechoslovakia, where I hope to retain power for the second time.
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20. Board Game: Risk Legacy [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:334]
Board Game: Risk Legacy
Max Maloney
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Games Played

.10! Hanabi 3
.10! Dominion 2
_9_ Magic: The Gathering 2
_8_ Seasons 1
_7_ Netrunner 3
_7_ Biblios 5
_6_ King of Tokyo 1
_5_ Risk Legacy 1 New!
_5_ Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game 1 New!

Week in Review

Unusual week for me, with a trip to the coast for a friend's birthday that featured non-stop gaming, but not too many games played. It turned out to be less board gaming than I often get in a weekend, as there was video and party gaming mixed in.

I got another perfect 25 in Hanabi, this time with 4 players. We've gotten in the habit of not using rainbow cards lately but I think it's time we put them back in for most games.

My second play of Seasons was two-player, teaching a new player. I haven't yet gotten to draft the cards but I am enjoying the game quite a bit for the first couple plays.

At the coast I tried two new games. The Star Wars mini game was bland. I think I prefer Game: Wings of Glory, with which it shares many characteristics. The basic movement is the same in each, but each has different extra rules layers. I think the WoW rules add more texture and realism, while the Star Wars ones feel less relevant and rarely affect your decision making.

Risk Legacy was interesting. I came in on the sixth game of this board. I think a lot had been done, as they told stories of a couple occasions in which they allowed people to do things they wouldn't otherwise, just to open a new packet. So it felt like there was probably more added than you would expect at that point. I did learn of one major spoiler, but that's ok. It's not that good a game, but I do still applaud the experiment that it is.

I played a few games of Netrunner, two being a pair of teaching games to a new player. Thus far I've only played the base Jinteki vs Shaper matchup and it's definitely easier to win as the Runner in my experience. But I did get to flatline the Runner in my last game by luring him into Project Junebug and doing 4 net damage when he had 3 cards.

I've been playing a lot of Biblios. It's ok. It's not escalating for me as it did for Bryan. I think I find it frustrating how hard it is to learn what is good play. I feel as if I'm flailing around all the time. It should continue to see play as I know a few people that quite like it.
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