GCL Phoenix 204: ... and Now for the Sports! (30 November 2014)
Dave Peters
United States
Belmont
California
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You appear to have found the 204th installment of the Phoenix Geek Chat League. Welcome to our regular subscribers, occasional visitors, lurkers, members, and passers-by. Please feel free to thumb the list so that we know you're there.

If you're not a regular, and the notion of a Geek|Game Chat League seems peculiar or unfamiliar, please check out the wiki page.

As usual, members are encouraged to add an item to the list. And non-members are welcome to contribute (though please leave the item-adding to the regulars.) Our roster comprises:
archivists
darker
Dormammu
indigopotter
Lowengrin
Morganza
Mr_Nuts
ravenskana
rynelf
Smintie <-- next week's correspondent.
Taibi
tjshields
woodnoggin

(We also celebrate the historic contributions (and occasional present visits: y'all are welcome) of BennyD, Bruzza, chally, Eeeville, enzo622, Hawkeye77, JohnRayJr, judoka, leroy43, topherr and Yokiboy.)

With that, we pick up our broadcast from last week. Thanks for the weather, Jon. Now for sports!

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In headlines this week:
• Birmingham defeated Leeds in the University Division 1 Men's Ultimate final.
• How about the signing of Ryan Griffen by the GWS Giants? I didn't expect that at all.
• We saw England, Wales and Brazil all win their matches in the Autumn Internationals.
• The Tiger-Cats and Stampeders are ready to begin their Grey Cup match tonight.

Ok. I admit I'm being silly. First, sport isn't remotely universal: there are lots of us that Just Don't Care. And even amongst the fans, sports really are a regional thing: the sports that I play, watch, or enjoy aren't likely your choices - and vice versa!

And since this (looks around) still is boardgamegeek.com, I guess I should try and put the game spin on things. So...

Are there "Sports-themed" games that you enjoy? Do you find yourself more or less likely to gravitate toward a game because of some sporting enthusiasm? And, sure: if you were forced, what sport would you be willing to participate in?
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1. Board Game: Rod Hockey [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:3467]
Board Game: Rod Hockey
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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There were several sports-themed games I played as a young person. This was my historic favourite - and perhaps strangely so, since I never played hockey.

If I go from a naive sort of our collective game ratings, our favourite game in category "Sports" is Blood Bowl: DeathZone. But only three of us have rated it. (Eight of us have rated Snow Tails and five of us Formula Dé, but we're not terribly excited about either.)

Are there sports-themed games you enjoy enough to suggest, or inflict on friends, or want to play? (Equally, on the other side, are there sports-themed games you'd prefer to ignore?)
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2. Board Game: Um Reifenbreite [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:1449]
Board Game: Um Reifenbreite
Dave Peters
United States
Belmont
California
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I love cycling. I'm not part of a club; I don't cycle on a schedule; it's not anything that controls my life. But it's an exercise that my aged knees permit, and one at which my youngsters will join me.

But I've never picked up a cycling-themed game and thought "Oh, hey; this should work for me!"

Are there games that you've picked up because of some sporting enthusiasm? If so, tell us your tales of glory or woe!
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3. Board Game: Basketball Strategy [Average Rating:5.44 Overall Rank:16708]
Board Game: Basketball Strategy
Dave Peters
United States
Belmont
California
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For much of my life, my favourite sport was basketball - both to watch and to play. After a couple knee surgeries, I'm not much able to play any more (I can play, but it takes me about a month to recover before I could consider trying it again.)

My Dad was a football (Read "soccer" here, dear lovely North American colleagues. Remember my header? I'm still trying to mess with you a bit.) player in his youth. And still into his 70s, he'd occasionally come play with his children and grandchildren. He'd be in pain for weeks thereafter, but he thought it was worth it (and we definitely appreciated the effort on his part.)

If you absolutely had to play a sport, what would you choose? Would you have any residual competence left from a (mis-/well-)spent youth? Would you enjoy it, even for a moment?
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4. Board Game: Discworld: Ankh-Morpork [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:459]
Board Game: Discworld: Ankh-Morpork
Bryan Maxwell
United States
Burtchville
Michigan
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Balloon Cup x 2

I won both games, one close (3-2) and one not (3-0). This is a nice, quick tug of war game for my special lady and I.

Red7 x 2

Finally got to try this one this week. It was so-so as a 2-player game, and more enjoyable with 3. Is 4 the sweet spot? It isn't spectacular, but has the potential to be a very good filler.

Discworld: Ankh-Morpork x 2

We taught this to my wife in a pair of 3-player games. First, I was one of the Lords and won just a few turns in; I had control over 4 regions, and the first 2 players couldn't stop me and the 3rd had a brain fart and didn't stop me.

Game 2 was much more interesting. I was Lord Rust again (if you control 4 regions at the start of your turn, you win). I do a fair bit of bluffing and misdirection in Discworld, and this was no exception. I came into a fair amount of money early and built a few buildings; among them was The Shades, which allows me to place a Trouble marker in The Shades or adjacent to it once per turn. I started doing this, and made a point of discarding a few "remove a trouble marker from the board" cards in sight of the others. No one was shy about removing the trouble markers on their own, and everyone else seemed careful about adding them so I figured it was a safe bluff (one of the characters in the game wins by having 8 trouble markers on the board at the start of their turn).

Late in the game, there came a turn where the board had 7 trouble markers and I had a choice to make: I could add more and really sell the lie, or I could decline and make it obvious to the others that it was a bluff. Based on everyone else's actions, I decided to push it and put trouble markers 8 & 9 out. Thankfully, the others banded together and brought it down to 6 (otherwise the ruse would be up when my turn came and I didn't win). Two turns later I won with control of 4 regions, as everyone assumed I was the Dragon King of Arms. It was oh-so-satisfying to flip my character card and declare victory.

I like this game more and more every time I play.

Innovation w/Figures in the Sand x 1

This was a weird one; it was kind of a slog, we never got into the late cards (8+). I won 7-6, so it was really close, but it didn't feel as tight as usual. I abused James Clerk Maxwell (appropriately) to win (+1 of each icon on your board for each card in hand).

Pax Porfiriana x 3

I taught this to Kat this weekend. Our first play was incomplete; we got through the first 3 topple cards and had to call it because children. We played again today, and I won on the 4th topple with a bunch of Revolution points. As I was putting it away, Kat asked to play again(!). So we did. This time she won on the 3rd topple, just ONE turn before I was poised to win (the last 2 Topple cards came up back-to-back). I was pretty proud of her.

It's still a lot to process, and I recognize that it will take many plays before it starts to feel natural, before we start really seeing beyond "Get income, get Loyalty/Command/etc points". It seems like winning on the first topple would be tough, though I'm sure that opinion will be altered with more experience.

The fact that I played Pax Pondscum this week but chose Discworld as my item should tell you how much I enjoyed my play of the latter.

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I have an auction ending tomorrow here. If you could pop over and give it a thumb, I'd appreciate it. Whatever good vibes you can send our way right now are appreciated.

For no particular reason, here's a Rush song I'm into right now:



He'd love to spend the night in Zion
He's been a long long while in Babylon
He'd like a lover's wings to fly on
To a tropic isle in Avalon
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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
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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We haven't played any games since Coal Baron last Sunday, so I chose Tzolk'in for my item because the replacement board came from RGG, so we can give it a try.

The weather changed fast and furious on Wednesday, we stayed put and had a quiet Thanksgiving to ourselves on Thursday. We ate leftovers on Friday (no Black Friday shopping for us).

The sun's been out over the weekend, and although we have a light snow cover, it's slight enough to be white and pretty, and it's working on melting.
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6. RPG: Earthdawn (3rd Edition) [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:244]
RPG: Earthdawn (3rd Edition)
R. Eric Reuss
United States
Massachusetts
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No board games since returning from BGG.CON, and I gave myself a short vacation from Spirit Island work.

I had some folks over for Earthdawn on Friday, though, which was great. The session wasn't anything special - the arc's just getting rolling - but the company was fantastic, and the roleplaying awesome to watch, as usual.

This campaign's been going for 4 years now. It's survived two players moving away and a total of 6 children being born to the players and me. I hope it survives our 2nd kid. (It ought to - it's structured to. I've just seen enough campaigns "go on hiatus" and never resume that declaring a 6-to-18-month pause feels dangerous.)

~ ~ ~

Outside of gaming: my mother-in-law has been staying with us since I got back. Our son really enjoys playing with her, and she's been helping out in all these little ways around the house. It's great. :-) The only downside is that our guest-room is the DDR room, so I've been getting "little exercise" to go with my "lots of turkey".
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7. Board Game: Sail to India [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:1457]
Board Game: Sail to India
Lo
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Games Played

_7_ Sail to India x1


The Week in Review

Not much of a week for gaming. Just the one play of Sail to India. S has been feverishly working on a quilt for a Christmas present so I've let her have as much space as she needs (which is most of the living room).


The Week Ahead

Hopefully another lunch of Sail to India. Other than that, nothing's even tentatively planned.

Unplayed games of note still in shrink: Yunnan, De Vulgari Eloquentia, and Revolution: The Dutch Revolt 1568-1648. Also one expansion The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – The Road Darkens.

Games in the mail: Kanban: Driver's Edition and The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – The Hobbit: Over Hill and Under Hill.
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8. Board Game: Dixit [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:258] [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked]
Board Game: Dixit
Jon
United States
Urbana
Illinois
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Games Played:

_7_ Mijnlieff x5
Three games with my daughter and I versus my nephew B. and his dad T. We won two and they won once. My nephew is a fan of the game. Later played two gamed with youngest son winning once and losing once.

_6_ Coloretto x1
Taught nephew B. with youngest son and daughter both playing. My son with with 38, B. had 31, I had 22, and daughter 13.

_6_ Love Letter x3
Oldest son helped me teach this to nephew B. I won twice and B. once.

_6_ Dixit x1
Was going to play with extended family but people got distracted so we ended up being my wife, both of my boys, and myself. Youngest son won with 30, my wife 22, myself 18, and oldest son 12.

_7_ Mijnlieff x2
My youngest son helped me teach friend R. and his son J. as a team. We won the first game, and they won the second game. R. liked it enough to write down the name of game and the web site. We'll see if he managed to import it over from England.

_6_ No Thanks! x1
Oldest son helped me teach this one to R. I ended up winning with 41, R. had 47, and my son 51. R. said he liked this too but I suspect he won't be looking to get this as his son J. is a bit young for it.

_6_ Dixit x1
Taught this to R. and T. with my nephew B. along with us for the visit, so there were three new players. My wife and daughter teamed up and won with 30, while oldest son did well with 24, T. scored 22, R. assisted me and we got 21, and my nephew B. struggled and only had 12.

_8_ Abluxxen x2
Two plays with daugher and youngest son. Forst game they both tied with 13 while I ran away with it at 23. Second game was closer with me taking it 16 to daughter's 11 and son's 10. This was played at request of fdaughter and I can tell she's getting better at it.

_7_ The Speicherstadt x1
My daughter asked me to play something and boys were elsewhere busy. On a whim decided to teach her this with the expansion bits added in. She did quite well in picking up a lot of the game and ended up winning 67 to 63, although I took it each with her at several points to better teach the game. As a two player game it was ok but I'd prefer at least one more player.
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9. Board Game: Arkwright [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:529]
Board Game: Arkwright
Burster of Bubbles, Destroyer of Dreams.
United States
Sunnyvale
California
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Arkwright is the game that both Master of Economy and Wealth of Nations wanted to be. 7 hours and worth it.

The week in review:

Black Friday gaming and goodness:
Five Cucumbers (3p, new)

Me, Liesl, M.; first play for all. Due to a rules error I was out quickly with a pickle overdose and it came down to mom vs. daughter.

All thought it was very cute, and I think Liesl suggested a second round later (though it didn't happen.)

Hanabi 4p

JC's elder son Jacob (he's 18 and thus has a name now!), me, Liesl, M. (first play for those two.)

We ended up with a quite respectable 17, not bad for a table with so little experience.

We not just took notes, we had a common secretary.

Tajemnicze Domostwo (5p, new)

Poor frustrated Greg the Ghost.

Pandemic: The Cure 4p

Tom Lehmann and Dave D. and C. D. were so frustrated over killing the world (twice?) that I joined them for another round, where yet again Dave's "skill" at rolling dice killed the world.

Tragedy Looper (3 vs. 1, new to the whole co-op side)

Tom Lehmann as the not-so-evil adversary ran me, Dave D., and C. D. through the first baby steps scenario.

Can't say much without spoilers but he did something that was mostly rude but also gave us a ton of information, and on the second day we won.


Saturday was GamesDay:

Arkwright 4p, new to 3

A long brutal spreadsheet game, but broken up into small enough slices that the time flies. ("The game Master of Economy and Wealth of Nations wanted to be.")

John won concentrating on the cheapest goods and stock appreciation. I came a close second concentrating on high-end goods. Dave and Alex were more diverse.

All four of us left the table after 7 hours wanting to play again and do things a bit better.

Panamax 4p, new to 1

JC (first play), Dave E., me, John.

A much poorer game with lumpier dice and less-optimized cargo movement. Much wailing and moaning.

Not nearly as much fun as my first play.

Sunday, Jesse's birthday party:

Telephone Pictionary 8p
I refuse to use the main title BGG gives this game!

My humblest apologies to Jeremy for my artwork. Happy hour has been canceled.

Tajemnicze Domostwo 8p with modified rules, new to most.

We were evil and made the most talkative person the ghost.

One frustrated ghost.

In the future maybe a ghost team.

Ghost Party 6p, new to some, different rules than Dave P. taught us.

The Birthday Boy wrote:
You know, we're all so fussy about our games and mechanics and rules, but here we are laughing our tails off over the roll of a die in a children's game.
Editorial Commentary:

Mysterium

I'm so glad I didn't get to try Mysterium at BGG.con, it would have died playing with strangers in a noisy room. It's a cool game, the dream cards are Dixit-quality fantastic, but really not something I'd actively seek out to play again. If you suffer from co-op boss syndrome make the bossy person be the ghost.

Dixit with a plot.

Ghost Party

This was a recommendation from some GCL member or visitor, IIRC. Well worth whatever I paid for it.

Hugo the Ghost wrote:
Om nom nom.

Arkwright

You get 20 actions in the game, plus 2 decisions during game setup. It feels like so much more, especially since most main actions allow a bonus action; we all occasionally took a null or very minimal main action just to get the associated bonus action.

For Round = 1 to 5 do
-- For Commodity = 1 to 4 do
-- -- For player = 1 to n do
-- -- -- take one main action + its side action
-- -- done
-- -- resolve Commodity
-- done
-- advance available tech
done



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10. Board Game: Terra Mystica [Average Rating:8.15 Overall Rank:15]
Board Game: Terra Mystica
Dave Peters
United States
Belmont
California
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Scorecard for the Week/Month/Year as of 29Nov2014:

7/50/526 plays of 6/31/207 total games, with 2/9/27 expansions employed.
Plays with 7/19/82 distinct opponents.

3/7/51 games acquired (plus 1/5/17 expansions.) - Hansa: Changing Winds, モテねば。, 開拓王 and ひつじとどろぼう. And two more unpublished games (あやつり殺人事件 and オカシノビ) I'll add when they get into the DB.
0/0/15 games sold/traded (plus 0/0/6 expansions.)
0/1/22 games ordered (plus 0/0/11 expansions.)
Orders for 6 games and 3 expansions still outstanding.

With my youngsters:
2x _7.3_ Love Letter - Fun to get daughter #1 back in the mix. The two youngsters treat this as a no-holds-barred affair - and the result is amusing. The kids split this pair of games, and enjoyed taunting one another throughout.
1x _8_ Bohnanza - This one might have been even better. Daughter #1 comments "This is great; we should play it more often." I agree. It works very nicely with the three of us.
1x _6.7_ ひつじとどろぼう New! - This one was only son #2 and I. And I suspect it's better with more players. Probably best with 4, were I to guess. So the rating is likely a bit preliminary. It was quite cute, but more reminiscent of Don Quixote in this 2p context than I find completely compelling.

With the Friday (Wednesday this week) lunch crew:
1x _7.3_ Tyros - Fast and sensible by Wallace standards; and quite entertaining with this bunch. I'm still not convinced that the game isn't a bit more random than I'd prefer: but it really seemed that all of us were struggling against a backdrop of mostly-uncooperative cards here, rather than the distribution dramatically favouring one of us.

With the Wednesday Night gang:
1x _7.3_ Irish Gauge - I'd not played for too long. Must get this played more. It's got some lovely dynamics, and not-quite-clear mutations.
1x _9_ Terra Mystica (with 4 Town Tiles and Bonus card Shipping value - both New! on a technicality) - I'd played with both expansions online - but never live. So this was their "first play", at least on a technicality. In contrast to last week's play, Tim took a difficult faction and left me one I'm fairly good at. So I won roughly as easily as he had last week. Perhaps both of us need to play against our preference on the next play!

Owned-and-unplayed: 5 (+5/-1) - モテねば。, 開拓王, ひつじとどろぼう, あやつり殺人事件 and オカシノビ arrived; ひつじとどろぼう was played.

Outlook for the week: Hopefully, I'll get through a couple more of those cool new Japanese games. Two of them need translating: I may see if I can lean on the kindness of friends in that regard. They've got a lot of text, and my alternative - Japanese text entry for Google Translate - is really slow! Possibly another play of Panamax on Wednesday. Likely a few more games with my youngsters, too.
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11. Board Game: Star Wars: The Card Game [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:625]
Board Game: Star Wars: The Card Game
Nicolai Broen Thorning
Denmark
Ebeltoft
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Games Played Week 48:

7.5 Star Wars: The Card Game x2
7.5 Praetor x1

The Week in Review:

Somewhat slow week in terms of gaming. We did manage to complete the 10x10 Challenge for Star Wars: The Card Game on Monday. That was really more of a "let's get this over with" session than anything else. Pleased to leave it on the shelf for some time now.

On Wednesday we sat down to re-visit Praetor and it was not a happy visit. The game was friendly enough. I went looking for favours and raced into the lead, though towards the end V. started working on one or two of those and then her morale. In the end she jumped me in the final scoring.

The Labour Camp tile was built by her and that was a plus with me having to pay her to use it and thus not doing so. Money was a problem in general and so that was huge. I saw a comment somewhere that it could be house-ruled to be an auto-build, we might try that, thus it becomes a city tile and even for both of us.

It seems though that there are very few avenues to win - either favours to Caesar or morale - or a combination of both. It becomes rather dull thus in a 2-player game.

I blame the Rahdo hype and Kickstarter.

The Week Ahead:

Going into exam mode for my first exam on December 18th. 1000 pages and a bucket of dates, names and numbers to remember. I am going to create a visual time-line with my creative wife on the living room wall - I think that will be a great tool for me.

Next weekend I will be working Sunday and then attending a game-meet in Aarhus for a few hours. It should be fun. Hopefully V. and I will get to game a bit too.
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12. Board Game: The Omega Virus [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:3435]
Board Game: The Omega Virus
Max Maloney
United States
Portland
Oregon
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"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." -Jack Handey
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Games Played

_8_ Hansa Teutonica 1
_8_ Game: Shadows of Brimstone 1
_7_ Imperial Settlers 1
_6_ The Omega Virus 1 New!

Week in Review

Play #4 of the new Britannia map of Hansa Teutonica. Still loving it. This was 3P with two players new to the expansion and I finally won a game. I need to play new players more often!

Shadows of Brimstone was also a teaching game for three new players. This 4P intro adventure went very long. As with other random factors in this game, game length itself can vary wildly. I have had the basic scenario take 90 minutes and 4 hours. But it's always fun.

And Imperial Settlers was yet again teach new players! This was a 3P game. One issue with this game in early plays is that Barbarians seem too easy to pilot. In five games I have played, barbarians have won four of them. I am not prepared to say they are overpowered, but it's simply not difficult to make them do what they're supposed to. I wish it didn't take so much time to learn the other decks well enough to contend with the unwashed horde.

The Omega Virus was pulled out by a friend of mine who had thrifted a copy. This is much like Zombie 15' which I recently acquired, in that it is timed but with normal turn sequence. Then again, it isn't a co-op so maybe it's not THAT much like Zombie 15'. The players are using an electronic moderator to time the game and govern outcomes. They race to explore a map, find keys that give them access to new areas, assemble three pieces of a weapon, locate the virus itself and defeat it. Along the way, the players can attack each other, which has a 50-75% chance of failure and is done at the expense of one's own progression so it carries real risk. It's a pretty cool game and worth experiencing, but feels like something you're happy to play every once and a while.
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13. Board Game: Hanabi [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:375]
Board Game: Hanabi
not a lot of gaming last week, due to recovering from BGGCon and traveling/Thanksgiving etc.

Hanabi x2 3P
i loooove this game. i got a new set at BGGCon (because who doesn't need 5 different copies of Hanabi?). it's the 2014 Deluxe version and it is so pretty. interestingly, i think it makes it easier to play well. we all created a "system" of arranging the tiles to help with the memory aspect.
Board Game: Hanabi


Timeline: American History x7 3P
i played this with my parents, and they loved it (hence the x7). the cards in this set go from easy-peasy to medium difficulty. none seem quite as impossible as a few of the cards from Discoveries. although as always, when the board gets crowded it is easy to miss a card by a year or two.

Ra x1 4P
loving this.

work is crushing me again so i'm not sure how much gaming is going to happen this week.
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