GCL Mafia 154: Grading 2013
Philip Newman
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Plano
Texas
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Welcome to GCL Mafia Division's weekly list! If you stumbled onto this list by accident (or on purpose!) and want to know more about the GameChat League concept, please see the GCL Mafia wiki page. If you would like to be notified each week when a new list is posted, Subscribe Here.

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

McJarvis
badweasel
mith
mattbcha1
eapeas
touchstonethefool
fdubois
Happymrdave
Dolus
ecargo

The first few items are intended to foster discussion.

Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of December 23 - December 29, 2013. List any games played along with any other information that you deem appropriate. Also, feel free to give life updates, fun facts, or any other super exciting and utterly interesting thoughts you may have.
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1. Board Game: Go to the Head of the Class [Average Rating:4.58 Overall Rank:19382]
Board Game: Go to the Head of the Class
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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What was your favorite thing about 2013?
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2. Board Game: Dunce [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Dunce
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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What was your least favorite thing about 2013?
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3. Board Game: Grade Up to Elite Cow [Average Rating:5.25 Unranked]
Board Game: Grade Up to Elite Cow
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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How would you grade the quality of your gaming for 2013? Did you have any particularly memorable experiences worth bonus points?
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4. Board Game: Global Resolution [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Global Resolution
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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How do you want to improve your time spent gaming in 2014?
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5. Board Game: Happy New Year [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Happy New Year
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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Any non-gaming resolutions for 2014?
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6. Board Game: Nickel & Dime Pool [Average Rating:6.12 Unranked]
Board Game: Nickel & Dime Pool
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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Now that 2013 is officially over, post your Fives and Dimes!
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7. Board Game: Madeira [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:353]
Board Game: Madeira
Mc Jarvis
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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From gallery of McJarvis


Plays for the last two weeks. At this point I've successfully gotten my list for the year down to about 35 games. I've also been raising some serious cash from selling off the "dark zone" of my collection (ie- games I don't play and don't particularly want to play). I've come to the decision that collecting games simply because they are rare is kind of dumb money-wise, so about half the money is coming from those kinds of things.

But let's talk about games! I tried out Madeira this week and I really enjoyed it. I avoided it at BGG.con simply because I saw dice, but the dice values don't influence gameplay very much. What it is, though, is a somewhat Feldian economic engine game, with lots of paths to dump money for points. You do have to forcast how you're going to be getting your points via a draft of goal cards(think Bora Bora, except the bird cards are the only source of points)

I really like it for its theme and gameplay, so I ordered it. I am now eagerly anticipating it. Due to the iconography on the board I never really felt like I was making wine(you just move grapes around), though--- I kind of wish they had included that element.

I also got to play Wildcatters. Wildcatters is a game which is similar to Container in that you are buying infrastructure, then attempting to buy, transport, and deliver oil. The difference is that instead of batches of goods at the end, there is an area majority for whoever actually produced the oil delivered to each of the continents.

In addition, and perhaps intriguingly, there are several different types of money in the game. One is called money, and you get a flat income of this at $10 per turn, and it's the only thing you can buy infrastructure with. The way players pay each other, however, is in "shares" of their own company. You can only ever spend your own shares, but there are points for having a majority of any given player's shares. This takes the concept of managing money sloshing around in container to the next level: now in a four player game there are actually 5 different types of money sloshing around, and there is a majority scoring for all 5. (Normal cash also has a majority scoring) So in the end you score points by delivering the most oil to each continent/region, and acquiring the most shares from other players via their payments to you for infrastructure. (you can also collect shares when you sell other player's oil to the continents via your refineries, so you are not caged by players simply choosing to ignore you, as it is in Container)

I like this game quite a bit. It manages to take the core interactivity in Container and expand it to a much more nuanced point system. Of course, something had to go: it's no longer a closed-money system for the most part(cash gets injected into it every turn), and there's no longer an aspect of setting your own prices. All the same, this means it's a welcome addition to my collection. A game making itself distinctive in a good way is never a bad thing.
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8. Board Game: String Railway [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:2481]
Board Game: String Railway
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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New Games

String Railway x1
Fleet: Wharfside Casino x1
Fleet: Nunavut Weather Authority x1
Fleet: Salty Captains x1

Old Games

Android: Netrunner (with everything) x4
Blueprints x1
Council of Verona (with Council of Verona: Poison Expansion) x2
Spectaculum x1
Fleet x1
Gauss x1
Legacy: Gears of Time x1
Legacy: Forbidden Machines x1
Glory to Rome x1

One new game and a bunch of expansion stuff this past week.

I got a chance to try String Railway and found it to be a fine toy/game hybrid. It does seem to have some modicum of strategy/tactics, but I found the fudge factor of the physicality to make it more suited as a kids game than as any sort of gamer's game. We played pretty gently, allowing each other the benefit of the doubt if we could make connections work with some minor physical futzing. I suppose if you wanted to be a real hard-ass about it, you could instill some hard dexterity rules about placing strings (i.e., no touching other players strings). As it is, I find the possible gray area uninteresting, and while the game has some goofy charm to it, I really didn't find any interest in it beyond it being mildly entertaining.

I finally got a chance to try some of the Fleet extras, and while the Salty Captain made for some interesting buying choices among the usual cash flow, both the Nunavut Weather Authority and the Wharfside Casino added in a luck element that felt a bit out of place in the games tight economy. They were certainly fun to have, but I'm not sure I'll want to play with them a lot.
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9. Board Game: Snorta! [Average Rating:6.09 Overall Rank:3893]
Board Game: Snorta!
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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Weekly Plays:

Kingdom Builder - 2
- 1
Snorta! - 1

No online or solo plays?? What is going on?

I went to Tyler twice this week - I only had Christmas Day off work, so I did Christmas with my parents then, and then with the whole family (brother and sister and their kids) Saturday.

Kingdom Builder

Grabbed this because I had played it with the parents before, but it had since gone neglected. The first game was quite close, with all of us scoring pretty similarly in all categories (mountains, disjoint settlement areas, connected castles/locations). I eeked out a victory with an extra castle.

The second game was more region based, with Lords and... the one that scores for whichever region you have the fewest settlements in, plus the horizontal line one. Mom wiped the floor with us, getting a bunch of additional placement abilities quickly and ending the game before we really got going (though I have having fun being cute with the ships). Dad got stuck for most of the game only drawing grass and trees, and couldn't get spread out at all. Reminded me that I really want to try some variants with the terrain card distribution.

Snorta!

On Saturday, I managed to talk my sister into playing a couple games with us (which she is often reluctant to do, for some reason... she used to play games a lot, not sure what changed), though we had to work around the baby.

Snorta! was short and sweet... I was hoping to get this played with my brother's kids, but they didn't stick around for long. My parents weren't super focused (mom holding Jackson most of the game didn't help), and I think dad only won one showdown. I dominated, though I think if they played it a couple more times they would close the gap.



Finally, a trick-taking game! My family used to play Spades and Rook all the time, so I was hoping this would go over well, and I was not disappointed. We ended up only playing to 100 because Jackson needed to get to bed, and Jason caught up to my sister in the last round thanks to my help with 0s and 7s as trump (I had a couple of each, and ran everyone else out for him). I got set trying out 0s myself (having too few of the vice's trump suit and not being able to hold the lead). Really interesting game with the changing partnerships and dual trumps. Very happy with this purchase, looking forward to playing it again (as well as the others in the box).
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10. Board Game: Nada! [Average Rating:5.57 Overall Rank:14940]
Board Game: Nada!
I didn't actually get any plays in this week. My wife's family and friends were over, and they're not really the games type. I had to pick up aforementioned friend from the airport when I would usually be at my game night.

Good times were still had. I have been playing Rogue Legacy (video game) a lot instead though. I'm not usually a metroidvania type person, but it's surprisingly addictive.
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11. Board Game: Lords of Waterdeep [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:63]
Board Game: Lords of Waterdeep
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer 7
Ascension: Return of the Fallen 6
Ascension: Immortal Heroes 5
Ascension: Storm of Souls 5
No Thanks! 3
Wits & Wagers Family* 2
12 Days 1
Alhambra: The Card Game 1
Bohnanza 1
Coloretto 1
9 Hole Golf 1
Vegas 1
Lords of Waterdeep 1
Suburbia 1
Thunderstone Advance: Towers of Ruin 1

Due to the holidays, I've been doing a lot of family gaming. Wits & Wagers Family was mediocre. I received it in the last math trade and will likely try to get rid of it again. I rather play Taboo, however some of my family is not fond of the rushed element to the game, so I thought W&W would be an okay alternative. Maybe the original is better?

9 Hole Golf is a variant of the card game Golf that my brother and his wife taught us. It was okay, though kind of random. I'd play gain if I had to, but wouldn't seek it out.

Finally, Lords of Waterdeep is not new to me, but I hadn't played in over a year and a half and I totally thought of Matt C. while we played since it's his most favoritest game evar. I did enjoy getting it back to the table. However, I did wonder if it is too balanced as our scores were rather close and, in looking at my past plays, I didn't see any games with big discrepancies. Still, good enough for its weight/mechanics.
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12. Board Game: Jenga: Spider-Man [Average Rating:5.71 Unranked]
Board Game: Jenga: Spider-Man
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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Jenga Spider-Man
5-Second Rule
Cards (Punish the Donkey in Espanol)

Not a very eventful week for playing games, though I did play a lot of Castle Crashers on Steam. I played 2-player spiderman jenga where you are scaling the tower while spinning a spinner telling you how far to climb and how many blocks to remove. It was an interesting twist on the game.

I also got to play 5-second rule for the first time since I think 2009. Maybe 2010. Yeah, probably 2010. It was fun, and this time I got more than 1 point!

Then we also played a card game that my sister's brother in law used to play. I forgot the name of it, but it translated to punish the donkey. Simple gameplay, but then whoever went out first gets to punish whoever went out last based on how cards flip out of the deck. Punishment can include jabs in the arm, stomach, chin, or pinching the eyebrow.


We were doing a lot of traveling and seeing family, so that's why not many games were played. Many new games were acquired, though!

But in other news, Jennifer and I got quite a few new games. To mention some (since I know I will forget some), Catan Junior, 1835, Alea Iacta Est, Game of Thrones Feat for Crows, Love Letter, 5-Second Rule, Master of Economy, Keyflower, Fish or Cut Bait, and Yikerz! Most of those I am really looking forward to playing.
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13. Board Game: Bus [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:883]
Board Game: Bus
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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A pretty good amount of gaming for me last week.

Race for the Galaxy with Race for the Galaxy: Alien Artifacts x 3
It Happens.. x 1
Euchre x 1
Coup x 3
The Castles of Burgundy x 1
Space Alert x 3
Haggis x 1
Bus x 1
1889: History of Shikoku Railways x1
Nuclear War with some expansions x 1
Dungeon Lords with Dungeon Lords: Festival Season x 1

The big highlight in a way was finally getting the copy of Bus that I paid dearly for to the table. It looks so cute and innocent with its colored pencil artwork but *wow* is it a mean game. The way you score points in it later in the rounds is very dependent on stealing them from other players, and in the route building it highly encourages you to screw over the others as much as you can. Neat and thinky game (a la Splotter) and it's nice to have it as a collector's item as well.

Alien Artifacts for RftG is nice and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I do feel like the Orb is a little weak in 2P still. Robin and I got in 3 games and it turns out that we did the edge management a little incorrectly (we were being more restrictive than needed) but I don't think that would have really changed it much. The fact that the Orb is tied to the Explore action seems to just inherently make it a less valuable choice than building out your tableau. More games needed to work that out with more accuracy though.

I was able to try out It Happens (which I got for free as a KS bonus along with Amerigo) and... well, it's a family game. It's pretty weak compared to Feld's other games but it's not meant to compete with them.

Coup is fun but as is usual for that sort of game, don't go in to it expecting to win. It's very easy to lose simply because you're targeted by the others and there's nothing you can do about it. The rules were simple enough that my parents could play, and that's a *major* achievement.

1889 was great, I'm going to make a set for myself PnP if I can't find a pre-made one to acquire. It's 1830 with some slight rules changes on a smaller map and it plays great with 3.

Other highlight: we had a very intense game of Dungeon Lords with Festival Season and I finally won! YAY! Several people in the group are quite good at it and I've never beaten them before. Was happy to finally score a victory in it. It was my first time playing with Festival Season as well. It's a good, solid expansion that adds more of everything the game already has but it doesn't introduce anything significantly different. That's both a good thing (game isn't fundamentally altered, don't fix what isn't broken) but at the same time a bit of a shame (as Vlaada has made some wonderful expansions in the past that do fundamentally alter the game they're for and they work out great).

Random notes:

Euchre was very fun. I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did.

Nuclear War is a silly filler that drags on for way too long. I had it in middle school, got rid of it, and don't really miss it.
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14. Board Game: Pax Porfiriana [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:455]
Board Game: Pax Porfiriana
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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 10  Pax Porfiriana x1 New
 7  Keltis x2
 6  Friday x5
 5  7 wonders x1
N/A Cyclades x1 New

On Pax Porfiriana
I have introduced my Netrunner's buddy to Pax yesterday, in place of our traditional Netrunner evening.

It was a 2 players game. He played Boss Sheperd (1 point of Outrage/Command) and i played Bernardo Reyes (1 point of Loyalty/Command). Sheperd built a lot of enterprises (2 banks, 1 university, 1 casino and 1 mine) because he bought early a bank (this allowed him to buy any enterprise for free). He was very quickly at 5 Loyalty Points since all of his enterprise earned him a Loyalty Point.

Seeing the danger, i put in play a partner card that earned me a Loyalty Point : with that of my hacendado, Sheperd needed 6 to win. This gave me time because there wasn't any Loyalty cards in the market. I also changed the regime to Martial Law in order to screw his huge income.

I decided to go for a Revolution victory : Sheperd put me in jail before (i had 1 Revolution Point so) and i decided to buy Rebel Troops as they cost me half their prices. I bought 3 Rebel Troops (in several turns) and i have deployed 2 of them to Sheperd's enterprises and 1 in my own. The regime was changed to Anarchy as a result (Sheperd was screwed even more).

A topple card was available a few time after and i managed to buy it for the win (4 Revolution Points against 3 --2 for Diaz, 1 for his Vice President, 0 for Sheperd).

My buddy said to me that he didn't see that i could have won with Revolution Points.

He enjoyed the game and he asked me to lend him my copy in order to play it for solo in order to get into this game more.

On Cyclades
I love this game but our session was weird as my son (8 years) spent almost his time to bid for Apollo, despite our advice. He has a ton of money at the end of the game. I think that 3 is certainely not the best configuration for this one (a friend of mine who is a Cyclades lover said to me that it is a 5 players game because all the gods are there).

So this was barely not interesting. But my daughter (12 years) enjoyed it a lot. She likes the creature and the gods a lot (she is learning Odyssey and Aeneid at school).

I choose to buy (yes, this was a gift i made to me) this game because i played it before and loved it and it is a perfect choice for what i target now (simple rules, play other players, fun). But if the creatures could remain on the board until the end of the game (like in Kemet, a game i hate), it would be even more thematic and epic. Perhaps this could be an idea for a variant.
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