GCL Mafia 243: Inside the box
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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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)
GCL Mafia Wiki (for specific information about this division)
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 September 14 - September 20, 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 is posed for the next poster by anyone. These top fives are usually game-related, but can include other topics as well.

Current Roster:
Happymrdave
captainraffi
Timotheous
fdubois
touchstonethefool
mith
bobcatpoet
charlest
Thesp
Dolus
ecargo
Epsilon_Balls
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1. Board Game: Fairy Meat: Components Pack [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked] [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
Board Game: Fairy Meat: Components Pack
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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This week's theme is thinking inside the box.

From all your games, what is the single best component included in a game?

(painted minis don't count, Raf/Charlie).
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2. Board Game: The Worst Game Ever [Average Rating:5.41 Overall Rank:17587]
Board Game: The Worst Game Ever
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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What is the worst component ever included? Paper thin maps that rip? Components that don't fit on the map as they're supposed to? Painted minis?
 
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3. Board Game: Power Grid: Theme Park [Average Rating:7.38 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.38 Unranked]
Board Game: Power Grid: BGG Promo Card Set
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Have you ever refused to play a game based off of theme alone? Tanto Curio is somewhat infamous in this regard, do you have your own blacklist?
 
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4. Board Game: Modern Art [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:226]
Board Game: Modern Art
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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What's the single best piece of art ever included in a game?
 
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5. Board Game: Fart! [Average Rating:3.81 Overall Rank:18698]
Board Game: Fart!
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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How do you control your games' box farts? Or, do you just let 'em rip?
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6. 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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Game of the week. Have you tried it? Did it change your life? Do you hate it? What would you change? What should other games learn from this one?
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7. Board Game: Top: 3 [Average Rating:5.93 Unranked]
Board Game: Top: 3
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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As per Raf's suggestion, here are my "Top 5 3 Games in Which you feel like you can see the underlying math like Neo sees the matrix."

1. Hansa Teutonica -- This is strictly due to playing ad nausium. This game fascinated me originally because I could not see through its strategy. However, these days I can analyze peoples' situation immediately.

2. Race for the Galaxy -- Another game that has many layers of strategy. After losing to my coworker for a dozen games straight, I started to ask how he thought about the game, and slowly picked up on building a better tableau, and leeching from others' work.

3. Galaxy Trucker -- I like puzzles, and this is like a speed puzzle. This game is all about analyzing your needs, and optimizing based off of what's currently available. I'm pretty good at watching my pieces, and those that others are flipping while keeping in mind my current needs.



In general, I find most games fairly unmathematical, beyond some basic optimization problems. Power Grid is certainly the most proclaimed "mathy" game, but it boils down to: Cost of Power Plant + Cost of Fuel + Expansion Cost[s]. Not exactly multivariate differential equations. Feld games, and 7 Wonders are other examples, and which I have no desire to play.



So... I'll answer Grace's Top 5 Games Marion Would [probably] Like (answers from her):

1. The Duke -- She likes the idea a lot. However, since I've played a few dozen times, and she is not, she's been reticent to play against me. I introduced a friend of hers to the game, and I expect the two will play against each other when she visits us for New Year.

2. Pagoda -- Light game with a building component to it. I picked this one up with her in mind specifically.

3. Spyrium -- This surprises me. I think the shorter gameplay than a traditional worker placement game is a big factor here.

4. Balloon Cup -- Again, a game we played once. She really likes Lost Cities, so I think this is a natural extension.

5. Splendor -- Who doesn't like them some poker chip collection games?
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8. Board Game: Ca$h 'n Guns (Second Edition): More Cash 'n More Guns [Average Rating:7.30 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.30 Unranked]
Board Game: Ca$h 'n Guns (Second Edition): More Cash 'n More Guns
James Keith
United States
Oakland
California
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Board Game: Deus
Board Game: Lost Legacy: Second Chronicle – Vorpal Sword & Whitegold Spire
Board Game: Little Devils
Board Game: Hansa
Board Game: Codenames
Board Game: Ca$h 'n Guns (Second Edition): More Cash 'n More Guns
Board Game: Ca$h 'n Guns (Second Edition)
Board Game: Race for the Galaxy
Board Game: Dark Moon


Deus
Lost Legacy: Second Chronicle – Vorpal Sword & Whitegold Spire x2
Little Devils
Hansa
Codenames x2 NEW!
Ca$h 'n Guns: More Cash 'n More Guns NEW!
Ca$h 'n Guns (second edition) x2
Race for the Galaxy
Dark Moon

Only two new ones this past week.

Predictably, I'm a fan of the new expansion to the 2nd edition of Cash n Guns, Ca$h 'n Guns (Second Edition): More Cash 'n More Guns. The new guns make for some interesting changes in valuation, and the new safe mechanic + new items makes the base game even more of a gamer's game (especially the funny money). More awesome stuff for a great game, what isn't there to like about it?

Also predictably, I was pretty lukewarm to Codenames. I already am fast disliking Spyfall for it's "activity that demands to be treated like a game" (i.e., "how precisely ambiguous can you make your answers"), and while I found the particular flavor if it in Codenames to be more palatable, I find it just as unsatisfying if not easier to tolerate. The only thing I'm getting out of games like this is a lot of stress with no real payoff. I can only imagine that these games are getting the buzz that they are because of the "with the right group/great for non-gamers" aspects, because I honestly can't see getting any more fun out of these games outside of the quality of one's table mates.
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9. Board Game: Codenames [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:84] [Average Rating:7.63 Unranked]
Board Game: Codenames
Jeffrey Drozek-Fitzwater
United States
Houston
Texas
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Light week, as I skipped a game night to attend an NXT show (first time at a wrestling event).

Codenames x2: What makes this brilliant is it doesn't give an automatic advantage to people who know a lot of words and are otherwise really good at other word games. I was the codegiver and my clue was, "impale two." They started debating if I meant "revolution" because I'm a history buff and didn't people get impaled in revolutions? Wait, what revolution had that? Vlad the Impaler did that, but that wasn't a revolution.

(I didn't mean it.)

Greenland: Third game and I really get the hang of it, though I've had the same faction every time. It's funny that there's a negotiation phase, as there's almost never any actual negotiating. I was thinking before the game how hard it must be to win as polytheists... then I went out and did that. Natch.

Power Grid: Benelux/Central Europe: Benelux is pretty crazy, as you sprint through the power plant deck. I thought I was in really good shape, as I was last in the plant auction phase going into what was likely to be the last round. But the luck of the draw turned against me and I couldn't get a big enough plant. I finished in last, even though I had built into the most cities (because why not?).
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10. Board Game: 504 [Average Rating:6.33 Overall Rank:2829]
Board Game: 504
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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Board Game: Codenames
Board Game: 504
Board Game: Lady Alice
Board Game: Mundus Novus


 N/A   Codenames x7
 8   504 NEW! (PBF)
 6   Lady Alice
 N/A   Mundus Novus
Tichu


At game night this week, we started off with a game of Lady Alice, 5 player. It was fun, and interesting how it played out. I think it's a neat game, it's alright. But nothing spectacular. Probably the fastest deduction game I've played, though.

Next, I got to play Mundus Novus for the second time. It was more enjoyable this time that we were actually understanding what we were doing and playing towards victory. It's still long for what it is, but it's at least a halfway decent game.

We finished off the night with Codenames x7. There were 9 of us playing and it was a lot of fun. 7 plays was certainly too much for me. After about 5 or 6, I was definitely good to move on, but this is definitely a good game worth having in a collection.

Finally, our PBF of 504 ended. We played world 789, a game of expansive growth, where we get income for producing/selling various goods in cities. The twist was that we had stocks in our own company which you could sell for fast cash at the cost of victory points which your opponents can now purchase from the bank. I made the mistake of thinking the VPs from stocks were different from the VPs we were scoring from our player color, so I sold a second share thinking I was selling 4 VP, not 100+ VP. I still managed second, but that mistake cost me first place, which showed just how important stocks are in the game, and whoever is in last place always gets first pick of which shares to purchase. I definitely enjoyed it and am trying to encourage our local game group to play this Wednesday. We'll see if there's enough interest.


I forgot to mention Tichu. We had a couple over Saturday night for ribs and games. My partner and I did remarkable given she was new to the game and I usually mess things up, but we made a really good team. Even with hands where my second highest card was a 9, I managed to not go out last. We won handily, although Jennifer was the only one to call and make a Grand Tichu. It was pretty close, too, I managed to get down to one card, an Ace I think, before she went out.
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11. Board Game: Hansa Teutonica [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:135]
Board Game: Hansa Teutonica
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Board Game: Roll for the Galaxy
Board Game: Mottainai
Board Game: Imperial Settlers
Board Game: Carcassonne Big Box 3
Board Game: Ticket to Ride
Board Game: Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium
Board Game: Hansa Teutonica


 10   Roll for the Galaxy
 8   Mottainai
 9   Imperial Settlers
 7   Carcassonne Big Box 3
 8   Ticket to Ride x5
 10   Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium x5
 10   Hansa Teutonica x3

Thursday:
Imperial Settlers -- Introduced the game to the final member of my group who had never played before. The game continues to surprise me by how easy it is to explain. After two rounds, he didn't have any questions, and seemed to enjoy the game. The Romans continue to confuse me, though.

Roll for the Galaxy -- We had our first tie game. I went for a heavy Development strategy in the early game, but somehow managed to never roll into the developments. Frustrating since Reassignment developments were what I was trying to build. Still, I managed the tie and lost on tiebreakers (money).


Friday:
Marion realized that our Apple accounts are synced, so she could download boardgames I've already bought. She promptly downloaded Ticket to Ride, and we played that twice and Carcassonne once. Our first TtR game was particularly amusing because as a last-ditch effort I drew cards at the end of our match, and with only connecting two more cities claimed 60 points in routes. Carcassonne came down to a single point loss for me, as I tried to close a citadel in the mid-late game (35 tiles left) and got all but one piece closed off.

Saturday:
It turns out that drinking 24oz of coffee at 8:00 is not a recipe for sleep, and I got about 2 hours of sleep. So, I got up and played games on the computer (Keldon, TtR steam, and Hansa Teutonica mostly). My Hansa Teutonica AI is particularly terrible at the game currently; once you realize what it's trying for, you can simply get in its way consistently and it will continue to push you, giving you tons of pieces on the board and making no progress itself. Some day, I'll correct this behavior.

On my mind:
I spent entirely too long this weekend avoiding homework and designing a microbadge instead. Check out this swanky GCL Secret Santa icon:
From gallery of Epsilon_Balls
. It reminded me of why I will never make my own game/IP; art is hard.

EDIT: I guess the other thing that's a recent change for me is that I've started running. I got used to having nice long bike rides, and that's just not possible during the school semester. However, I can go run for 30-60 minutes during lunch. I am terrible at running, but slightly less than before. I think my personal best is 8 minutes flat for 1 mile, and I just set my personal best for 2 at 18:04 today.
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12. Board Game: Churchill [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:569]
Board Game: Churchill
Raf Cordero
United States
Bolingbrook
Illinois
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Lost Legacy: Flying Gardenx4 New!
Churchill New!
A Distant Plain

Lost Legacy
This was what my Reddit secret santa sent me and Katie and I sat down and have played about 4 games now. I can definitely see how it's a deeper game than Love Letter, yet at the same time it was a little frustrating. In all 4 games I was dealt 2x Wound Cards at the same time, and in only 1 game did I later draw a card I could use to get out of that predicament. That meant that in 3 games I simply couldn't win. It felt weird. We'll play more though, as we both like it.

Churchill
Wow. There was a lot of chatter on the Churchill boards about the victory conditions and if they were genius or broken. Put me in the genius camp. I was a little nervous about how the game would go over because it was A) 5:30 am when we started and B) one of the players is more of a Euro guy and wasn't jazzed about the theme but it went over really well. Mechanically the game is very very simple, most of the "game" occurs over the table and in jockey for position. Like in most games, there are VPs you score that track how well you're doing. Unlike most games, the victory conditions (there are 3 possible options) are designed to reward the person who cooperated the best and NOT the person who necessarily scored points. Despite telling my friends this over and over I fell into the trap of maximizing points. In the last round I realized I was too far ahead (and would thus trigger the condition that said the person with the 2nd most points would win, not me) and tried desperately to aid my allies and pump up their scores but it was in vain. I really want to play more, this game was great. The victory conditions encourage cooperation/minimize looking out for Number 1, which is something that other "coopetive" games like Archipelago fall flat.

A Distant Plain
ADP continues over Vassal. It's very tough playing 2p where each controls 2 factions and I think we made a less compelling game by paring the COIN factions and the Insurgents together. The rulebook gives that as an option, but the primary recommendation is Coalition + Warlords and Gov + Taliban. I would like to try that as well.

On my Mind
Fire in the Lake via Vassal ended. As predicted, I lost my hold on 1st place in the last couple of cards. Strategy in this game is very very different than ADP which is really cool considering they're so similar mechanically.

We started watching Narcos on Netflix. It's great, and it makes me want to play Andean Abyss. I love how most of the show is in Spanish. That gives it a very authentic/documentary feel even though it isn't that at all.

Raffi is still doing great. He's found his hands and is cooing ALL the time. We had a relaxing weekend and it was really fun just hanging out with him. We're going to Ohio this weekend and were a little nervous that he never seemed to sleep longer than 30 minutes in his playpen, so for the past couple of nights we've put him to bed in it upstairs in his room. Slept like a rock. He's not a great napper, so I think it wasn' the playpen it was just the fact that it was day time and the p&p was downstairs.

Episode 2 is up! Star Wars Stuff + More Cash More Guns, Mafia de Cuba, and more
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13. Board Game: WWE Superstar Showdown [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:4021]
Board Game: WWE Superstar Showdown
Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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WWE Superstar Showdown x3 (new!)
One Night Ultimate Werewolf x2
Wiz-War (eighth edition) x1
Lost Valley: The Yukon Goldrush 1896 x1
Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game x1

Reviews
More Ca$h 'n More Guns - Awesome, as James attests.

Arctic Scavengers - A game I already enjoyed is now even better.


WWE Superstar Showdown
I can't win at this game. It's clearly not deep (although there are definitely multiple decision trees and strategy), but it keeps besting me. With that being said, I'm of course a big fan. I think it will shake out right around Homeland in terms of my numerical rating, putting it slightly behind Sons of Anarchy and Spartacus, but still quite spectacular.

It's fast and elegant for an Ameritrash game and it nails the theme. It moves at a good clip and is very engaging due to the simple card play with just the right emphasis on tactical decisions.

We played a couple of tag team matches which work well as the emphasis on moving around the ring is increased, but downtime for people outside the ring is a bit longer than Luchador which some could have a problem with.

I already really enjoyed this when I played with Grace at Gen Con, but I was able to start seeing some of the decision points and opportunities for creativity, mostly centered around Stuns/Reversals. There's a definite element of light hand management that peeks through.

Also, with subsequent plays the wrestlers started to feel more unique individually (they each have a unique deck), which is great. I love The Big Show perhaps the best (raw power), but you have to be careful and not get pinned into the opponent's corner with him in a tag team match. His maneuverability is so low that you can have a hard time making it back to your end to tag out - which is how I lost one of my matches.

Wiz-War
Always delivers. Sometimes I look at my top 10 list and wonder if Wiz-War should really be on there. Then I play it and I'm like "Why the hell isn't this game higher?"

Some people that mix all of the spell decks together believe it hurts the newest expansion with creatures and you shouldn't mix them any longer. We still do and we've been finding it works out fine. We may not see some of the spells which combo off creatures as often but nothing feels out of whack or unbalanced.

I jumped out to a large lead grabbing a treasure and making it back. One guy ran a spectral snake creature and tried harassing me but I kept punching it and fending it off with some armor I was wearing. When running for my other neighbors treasure to secure it and get the win, the entire table realized how close I was to victory and turned on me.

One guy threw down a gravity spell which made me drop the chest. Another rounded the corner to start nailing me with offense. I ended up pulling that dude into my space (a hallway with a dead end) and smacking him around. Then I ran out of the hallway and threw a wall down behind me to seal him in. Unfortunately I couldn't make it out with the treasure.

He had a totem on his tile that drained you of 1 life each turn you started on his tile and this would ultimately kill me as I was slowed down and couldn't make it off. Awesome time.

X-Wing
Another 1 v 1 with Wave 7. I was Imperials and got in some TIE punisher action, blowing the hell out of a scum force. Scum are so fun to play but they often seem slightly underpowered.


On My Mind
Wednesday this week is a huge Epic 300 point game of X-Wing with the enormous Imperial Raider taking on the equally huge Tantive IV. Going to be epic indeed.

Z-Man is sending me something (UPS notification popped up) but I'm not sure what exactly. I'm hoping its the Flick 'Em Up expansion with horses, although it could be Apocalypse Chaos.

Also have Ultimate Warriorz from Asmodee coming today (sadly no TIME Stories or Mysterium yet, although I was offered Queen's Architect whistle). I, of course, hate the name but it looks neat and some positive buzz/reviews. It's a King of Tokyo-like light game but it's focused on arena combat exclusively, no sitting back for points. Your big monsters also get unique decks of cards so there's asymmetry baked in. Looks very pretty too.

We're now 6 episodes into Narcos and it's still pretty great. We're hitting this one very slow for some reason though as we'd normally be able to tackle 10 episodes a bit faster.

I'm still slowly making my way through Falling Skies which continues to be solid. The plot keeps moving and is still interesting. No slow episodes devoid of any movement.

We watched Southpaw, a newish Jake Gyllenhaal boxing flick. The movie was fine but Jake Gyllenhaal is just amazing lately. One of my new favorite actors after Nightcrawler, Enemy, Prisoners. Put him in True Detective Season 3 please.

Ding and Dent episode 2 should be up tomorrow. Uploading it tonight. Episode 3 will be all about playtesting and we will be interviewing Jamey Stegmaier. Excited about that.

I also have Jamey's design day thing this coming Saturday which will be awesome. Timothy's favorite person Charles Wright is coming into town for this and may be staying at my place again.

Is Mottainai ever going to hit retail?

I cleared off some shelves yesterday and made room for my recently acquired Rum and Bones (bought a kickstarter copy off Ebay). Wish I just would have backed this one originally but I'm very excited. I was a big fan of League of Legends and worked on my own MOBA style game for awhile, this one is getting great reviews.

Edit - fixing typos.
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14. Board Game: Eminent Domain: Microcosm [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:2482]
Board Game: Eminent Domain: Microcosm
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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Plays since September 14, 2015

 10.   Dominion x3
 8.0   The Castles of Burgundy x3 (BAJ)
 9.0   YINSH x2 (BAJ)
 8.0   Concordia x2 (BAJ)
 8.0   Ginkgopolis x2 (BAJ)
 6.5   Eminent Domain: Microcosm x2 NEW!
 10.   Brass (OOTH)
 10.   Race for the Galaxy + The Gathering Storm
 9.0   Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization (BGO)
 7.5   Lost Cities
 7.5   Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game
 7.0   Alhambra (BAJ)

Look at us, playing games... I started a bunch online this week, and then Saturday Aerial and I had an extremely lazy day and played a few games.

Race for the Galaxy

Aerial still isn't sure about this one. She really enjoyed Roll when we tried it a while back, and she's still willing to give Race another try, but I think she wants to play Roll some more first to ease into it. She didn't play badly, but everything went right for me (Terraforming Guild plus a ton of windfall worlds including Alien Toy Shop... my last consume was for 14).

Eminent Domain: Microcosm

Won this in Games For Geekgold (well, sorta - someone else won but already had a copy so picked me to receive it instead, really nice). We thought it was really neat, and seemed to have quite a bit of depth for such a small, short game. Looking forward to playing this some more now that we have an understanding of all the cards. (Plus, I also now have an in for getting her to try Eminent Domain.)

Dominion

Game 1: Coin of the Realm, Duplicate, Goons, Hunting Party, Oracle, Smugglers, Squire, Talisman, Transmogrify, Workshop, [Borrow], [Colonies]

This was close most of the game, but she got a little carried away buying cheap cards early (trying to make Squire+Oracle work for a drawing engine, whereas I just loaded up on Hunting Party) and I was able to stay on top with a couple big Goons turns.

Game 2: Altar, Baron, Cultist, Forager, Haunted Woods, Mountebank, Nobles, Sage, Shanty Town, Silk Road [Expedition, Trade], [Shelters]

This was her first time playing with Cultist or Mountebank, and she found it very frustrating (there's a reason I pulled these and a few others when I was teaching her!) - I got an early Altar to trash down and pick up Cultists, gave her most of the Ruins, and then switched to picking up Mountebank for buying power and to further trash her.

Game 3: Bank, Junk Dealer, Merchant Ship, Outpost, Plaza, Shanty Town, Transmogrify, Treasure Trove, Vagrant, Vault, [Training], [Colonies]

This one was very fast - we ended the game on 8 straight Colony buys, and I took it by one point having trashed one fewer Estate. She took some Plazas and a Vault, and we both were heavy on treasure (Treasure Trove + Bank is fun, even without +Buy or much draw).

Lost Cities

She actually requested Battle Line initially, but I wasn't sure where it ended up (probably the car) and she remembered liking this while I was looking. I won thanks to a huge third round (100+ in yellow) after losing the first two rounds. Nice and relaxing for a lazy Saturday.

X-Wing

After a brief nap, she let me teach her this. We played with 30 point builds (Luke + generic R2 and Determination for her; Night Beast and Winged Gundark for me). I had only played once before, and I wasn't much better at maneuvering than she was... lots of circling around each other toward the end, trying to find a shot. She had a couple of great rolls (4 damage on 4 dice twice), knocking out one of my ships in a single attack, and she was able to finish off the other before too long. She liked it ok, willing to try it again (and maybe we'll up the points a bit or try a mission).

On My Mind Ow My Leg

I am in a good deal of pain right now... Not sure how, but I've hurt my lower back/hip/right leg. Ow.

We got some of our wedding prints (the big ones plus the ones we ordered for friends and family - the ones for our album are supposed to arrive this week), that was exciting. They look really good!

We're driving to Tyler this weekend for my niece's birthday party, so that will be fun - we haven't been since before the wedding, which I realized last night makes this the longest I've been away from Tyler since we moved there (when I was 5) - even when I was living in England I came home summers and Christmas. Anyway, that will be fun, and we'll get to go to the fair with my nephew again (he went to his first baseball game yesterday, super cute).
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15. Board Game: Spanish Main [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:9130]
Board Game: Spanish Main
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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Tides of Time 3
Artifacts, Inc. 1 NEW!
Colt Express 1
Imperial Settlers + Why Can't We Be Friends + Atlanteans 1
Midgard 1 NEW!
Mottainai 1
Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot 1
Risk: Star Wars Edition 1 NEW!
Ticket to Ride: 10th Anniversary 1

Artifacts, Inc.: I had been curious about this as I like dice placement as a mechanic. I wanted to demo the game at Gen Con, but not enough that I wasn't very upset when it didn't happen. First, to give credit where it's due, it is absolutely impressive that Ryan Laukart does everything himself (design, illustrate, publish). That said, I've been previously unimpressed by his other games and this was no different. His games are in need of some development as I find that, though they have some good ideas, they end up just missing the mark. Also, that man loves himself some set collecting. Ultimately, the game was an okay derivation on dice placement, but overall boring. Sure, there were plenty of choices, but none of them were all that interesting. And it was far too points salad-y for my tastes.

Midgard: Despite its pretty ugly art, the game wasn't too bad. My friend bought it for $5 and it was worth at least that much. It has a bit of an El Grande feel with "play cards to place dudes to get majority". It's a forgettable game overall and not one I would recommend, but I wouldn't hate to play it again. Oh and it was fun to make Mad Max chrome references when placing our guys on the Valhalla space.

Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot: My first game with four players. It scaled well and didn't seem to add too much more time (if any). I do wish the game were a bit shorter and less fiddly. I still enjoy the idea of it though.

Risk: Star Wars Edition: One of the worst named games every as this has very little in common with Risk. Regardless, I actually liked it. I knew from some of the buzz it's been getting that it was supposed to be a fairly legit game. I was leery of the Candyland-esque action cards (two icons on each, program three cards, then you choose which action to take), but it ended up working pretty well. For $20, I would actually pick this up and though Matt wouldn't mind since he liked the plastic ships, he actually want to play it.

On My Mind:

- Gaming

I Kickstarted Tabletopia at the $25 (6-month subscription) level. Hopefully some of you have backed it too so we can play together!

- Movies and TV

Matt and I saw Minions, which was legitimately funny and entertaining. The writers did a good job at creating jokes that worked on multiple levels for adults and kids. I don't regret spending the $17 for our matinee tickets.

We also made it through season 6 of Sons of Anarchy and started season 7. There are some repetitive plots/storylines that have become tiresome and though it's still entertaining I look forward to the show ending. For those of you who have seen it, I hope they release a carving fork promo card for the game.

- Spanish and French lessons!

After discovering EdX.org the other week, I decided to enroll in a self-paced Spanish class. I did my first week already and have been supplementing with DuoLingo. The course itself is barebones, but daily practice with the DuoLingo app has been great. I also use it to refresh my French. I'm loving both. I love language and always did well in French in high school. I've been wanting to learn Spanish for quite awhile now and though I can take up to 6 units for free on campus, I hesitate to enroll in a class as a student that could potentially have my own students in it. Additionally, the time commitment could be problematic. Thus, MOOC!

The hardest part for my in Spanish right now is that the lessons revolve around basic vocabulary. I am madly trying to figure out verb conjugations in the midst of my lessons and wanting to know why things are done a certain way instead of just memorizing. Luckily, I still know a decent amount of French which does help me in understanding certain vocabulary. As for my French itself, I've forgotten a lot of vocabulary and conjugations, which makes it hard to produce the words when prompted. However, I can still comprehend it fairly well. On top of that, I have all my language development knowledge reminding me of the hows and whys of the difficulties in learning a second language as an adult.

Fabrice and Raf, I will be expecting you to be my respective language tutors!
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16. Board Game: Codenames [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:84] [Average Rating:7.63 Unranked]
Board Game: Codenames
Timothy Hunt
United States
St Louis
Missouri
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Board Game: Codenames
Board Game: TKO
Board Game: LIE
Board Game: HUE
Board Game: Gobblet Gobblers


N/A  Codenames x4
N/A  TKO NEW!
N/A  LIE NEW!
N/A  HUE NEW!
N/A  Gobblet Gobblers NEW!

Quite a bit of gaming this week.

Played a couple of games of Codenames using the 2-player rules with my wife. She did her first try as a Spymaster, and did well at it. Our score with her as Spymaster was 3, and with me as Spymaster was 2 (and that was mostly because my bad clue meant that Karyn picked an opposing-team-spy).

On Sunday, we had an Organizer Meeting for the St Louis Board Game Meetup. We typically do a potluck, discussion during/after eating, and then play games for a while. This was no exception. We had some good food, and then discussed a number of things about the group to try and help it run more smoothly, along with some changes to the schedule. We've had a couple of events in the neighbouring county for a long time, but a sister group started up in that county some time back and has grown well. It's now to the point that we can drop our couple of events and just let the other group continue to grow. We also had a venue shut down at short notice, so we've been on the look out for a replacement. And we're doing a bit of reorganizing which organizers host which events to relieve the burden from some very busy ones, and also make it a little easier for organizers to just not go to an event if they are feeling a bit burnt out.

While people were still arriving, a few games of Gobblet Gobblers were played. This is a new edition of Gobblet, but the pieces only come in 3 sizes not 4, making for a quicker game. The pieces are also cute little monsters rather than just abstract cylinders. It's quite fun.

After our meeting, we had an 8 player, then a 4 player game of Codenames. 8 player was a lot of fun with the groups of 3 discussing the options (and subsequently finding that we were competely misinterpreting a clue, but got lucky with our interpretation).

The 4 people not in the second game went off to play something else, but I forget what it was.

I continue my playing of the Pack O Game set, with LI[ar's dic]E, which we really liked. There are some subtle differences from the game it originates from (such as any given face has an upper bound of 10, and not being super noisy as everyone rolls their dice) make it something to have as well as the original. We also played HUE, which was particularly tense as people both helped each other and thwarted each other - the dynamics of this I really like and I want to pay it again soon to think about strategies. Lastly I played TKO with one other (which was a good plan, as it's two player), and I wasn't super enthused, but I'm certainly willing to play it again to see if it benefits from repeated play.

On my mind

In-Laws visit later this week. Panic as we get the house tidy enough for them. Benjamin continues to be cute, and he really enjoyed making cookies with me.

I finally agreed the car a/c is fixed so went and paid the final bill, and took some cookies to show I'm not mad that it took so long to figure out and get done.
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17. Board Game: Box-It [Average Rating:1.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Box-It
Philip Newman
United States
Plano
Texas
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Single Submission Game of the Week: Rectangles

Submit integer coordinates for the lower left and upper right corners of a rectangle within (0,0) to (100,100).

Each square in the grid will score for the rectangle with the smallest area covering it. (Ties for smallest will split the point.)

Example: On a 3x3 grid, player A submits (0,1), (2,3); player B submits (1,0), (2,3); player C submits (0,0), (3,2):

AB-
ABC
CBC

B & C tie with 3 points.

As usual, this game is somewhat dependent on knowing the number of players, so I will update regularly as I receive submissions; feel free to edit as often as you like until I post the results on Saturday.

(Credit to the Grey Labyrinth's Zandor for the Circle version of this game.)
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18. Board Game: Mega Civilization [Average Rating:8.26 Overall Rank:988]
Board Game: Mega Civilization
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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For those who haven't seen yet, Mega Civilization info has been posted to BGG. The wargamer/civ player in my game group linked it for me, and even he thinks the game looks ridiculous. Anyone else up for an 18 person trading game?
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19. Board Game: Paris Connection [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:1461]
Board Game: Paris Connection
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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Board Game: Android: Netrunner
Board Game: Tajemnicze Domostwo
Board Game: Paris Connection
Board Game: GEM
Board Game: Compatibility
Board Game: Roll for the Galaxy
Board Game: Race for the Galaxy
Board Game: League of Six: Loyal Retinue
Board Game: League of Six


Quite a bit of gaming this week. A welcome change from the week before.

 7   GEM NEW!
 7.5   Compatibility NEW!
 7   League of Six: Loyal Retinue
 5   League of Six


 8   Android: Netrunner x2
 8   Tajemnicze Domostwo x2
 9   Paris Connection
 8.5   Roll for the Galaxy x3
 10   Race for the Galaxy x3

Still really enjoy Netrunner but since I'm not following the meta at all, I fear if I play anyone who has a clue how to do well at it that I'll just get destroyed.

Mysterium is still enjoyable and a crowd-pleaser. I'm wondering if I'm hitting my limit on playing it quite this often (I've gotten probably 6+ plays in the last 1.5 months?) but it's just so easy to get to the table. And it's not even my copy, it's Robin's!

Paris Connection is a favorite. We played with 6, which is more than I normally like (it's a bit too chaotic), but it was still highly enjoyable. I was able to maneuver myself a little ahead of Robin when someone boosted a rail line I had some extra stocks in mid-game and that was what I needed to sneak past him.

League of Six is not something I like all that much because of this "I pick this, you must now give up your stuff for my benefit" setup the scoring rounds have, but the expansion really helps this game. It went from "ehh, would rather not play" to "probably won't request but will play periodically" - which is a pretty big jump. I imagine for people who really enjoy the game it could be an even bigger increase. Major props for the high quality expansion.

Compatibility was the surprise of the week. I expected it to be a crap-tastic trivia game. It was actually a really good time. It's definitely party-weight, and the quality of the experience will be completely dependent on whom you play it with, but I'd recommend giving it a play if it comes up. I could see this getting repetitive with back-to-back plays easily, but as a once-or-twice-a-year thing I'd definitely play it again.

GEM was a nice little filler game from the Perplext microgame series. Definitely keeping up the trend of having higher-than-average-quality for microgames. That might sound like an underhanded compliment but I do meant it to be nice - the games from it are all worth playing so far.

Race and Roll for the Galaxy were both highly enjoyable. As always. I managed to beat Robin in a 2-player match (WOW!) but lost horribly in another as he got a crazy I-crush-you-now engine going as I flounded with an ill-targeted military approach. Roll was a set of close games as well. I still feel like getting a good 6-point development in this can generate an unreasonable amount of points sometimes, but in general I find it a blast regardless. I had one solid victory, one baaaarely scraped ahead victory, and one I-put-up-a-fight-but-lost match. All in all a pretty good record there.
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20. Board Game: Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 5 – United Kingdom & Pennsylvania [Average Rating:8.01 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.01 Unranked]
Board Game: Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 5 – United Kingdom & Pennsylvania
Dave K
United States
Austin
Texas
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Hilarious little mixup in the Dice Tower Essen Preview video: "Why Pennsylvania?" "I think Alan Moon is from there isn't he? Somewhere around there?"

No, he's from the UK.

In other news, this is the first map pack for TtR that I've been really excited about in a while. Both maps in it sound like they really mix up the game in neat ways.
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21. Board Game: Catan: Cities & Knights [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Board Game: Catan: Cities & Knights
Robin Levins
United States
Round Rock
TX
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MOAR GAMEZ!

Board Game: Catan: Cities & Knights
Board Game: Race for the Galaxy: The Brink of War
Board Game: Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm
Board Game: Roll for the Galaxy
Board Game: Castles of Mad King Ludwig
Board Game: Suburbia Inc
Board Game: League of Six: Loyal Retinue
Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game
Board Game: Compatibility
Board Game: Euchre
Board Game: Pandemic: The Cure
Board Game: Paris Connection
Board Game: Tajemnicze Domostwo


 10.   Catan: Cities & Knights x2
 10.   Race for the Galaxy: The Brink of War x2
 10.   Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm
 10.   Roll for the Galaxy x5
 9.0   Castles of Mad King Ludwig x2
 9.0   Suburbia Inc
 8.5   League of Six: Loyal Retinue
 8.0   Battlestar Galactica
 8.0   Compatibility
 8.0   Euchre
 8.0   Pandemic: The Cure x3
 8.0   Paris Connection
 8.0   Tajemnicze Domostwo x2

A good friend of ours is staying with us for a while, which has afforded me the chance to get in quite a few more games lately. In particular, Kristen and I have been able to renew our push to complete our 10x10 challenge, which now sits at around 65% complete.

I played nothing new, but lots of things I really enjoy.
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22. Board Game: Medieval Merchant [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:2200]
Board Game: Medieval Merchant
Matt C
United States
Ypsilanti
MI
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Has anyone played this? I was listening to The Dice Tower on my run this afternoon, and their description made it sound like Hansa Teutonica meets Power Grid.
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23. Board Game: Fun Fair [Average Rating:5.60 Unranked]
Board Game: Fun Fair
Grace P.
United States
Turlock
California
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This might not be news to others, but I just found out via Funagain's newsletter that they have a membership program. Funagain is not usually my go-to online store, but I wonder if it might be worth it for buying upcoming Essen releases.

Anyone have thoughts?
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