GCL Mafia 229: Playing in the Mud
Travis Dean
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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 Game Chat League concept, please see the GCL wiki and/or the Mafia wiki. If you would like to be notified each week when a new list is posted or look at past GCL mafia lists, subscribe here: GameChat League: Mafia Division Subscription Thread. Also, if you want an easy-to-use tool for collating your plays for the week, try out Thesp's GCL Games Played Tool!

Active Members in order of preparation (Next week's preparer in bold):
Dolus
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Happymrdave
captainraffi
fdubois
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Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of June 8th - 14th, 2015. List any games played along with your thoughts and opinions. Also, feel free to share gaming news, life updates, random thoughts, or anything else you deem appropriate.

Rules for the list are:
1) A weekly game is spotlighted and discussed. The poster will pose questions about it to encourage conversation.

2) Themed questions are optional. They can be gaming-related topics or non-gaming-related topics.

3) A top five question is posed by the previous poster and answered by the current poster. These top fives are usually game-related, but can include other topics as well.
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1. Board Game: Nuns on the Run [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:1628]
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Travis Dean
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CA
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I'm lacking my usual inspiration, so this week I'm inspired by differing I did last weekend. I ran the Camp Pendleton World's Toughest Mud Run. Spoilers: it's not the toughest, but it is tough.

Has anybody else done any sort of mud run or obstacle course? If not, what about just running or marathons in general? Any interest or curiosity?

If you've participated, or even observed any obstacle courses, what are some of your favorite obstacles? Most dreaded? How do you prepare?
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2. Board Game: Take 5! [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:2283]
Board Game: Take 5!
Travis Dean
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From these top five suggestions, which would you like to see from me?

Top 5 games...
...I thought I wouldn't like but I enjoy.
...I enjoyed initially but tired of quickly.
... That don't stand out as unique but are great nonetheless.
... Only I appreciate.
... For 10+ players
... I've only played once.

I'll probably do and list multiple of these at I finish them, but will try to prioritize what people would like to see.
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3. Board Game: Thurn and Taxis [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:418]
Board Game: Thurn and Taxis
Travis Dean
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This was a disappointing week for me for games.

We hosted game night this week.

8 people showed.

The entire night lasted five hours.

I saw somebody's prototype.

I played Thurn & Taxis.

That was all.

5 hours, 8 attendees, I got to play 1 meh 1 hour game.
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4. Board Game: Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:701]
Board Game: Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Ascension: Dawn of Champions 2
Dominion: Intrigue + Cornucopia 2
Ascension: Realms Unraveled 1
Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy 1
Suburbia + Suburbia Inc 1
Wizard 1

Nothing new this week and not a ton played, though not bad considering I skipped game night on Wednesday. (Don't worry, I've already SANCTION'D myself for this.)

I was glad to get Legacy played again after over a year. I think it's a fairly unique game in its theme and thematicness in play. Matt said he did not dislike it as much as he thought he did with previous plays and that he'd be willing to play it again. This is always a plus.

The Realms Unraveled play was actually the same as one of the Dawn of Champions, which is notable because it's the first time I combined those sets. Though I like some of what DoC offers in theory, in practice it ends up being a bit random. RU, being the excellent set that it is, tempers this quite a bit, making DoC much better. I likely won't play without the two mixed now.

Games not listed: Stupid baby shower games. Baby gift Bingo has no strategy and a major runaway leader problem.

---

In Splatoon news, I hit the level cap of 20. I'm still waiting for all of you to buy a Wii U and play with me.

Matt and I watched The Imitation Game, which we thought was pretty good (though, unsurprisingly, not very accurate). We haven't had a chance yet to start season 3 of Orange is the New Black, but I'm chomping at the bit to do so.
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5. Board Game: Goko no Saikoro [Average Rating:4.89 Unranked]
Board Game: Goko no Saikoro
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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Plays since June 8, 2015

 10.   Dominion x37 (34 on Goko)
 8.0   Concordia x5 (BAJ)
 9.0   YINSH x2 (BAJ)
 8.0   The Castles of Burgundy x2 (BAJ)
 10.   Brass (OOTH)
 8.0   Ginkgopolis (BAJ)
 7.5   DVONN (BAJ)
 6.5   TZAAR (BAJ)

The only offline plays last week were three games of Dominion with Aerial. We used all the Adventures kingdom cards once, continuing to work through the event deck. (Next time we play, we'll mix in some other expansions.)

Game 1: Alms was key, allowing me to open Lost City/Transmogrify. I trashed down to Lost City and Port for actions, Amulet and Giant for payload, and easily hit 5 straight Provinces. She got a Champion out to avoid my Giant attacks (and turn her Gears into Labs) but I was fast enough.
Game 2: I built another very thin deck, this time using Lost Arts on Miser to get to double Province turns with Miser/Miser/Messenger, using Dungeon to ensure I hit the combo. This wasn't quite fast enough though - she got down two Hirelings, and coupled with Dungeon had no trouble getting $8 or more (with Treasure Trove piling up cash as well).
Game 3: Bridge Troll is too good. My deck wasn't all that consistent (Magpie occassionally hit treasure, but it wasn't an ideal board for it), but Coin of the Realm for actions and Ferry to make sure I could afford Bridge Troll whenever I wanted, and eventually I got 5 Bridge Trolls in play and bought a Province and a bunch of Duchies (and then three-piled soon after). She went for Wine Merchant with some success, but this wasn't the right board for that.

This combo is surprisingly awesome. I'll have to remember it on the off chance it comes up in a FTF game.

In other Dominion news, v2 of Dominion Online went public beta this week, and while it wasn't quite as bad as the initial Goko release, it was still pretty awful. I played one game on it; the graphics are pretty much the same, and I didn't encounter any bugs myself (expect for possibly the deck size bug, I wasn't paying enough attention to be sure). The sparkly animations are awful, though.

Games of the week:

mafiascum 13-resigned GusVeep - It's not quite the full pin, but good enough. Bishop trashing Peddlers for points, then KC-Masquerade with an empty deck/hand to trash three of his cards (and buy a free Peddler to repeat).
Goonba 31-13 mafiascum - 18 points doesn't seem like a close game, but this one was incredible. He got the 5/2 opening with Knights and Chapel, and had an advantage with the Knights most of the game as a result. I pulled Mountebank out of the Black Market turn 10 though, and was able to play it consistently to muck up his deck even as he was buying Provinces. Then he found Rebuild turn 15, giving him a way to "rush" the end game. After 25 turns it's 23-0 and I still only have 9 cards, but if I draw a village turn 28 I have a (small) chance of getting enough green to catch up in the next two; instead he finds his Rebuild on turn 30 with Cellar.
mafiascum 0-resigned terminalCopper - I don't know if I played this better or got lucky. Both of us Remake into Urchins, but I get a Silver instead of a third Urchin to ramp up to King's Court (via Harvest, which I figure I can Remake into Grand Market). Then turn 7 (!) I'm able to KC-Mercenary to trash six (and buy Grand Market), and turn 9 my deck is KC, KC, GM, GM, Merc, Woodcutter.
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6. Board Game: Eclipse [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:44]
Board Game: Eclipse
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Lots of gaming this past week for me. Three separate game days.

 N/A   Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization NEW!
 6   The Great Fire of London 1666
 2   Condottiere NEW!
 10   Roll for the Galaxy
 N/A   Amyitis NEW!
 8   Eclipse

Two games of particular note here:
Through the Ages -- was a partial game with the full rules (apparently you can play a 'simple' game without happiness and military?). We cut the game short after Age I ended because the host's girlfriend showed up, so we wanted to no exclude her from game night (hence Great Fire of London). So, I got a feel for the game, and I really enjoyed the little that we played. I can see why this appeals to people, and would gladly play again. There are things I would certainly do differently (like not placing four farmers early on).

Eclipse -- Went to a Saturday game day, and somehow ended up with 7 people at the table (2 new players). I took the Draconi, which are friendly to ancient aliens, and made an early treaty with the guy who I suspected would be most aggressive. I explored a few tiles that I let him claim, and in return he let me sit on a few systems with aliens that he didn't wipe out. We considered a proper alliance when another one formed to take him on. However, it didn't make much sense as I wasn't connected to the conflict very well. The guy to my left was one of the new players, and was terrified of getting into a fight, so I sat back reaping tons of science, and built a few defenses to discourage treachery from either. As a result, I managed to play a 4 hour game of Eclipse without ever being involved in a single fight.... and won (despite forgetting for 3 rounds that I'd bought Advanced Economy). My science really paid off in victory points, and when I managed to find a few alien technologies I took the points instead, which just eked me over the line for a 1 point win (the guy who I almost allied with coming in second). Unsurprisingly, when the other 5 found out I won they looked at me and went "But wait, what did you even do this game?" Conflict is overrated


Condottiere is awful. It's like someone said "I like playing card games! Let's take this card game, and make them play every card in their hand (so you can't sandbag for later hands) but also give them little choices and a highly random hand. Oh, and let's make it overstay its welcome. Yay. Never again. The only reason it's not rated a 1 for me is because it's not broken, it's just bad.


Amyitis was rough. I had read the rules and watched a video, but then when we got to actually playing we had questions and the rulebook is awful. Like, really awful. None of our questions were answered (for example, you can buy palace cards, but those are only mentioned as an aside in one place in the book, and they give the idea of what they do without any specifics). Consequently, while I liked it on first impression, the other two did not. Their indifference surprised me, as I see a lot of similarity to games they really enjoy. I'm going to push for a second play this week now that we have the details figured out.
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7. Board Game: Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:72]
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Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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Android: Netrunner
Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)

What a week, what a lovely week!

Netrunner
Got to try out (another) new Hayley deck which was an amazing return to the ridiculous bullshit that Shapers can do. The deck was harder to pilot than some of my Anarch decks but it was immensely fun. I've mentioned I like those solve-a-one-turn-puzzle type games and this is exactly what this deck did. Stronger Together was effective and boring. Moving away from it again.

Immorten Raf and the Warboys
My friend Tom hosts a 2-night Twilight Imperium game for his birthday every year and I was invited to join in. He sets up an 8p game in his basement and goes all out. There were 10 handmade trophies up for grabs, a couple white boards to track everything, food, drinks etc. He also posts everyone's phone numbers on the board so that you can send secret communications. That made a huge difference in terms of secret negotiations and alliances vs the time I played with a bunch of strangers at the game store. I chose the Yin Brotherhood, a race of religious zealots whose racial abilities include sacrificing one of your ships to do 1 direct damage to an enemy ship of your choice. I almost immediately renamed them to "Immorten Raf and the Warboys", in my head if not on paper.

I'll spare the full play-by-play on the list (unless someone wants more detail than the Reddit post) but it was a pretty tense game. I grabbed Rex early, but wasn't really equipped to defend it and was leaning on an assumed (but tenuous in reality) alliance with the strongest guy to keep everyone at bay. Going into the last round on Saturday night, I figured I was screwed on Sunday and so set myself up for 1 turn of big VPs by grabbing the Speaker and basically pleaded/implored Chris to help me out for 1 more round. He did, and it opened the window for me to have a big turn. Based on a boldfaced lie, he actually unknowingly opened a window for me to win after the first round on Sunday and I made the rolls I need to make to win the whole shebang by 10 points. The first place trophy is really nice. The tabard thing is actually real fabric and sways, and it looks so shiny, so chrome in the nursery

From gallery of captainraffi


Technically I also should have won the Most Technology trophy, but the guy in second by 1 asked if he could take that one instead of the Participation Award since I already had a big trophy.

On my mind
Twilight Imperium 3. Honestly nothing else there. When I got home late Saturday night/Sunday morning I couldn't sleep as I was in a very precarious position and was scrambling to come up with a plan.
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8. Board Game: Specter Ops [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:521] [Average Rating:7.24 Unranked]
Board Game: Specter Ops
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Spartacus: A Game of Blood and Treachery x2
Sons of Anarchy: Men of Mayhem x1
Specter Ops x1 (new!)


Reviews
Camp Grizzly at 2d6.org
Merchants and Marauders: Seas of Glory at The Review Corner


Specter Ops
I got a review copy of this from Miniature Market and to be honest, I was looking forward to playing it but I wasn't extremely excited or hyped up about it. For whatever reason I didn't do a ton of research on it or get caught up in the reviews so I was going in blind, knowing it was hidden movement (which I like) and sci-fi (which I like).

We ended up with five players, which means there's a traitor amongst the Hunters who is working with the lone agent to get in and hit the objectives and then get out. I've never seen a traitor in a hidden movement game before and the experience was amazing. There was paranoia in vast quantities and we couldn't rely on each other completely so we had to negotiate doubling up sentries on some of the long streets as we tried to box in the agent.

I was the Wolf-dude hunter who could move far, hit like a truck, and smell the agent if I moved slowly and he was close by. I thought we had the agent early as we cornered him in the North East section but he used a cloaking device to get out. He kept slipping our net but was forced to burn most of his equipment and we finally nailed him when he was going for his last objective. This caused the traitor to out himself but it was likely too late. The starting agent couldn't evade our tightening grip and I hammered him hard with the help of the Gun (sniper character). Had a blast and really looking forward to my next play. Not sure if it will be as awesome with less players and no traitor but it was tense as hell and unforgettable.

Sons of Anarchy with Calaveras Expansion
New gang is pretty hot. Being able to keep people from calling in backup is scary if used correctly. The Calaveras player kept using it as a threat to keep people out of his declared turf.


On My Mind
Tons of work prototyping/developing Shiv 2.0 (now calling it Alpha-Clink). Came up with a stellar catchup mechanic that feels like an organic extension of the rules as opposed to sloppily bolted on, excited about that. Also had to develop a couple of new modules that will be optional mini expansions/variants. Not sure if my newest iteration will be ready for the Wednesday group or not. Cutting out 100 cards sucks by the way. Need to bust some ass on my fantasy game too and reach out to a couple of publishers to see if they'd like to see it at Gen Con.

We started watching Orange is the New Black season 3 (I'm half watching it) and it's decent again. I enjoy parts of it and other times I'm bored. Still crudely funny overall though.

I was also inspired to re-watch the ultra trashy Spartacus. It's been awhile and I never watched seasons 2 and 3 so I figured now was the time. It certainly adds enjoyment to my recent plays with the Shadow of Death expansion.

Haven't watched the Game of Thrones finale yet, hard to avoid spoilers but been successful so far.

I posted this on Facebook but what's up with the lack of advertising of the new True Detective season. I didn't realize it starts on Sunday and wouldn't have known if not for a random click on IMDB. I'm not expecting the magic of the first season but hopefully the writing remains intelligent.

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9. Board Game: Washington's War [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:576]
Board Game: Washington's War
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Board Game: Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 2 – India & Switzerland
Board Game: Washington's War
Board Game: Eminent Domain: Microcosm


 7.5   Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 2 – India & Switzerland
 N/A   Washington's War NEW!
 6.4   Eminent Domain: Microcosm x2

Only one new game this past week, I caught a particularly nasty cold that sidelined me for most of it, with only a little bit of catch up over the weekend as I got better.

My regular gaming buddy has a soft spot for the thematic trappings of some wargames, and had acquired Washington's War. Daunted by the huge rulebook, we only recently sat down to play it, and my opinion is...mixed.

On the one hand, the game has some undeniable positive qualities. It has a similar mechanical core to Twilight Struggle (shared deck of cards, sort of a push-pull area control aspect), and it's hard to deny that it's a really interesting system that results in surprising, dramatic play but that also manages to be fair in the process.

On the other hand, this is very much a game Not For Me (TM). The theme and the general crufty-ness of the design (owed to the usual bent toward simulation-over-gameplay that war games/GMT titles are known for) are a real turn off, and while the general flow of the game canters along at a good clip, the Combat is what really sunk it for me.

I get that the giant list of dice roll modifiers are in service to the theme of the game, and I get that they're also surprisingly balanced (we didn't have any blow out victories/defeats in any of our battles). But every freakin' time we had combat the game ground to a halt while we each ran through the list to check who got what modifiers and, oh, who gets the militia bonus this turn? Do I still have my regulars bonus? You played an Event card right? Wait, do I get my actual command value, or did it get halved, I forgot...

This, I suppose, is a small complaint compared to the rest of the game, which does have a good balance of complexity to simplicity. All that said, I'm more inclined to dismiss it because it's already not something I usually enjoy. I'm happy to have given it a shot, but like Twilight Struggle, I'm also happy never to play it again.
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10. Board Game: Tajemnicze Domostwo [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:600]
Board Game: Tajemnicze Domostwo
Paul S
United Kingdom
Leeds
West Yorks
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Happy with a few short plays this week:

Tajemnicze Domostwo x 3

Tales & Games: The Hare & the Tortoise

Hanabi


We played Mysterium on Normal, with the Spirit Board addon - found it too easy. So two more games on Normal, and we won the last of them, which was cool after 4 earlier losses on Easy. Still think this will be a regular at our table and the short playtime is a bonus.

Love Hare & Tort - sure it will see a lot of play.

A fantastic almost-perfect Hanabi game with a massively disappointing 21 points since we ran out of cards. I know there is a "we can always guarantee 24/5" crowd out there, but I still call bollocks on it. But then: I am at least still enjoying it.

On my mind:

Managed to acquire The Art of Fury Road hardback at a knockdown price. Yummy Mad Max goodness. Yes, I'm obsessed with it.

Sandman nearly done: just The Wake to go. 3rd reading, this, I think, and it gets better every single time. I can't begin to express how complete an experience it is. If you care at all for fantasy literature, you owe it to yourself to try it. One of those where I get sadder as I realise the end is coming.

Saw Mel Brooks' "The Producers" musical on stage this weekend. Very good.

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11. Board Game: Nations: The Dice Game [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:809]
Board Game: Nations: The Dice Game
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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Board Game: Flip 9
Board Game: Pandemic: The Cure
Board Game: Tajemnicze Domostwo
Board Game: Escape: The Curse of the Temple
Board Game: Nations: The Dice Game
Board Game: Spyfall
Board Game: Elysium
Board Game: Bring Out Yer Dead


A pretty nice week of gaming for me.

 7.5   Flip 9 x2 NEW!
 7.5   Nations: The Dice Game NEW!
 7   Spyfall x5 NEW!
 4   Bring Out Yer Dead NEW!

 7.5   Pandemic: The Cure
 8   Mysterium x2
 6   Escape: The Curse of the Temple x2
 8   Elysium

No especially big games, but lots of different ones, so I'll try to keep each entry short. Feel free to ask for more info on any of these.

Nations: The Dice Game felt pretty good. I enjoyed it quite a bit and my wife did as well. I like the way getting to use new dice immediately (and being able to trade in used ones) gave the game a good feeling of progression even though the game only lasts 4 rounds. The tiles do feel a bit samey but I realize the game is trying to stay really focused, so I won't dock it too much for that.

Since age 4 is so heavily focused on high-value-high-cost wonders, I'm a little worried that the blue dice are the best ones, but I would need to play more to see if that's true.

I feel like this is one of those games that is good but an expansion that just adds "a little more" might propel it to being great.

Flip 9 is a cute little (and I mean little) solitaire game where you rearrange cards (and possibly flip them, depending on the level you're playing at) to try and put them in order. The rules are here on BGG I think, and you can play it with substitutes, so you can try if you're curious. Nice puzzle-like feel to it.

Spyfall was one I had heard a lot about, and I did enjoy it quite a bit. It plays really quickly and has a nice take on mechanics in the increasingly-crowded social deduction game genre. I do worry that the spy is at a pretty big disadvantage, as we only saw the spy win once, and the spy having to ask the first question is potentially a killer if they ask something really weird by accident. We did have to make sure all players looked at the locations listing every time they responded to anything, as otherwise it was very obvious who the spy was (the only person who cared about the book). I enjoyed it and I'd play again.

Bring Out Yer Dead felt half-baked. It has a cutesy take on a morbid theme (the name is from a Monty Python & The Holy Grail sequence, so it has that flavor of humor), and that worked, but the game itself didn't impress. It has initiative-driven card selection... but you only have a few cards most of the time. It has set collection... but you're more likely to get more points by just playing the cards individually for points. It has area control... but there's only three areas unless you randomly get one of the cards that gives you points for area majorities. And a lot of the cards are take-that single-opponent targeting, so pulling off anything that seems like a good move early on makes you a target.

Sigh. This is a fine example of a Kickstarted game that really needed more development and blind organized playtesting. It probably could have been a lot better but as it is I don't think I really care to play again.

Our play of Pandemic: The Cure was hilariously bad. We never had a single person get a biohazard-free roll until well into the game, and we started having dice clump up quickly right from the get-go. We laughed at our misfortune and still had fun but I've never lost a game of this so badly before.

Mysterium was highly enjoyable as usual. I think the downtime involved in the game is the biggest negative - setup is somewhat time consuming (if you shuffle properly) and each turn while the ghost is thinking there's quite a few moments when many people have nothing to do except be nosy (or sometimes helpful ). Still a great game, I think my score for it is pretty solidified at this point.

I haven't played Escape in over a year and it was a dice-fest of a good time, but I still don't think the game has a lot of depth. It's fun and a great opener to get people in a gaming mood, so it has a very useful role, however.

Finally, we had a fun but kind of slow play of Elysium. I'm increasingly feeling like the game is better with 3 than 4, but 4 can still be fun. It's definitely vulnerable to AP and players generally need time each round to read the cards, which can take a bit. (Not a huge amount of time, but it is noticeable). I dropped my score to an 8 due to those factors, but I still like the cardplay and the tension you get when trying to figure out how to use your columns to claim stuff.

I lost by just one or two points to a friend who pulled off some big number legends well - I'm actually glad he won, as he has had a serious victory drought as of late, and he was elated to win.
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12. Video Game: Final Fantasy VII [Average Rating:8.29 Overall Rank:36] [Average Rating:8.29 Unranked]
Video Game: Final Fantasy VII
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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It's E3 time, and videogame announcements are flying to and fro. One of the biggest ones is that Final Fantasy VII is finally receiving a real remake for modern systems. VII is in my favorites list for the series, so this is something I'm very pleased to hear.

Are you keeping an eye on E3? If yes, are you pleased with what you're seeing?

This is the most excited I've been for videogames in a while. Tons of great stuff in the next couple years.
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13. Board Game: Starfighter [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:2991]
Board Game: Starfighter
Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
Hauts de Seine
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9 Shakespeare New!
9 Starfighter New!
5 Terra Mystica x1 (2 plays so far)

Gaming got derailed by real life, unfortunately : lots of end of school / sports season and other activities.

I had the opportunity to go to "Paris Est Ludique", a gaming event in Paris last week-end. I went there only the Sunday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

I was looking to play the 2 next Ystari's games : Starfighter (coming at the end of June) and Shakespeare (coming for Essen).

I played Terra Mystica for 5 players with 2 of my friends waiting for Ystari's SMS . The game was way more pleasant than the first one (i played for Nomads and manage to end 3rd) but i find that this game is not enough straighforward and clean for my taste. It is well throughout for sure and i recon that there is a very pleasant feeling of development and progression (workers > priests > special buildings and abilities) during the game but i find that the interaction is not there, sorry. There is also too much bonuses and exceptions here and there (special actions, power spheres, end of turn bonus tiles, turn bonus tiles, cult tracks....) to keep track of.

If i want to play an interactive-n-network/placement game, i will always choose Hansa Teutonica and Tigris & Euphrates first.

I won't refuse to play it with my friends but i am glad i didn't buy it.

Starfighter : i went on Ystari booth in order to play Shakespeare but i played Starfighter in order to wait for a table to be free. And i was well advice to do so. This game was a blast.

It is a 2 players only game, 30' to play. It takes place into space where both players have a space ship represented by a player board with 6 columns, facing each other. The goal is to inflict damage to the opponent main ship. The first to be destructed is the loser.

You have a starting hand of 4 cards representing fighting ships and special abilities as icons like sliding, rotating a card; inflicting damage to either ship (yes your own too)...etc.

The gameplay is very simple : you play a card in one of your 6 columns (there is constraints to play a card). Once every player have passed, we resolve the combat, column by column, by counting the fight ships symbols.
Each ship symbol absorb a hit with the remaining hits are inflicted to the main ship. Once a card are destructed, each visible symbol is revolved agin, allowing strong and possibly surprising combo effects.

The game is great fun, quick, dynamic, clever with a lot of take-that-into-your-face.

Shakespeare : this is the next 'big' game of Ystari. It takes place into the Shakespeare universe : the goal is to be the best in making a play by recruiting actors/characters (you will have to dress them for the play) and craftmen (decorator, helper, wardrobe...) and decorate your stage (it must be symetrical).

I won't describe each detail but the game took 2 hours (4 players) and VP are tense (around 25 VP max). The theme is strong in this game, with the real characters of Shakespeare : Hamlet, Beatrice, King Lear....

Here is my personal board at the end of the game (characters in the left, craftmen in the right, stage in the upper middle, ambience track in the lower middle).

From gallery of fdubois


These 2 games are in my wishlist already.
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14. Board Game: Julius Caesar: Caesar, Pompey, and the Roman Civil War [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:917]
Board Game: Julius Caesar: Caesar, Pompey, and the Roman Civil War 49-45 BC
Jeffrey Drozek-Fitzwater
United States
Houston
Texas
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Dead Men Tell No Tales: This has been getting some buzz lately. I like to call it "Flash Point with pirates." This wasn't anything special. But if it were, say, 40 minutes instead of 75, this would be a lot more fun. Turns take too long for what it is.

Age of War: This is a Knizia? Flat, lifeless, uninspired, no fun. Everyone hated it.

Tinners' Trail: An enjoyable game with four. I think I have been hanging back too much in the first round; in this game, that's too costly. Don't be afraid to spend money early and get the best properties. One guy spent too much and got no points in the first round! I finished in second and I felt like I played better.

Tammany Hall: I think I'm about done with this. It's a great idea and I love the components. The game just doesn't ever seem to live up to its potential. I ended up winning via tiebreak despite being eight points behind going into the final round. For a game that wants negotiating and backstabbing as much as it does, it doesn't encourage it enough.

Hansa Teutonica: Britannia: I love this map. And I finally found a winning strategy! Instead of fighting wars in London, I ignored it entirely, tied up the action paths, got a key (much easier on this map) and just put down a big network. Won pretty handily with 65 points.

Washington's War: Abbie and I have this thing going on where I suggest a wargame, she declines because "she doesn't like wargames," I talk her into it, she wins, and then she declares she likes this one. I was a little frustrated by the card draws; I kept getting events and campaigns while Abbie was OPS rich and used that to spread political control.

Julius Caesar: Caesar, Pompey, and the Roman Civil War: If you're looking for a fast-paced block wargame, this is it. It's as symmetrical as they come (Pompey starts the game with 7 VP- 10 needed to win) and the event cards keep things interesting. Abbie was Pompey and very nearly won; she probably would have if she pursued Caesar after taking Rome. I was able to turn it around and do just enough to win. Good game.

One Night Ultimate Werewolf Daybreak xsome number: Nothing too special to report here. Hadn't done Werewolf in a little bit, so it was good to get this in.
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15. Board Game: Epic Card Game [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:1811] [Average Rating:6.49 Unranked]
Board Game: Epic Card Game
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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Epic is the new game from White Wizard, who previously brought us Star Realms. It's very clearly modeled after "old-school" Magic: the Gathering, with an emphasis on big creatures and mass-destruction spells. At first I was pretty interested, but my enthusiasm has waned. I'm debating canceling my pledge. The pretty lame latest stretch goals haven't helped. Anyone else look at this? Thoughts?
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16. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:29]
Board Game: Agricola
Robin Levins
United States
Round Rock
TX
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Rolling dice and taking grains!
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Board Game: Agricola
Board Game: Betrayal at House on the Hill
Board Game: Tajemnicze Domostwo
Board Game: Pandemic: The Cure
Board Game: Splendor


 10.   Agricola
 8.0   Betrayal at House on the Hill
 8.0   Mysterium
 8.0   Pandemic: The Cure x2
 8.0   Splendor

I had the good opportunity to go to a game night on Saturday not far from my house with a variety of different gaming types. Splendor went fine, then I was talked into running a game of Betrayal at House on the Hill, which I was a little meh on for the evening, but decided to go along with the crowd for. I was nervous when there were people not paying attention to the rules and distractions here and there, and one person left after his second turn (just decided board games weren't his thing, I guess!). All signs pointed to potential disaster. But no! The players were laid back in the sense of "Let's just do whatever looks good and roll with it", which is exactly the approach to have for the first half of the game. When the haunt was revealed, the supposed-to-be-traitor was pretty nervous about doing it (as it was her second "gamer's game" ever after Splendor), so I agreed to swap with her. The players figured out best tactical approaches of how to handle the Ouroboros haunt, and in the end it was a very, very close game where had a might roll gone another way by one point, the survivors would have won. Everyone enjoyed it, even the person stuck in one room for most of the haunt.

After that, I got to play Agricola with one person who had played it prior with me, and a new player. Both loved it, and I narrowly escaped with a 1 point win. I am reminded that I need this to hit the table more often, as it's just so good.

Dave noted that one of the plays of Pandemic: The Cure on Thursday went horribly awry. Well, we played after he left, and the second play was just as catastrophic and entertaining.
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17. RPG Item: Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana [Average Rating:8.11 Overall Rank:1594]
From gallery of BoardGameGeek
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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So, Wil Wheaton just posted a letter addressing the myriad rules mistakes on Tabletop Season 3. Thoughts?
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