GCL Mafia 96: Do Anything Interesting Lately?
Rishi A.
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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Hello. Welcome to GCL Mafia. If you would like to know more about GameChat Leagues in general, please go to the wiki page. If you want to look at past GCL Mafia lists, go here: GameChat League: Mafia Division Subscription Thread.

Everyone is welcome to comment.

Our current roster (in order of preparation). Next week's preparer in bold.:

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

The first few items are meant to generate discussion. Please comment on the questions that interest you. Also, add item and list your plays for last week (November 12-18, though I think Labor Day is also fair game.)
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1. Board Game: BGG: The Board Game [Average Rating:6.75 Unranked]
Board Game: BGG: The Board Game
Rishi A.
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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Anyone do anything interesting over the past week?
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2. Board Game: The Angry Monster Machine [Average Rating:2.00 Unranked]
Board Game: The Angry Monster Machine
Rishi A.
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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Consider this item the complaint department. I'm giving it its own section.
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3. Board Game: Admin Test Item [Average Rating:7.53 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.53 Unranked]
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Rishi A.
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Alexandria
Virginia
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Just some housekeeping stuff.

First of all, I think GCL Mafia needs its own Wiki page as I think we're the only GCL without one. I have come to grips with the fact that I don't have time to do it. Anyone want to volunteer to help out?

Secondly, I removed Neil from the rotation. He is, of course, welcome to comment whenever he finds time and jump back in whenever he'd like.

Third, we're likely going to expand. I definitely know people I can invite (and met some cool people at the con as well), but I want to give the rest of you first crack at this.
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4. Board Game: Good Question! [Average Rating:5.62 Overall Rank:15477]
Board Game: Good Question!
Rishi A.
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Alexandria
Virginia
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I intentionally kept the questions light this week. But, for both those of you who makes lists and those who don't, throw out some random ideas for future questions here. Maybe we can create a resource for when someone's turn comes up and they can't think of anything to ask.
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5. Board Game: Wildlife Safari [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:1539]
Board Game: Wildlife Safari
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Botswana 1
Vegas 1

Sad week of gaming for me. You should all feel extra bad for all the gaming indulgence you had.
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6. Board Game: Archipelago [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:381]
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Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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3x Archipelago
2x Pax Porfiriana
2x Keyflower
2x Hanabi
1x The Great Zimbabwe
1x 1830: Railways & Robber Barons
1x Poseidon's Kingdom
1x Cards Against Humanity

I actually had a good week of gaming. It started with a 2-player short version of Archipelago. It was enough to get a feel for the game but that was it. Note: short version of Archipelago is for teaching only. After that i got to play it twice more, a 4-player and a 3-player. It is a Civ game without conflict or a tech tree. Instead, there is a coop/negotiation element and hidden, shared objectives. It is possible for the game to end with rebellion in which case all players lose (no scoring -- all players lose equally) unless a player had the separatist hidden objective. and, as players begin to learn the game, rebellion seems pretty common (even if no one has the separatist goal). Hopefully, with more plays, players will get better at figuring out how to mitigate the rebellion without giving other players a big advantage. Of all of the Essen games I've played so far, I think this one needs repeated plays with the same group. It isn't a game that one player can get good at and then explain good strategy to everyone else (at least, it doesn't appear that way to me). I'm hoping to get regular plays of this on Sunday night because I really am enjoying it.

I got to more plays of Keyflower in and I continue to love it. It may very well end up as my favorite game published in 2012 (not likely to replace Antiquity or 1830 as my overall favorite for 2012). It mixes auctions and worker placement with (basically) a singly resource (meeples). It is a great concept that is realized brilliantly. It's easy and quick to teach and plays fairly quickly too. There is a lot going on and enough randomness that this has the potential for a lot of play. The only possible downside is that there is a bit of a learning curve for figuring out tile combinations and appropriate bid amounts. An amazing game.

I played 2 solo plays of Pax Porfiriana. As a solo, it's a good game but nothing earth shattering. I'm anxious to try this with 3 - 5 players to see how well it does. the first Phil Ecklund game I've liked (and it prompted me to win American Megafuana in auction).

I got to try Poseidon's Kingdom for the first time. It was a fun game but not one I have any need to own (thankfully).

Most of my plays for the week were at a friend's gaming night (got there at 6 pm and left at 3:45 am). I'll be having my own Birthday/Black Friday Game Day and hope to get to play lots more Essen games (along with Terra Mystica which just arrived today).
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Board Game: Rolling Freight
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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I see the other BGG.con attendees are too scared of Grace's wrath to be the first to post a list, so I'll take one for the team.

I still need to get pictures uploaded, but there's my list.
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8. Board Game: Myrmes [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:513]
Board Game: Myrmes
Mc Jarvis
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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1955: The War of Espionage 2
The Great Zimbabwe 2
Martian Dice 2
Terra Mystica 2
CLASH: Jihad vs. McWorld 1
Copycat 1
Courtier 1
Crude: The Oil Game 1
Manhattan 1
Myrmes 1
New York 1
New Amsterdam 1
OddVille 1
Ora et Labora 1
Paris Connection 1
Ruhrschifffahrt 1769-1890 1

Slavika 1
Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar 1
Zooloretto: The Dice Game 1


Light gaming week for me.

In reality, most of the games played I were not that great. However, from the bunch a few stand out as particularly delightful: I bolded them above. Espionage makes this list since it was a free giveaway of the con, and to my delight I got a clever little thirty minute two player game that is very reminiscent of Twilight Struggle.

Board Game: Myrmes


Myrmes



Of the new-new games, though, Myrmes grabbed special attention from me. It has several mechanics which reminded me of Antiquity: you have a control area of three around your ant hill, you sacrifice a worker to harvest different resources from different terrain types, and there are some things in the game which are actually directly from antiquity, like the ability which acts as a forced labor, allowing you to pull cubes from farms more quickly. It's a less complicated game, however: there is not a city building aspect to the game, and it runs for a given number of rounds rather than running until someone fulfills a win condition. I preordered it based on this similarity.

Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar


Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar

Tzolk'in was the other new-to-me delight of the con. I didn't like it during my first play because the sheer number of options were overwhelming, but much like another overwhelming-game-which-I-played-at-the-con, Ora Et Labora, I found myself thinking about the game after I played, considering what I could have done differently. I consider this a good mark for a game, so I preordered it.

Board Game: Ruhrschifffahrt 1769-1890


Ruhrschifffahrt 1769-1890

Saturday evening I decided that in lieu of the game show I would head down to the hot games room and not leave until I had read the rules in full and understood them. About an hour later someone happened by the table and asked if I needed a teacher. He was a rather loud texan with a wide brimmed hat, strong accent, and a uprupt nature about him. In his own rather Texan way he taught me how the rules were, explained that this was the third best game he'd played at the con (second only to one game I can't remember and Kings of Air and Steam, which made me worried if that's what he thought beat this game)

The game experience was rather good, though, and the game is very sophisticated. It's a shame the rules are so poorly laid out (and at times, omit important aspects of the games entirely!), because it's a complex economic game about logistics with levels of technology you develop depending on where you deliver coal. What's not to love? This game is great!
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9. Board Game: Confusion: Espionage and Deception in the Cold War [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:1485]
Board Game: Confusion:  Espionage and Deception in the Cold War
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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Plays:
*Outburst - with my cousins the night before the con.
2x *card city
*Wasabi
*Tzolk'in the Mayan calendar
5x Tichu
*Hansa
Werewolf (with new roles for play testing)
*Alea Iacta Est
*Paris Connection
*Escape the Curse of the Temple
*Die Macher
3x Dragon Dice
*Seasons
*Smash Up
*Shadowrift
Sunrise City
Poker
*El Grande
*Copycat
*Confusion: Espionage and Deception in the Cold War
6x Pit
Battlestar Galactica
*Terra Mystica
4x *We didn't playtest this at all
*Reverse charades
*Bridge
*Mage Knight: Board Game

*new to me


I'm on my phone, so commentary will come periodically in comments.
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10. Board Game: Hegemonic [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:3258]
Board Game: Hegemonic
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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New Games

Kings of Air and Steam x1
Skyline x1
Terra Mystica x1
Castellan x1
Piratenbilliard x2
Toc Toc Woodman x1
Uluru x1
Monster Factory x1
Article 27 x1
Battle for Glyderion x2
Le Havre: The Inland Port x1
Courtier x1
Riff Raff x2
Mercurius x1
Ugg-Tect x1
Rattus Cartus x1
Legacy: Gears of Time x2
Libertalia x1
Kill the Overlord! x1
Hegemonic x1

Old Games

Coup x1
Lords of Scotland x1
Escape: The Curse of the Temple x1
Container x1
Takenoko x1
Voluspa x1
Crokinole x2
De Vulgari Eloquentia x1
Race for the Galaxy x1
Love Letter x1
Zooloretto Wurfelspiel x1

Will update sporadically over the next few days, don't know if I have enough time to do a write up all in one go.
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11. Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:37]
Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Jennifer Dean
United States
California
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Card City
Wasabi
Tzolk'in
Hansa
Suburbia
Tichu x6
Werewolf
Alea Iacta Est
Paris connection
Members Only
Timeline
Escape Experience
Die Macher
De Vulgari Eloquentia
Seasons
Smash Up
Shadow rift
Sunrise City
Through the Ages
Copy Cat
Pit x6
K2
Archipelago
Terra Mystica
We Didn't Playtest This at all
Reverse charades
Bridge
Zooloretto Wurfelspiel x2
New York

I had such a wonderful time meeting you guys! A GCL Meetup would be awesome if we could pull it together.

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12. Board Game: Keyflower [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:61]
Board Game: Keyflower
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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FTF plays :
Keyflower x3
Friday x3
Android: Netrunner x2
The Great Zimbabwe x2
Le Havre: The Inland Port x1

Online plays :
Myrmes x4

Of my 3 games bought at Essen (The Great Zimbabwe, Keyflower and Key Harvest) (i think i become moderate whistle), i played 2 and i must say that i am very satisfied with them. I think there are keepers.

On Keyflower
As Jimmy wrote above, Keyflower is very good game in his genre. Far less overwhelming than O&L, it is a rewarding game with a lot of choice to make with only 2 actions and a few resources (4 colours of keyple, 4 resources and 3 kind of knowledge tiles).

The keyples cycle mechanic is very well integrated into the game and imply all the crucial choices to made :
(1) - use keyples to bid for tiles ? what about the colour to prevent other to use or bid with ?
(2) - use keyples to use tiles ? what about the colour to use in order to run some tiles 3 times ?
(3) - when to go (if ever) for green keyple ?
(4) - use a tile in your village (keep your keples from turn to turn) vs in other player village (letting go your keyples in order to prevent the use of the tile for other players) ?

Plus a logistic and spatial elements. It is not Roads & Boats for sure, but it comes with some interesting twists to take into account (fewer road connections on tiles while seasons pass by).

Plus a final scoring (combo) to plan for.

Plus it is wife-friendly (she said : "good game to dig for").

It is a very good choice for 2 players : about 1 hour to play.

On The Great Zimbabwe
I played 4 players game (x1) and 2 players game (x1).

I like this game a lot but i have to play it much more to be able to talk about it. FWIW, it is very hard game to jump into in a strategical/tactical aspects (it is pretty straighforward rulewise).

What i mean is there is a lot of things to take into account :
(1) - runnaway leader effect and how to stop him
(2) - money cycle
(3) - timing : when to choose a god, when to build craftsmen and what type ?
(4) - be ready for the 2/3 final turn auctions

I read some thoughts here and there in order to play better, to understand ins & outs an so forth.

It is a weird game for a Splotter (for the few that i know) in that it is very abstract to me in regard of Antiquity, Indonesia and Roads & Boats. The artwork is very beautiful and greatly contributes to my desire to play it again and again.

-----
Android: Netrunner is my favorite LCG card game (Glory to Rome is my favorite card game). I was introduced by my buddy and we play it on a regular basis.

After 8 plays, even if i am starting to do deckbuilding, i am still struggling to play in an effective manner. I will look forward to play it online on OCTGN.

Myrmes is another game that impressed me. Waiting for my box to come in my FLGS, i play it online to jump into the rules, improve myself and try some strategies.

Friday will fill the niche of solo-short-addictive. I don't know if it has a high replay value (some friends of mine say yes) but for its price-size-fun ratio, i think it could not be a bad investment.

Le Havre: The Inland Port : so-so game for me. Very dry. I prefer his great elder.
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13. Board Game: The BoardGameGeek Game [Average Rating:6.02 Overall Rank:5483]
Board Game: The BoardGameGeek Game
Mc Jarvis
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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BGG Con hindsight thinking.

What would you have done differently than you did at this year's con? Any pleasant surprises?

Any plan changes for next year?
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14. Board Game: 7 Ages [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:1951]
Board Game: 7 Ages
I went to BGG.con with my wife (our fourth year) and daughter (her first year). That dynamic seemed to change a lot of things. We were able to basically play any game we wanted with three players. Unfortunately, it meant we didn't play much with random strangers. The other big difference is that I frequently did not stay out as late as I did in the past and spent more time in the room with family, and not necessarily playing games.

Games played at BGG.con (roughly in order of play)

Wednesday
Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar
Zombie Dice
Bears!
Serengeti
Milestones
Ginkgopolis
Terra Mystica

Thursday
Empire Builder
Tumblin-Dice
Star Wars: Destroy Death Star Game
Dark Horse
Card City
Destruct 3

Friday
Le Havre: The Inland Port
7 Ages

Saturday
Africana
Indigo
Takenoko
Star Trek Deck Building Game: The Original Series

Sunday
Octopus' Garden

Honorable Mentions
Riff Raff (got out of library, set up, but did not play)
Super Dungeon Explore (extended walkthrough)
Leviathans (demo of mechanics)
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15. Board Game: The BoardGameGeek Game [Average Rating:6.02 Overall Rank:5483]
Board Game: The BoardGameGeek Game
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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Perhaps would i have written this subject elsewhere but i think it could fit with the title of this GL as it is IMHO a good resolution.

I want to shorten my collection because :
(1) - i miss room
(2) - some games are never played
(3) - some games are duplicates or samey

I own about 120 games and i want to bring my collection down to 60/70 games. In this perspective, i would like to regroup my games by theme/mechanics/category...

Could you advise me a regrouping technic already used/known by someone ?

I don't know if the "Subdomain", "Category" and "Mechanic" information on each game could be used in an efficient manner in order to reach my objective.

Thanks in advance.
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16. Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:14]
Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy
Chris Ferejohn
United States
Mountain View
California
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Pitying fools as hard as I can...
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Microbadge: I am related to Monkeys!Microbadge: I speak CalifornianMicrobadge: University of California - BerkeleyMicrobadge: PastafarianMicrobadge: Somebody get this freakin' duck away from me!
Summoner Wars
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Another game of Summoner Wars with Hilary. She used her same customized Tundra Orcs and I customized the Vanguards - they seem to be the faction most improved by customization since you can get rid of the oft-useless Rachel Loveguard and the mostly useless Archangel (or at least useless in this faction because it is designed to keep all your units together so they can keep healing each other). It was a close game for a while, but I managed to kill all of her champions while still having a couple left and that was pretty much that.

Alien Frontiers
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Pulled this out at Silicon Valley Board Gamers on Tuesday. There were a couple new players so I didn't use the expansion to try to prevent AP. Unfortunately one of the players there is pretty AP prone which caused this game to run about 2.5 hours, which is about an hour long than it should (and can) run with players who are better at keeping the game moving. I'd say the game needs a timer, but those mostly just seem to stress AP-prone players out. The real solution is not to play it with that guy anymore.

Castles of Burgundy
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Got my Dice Tower secret santa gifts, which included this. I'd played once before and I thought it was something my wife would like - all open information plus a fairly small (though important) decision space on your turn stops the game from being overwhelming. It also works very well 2 player. I edged her out by like 15 points.
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