GCL Mafia 239: On My Mind
Charlie Theel
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St. Louis
Missouri
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Important Links:
GameChat League: Mafia Division Subscription Thread (links to past lists, subscribe for weekly notifications).
GameChat League Wiki (for general information about the GameChat League concept)
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Thesp's GCL Games Played Tool (an easy-to-use tool for collating your plays for the week)

Welcome to GCL Mafia Division's weekly geeklist!

GCL Mafia Members:
• Please add an item to represent your gaming life for the week of August 17 - August 23, 2015.
• List any games played along with your thoughts/opinions.
• Also, feel free to share gaming news, life updates, random thoughts, or anything else you deem appropriate.

GCL Mafia Geeklist Format:
• A weekly game is spotlighted and discussed. The poster will pose questions about it to encourage conversation.
• Themed questions are optional. They can be gaming-related topics or non-gaming-related topics.
• A top five question (usually, but not always, game-related) is posed by the previous poster and answered by the current poster.

Current Roster:

Thesp
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ecargo
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1. Board Game: MIND [Average Rating:9.10 Unranked]
From gallery of SaberRider
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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The "On My Mind" section is probably the only positive thing I've contributed to this GCL in the past year and a half. Originally I wanted a way to talk about non-gaming related stuff or gaming related items that didn't fit in with other sections of discussion.

While I enjoy talking about movies/TV and other miscellaneous things, I didn't want this to overtake game discussion. I merely saw it as a way to get to know each other in a more well-rounded way and perhaps come across stuff we wouldn't normally. For instance, I don't think I would have ever watched Penny Dreadful if Paul didn't recommend it to me awhile ago.

Anyway, this list is about the "On My Mind" section that pretty much everyone has started using now.
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2. Board Game: TV Wars [Average Rating:5.55 Overall Rank:15849]
Board Game: TV Wars
Charlie Theel
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St. Louis
Missouri
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What's your top 3 TV shows of all time? Why?
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3. Board Game: Film Frenzy [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:13092]
Board Game: Film Frenzy
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Top 3 movies?
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4. Board Game: Battle of the Bands [Average Rating:5.76 Overall Rank:13019]
Board Game: Battle of the Bands
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Top 3 bands?
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5. Board Game: Video Game High School [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:8761]
Board Game: Video Game High School
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Top 3 video games?
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6. Board Game: Basket of Fruit [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Basket of Fruit
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Top 3 books/novels? (How could I forget this??)
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7. Board Game: Dixit [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:257] [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked]
Board Game: Dixit
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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I'm choosing this as the game of the week because it's the first game I scrolled through that I wasn't sure how people in this GCL felt about it.

I haven't played this in awhile but I did like it. It's also kind of interesting to reflect on it in the wake of Mysterium.

What are your thoughts on Dixit and its expansions/follow-ups?
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8. Board Game: Cave Evil [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:2742] [Average Rating:7.94 Unranked]
Board Game: Cave Evil
Charlie Theel
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St. Louis
Missouri
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Top 5 Combat Systems

5. Runewars
Only played this once but really dug it. The card based resolution was neat and provided for various results in an interesting way. It's also relatively fast once you get the hang of it, and I really liked how the combat drawing influenced remaining odds for not just combat, but also diplomacy and questing.

4. Forbidden Stars
This may climb in time. I really love card-based combat mechanisms, dice, and asymmetry. This slams all three together brilliantly. Only negatives are that it can be long, and the temporary token thing is kind of clunky. Love how deck-building influences your results and this mechanism simultaneously feels empowering and tense. The momentum builds as you move towards that third and final card and I love it. Could move higher on this list over time.

3. Cave Evil
The pick a stat and roll a D12 adding to it isn't anything amazing. What I really like about this system though is how brutal it is in a way most games wouldn't even approach. The winner kills every single thing in the opponent's group. There's no damage/health system, there's just an opposed best of 3 rolls winner takes all and things explode into gore.

Combine the lethality with the hundreds of crazy abilities and this game earns its mark of insanity.

I also like how you can recruit neutral creatures or batter them into submission instead of just killing them.

2. Blood Rage
Blood Rage is super interesting. You draft from a handful of cards at the beginning of each of the three ages but the choices are difficult because everything has that Glory to Rome overpowered feel. The thing is, the cards you are drafting consist of Upgrades (you can get a Fire Troll, or improve your Warriors attack), Quests (earn Glory/VP), and Battle Cards (win in combat).

So instead of rolling dice each side plays a battle card (it kind of works like Shiv slightly). The thing is, if you went balls out drafting the high battle cards then you don't have upgrades. I've seen players adopt different strategies and they all seem viable. Absolutely great and highly replayable.

1. Earth Reborn (really custom symbols on dice)
I really like dice with custom symbols. Aetherium does this too in a way I love. I think it's because I like creative use of result sets and in Earth Reborn you can get range/ammo/damage all from similar symbols. I also love how the equipment and weapons augment your abilities here, how players can interrupt with an initiative bid. You can also capture and torture people. I've always wanted to water-board a member of NORAD. ALSO, you can capture the mech and get inside!
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9. Board Game: Penguin Freeze-Tag [Average Rating:4.25 Unranked]
Board Game: Penguin Freeze-Tag
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Note: The game entry has nothing to do with anything. I was previewing my post and just randomly put in "tag" as a short word to bring up something to click and I found this. I may just start posting random games for my entries from here on out.

Codenames 10
Spyfall 4
Ascension: Dawn of Champions + Ascension: Realms Unraveled 3
Jaipur 3
Summoner Wars: Master Set 3
SHH 2
Abyss 1
Bad Beets 1
Bargain Hunter NEW! 1
Bausack NEW! 1
Call to Glory 1
Carcassonne + Carcassonne: Inns & Cathedrals 1
Coconuts 1
David & Goliath NEW! 1
GEM 1
Glen More 1
Imperial Settlers + Imperial Settlers: Why Can't We Be Friends 1
Martian Dice 1
Myrmes 1
Nippon Rails NEW! 1
OddVille NEW! 1
Odin's Ravens NEW! 1
Splendor 1
Stockpile 1
TAJ 1

A combination of my stepbrother as well as Jennifer, Travis, and James visiting meant a lot of gaming this week!

Bargain Hunter: I received this in the most recent math trade. I only recently found out about it despite being a trick-taking and Uwe Rosenberg fan. Travis and Jennifer were nice enough to indulge me in a fresh play. I think I like it, but more plays will help me suss that out better.

Bausack (a.k.a. Bandu): The combination of a dexterity game and auction/bidding was interesting and what made me want to try this out. I think the bidding is a little too tight (though I understand why it's that way) and kind of detracts from the fun of simply building up your wonky-ass tower. I likely wouldn't ask to play this again, but I was glad to have tried it out.

David & Goliath: An interesting premise for a trick-taking game (lowest played cards gets the highest; highest played card gets the trick), but I had a hard time figuring out if there was actually any strategy to the game or not. I'd been wanting to try this one out for awhile, so it was nice to get it crossed off the list. However, it's not one I'd be really asking to play again.

Glen More: Though not technically new, it's been 4.5 years since I played, so it practically was new. The game was a little convoluted to me at first, but about halfway through it started to sink in as I thought of it like a Uwe resource/engine building + tile placement game. I did win, making it the best game ever, and I'd like to play it again to see how much I like it. Luckily, it's on Yucata and I just joined a random game. I'm also willing to play with anyone here if they want.

Nippon Rails: My first crayon rails game! Although I don't like pick-up-and-deliver games (and this didn't change my mind), I felt like my board game "education" needed to include one of these classic series of games. The game was much tighter and punishing than I expected it to be and Travis quickly shot ahead of Jennifer and myself that we ended up quiting after about an hour (maybe an hour and a half?) as there was no reason to finish it out. However, I feel like I got the gist of the game. Overall, I found it repetitive and a kind of "work" that I just don't find fun. (I imagine this is the same feeling others have about Agricola or Through the Ages.) I don't care to pore over a map, trying to optimize my route and pick-ups/deliveries; I simply don't get any enjoyment out of it. Add on top of that a game that has pretty repetitive turns ("I have to go 36 spaces and can only move 9 per turn, so it will take me four turns just to get where I want to go.") and lasts for 3+ hours, no thanks. Yet again though, happy to have finally gotten to try a crayon rails game.

OddVille: Very meh despite having things that I should enjoy (hand management, tile placement, resource collection). It has some interesting ideas with its mechanics, but comes together in a generally bland game. It could be good if someone could just clean it up development-wise.

Odin's Ravens: At first I thought this was pretty random, but as we settled into the second round or so, I started figuring out ways to be clever. The best way I can describe it is that it is a very Kosmos game. If I could pick it up for a reason price (or even in a decent enough trade), I wouldn't mind owning it, but certainly don't think it's worth the price it's going for. (Also, I feel bad for those who backed it on Kickstarter as they basically got robbed. I know that feeling as a similar thing happen with my backing Vanuatu on IndieGoGo. Luckily, that's been the only one. All my Kickstarters have been fulfilled, though some really late. I'm looking at you, Catacombs and your 9+ month tardiness.)

---

On my mind: School starts tomorrow. It marks the beginning of my fourth year as a grown up with a real job. Despite how many first-day-of-school's I've had, I still get first day jitters. Although I have no new classes this semester, I am revamping one because I feel compelled to, like, do a good job and maybe have my students learn something. Or at least one thing. One would be nice.

External image


Pictures:

From gallery of ecargo
Serious one.

From gallery of ecargo
Not so serious one.

From gallery of ecargo
Some kind of failed human centipede.

From gallery of ecargo
I ruin all potentially nice pictures.

Also, since you can't really see it, it's important to mention that I was wearing my "I [meeple] board games" shirt.
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10. Board Game: Dark Moon [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:980]
Board Game: Dark Moon
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Board Game: Wizard
Board Game: Dark Moon
Board Game: Spyfall
Board Game: SHH
Board Game: OddVille
Board Game: Glen More
Board Game: David & Goliath
Board Game: Bears!
Board Game: Bad Beets


Wizard
BSG Express
Dark Moon NEW!
Spyfall x5
SHH NEW!
OddVille
Glen More
David & Goliath NEW!
Bears!
Bad Beets NEW!

A good week for gaming, between my usual game group and zipping over to Turlock for games with Grace and Travis and Jennifer

I finally got to try one of Chris Handy's Pack-o-game games in SHH (a ridiculous name, especially when you use it in conversation). It's a decent little micro co-op who's challenge lies mostly with the fact that players can't talk to each other: there are 26 cards (one for each letter of the alphabet) and collectively you're trying to build words one letter at a time. Every word you complete adds positively to your score (with vowels scoring only in words of 5 letters or more), and any cards leftover in your hands after you've collectively passed 4 times are negative. It works well for what it is, but the gimmick of it being super-super tiny (in both design and physical size) doesn't do a whole lot for me. Novel, to be certain, but overall eh.

I'd heard a lot about David & Goliath and was happy to sit down for a play of it with Travis and Jennifer at Grace's. I'm of a bit of two minds about it: on the one hand, it does have a clever twist to the usual trick taking formula that shakes up the usual incentive structure and makes what would be automatic plays in any other trick-taker not so automatic. While it was hard to wrap my brain around initially, I was starting to get some of it's nuances after our fifth and final hand. On the other hand, I think it suffered from being only the latest in a long line of trick takers that I've now since played, and as such I don't think it ranks very highly. If I want some laid back play with dramatic twists (and make no mistake, I started enjoying D&G a heck of a lot more when I stopped caring about playing well), I'd play Wizard, and if I wanted something mean and twisty that made me think, I'd play Stick 'Em. I just don't see a place for this game in the pantheon of trick-takers that I'd want to play, for all its merits.

Bad Beets succeeds in being a kinder, gentler version of Coup, and one that I really like on paper. In play, it's still pretty good! You get the same short term bluffing and speedy game play but with a more Mascarade-y level of gentleness for bluff calling. Since you're dealing with a pile of beets rather than two lonely character cards, it's much less punishing to call people out. It also manages to be a bit more streamlined (calling someone's bluff only ever gives bonuses/maluses to the player doing the calling out, if you try to do an action and have your bluff called, you simply don't do it), but also a bit more twisty (there are interrupt cards that happen even if someone's bluff is called, so for some actions you have to make sure you give enough time both for the reacts AND for the bluff calling).

However, with the edges sanded off, it's also less exciting than Coup, which is something I never thought I'd say. I think I still prefer Bad Beets (both for the re-jiggering and the theme, which is cute as all get out), but it also gave me a bit more appreciation for Coup. Doesn't mean I like it any more than usual, though

And finally, I got an interesting double-header in my usual game group on Tuesday. I'd brought my copy of BSG Express on request since the head of the group had gotten Dark Moon, and I ended up playing both back-to-back at the beginning of the evening. I really like what Evan was going for with the original BSG Express design, as it managed to capture the spirit of the original in a fraction of the playing time. I do have to say, however, that the mechanical changes made in Dark Moon make a lot of sense and in no way diminish the original PnP.

While the double loyalty card mechanic from the original is gone (and I can see why, the play time was just too short for it to really have any impact), the crisis system is still present and just as tense. The "Jump" mechanic now borrows more from the base BSG game (with dynamic events happening after a number of successful "tasks," or crises), and the re-tweak to how voting works for Brigging/Quarantining (it's now a closed fist vote rather than re-using the crisis/task system, which prevents people from using it as an opportunity to sit out and recover dice) really ups the quality of the game.

In short, playing it made me go out and immediately get a copy, despite already owning the PnP. It's that good! I'm eagerly looking forward to playing this one a whole lot more.
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11. Board Game: Fields of Arle [Average Rating:8.09 Overall Rank:56]
Board Game: Fields of Arle
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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Board Game: Patchwork
Board Game: Fields of Arle
Board Game: The World of Smog: On Her Majesty's Service
Board Game: Sanssouci
Board Game: Codenames
Board Game: Wir sind das Volk!
Board Game: Race for the Galaxy
Board Game: Forbidden Stars
Board Game: The Battle of Five Armies


Had a week off between finishing my previous job and starting the new one soon. Which means... MOAR GAMEZ™! NEW GAMES! GAAAAMES! Had everything from heavy Rosenberg resource-conversion euros to dudes-on-a-map trashers!

7.5  Patchwork NEW!
9.5  Fields of Arle NEW!
5  The World of Smog: On Her Majesty's Service NEW!
8  Sanssouci NEW!
7  Wir sind das Volk! NEW!
7  Forbidden Stars NEW!
7  The Battle of Five Armies x2 NEW!

8  Codenames x4
10  Race for the Galaxy


Ok, so since I played a lot, and I tend to be wordy... this is going to get long. I'm going to start with a short summary and then I'll go into blather-on-with-details mode later with a subsequent edit. If you want me to talk about anything specific just let me know.

Patchwork was enjoyable. It's easy to play and teach. I misjudged the value of some things early on and my wife utterly crushed me. Didn't blow me away but would definitely play again.

Fields of Arle is a nice, heavy worker placement & resource conversion game that was clearly targeted at people like me. It borrows some stuff from both Le Havre and Glass Road but doesn't feel derivative (like Caverna). Also has some randomized setup, which keeps me happy.

Provided it holds up after a few plays, this is an instant favorite.

The World of Smog: On Her Majesty's Service was a reasonably nice economic game with some highly problematic cards that give it way more take-that than it needs. I'd give it a full 1.5-2 points more if you play without a couple of the cards (or houserule them to be less ridiculous). Crazy good production values. They try really hard to make the same seem 'thematic' (there's multiple pages of story in the manual and such) but it doesn't come through much.

Sanssouci is a buttery-smooth old-fashioned euro. Not especially high interaction but offers a simple-yet-effective central mechanic that is enjoyable and simple-yet-somewhat-deep. Plays quickly too. Better than expected and the time-to-game ratio is excellent.

Wir sind das Volk! was something I was super excited about, but... I liked it but didn't love it. I want to play again to see if some of my concerns were just first-play issues, but this didn't quite impress me like I hoped it would. I wanted it to be a more euro-ish Twilight Struggle and it sort of is but also sort of isn't.

Forbidden Stars is a nice, solid, enjoyable thematic dudes-on-a-map game. We played with 4 and that's probably not what I'd want to do again in the future, due to length, but it worked fairly well. Definitely gets the 40K universe theme right and the combat system is excellent.

The Battle of Five Armies was another nice dudes-on-a-map game that I enjoyed. More than I expected to, actually. Good planning can still get ruined by bad rolls and tile pulls (there's still a lot of randomness), but since it's shorter than War of the Ring, the randomness didn't bother me quite as much. I like some of the new mechanics, such as the damage allocation system, quite a bit. Once again the theme of the source material is nicely captured.

Codenames continues to be highly enjoyable and I upped the score a little. It's just so easy to play and enjoy.

Race for the Galaxy shouldn't surprise anyone. I love this game and was happy to play again.
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12. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:29]
Board Game: Agricola
Paul S
United Kingdom
Leeds
West Yorks
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I've been away (see below) so what I've done has mainly been iOS based.

Agricola (iOS) - a recommendation from someone in this GCL (thanks!) - and to my surprise after just a couple of games I'm enjoying it. Farming, really? I will reserve judgment till I've played more, not least because the tactical learning curve seems pretty steep.

Pandemic (iOS) - a lovely conversion. Really nicely done.

Love Letter - a good holiday game

Zombie Dice + Double Feature expansion - likewise


On my mind:

I spent the last couple of weeks in Barbados. A fantastic family holiday. I really like the island and would go back tomorrow. We were lucky to get great weather (I was hurricaned the last time I was in the Caribbean) and the hotel was great.

Best of all, I managed to get back to scuba diving. Our son did his Open Water course so we were all able to dive together as a family for the first time. A terrific experience.

Prior to that I was away on a work-related trip, and I've wondered about whether to mention it, but I've decided I will.

I was part of a delegation to the West Bank in Palestine. The words "life changing experience" are thrown around lightly these days but I think I might use them in this connection. That tends to be the case when e.g. you are tear gassed in a refugee camp.

I blogged about my experience, but I won't link to it here since it'll get me sent off to RSP. If anyone is interested I will GM a link to it. And I won't be offended if you're not

Barbados was a pretty weird experience on the back of that. It's been a long strange summer.

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13. Board Game: Mansions of Madness [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:365]
Board Game: Mansions of Madness
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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One Night Ultimate Werewolf x3
Mafia de Cuba x3
Unpublished Prototype x2
Dark Darker Darkest (new!)
Dark Moon
Gobblet Gobblers (new!)
Greed
Luchador! Mexican Wrestling Dice
Mansions of Madness (new!)

Reviews
Mafia de Cuba. It's pretty damn good.

Most of these plays are from my Wednesday group and something interesting happened this week. One of the guys is kind of a light gamer in terms of how he engages with the hobby. I've noted in the past I have a few friends this way. He doesn't know what BGG is, only owns King of Tokyo, and probably would never play games outside of our group. Yet he plays heavy stuff with us like Forbidden Stars, Eclipse, etc. He'll pretty much play whatever we want.

Anyway, he brought his new girlfriend this week who isn't a gamer. She loved Dark Moon. Also taught her One Night Ultimate Werewolf right after which she ate up as well. Really cool. I also did very poorly in ONUW, which I usually dominate due to really having a finger on the pulse of our meta.

Greed is still great. Totally underrated.

Dark Darker Darkest was a solo game and I had fun, but it paled in comparison to my Mansions of Madness play. This game really needs additional scenarios so it's not just wander around a mansion trying to find stuff while putting out fires.

Yesterday I made it out to a buddy's house to play Mansions of Madness and this rocked my socks. I remember when this game was announced how jacked up I was, but the quickly appearing negativity on the scenarios in the base game turned me off completely. Then the first expansion had a major flaw that Fantasy Flight had to correct and I was out, never even played it.

We played a print on demand scenario - The Yellow Sign, which allowed me to keep making Rust Cohle quotes. This game is awesome. Integrated story. Tension. Interesting combat mechanics. I think I'm going to buy it.

This is also where I played Gobblet Gobblers which is a weird but really cool Tic-Tac-Toe game where you have these Russian doll-like monster pieces. Instead of just placing pieces, you can cover up a smaller piece. I played this with the host's 4 year old daughter. It's definitely a kid's game but it's interesting and there's definite strategy.


On My Mind
Had some large revisions to Beta Clink and didn't know how the playtest would go. It ended up being my best session let as the flow of the game was greatly improved. Rejuvenated me a bit.

I may have mentioned this before (I realize the more busy I get the more often I'm repeating myself as I can't remember who I've told what), but I'm attending a private design day event Jamey Stegmaier holds every year. Designers come and bring prototypes and offer each other feedback. This will be in September and I'm signed up to run Beta Clink for nearly 3 hours so I should get some great feedback. Hoping to have it really solid by then.

Mr. Robot! I'm going to mention this every week if it keeps being this good.

That Walking Dead prequel started last night, will probably watch it but not sure when.

I'm involved in a head-to-head review of Forbidden Stars with Michael Barnes. This will be our first such type of review at The Review Corner, and I'm pretty excited. It's more of a conversational tone but our dialogue has been great, as we have some different opinions here. This has been much more fun than a typical review as well, as we're not worrying about explaining any rules or structure, more discussing points of the design back and forth.

Edit - I forgot to mention the new Cash 'n Guns expansion (More Cash More Guns) arrived this week. It looks interesting with some new loot types and a new deck, but I'm surprised they went all in on the roles. There's several new gun types that are given to new role cards.
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14. Board Game: Acquire [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:258]
Board Game: Acquire
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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No board games this week but I did acquire News@11, the next Netrunner expansion (Old Hollywood), and the Suburbia 5* expansion. Reading the rules and looking at the tiles, I'm actually pretty excited about it. I think it's going to fix my issues with Suburbia at high player counts and at first glance disagree with the concerns that it will dilute the game. When playing with the expansion, half your tiles in every stack will be 5* tiles and there are a lot of restaurants and other symbols that chain off the base game stuff. More so than in INC.

RPGs
Night Witches is still going strong and our Section has advanced to the next city in the campaign. Dasha is not yet dead, and she has earned a medal which is cool. In D&D, Matt and Grace have killed the evil wizard Glasstaff while carrying along my wizard's dead weight.

On My Mind
We had a lot of family in this week for Raffi's baptism, which was really nice. My parents and some close friends (his Godparents) stayed with us, while Katie's parents got a hotel. They're staying with us for the next few days. It's been nice having help, though it's exhausting in its own way. He's definitely got Katie's need to retreat from the noise of a large crowd, and I feel like he knows the two of us and feels calmer/more comfortable with us. Maybe not, it could just be coincidence or that we know how to calm him down a little better through practice.

News@11 arrived, and I was surprised to see the rules mostly unchanged. They never added any form of scoring and only list a couple of the various variants suggested by the playtesters. There is discussion every now and then on what makes a game a game, and you see it a lot in the video game world with story games or twine games. Some people posit that they aren't games unless they have _______ characteristics but part of me wonders if the distinction is relevant at all.

Getting some Skype stuff on this weekend, as Matt, Grace, and I will be doing a live session of the D&D game and on Sunday Charlie and I are recording episode 1 of the podcast. Very excited all around.

And in totally non-game related news, I tried the first bottle of the coffee porter I brewed recently. Most important is that there is no sign of infection which means I have taken care of that little issue, and second most important is that it is without question the best beer I've brewed to date. Both in terms of flavor and technical processes. No off flavors, well carbonated, balanced, etc. I'm pumped.
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15. Board Game: Imperial Settlers [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:198] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Board Game: Imperial Settlers
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Board Game: Imperial Settlers
Board Game: Rattus: Africanus
Board Game: Metro
Board Game: Mottainai
Board Game: Hive


 9   Imperial Settlers x4
 N/A   Rattus: Africanus NEW!
 N/A   Metro NEW!
 8   Mottainai
 N/A   Hive x2 NEW!

This week has been full bore Imperial Settlers.

First game was a solo one. I wanted to see how the solo game played, and I was bored on a particular night. I thought it played surprisingly well, albeit not particularly challenging.

Second game I played against people. I was the Egyptians again, and with more knowledge of the cards I was able to focus better on collecting gold and using those goldsmith actions. I was just able to eke out ahead of the guy who dropped the "Grey Builds are all 1 point" on his last turn for 13 points.

Third game I was... the egyptians! This time, my empire fell to the mighty Romans though. My opponent's first two cards he build for his faction were the Administration buildings which give you 1 gold or 1 VP for each Roman building he placed. It was a close race against him, but he pulled ahead on the last round. Also, he played a card early on that got rid of deals, which helped him a lot.

Last game was just yesterday, and I was the romans. I managed to get a score of 109 points here! I hadn't realized the romans had so many good +card draw options. I dropped two of them the first turn, as well as some apple production. That allowed me to keep gaining faction cards at a fast pace, and turn them into production (or better yet, play the ones I wanted). By round 3 if was clear I had a sizable lead, as I had my own Administration buildings out, as well as cards that gave me +gold/Vp for grey buildings (that I was focusing on). By the end I'd played 22 of my faction buildings, and dealed the other 8. I should stop playing now, because I doubt I'll ever beat this score.

As an aside, you are allowed to build duplicates of the same building, right? All these cascading effects seem to stem from doing things like "Administration x 3". I consulted the rules, and it doesn't seem to say anything about not playing duplicate cards.


Metro -- This is like Tsuro, but with more than one line going, and you score points when your line ends. Neat idea, and probably strict improvement over Tsuro.

Rattus: Africanus -- was a bit of a dud. We had 5 people and needed an hour game. Because I was not expecting to play, I didn't know the specific Africanus rules well enough to suggest a character combination that was interesting. We ended up playing the base roles on the new board. Somehow, the Merchant was left out of this, which is probably my favorite role. It was... okay? Eh.

Hive -- No, I've never played Hive before. I thought it was really interesting, even if I suck at it. Turns out, I enjoy abstracts (and find them frustrating at the same time).

Mottainai -- Played a 2 player game against the Hive guy. Wonderfully reactive gameplay that I think is another strict improvement over Glory to Rome. For example, I had an engine going where I could play cheap cards and then swap them for expensive ones, so in the long term I had a huge leg up. So, my opponent spams out the cheapest works he can find and ends the game, eking out a single point ahead of me for the win.


On my mind: my final semester starts tomorrow. I'm taking Partial Differential Equations, which should be fun considering I've not taken Diff Eq. in 10 years. Should be an interesting and challenging semester.

I also just finished the Dresden Files #11: Turn Coat. I think this was both his best written and most engaging story yet. It's starting to feel like Dresden is growing up, which is a nice change of pace from his usual rash self. I would not have made the Big Baddy choice Butcher did, but then I'm not an incredibly popular author so what do I know?

I have not played any games yet from August 24th-August 30. Fixed
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16. Board Game: Scoville: Labs [Average Rating:7.47 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.47 Unranked]
Board Game: Scoville: Labs
Timothy Hunt
United States
St Louis
Missouri
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No face-to-face games played this week (though I've been playing a lot of Codenames on IRC), but working on a change in inventory.

Firstly, I joined the KS for Scoville Labs to go with the excellent Scoville.

Then, I submitted some of my games to a big Geeklist Auction that will be going live later this week. One of the local gamers runs GL auctions with several people, so that buyers can potentially save on shipping. He's also (generally) willing to do the actual shipping, so it saves me some effort.


On my mind

Work's been frantic (and continues to be) with fiscal year end on August 31. This means that not only do I have a lot of stuff to do before year end, but getting assistance from other people where I need it is next to impossible, because they also are busy with getting their own stuff done by year end.

Benajmin (aged nearly 2.25 years) continues to be mostly adorable. Consider this exchange from yesterday

B: No! Nononono! Noooo!
T: Are you having a tantrum?
B: ... Yes.
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17. Board Game: Operation Shingle: The Anzio Beachhead [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Operation Shingle: The Anzio Beachhead
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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Plays since August 17, 2015

 10.   Dominion x3 (Goko)
 9.0   Hanabi (Robin's)
 7.5   Castles of Mad King Ludwig

My parents were back this weekend to help with the house. Everything is painted now, and base boards are almost all down (came up a little short in the kitchen). The kitchen is also mostly unpacked, which is a big help.

We forgot to add money to unbought rooms in our play of Castles, which made money very tight. Oops. Aerial stomped me, and the extra money would probably have just made things worse. That game did not go well for me...

Goko Salvager is down right now, so no game of the week.

I had a small rash on my neck, and the doctor I saw thought it might be shingles, so I'm on fun medication for that. If it's shingles, we caught it really early, it hasn't bothered me all that much. Between that and working on the house and the tree/bushes outside blowing against our window Saturday night, I felt terrible yesterday. Better today though, I cut the limbs back some and we slept much better.
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18. Board Game: Nippon Rails [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:3035]
Board Game: Nippon Rails
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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Board Game: Diplomacy
Board Game: The Manhattan Project
Board Game: AquaSphere
Board Game: TAJ
Board Game: Splendor
Board Game: SHH
Board Game: Nippon Rails
Board Game: GEM
Board Game: Codenames
Board Game: Coconuts
Board Game: Bausack
Board Game: Spyfall
Board Game: Odin's Ravens
Board Game: OddVille
Board Game: Myrmes
Board Game: Glen More
Board Game: David & Goliath
Board Game: Bears!
Board Game: Bargain Hunter
Board Game: Bad Beets
Board Game: Abyss


 8   Diplomacy
 N/A   The Manhattan Project NEW!
 N/A   AquaSphere NEW!
 N/A   TAJ x2 NEW!
 6   Splendor
 N/A   SHH NEW!
 N/A   Nippon Rails NEW!
 N/A   GEM NEW!
 N/A   Codenames x6 NEW!
 N/A   Coconuts NEW!
 7   Bausack
 5   Spyfall x5
 7   Odin's Ravens
 N/A   OddVille NEW!
 10   Myrmes
 7   Glen More
 7   David & Goliath
 N/A   Bears! NEW!
 N/A   Bargain Hunter NEW!
 N/A   Bad Beets NEW!
 N/A   Abyss NEW!

It's been a great week of gaming, lots of new games and fun people. Jennifer finished finals last week, so we asked what she wanted to do for her break, and she wanted to see Grace, Matt, and James! P.S., Matt and Grace are excellent hosts and amazing cooks. Thank you again for having us!

Diplomacy
I started playing Diplomacy on the Droidippy app, and man I forgot how I love this game. This play was also good for me to familiarize myself with the app and remember the rules, which has been very good. The app lets you have one-on-one convos with another player, or partake in the general chat room discussion with everyone. You can also post anonymously in the general chat room if you wish. I ended up playing as one of my last choices, Austria, but I'd play any country.

The game also pairs you with players of like reputation (based on actively taking your turn). As a new player, I don't have negative reputation, but I don't have reputation, so I ended up playing with an Italy who didn't know the rules (outside of the basic concept rules), Austria who took one turn and quit playing, Germany who never took a turn, and England who seemed to know what they were doing, but quit when they were ahead (or so I thought, maybe they caved in to the opposition). Russia knew what they were doing and was probably the strongest player, and France at least seemed to have an idea of what was going on.

For the first turn, I allied Russia and came to an agreement that we'd carve up Turkey and split the map north/south between us. I also allied with Italy and France in a 3-way alliance. I figured allying with Italy would be in both of our interests since we could easily walk into each other's lands otherwise. I hoped for Russia to be the alliance that held, but it was clear after the first turn actions that he was coming straight towards me to take me out. Unfortunately, my position wouldn't allow me to front against Russia, merely halt them from advancing on me, and likewise I couldn't take out Turkey even though they weren't active. I convinced Italy to sail over and help me break through Turkey, and we divided up the territories, so that we could eventually push North through Russia. Italy was also helping France against England. Everybody (myself excluded) picked apart Germany slowly to claim those lands.

Given Italy's newness to the game, there were a number of blunders and delays, but he was honest and it solidified our alliance given how well we were working together. Eventually, it came clear that Italy and I had a majority of countries on our own, and France had a sizeable amount as well. I didn't want to betray the alliance because I would've been lost without them, and I'd rather end the game in that alliance, especially given the lack of certain players, but since the game wasn't ending, I was positioning myself to strike on Italy/France in case if either of them betrayed me. In fact, there was a turn where I could've walked into 4 of their territories, the same turn that Italy supported me into getting my 14th (you need 18 for solo victory), so I could've done it, but I chose not to. It eventually turned out France had set their victory conditions wrong. When he fixed it, we all won together. I enjoyed the play and look forward to playing more.



Jennifer and I got to play two new games this week, both from my want to play list, at game night. Manhattan Project and Aquasphere
AquaSphere
The teaching of this was a bit poor and all over the map, so it was hard to follow. Oh, and the center resupply hex changed frequently at the end of a round as he kept using the wrong ones, so we never knew what was going to be restocked for the next round. I did awful, but I found the game interesting and look forward to another play. The first two players tied and went to a tiebreaker, and Jennifer was only about 3 or 4 points behind them. I was about 20-25 points behind them.

The Manhattan Project
I've heard great things and I've heard awful things about this game. But I finally tried it and I'm glad I did. I really enjoyed this! One negative was just not being familiar with the cards, so we'd invest in a "good" card, only to realize that it was inferior to other cards. But I went towards a get all of my workers into play before the first time I have to recall them, strategy, and so I kept trying to do a lot on my turns. I never developed military, so I was bombed once by Jennifer so I'd stop taking the neutral workers. All I had left was the one that costs two regulars to get me 2 engineers or one scientist. Jennifer and I went for Uranium bombs, while the other 3 went for Plutonium. One interesting part of the game, is it's never clear just how far ahead any given player is. I went from 0 to 46 points for the win in one turn by building a bomb, then building more uranium, then building my second bomb (and I had to use that university to get a 5th scientist to take all those actions) for the win.



The rest of these were played at Matt and Grace's house.

Pack of Games
TAJ - SHH - GEM
I never caught that Pack of Games was referencing Pack of Gum. I thought these games were the size of Citadels or Innovation from the picture, not the size of a pack of gum (literally!). I was impressed with their compactness, and my summary of my thoughts were:
Compared to any microgame, these are way more portable and way more fun. Compared to a standard game, these are alright, but nothing incredible.

SHH was my favorite of these three, but I enjoyed each of them and look forward to trying some of the others. Jennifer and I have been talking about picking some up. We're not sure we want to pick all of them up, but a lot of them do sound interesting, and they'll also make good quick games to play in that 15-45 minutes lull while we wait for slow people to show up.

Splendor
A meh game for me, but it's popular. I did awful though and quickly fell behind the rush. I just couldn't get my gems working for me to get me more gems.

Nippon Rails
Wow, I really liked this map. But it has the same issue any crayon rails has. We don't know the geography. I got very lucky with a my initial cards. I was able to make my first delivery using my entire $50 starting capital (so any one player using one of my track segments would've ruined my entire game...) and loaded up two beer, making the first delivery for $35. That afforded me the ability to build to the second delivery with some extra funds for $45. And from there my economy was established. We called it early because Jennifer and Grace did not have their routes working for them. I would love to get better at these games so I at least know how to recommend a strategy to not hose yourself in the beginning of the game for new players. Jennifer and I have also been talking a lot about player aids or things we could do to make the game easier to identify routes. Today, I looked at Empire Express, and it looks like they implemented some of those ideas already.

Codenames
This game is really cool. We split our wins and losses with Grace/Matt, but at least we didn't pick the 'auto-death' card.

Coconuts
Coconuts is a lot of fun, and way better than Loopin Louie. I'm glad I wasn't directly across from Jennifer, who sometimes adds a bit too much power to her coconuts. It is also surprising how quickly scores can change in this game.

Bausack
We played the Bandu version, and I'm surprised how different it is from Bausack. I wish I would've brought Bausack instead, cause I like the blocks better, but both are fun. I think Grace would have more fun playing Super Blockhead! based on her comments and how she was playing.

Spyfall
This was fun, and I definitely think putting the book in the center of the table for all of us helps. Grace had printed out a text list of all the areas, but that just didn't do it for me. I need to see the images to scan quickly. It takes me too long to read each location, interpret, and picture it. We also didn't run a timer, so there was no pressure and some of the games ran very long. I still hold the opinion that this is a neat game, but I'd rather play Mafia or Assassin in the Palace or something else.

Odin's Ravens
We nearly finished this game. I started to see a trend of "Travis is winning. Let's end the game and play something else." I also realized a rule that I'd missed before. I thought you had 3 card plays, period. I missed that you have 3 hand plays and 3 auxilliary card plays, which makes the auxilliary deck way more useful.

Also, my first play was with Jennifer, which was learning the rules, so it wasn't a very deep game. Every other play has been with somebody either not good at games or not good at that game, so this play with Grace was the first time I was truly able to delve into the deeper strategies, and I gained a much greater appreciation for the game as a result. I used to feel like the game was much more random, but my rules mistake probably added to that.

We called the game with a score of 10-1, 2 points from me winning. But that point was a good sign that Grace started catching on to the deeper strategies. Maybe she called it to save myself the embarrassment of her 11 point race the next round.

OddVille
I surprisingly liked this game. Some of the artwork could be improved to make the roads clearer on the tiles, but otherwise I really liked the interplay and design of the resources, action cards, and tile laying. The only thing I did not like were the role cards we were acquiring. I would definitely play this again.

Myrmes
Always a favorite of mine. We taught Jennifer to play, but I feel bad that after the game, we realized we cheated her out of some points. Grace was multi-tasking, so we'd lose her for a few minutes from time to time. On the last turn, I suggested we just move forward and finish resource collection, etc. and let Grace take her last turn when she got back. This resulted in Grace cleaning up a pheromone the same turn Jennifer had laid it (illegal had I not had us skip ahead to resource collection), and this prevented Jennifer from scoring 6 bonus points for a clear second place. It had no affect on Grace's score, though.

And Jennifer didn't realize it, but one of her moves on the last turn was to clean up one of my pheromone tiles, which was just for the space, and that stopped me from claiming the second 12 point bonus. I had to settle for the second 9 point bonus instead.

Glen More
It's been a long time since I'd played Glen More, and it showed. But this was my first time playing it in person, and that was awesome. I let Grace on to realizing that this could be played online, and she's already jumping into random games.

David & Goliath
My opinion remains the same on this trick taker. I like it, it's a good trick taker, but I've not figured out the strategy, yet, and it's not good enough to replace my favorites.

Bears!
I enjoy speed games (of which I am in the minority), so it's always nice to play a speed game, especially when somebody else suggests it. This was fun. I wouldn't pick it up, but I'd play it again if somebody requested it.

Bargain Hunter
This game is awful. Don't ever play it. We played one practice round to determine it was bad, and then drudged through a full game despite how awful it was.

The artwork is disgusting, and the suits are hard to distinguish. Cards are numbered 1-9 in 6 suits, two copies of each card, and two "auto-win" irresistable offer cards. The theme is each number is also a piece of junk you are collecting (e.g. washing machine or razor). Your goal is to collect a specific type of junk (specific number value), and avoid all the other junk. But you can change what you're collecting each round. Following standard trick taking rules, high card of the led suit wins the trick. But highest trump card will win over the led suit. Everything else is dead weight. What is trump? Well, if you don't follow suit, you get to decide if you're trump or not. And didn't I say there were two copies of every card? What happens then? You decide if you're high value or not. So what does this amount to? Player A leads with a card. Player B plays a card and decides whether or not they want to win the trick. Then Player C plays a card and decides whether or not they want to win the trick. Then the winner leads the next card. This is completely uninteresting and defeats the purpose of most trick takers for me.

The only interesting aspect of the game, which we didn't catch onto until the game was halfway over, was that you actually want to collect several items, not just one specific item (number), because you can change what you're collecting each round to turn those negative points into positive points. That wasn't obvious in the beginning. But other than that, everything about this game is awful. A hand of 8 cards and 6 suits in play? You play a card and you choose whether you want to be trump or high card? I do not want to ever play this again.

Bad Beets
This game is a cuter, friendly version of Coup. It's Coup without the player elimination. Although, when you end up with 12+ beets, it feels as though you've been eliminated. We definitely prefer Coup over this, though. One of the negatives is with how frequently your role changes, you can't build up information over time like you can with Coup. In Coup, your role remains the same until you've been accused of lying, or you use the ambassador role. In Bad Beets, half of the cards require you to reveal to use their action, and you're always being passed a second card on the start of your turn, so you have the option to change your role. The lack of persistence makes it much more difficult to read players, whereas in Coup, information doesn't change as often, so you can build up your reads on the players.

Although, it was definitely fun to have Grace, James, and Matt freak out when we tattle-taled on somebody who got a new card and were right. Even though they didn't take an action since getting the new card, Jennifer and I would have reads on other players' cards, as well as what was in the deck, to be able to make a well-informed decision of what the new card likely was, and we were right about half the time on doing this. They kept attributing it to 100% lucky guess, though. We feel cheated.

Abyss
This game was actually really neat. I'm not sure if I'd pick it up again, but we've already decided we're playing it again next game night. The one awful aspect was thinking our hands had no hand limit, and then two turns before he came out, being told that there's a lord who makes the hand limit 6. Being constrained to a hand limit of 6 isn't the bad thing. It's the several turns of buildup that we lose for something we never could've prepared for that was awful (you spend 3-4 turns building up to something, and then you have to undo all your work for the last several turns? Ugh!). But overall the game was cool and we're looking forward to playing it again. The decks are small enough that even though each lord and city is unique, we got to see most of them, so there will hopefully be few surprises next time.
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19. Board Game: The Million Dollar Sales Game [Average Rating:3.67 Unranked]
Board Game: The Million Dollar Sales Game
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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Love 'em even if a few games get scuttled from time to time.
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Meow.
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Microbadge: Meaty Game fanMicrobadge: Train GamerMicrobadge: My cat destroys games in progressMicrobadge: Owner of Too Many Unplayed GamesMicrobadge: GameChat League - Mafia Division: "A mob is forming."
So it's nearly September, which is the beginning of the floodgates opening for "holiday releases" for videogames. If there's one thing that videogames as a business have completely failed to grow out of, it's the seasonal mentality that big releases must come out Sept-Nov. Naturally a few stragglers get stuck in December, but Sept-Nov covers the majority of the big games every year.

So this year, things are getting kicked off with Metal Gear Solid V on September 1, then Super Mario Maker on September 11. At least, those are my first two big games.

Are there any videogames coming out in the seasonal glut this year that you're excited about? Feel free to mention something even if it's just a tentative release date.

Edit: Note that for me, Metal Gear Solid V is a bit of a bittersweet game. I adore the Metal Gear series (having played it since the first one on the NES - I FEEL ASLEEP), so I'm naturally excited about this one... but it's also likely the last "real game" Konami will release. As a company, they have driven away every last one of their prominent and skilled directors, shifted their focus to Pachinko and mobile fluff out of an inability to adapt to the changing marketplace, and in general become a rather dreadful place to work (you can find articles about the way they're run now on many of the big gaming sites).

I've enjoyed their games for something like 30 years now (I think their first NES release here was in 1986?), so while I realize that the company now is not really the company they were then... it's unfortunate. cry
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20. Board Game: BUS [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:4567]
Board Game: BUS
Robin Levins
United States
Round Rock
TX
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Rolling dice and taking grains!
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Rolling dice and taking grains!
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Microbadge: Empyreal: Spells & Steam fanMicrobadge: Rocket League fanMicrobadge: MethodistMicrobadge: Race for the Galaxy fanMicrobadge: Octopath Traveler fan - "You got more than you bargained for!"
Board Game: Dominion
Board Game: Kingsburg
Board Game: Last Will
Board Game: BUS
Board Game: GEM
Board Game: Sneaks & Snitches


 10.   Dominion
 9.0   Kingsburg
 9.0   Last Will
 8.0   BUS NEW!
 8.0   GEM NEW!
 8.0   Sneaks & Snitches

One lovely night of gaming this week, along with a single play of BUS with Kristen.

So since Thursday was taken up by this cooking show we went to:
External image



...we bumped our game night to Saturday night and played lots of great games. It was Opposite Day, though, because I lost at two games I rarely if ever lose at (Kingsburg, and particularly my second loss ever at Last Will), and crushed at a game I am historically bad at (Sneaks & Snitches). It should be noted that my losses are far more indicative of the quality of competition lately more than anything else, which has been pretty awesome to have!

I want to call particular attention to two games I tried for the first time in the Pack O Game line - BUS and GEM. GEM is a lightning quick auction game of buying gems and trying to have the most at the end of the game. Part of the trick is that you have 6 use-them-or-lose-them dollars every round, and those can go towards winning auctions, or "investing" previously won gems so you can use those gems to bid in auctions. However, any gems you don't have invested at the end of the game are irrevocably lost. There are bonuses awarded at the end of the game for having the most for each type of gem. It plays very quickly (~15-20 minutes?), and has plenty of interesting decisions in that time space. This may be my go-to filler game for 4 players for a while. I'm interested to try it more.

I got a single play of BUS in with Kristen. It's a 2-3 player game that also plays remarkably quickly, where you're picking up passengers and delivering them to their spots. Passengers worth more points also limit your speed more. It's a simple networking efficiency game without any fluff. For pickup and deliver games, it's absolutely worth a look.
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Family: Pack O Game
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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The Golden Camel UberBadge is a mystery. Nobody knows where it came from or how it got there.
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No one expects the Spanish penguin!
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Because I was recently introduced to it, and there's been so much discussion about it, I wanted to link to the main Pack O Game website.

To repeat what I said in my post, these games are more portable than any micro game, and are incredibly more fun. Also, unlike any micro game, it still feels like I'm playing a game. Comparing to games in general, they're just okay, but they are incredibly fast.

I highly recommend clicking on any of the games on that website, scrolling down, and watching the 3-minute How to Play video. I've always wanted to make How to Play videos that focus on learning how to play the game, and everything I envisioned, he does better than I could envision. I have never seen a better How to Play video. His structure and execution is perfect, and it gives you a great idea of each game in just a few minutes.
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22. Board Game: Submission [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Submission
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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Microbadge: GameChat League - Mafia Division: "A mob is forming."Microbadge: Dominion fanMicrobadge: Race for the Galaxy fanMicrobadge: Pandemic fanMicrobadge: YINSH fan
Speaking of microgames, one of the popular trends on the Grey Labyrinth (the parent site of mafiascum) was "Single Submission Games". I thought I might try a few here, if there's interest.

Single Submission Game of the Week: Sheep

For each item below, give 5 associations. You score points equal to the number of people who match each association (including yourself) - unless you are the only one to submit it, in which case you score nothing.

Answers must match exactly to be counted as part of the same "flock" - for example, the following pairs would not match: Book/Books; Han Solo/Han; Scottish Play/The Scottish Play. (You can hedge and list multiple variants as distinct associations.) I will be lenient on alternate spellings, capitalization, clear misspellings, abbreviations, and punctuation. Including part of the topic in an association is not allowed (for example, "musical" for "The Sound of Music", or vice versa).

Consulting with outside sources is allowed; collaboration is, of course, not.

1. Jimi Hendrix
2. Knight
3. Lawyer
4. Machi Koro
5. Newborn
6. Ogre
7. Popcorn
8. Quantum
9. Ryan
10. Set Collection

(Submit your associations via geekmail, and I will post results on Saturday.)
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23. Board Game: Nations [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:141]
Board Game: Nations
Jeffrey Drozek-Fitzwater
United States
Houston
Texas
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Microbadge: "TAKE SIX MEAT DAMAGE, FROWNY EURODUDE!"Microbadge: Twilight Struggle fan Microbadge: Plays Games with SpouseMicrobadge: Ohio UniversityMicrobadge: Suburbia fan
Deep Sea Adventurex2: I have doubts about its replayability, but a friend assured me the metagame is deeper than it looks. Still, this was decent enough; the first game only one person ever made it back to the sub. I won the second because I was the most cowardly. Adventure?

The Resistance: Avalonx3: Interestingly, evil won all three. I was team Mordred for two of them. We should've won the third, but some of my teammates messed up on the voting in the last round. I suspected Mordred was on the team, which was mostly confirmed by her rushing the vote. Too late.

A Fake Artist Goes to New York: Pleasant surprise! There are few things that turn me off faster than "drawing," but this really worked. A sign of a strong party game can be people not caring about the score (when they otherwise would). I recommend this.

Nations: I simply don't get it. It took out everything interesting about Through the Ages and simplified it to the point of being uninteresting. Why is this so popular?

Skull: Continues to be an enjoyable filler.

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